The Date: Thursday, July 29th
The Place: St. John’s Fisher College in Pittsford, NY
The Storyline: Buffalo Bills begin 2010 Training Camp
With just over two weeks away, we’re about to embark on the Buffalo Bills 2010 NFL season. They say that hope springs eternal, but I say that summer evokes optimism. Whether you’re the reigning Super Bowl champion or you’re the team that had the first overall pick in the draft, in July we’re all looking through the same rose-colored glasses. In July, everybody’s a Super Bowl hopeful.
But soon the infatuation of training camp wears off, and the real world NFL will come calling again. How exactly these Bills will measure up in 2010 largely depends on how many questions they’re able to answer (or not answer) about themselves.
It’s fair to say that the majority of the football media aren’t enamoured with the Bills, their new regime, their offseason and their draft. Whether right or wrong, whether you agree or not, the public perception of the Bills isn’t flattering. And maybe in return, the Bills aren’t a flattering team , so this probably works to an extent in both ways.
If you’ve viewed any preseason power rankings or write ups, the Bills won’t be found on the first page with the usual suspects Indianapolis, New Orleans, Minnesota, New England and San Diego. The Bills are placed near the bottom of the heap, some going as far as ranking the Bills as the worst team in the NFL. I can remember mere days after the 2010 NFL Draft concluded that ESPN”s Todd McShay already had the Bills selecting No.1 overall in the 2011 draft, so that right there probably tells you all you need to know about the perception of Buffalo and what to expect in 2010.
But this is the world we live in. The court of public opinion wields a lot of power and influence, and they’ve told us the Bills belong in the four-or-five-win-club along with fellow cellar dwellars in Cleveland, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Kansas City.
It’s very hard to use the phrase contender and Bills in the same breath. The popular view is that the Bills have three quarterbacks, which suggests they don’t have any. They’re converting to the 3-4 defense with still largely 4-3 player personnel and the tackle spots remain in flux and the Bills failed to address the position in the draft. If you go a step further, Las Vegas has told us that the Bills are 20 to 1 odds to win the AFC East and 100 to 1 odds to win the Super Bowl; St. Louis and Tampa Bay are also 100 to 1 odds.
The tasks for the Bills in 2010 won’t be for weak and weary, and much like the draft philosphy, the Bills will plug holes in 2010 but it’s foolish to think all their problems are solveable in one season. But they have to start somewhere.
They need to find out once and for all if Trent Edwards fits into their plans going forward as a quarterback, or whether Brian Brohm is capable of being a starter in the NFL. They must find a way to conquer their New Englad demons; the Bills have lost 13 straight games to the Patriots. The Bills’ consecutive losing seasons stands at five, while their playoff drought is at 10 years and counting.
Sure, it’s only July and there’s plenty of hope in the air. The pigskin, the pads and the helmets are about to reappear. But in a couple weeks, simply hoping won’t be good enough. When camps breaks, and July turns into August and August morphs into September, the Bills will need wins to accomplish their tasks and elevate out of the AFC basement.