- Mike Rodak, ESPN Staff Writer
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Starters expected to see time: Coach Doug Marrone said this week that he is planning on playing some of his offensive starters in the finale. NFL convention usually is to rest starters for the final preseason game. That's what Marrone did last year, but his team has gone 1-3 so far this preseason. The first-team offense hasn't scored a touchdown against a first-team defense. EJ Manuel will start at quarterback. We don't know how long he and other starters will play, but they'll want to put up a better performance Thursday in front of a home crowd that booed them off the field last Saturday.
Final pushes for starting battles: Few starting jobs remain up for grabs. Marrone said this week he feels comfortable using Erik Pears at right guard and Seantrel Henderson at right tackle, so it may take a strong late push from Kraig Urbik, the former starter at right guard, to change that. The other spot to watch is safety, where the Bills have used several combinations this preseason. Are Aaron Williams and Da'Norris Searcy the locked-in-stone starting combination? Or can Duke Williams factor into that mix if he plays well Thursday?
Backup quarterback carousel: Two of the Bills' four quarterbacks who saw time earlier this preseason are no longer with the team: Thad Lewis and Dennis Dixon. Instead, expect to see plenty of Jordan Palmer, who was signed this week, once Manuel (and perhaps Jeff Tuel) exit the game. While Palmer brings something to the table with his coaching experience, he also needs to prove his worth as a player. He can do that Thursday.