5 Questions The Buffalo Bills Must Answer During Training Camp
5 Questions the Buffalo Bills Must Answer During Training Camp
The Buffalo Bills are entering a new era, that much is undeniable. With an entirely new coaching staff and largely re-tooled roster, the Bills are hoping to reach a level of success that has so far eluded them this century. Namely, having a win-loss record that is consistently above the .500 mark. There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the new-look Bills, but with that excitement comes a vast amount of uncertainty.
As the team enters training camp, questions abound at every level of the organization. Although fans have been able to get a glimpse of the new game plan, very little is known of what the play-calling will look like on either side of the ball come this fall. Apart from the consistent themes of up-tempo, unpredictable play, Buffalo's new offense and defense remain a mystery.
There are also plenty of big roster decisions to be made. These include a few vital contract negotiations in addition to some highly intriguing positional battles. Several of these battles will be taking place at key skill positions -- QB, WR and LB -- which alone should make this a more interesting training camp than most.
Every NFL team heads into training camp with questions that must be answered, but that's especially true of the Buffalo Bills this year. Between new coaches and players, a brand-new playbook and open roster battles at virtually every position, this is shaping up to be an entertaining camp.
No. 5: Who Will Be The No. 2 Wide Reciever?
Behind Stevie Johnson, the Bills' receiving depth chart is wide open, and it has been for some time. The team finally looked to address this issue through this year's draft, adding plenty of young talent. Exactly who will step up and prove themselves to be a reliable second option is one of this year's most intriguing questions. Robert Woods would seem to be the natural frontrunner, given his appraisal as this year's 'most NFL-ready' rookie receiver. However, with reports that TJ Graham has been bringing it this offseason, I wouldn't count out number 11, either.
No. 4: What Will Nathaniel Hackett's New Offense Look Like?
This fall, the Bills will have a shiny new offense to pair with their shiny new quarterback, whoever that may be. Little is known of what this new offense will look like, other than the fact that it will be a true West Coast style progression scheme. It's interesting to note that the offensive play-calling may vary depending on who the team decides to start at QB. EJ Manuel and Kevin Kolb are polar opposites in terms of mobility, and that disparity may very well prove to have an impact on the new game plan.
No. 3: What Will Mike Pettine's New Defense Look Like?
...Probably a lot like his defense with the New York Jets, if we're being honest. It's a safe bet that Pettine's scheme will be fast, aggressive and designed to pressure/confuse opposing offenses. Outside of that, though, it will be interesting to see what new wrinkles Pettine has added to make Tom Brady's nightmares that much more vivid.
No. 2: Will Jairus Byrd Get A New Contract?
Dear god I hope the answer to this one is yes. The Bills have played hardball with their best and most developed defensive playmaker for far too long. They cannot let Byrd walk. It's that simple. And with $19 million in free cap space, the team will have absolutely no excuses if they do.
No. 1: Who Will Be the Starting Quarterback This Season?
This is probably the most important question the Bills must answer in camp, if for no other reason than because it involves the most important position in football. With the recent release of career journeyman Tavaris Jackson, Doug Marrone's open quarterback competition just became a two-man race. So far, fans have been close to equally divided on the sit him/start him debate over EJ Manuel. Some think he should spend at least a season on the bench to develop, while others believe that it doesn't make sense to spend a first-round pick on someone who isn't intended to be an immediate contributor. If there is a consensus, it's that whoever ends up starting the season under center needs to earn it, first.