By Nick Richardson @NickSonofDave on August 25, 2014
While it was actually their fourth preseason game, the Buffalo Bills once again had their struggles in a 27-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 of the preseason. Here are five takeaways from their performance.
Through their first three preseason games, the Bills were able to avoid many costly penalties. But that wasn’t the case against Tampa Bay, as Buffalo racked up 12 total penalties, not to mention several that were declined. Part of this is the result of players getting used to some of the new rules for 2014. But going forward, the Bills will need to show better discipline if they hope to compete.
Both Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon were brought in this offseason to solidify the depth chart at running back behind Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. While neither has played poorly this preseason, it is clear that Doug Marrone is going to stick to his two big guns in Jackson and Spiller in 2014. Brown and Dixon provide good changes of pace, but it is unlikely that either will see any substantial playing time this year.
It’s not always a good sign when a team needs to start a rookie offensive lineman, let alone two. But for the Bills, this might not be such a bad thing. Both Seantrel Henderson and Cyril Richardson have performed well above expectations, while veterans such as Kraig Urbik, Erik Pears and Chris Williams have failed to impress. With Cordy Glenn and Eric Wood already proven commodities, the Bills have the makings of a young but talented OL.
Since the start of training camp, it has been clear that the Bills’ defense is well ahead of the offense in terms of both talent and preparedness. Even with the loss of rookie sensation Kiko Alonso, Buffalo figures to have one of the better defenses in the league. The starters have looked very stout through four preseason games, and they look ready for what figures to be a big test in the season opener against the Chicago's high-powered offense.
Much is riding on the Bills’ second-year quarterback in 2014, but so far Manuel has not been very impressive. Bills fans were certainly not happy with his showing in the team’s first home preseason game against the Buccaneers. In fact, many of them booed Manuel and the rest of the first-team offense off the field in the first half. If Manuel can’t find more consistency under center, he could be in for a long season both at home and on the road.
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