Week two of preseason action sees the Bills travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles Thursday night, with many roster spots still up for grabs and several established veterans fighting for jobs.
Here are five players to keep an eye on during the game:
Rod Streater: He’s been hailed as one of the best players at camp so far this summer, but Streater was held off the box score in the team’s first preseason game against the Vikings. He saw decent playing time in that game, but needs to get some targets against the Eagles so that Buffalo’s coaching staff can see exactly what they are getting from the veteran in game action. Wowing the coaches and fans in practice with one-handed grabs is nice, but with many questions remaining at the wide receiver position, Streater needs to start making some of those plays against opposing defenses to secure a roster spot.
Reggie Ragland: It is time for the former second round selection to step up, whether it’s for a spot on Buffalo’s roster or to impress a potential suitor via trade. It’s been no secret that Ragland hasn’t done much this summer to distinguish himself in Sean McDermott’s defense. While questions remain about his fit in the scheme, lingering injury problems, or simply if he can be a starting 4-3 linebacker in the NFL, the 23-year-old still has a chance to turn things around in the coming weeks. Ragland figures to play at least two full quarters against the Eagles, and even if he won’t be going against a first-team offense, his play will still be watched closely by McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
Nate Peterman: The rookie was strong in the first preseason game and was rewarded by getting second-team reps in practice this week. With the Bills only carrying three quarterbacks this summer, each quarterback on the roster will get more playing time than in years past. Tyrod Taylor will probably only play a couple of series over the final three preseason games, so it will be a true competition between Yates and Peterman for the backup job. While Yates hasn’t been a complete disaster, the rookie has outplayed him so far and now has the added benefit of being able to play on the field with Buffalo’s primary backups. Although the Bills wanted a veteran quarterback to play behind Taylor, the performance of their fifth-round selection could cause the team to alter their plans and put skill above experience.
Peterman can hit these boundary throw with his eyes closed, these were crucial for him at Pitt. pic.twitter.com/4rOplvOBg3
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) August 15, 2017
Austin Rehkow: Punters are people, too. Rehkow was signed as an undrafted free agent in the offseason by the Bills in hopes to motivate Colton Schmidt after a rough 2016 season. Rehkow, also a tremendous kicking leg, led the Sun Belt in points scored last season and has missed only rarely during training camp. Rehkow was used sparingly against the Vikings, only kicking one extra point (which he made), as the Bills used Schmidt for all six punting opportunities. While Steven Hauschka’s job appears locked up, many thought that Rehkow’s versatility could serve as the extra push in the battle with Schmidt, and Thursday could be the first time he shows that in game action.
Ronald Darby: I couldn’t leave him off the list. Less than a week after being traded by the Bills, Darby will have a shot to square up against his former teammates. It’s been confirmed by reporters in Philly that Darby will at least see the field for a couple of series Thursday, as the Eagles probably just want him to get his feet wet with the limited practice time he’s had so far with the team. Darby’s matchups against Boldin and Jones will bring some much needed excitement to a week 2 preseason game. We will see just how motivated he is to prove that his sophomore slump was just a fluke last season.
Other players that could use a big game: Vlad Ducasse, Dez Lewis, Ryan Davis, Bacarri Rambo, and Shareece Wright.
Dez flashing some quickness to separate and nice awareness in the back of the end zone. Nice placement by NP. pic.twitter.com/uzBfojmuoM
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) August 15, 2017