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Lots of questions entering camp for the Bills

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Buffalo Bills

www.buffalobills.com
Location:
Pittsford, N.Y.
Camp Opens
JULY 29
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.

--Pat Kirwan
Complete regular-season schedule
player 1
The Bills have a three-headed monster at running back heading into training camp, but the addition of C.J. Spiller (pictured) to an already talented duo of Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson also generates plenty of questions in my mind. Will Lynch force his way out of Buffalo? Can Jackson repeat his 1,000-yard season from 2009? Will Spiller be the missing piece that will fix this offense -- regardless of who plays quarterback -- and score points? I am also interested in seeing how well the Bills make the transition to the 3-4 defense this season under new defensive coordinator George Edwards. The free-agent signings of LB Andra Davis and DE Dwan Edwards were done specifically because they are good fits for this scheme. So were the draft selections of NT Torrell Troup and DE Alex Carrington. I suspect the transition won't be easy, but it's one the Bills badly needed.

-- Terry Long, Blog Blitz

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WR battle
The 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
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