Friday night will be the debut of new head coach Chan Gailey and the 2010 Buffalo Bills as they travel to Landover, Maryland to take on the Washington Redskins. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.
"Obviously you want to win," said Gailey. "When you've got your uniform on and they've got your name up on the scoreboard you want to win and you want to have more points than the other team. At the same time you're mostly trying to evaluate personnel and you've got a lot of players that you have seen on film, but you've got a lot more players that you haven't seen on film. They have to line up and play in an NFL game. So we've got a lot of objectives in this ball game. But the first one you'd like to win if you can."
This is the 13th preseason meeting between the two NFL clubs, and the fifth time Buffalo has opened their preseason against Washington. Overall the Bills hold a 5-7 mark against the Redskins in preseason affairs with a 2-4 mark on the road.
Playing timeIn the first preseason game starters typically get a series or two with the amount of play usually expanding up until the third preseason when most teams play their starters the longest. Gailey indicated that his starting units will probably play a bit longer than that.
"I told our team that if you're a starter anticipate that you will play maybe a little bit longer than maybe you would have in a normal situation," said Gailey. "We're learning new schemes and we have a new offense, new defense, new special team, so you might have to go a little bit longer so we can get a feel for each other."
"We have to be able to build that team chemistry, get a feel for how our guys play within the scheme, how our guys play off each other, how different groups communicate, the different code words and signals to one another," said George Wilson. "So there are a lot of details to be worked out from game one all the way through game four of the preseason."
After a poor preseason last year, in which the number one offense did not manage to score a touchdown in five preseason games, Trent Edwards is eager to get this year's group off to a good start.
"We've got to come out and be efficient," Edwards said. "We've got to come out and (have) no stupid penalties, no mistakes. I know a lot of these young guys are putting on their game jerseys and playing under the lights for the first time, and I was there at one point. But we still have to go back to basics and go back to fundamentals. I think if you asked Chan that same question, he'd say that same thing. We need to be able to be mentally and physically strong and fundamentally sound."
Debut of SpillerThe much anticipated debut of Bills top pick C.J. Spiller will also take place Friday night. With Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch not expected to see extended action, the multi-faceted rookie figures to see his share of carries in the game.
Spiller has only been in camp about a week, but feels ready for his first preseason action.
"It's a good thing that I came in and I've learned a whole lot. Earlier, I took some great notes during OTAs and mini-camps that helped me stay up to par with the offense, and hopefully it'll pay off on Friday," Spiller said. "The main thing is just go out there and give effort, good effort, know what I'm doing, and at that same time just have fun. Don't go out there and stress about things. Just go out there and just try to win the game."
Spiller has also been fielding kickoff returns in practice as well as punts, so the top pick is also expected to see some time on special teams.
Bills lineup changesThe Bills will be down in numbers at a few positions in Friday night's game. Buffalo will be without three projected starting offensive linemen with starting tackles Demetrius Bell and Cornell Green out as well as right guard Eric Wood. Green sustained an undisclosed injury last weekend and will not play, while Bell and Wood are still working their way back to 100 percent off long rehabilitations.
Expected to fill those roles are Jamon Meredith at left tackle, Kirk Chambers at right tackle and undrafted rookie Cordaro Howard at right guard.
Wide receiver will also be shorthanded with rookie Marcus Easley and James Hardy both on the shelf, with injuries. Buffalo will enter Friday's game with seven healthy receivers.
At linebacker three players will not dress and one is doubtful. Danny Batten, Ryan Manalac and Paul Posluszny are all out. Keith Ellison is doubtful to play.
Other players not expected to play include DE Spencer Johnson, TE Derek Schouman and OL Ed Wang. Offensive lineman Andre Ramsey's status is up in the air after missing Wednesday night's practice.
The opponentFriday night will also be the debut of Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan and their starting quarterback Donovan McNabb after 11 years in Philadelphia. McNabb is the first Washington quarterback to come off a Pro Bowl season since Brad Johnson 10 years ago.
McNabb will get 15-18 snaps in Friday night's game according to Shanahan.
His offensive backfield will consist of three veteran candidates that all have Pro Bowls on their resume. The current depth chart has Clinton Portis as the starter, who began his career under Shanahan in Denver. He's followed by Larry Johnson, Ryan Torain, who also spent time with Shanahan in Denver and Willie Parker.
Much like the Bills, Washington's offensive line is also undergoing some reconstruction on the edges. The Redskins used the fourth overall pick in last April's draft to select Oklahoma OT Trent Williams, who will be manning the left tackle position. Opposite Williams will be Jammal Brown, when healthy. The Redskins acquired him from New Orleans.
The Redskins defense, just like the Bills is also switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme under defensive coordinator and former Bills linebacker Jim Haslett. Washington's defense has ranked in the top 10 each of the last two years.
DT Albert Haynesworth, who needed about a week to pass a team conditioning test is expected to play Friday night.
Not expected to play in the game is RT Jammal Brown (hip), WR Malcolm Kelly (hamstring), backup safety Chris Horton (groin) and third quarterback Richard Bartel (hamstring). Veteran Stephon Heyer will start in place of Brown at right tackle.
The last timeBuffalo's last preseason meeting with the Redskins was two seasons ago in Washington with the Redskins coming away with a 17-14 victory. A 14-14 tie at the half was broken by a third quarter Shaun Suisham field goal that proved to be the difference.
James Hardy had the lone Buffalo touchdown in the contest, which was set up by an interception by Ashton Youboty.