One final preseason game is all that’s left now.
One last chance for players on the periphery of the roster to state their case. One last dress rehearsal for the Bills before these games really matter.
Thursday night’s finale against the Detroit Lions won’t provide much by way of star power, but it’ll give the coaching staff one final glimpse at backups before this weekend’s round of roster cuts.
Sean McDermott’s team has yet to win a single game this preseason, while the Lions are coming off a 30-28 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. But the outcome of Thursday night’s game — like the end result against the Ravens, Eagles and Vikings — matters little in the grand scheme of things.
For McDermott & Co., the key will be keeping guys healthy and getting more evaluations of fringe players.
The Bills’ roster is far from settled and so is their quarterback situation. While Tyrod Taylor remains their unequivocal No. 1, his current status in the league’s concussion protocol means the Bills may be forced to play backup Nathan Peterman in Week 1.
Both Peterman and recently-signed signal-caller Keith Wenning will see playing time against the Lions, but how much each of them will play remains to be seen.
“It is a challenge regardless if a guy has been in the system or not, it’s a huge challenge,” McDermott said of Wenning having to play just days after he was signed. “He’s up for it though, he’s bright-eyed, was here yesterday most of the day working with the coaches. The terminology I think is fairly familiar to him, so that’s a head start. Just off two, three days max, to go out there and play, it’s going to be a challenge, but he’s up for the challenge.”
But even after the game, quarterback questions remain with Taylor and backup T.J. Yates sidelined by concussions. Asked for progress reports on both players this week, McDermott offered little insight. “Very little information flows out of that, part of the situation,” he said. “We respect what’s going on there, they’re in the protocol, and basically that’s the information I get every day.”
Following a flurry of surprising offseason moves, the front office has steered the organization in a new direction. The Bills are determined to be competitive while keeping an eye firmly fixed on their long-term future.
The Bills-Lions game may provide some answers when it comes to roster spots, but McDermott and new general manager Brandon Beane have plenty of issues to tackle in the days and weeks ahead — namely their quarterback situation and Marcell Dareus’ inability to get out of his own way.
“There’s always a lot of moving parts this time of year in the NFL. In particular in the first year,” McDermott said. “The biggest one is making sure we get the right guys on this roster, that we get the right 53.
“Doesn’t mean it’s “X” amount at this position, it has to be “X” amount at that position. We’re looking for, and we made it clear, good football players, and guys that do things the right way.”