Here are my three thoughts as the Buffalo Bills began preparing in earnest in Sunday's game against the New York Giants at Ralph Wilson Stadium:
1. LeSean McCoy should get a much-needed break. He was clearly never ready to start the season after the training-camp hamstring injury that caused him to miss the final three games of the preseason. He didn't look right against Indianapolis, and although he showed improvement the following week against New England, it clearly came at a cost because he was hurting in last Sunday at Miami. McCoy is a long-striding runner and his nagging injury presents problems, especially when he tries to run full speed in the open field. Just as in the Colts' game, he was tentative and unable to accelerate against the Dolphins. Allowing McCoy to rest this Sunday (and perhaps even longer) makes sense because, one, it would seemingly allow him to heal and be more effective later on, and, two, the Bills are getting tremendous production from rookie running back Karlos Williams.
2. The passing game appears just fine without Sammy Watkins. No offense to the second-year receiver, but his likely absence Sunday due to the calf injury he suffered against Miami does not figure to be a huge loss for the Bills. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor clearly has made Percy Harvin his favorite receiver, frequently looking his way when he wants to throw outside the numbers. And that's largely because he knows Harvin can utilize his remarkable speed, explosiveness, and elusiveness to make big gains after the catch. Clearly, the Bills would rather have Watkins healthy, but there is no reason for them to panic with Harvin, Robert Woods, and Chris Hogan (as well as tight end Charles Clay) giving them a range of strong to solid playmakers.
3. Getting ready for double dose of Giant game-breakers. The Giants are finally getting Victor Cruz back from a serious knee injury that sidelined him for most of last season. Along with Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants' passing attack figures to present a tremendous challenge to the Bills' secondary. But they figure to be more than ready to handle the challenge. Rookie cornerback Ronald Darby has had an impressive start to the season, more than holding his own in coverage while making two interceptions. Fellow cornerback Stephon Gilmore has also done well, thanks in part to the fact quarterbacks are more apt to challenge the rookie on the other side. In addition, safety Bacarri Rambo did a superb job picking up the slack for Aaron Williams, who missed the Miami game with a neck injury.
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Today's media sessions at One Bills Drive are scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m., when coach Rex Ryan meets with reporters. Practice is at 11:45. Availability with players follows practice.