The Bills had a good week of practice following their win in Detroit. The team is flying to Chicago for their second preseason game featuring a matchup against the Bears on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Here are three things to know about Saturday afternoon's game.
1. Young players taking the next step
Sean McDermott addressed the media before practice on Thursday and said that many of the core guys that have been in the organization will not be playing against the Bears. That means for a second week, the younger players will have more reps to prove to the coaching staff that they deserve a spot on the roster. McDermott was pleased with the performance of his team in Detroit but now they need to build off that this week in Chicago.
"I just think, generally speaking, it's continuing to improve," McDermott said. "We did some good things in the first game, but there's a lot of work to be done and there's a lot of improvement yet to be had. So, we want to see those guys that were first-year players that got their first taste last week, take another step this week."
The three preseason games are crucial for these young NFL players who don't have a lot of game tape on them. Their first goal is to try to make this Bills team, but they also want to show the other teams around the league what they can do. After practice on Thursday, Matt Breida gave some advice to the young players on how to approach these preseason opportunities.
"The biggest thing is just, go out there and play football," Breida said. "We've been doing it our whole lives since we were young and it's the same thing now. The game is a little faster, but you'll get adjusted to that. So, just go and play, give your best effort and whatever happens, happens. It only takes one team in this league. There are 32 teams, and it only takes one. So whatever team believes in you, just run with it."
2. Mitchell Trubisky heads back to Chicago
After spending four seasons as the Bears quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky will return to Chicago for the first time as an opponent. McDermott told the media Thursday that Trubisky would start against Chicago. Trubisky had a winning record with two playoff appearances during his tenure with the Bears and last week, he explained his feelings on returning to Chicago.
"It'll be weird going back there," Trubisky stated. "But I'm looking forward to it."
Trubisky started the Bills first preseason game but only threw two passes and completed one for ten yards. The quarterback is looking to do more in week two as he gains more confidence in this Bills offense. Trubisky hasn't talked to a lot of his teammates about returning to Chicago, but Jacob Hollister, who is on his third team, knows what it's like to go back and play against a team you used to play for.
"It's like you said, when you play for any team going back for me, Seattle, and the Patriots, stuff like that, I think that you get a little bit excited to go play them," Hollister said. "But we haven't talked about it at all, but I think that of course, he wants to go back there and ball out in his home stadium."
3. Teammates building on-field chemistry with one another
Last season, week one of the regular season was the first time many of the Bills played in a game together. This year with the return of the preseason, they have a buffer to get in-game reps together before the regular season starts. For many of the first-year veterans on this team, they will see a lot of playing time against Chicago, and Hollister is eager for another chance to play for his new team.
"I think anytime you go out there and especially being on a new team, this is my third team," Hollister said. "So just having a chance to run through the offense and get more comfortable with it is big. Us as a team, I think that going against a team that's as good as the Bears are, it's just a great opportunity. Their front seven's really good and we're excited to be out there."
For the Bills defensive line, these three preseason games are important to figure out what combinations of players are most effective for the team. Throughout the game, they will continue to rotate players along the line to find the best fit. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is glad to be able to use the preseason to figure this type of thing out.
"That's a big part of it and that's something we talked at length about following the game when we had our personnel meeting," Frazier said. "Which two or three [players] that we think work best together because some of those guys can slip inside because of the position flexibility. So, we're still going through that, but that is a part of it."
Scroll through to see the best photos from Day 14 of Bills training camp, presented by Connors & Ferris.