Reed 'likely will be draft-day steal'

The new Shout! hits newsstands in a few days. It's our first training camp issue and it takes an in-depth look at the Bills' new offense under Kevin Gilbride. Here are some excerpts from the positional previews. Pick up a copy of Shout! at Wegmans or Tops or call 1-800-932-4557 to subscribe.

How much will Josh Reed play?

Though he's not an impressive physical specimen at 5'10", 203 pounds, Reed clearly has shown he can get open. He can catch the ball, even if it's not thrown where it's supposed to be and he has to adjust his body to grab a pass. He's tough and quick enough to avoid a bump at the line. He can block downfield.

In time, it's likely we'll regard Josh as a draft-day steal, like another guy named Reed in Buffalo.

By season's end, if not before, expect Josh Reed to have most of the playing time as the Bills' third wideout and building a case to start in 2003.

Buffalo will feature a multi-set offense, but with tight ends Dave Moore and Jay Riemersma, it is likely to operate from a lot more two tight end formations than in the past. What is the advantage of two tight ends?

A lot of people think teams put two tight ends on the line to provide maximum protection for the quarterback to throw the ball down the field. That's one possibility, but it's not the main strategy.

By balancing the line better, two tight ends help the offensive players better identify the roles of defensive players before a snap, making it easier for the quarterback and his players to attack. With a tight end on either side of the center, the defense would probably put eight players in the box. That would make it more difficult for the defense to impose its strategy on the offense. In essence, the offense would be dictating to the defense how to play.

Four-wide receiver sets can do the same thing to a defense, probably forcing it to feature five or six players in the box with the remainder watching the receivers.

Who will play center and left tackle?

The Bills are going to try Jonas Jennings, Trey Teague and incumbent Billy Conaty at center. Jennings and Teague will also compete at left tackle. Heck, Jennings may even compete at right guard – but that would be a less important battle than left tackle and center because of Jerry Ostroski's presence.

Judging from mini-camp – which must be taken with caution because players are not in pads there – Jennings is a better left tackle than Teague. The free agent signed away from Denver may be quicker at 6'5", 292 pounds, but Jennings is bigger at 6'3", 320, and has good agility. The unfortunate part of all this is that Teague does not appear happy about playing center, but he almost has to play somewhere along the line because Buffalo signed him to a rather lucrative four-year, $10-million contract.

As for Conaty, offensive line coordinator Ronnie Vinklarek said there's a possibility he could move to guard, but even so, he'd be behind Ruben Brown and Ostroski. Still, Conaty would be a valuable backup because he can play any of the positions inside.

The best combination appears to be Jennings at left tackle and Teague at center.

Tomorrow we'll post excerpts from our quarterbacks and running backs previews.


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