Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE
Without anything meaningful to cheer for, Buffalo Bills fans are resorting to scouting young players as the team begins its annual season wind-down against the Seattle Seahawks in Toronto.
The Buffalo Bills (5-8) will take on the Seattle Seahawks (8-5) tomorrow afternoon at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, and as the "home" team is playing out the string for a thirteenth consecutive season, Bills fans will almost certainly be watching more out of morbid curiosity than with any meaningful goals in mind.
See, December is the annual "self-evaluation" month for the Bills. In lieu of playing football games that matter for the last 13 years, they - and we - are left to pick and choose what interests us in December games. For me, I'm interested in watching some of the team's younger players as we look forward to the 2013 off-season. (Well, no I'm not. Not really. Out of all of the uninteresting things about this game, these five young players are the least uninteresting to me.)
WR T.J. Graham. GM Buddy Nix remains very bullish on Graham's potential as a future starting wide receiver for the Bills, and his quarterback, coaches and teammates insist that the rookie third-round pick is starting to come into his own. Graham has 7 catches for 111 yards in his last three games; forgive me if I find that production unimpressive for a prospect that's supposedly starting to "get it". Considering the Bills are likely to stubbornly throw the football rather than use their star running back, I'd like to see if the recent hype surrounding Graham is warranted.
C David Snow. Starting center Eric Wood has yet to finish a pro season having played all 16 games, and he's scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency after the 2013 season. The team would be smart to have a Plan B at the position; Snow, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Texas, is a snug scheme fit that, if he finishes the season strong, could eliminate an off-season need from the club's list.
LB Nigel Bradham. Each of the Bills' last three opponents - Seattle, Miami and the Jets - are run-first offenses, so we're going to see Buffalo's base defensive package plenty. That should give Bradham plenty of playing time - and if he continues his gradual improvement and flashes some big-play ability, the Bills may not need to look as desperately for the three-down linebacker that they'll eventually need to succeed the fading Nick Barnett.
CB Aaron Williams. As down on Williams as fans are - and it's not completely unwarranted, as Williams struggled mightily when he was in the lineup - the second-year corner has never played behind a defensive line as good as the one the Bills currently field. He is looking like a strong bet to return to the lineup tomorrow after a lengthy absence; how much he plays remains to be seen, but given the improved play up front, would it shock anyone if Williams closed out the season on a much higher note than he began it?
SS Da'Norris Searcy. He's consistently stolen 30-40 percent of starting strong safety George Wilson's reps since the bye week, but it's still tough to figure out why; neither player has made a significant impact this season. Still, considering Wilson is coming off of a week when he dropped two potential game-clinching interceptions in a last-minute loss to St. Louis, it stands to reason that Searcy's opportunity to make some plays and cement himself as the front-runner to start in 2013 has never been greater.
Those are the five guys I'm interested in watching tomorrow. Who are you looking at?