The team has had close to two weeks of training camp and has already renewed excitement within the fan base that has been missing for years now. This team has seen numerous new beginnings over its decade-long playoff drought, but this has a much different feel.
Here is a list of four players rising, and four players who have seen their stock drop through the first two weeks of camp.
EJ Manuel is off to a great start in his first NFL training camp. By no means has it been perfect and he has made mistakes through the first two weeks. However, that is expected of a rookie quarterback. The key is how he has handled it.
In an intra-squad scrimmage on Monday night, Manuel could not have started any worse when his first pass was picked off by Leodis McKelvin and returned for six.
These types of mistakes can rattle rookie quarterbacks fairly easily. This was not the case with Manuel, as he finished the night strong by running a great two-minute drill and capping it off with six of his own.
It will be interesting to see how Manuel progresses the rest of training camp and preseason. If he continues to progress the way he has, it will be hard to keep him off the field to start the season.
Kevin Kolb has been the unfortunate victim of bad luck over these two weeks. He started out by having a shaky start to camp, and as Marc Sessler of NFL.com writes, "Accuracy issues and shoddy pocket presence have EJ Manuel closing in."
This was before his freak injury over the weekend when he tripped over a rubber mat on his way out to practice. Coach Marrone said Kolb bumped his knee and would be day-to-day. Then Monday morning he was excused from practice due to a death in his family.
This position battle is not over by a long shot, but Manuel has closed any gap that may have been there at the start of camp. It looks to be a dead heat from this point forward and Kolb will need a strong camp to secure the starting quarterback position.
When the Bills released their first unofficial depth chart before Monday night's scrimmage, one of the big surprises was Alex Carrington being listed as a starter at defensive end.
Alex Carrington was a third-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft. He has primarily been a backup over the first three years of his career with only six starts, which all came in 2012.
Coach Marrone was asked after the scrimmage about what has stood out about Carrington, and his response was:
He’s had an outstanding camp. He really has. The one thing that you have to work on during camp is pad level quite a bit. We talked to the coaches about that. But I think Alex Carrington has had the best pad level throughout the camp on both sides of the ball. And I think he’s playing extremely well for us right now.
This could be a sign of things to come for the defensive end.
It is hard to keep your stock steady when a player has not taken part in a practice yet. This is the case with Jairus Byrd, who has refused to sign his franchise tender offer and is currently holding out.
This is especially troubling with new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine implementing a brand new defensive scheme. While he is one of the best safeties in the game today, he is severely behind in learning the defense. Not to mention he will have a new safety paired up with him this year after the release of George Wilson.
It seems like there is a number of things working against Byrd right now. The sooner he decides to get to camp, the quicker he can learn the defense and be better prepared for Week 1.
When the question is asked, "Who is going to help Stevie Johnson this year?", many have pointed to T.J. Graham, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. These four players, along with undrafted wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers, have been the popular answers.
One player who has flown under the radar is Chris Hogan. He played at Monmouth University and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the 49ers in 2011. Most fans who recognize the name will remember him as "7-Eleven" from HBO's Hard Knocks last season as a member of the Miami Dolphins.
He is currently ahead of Marcus Easley and Da'Rick Rogers on the depth chart. Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 talked about how good Hogan has looked through camp in this tweet:
WR Chris Hogan has been showing well through spring and camp. His spot on the depth chart reflects that. #Bills— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) August 5, 2013
If he continues to play the way he has, it would not be surprising if Hogan is able to secure one of the final roster spots.
Since being drafted by the Bills in 2010, Marcus Easley has had trouble getting onto the field due to a number of injuries. This includes being diagnosed with a heart ailment at the start of the 2011 season.
He finally saw some game action toward the end of last season, but primarily on special teams. He had an uphill climb to start training camp and has not been able to separate himself from the competition. He currently is ranked seventh on the team's depth chart.
The coaching staff will have a number of talented wide receivers to choose from to solidify the position. If Easley is not able to have a strong showing in preseason games and for the remainder of camp, he may be on the outside looking in.
Jamie Blatnick was signed by Buffalo this offseason and had played well in practices leading up to training camp. His performance gave Buffalo enough confidence to release Mark Anderson near the end of July.
Blatnick has shown an ability to get in the backfield and according to Joe Buscaglia was the MVP of the scrimmage. The OLB/DE will be hard pressed to unseat any of the current starters, but he should be able to see regular playing time on passing downs due to his ability to get in the backfield.
The Bills were not very active in free agency, but one of their key signings was defensive tackle Alan Branch. He was brought in to help shore up a defensive line that includes Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams.
He has not had much impact through the first two weeks of camp and has spent the majority of his time with the second and third units, according to Joe Buscaglia. He did note that he has gotten better as contact has picked up in practice.
Branch was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals but didn't have much success until he arrived in Seattle. Depending on the defensive set, Branch will be competing for playing time with players like Alex Carrington or Jay Ross, who has also had a strong camp.