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(Counting down to Opening Day at The Ralph, I’m going to highlight four critical questions facing the Bills as we head into the 2007 season. This is the third of four articles, focusing on our defensive backs.)
When I visited training camp this summer, one of the things I noticed in person, and perhaps even more on the printed roster, was the size of our football team. Or, more precisely, the lack of size. Aside from our behemoth offensive line, led by 6’8″ 366 pound Langston Walker, our team is definitely on the lighter side of the NFL.
One of the more noticeable positions is defensive back. Our CBs are all either 5’9″ or 5’11”. Donte Whitner is 5’10”. Our tallest DB, Ko Simpson, is 6’1″. Jim Leonhard is only 5’8″ and 185lbs!! These guys are not that beefy, either. McGee is the heftiest at CB – 198lbs. Our safeties are just over 200lbs.
But does that matter, if they can play the position well? I think it might.
When you look at our division, what do you see? Randy Moss of the Pats at 6’4″ certainly stands out. But there are other star receivers who have a slight height edge on our DBs, and an even bigger apparent edge. Chris Chambers of the Dolphins knows how to make us look pretty bad, and Laveranues Coles does a fine job as well.
At the end of last season, when we all knew Nate Clements would be finding a new place to play cornerback, I said on our show that the scariest position to me was our defensive backfield. I just didn’t know who we were going to put back there. And to tell the truth, after watching this pre-season… I’m still pretty concerned.
Terrence McGee is a fine athlete, and will get his share of INTs. But is he a solid, every down CB? Jason Webster has some experience in the NFL, but I’m still not convinced that he is a good answer for Clements’ replacement. Then we have some decent depth guys, Jabari Greer – who had a great pre-season – Kiwuakee Thomas, and Ashton Youboty – who to this point, still only has “promise”. Is that roster of guys going to be enough to stop Moss, and Chambers, and Coles?
Brady, Pennington, and maybe even Trent Green must be at least a little excited to go up against this very green unit. There are ten DBs on the roster, and the average experience is 3.4 years, bumped up by two guys entering their 8th year in the league. (Webster and Thomas.) The most experienced safety is Jim Leonhard, entering his third year in the NFL.
This is definitely a BIG question entering the 2007 season. One to which I do not have an answer. We hope the front seven can put enough pressure on the QB to give the DBs a bit of a break, but other than that, we’ll just have to see.
Moss, and Chambers, and Coles… Oh My!!!
Tomorrow: Question #1 – “Are We Too Young?”