By Nick Richardson @NickSonofDave on May 27, 2014
With just over two months until the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants face off against one another in the 2014 Hall of Fame Game in Canton, NFL OTAs are starting to get underway across the league. This is the time when the season’s main storylines start to take form. Here are five Buffalo Bills storylines to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
The departure of Pro Bowler Jairus Byrd for New Orleans has left a sizeable hole in the Bills’ secondary, and several players are in the mix to fill that hole. Da’Norris Searcy and Duke Williams seem to be the front-runners for the starting job, though, neither one showed much consistency last season. There are even rumors that undrafted rookie Kenny Ladler is in the mix to start, but it will be a challenge for him to even make the 53-man roster.
The Bills made a point of addressing their issues on the offensive line, signing free agent Chris Williams and drafting Cyrus Kouandjio, Cyril Richardson and Seantrel Henderson. Right now, only Cordy Glenn and Eric Wood are assured starting jobs; both guard spots and right tackle are up for competition. Right now, it looks like Williams, Kraig Urbik and Kouandjio will win those spots, respectively, but the competition will be interesting.
Shortly after receiving a fifth-year option on his contract, Marcell Dareus promptly got himself arrested on drug charges in Alabama. With a potentially lengthy legal process looming, Dareus must be on his best behavior if and when he returns to team activities. Dareus’ 2013 season ended badly, as he was partially suspended at the end of the year for violating team rules. It is in both his interest and the team’s that he gets his act together.
Few rookies in the NFL will be under as much pressure as wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Not only was he was the fourth overall selection in this month’s draft, but the Bills had to give up a great deal to get him. Early indications suggest that Watkins is already showing why the Bills took such a big gamble on him. But Watkins will have to produce from Day 1 to justify the enormous price Buffalo paid to get him.
This topic has weighed heavily on the minds of everyone in the Bills organization since Ralph Wilson passed away earlier this year. The Bills have already begun scouting several new locations for a new stadium, and multiple suitors (including Donald Trump and Jon Bon Jovi) have expressed ownership interest in the team. A winning bid could be announced as early as the start of the regular season, so the next few months will be crucial to the team.
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