The Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers will kick off in Buffalo tomorrow night at 7PM. The Bills have continued to remain mostly healthy throughout the pre-season, and enter the game with 21 of their projected 22 starters ready to go.
The only starter whose status is up in the air is right tackle Erik Pears, who hasn't practiced all week. Given that fact, it will likely be Chris Hairston - recently removed from the left tackle competition - who will start and play with the first team on Saturday. Center Eric Wood's snap will be increased, according to head coach Chan Gailey.
"I don’t think he’ll get quite as many as the starting unit," said Gailey of Wood. "We’ll try to double his snaps from last week and push him up to 20 snaps this week. So we’ll try to keep building with him."
When Wood is out, Kraig Urbik has been sliding over to the pivot and Chad Rinehart has been working at right guard.
Wide receiver Stevie Johnson experienced some soreness in his surgically repaired groin this week, but said he could play. The coaches may limit his snaps if it hasn't improved.
"No issue really, I know I can play a full game with it, but I just felt it," he said. "I went from not feeling it at all to a little soreness coming around. I think that's just from the reps being heightened this week."
Dorin Dickerson missed some practices earlier in the week, but the H-back has practiced both of the last two days. Tight end Mike Caussin remains on the PUP list - just in case anyone was wondering - and is still not eligible to suit up.
Defensively, the Bills placed Torell Troup on Injured Reserve yesterday, ending his 2012 campaign. Defensive end Mark Anderson has missed practice all week and will likely be held out, giving the young defensive ends a chance to get more reps. The defense also got some good news this week, as Justin Rogers has begun practicing. Rogers had been on the shelf with a hamstring injury and hasn't seen any pre-season action. He and fellow defensive back Terrence McGee are expected to see some playing time against the Steelers.
"We’re going to try to play both of them yes," said Gailey. "Unless something major happened today or between now and game time we’re going to try to play both of them. Not too much, just enough to get their feet wet a little bit."