The first preseason game is over, and the Bills answered a lot of questions, but now it’s Week Two and there’s a whole new crop of things to look out for.
The first preseason game is behind us, and Buffalo put on quite a show. The Bills managed to squeak out a victory after being behind 14 points in the fourth quarter. New offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey seemed to have a successful day with over 300 yards passing and 65 yards rushing. The offensive line held up well enough only allowing two sacks.
Rookie Khalil Shakir turned some heads with his five catches for 92 yards and veteran Zack Moss showed he still has some gas in the tank. There was the punt heard around the world and rookie linebacker Baylon Spector had a banner day with ten tackles and a pass deflection. Based on our article last week it would appear the Bills had a very successful game.
That was last week and now we move on to the Week Two preseason game, Denver at Buffalo. This week will be very different as head coach Sean Mcdermott has stated that the starters will play, “a healthy amount”.
Sean McDermott said that QB Josh Allen is going to play in the preseason game vs. the broncos. Most starters will play "a healthy amount." — Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) August 18, 2022
What does this mean for Bills fans? It means there’s a whole new list of things to lookout for in this week’s game.
Kaiir Elam’s performance in last week’s preseason game against the Colts showed just why Buffalo moved up to select him; however, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier stated that although Kaiir was listed as a starter, he is in fact not starting and Dane Jackson will be the cornerback opposite Tre White.
Leslie Frazier says Dane Jackson is ahead of rookie CBs Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford.#Bills know what they have in Jackson, hence why he didn’t play in preseason opener. Team needs to see more of Elam/Benford to best evaluate. — Jon Scott (@JonScottTV) August 17, 2022
This shouldn’t surprise anyone as Jackson has been working his way up the depth chart since being drafted by the Bills in 2020. We know the Buffalo organization loves promoting those who have been with the team and working hard, which is why Jackson will be starting this weekend.
The question will be who will start opposite him? Will it be either of the rookies Kaiir Elam or Christian Benford or will it be the veteran Taron Johnson? Bills fans are hoping to see Benford and Elam play again after both had a stellar game last week. However, Johnson has been with the team since 2018 and recently signed a three-year extension. Regardless of who starts it will be interesting to watch how the Bills’ secondary performs.
Matt Araiza made a big splash last week with his 82-yard punt; however, Matt Haack is still listed as the starting punter. While the coaching staff made it known that more staters will play this week, it’s unclear if this is referring to the punter position.
Bills fans want to see more of Araiza and his magic leg. The goal is to see if he can kick with any sort of accuracy. Kicking it out of the stadium is great but ideally, the punter can pull off the coffin corner punt, something Araiza has yet to prove. This weekend we’ll see if the Bills coaching staff wants to keep trying out Araiza in game-like situations or will fall back on Haack.
We know Josh Allen will play this weekend; the question will be for how long. Bills fans are eager to see QB1 step into the pocket again after the way last year’s Chiefs game ended. We know Allen is a talented quarterback, top tier even but the lack of respect given to Allen the first few years of his career still has him playing with a chip on his shoulder. It will be important to watch how his chemistry with his receiving core has held up over the offseason and look for any signs of regression.
Besides Allen, the Bills have two other quarterbacks that are currently fighting for the backup spot, experienced veteran Case Keenum and veteran Bills quarterback Matt Barkley. While Barkley’s stat line from last week’s game wasn’t awful, neither quarterback had a great game. Zero receiving touchdowns and three interceptions overall definitely leave something to be desired from the potential backups. This week it will be important to see who takes the role after Allen bows out of the game and if their performance improved at all over last week.
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