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‘Five Bills to watch’ recap: searching for answers

Questions still remain after Saturday’s loss to Baltimore

If you’re still smarting over the latest preseason loss by the Buffalo Bills, this one a 13-9 defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, as the final game of the preseason is only 4 days away. Coming into Saturday’s contest in Maryland, we were looking forward to watching a few key contributors. Many of those players showed poorly, or barely showed at all, but there were a few bright spots. Here is a quick recap.

Tyrod goes down

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has struggled to find any sort of rhythm or consistency this preseason, and he had no time to improve upon that against the Ravens. Taylor was sacked on 3rd down during the team’s second series, and he hit his head hard on the turf. He was evaluated for a concussion and did not return to the game. On the night, he was 1-for-3 passing, accumulating one yard. He also fumbled, as he was one of three Bills to fumble and recover it himself. If you were looking for something positive from the Bills’ first-team quarterback prior to the start of the regular season, you were left disappointed yet again. Sean McDermott will provide an injury update later this afternoon, but with the fourth preseason game against the Detroit Lions serving as a nearly-entirely meaningless affair, it’s very likely that we’ve seen the last of Taylor in the preseason.

Brandon Reilly stays strong

The undrafted rookie free agent out of Nebraska had himself another solid night, catching four passes on five targets. He gained 55 yards, and converted a 4th down with a nice catch on a beautiful back-shoulder throw from T.J. Yates. Reilly did lose a fumble, but his solid performance in these last two preseason games has given him a shot at a roster spot. Zay Jones (3 catches, 28 yards, 8 targets) and Corey Brown (2 catches, 28 yards, 6 targets) were the only other Bills’ wide receivers to accumulate more than one catch on the night. Veteran Andre Holmes was again a non-factor, hauling in one grab for 9 yards on five targets. Daikel Shorts caught his lone target, gaining 12 yards, and Brandon Tate caught his only target, a 1-yard gain that stood as Tyrod Taylor’s only statistical production of the night.

Dion Dawkins struggles

If Cordy Glenn is not healthy for the Bills, it’s pretty safe to say that the entire offense will suffer tremendously as a result. Dawkins was beaten badly off the edge on the play where Taylor was hurt. The rookie is having a tough go of it in the preseason, as his inconsistent play and Glenn’s injury have kept him from winning a starting gig at right tackle that was presumed to be his when the Bills moved up to draft him in the second round in April.

Tre’Davious White stays consistent

Another day, another solid outing from the Bills’ first-round draft pick. White had 3 tackles and zero passes defensed on the evening. He seems to fit right in on the left side of Sean McDermott’s defense, and he is a big part of the reason why the defense has taken a big step forward.

Where is Reggie Ragland?

For the majority of the game, he certainly wasn’t on the field with the defense. Ragland has been relegated to third-team duty for the majority of camp as he continues to regain strength and trust in his surgically repaired knee. Just one year removed from an ACL tear, it isn’t too surprising that it’s still an issue, but with players coming back from that particular injury faster than seemingly ever before, it’s a bit disappointing that his knee is still holding him back from his best performance. He was a fixture on special teams, however, teaming with Joe Banyard as a first-teamer with the coverage units. We’ll see if the Bills will be patient, if they’ll try to swing him in a trade—or if they’ll flat-out release him—before the regular season begins. For the record, I’ve listed what I think to be the likeliest outcomes for Ragland in the order I think they’ll occur.