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Buffalo Bills preseason primer

2006 season recap

Ups and downs
Inconsistency marred a season that ultimately provided Bills fans with some hope for the future. Quarterback J.P. Losman finally showed glimpses of becoming the dependable starter the Bills have been looking for, but the team's inability to put together more than two wins in a row showed they have a ways to go before they can compete for the AFC East crown.

Key camp questions

Who will replace Willis McGahee in the running game?
Rookie Marshawn Lynch is expected to step in, but he will have big shoes to fill. McGahee rushed for more than 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first full season, and while he slipped to 990 yards last season, his departure still leaves a big hole in the offense. The Bills will be looking for McGahee's replacement to provide similar production.

Can J.P. Losman have another consistent season behind center?
Losman had by far his best season in 2006, playing all 16 games for the first time and throwing for 3,000-plus yards and 19 touchdowns. If he can continue to improve, the Bills will have the makings of a very good offense. If last season is an anomaly and he starts to struggle again, the team might have to think about grooming rookie third-round pick Trent Edwards.

Who will fill the leadership void?
Linebackers London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes and cornerback Nate Clements are all gone. Who will step up in the Bills' locker room? Eleven of 22 projected starters have three or fewer years of experience. That's to be expected on a rebuilding team, but every team needs a few players who can help everyone else remain calm and focused in pressure situations.

Key position battle

Running back
Marshawn Lynch might be talented, but he's still a rookie. He'll be pushed in the battle to replace McGahee by seven-year veteran Anthony Thomas and Josh Scobey. Lynch's versatility should help him, as he is a threat to catch a lot of balls out of the backfield.

Rookie spotlight

LB Paul Posluszny
With the departure of Fletcher and Spikes, there is a huge void at the linebacker position that Posluszny can immediately fill. Though he might not start right away, with second-year man John DiGiorgio laying claim to that spot in minicamp, the second-round pick from Penn State will be expected to contribute.

Player on the spot

J.P. Losman
The three-year veteran had a solid second half in 2006, but the Bills need him to do it over the course of an entire season. His job is by no means secure, with third-round pick Trent Edwards waiting in the wings, so Losman needs to perform well in camp and in the early weeks of the season.

Fantasy focus

Marshawn Lynch
The most valuable rookie in all seasonal drafts, Lynch is a versatile runner who should step right into a prominent role for the Bills. With an improved offensive line ahead of him, Lynch has a real chance to record 50-plus receptions, 1,500 all-purpose yards and six to eight total touchdowns.

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