By Del Pearson | Yahoo! Contributor Network – 3 hours ago
COMMENTARY | In the team’s first preseason game of the year, the Buffalo Bills defeated the Indianapolis Colts 44-20 in Indianapolis.
The Bills were led by rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel, who completed 16 of 21 passes for 107 yards with one touchdown. With the exception of a botched handoff to C.J. Spiller, Manuel played like a veteran quarterback ready to assume leadership of the team.
The Bills return to preseason action on Friday, August 16 against the Minnesota Vikings. As anyone will tell you, the NFL preseason is not about wins and losses, but more about seeing growth in the team and players buying in to the coaches’ systems. This is especially the case with a young team like the Bills, who have a new coaching staff with vastly different philosophies than the previous regime.
Here are the three most important things to look for when the Bills take on the Vikings:
The Return of Kevin Kolb
New head coach Doug Marrone has announced that Kevin Kolb will make the start at quarterback on Friday night against the Vikings. After entering training camp getting the first-team reps, Kolb did not play against the Colts due to a knee injury caused by slipping on a rubber mat before a Bills practice. Between Kolb’s injury and past struggles, and Manuel getting the job done at Indianapolis, it would seem as though Kolb needs to have a strong game if he wants any shot at being the starting quarterback in Week 1.
Coach Marrone obviously feels as though Kolb deserves at least the opportunity to make a good showing in this preseason game. If Kolb struggles and Manuel does not have an extreme crash-and-burn playing in relief, it seems likely that the competition will be all but over and Kolb will be relegated to backup status once the games begin to matter.
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