Stevie Johnson is just as eager as Buffalo Bills fans are to see what their team will be in 2013.

And like them Johnson will watch this afternoon’s preseason opener at the Indianapolis Colts on television.

“I want to see guys step up and make plays” said Johnson who didn’t make the trip to Lucas Oil Stadium because of a strained hamstring.

While a few thousand fans have seen the Bills practice at St. John Fisher College the overwhelming majority of Western New Yorkers will get their first glimpse today. First-year head coach Doug Marrone and new coordinators Nathaniel Hackett and Mike Pettine will deploy some of their schemes. Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel will start.

“What I’d like to see out of EJ and the rest of the players” Marrone said “I’d like to see them go out there and be very competitive. Go out there and win a game.”

Johnson won’t get to watch in person but as one of Buffalo’s premier players he’s curious to see how the roster will begin to sort itself out. Johnson guessed he would watch the game from the trainer’s room at St. John Fisher College.

“I want to see how certain players react to situations” Johnson said. “I’m also going to look for the big play. I want to see the speed. Everybody has heard we have speed at receiver and they want to see it. I’m no different.”

One player’s performance Johnson claimed not to be overly interested in is Manuel’s. Johnson delivered a remark that seemed to suggest the writing is on the wall for Manuel the lone quarterback drafted in the first round this year.

“Week One yeah I’ll be like ‘Let’s see how he do with this’ ” Johnson said. “But in the preseason I’m not really focused on whether he throws completions incompletions or interceptions.”

Manuel might be starting because veteran Kevin Kolb didn’t practice for a week. Then again perhaps Manuel would have gotten the assignment anyway even had Kolb not hurt his knee or left the team to attend a funeral.

Marrone said Kolb will be in uniform this afternoon but won’t see any meaningful action and that undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel would be the second quarterback. Kolb returned to practice Friday night but didn’t stick around for the entire session.

The quarterback competition however is far from over – Manuel must show he can handle an NFL defense – and far from the only position to monitor today.

With Johnson and Brad Smith absent from the lineup because of hamstring injuries Buffalo’s young receiver group will get that many more snaps. Fans have heard and read much about rookies Robert Woods Marquise Goodwin and Da’Rick Rogers and the offseason development of sophomore T.J. Graham.