Today in Toronto we should discover just how far the Bills' last two draft classes, for which there is much hope, have advanced as the halfway point in the NFL season advances.
The Washington Redskins will line up against Buffalo players about whom they know next to nothing, much less having exchanged bruises.
Outside linebacker Danny Batten is listed by the Bills as a second-year veteran, but he missed his entire rookie season due to an injury, so this will be his first start. With the Redskins' quarterback situation somewhat in turmoil, a large part of Buffalo's defensive game plan will be to frazzle whomever that shall be.
A sign of that philosophy was switching king-sized Spencer Johnson from the defensive line to a position where he might be able to crash the enemy pass protection. Arthur Moats, who impressed the Buffalo coaches last year even though he missed time as a rookie, is likely to be assigned similar duty. Moats may still be feeling his football oats but the Bills need him to grow up today.
Rookie Kelvin Sheppard, a star at LSU drafted by the Bills in the third round, will make his first start at inside linebacker. The Redskins are expected to play a controlled, punishing ground game in view of their passing limitations, so Sheppard's reputation can't show itself fast enough.
The Bills' brass would like another lightly used second-year pro, nose tackle Torell Troup, to begin establishing his reputation before the Canadian audience since their Pro Bowl nose tackle, Kyle Williams, won't play.
Neither will cornerback Aaron Williams, another draftee from this solid group to build upon.
They say that injuries are part of football. There have been so many injuries in the NFL so far this season that they appear to be a byproduct of the long running labor lockout.
Larry Felser, former News columnist, appears in Sunday's editions.