The Buffalo Bills will play the New York Giants in the 2014 Hall of Fame Game, following all-time Bills great, Andre Reed’s induction. With more expectations high as ever for a young and athletic team with game-changing players on both offense and defense, the NFL couldn’t have picked a better team than the Buffalo Bills to play in the first game of the 2014 season.
While key starters will only see a series or two, the depth that has been built throughout the roster should make the game enjoyable from start to finish.
The Bills’ offense was incredibly inconsistent last season but after investing heavily at every unit, the team is looking to make waves. The team made a bold move, trading up to acquire the services of Sammy Watkins, an electric playmaker that has been making eye-popping catches and saying all the right things throughout his first camp.
But, however talented the offensive skill positions may be, the success of the offense will be determined by the play of second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel.
While key starters like Manuel, Watkins and Robert Woods like only play one or two series’, there’s still quite a few unsettled positions that are up for grabs. Here’s what I’ll be keeping an eye on:
Seantrel Henderson/Cyrus Kouandjio
Cordy Glenn has been sidelined with a mysterious illness, so 7th round draft pick Seantrel Henderson has been taking all of the first team reps at left tackle. Without Glenn, there’s a serious lack of depth at the tackle position, as Edawn Coughman is No. 5 on the depth chart.
From most accounts, second-round selection Cyrus Kouandjio hasn’t exactly been the player the team believed he was when they took the mauling tackle out of Alabama. With Erik Pears playing well, it’s likely that Kouandjio and Henderson will get some significant snaps on Sunday.
Scott Chandler and Tony Moeaki suffered injuries last week in training camp, while Chris Gragg was hospitalized with heat-related issues. It’s unclear whether Gragg, a sleeper to make the team, will be cleared to play. If not, we’ll be seeing Dominique Jones, a 6’2” 270 H-Back that was signed last week.
Cyril Richardson/ J.J. ‘Unga
Kraig Urbik and Chris Hairston are in a battle for the right guard position, but fifth-round draft pick Cyril Richardson is competing with J.J. ‘Unga for a roster spot.
Richardson has reportedly looked subpar throughout training camp, running mostly with the third-team offense, but on the team’s official depth chart, he moved up to No. 2. The team signed Chris Williams to start at left guard, but both Richardson and ‘Unga have high ceilings for growth.
The battle for the Bills No.5-6 receiver spots are up for grabs. Chris Hogan has been making headlines daily due to his quickness and instincts of simply knowing where to be at the right time.
T.J. Graham will have to prove that he’s a football player, and not just a fast athlete. Kevin Elliott is another intriguing prospect, but after he left practice with “concussion-like” symptoms, it’s unclear whether he’ll be suiting up this weekend.