Yesterday, in grading the performances of each Buffalo Bills positional unit after the first quarter of the regular season was completed, I gave Buffalo's linebackers a big, fat F for their unspectacular performances in the team's 1-3 start.
The Bills' coaching staff, much to their credit, has become acutely aware of their defense's biggest shortcoming.
Paul Posluszny is still out indefinitely as he recovers from a broken arm. Marcus Buggs replaced him for two weeks, but the second-year player has been benched - in favor of Kawika Mitchell.
Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com reports that Mitchell is taking first-team reps at middle linebacker on Wednesday, the first day of practice in preparation for Buffalo's must-win Week 5 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. Mitchell, a veteran addition from 2008 who has played on the weak side in his time in Buffalo, is easily Buffalo's biggest linebacker, and has experience playing inside from his days in Kansas City.
Replacing Mitchell on the weak side in Wednesday's practice setting was undrafted rookie free agent Ashlee Palmer. Aided by strong performances in mini-camp, training camp and the pre-season, Palmer snuck onto the roster despite not being selected this past April out of Mississippi. Now, it appears that he'll see playing time as a starter for this defense - at least until Posluszny returns from injury.
Keith Ellison will remain the strong-side linebacker.
Kudos to Buffalo's coaching staff for at least making the attempt to remedy their bleak situation at linebacker. Mitchell is capable of playing inside, and Palmer has considerable upside. Still, I feel compelled to say this again: get well soon, Poz.