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Sunday, August 3, 2014
W2W4: Buffalo Bills

By Mike Rodak

CANTON, Ohio -- The Buffalo Bills and New York Giants open the preseason Sunday night (8, NBC) at Fawcett Stadium.

1. How much Manuel and Watkins? On Friday, coach Doug Marrone gave no indication of how much his starters -- including quarterback EJ Manuel -- would play in Sunday's game. The expectation is that it will be minimal, perhaps as little as one series. While Manuel is in the midst of a critical training camp and preseason as he tries to take a step forward in his second season, an injury in this opening game would be a major setback. The same holds true for Sammy Watkins, the Bills' top pick who has impressed in two weeks of training camp. The two will have plenty of time to build chemistry as the preseason progresses. No need to push it Sunday night.

2. Backup quarterbacks in focus: This is the time of the year when backup quarterbacks receive more attention than starters. The Bills have a battle for their backup job between incumbent Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel (the third quarterback last season). Lewis has looked erratic in training camp practices, showing questionable accuracy after he arguably played better than Manuel in some games last season. Tuel's performances in practice have been up and down, but he still stands a chance at leapfrogging Lewis on the depth chart. Manuel's three knee injuries last season put his durability in question, so who wins the Bills' backup job could be called upon to start at some point again this season.

3. Offensive line carousel spins: The Bills have tinkered with their offensive line personnel more than any other position group this summer. Starting left tackle Cordy Glenn remains on the non-football illness list, while right guard Kraig Urbik's starting job is up for grabs. The team drafted three linemen this spring -- Cyrus Kouandjio (second round), Cyril Richardson (fifth round) and Seantrel Henderson (seventh round) -- and all of them should see extended action Sunday. Henderson will likely start in Glenn's place, while Richardson should replace Urbik at some point early in the game. Kouandjio has been slower to come along but can begin to challenge right tackle Erik Pears with a strong performance.