Bills vs. Vikings: 10 Position Battles to Watch
In the Bills final preseason game, there isn’t usually much to watch. The starters will sit. Many of the backups will sit. But when the Vikings take on the Bills in New Era Stadium, there will be plenty of great position battles to watch! Here are my top 10!
1.) Tyree Jackson vs. Perception
Tyree Jackson has not had a great preseason. Through three games he has only completed 33% of his passes. He will likely get the full game on Thursday night to prove to the coaching staff he is accurate enough to stash on the Practice Squad both to develop and to serve as the scout team quarterback.
2.) TJ Yeldon vs. Senorice Perry
The Buffalo Bills would really love to find a way for TJ Yeldon to make this football team. If I was a betting man, I’d say a majority of his reps Thursday night come on special teams. If he can prove his worth there, he has proven to be a far more capable runner than Senorice Perry. Perry, who may not play due to injury, has proven his worth in this league on special teams. If Yeldon cannot show signs of progress on special teams, or if Perry can show flashes as a runner if he plays, he could wiggle his way onto the roster over Yeldon.
3.) Ray-Ray McCloud vs. Cam Phillips vs. David Sills vs. Nick Easley
Ray-Ray McCloud had every opportunity through camp to make the 53-man roster, and, compared to Duke Williams and Isaiah McKenzie, he has fallen well short. He now must resort to battling it out with the rest of these Wide Receivers for one or two practice squad slots.
4.) Wyatt Teller vs. Ike Boettger vs. Ryan Bates
Wyatt Teller has been solid against reserves all preseason. That is why it was a surprise when Ike Boettger was inserted into the left guard position when Quinton Spain went down. Ryan Bates who has spent time at both tackle positions and center and played admirably is also in the mix for the final spots along the offensive line. Dawkins, Spain, Morse, Ford, Nsekhe, Feliciano, and Long appear to be roster locks. That leaves one, maybe two roster spots open to these three men. Boettger would be the easiest to slide onto the practice squad in my opinion.
5.) Daryl Johnson & Mike Love vs. The Field
Mike Love is injured and will most likely miss the game. Johnson likely won’t play much if at all. At this point, both have earned roster spots, but players at other positions like running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, linebacker, and safety will determine if there is room on the 53 man roster for both men.
(Update) Mike Love was placed on IR with a pectoral injury. His 2019 season is over. This means you should keep a close eye on some of these other battles. The Bills will most likely only carry four defensive ends now.
6.) Deon Lacey vs. Julian Stanford vs. Maurice Alexander
Linebacker may be the position the Bills decide to go light at to make room for a fifth defensive end. Edmunds, Milano, Lorenzo Alexander, and Thompson appear to be roster locks. Vosean Joseph, despite making a minimal impact this preseason, appears a likely lock as well due to his draft position. This means these three men could be battling it out for one, maximum two spots. Keep an eye out for all three on defense as well as special teams. Also, keep an eye out for Joseph who likely gets a lot of run Thursday night.
7.) Captain Munnerlyn vs. Lafayette Pitts
Lafayette Pitts looked like he was going to give EJ Gaines a run for his money after week one of the preseason. When Gaines was injured the job was Pitts’ for the taking. Since then, the Bills have signed veteran Captain Munnerlyn and Pitts has gone invisible. Hurting Pitts’ cause further is the fact Munnerlyn has been getting run with the early units and playing on special teams. It is clear who the Bills prefer. It would take quite the effort Thursday night for Pitts to convince the coaching staff he is worth a spot on the 53-man roster.
8.) Siran Neal vs. The Field
Siran Neal has been an anomaly all off-season. Reports out of OTAs were he would give Rafael Bush a run for his money. Then he starts platooning between linebacker and safety. Since the preseason began, he has been strictly a “big nickel” corner. Will his versatility and special teams ability make him a lock for the roster? More than likely unless he falls flat on his face on Thursday.
9.) Dean Marlowe vs. Fate
Poor Dean Marlowe. All the guy does is come out week in and week out and contribute as a solid depth safety. Unfortunately for Marlowe, veteran Kurt Coleman and rookie sixth-rounder Jaquan Johnson appear to be locks. With Neal taking up a roster spot as a “big nickel” that leaves little room for Marlowe on the depth chart. Look for him to play a lot on Thursday, but it would take a herculean effort for him to find his way onto the 53.
10.) Corey Bojorquez vs. Every Free Agent Punter on the Market
The Buffalo Bills are infatuated with Corey Bojorquez. He booms 70+ yard punts in practice and has the ability to get hang times of over five seconds. The Bills seemingly value hang time. It was the reason Colton Schmidt was cut. However, Bojorquez has not delivered on the field enough consistency to match said potential. If he has a great game, the Bills will most likely start the season with him. but if he struggles again, they will look to the open market to replace him like they did Schmidt last year.
P.S. RYAN ALLEN IS STILL AVAILABLE.