Football is back as things kick off with the annual NFL Hall of Fame game. Here are a few things to watch for.
Cyrus Kouandjio against Damontre Moore and Robert Ayers
In college at Alabama, Cyrus Kouandjio was the unquestioned left tackle on one of the best offensive lines in college football. Now he is expected to shift to right tackle for Buffalo, a team that allowed 48 sacks in 2013. He will be tested early and often in the game against New York defensive ends Damontre Moore and Robert Ayers. While it may be preseason, how Kouandjio handles his pass protection from a new position will be very telling.
The Buffalo Bills receivers against the New York Giants corners
It is highly unlikely the starters will play long in this game, but it will still offer at least a brief glimpse of two highly touted units. The Buffalo Bills wide receiving corps got a major infusion from 1st round draft pick Sammy Watkins. Together with Robert Woods and recent trade acquisition Mike Williams they will take on a revitalized New York Giants secondary that features free agent additions Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond III. How each side performs could create a lot of buzz or questions in the weeks that follow.
Preston Brown and Andre Williams
Naturally, no NFL preseason affair would be complete without a watch for rookie players vying for playing time. For Buffalo, a name to follow carefully is Preston Brown. Following the season-ending injury to Kiko Alonso, the Bills are need of somebody to step up at linebacker. Brown was productive at Louisville and has the toughness and instinct to play in the middle where Alonso did.
On the other side the New York Giants will want to see something from running back Andre Williams. Given the uncertain status of David Wilson, the team needs to know if the Boston College product can become a contributor in 2014. Williams led the nation in rushing last season. While he isn’t a versatile weapon, he’s a classic throwback runner with the power to go between the tackles but enough speed to break big gains. Don’t be surprised if he and Brown meet a few times in the game.