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Friday Morning Mailbag: Training Camp 3

10:26 AM, Aug 16, 2013   |    comments
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Friday used to be a good movie starring Ice Cube. Now, Ice Cube yells at beer bottles. So, Friday is no longer a good movie.

Luckily, Friday Morning Mailbag doesn't star in the worst movie ever made. So, go ahead. Pour yourself another cup. And enjoy this week's mailbag.

Q: Is it a statement that [Bills QB] Kevin Kolb is starting [Friday vs. the Vikings]? - @BigReid61

A: Hardly. Head coach Doug Marrone wants to give Kolb and rookie EJ Manuel equal opportunity. Kolb missed the first game because of a knee injury, so this week he gets the start. Marrone's doing a great job of not tipping his hand as to who the starter will be Week 1 vs. the Patriots. But in my mind, it's Manuel's job to lose. He'll have to screw up big time to start the season on the bench.

Q: Biggest question is- Does Manuel improve, stay the same or get worse [vs. Vikings]? - @Bills_Sabres88

A: Improves. He broke the ice against the Colts and played well. Against the Vikings, he'll have home field and facing mostly 2nd and 3rd team defenders - hard to imagine a regression. No chance he gets worse. Any experience is good experience, at this point.

Q: With a real run defense [Vikings], I wonder how effective C.J. Spiller and the O-Line can be? - @youngfarls11

A: Vikings allowed the 11th fewest rushing yards per game last year - definitely a tougher run defense than the Colts (4th worst in 2012). However, C.J. Spiller is in midseason form. He takes incredible care of his body, maybe not eating wise, but he's a workhorse. As long as the offensive line creates a seam, Spiller will average at least 5 yards per carry. Don't expect him to play more than a series or two, though. As a fan, you want to see enough to make you smile like a goon before he grabs some bench.

Q: With all the young talent at WR, who makes the cut moving forward and who is left on the outside looking in? - @Ed_Franz

A: Forget QB. This is the fiercest position battle at Bills Camp.

Locks: Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin

Fringe: Brad Smith, Da'Rick Rogers, Chris Hogan, Marcus Easley, Dorin Dickerson

Underdogs: Kevin Elliot, Brandon Kaufman, DeMarco Sampson, Terrell Sinkfield

Assume the Bills take six receivers, you have your four locks and then two from the "Fringe" group. That means three of them will not make the active roster. That's crazy.

I would take Rogers and Easley. Rogers low risk, high reward and everyone wants to see him break through. Easley provides depth on special teams and bigger receiver frame on offense. Brad Smith restructured his contract, but he's not a big enough threat in the passing game. If he makes the roster, special teams would be the main reason. As for Chris "7-11" Hogan and Dorin Dickerson, they're reliable but expendable. If the Bills cut Rogers, he'll get picked up by another team. Hogan and Dickerson are more likely to make practice squad.

Q: Do you think Marquise [Goodwin] could end up being better than Tavon [Austin] this season? If so, we got a steal. - @Nellvision1

A: One day, yes. Rams WR Tavon Austin is the go-to guy in St. Louis now. Goodwin, for the time being, is a third or fourth receiver. By numbers alone, Austin will get more targets - meaning more receptions, yards and touchdowns. But one day, and I mean this, Goodwin will be a dynamic starting WR/return man. #CountOnFlash

Q: Goodwin looks nice, but does he only run one route? - @mattymelts

A: Not at all. Slants, skinny posts, short out-routes and streaks. That's more than enough versatility for a sub-6-foot, speed receiver. Slants and deep routes is where he can flourish. He compares himself a bit to DeSeason Jackson. And, he's right.

Q: How are people gonna react to the new drinking rules at the Ralph? I see a lot of arrests being made. - @miked6970

A: Depends on the enforcement. Problem is, many tailgaters and fans might not know the new stadium rules. Read this to get caught up. Tips: 1) Cans, 2) Coozies, 3) Don't be an idiot.

Q: Since Kolb is starting, do you think the Vikings will sit their defense & put a bunch of rubber mats on the field instead? - @shmitty_2490

A: Bold strategy.

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