Friday, August 23, 2013
What to watch for: Bills-Redskins
By Mike Rodak
The Buffalo Bills continue their preseason Saturday afternoon against the Washington Redskins. They'll be back on the road, providing one final test for most of their starters before Thursday's preseason finale. Kickoff at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., is at 4:30 p.m. ET.
The Bills might need Kevin Kolb to start to begin the season.
Here's what to watch for:
Kolb gets his shot: The Bills' quarterback competition is still in full swing. After another solid outing Aug. 16 against Minnesota, rookie EJ Manuel underwent knee surgery, knocking him out for the remainder of the preseason. That gives Kevin Kolb his best chance yet to make his mark in the battle. If he performs well, the Bills can breathe a sigh of relief at quarterback if Manuel isn't ready for the regular-season opener. Now three weeks removed from his freak knee injury, perhaps Kolb will show signs of improvement after a rocky start to his preseason.
More Tuel time? Undrafted quarterback Jeff Tuel popped onto the radar after his impressive outing in the preseason opener, but he attempted only three passes in late-game action against Minnesota. It's hard to envision the Bills turning to Tuel as their starter, but he figures to see plenty of second-half snaps Saturday. A few weeks ago, he looked to be a top practice squad candidate, but now, with Manuel's injury, he is Kolb's only backup and is very much in the mix for a spot on the 53-man roster.
Cleaning up the laundry: After the ongoing situation at quarterback, the Bills' biggest storyline this preseason has been their high number of penalties. They led the NFL with 23 flags through two games, and some of those penalties -- namely taunting and unsportsmanlike conduct -- can be considered marks of an undisciplined team. That's not the message coach Doug Marrone wants to send to the rest of the NFL. Cleaning up the penalty issue will be one of the team's priorities going into Saturday's game.
Decision time at left guard, cornerback: The Bills entered training camp with an open competition at left guard. Veteran Colin Brown has started the first two preseason games at that spot and is the favorite to start again Saturday. Even so, it's too early to declare that battle over. Likewise, Leodis McKelvin looked to be settling in at cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore before he missed the first two preseason games with an injury. The Bills have shuffled a number of candidates through that spot, and it will be worth monitoring who starts Saturday. Otherwise, very little intrigue remains at other positions; starting jobs are basically set.