Tonight, the Bills will take the field for their second preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings. After a phenomenal team effort against the Colts to win 44-20, the Bills will look to maintain their momentum, even though it is only the preseason. However, because it is the preseason there is still a lot to be settled on the Bills roster, meaning that certain players will have to impress. Here are the main players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game, whether it be for a starting role or to prove that they have what it takes to become a dynamic player for Buffalo.
KEVIN KOLB/ E.J. MANUEL, QBs
The two obvious players to watch are Kolb and Manuel. The two are currently battling for the starting quarterback job, and after a good performance by Manuel in the first preseason game Kolb will have to make the most of being the starter for tonight’s game. Kolb missed last week’s game due to a knee injury and a death in the family. Manuel, who went 16-21, 107 yards and 1 TD impressed in his debut, especially in his 2-minute offense. Kolb will really have to shine in tonight’s game to unseat Manuel as the favorite to win the job, and E.J. will have to perform exceptionally to solidify his spot as the Bills starting quarterback.
ROBERT WOODS, WR
The rookie out of USC was brought to Buffalo with a lot of hype, and in his preseason debut we witnessed the reasoning for his attention. He and Manuel seemed to have immediate chemistry against the Colts, and Woods finished the game with 4 catches for 32 yards, all from Manuel. Woods, who is expected to be the Bills number 2 receiver alongside Stevie Johnson, will have to show tonight that he can work well with Kevin Kolb as well. At USC, Woods averaged 84 catches, 976 yards, and 10.6 TDs over three seasons. The most impressive thing about these numbers is his consistency, and if he can carry over his talents to the NFL he is due for a big career. We can take a sneak peak at Woods’ future in tonight’s game, and hopefully he can prove his worth to the team.
Mario Williams was the team’s biggest offseason acquisition a season ago, and in his first year with the Bills he played well, although not well enough to justify the $100 million contract he signed. After a 10.5 sack season, Williams will have to increase that immensely to prove that Buffalo did not make a mistake in making him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. Last week, Williams started off the preseason the right way, recording a sack against Andrew Luck and the Colts. We would like to see Williams continue his ability to rush the passer in tonight’s game, but it is just as important for him to make himself a formidable force against the run.
2 Kick returns, 160 yards, and 1 TD. Those were Goodwin’s kick returning numbers from last game, and those stats are truly incredible. Even when Goodwin didn’t score a touchdown, he still essentially brought the ball all the way to midfield. The rookie who almost threatened Chris Johnson’s NFL Combine 40 time has shown his ability in the return game, but was last game a fluke? We would like to hope not, but it still is a possibility. Look for Goodwin to continue to impress as a returner in tonight’s game.