Bills Notebook: Open competition at TE?

Will Fine and/or Schouman hold off Nelson? How is Aaron Maybin being used? What did Dick Jauron have to say about Roscoe Parrish's plea for more touches? The answers below...

--Young veteran tight ends Derek Schouman and Derek Fine are fully aware that the coaching staff likes what it sees in rookie Shawn Nelson.

Nelson, 6-5, 240 who runs a 4.52 forty-yard dash, caught 157 passes for 2,054 yards and 16 touchdowns during his collegiate career at Southern Mississippi. Selected in the fourth round in April, Nelson has the potential to be one of the steals of the collegiate draft. There's not an athlete like him among Buffalo's tight end prospects.

That said, Nelson won't be handed the starting job and Schouman -- a seventh-round pick in 2007 out of Boise State and Fine, a fourth-round pick last year out of Kansas -- have an experience edge over him.

All three have shown the ability to catch the ball in this spring's OTAs and minicamps, setting the stage for a heated competition battle come training camp in July.

Schouman and Fine like to believe the job is up for grabs.

"I hope so," Fine said. "I'd like to be that guy, but if not, we're all kind of right there on the same page. Derek (Schouman) is such a good player and such a good leader and he's one of the smartest football players I've been around. He's just like having another quarterback on the field, so it's not really so much a competition or an out-for-blood-type thing. We're here to win games. Whoever ends up winning the job, may it go to the best man, and that's what will happen."

--Coach Dick Jauron likes that disgruntled punt returner Roscoe Parrish wants a more prominent role in the offense as a receiver. Parrish has been the subject of trade rumors. "I would say everybody on our team would like a bigger role that doesn't have a big role already," Jauron said. "He's competing. He had a couple really nice days in our OTAs. He just needs to continue to do it and fit into the scheme and understand what we're doing. He'll certainly challenge for more playing time. We're happy he's been here and we're really happy he's with us."

--Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is toying with ways he can use No. 1 draft pick Aaron Maybin at both defensive end and linebacker. Using the Penn State product in a rotation with defensive ends Chris Kelsay and Ryan Denney is logical, but creatively speaking, Maybin may offer much more effectiveness rushing the passer or dropping into coverage by lining up in unpredictable spots, much like Miami once used Jason Taylor. If Maybin can develop more than one or two pass-rush moves during training camp, he'll improve his chances of being used in multiple roles.

--The Bills failure to make the playoffs a team-record nine consecutive seasons isn't hurting them at the box office. Season ticket sales stand at 52,134, already the sixth highest total in club history, and three of the team's seven home games have already sold out (Sept. 20 vs. Tampa Bay, Sept. 27 vs. New Orleans, Oct. 11 vs. Cleveland). It's the first time since 1993 that the Bills have had consecutive years of season tickets topping 52,000. The team record is 57,132 in 1992. Sales close Aug. 15.

--Corey McIntyre had a misdemeanor charge of exposure dropped in a West Palm Beach, Fla., courthouse after authorities concluded a woman falsely identified the Bills fullback as the man who fondled himself in front of her house. McIntyre vehemently maintained his innocence claiming he merely was riding his bike past the woman's house as part of his daily off-season workout when detained by police. The woman later admitted she couldn't positively identify the player and a suspect has since been arrested in a similar case. "I just want to say that I'm happy that my name has been cleared today," McIntyre said after practice. I have maintained my innocence all through this process, and I'm just glad it's out of the way. I'm sorry for the embarrassment to my family and to the Bills, and now my focus is on training camp. And that's all I have to say."

--LB Ashlee Palmer, an undrafted rookie out of Mississippi, has received a lot of repetitions, some even with the first team. The Bills want to improve their depth at outside linebacker and seemed to appreciate Palmer's footwork and range. Scouts questioned Palmer's work ethic heading into the draft. He appeared in 24 games his last two seasons, recording 139 tackles and four interceptions.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Fifty years in sports, there's only one constant -- Ralph Wilson is the owner of the Buffalo Bills. What Mr. Wilson has done for pro football and for the city of Buffalo and Western New York, it's hard to put into words. He remains in it for the same reasons he got into it in 1959 -- he loves the game of football, and that's apparent in everything he does. It will be an honor to have a bird's-eye view to watch him be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, especially this year, in the 50th year of the old American Football League." -- ESPN's Chris Berman, after being selected by Bills owner Ralph Wilson to be his presenter at Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 8.


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