The Phinsider's Matty I is on vacation this week, so he loses his spot in the rotation. I'll have something on the Fins later today.
Meanwhile, blitzing from the weak side: Brian G from SB Nation's Buffalo Bills blog, Buffalo Rumblings.
tommasse: Looking over the Bills depth chart, Buffalo looks a little thin at linebacker overall and almost transparent at middle linebacker. Is there a plan, and how much will this affect their effectiveness against the run?
Brian G: Transparent at middle linebacker? Hardly - that's where rookie Paul Posluszny will be playing. "Inexperienced" certainly fits, but it's hard to keep up the "transparent" argument when your projected starter was arguably your most popular draft pick.
Linebacker, just like every other defensive position on our team (except perhaps safety), is indeed a position with more questions than answers. Angelo Crowell, the lone returning starter, is switching positions (moving from the weak side to the strong side), Posluszny will man the middle (a position he played only in his senior season at Penn State) and Keith Ellison assumes the weak side spot. I'm actually comfortable with this trio - don't mistake that for thinking that this group has "arrived"; oh no, there will be growing pains. But these three guys are pretty talented and are better fits in the scheme at their positions than London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes ever were.
I'm not too concerned about our depth either. The team has moved Coy Wire (a reserve safety last season) to linebacker, a position he played in college and performed admirably at last season in spot duty due to injury. He could very well end up being the primary backup at all three positions, if you'll believe it - and while it's certainly not ideal, and sounds fishy, I'm far less concerned about it than you probably think I should be because of his style of play. John DiGiorgio, an undrafted free agent last season, has also showed some promise, although he certainly has a lot to learn.
The run defense will be about as bad as it was last season. I think only the most "homeristic" of Bills fans believe that we'll actually be better up front (which is still a possibility, in my opinion, but only if defensive tackles Larry Tripplett and John McCargo live up to their lofty expectations). But the losses of Spikes and Fletcher were addition by subtraction - unlike last year, this trio of linebackers has potential. The old group wasn't going anywhere. That's enough for me - this is a season about progress, not the immediate turnaround.
tommasse's retort: Consarnit. I trusted NFL.com's depth chart, which technically is correct, but they don't list unsigned players. So I missed Posluszny in the middle. "Popular" draft picks aside, I don't know how comfortable I would feel having a rookie starting in such a key defensive position, especially with his already limited experience, and only one returning starter alongside -- and he's changing positions. Yikes. As Jerry Seinfeld would say, "Good luck with all of that." The only silver lining I see for this year is that Buffalo runs the 4-3 and not the 3-4. A little chaos at LB shouldn't be disastrous. Brian may be right about the future, but I'd worry that Poz gets enough mentoring from the veteran linebackers and coaching from linebacker coach Matt Sheldon, who never played in the pros and coached a few years with the Rams but is beginning his first season with the Bills.
OK, it's your turn. Step up to the Pulpit and say your piece. And if you have a question you want me to ask next week, email me, and I'll pose the best queries to our friends at Buffalo Rumblings, The Phinsider and NY Landing Strip.