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Will the starting QB please stand up?Heading into camp, it seems like the starting QB job belongs to Trent Edwards, but the offensive line is a big question mark, which could mean a more mobile QB is the right answer in the short term. The Bills passed on opportunities to draft Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy. So journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and unproven Brian Brohm are waiting their turns to lead this team. No one has done enough to give anyone in Buffalo confidence. New coach Chan Gailey worked wonders with unknown Tyler Thigpen as offensive coordinator in Kansas City, which bodes well for Buffalo fans. Keep an eye on the possibility of the Bills trying to acquire Thigpen from Miami if the present QB situation is a bust.
Can defense transition into 3-4 smoothly?Bill Parcells once told me that even though he prefers the 3-4 defense to the 4-3 he wouldn't make the transition unless he had enough of the critical pieces. He waited three years in Dallas to finally bail on the 4-3. But the Bills are jumping right into this experiment. Keep in mind that Buffalo was 30th against the run last year, and they can't get much worse. Maybe they can if their inside triangle of NT Kyle Williams or rookie Torrell Troup, journeyman LB Andra Davis and former 4-3 MLB Paul Posluszny struggle. When it comes to rushing the passer, their best option is DE Aaron Schobel, but he's considering retirement. A good 3-4 defense will receive 20 sacks from its outside linebackers. We'll find out in camp if the Bills have the personnel capable of getting even half that number.
Who replaces Owens' production at receiver?Say what you want about Terrell Owens as a teammate or a distraction, but he did catch 55 passes at 15.1 yards per reception and found the end zone five times in Buffalo last season. Right now the Bills are hoping James Hardy, a second-round pick in 2008, will pick up the slack. History, however, advises to get ready to look in a different direction. With no free-agent signing of any significance and a fourth-round pick out of UConn, it might be a tough year for any Bills QB to find an open receiver not named Lee Evans. My suspicion is that first-round pick C.J. Spiller is going to be expected to pick up the slack out of the backfield or in the slot.
-- Terry Long, Blog Blitz
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WR battleThe Bills decided against re-signing veteran Terrell Owens, so fantasy owners should keep an eye on the battle between Steve Johnson and James Hardy for the starting spot opposite Lee Evans. While their pass attack doesn't figure to produce a ton of yardage, someone other than Evans has to see targets. The eventual winner will be worth a late-round flier in larger fantasy leagues. It could come from the RB position. Ray rice caught 78 passes as a rookie for the Ravens last year, and C.J. Spiller could get as many chances in Buffalo's passing game.
-- Michael Fabiano