Behind Enemy Lines: Seahawks at Bills, Pt. 1

In the first of four preview articles, Doug Farrar of Seahawks.NET asks Tyler Dunne of Buffalo Football Report five questions about the Bills, the team the Seahawks will face in their season opener. How will Trent Edwards and Marshawn Lunch hold up as Buffalo's offensive linchpins, and is Marcus Stroud the answer for their defensive line?

Doug Farrar: The competition between Trent Edwards and J.P. Losman seems to continue. Edwards is an efficient short-range passer, while Losman seems like a more boom-and-bust downfield guy. Who has the inside track, and who is better for the Bills in the long term?

Tyler Dunne: It's Trent Edwards' team in Buffalo. He showed much more poise and pocket presence than Losman last season, and he would have started 5-0 as the starter had not of been for the Monday Night meltdown against Dallas. He added muscle to his frame in the offseason and new offensive coordinator Turk Schonert vows to push the ball downfield with more regularity. Granted, if Edwards struggles, Losman could be inserted and Buffalo will fall back into the quarterback carousel they've spun around in since Jim Kelly retired more than a decade ago.

DF: Marshawn Lynch is rightly regarded as one of the best young running backs in the NFL. What are his primary attributes, and who provides depth behind him?

TD: Lynch is a gritty runner to the core. It takes a lot of bodies to bring him down. He isn't particularly a game-breaking back, but he seems to always turn a one-yard loss into a three-yard gain by busting pass the first tackler. Behind him, Fred Jackson and Xavier Omon are intriguing change-of-pace backs. Jackson delivered in Lynch's stead last season and could receive 5-10 carries per game this season. Omon beat out Dwayne Wright for the No. 3 job. The sixth-round pick Omon is the only back in college football history to run for more than 1,500 yards in four different seasons, topping his career off at Northwest Missouri St. with 2,337 yards and 37 touchdowns last season.

DF: How is the Bills' receiver corps -- a unit that was depleted in 2007 -- looking in the new season?

TD: Very weak. For all the reinforcing the Bills did on the defensive side of the ball, they did little to provide Edwards with more weapons. Lee Evans is a big-play threat, but not consistent across the middle. Behind him, Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish are unproven fringe receivers. Rookie 6-foot-6 James Hardy seemed to be the perfect complement for the speedy Evans, but he has struggled to adjust to the speed of the NFL game. Maybe seventh-rounder Steve Johnson emerges as a darkhorse, but overall this unit will not strike fear into any defense. The talent just isn't there.

DF: The Jason Peters holdout is a worrisome thing for the team. Just how good is Peters, who will replace him, and how long do you see this holdout going?

TD: Jason Peters is considered a linchpin at left tackle for years to come. The former undrafted tight end out of Arkansas instantly became a big hit at right tackle, received a five-year, $15 million contract and was moved to the all-important left tackle spot. Now he wants to be paid his value and is holding out (Derrick Dockery and Langston Walker each make more money than him). The Bills moved Walker to left tackle and he should be good to go for week one after getting dinged up in the preseason. I see Peters swallowing his pride and returning to the team soon. He'll be disgruntled, but eventually will get the long-term deal he rightfully deserves.

DF: How has Marcus Stroud looked on the defensive line, and who else should Seattle's offensive line be looking out for?

TD: Marcus Stroud is hard to miss out there. At 6-foot-6, 315 pounds he's the team's biggest enforcer at defensive tackle since Pat Williams and Ted Washington joined forces. If his questionable ankles hold up, Stroud should set the tone for Buffalo's new pressure-oriented defense. Seattle should also key on Aaron Schobel. Although he had a downer last season (6.5 sacks), he remains Buffalo's best pass rusher and could be a force with more attention focuses on the interior.


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