The Buffalo Bills take on the Indianapolis Colts in preseason game No. 1 for both clubs on Saturday afternoon at Highmark Stadium.
With such a talented roster and high expectations for the Bills, there are plenty of players and positions to watch in the preseason opener.
Here are five of them to keep an eye on:
With Tre’Davious White still on the Physically Unable to Perform list, there’s been a battle going on for not only one starting cornerback spot, but both of them.
Over the last week or so at training camp, three different players have seen a healthy rotation with the first unit: First-round pick Kaiir Elam, third-year player Dane Jackson, and sixth-round pick Christian Benford, who is squarely in the mix for the job.
None have taken firm grasp of the role yet, and with the Colts expected to play their starting offense for several series, this would be a great test for this group to see who can emerge ahead after Saturday.
It’s always tough to judge running backs when there’s not live contact and tackling to the ground. They always look better in that setting.
Cook certainly has looked explosive and everything the team hoped he would be when they drafted him in the second round. Now it’s time to show it in a real contest against a defense looking to bring him down.
The 22-year-old should get opportunities to carry the ball and catch it out of the backfield, but also maybe even as a kick returner. He could be electric with the ball in his hands, which would be great for the home crowd to see.
Not that I’ll be physically watching Dorsey, since he’s expected to be calling plays from the coach’s box, but seeing how the entire offensive operation runs is certainly going to be a storyline in this game.
They’ve been working on not only the look and execution of the offense throughout training camp, but also getting plays in and out quickly, having proper communication, and making sure things run smoothly.
Pre-snap penalties, miscommunication, delay of games. Those are the kinds of things they’ll want to avoid in the first preseason game, even with backup quarterbacks Case Keenum and Matt Barkley running the show, since we already know Josh Allen will not be playing.
It’s going to be interesting to see who actually plays on the offensive line on Saturday. The projected starters are not expected to play, and there have been injuries to others, as well, throughout camp.
There’s going to be plenty of opportunity for guys fighting for depth spots to show they can handle it. It could also be tough to get a proper evaluation of the entire unit and offense itself with a pieced-together group.
Fans can probably gain a lot of knowledge based on who plays where, and what spots that may mean are up for grabs down the depth chart.
When the Bills selected Bernard in the third round out of Baylor University, plenty of fans and media scratched their head. Watching him through the first part of training camp, it makes much more sense.
The 23-year-old is instinctive and very good in pass coverage. He’s primarily been playing middle linebacker, backing up Tremaine Edmunds, but he’s also been learning the weak side, as a backup to Matt Milano.
The Bills like their linebackers to be able to handle both spots, as well as the strong side, which they only use in certain situations.
With fellow backup linebacker Tyrel Dodson most likely not available in this game due to injury, Bernard will have a lot of opportunity to compete for the main No. 3 linebacker role.
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