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  • Tony Fiorello

FIVE THOUGHTS ON THE BUFFALO BILLS’ PRESEASON THUS FAR

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Five thoughts on the Buffalo Bills’ preseason thus far:

1. The wide receiver room looks to have been strengthened compared to last season. Beyond Stefon Diggs, there appears to be much to be excited about. Gabriel Davis seems to be recovered from the ankle issues that plagued him a year ago, and fellow wideouts Trent Sherfield, Andy Isabella, Justin Shorter and Tyrell Shavers have all flashed potential in their playing time against Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. We’ll see how they do, however, when the bullets begin flying in the regular season.

2. The backup quarterback competition has gotten interesting. After a strong performance against the Colts, Matt Barkley underwhelmed against the Steelers – as evidenced by his four turnovers (three of them interceptions). His counterpart, Kyle Allen, hasn’t been much better – although he did make some nice throws against Indy a week ago. It’ll be fascinating who Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane decide to go with following the third preseason game against Chicago.

3. In the wake of Tremaine Edmunds’ signing with the Bears, the men vying for the starting middle linebacker spot – Tyrell Dodson, A.J. Klein, Terrel Bernard and Baylon Spector – have all either underperformed (Dodson, Klein), been injured (Bernard) or never seriously challenged for the Mike linebacker job to begin with (Spector). It wouldn’t be surprising to see Beane swing a deal for someone after the preseason ends.

4. Is Kaiir Elam a bust? It sure looks that way so far, as he has been relegated to playing in the second half of both the Colts and Steelers games and been called for multiple pass interference penalties. Despite Elam’s physical talents, it always felt as if the selection of Elam was a case of McDermott and Beane sticking a square peg – in this, Elam, a man coverage specialist at the University of Florida – into a round hole (since McDermott and former defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s scheme relies on much more zone). It remains to be seen if he can turn things around.

5. The Bills’ offensive line and punt coverage teams have had better days. While O’Cyrus Torrence seemed to hold up well in pass protection against Pittsburgh, others – like Dion Dawkins, Spencer Brown, etc. – performed sloppily. Additionally, their punt unit struggled mightily in coverage and allowed a partial block. Needless to say, offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and special teams coach Matthew Smiley won’t be too happy looking over film from this one.

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