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Inside The Bills

Harris clears waivers

Posted by Chris Brown on July 31, 2010 – 5:50 pm

LB Nic Harris, who was waived after failing a physical has cleared waivers.

Harris is now a free agent since his contract was terminated by the Bills.


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What can happen with Harris

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2010 – 5:23 pm

With LB Nic Harris getting waived/failed physical the Bills have two options as to what to do with him should he clear waivers.

They can either place him on Reserve/PUP or terminate his contract.

The bottom line is this new staff is not beholden to Harris because he wasn’t one of their draft picks. In my mind that doesn’t help his cause, not to mention the fact that his knee rehabilitation has taken quite some time. I think with Donovan Woods coming aboard it’s likely that Harris’ contract is terminated if he clears waivers.

Kind of an unfortunate situation for a guy that was drafted just last year for one defensive system and now might not be as good a fit in another. Regardless it’s his health that’s the main issue. In the NFL it’s all about availability.


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Bills that are still rehabbing

Posted by Chris Brown on May 25, 2010 – 10:57 am

There is a bunch of Bills players still unable to participate in voluntary OTAs, which begin today (Tues.) due to surgeries performed toward the end of last season for injuries or postseason surgeries. Here’s the rundown of players.

Will not participate because still rehabbing
OT Demetrius  Bell
LB Nic Harris
TE Derek Schouman 
OL Eric Wood

Limited because still rehabbing
FS Jairus Byrd
CB Terrence McGee 
LB Kawika Mitchell 
C Geoff Hangartner 
WR Roscoe Parrish 
DT Marcus Stroud


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gailey on non-participants

Posted by Chris Brown on May 9, 2010 – 1:47 pm

Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked about why some young first and second-year players that could have participated in this past weekend’s rookie minicamp did not. Gailey provided some answers.

Asked about LB Nic Harris, Gailey confirmed that he was not 100 percent healthy coming off a late season knee injury that landed him on injured reserve in 2009.

Harris was seen watching the afternoon practice from the sidelines on Saturday. As for when he’ll return to the practice setting Gailey was not sure of Harris’ timeline off the top of his head.

As for James Hardy’s absence, Gailey offered the following.

“He had something he had to take care of,” said Gailey.

Buffalo’s head coach didn’t elaborate, so it wasn’t clear if it was personal matters or something else.

FS Jairus Byrd is also not fully recovered from hip surgery to repair a torn labrum, though he watched practice from the sidelines on Friday.

Gailey did say that the group of players participating in the rookie minicamp came out of it healthy.


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Harris, Byrd watching

Posted by Chris Brown on May 7, 2010 – 10:08 am

Bills 2nd year players Nic Harris and Jairus Byrd will not be participating this weekend.

Both are still rehabbing, but both are watching the morning workout.


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Fan Friday 3-19

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2010 – 1:15 pm

On the heels of some starting caliber free agent additions for Buffalo’s defense here is the latest installment of Fan Friday. As always questions can be sent at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. And you can review my blog scroll right here instead of just a post at a time if you’re playing offseason catch up. Let’s get going.

1- Hey Chris, I’m a grad student down at Penn State and have seen a lot of Jared Odrick, and he seems to be a really good player. I think that he would be worth a late 1st round, early second round pick. Do you think he would be a good NT? What do you think the odds are of the Bills being able to pick him up, whether they take him at rd 2, pick 9 or trade up/down for him?
-Chris

CB: I like Odrick’s game a lot. I don’t think there is anything about his game that an NFL head coach would be wondering about on Sunday. This guy gives maximum effort every snap. I think he’s capable of filling a role at nose tackle, but I don’t think he can be a full time NT. I think his ideal position is as a 3-4 defensive end.

Knowing that I think it’s unlikely that the Bills make a move for him whether it is up or down the board. That being said I think your range for him is dead on, late first, early second-round pick.

