The first preseason game is bound to be a little messy. Some would say that’s quite the understatement for the performance the Bills put in against the Redskins last week, but tonight can erase a lot of that uneasiness for fans. Buffalo goes up against Minnesota tonight, and we should be able to evaluate the team a bit more than we did last week. We’ll start with the first team offense.
Last week the offense looked rather poor, and rather vanilla as well. The team passed on every snap with the first teamers, but as we said in our game preview this morning Gailey expects to run the ball more tonight. It will be our first chance to get a good look at Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, something many are looking forward to.
Ryan Fitzpatrick looked a bit off in the first game as well. He’s hoping that things go a bit better in round two. With a little more rust gone I expect a much better showing in the pass game as well.
Speaking of the pass game, many eyes will be on Vince Young tonight. Most people are expected a better showing than last week as well. Young showed that he can run the ball, running for 37 yards. His passing wasn’t awful, but in my eyes he still looked a tad confused. Today he’ll get a chance to run with the second teamers as opposed to the third team. This is a test for Vince, and if he plays well he could be beginning to seal his spot as the number two QB. That race is far from decided right now, as neither Young nor Thigpen looked all that spectacular against Washington.
When it comes to later in the game people should keep their eyes on the wide receivers. The fight for the last few WR spots is still very up in the air. Marcus Easley may be on the the outside looking in right now, so he’ll need a good game or two this preseason to prove his worth. On the other side of things Derek Hagan is making a very good case for making the team. He’s one of my top players to watch tonight.
On defense I’m focusing on the secondary tonight. Terrence McGee is out, so it’ll be a good time to take a solid look at Aaron Williams and Stephon Gilmore as the starting corner backs. It felt like Williams was getting tested a lot last week, which is good. It’ll be a big jump for him starting, its good to see him get tested in the preseason. Gilmore is still a question mark for me, as we haven’t seen very much of him yet. Hopefully tonight we can learn a bit more about him as well.
Obviously many fans will be excited to see the Bills defensive line again, who looked very solid against the run last week. However the pass rush was a bit lacking. I’m hoping to see a bit more pressure on Ponder than the Bills had on Griffin.
On defense the player to watch past the starters in linebacker Scott McKillop. He lead the team in tackles last week and has impressed many in camp. The former 49ers 5th round pick is starting to look like a player who will be on the starting 53 man roster. The Bills hope he can impress some more in the game tonight.
The game starts at 8:00 pm eastern. After the game make sure to check back to Buffalowdown for a breakdown of all the latest news from the team. I will also be livetweeting about the game on my twitter, @GoodsOnSabres.