The Buffalo Bills are a solid roster, perhaps best in the league but that does not mean there are some questions that will still need to be answered. Let’s take a look and discuss what those questions are, as they relate to three different positions.
Finally, the first preseason game is upon us, this Saturday, the Bills take on the Colts at Highmark and the anticipation is bubbling. Bills fans en masse will finally get to see something resembling a finished product out on the field for the first time in months. While it won’t be as exciting or important as a regular season game, it’s still going to be fun to watch to see who on the roster is working to earn their spot. There are three positions with some questions about the offensive line, running backs, and linebackers. All three were areas that were lacking in last season and are looking to improve going into the 2022 season.
Bills’ Offensive Line
The biggest question coming into this season is the stability and performance of the Bills’ offensive line. Right now, the starting five look to be Dion Dawkins, Roger Saffold, Mitch Morse, Ryan Bates, and Spencer Brown. Despite lingering concerns over issues with concussions, Morse has been the sole rock in the Bills’ offensive line. Brown and Dawkins are both tremendous athletes who are currently looking to take a big leap forward this year after having some health issues of their own last season. Bates along with Morse both signed extensions with the Bills this offseason so it’s likely their spot is safe on the team this year.
One of the biggest questions will be the integration of recent pro-bowl selectee, Roger Saffold whose age, despite just having his best year ever, leaves some questions about his playing ability. Something to look for in this upcoming game is to see who gets the starts on the offensive line and who among the slew of recent signings gets the most snap counts. Since signing Saffold, the Bills also signed nine other offensive linemen to work out in camp. This Saturday it will be interesting to see what names crop up and who plays well.
Bills’ Running Backs
Last year the Bills survived on a running game that comprised of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, with Matt Breida and Taiwan Jones serving as backups or special teams specialists. This year the Bills drafted James Cook in the second round in hopes to give the running game a shot in the arm. Cook is hoping to work as a dual rushing/receiving threat and to help alleviate some of the workload Singletary is getting as the primary back.
It’s not just Cook you want to look out for at the game this Saturday, it’s Moss and the other two recent running back signees Duke Johnson and Raheem Blackshear you’ll want to see. Moss was fighting Singletary last season for snaps until it became apparent that Singletary was the guy. Now, Moss is just fighting for a spot on the roster as the competition just got fiercer. Moss has the build of a Marshawn Lynch type runner but lacks the skills Lynch had. Johnson and Blacksheer are going to make Moss work twice as hard to keep his place on the team.
Until this offseason, the other biggest question the Bills had about their team was the ability of the linebacking core to stop the run and pressure the quarterback. The addition of future Hall of Famer Von Miller helped to quell any major concerns over the linebacking squad. Millers’ athleticism should help take the Bills’ defense to that next level and his knowledge and experience should help build a strong foundation for the Bills’ other linebackers to up their game. Speaking of other linebackers, Tremaine Edmunds will be playing for a contract this season, and whether it’s with the Bills or another team you can expect him to push extra hard this year.
Except for Matt Milano, the other linebackers all have something to prove and the amount of competition they brought in proves that. On top of drafting two linebackers this season, the Bills also brought in three free agent linebackers bringing the total amount on the team to ten. This Saturday it will be important to note who is getting the snaps and which linebackers, may not be 100% guaranteed a spot on the roster as the cuts are looming just around the corner. So, these guys are going to have to step it up and show what they’ve got.
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