2 - Chris,
I thought the Bills did a pretty good job getting young linebackers like Harris and Palmer…they seem to me like they would have the athleticism to be good 4-3 linebackers…but I’m not sure where they fit in a 3-4. Do you think they might move Harris back to strong safety and in general what do you think the plan is with the linebackers?
-Chris

CB: A lot of Chris’ with questions this week. I thought that Harris moving back to safety could be a possibility until the team re-signed veteran Bryan Scott. With Scott and George Wilson tendered as a restricted free agent, I believe it’s less likely that it happens.

Nic Harris however, does have the frame to add some muscle mass in my opinion, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of plans the new staff has for Harris. As for Palmer he was released by the club and is better suited to a 4-3 system.

3 - Hey Chris,
I agree with you that the Bills should draft an Offensive Left Tackle in the first round. That said, what quarterbacks that are either Free Agents or could be acquired via trade, would you go after?
Bob

CB: Truthfully, I wasn’t impressed with most of what was out there and available. The Seahawks traded for Charlie Whitehurst who has barely played in the league. Cleveland acquired Jake Delhomme coming off a career worst season. It’s tough times if you need a QB.

That’s why it would not surprise me if the Bills spent most of their roster shaping efforts addressing their other positional deficiencies this year (OT, NT, LB, TE) and let this year play itself out at QB. Then based on the performance of whichever one of the QBs that plays make a wholehearted effort to address the position once and for all in 2011.

4 - Chris,
Do you think Rashaad Duncan or Lonnie Harvey are viable DT candidates in the 3-4, or are they still too raw? We haven’t hear much talk about John McCargo as a NT prospect in the 3-4 – where do you see him? What about Corey Mace as a DE? Do you see Chris Kelsay or Chris Ellis as OLB candidates in the 3-4, or would they not be fast enough off the edge?
Thanks, Mike, Pittsford

CB: I think Duncan and Harvey will both be given an opportunity through the offseason and in camp to show the new staff what they’ve got. With nose tackle currently a position that’s short on proven talent, it’s a good opportunity for both of those young men.

As for McCargo, I’m concerned about his future. He doesn’t look like a fit at all in this system and he has struggled mightily with his consistency. He has tools, he just doesn’t use them often enough. Mace was not re-signed. Kelsay and Ellis will be OLB candidates.

5 - Chris,
Not sure I thoroughly understand the thinking of those who feel we need to draft a quarterback in the first round of the upcoming draft. This is especially true in light of the fact that the two top rated QBs are injured and still have questions about their potential.

Also, what good it does us if we get a QB but cannot protect him as was the case last year. My thinking is that we need a solid offensive LT with our first pick followed by the best DT on the boards in Round 2.

We should then be looking to LB in Round 3. Build the nucleus first and then get a driver to run it hard and fast.

Also, any thoughts about trading a future pick to gain an extra pick this year, especially given we are moving to a 3-4 defensive alignment? As always appreciate the coverage your provide to us Bills fans outside the western New York area.

Jim Allentown, Pa.

CB: Jim, you’re speaking my language. OT first, provided one of the top 4 are there at 9 (worried a bit one might not be there now) and then best NT on the board in round two. I’m thinking the Bills have the same idea we do, which is spend this offseason filling the other holes and then go hard core after a QB or do whatever you have to next year to get to the top of the draft board to get Jake Locker. And because that could very well be their approach I think trading a 1st or 2nd round pick from 2011 is unlikely.


