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Brad Smith is a man without a country for Bills


When trying to figure out where Brad Smith fits into the Buffalo Bills offense, my mind goes back to something Avon Barksdale said to Stringer Bell on "The Wire."

"I look at you these days, you know what I see? I see a man without a country," Barksdale coldly explained to his chief associate as their relationship crumbled. "Not hard enough for this right here, and maybe, just maybe, not smart enough for them out there."

The Bills want Smith to work primarily as a quarterback this season, despite the fact that he's buried on the depth chart behind three players. He had a big role at wide receiver last season, though it appears he's no longer in the team's plans at that position.

Intelligence has nothing to do with Smith's trouble finding a niche in Buffalo's offense -- and Smith has no ties to a drug empire in inner-city Baltimore -- but it's fair to wonder if Smith has a strength that makes him indispensable at Orchard Park.

Smith, 28, can be a versatile playmaker; he proved that during his time with the New York Jets. That's why the Bills gave him a four-year, $15 million deal last summer. But their game plan seems questionable.'s James Walker believes the Bills are making a mistake, and he might not be wrong.

"From every meeting I've had, he's been in all my meetings," quarterbacks coach David Lee told the Bills' team site. "He's a quarterback who happens to be a great special teams player and he plays a lot of receiver also, which is where he was used last year. But he still has a role at quarterback in this offense."

Smith didn't take any reps with the wide receivers during organized team activities, as the Bills focused on his development behind center. Smith said he's been improving his footwork and balance, and appreciates getting his first real tutelage at the position since he was a double-threat quarterback for Missouri.

But there's still that depth-chart issue. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the unquestioned starter. Vince Young is the likely backup. Tyler Thigpen is in the equation as well. Smith is still going to have a role on special teams, but is it realistic to think he'll run the Wildcat regularly? And if so, can't Young probably do that better?


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