Bills/Redskins: What to Watch For


RB Jackson dominated 'Skins in 2007 (Photo Source)

The Buffalo Bills are set to open their 2008 pre-season schedule tomorrow night in Washington, and with this game the Bills are set to begin attempting to answer the questions surrounding the team's 2008 playoff push.  Buffalo Rumblings will cover the game with a live open thread, so stop by tomorrow evening at about 5:30 PM ET to get ready for some Bills football!

As the proud (son of a family that is the proud) new owner of HDTV with DVR capabilities, I'll be both watching the game live as well as taping the game for a little "Rumblings Film Session" series we'll run this year.  During tomorrow night's game, I'll be watching the game as I normally do - cheering on the Bills and taking a few notes here and there.  But Sunday is nitty gritty day; that's when I'll look back through the game for the details that you just can't hope to remember when watching a game live.  Here's what I'm going to concentrate on specifically this week; if y'all have any requests, feel free to add them in the comments section, and I'll do my best to keep my eyes peeled for you.

Trent Edwards: Is there any place else to start, really?  He's not going to play much, but that doesn't mean I can't demand to see positive signs from Buffalo's starting quarterback.  I'll be looking for rhythm, chemistry, presence, and most of all, production.  I won't have to look hard; y'all will undoubtedly be looking for the same things.

Offensive generalities: I'll be concentrating specifically on what we're seeing that's different from last year's offense.  Yes, it's the pre-season, so the Bills will undoubtedly be guarding many of their secrets, but they're bound to do some different things right out of the gate.

Wright v. Omon: It's pretty clear that Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson are the team's top two backs, and my guess is that we won't see much of either of them tomorrow night.  That means we'll see heavy doses of Dwayne Wright and Xavier Omon.  Who looks better?  Who plays better on special teams?  These guys could be fighting for some of Buffalo's last roster spots.

Fullbacks: The Bills are incorporating the traditional FB back into their offense, but still plan on using the TE in the backfield some as well.  I'll be looking to see how much of each the Bills use formation-wise.

Offensive Line: Again, how can we not try to pay attention to this?  The Jason Peters situation has thrown this entire offense for a loop, and we'll need to monitor how Buffalo's line holds up as they shuffle around covering for the big man's absence.  It will be especially intriguing to see how they fare against a pretty good Redskins defensive line.

Chris Ellis: The Bills have three veteran ends who won't play long, and Copeland Bryan will miss the game.  Chris Ellis is going to play a lot.  How he fares early will show us how well he's really come along as Buffalo's relatively anonymous third-round selection.

Paul Posluszny: I'm going to glue my eyes to this guy simply because he's awesome.  I'll be looking to see if he's tentative in any way and to see how he plays next to Kawika Mitchell; I don't expect to be disappointed.

CB Battle: This battle at cornerback is starting to take shape in terms of reps, but it bears watching anyway.  In particular, I'll be making an attempt to see who plays where.  How mch will Leodis McKelvin play inside as compared to outside?  Rotations will be big here as well.  I'll also be watching Ashton Youboty closely.

Special Teams: This is the one area that every team watches closely during the pre-season.  Which players are playing where on special teams?  This could be an early indicator as to who is leading the battle(s) for the final roster spots on the team.  Who's lining up where on special teams will be monitored closely throughout all four pre-season games, and it starts tomorrow night.

Again, if there's anything else you'd like me to add to the list, fire away.

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