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Fan Friday 12-4

Posted by Chris Brown on December 4, 2009 – 2:00 pm

On the heels of Thursday night football, here’s the latest Fan Friday installment. As always you can email me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1.Why is it that so far with this playing in Toronto that they are division games? Why couldn’t they just make it a game that we play someone out of conference? Because not only are they taking home field advantage away but they are making the Bills play a team that might not be used to the cold like last year when we play Miami in the Toronto game, we had to play in the heat and they got to play in a dome, where normally they would be playing in the snow or cold which in the past has been a huge factor for the Bills. Why don’t they just take one of our NFC games and play it there so it doesn’t take away the home field when we play our division or AFC conference games b/c that could hurt the Bills when it comes to tiebreakers and stuff like that. Thanks for your time.                        
JON    
Tampa,FL

CB: First and foremost I should mention that the Bills have absolutely no say in what team they play in their Bills Toronto Series game. The NFL schedule is determined by the league and no one else. I, like you, would hope the league would understand the potential ramifications of scheduling a division game in Toronto, but the day the NFL starts taking those things into account is the day they’re accused of favoring some teams over others. It’s a slipper slope, but I understand your frustration.

2. Chris,
 
I am not sure if I am missing something or not.  What seems to be the problem with the coaching staff and Nic Harris. I seem to see him always around the ball when he does play. I don’t understand why the coaching staff would move Scott to OLB if Ellison can’t play, instead of starting Harris and leaving Scott at SS? Can you tell me what I am missing !!! I think Harris is going to be a hell of a OLB, he has the weight, height and coverage speed of a safety.
 
Don

CB: I too like a lot of what I saw from Harris in the preseason, but the coaching staff obviously feels more comfortable with a veteran player like Bryan Scott. To Scott’s credit he’s played pretty well despite the fact that all the run/pass keys are different at the LB position as opposed to the SS position. The more important point is in a season where the playoffs do not look to be in the cards, why not get Harris some valuable experience at linebacker?

3. Hey Chris,
I was wondering how much better do you think the bills defense could be in a 3-4 scheme? Aaron Maybin could have a better effect as a pass rushing outside linebacker.  Also, Donte Whitner would be able to stay back in coverage to make plays in a 3-4 instead of having to play in run support as a strong safety in a 4-3.
Tommy of Pittsford

CB: For those two players I think you could make an argument, though I believe Whitner is at his best in the box. Beyond them, the only five technique defensive ends on the roster would be Spencer Johnson and Kyle Williams. Stroud is your only nose tackle option. There would have to be a lot of personnel moves to make it work up on the line, and the Bills are shorthanded at LB already in a 4-3. It is a good draft for DTs though.

 4. Chris –
Have the Bills discussed or would they be interested in changing their uniform look.  I would rather see the Bills wear their Blue tops with their White pants for home games….like they use to.  Any chance that might happen?  A new look might bring about a new look in terms of their play.  Just a thought.  I welcome your feedback.  Thanks
 
R-
Brian

CB: For some reason a couple of seasons ago the blue-on-blue look became popular and the coaching staff allowed it. The Bills aren’t the only team that has taken the approach. I too prefer blue jerseys white pants, which is what they do with the blue throwbacks. Not expecting it to change any time soon though.
5. Chris,
Have the Bills put themselves between a rock and a hard place at the QB position?  Edwards is not the answer and if the Bills bosses think so, then we are in more trouble than we can imagine.  We also have no one else on the roster who is worthy of a shot to lead this team.  Is Edwards up for a new contract?  If so, what do they do about that?  Do you draft one next year and then waste another 2 to 3 years waiting for his development?  Sign a quality back-up from another team?
Jim
Skaneateles

CB: I think the quarterback position will be one that sees changes this offseason. Trent Edwards still has a year remaining on his contract, but his time in Buffalo has likely come to a close now that he’s been reduced to a backup. Brian Brohm is part of the future at the position and might have a chance to compete for the starting job next year. I think the Bills will take a long, hard look at the prospects in the draft to bring another on board. I believe Ryan Fitzpatrick is here next year as he has proven to be a very capable backup that can step in and win you a few games if called upon. But a true franchise-type talent is sorely needed at the position.


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Injury update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2009 – 6:45 pm

Good news on the injury front for the Bills.

The only injury suffered in the game was that to LB Nic Harris. He suffered an eye contusion. Other than that the injury report Sunday was pretty clean. We’ll let you know if there are any additional injuries to report on Tuesday.


