For Buffalo Bills players fighting for roster spots in several ongoing positional battles, two preseason games and plenty of more practice time - including the final three training camp practices of the year - give those competitors plenty of time to solidify their standing. But we're also 14 camp practices and two preseason games into those competitions, and we're starting to gather a sense of how those battles might be shaking out.
Snap counts don't necessarily mean much in the preseason, especially for veteran players that are presumed starters. But for players fighting for roster spots? The amount of time they play under the lights is far more significant. How much have Bills players looking to make the team (or secure a starting job, in one case) played so far this preseason? Let's take a look.
Will Manuel have an opportunity to start a preseason game? Who will start in Pittsburgh? How much more playing time will Cassel see? There is certainly plenty to ponder at this position.
Hogan's ankle injury - the severity of which is not yet known - probably prevented him from having an even more commanding lead here. Goodwin and Thompson being even is not surprising, but Lewis seeing as much time as they have perhaps is, especially when considering how dramatically fellow rookie Davis has outplayed him this preseason. Also worth keeping an eye on: Marcus Thigpen, whose four preseason snaps have all come at running back, but who could also snag a roster spot from one of these players as the team's primary punt returner.
There is not a ton of insight to be gleaned here. Gragg has had the nicest preseason of the group, but perhaps that's just because he's seen a bit more playing time.
It's pretty interesting to note the massive gap between Enemkpali and the rest of this group. He has played fairly well, so it's probably safe to consider him a lock for the final roster. Of the deep-reserve group, the team has taken a longer look at Reed than Johnson, Hudson, and Buchanan; it'll be interesting to see if that trend continues. Reed was a noticeable presence against Cleveland. Free agent signing Quentin Groves will also begin to factor into this race, as well.
If the Bills keep a third linebacker that's currently on the roster, it'll be one of these two guys. Steward has seen significantly more playing time between the two to this point, though that may flip in the final two preseason games.
In the battle the two reserve safety jobs, Williams holds a clear playing-time lead, although he has struggled of late. (If you're wondering about Kenny Ladler and Wes Miller, they both have 19 total reps, and are clearly running behind this trio.)
Competitions at other positions - running back, defensive line, and even cornerback - have been derailed by key injuries at those positions. That likely won't change any time soon at cornerback (although Ellis Lankster could cause a few ripples there), but with players expected to be returning to practice in the near future at both positions, and with veteran free agent Red Bryant now a factor in the defensive line rotation, we may start to see some interesting snap count numbers at those positions, as well.