The Buffalo Bills Are Back: Things to Watch Tonight In First Preseason Game
The Buffalo Bills have not suited up for game action since losing in the AFC Championship game back in late January...but that changes tonight when the Bills take the field in Detroit against the Lions for the first preseason game of 2021.
It will be the first preseason game the Bills have played since 2019 and unlike 2019, there will only be three preseason games this time.
The biggest thing going into the game tonight is no Josh Allen. Head coach Sean McDermott announced earlier this week that Allen would not play in Detroit and that means that Mitch Trubisky will likely see action in the first half of the game.
Trubisky has been the starting quarterback most games for the Chicago Bears since 2017 and signed a one-year contract with Buffalo in the spring.
Quarterbacks Jake Fromm and Davis Webb also did not play in the preseason last year and will be something to watch for.
In fact, Fromm has never suited up for a preseason or regular-season game yet, since there was no preseason last year (his rookie season) and he was designated as the emergency "COVID-19" quarterback. He practiced alone and wasn't activated for games, for precaution purposes, in case Allen or former backup Matt Barkley had to miss time due to the virus.
The Bills rookies are another juicy thing to watch for; most notably, rookie edge rushers Gregory Rousseau and Boogie Basham Jr.
The Bills' pass rush was the biggest weakness on the team last season (other than rushing effectiveness), and fans are hoping the rookies can make an impact right away.
A.J. Epenesa has had a great camp and some are thinking he has a breakout year in 2021. Efe Obada has also had an outstanding camp and perhaps he can be the answer at pass rush for Buffalo.
Bills running backs are a hot topic as well.
How will the new Bills free agent signing Matt Breida look? Breida has looked VERY sharp in camp and it will be fun to see just how the Bills utilize his speed.
Lastly, the wide receivers are something to keep an eye on.
Obviously, Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders (new signee), Gabriel Davis, and Isaiah McKenzie have spots on this team, but Jake Kumerow, Tanner Gentry, Isaiah Hodgins, Duke Williams, Marquez Stevenson, and Lance Lenoir are also looking to impress the coaching staff.
By all accounts, Kumerow has impressed and the Bills will likely keep six on the active roster, although seven is a possibility.
Someone like Hodgins could be designated for the practice squad, but with him, there may be a higher risk of getting claimed if the Bills try and get him to the developmental squad.
Gentry was Allen's teammate at Wyoming and he's looked solid in camp as well.
I can't wait for the game to start and it should be a fun time to see the Bills back in action once again.
The kickoff at Ford Field is at 7 pm.