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Jay Skurski's Bills Mailbag: Is it time to worry about the QBs? Predicting captains, surprise players and more

The Buffalo Bills took Saturday off, but there will be no such thing here.

Now more than a week into training camp, and with fall weather in the area (boo!!!!), football is getting closer.

Let's get to your questions:

I don't. On the first day of training camp, I asked General Manager Brandon Beane that very question. Here was his answer: "Right now, we plan to go with these three. You never rule anything out. Anything that can help our roster, we’re looking at. But right now, we’re good with three."

The play of Tyrod Taylor, T.J. Yates and Nathan Peterman has been uneven during camp, but it hasn't risen to the level of crisis. There are still four preseason games to go, and it is a new offense. Taylor deserves more time to get comfortable. As long as he stays healthy, he's the obvious starter.

For now, it looks like it will take an injury for the Bills to look outside the organization.

That would be Taiwan Jones. Special teams is the primary reason he was signed, according to coach Sean McDermott.

"Really, the primary motive behind this is special teams based at this point," the coach said.

Jones, 29, has his most productive season as a returner in 2015, when he returned 31 kicks for 829 yards, an average of 26.7 yards per return. He'll compete with Brandon Tate and Rashad Ross for that job with the Bills.

Sean McDermott's team-building exercise at morning meetings making a powerful impression on the Bills

The old thinking goes that when you don't hear about an offensive lineman, it's a good thing. The same can be said of Poyer so far during camp. Jeremy is right that there hasn't been a lot written about him. There are a couple different reasons for that. No. 1 is that he hasn't provided an obvious storyline -- good or bad. He's healthy, which is good news considering the way his 2016 season ended, and has lined up with the starting defense from the minute he signed in the spring.

One thing I noticed about Poyer happened Thursday. On what was probably the hottest day of training camp so far, he was on the field well after practice ended, running sprints with fellow safety Shamiel Gary. They were two of the last players left on the field. So he's certainly putting the work in. Poyer and Micah Hyde have talked about the chemistry they've formed in the secondary. It's reasonable to hope the Bills have upgraded from last year at the position.

Good question, Charlie. McDermott did talk about this back in April. He indicated at that time he was planning to form a leadership council.

"I'm a big believer in leadership, and player-driven leadership, the players having a part of this," the coach said at the time. "I think you look for a range of characteristics. Age is one of them. Experience – but that doesn’t just limit it to the older crowd, so to speak. You want representation from, really, the cross-section of the team and really guys that represent the whole team, not just certain parts of the team."

McDermott identified Taylor, Hyde, Lorenzo Alexander and Kyle Williams as ideal players to serve in that capacity. While he hasn't indicated whether he'll officially name captains, those four players certainly can be looked at in that regard. I'd add LeSean McCoy, Eric Wood and Richie Incognito to the list of candidates, as well.

That's awfully presumptuous, but I'll entertain it. The only way I see Taylor coming out of the lineup early in the season is because of injury. If that does happen, I'd expect the team to turn to T.J. Yates first. There are two ways, in my mind, that Peterman could crack the lineup as a rookie.

The first would be if the season goes south in a big way in a hurry. If the Bills get off to an absolutely atrocious start and Taylor is largely to blame, maybe the coaching staff pulls the plug on him knowing the team can get out of his contract after this year. The other way would be if the team is eliminated from playoff contention later in the season and has meaningless games left to play. At that point, it would make sense to see what Peterman can do. In either scenario, the decision to play him would be with an eye toward 2018. If he's playing meaningful games in 2017, something went wrong.

Realistically not for two more years. Dareus' cap hit for 2017 is $16.4 million. If the team cuts him, that would balloon to $38.35 million, according to the contract website spotrac.com. In 2018, Dareus will count $16.575 million against the cap, and would have a dead-money charge of $22.2 million if he were to be released.

If he was cut before the 2019 season, the dead money on the cap would be a manageable $7.8 million. A trade would also leave the Bills with a massive cap hit, and isn't realistic because Dareus' value is likely at its lowest point right now. He's coming off a subpar year that saw him miss four games because of suspension and another four because of injuries. If he slips up again in regards to the NFL's drug policy, he's facing a 10-game suspension.

Dareus has signficant work ahead of him in proving that he can be trusted off the field and productive on it. The Bills have no other option but to hope that happens.

Updated Bills 53-man roster projection after one week of training camp

During the spring, White looked like the best cornerback on the roster -- and that wasn't a slight to Darby, because both were playing well.

Coming from LSU, White's game looks pro ready. That's why I'm comfortable saying a rookie who has yet to play in an NFL game will be better than a third-year pro. That's good news for the Bills, because Darby has looked good in training camp. The coaching change from Donnie Henderson to Tim McDonald last year might have been a reason for his sophomore slump. If Gill Byrd can get him back on track, the Bills will have a pair of solid cornerbacks.

That's exactly how he'll be used. DiMarco has exactly one carry in his 67-game NFL career. I don't remember him getting one during camp, and it would be a shock to see the team give him one in the regular season. Remember, Mike Tolbert is also on the roster and can handle the short-yardage situations a team might call on a fullback for.

DiMarco should play a role in the passing game, though, as Adam referenced. He has 37 career catches, four of which have gone for touchdowns. We have seen him used as a receiver some at camp. His primary job, of course, will be to open holes for McCoy.

I'll give you two. On offense, Jordan Mills. On defense, Ramon Humber.

Here's why: The Bills moved up into the second round to draft Dion Dawkins with the idea of starting him at right tackle. The problem is, he hasn't stepped up to take the job away from Mills, who hasn't performed all that well either. (You didn't say these had to be pleasant surprises). If it's close between the veteran and rookie, I'll say Mills holds onto the job for Week One.

On defense, Humber hasn't been challenged by anyone for the weak-side linebacker job. That still might come from Gerald Hodges, but it's looking more and more like it's Humber's job. That would be a surprise because until this point in his career, he's been primarily a special-teams contributor.

I'm going to assume Adam doesn't mean "MVP" and rather someone who contributes who not much was expected from. In that sense, how about tight end Logan Thomas?

He had a tough drop during Friday's open practice at New Era Field, but Thomas has impressed early in training camp as he makes the transition from quarterback to tight end. At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Thomas has the ideal frame for his new position. He'll have to prove he can get it done as a blocker when defenders are actually trying to tackle the Bills' quarterback, but Thomas has an opportunity to make an impact for the Bills in 2017.

Rick Dennison's offense looks like it will utilize the position a good deal, and there is also the uncertainty that comes with Charles Clay's chronic knee condition. If the team's starter misses time, that would elevate Nick O'Leary and Thomas into even bigger roles.

A ridiculous assertion by my friend Jim, who has never got over the loss he took to me at Glen Oak. Anyway, that'll do it for this week. Thanks for the questions!

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