NFL Preseason Preview - Washington (0-0) at Buffalo (0-0)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - There's a raised level of excitement surrounding both the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills, two teams that will be unveiling their big-name offseason additions when they go head-to-head at Ralph Wilson Stadium in their respective preseason openers.
The main attraction of this exhibition lid-lifter will undoubtably be rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner whom the Redskins traded up to grab with the No. 2 overall pick in April's draft. The dynamic youngster was immediately anointed as Washington's starter under center and is projected to receive somewhere between 12-to-20 snaps in Thursday's game.
Griffin's renowned scrambling ability could very well be on display early and often as well, with three regulars on the Redskins' offensive line a possibility to sit out the contest. Right tackle Jammal Brown is currently on the physically unable to perform list with an ailing hip, left guard Kory Lichtensteiger is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season, while right guard Chris Chester is questionable to go after spraining his left ankle in Monday's practice.
Washington also selected former Michigan State signal-caller Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of this past draft, with the newcomer slated to work with the third-team offense late in the contest.
Buffalo fans will be keeping a close eye on the defensive side after the team restocked the problematic unit over the past few months. The Bills landed the biggest catch on this year's free-agent market in two-time All-Pro end Mario Williams while also bringing in pass-rushing specialist Mark Anderson, both of whom will work as the primary ends on a potentially terrific front line.
The Bills also bolstered the secondary by taking cornerback Stephon Gilmore with the 10th overall choice in the draft, and the South Carolina product is scheduled to make his debut in the starting lineup on Thursday. Offensive lineman Cody Glenn, the club's second-round pick, may get some work with the first-team offense as well as he competes with second-year pro Chris Hairston for the starting nod at left tackle.
Another interesting battle to watch for Buffalo will take place at quarterback, where incumbent Tyler Thigpen is attempting to hold off onetime Tennessee franchise face Vince Young to be the No. 2 on the depth chart behind entrenched starter Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Bills head coach Chan Gailey plans to have his regulars out for around 15- to-18 plays, though that list won't include center Eric Wood (knee surgery recovery), right tackle Erik Pears (groin) and slot receiver David Nelson (leg). Top wideout Stevie Johnson, who's been battling a lingering groin strain during camp, figures to be a game-time decision.
These teams last squared off in Toronto during Week 8 of last year's regular season, with Buffalo coming away with a convincing 23-0 victory. The Redskins did rout the Bills by a 42-17 count at FedEx Field in the most recent preseason clash between the two, which took place in 2010.
Washington holds an 8-5 lead in its overall preseason series with Buffalo.
08/08 13:56:10 ET