1. Trent Murphy to be on rep count vs. Ravens
Trent Murphy hasn’t played a snap in a regular season game since January 1, 2017. This will change on Sunday, as he’ll be in the Bills’ lineup for their Week 1 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
While Murphy will see playing time on Sunday, it may be in a limited role. Head coach Sean McDermott plans on keeping Murphy on a pitch count in his Bills debut.
“Shaq [Lawson] has had a good preseason,” McDermott said. “Then with Trent he’ll be on a managed rep count. I’m not going to get into who is going to start and rotation and those types of things. But overall that’s where we’ll start.”
Playing time is something that Murphy hasn’t had a lot of in the recent past. Then a member of the Washington Redskins, Murphy missed the entire 2017 season after tearing his ACL in the team’s first preseason game. After signing with the Bills in the offseason, he missed most of training camp and all four preseason games after suffering a groin injury in August.
Murphy returned to practice as a full participant this week. Although Murphy likely won’t play a large number of snaps on Sunday, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is pleased with his progress.
“I’m very encouraged by [Murphy’s] work,” Frazier said. “He’s been able to put [in] back to back days now for the first time in a long time. Really looking forward to tomorrow [and] seeing how he feels when he comes back to practice. Up to this point, [I’m] really encouraged by his work."
2. Wyatt Teller one of PFF’s top rookie guards of the preseason
For fans, the NFL preseason can be a bit of a drag from time to time. While teams can win games in the preseason, getting out of the four-game stretch with no major injuries is often looked at as the biggest victory that a team can have.
For players, however, the preseason is looked at as an opportunity. Players who entered offseason workouts on the roster bubble can earn spots with strong outings. Rookies and veterans alike look to make an impact in the preseason, and make an impact is exactly what Bills’ guard Wyatt Teller did.
Teller, whom the Bills selected in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, saw time in all four of the team’s preseason matchups, starting the final game. Pro Football Focus feels as though Teller made the most out of his opportunities, as he finished the preseason as one of the outlet’s highest-graded rookie guards.
Teller’s preseason grade is higher than that of Frank Ragnow, who was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 20th overall pick in last April’s draft. Teller also received a higher grade than Will Hernandez, whom the New York Giants took in the second round.
While Teller appreciates the grade from PFF, he still feels as though he has room to improve.
“Pro Football Focus is always giving me a little bit of love and I appreciate it,” Teller said. “But I was just learning [in the preseason], trying to get better each week, you know the biggest thing was finding consistency. Mauling kids and doing my job is one thing, but finding [that] consistency, instead of six or seven times out of ten, getting that eight, nine, ten times out of ten. It needs to be every time.
“With those grades, I always take them with a grain of salt. It’s cool seeing that, cool hearing that, but in my mind, I have so much to work on that I can’t really focus on that stuff.
3. Taiwan Jones describes ‘special’ feeling that comes with captaincy
To say that Taiwan Jones’ time with the Buffalo Bills has been eventful would be an understatement.
Signed by the team in the 2017 offseason, Jones made an immediate impact in training camp, earning a spot on the 53-man roster. Jones became a key special teams player for Buffalo, serving as the team’s gunner and part-time kick returner in eight games. His season came to a premature end after he broke his arm in the team’s Week 9 matchup with the New York Jets.
Jones battled back, re-signing with the Bills in the offseason before earning a spot on the active roster after a solid preseason. Jones’ return to Buffalo’s 53-man roster wasn’t an easy one, but he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
“I’ve always had it hard,” Jones said. “So I feel like it’s only right for it to have been that way. I had a few ups and downs with my injury, but we made it through. We kept grinding.”
The 2018 season will be a special one for Jones. Not only will be once again serve as a key special teams player for the Bills, but he’ll also wear a “C” on his chest every Sunday. After a team election, Jones, along with five of his teammates, were named captains.
Jones is honored that his teammates chose him to serve as a leader.
“It means a lot, for the most part because I was elected by my peers, my teammates, my brothers,” Jones said. “The fact that they voted and felt that I should be a captain, that’s what made that special.”