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Injury report update

Posted by Chris Brown on November 19, 2009 – 2:33 pm

Here’s the official rundown of injured players for the Bills and their level of participation in practice Thursday. New to the injury list were Nic Harris, who watched practice due to illness and James Hardy, who was limited with a groin injury. DT Kyle Williams practiced on a limited basis.

With respect to Williams specifically, interim head coach Perry Fewell was glad to see the defensive tackle practicing.

“I was very encouraged,” said Fewell. “It’s always good to have him on the football field. Just to have him in a limited fashion was good.”

Did not practice
CB Terrence McGee (knee)
LB Keith Ellison (thigh)
FS Jairus Byrd (groin)
DT Marcus Stroud (knee)
OT Demetrius Bell (knee)
CB Ashton Youboty (ankle)
WR Justin Jenkins (illness)
LB Nic Harris (illness)

Limited in practice
DT Kyle Williams (knee)
WR James Hardy (groin)


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Scott to start at LB?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 11, 2009 – 4:42 pm

It’s by no means a lock, but Bryan Scott began his second week of practice with the linebackers Wednesday.

The veteran strong safety has been working with the linebackers in practice since the bye week as injuries have decimated the position. Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Buggs have already been lost for the season and Keith Ellison’s status this week is up in the air with a quad injury.

With only rookies and special teamers behind the starters on the depth chart, the defensive staff has elected to give Scott an opportunity.

“We’ve been so unlucky there that it gives us what we think may be our best shot,” said head coach Dick Jauron.

Scott got some first team reps at linebacker Wednesday. We’ll let you know if that changes as the week unfolds. Nic Harris seems to be the alternative to Scott.


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Scott gets reps at LB

Posted by Chris Brown on November 3, 2009 – 1:26 pm

Bryan Scott was getting reps at outside linebacker in practice Tuesday.

This is not the first time it has happened as the strong safety has taken reps there before as an emergency option. That again appears to be the case, and with the extra time during the bye Scott is getting a refresher.

“I think it’s more just in case of emergency and make sure that I’m prepared,” said Scott. “I probably won’t have to do it, but just in case you want to be ready.”

Scott took reps at LB last year when the LB unit was shorthanded. With Keith Ellison nursing a quad injury the staff apparently wanted to give Scott some extra reps there so there is an emergency option they feel comfortable with behind rookie Nic Harris, should he be forced to step in like he did last week when Ellison left the game.

“It’s just a different read so instead of being eight yards off the line of scrimmage you’re down in the box all the time. It’s fine.”


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If Byrd can’t go

Posted by Chris Brown on October 8, 2009 – 6:02 pm

If Bills FS Jairus Byrd can’t go on Sunday because of his hip the coaching staff has some interesting options in mind.

Byrd was limited on Wednesday and Thursday so the odds of him playing are pretty good, but if he can’t get through the whole game Sunday the coaching staff would move George Wilson to free safety and rookie Nic Harris would come on the field at strong safety.

Harris has been practicing at SS for the past two weeks since the Bills lost both starters (Whitner, Scott).

Still another option would be placing a cornerback at free safety, though Dick Jauron would not say who would be first in line for that duty.


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Nic Harris at safety not a bad idea

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2009 – 9:30 pm

Seeing rookie LB Nic Harris taking reps at his old college position of safety today got me to thinking that it might just be the perfect idea for the run game they’re facing this week.

George Wilson is getting the starting reps at strong safety this week and will probably play a lot Sunday. I doubt the staff wants to start two rookie safeties, which would be the case if they played Harris with FS Jairus Byrd.

“It is in case of an emergency,” said Jauron of Harris getting reps at safety. “He’s played there so he seemed like the best bet at this point in case something else occurs.”

I don’t know if there’s a way to do it, but if they can get Harris on the field in some obvious run situations, at 6’2″ 232 I like him in the run front a lot to help neutralize the Wildcat attack. Harris can run and hit and the Dolphins are a smash mouth attack. With his safety background he’s also capable to covering a tight end. He’d almost be like a fourth linebacker out there.

