Player you’ll be buzzing about: LB Ty Powell — Powell was impressive during OTAs, with four interceptions that drew the attention of his coaches. A special teamer to this point, Powell should get a chance to play on defense.
What to watch: The quarterback battle between Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor will be huge, though the Bills have a lot to settle outside of that. They need to find a starting safety with Jairus Byrd and Da’Norris Searcy departing over the past couple of years. Seeing LeSean McCoy running in a Bills uniform should also be high on the list.
Most important position battle: Quarterback — This is no big secret, and it would be silly to go with anything else. The Bills need to figure out who their starting quarterback is.
“I think more running backs will definitely start to run [like Bell],” Gordon says. “You could see it in that Dallas game a little bit. … It’s not really that the players don’t want to do it, it’s more the coaches being comfortable with it. And maybe the coaches will change their mindset as they see [Bell] have more and more success.”
The seeds for Bell’s style were planted way back in youth football in Columbus, Ohio, when Bell’s uncle, Clarence, told him to stop running over the guys who blocked for him. Once Bell started to learn blocking schemes, he couldn’t get enough.
He refined his approach in East Lansing, channeling his inner John Nash during 11-man tests from Michigan State coaches. Bell perked up when asked to identify protections, routes and audibles for each player on the offense from the white washboard. For extra credit, he’d point out the need to abandon his assignment for extra blocking if the defensive end ran free. “He would point out things that most people wouldn’t see or even know to ask about,” Michigan State assistant Brad Salem says. “Just a joy to coach.”