As expected, Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott made it official during Wednesday’s press conference: when the Bills close out the preseason Friday night at 7:00 PM Eastern against the Carolina Panthers, “most” of the team’s starters will sit out the contest.
Injuries are always a worry when players, projected starters in particular, suit up for preseason games.
One week after Pro Bowl quarterback Josh Allen, Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and most of the Buffalo Bills starters made their preseason debuts during the team’s dress rehearsal game leading up to the regular season—a 42-15 drubbing of the Denver Broncos—the team will take a conservative approach to its final game of the preseason, opting to rest starters heading into the regular season.
“I want to give us the chance to thoroughly evaluate through three preseason games some of the other guys on the roster,” McDermott said during his session with the media.
McDermott also said that he and the rest of Buffalo’s coaches and talent evaluators will use Week 3 of the preseason to assess the players who are vying for one of the spots on the 53-man roster, a tall task considering both Buffalo’s Super Bowl aspirations and the number of talented players up and down the depth chart.
“Just go for it. You’ve already played a play in the NFL, which is a lot of people’s dreams and you’ve accomplished that and they haven’t. You’ve been a success and you will continue to be. It’s easy to count numbers this time of year and think the script has been written, but all it takes is one team so why not go for it and keep pushing,” McDermott responded when asked what his message would be to the Bills who will play vs. the Panthers.
The preseason finale will indeed hold significance and serve as an important game for those members hoping to make one final strong impression on McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane. Buffalo must trim down its roster from its current situation—80 players—to 53 by Tuesday afternoon.