Three up, three down following Bills' first preseason game - The Buffalo News
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Three up, three down following Bills' first preseason game

Sean McDermott wanted to win Thursday night, just not so much that he developed a game plan specifically for the Minnesota Vikings.

The Buffalo Bills' coach said after his team's 17-10 loss that "we are focused truly on ourselves right now. We have to develop fundamentals and I’m not really big on game-planning a whole lot for our first preseason game. ... We’ve got such a long way to go as a football team that we need to keep our focus on ourselves."

There are certainly things to work on. The Bills took 10 penalties, which is way too many.

"There’s a process of developing a football team, of evaluating our football players, and then our schemes. That said, penalties are not a part of the process in terms of winning football and our players and our team, we continue to stress and will stress all throughout the season that there’s a way to win football games and there’s, you don’t beat yourselves. You take care of the football on offense, you take the ball away on defense, and then you don’t shoot yourself in the foot with penalties."

Here's a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling after the first preseason game.

Three up

Eddie Yarbrough -- Getting the start in place of Shaq Lawson, Yarbrough showed his strong practice performances haven't been a fluke. He got a third-down sack of Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford to end Minnesota's first possession, and finished the night with three tackles and two quarterback hurries. He has quickly moved into the role of top backup to Lawson and Jerry Hughes at defensive end.

Jonathan Williams -- Given the chance to start when McDermott held LeSean McCoy out of the lineup, Williams responded by carrying four times for 39 yards. The Bills need Williams to show that he can be a viable option when McCoy needs a break. He did that Thursday night.

Colton Schmidt -- He punted six times for 267 yards, an average of 44.5 gross yards per punt. His net average of 41.3 yards was strong, as well. With Schmidt being challenge by Austin Rehkow for a roster spot, he needed to raise his game. So far through training camp and the first exhibition, he's done that.

Three down

Taiwan Jones -- He took a pretty terrible penalty on special teams when he didn't notice the Vikings' punt returner signal for a fair catch, then had a brutal drop in the fourth quarter on a fourth-down play in which he was open past the first-down marker. Things couldn't have gone much worse for Jones.

Seantrel Henderson -- Starting in place of Cordy Glenn, Henderson wasn't able to back up what has been a good training camp with a strong showing Thursday night. He was beaten for a pair of sacks. In general, it was a tough night in pass protection for the offensive line.

Reggie Ragland -- Even though he led the Bills in tackles with six, Ragland didn't play until the second half. That's usually the time reserved for those who will be out of the league in a month. The Bills' second-round draft pick in 2016 is stuck on the third team at the moment.

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