Rex Ryan pulled a fast one on all of us.
The third preseason game ordinarily sees each team play its starters for at least a full half, and often well into the third quarter. It’s a chance for coaches to take their starters through a dry run of opening possessions, two minute-drills, goal line plays, and short yardage situations. For the fans at home, it’s the closest thing to resembling a proper NFL game until the season officially starts two weeks later.
The Buffalo Bills, however, aren’t playing along. Perhaps spurred to action by the lingering injuries to his starting 22, Ryan dramatically scaled back the list of players making an appearance in tonight’s game. Here’s your list of inactives:
In addition, while Sammy Watkins will return to the field tonight, he, Tyrod Taylor, Richie Incognito, and Eric Wood will all be making short appearances before taking their exits. In effect, Ryan is treating this like the final preseason game of the year, protecting his starters and maximizing the playtime for the young players at the back end of the roster.
Whether this counts as a thoughtful move to preserve the health of an injury-plagued roster, or an accursed affront to the natural order of things in the gospel of football, will play out tonight in Washington.
EJ Manuel will play all but a few drives of the game, barring injury to himself. backups like Brandon Spikes, Bryson Albright, Kevon Seymour and Kroy Biermann will be given a chance to establish their roster spots against Washington’s starters.
It’ll probably be an ugly game. But hey - it’s Bills football, so let’s be thankful.
We’re talking about it in here.