Every summer leading up to training camp buffalobills.com examines 25 of the more pertinent issues facing the team as they make their final preparations for the upcoming regular season. This year we wanted to focus on a few different areas that impact the team off the field in addition to what takes place on the field. From now until report day at training camp we’ll address these subjects one at a time. Here now is the latest daily installment as we closely examine some of the answers the Buffalo Bills have to come up with between July 18 and the Sept. 7 opener at Chicago.
Last season the Bills kick return game had one of the fastest players in the league bringing the ball back in
1 – Marquise Goodwin
Goodwin has world class speed and only needs a crease to plant and take it all the way. Fighting through tackles however, is not a strength so unless the holes are clean it can prove tough for the speedy wideout to maintain his speed throughout a return if coverage players get a hand or an arm on him. Plans for Goodwin on offense may also impact how much the second-year receiver is a consideration for returns.
Graham will have to turn in some big returns when given the opportunity in the preseason to prove he can handle the job.
3 – Leodis McKelvin
His full time duties at cornerback and presumably on punt return might remove him from the competition, but coach Crossman was giving him the same look as everyone else in the spring practices.
4 – C.J. Spiller
He hasn’t returned a kick or punt for the Bills since 2011, but perhaps with more depth at running back Buffalo is more willing to put Spiller out there in the hopes that his game breaking ability can provide a shot in the arm to the kick return unit.
5 – Sammy Watkins
Watkins returned 60 kicks in his college career and averaged almost 23 yards a return (22.9) with one touchdown to his credit. No one needs to explain the elusive weapon that Watkins can be with the ball in his hands, but will the primary need to be a difference maker on offense pull him from this competition?
Goodwin is the odds on favorite to retain the job he earned as a rookie in 2013, but there are viable competitors for the role listed here. Three of the four other players however, are projected as starters on offense or defense and those circumstances might play the biggest role in determining who ultimately lands the job.