Game Day Preview: Bills vs. Jaguars
It is a beautiful day in Orchard Park, NY for some Buffalo Bills football! Saturday night’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars will serve as a significant benchmark for the Bills. Coaches will typically use the third preseason game to play their starters for extended periods of time, while using the final preseason game to evaluate for depth positions on the roster. For those of you attending the game, expect a relatively uncomfortable feeling when Paul Posluszny is announced as the starting linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars. This will mark Posluszny’s first return to Buffalo since signing with Jacksonville in July and ending his four-year tenure with the Buffalo Bills.
Running Back Roles
With the recent controversy that has arisen this past week in regards to Fred Jackson, it will be noteworthy to examine how Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are utilized in the Bills offense. In an interview earlier this week, Spiller quoted “I don’t really get involved with number one and number two.” That being said, Fred Jackson has been told that he will be Saturday night’s starting running back and will be expected to produce accordingly. I would anticipate a simulation of a regular season matchup tonight, featuring Fred Jackson as the starting running back accented by the play making ability of C.J. Spiller.
Bills Pass Attack
Throughout the course of the preseason, Ryan Fitzpatrick has appeared to be in somewhat of a funk with his receiving corps. With wide receivers Donald Jones, Roscoe Parrish, and Naaman Roosevelt not expected to play against the Jaguars, Fitzpatrick will be responsible to generate chemistry with the receiving corps, including newly acquired Ruvell Martin. Stevie Johnson will be under the spotlight tonight as he has only four receptions in the preseason for a total of twenty-six yards. With the first half handed to the starters and possibly some extended time into the third quarter, look for the Bills’ first team offense to generate chemistry that will gain momentum until the season opener.
Bills Run Defense
The Bills’ run defense presents itself as a somewhat of a wild card tonight. Yes, the Bills finished their 2010 campaign ranked dead last in the run defense department, however 2011 clearly appears to be a different story. The additions of Marcell Dareus, Nick Barnett, and a resurging Shawne Merriman will prove to fortify a once porous defense. It will be tough to fully grasp the Bills’ defense as Maurice Jones Drew has not played a single preseason snap this year for the Jaguars and both Marcell Dareus and Shawne Merriman are questionable for tonight’s game. Keep an eye on the Bills’ front seven, no matter who the starters are, to determine whether they can apply consistent pressure to the Jaguars’ backfield.