Battlin' Bills


Posted Jul 25, 2003


No, this isn't a rehash of the Doug Flutie vs. Rob Johnson debate. Once a week during the next few weeks we will introduce you to some of the players involved in position competition and what each offers both in terms of pros and cons and who we think will end up earning the position featured.

Today we focus in on at the starter at Free Safety.

Pierson Prioleau is the incumbent starter at the position and should be considered the front runner to retake the position. His strength is his ability to make tackles. He was 3rd on the team in tackles last season with 86 total tackles. This makes sense because he played some LB while at Virginia Tech.

His weakness is he isn't too good in coverage and while typically Safeties aren't ask to cover wide receivers in the NFL, tight ends are becoming more athletic and starting to be used more as pass catching options in today's NFL (see the emergence of youngsters Jeremy Shockey and Todd Heap as examples). Another weakness Prioleau has to be his lack of ideal S size. At 5-10 190 he looks more like a cornerback then safety.

Prioleau's main competition will be free agent signee Izell Reese. Reese started at free safety for the Denver Broncos, his only year with the team after being a career backup at Dallas. At 6-2 190 Reese offers up better size then Prioleau and better coverage skills with his seven career interceptions compared to Prioleau's one.

Among Reese's drawbacks is this will be his first year with the Bills and it may take him some to pick up and completely understand the defense, while Prioleau has been here for over two years. Not to mention Reese only had 51 tackles last year in Denver.

We think Prioleau with his experience with the team coupled with his stronger tackling skills make him the winner of this battle but Reese could spell him on some downs if the Bills coaches feel the opposition going to pass.

Join us next week as we cover the competition at left defensive end.


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