If the staff can find a way to get him on the field without him being exposed I wouldn’t be opposed to that look at all. You’ve got to think that Chad Henne will not be calling audibles at the line of scrimmage in his first NFL start, so if the Bills know the run game tendencies based on down and distance, and I’m sure they do, there might be an opportunity there. Just thinking out loud.


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Whitner, Scott not practicing

Posted by Chris Brown on September 30, 2009 – 3:59 pm

Donte Whitner and Bryan Scott are not practicing here on Wednesday and they’re not alone.

Also not practicing is Demetrius Bell and Leodis McKelvin.

With just 3 healthy safeties rookie Nic Harris is taking safety reps. Harris played safety in college at Oklahoma.

Harris is a good SS option especially facing a team that runs the Wildcat as much as the Dolphins do.


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Sporting News has Bills special teams ranked #1

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2009 – 1:53 pm

After finishing last season as the top ranked special teams unit, the expectations are there to be #1 again.

The Sporting News has the Bills special teams holding the top spot in their preseason rankings.

Bobby April’s unit does not appear to have the same degree of turnover it had last season when several veteran specialists departed via free agency. With the core of the units intact and promising newcomers like Nic Harris, Ashlee Palmer and Ellis Lankster the group should not miss a beat this season.


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Fan Friday 8-14

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2009 – 1:25 pm

Training camp is winding down, with three days left at St. John Fisher after today. Still some time before the regular season however. Let’s see what you’ve got for me this week.

1. Hi Chris,
Do you think one of the reasons the Bills have been reluctant to deal with the strong outside linebacker spot is because they plan on using Maybin there (as well as DE)?
Mark (State College, PA)

CB: I don’t believe that’s the main reason why, but it could be a factor. The Bills defensive staff really likes what they’re getting out of Nic Harris so far in the preseason. I believe he’ll push Keith Ellison, but ultimately experience will win out there. But Maybin I believe will be used as a rush linebacker in addition to getting snaps at defensive end. I think where he lines up will depend a lot on down and distance.

 

2. Hey Chris,
I was lookin at your Q&A regarding safties.  You didn’t mention Ko Simpson.  So you think he will be cut this training camp?  I think
that would be a shocker, considering he is young and his experience.  But I guess I can see, with the addition of Byrd, they may not have
the room. Do you think the Bills may look at trading him?

Shawn Sieracki
Dallas, Texas

CB: I think Ko Simpson is a bubble guy in this camp due mainly to the presence of Byrd. Though he hasn’t set foot on the practice field yet, Byrd was taken in the second round for a reason, to get on the field sooner rather than later. Buffalo did not get a single INT from their safeties last season. That has to change. Byrd had 17 INTs in college in three seasons.

If he shows any kind of promise in the preseason games he plays in and doesn’t look lost, he could be a starter before this season is over. Either way he’s a lock to make the roster.

In all likelihood the team keeps five safeties. Right now here’s my list of who I think they keep. Whitner, Scott, Wilson, Byrd and Wendling. Wilson and Wendling make it because they’re more valuable special teams players than Simpson.

 

3. Chris,
Nice job on the site.  How do you see the O-line situation developing…the situation at guard has been often discussed, but a couple of situations I am interested in is (1) Demetrius Bell – probably not a starter this year, but from what I saw last year it seems like he might have the athletic ability to be a LT – do you see him starting in yr 3 or 4?  Also, what do you see happening at backup center, Brandon Rodd or have somebody like Seth McKinney cover backup at guard and center?

CB: With Bell I think they see him as the heir apparent to Langston Walker, who three years left on his deal counting this season. I believe Bell is left tackle caliber. He’s certainly athletic enough. I think he’ll be the team’s swing tackle this fall.
At center Brandon Rodd has done okay as the backup. You’re right Seth McKinney does have NFL experience there, but he has not seen reps in the pivot thus far. I think he would be an option though. I don’t anticipate them putting Eric Wood in there either, despite the fact that he played there in college.

