NFL Nation: Ty Powell

TAMPA -- Offering some halftime thoughts as the Buffalo Bills trail the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-3:

1. This is an ugly one. The Bills have struggled in all three phases of the game. On offense, EJ Manuel has thrown two interceptions, including one that bounced off the hands of Stevie Johnson. Defensively, the Bills allowed an 80-yard touchdown run to Bobby Rainey on the game's second play, which set the tone. On special teams, Leodis McKelvin muffed a punt that was recovered by the Bucs.

2. This doesn't mean much within the game itself, but it's important in the larger context of where the Bills are this season: Bottom-of-the-roster players have begun to see playing time, likely for evaluation purposes. J.J. Unga played a few drives at right guard in place of Kraig Urbik, while linebacker Ty Powell stepped in for Manny Lawson for another drive. Expect to see more of that the rest of the afternoon, with Ronnie Wingo in line to see some carries in the later stages of the game.

3. Buffalo's running game has been hot and cold all season. Despite the warm Florida temperatures, they've been cold today. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson have combined for 24 yards on nine first-half carries.

4. The Bills have dodged a few injuries today. In the first quarter, punter Brian Moorman went down after getting hit in the leg after a punt. He was on the field for the next punt. Then in the second quarter, cornerback Ron Brooks stayed down for an extended period with an apparent neck injury, but later returned.

5. Hey, at least this game isn't being played in snowy Philadelphia, right?

Bills sign QB Dixon to practice squad

October, 8, 2013
The Buffalo Bills on Tuesday signed quarterback Dennis Dixon to their practice squad.

Dixon worked out for the Bills over the weekend along with free-agent quarterback Pat White, coach Doug Marrone said, but neither was immediately signed to the active roster. Instead, the Bills promoted Thad Lewis from the practice squad to start Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

However, the Bills will now have Dixon on their practice squad, adding another layer to one of the volatile quarterback situations in the NFL. Dixon was a fifth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008 who has three career starts.

The Bills also made several changes to the back end of their 53-man roster. They signed linebacker Ty Powell off the New York Giants' practice squad, signed cornerback Brandon Smith off their own practice squad and waived linebacker Marcus Dowtin and cornerback Johnny Adams.

Powell, who played at Harding, was a seventh-round draft selection of the Seattle Seahawks this season. At 6-foot-2, 249 pounds, he will likely contribute to special teams for the Bills.

At 6-1 and 205 pounds, Smith is the largest defensive back on the Bills' roster. An undrafted free agent in 2011, Smith was out of football last season before joining the Green Bay Packers for their most recent training camp.

Dowtin and Adams both were special-teams contributors for Buffalo.

Taking stock of 2013 NFC West picks

September, 3, 2013
Eighty-six of the first 88 players drafted in 2013 remain on 53-man rosters entering Week 1. The two exceptions play for NFC West teams.

The Arizona Cardinals' Jonathan Cooper, chosen seventh overall, suffered a season-ending leg injury during preseason. He is on injured reserve. The San Francisco 49ers' Tank Carradine, chosen 40th overall, remains on the reserve/non-football injury list while recovering from a knee injury.

Twenty-five of 39 NFC West choices this year remain on their original teams' 53-man rosters. That includes all seven picks for the St. Louis Rams and seven of nine for the Cardinals. The 49ers and Seattle Seahawks had a higher number of picks arranged lower within each round, and fewer open roster spots to accommodate them.

Injuries have left six picks from the division on various injured lists. Three of the Seahawks' top five picks will not help the team anytime soon. That includes Harper, defensive tackle Jesse Williams (injured reserve) and cornerback Tharold Simon (reserve/physically unable to perform). Percy Harvin, who cost Seattle its 2013 first-round choice, is also injured.

Five 2013 draft choices from the division landed on their original teams' practice squads. One of them, fourth-round choice Chris Harper, subsequently left his original team (Seattle Seahawks) to sign with the 49ers' 53-man roster.

Three picks from the St. Louis Rams and one from the 49ers are scheduled to start in Week 1. Cooper would have started for the Cardinals if healthy.

