The Buffalo Bills were supposed to have an open practice on Tuesday morning at St. John Fisher, but inclement weather in the area has caused that session to be canceled. The team will now hold a closed session before packing up and heading out to Latrobe, Pennsylvania, for Wednesday and Thursday practices with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In lieu of our typical open thread for a practice, let's get ourselves caught up on some of the more intriguing remaining position battles, shall we?
Kraig Urbik vs. Cyril Richardson
Richardson has had to take some snaps at left guard to replace the banged-up Chris Williams - Urbik has pitched in there, too - but these two players are the main competitors for the right guard job. The team seems hell-bent on leaving the job open for as long as possible, but Urbik has still spent the most time with the first-team offense, and remains the favorite for now. At worst, Richardson will be the top reserve at guard in his rookie season.
Da'Norris Searcy vs. Duke Williams
Searcy hasn't done anything to lose his job, but Williams has made a strong push for a starting job since the Hall of Fame Game - so much so that the team was giving Aaron Williams second-team reps just to see these two players on the top unit. If Williams can't win the starting job, it'll be interesting to see if the team carves out any sort of sub-package role for him.
Thad Lewis vs. Jeff Tuel
One of these guys has to be the backup quarterback. Both have had opportunities to take commanding leads, and neither has really capitalized. Tuel may offer more upside, but Lewis is clearly the better arm talent.
Doug Legursky vs. Chris Hairston vs. Antoine McClain
Right now, it's looking like the Bills will be keeping four tackles (Cordy Glenn, Erik Pears, Seantrel Henderson, and Cyrus Kouandjio) and three interior linemen (Eric Wood, Williams, and Urbik) heading into the regular season. The team could roll with eight linemen, but there is enough uncertainty up front that nine seems more likely. Legursky, Hairston, and McClain have seen the most play atop the depth chart, and look like they'll be pushing for that final spot for the next two-plus weeks.
Marcus Easley vs. T.J. Graham vs. Kevin Elliott
Personally, I'm not sure this competition for the final receiving spot on the roster isn't already sewn up, given Easley's status as the team's best special teams player. But you can count on seeing a ton of Graham and Elliott in the final three preseason games. Both are talented enough to make this team; there just may not be room.
Alan Branch vs. Corbin Bryant vs. Stefan Charles vs. Landon Cohen
Buffalo will be keeping at least two reserves behind their starters, but there has been some upheaval on the depth chart that has turned this into a wide-open competition. Branch may not even be safe despite his lucrative three-year contract; he hasn't played much in the preseason, and has done so mostly with the third unit.
Ty Powell vs. Stevenson Sylvester vs. Randell Johnson vs. Jimmy Gaines
Four linebackers (Brandon Spikes, Nigel Bradham, Keith Rivers, and Preston Brown) are mortal locks. The team will almost certainly keep three more, given the one-game suspension for Bradham that they'll have to endure, so the four names above will try to avoid being No. 4 on the list come August 30.
Tony Moeaki vs. Chris Gragg vs. Evan Rodriguez
Scott Chandler has been just banged up enough, and Lee Smith is just limited enough, that it's almost imperative that the team keep a third tight end. But Moeaki has struggled with a hamstring injury himself, and while Gragg has seen plenty of playing time, he doesn't offer the special teams upside of Rodriguez, who is admittedly more fullback than tight end. It wouldn't be surprising if the Bills hung onto Rodriguez for early-season game day utility and scoured the waiver wire for their third tight end.
Jarius Wynn vs. Ike Igbinosun vs. Jacquies Smith
The battle for the fourth defensive end job is wide open, as well. Wynn and Igbinosun offer some positional versatility, as both are stout enough to play some tackle, while the lighter, more agile Smith is a more explosive rusher that can also play more special teams than the other two options. All three pass rushers have flashed playmaking ability (against reserve offensive linemen) in preseason action, and this decision may come down more to logistics than anything.