Football comes back to Western New York in Orchard Park as the Buffalo Bills will host head coach Sean McDermott‘s former team, the Carolina Panthers. Every year there are fans that say the preseason does not matter and that they are just waiting for the regular season to kickoff. I believe that the preseason is where a team can find their sleeper players and find out who can handle the pressure in a game situation.
Whether you are watching the game from home on the television or if you are live at New Era Field, here are the three players to keep an eye on:
Obviously Allen will be the biggest player to watch. This Bills quarterback battle will be quite the splash seeing as how all three are young and two of them could be the franchise guy for the organization. Josh Allen was brought on by the Bills in the draft to be the supposed seconding coming of Bills legend, Jim Kelly.
McDermott has been preaching that there is a plan for Allen. It is to work on his development and get him ready to go when his time comes. “We are not rushing him,” said McDermott of Allen. “We want to make sure that he is ready to go.”
It will be Nathan Peterman and A.J. McCarron battling it out for the starting job most likely, and both will be seen in Thursday’s night game but the big question that has been circling around the Bills organization as well as the fans is whether or not Allen can live up to the expectations as a franchise guy.
Sure, Allen will not face the Panthers first-team defense but he will face a different defense than what he has faced throughout training camp. Can he handle that type of pressure?
The Bills third-round pick in 2018 should be seen as the man to replace Kyle Williams once he decides to hang up the cleats. Harrison Phillips has been learning from Williams and has been even compared as his future successor. Phillips has a ton of advantages to his benefit with this Bills defense.
He has a mentor in Williams, he is an example of what McDermott wants in a player; coachable with great attitude and can stuff the run in the middle (something the Bills could not do in 2017).
Bills fans should look for the future Williams this entire preseason because his presence could be seen quite often.
McCloud is an under-the-radar receiver who has been impressive through OTA’s and training camp. He is a speedy receiver who can stretch the field, much like Corey Coleman. He will be competing for a roster spot and should be able to get himself many reps with all three quarterbacks throughout the preseason.
McCloud may have the best chance at securing the final receiver slot on the roster come Week One, so I believe that it is his spot to lose in the month of August.