Harper wasn't the only NFC West draft choice to land on another team. The 49ers' Marcus Cooper, a seventh-round choice, wound up with Kansas City after the Chiefs claimed him off waivers.
Our post-draft amendments to pre-draft positional rankings continue with Matt Williamson, NFL scout for

Up next: linebackers.

NFC West teams drafted six of them if we count the San Francisco 49ers' Corey Lemonier and the Arizona Cardinals' Alex Okafor as 3-4 outside linebackers, which we will do for the purposes of this exercise. We probably should have counted Seattle Seahawks seventh-rounder Ty Powell with the defensive linemen given that he projects to the "Leo" position, but there is some crossover with the linebackers as well.

The six draftees: Alec Ogletree (30th overall pick) to the St. Louis Rams; Kevin Minter (45th) and Okafor (103rd) to the Cardinals; Lemonier (88th) and Nick Moody (180th) to the 49ers; and Powell (231st) to the Seahawks.

Matt and I pick up the conversation from there.

Sando: I see you're keeping the rankings at linebacker in the same order even though the Rams added a potentially dynamic player at the position in Ogletree.

Williamson: The 49ers have to stay No. 1, of course. They have the best linebackers in the league and they added Lemonier. He is a fast, long, skinny edge guy who doesn’t hold up real well against big guys. He gets off the ball well, not real fluid, doesn't change direction great, but beats you with speed and eats up space with long strides. A good looking prospect.

Sando: The race for No. 2 has to be closer after this draft.

Those three are pretty close now. You look at the Rams vs. Seattle. I look at two of the Rams' three starters as being strong, even Pro Bowl types now. James Laurinaitis and Ogletree vs. Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. I would give the edge to Seattle because I think Wagner is the best of the bunch and we do not yet know whether Ogletree will be a Pro Bowl-type player.

Sando: The Cardinals are fourth?

Williamson: It’s not easy. Minter compliments Daryl Washington extremely well. He is a real heady, tough guy and a leader. He stuffs the run better than average and looks like a two-down player who could possibly play more than that. I could see him on the field as an every-down guy while Washington is suspended. Ideally, though, he comes off. Washington is a total stud if he can stay out of trouble. Those two could form one of the better inside linebacker pairings in the league, but I still put them four.

Sando: It gets back to what you think of their outside linebackers.

Williamson: We have to operate under the assumption Arizona is a 3-4 team and they are still light as 3-4 outside linebackers. Nobody there scares me. They have a bunch of No. 2s. I liked Okafor as a late-second or third-round prospect, but not as a real difference maker. If you are going to be a 3-4 team, your outside linebackers are still a negative.

Sando: There is some uncertainty as to how the Cardinals are going to tweak this defense. It really could be more of a 4-3.

Williamson: If they trend to a 4-3, two of their three starters are very strong, like with the Seahawks and Ramss. If we pretend Seattle, St. Louis and Arizona all line up in a base 4-3, each would have two really good starters. I would rank those players in order as Washington, Wagner, Laurinaitis and Wright, then Ogletree and Minter. All six could go to the Pro Bowl, although it is a stretch to say that with Minter right now.

Sando: Earning league-wide honors as a linebacker from the NFC is tough duty. The 49ers had four linebackers earn spots on the Associated Press All-Pro teams last season. Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman were first-team selections. Ahmad Brooks was a second-team choice. The Cardinals' Washington was a second-team choice. I noticed you left off the Rams' Jo-Lonn Dunbar when listing the six non-49ers linebackers you liked.

Williamson: I like Dunbar -- not a ton, but he is serviceable. That position is not a hole for them.

Sando: We alluded to some uncertainty with how the Cardinals will play defense. I think Seattle is in transition at linebacker to some degree as well. The Seahawks appear likely to give Cliff Avril and possibly Bruce Irvin work at strong-side linebacker, in which case Wright would shift to the weak side. We'll have a better idea what Seattle and Arizona have in mind once training camps get going.