It was “Roster Evaluation Night” at the Ralph with the visit of the Detroit Lions. All I can say about it is that I’m glad I got a good night sleep instead of staying up to watch it. I don’t want to dwell on the score because it’s inconsequential in a game of this nature but I would like to focus on some individuals.
Jordan Palmer – Palmer had a stat line that read 9 of 23 for 73 yards and 3 interceptions. As bad as that looks, I don’t blame him in the slightest. The coaches put him in a shitty position playing 3 quarters of the game despite barely being on first name terms with anyone he was throwing to. Palmer was brought in mainly for mentoring purposes and a veteran influence for Manuel and Tuel. I don’t see the logic in sitting Tuel as he’ll be the backup going into Chicago next Sunday when he needs the reps more than Palmer did.
It made evaluating some of the fringe players almost impossible and served no merit. I would ask all Bills fans to aim their frustration at his performance towards the right people.
Anthony Dixon – After catching a lot of heat for certain comments last week, good old “Boobie” had a decent outing. He cut a great run off Kraig Urbik in a tight spot near the Bills endzone, made a nice one-handed catch from Palmer and did a decent job picking up the blitz throughout the game.
Landon Cohen – The man is an absolute force at the moment. He was terrorizing the Lions offensive line all night. He made several plays by himself and his disruption also made some big plays possible for others. At this point, I probably sound like a broken record but this man has to make the team.
Preston Brown – The Bills 3rd round pick from Louisville had his best game of the preseason for me. He got the start ahead of Nigel Bradham with Bradham’s Week 1 suspension in mind and then played middle linebacker with the 2nd team. Brown made 7 tackles in all, looked very strong against the run and played a screen pass superbly to blow it up.
Kenny Ladler – I make no secret of the esteem I hold Ladler in. I was a big fan of his at Vanderbilt, I was shocked that he went undrafted and I did back flips when we signed him. Last night, we started to see what he could do with the extra reps. He was good against the run and, while him taking a false step led to the Lions 2nd touchdown, he was solid in coverage.
With the decent performance of Ladler last night and Deon Broomfield last week, the coaches have a tough decision to make regarding the 4th safety spot. Jonathan Meeks has missed a lot of time since his game-sealing INT against the Panthers and both guys behind him have made a case. Expect 2 of those 3 to stick around (1 on the active roster, another on the practice squad).
Brian Moorman – I’m starting to get the feeling that we’re coming to the end of the road with Brian’s career. I hate saying it because I absolutely love him as a guy and what he used to be as a player. He’s had a hit and miss preseason in a position that demands consistency. He’s got off a couple of huge punts that have boosted his average but some of his shanks have to be a concern, especially considering it cost Shawn Powell early last year.
A guy that the Bills should have on their radar is Brad Wing. Wing is an Australian punter currently with the Steelers and played in college with LSU. He has handled all the punting responsibilities in Pittsburgh because of Adam Podlesh missing preseason for family reasons. If they decide to go with Podlesh, Doug Whaley should be on the phone immediately.
I also want to give a quick mention to Ikponmwosa Igbinosun, affectionately known as Ike, for getting his first NFL sack last night. Truth be known, I just wanted to write his name out in full.