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Friday night preseason preview: Players to watch

The Around The League crew will be glued to the television and our Preseason Live app during Friday night's four-pack of preseason games. Dan Hanzus already outlined some players who are in need of a big weekend. Here are some other key players we'll be watching:

Kevin Kolb and EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills quarterbacks: Kolb is fighting an uphill battle to stay in this race. Barring a sensational performance by Kolb or a terrible one by Manuel, we would expect the rookie to get the starting nod in the third preseason game and in Week 1 of the regular season.

Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings quarterback: The better Cassel looks in the preseason, the shorter the leash likely will be for Christian Ponder once the season begins.

A.J. Jenkins, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver: After a rough preseason opener and a subsequent poor practice week, Jenkins could use a big game to quiet concerns that he's on the roster bubble.

Ryan Mallett, New England Patriots quarterback: Tom Brady is healthy enough to start for the Patriots, but Mallett figures to get more work. The third-year pro has yet to show much development or overall promise during his previous preseason outings. The Patriots would love for Mallett to showcase his skills in hopes of trading him in 2014.

Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints wide receiver: Sean Payton has signed every veteran receiver available, save Joe Horn, as the team searches for depth. Stills, a fifth-round draft pick, remains first in line for the No. 3 receiver role.

Da'Quan Bowers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end: There is talk in Tampa that Bowers might not keep his starting job. That would be a huge disappointment, as the team expected him to break out this year.

Alex Barron, Oakland Raiders offensive lineman: Meet the Raiders' new starting left tackle. This does not sound like a sustainable idea.

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