The Buffalo Bills wrap up their NFL preseason schedule this weekend, with a road date against the Chicago Bears in the Windy City. On Thursday, head coach Sean McDermott announced that the team’s starters, including Josh Allen, will in fact play on Saturday.
Saturday’s start will mark Allen’s first time making multiple preseason appearances since his rookie year in 2018. Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs didn’t start or play in the team’s only home preseason game this year, a win against the Indianapolis Colts.
What unfolded against the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend was largely disappointing. The team kept tripping over itself, whether it was due to pre-snap penalties, missed assignments on defense, or even a lack of general physicality. Josh Allen was one of few exceptions, of course. With today’s news, it’s likely the team wants to give the offensive line a chance to practice and refine game-speed reps with the franchise quarterback they’re trusted to protect.
After watching Allen run for his life behind the line of scrimmage against an aggressive 3-4 Steelers defense, it’s quite likely offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey schemes play to keep Allen out of harm’s way. Part of that equation comes down the the offensive line — a unit looking to put together some solid game tape.
On defense, it will be interesting to see who starts at MIKE linebacker, and what the rotation looks like throughout the game. Last weekend, Tyrel Dodson was relieved by A.J. Klein. In the second half, Dodson was once again out on the field, playing among those further down on the depth chart. The reason for Dodson’s appearance late against the Steelers is unknown. While many will jump to the idea that it’s a demotion, there’s just as much a chance that it was to allow Dodson the chance to get additional reps in general.
Much of the emphasis heading into this weekend continues to revolve around the decision to play starters, and Bills Mafia will be holding its collective breath early on Saturday. But remember, there are plenty of position battles still to be finalized behind the top 22 — and their objectives should make for an entertaining game against the Bears.