All eyes on Buffalo Bills quarterback competition, but battle for kicking jobs worth watching

2013-07-30T07:12:00Z All eyes on Buffalo Bills quarterback competition, but battle for kicking jobs worth watchingRobert Harding | robert.harding@lee.net Auburn Citizen

Many people are asking this question: "Who will be the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills?" 

You don't hear too many people -- if any -- asking who the team's starting punter will be this season. 

While there are several competitions for positions at Buffalo Bills training camp, two involve both of the team's kicking positions. 

At kicker, incumbent Rian Lindell is competing for the job against rookie Dustin Hopkins. Lindell, who hasn't had a serious challenger for the position since he joined Buffalo in 2003, will have his hands full during camp. Hopkins is a very good kicker who could win the job. If that happens, Lindell's run in Buffalo could be over. 

Camp will be key for both players, but the preseason games will be more important. We know how Lindell handles game situations. He's a good -- not great -- kicker. How Hopkins performs in preseason games will be the difference. 

There is also a competition at punter between incumbent Shawn Powell and Brian Stahovich. Powell took over last season after Brian Moorman was released by the Bills. Powell had an OK season, but he wasn't a standout performer. 

On the first day of punting drills, it appears Powell has the edge. But don't count out Stahovich. Much like the kicking competition, if Stahovich punts well in games and can outperform Powell, the job is his. 

Remember: Doug Marrone is a new coach looking for players to compete for positions on this team. The best players will get the spots. With a good camp and solid preseason, don't be surprised if Hopkins and Stahovich win the kicker and punter jobs. But I think it's more likely that Powell will keep his job and Hopkins will edge Lindell for the kicking job. 

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