 

4. Hey Chris, 
 
I’ve noticed in most of your articles dealing about the LB position, you always mention Ellison only having two players to battle with for the starting position, Bowen and Harris. Why isn’t Pat Thomas mentioned at all? Is Thomas battling for a back up position behind Kawika or Poz? If Thomas isn’t being considered to battle with Ellison, do you see him actually making the team?
 
Thanks,
Brian Craig (Walworth, NY)

CB: Pat Thomas is battling for the backup MLB role with Marcus Buggs. It’s been a heated competition with the two of them flip flopping back and forth in the backup role behind Poz. As for Ellison his greatest competition looks like it’s going to be Harris. Bowen has been largely on the weak side in camp.

 

5. Hi Chris,
 
The battle to land a spot on the roster at corner is one that I find most intriguting on the Bills this season. How many corners do you figure will make the roster? Which ones?
 
Thanks,
Anthony

CB: I think the top four or five corners are easy to determine, but do they keep a sixth is the question. McGee, McKelvin, Florence, Youboty and Corner all make the roster as I see it. Then if they decide to keep a sixth I believe it’s Ellis Lankster. Cary Harris and Lydell Sargeant probably go to the practice squad.


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Jersey number changes

Posted by Chris Brown on July 26, 2009 – 12:22 am

After hearing a couple of fans confused with some of the linebackers due to some number changes here are the jersey assignments after changes were made just prior to camp opening.

LB Nic Harris is now #54 (was #49)
LB Ashlee Palmer is now #64 (was #61)
DT Ventrell Jenkins is now #65 (was #64)
DT David Lindquist is now #75 (was #76)
TE Jonathan Stupar is now #88 (was #87)

Hope this helps you folks that are coming out to camp.


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Harris to be more than just a LB?

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2009 – 4:39 pm

With the chance to talk to Nic Harris right after he signed his contract today, he made a comment in passing that I didn’t catch at first until I went back and listened to the tape. I asked him about transitioning from safety in college to LB now with the pads going on in camp, and he offered the following.

“I’m just a realist,” said Harris. “I know that football doesn’t change. The people get bigger, that’s about it. I played safety in college and I think by the end of it I’ll be back there a little bit.”

I still think his primary position will be linebacker, but might Perry Fewell have some specific packages drawn up with Harris in mind? He played five different defensive positions at a major college program in a top flight conference.

Fewell has used a three safety alignment in the past that’s worked well against opponents on run downs. I wonder if that might be where Harris fits into the safety equation. Don’t know, just guessing.


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5th round pick Harris signed

Posted by Chris Brown on July 22, 2009 – 4:13 pm

Nic Harris just signed his contract today, so five picks left to go before Saturday. More info and exclusive comment coming on the home page and in the media lounge as we had a one-on-one interview with Nic right after he signed.


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Tucker skeptical of position switches for rookies

Posted by Chris Brown on July 8, 2009 – 6:57 pm

Former Bills offensive lineman and SI.com writer Ross Tucker, is expressing concern over some of the position switches planned for some of the league’s top draft choices from this past spring.

He discusses Brian Orakpo, Jason Smith and Andre Smith among others, but does not mention any of Buffalo’s four players who will be making transitions.

Eric Wood is moving from center to guard, Andy Levitre from tackle to guard (though he has guard experience), Jairus Byrd from corner to safety (though he played safety in HS) and Nic Harris from safety to linebacker.

Still Tucker raises some good questions as to why having a rookie change positions his first year in the league can make that player’s transition more challenging.

I think because the Bills projected position switchers are highly intelligent, the transitions for them (Wood, Byrd, Levitre and Harris) will not make for as steep a learning curve as some other players around the league.

Still it’s an interesting question to raise.


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