The Buffalo Bills face off against the Chicago Bears on Saturday afternoon and while most of Buffalo’s starters won’t play, the Bears are planning on playing their first-string. It should provide a nice measuring stick for a lot of players fighting to make the roster.
Here are the players we are watching Saturday:
LT Dion Dawkins
Dawkins is one of the few starters who will play as he’s working his way back to playing shape from the COVID-19 list. We’ll be watching his ability to move, his stamina, and just how he comes through in a game situation. It’s been the biggest non-contract storyline of training camp.
CB Rachad Wildgoose
If the Buffalo Bills are going to keep six cornerbacks, it would likely be Wildgoose getting the nod on the back end of the roster. He’s been in one or two recent 53-man roster predictions, but not the majority. Can he stake his claim to a bubble spot? The other depth cornerbacks and Wildgoose are also playing for a spot on the practice squad, which makes the whole position group a good place to focus.
Defensive line rotation
How much are the defensive ends kicking inside to defensive tackle? Is Justin Zimmer pulled after a few series again, signaling a safe spot on the roster? How much playing time do each of the defensive ends receive? What does Harrison Phillips’s snap count look like? After missing the opener, where does Vernon Butler fit in? The toughest position group(s) to predict for that final roster projection is along the defensive line.
Safety battle: Josh Thomas vs Damar Hamlin
Third safety Jaquan Johnson missed practice on Thursday, meaning Thomas and Hamlin could play the entire game on Saturday. They are in direct competition for a roster spot as the fourth safety. Thomas has spent a year in the system but Hamlin is a 2021 draft pick.
LB Tyrel Dodson
He’s been trending toward a roster spot, but while the other backup linebackers have put up highlight plays in practice, he’s been more under the radar. Can he land a signature moment against the Bears to stand out? Or is he pulled after a couple series, signifying they’ve seen enough?