<
>

Revisiting Bills' offensive players to watch

8/5/2014

Before the Buffalo Bills kicked off their preseason in the Hall of Fame game, we identified six offensive players to keep an eye on during the contest.

Let's circle back on their playing time and performances Sunday against the New York Giants:

T.J. Graham -- As they've done lately in camp, the Bills gave Graham plenty of action Sunday night. He played in 25 snaps -- second-most of any Bills receiver -- entering late in the first quarter and playing through the end of the first half. The same deficiencies that the Bills have seen from Graham the past two seasons cropped up again. On his first play, Jeff Tuel targeted Graham down the left sideline. The ball was slightly underthrown but at 5-foot-11, Graham didn't have the catch radius to haul it in, instead batting it down to prevent an interception. In the second quarter, Graham had a pass on a quick slant go through his hands. On a similar play later in the quarter, a Giants cornerback reached in front and deflected a pass into the air, causing an interception. Graham's hands and concentration need improvement.

Jeff Tuel -- Played 26 snaps, entering late in the first quarter and playing through the end of the first half. Tuel has arguably had a stronger training camp than Thad Lewis, the top backup last season, which may have earned him the No. 2 job on Sunday night. He had the Bills' highest QB rating of the night (74.1) and completed 12 of 17 passes for 74 yards. His best throw came on a 3rd-and-15 in the second quarter, when a pass protection breakdown forced him to scramble. On the run, he fired an accurate pass to Graham along the sideline. Graham came up a yard short of the first down, but it was the right throw. Tuel also showed off his underrated wheels on a 13-yard scramble. Not a bad night, and one that puts Tuel in the lead for the No. 2 QB job.

Seantrel Henderson -- As expected, Henderson started in place of Cordy Glenn at left tackle. He played 30 snaps, exiting before the final drive of the second quarter. Henderson held up well against Jason Pierre-Paul on the first two drives, with the exception of a second-and-11 play where there looked to be a mix-up with running back Fred Jackson, leading to Pierre-Paul getting in EJ Manuel's face to bat down a ball. Pierre-Paul then beat Henderson on the first play of the third drive to pressure Tuel. As a run-blocker, Henderson was solid. Overall, it wasn't a flawless night, but an encouraging one from a seventh-round pick in his first NFL game against one of the league's better pass-rushers.

Chris Gragg -- He played in 46 snaps, more than any player on either team. That was expected, as the Bills were without top tight ends Scott Chandler and Tony Moeaki, while Gragg is very much on the roster bubble. Gragg was in the game from start to finish, playing with all three quarterbacks. His four catches for 24 yards all came in the second half, from Thad Lewis. One of those catches came when Gragg was lined up in the backfield and flared into the flat. He wasn't used much in pass protection and didn't have any breakdowns in run blocking that we noticed.

Cyrus Kouandjio -- He played in 41 snaps, second-most of any Bills offensive lineman. He entered the game late in the second quarter and played the remainder of the contest. Kouandjio's struggles from training camp carried over quickly, as he was caught off-balance on his second play, leading to Damontre Moore sacking Tuel. On the next play, Moore beat Kouandjio inside to force a scramble. Kouandjio also allowed a sack in the fourth quarter when Kerry Wynn used a double-move to shake Kouandjio and take down a hurried Lewis. Kouandjio held up better as a run-blocker. Overall, Sunday night was a reminder that the 21-year old is a young, raw prospect who needs a lot of technique coaching.

Cyril Richardson -- The fifth-round pick played in 29 snaps, entering the game for Kraig Urbik at right guard late in the first quarter. Urbik came back into the game for the final two drives of the second quarter and again for one drive in the third quarter. Richardson was then replaced by J.J. Unga in the fourth quarter. The rotation indicates that there is a battle between Urbik and Richardson (and potentially Chris Hairston) for the starting right guard job. He generally showed well in the running game, especially as a drive blocker, but had a breakdown on a third-and-1 in the third quarter that led to a run being stopped in the backfield. Richardson could also improve his blocking in space, especially when pulling for outside runs and screen passes. Yet it was an encouraging night for Richardson, who wouldn't look out of place as the opening day starter at right guard.