Bills Should Go First

Wondering how many children cried on Kids Day is a natural reaction to this preseason. Football die-hards are keeping track even if they’re not really keeping score, and the Bills are already making viewers wish they had other plans.

(Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)
Kids Day did not go well for Bills fans or players. (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Camp is officially done and the preseason essentially so, aside from a game tomorrow that will be notable for the desperation of players out to snag a final roster spot. Those who make it will be rewarded for playing frenzied. A similar mania will be necessary to fix a passing offense that should be released.

A final chance for starters to look good won’t erase memories of grotesque drives. The last real chance to impress was more disturbing than Tampa Bay’s uniforms, which appear to be how people from 1981 dreamed alarm clocks would look like in 1998. Sometimes, peering into the future only leads to finding something dated. There’s nothing visionary about where this is headed.

It isn’t enough to start playing proficiently halfway through the third quarter. Trying to find good signs about throws is more tiring than being Alan Branch’s lawyer. We can’t write off this season just yet: the only sure thing is that kickoffs will be dreadfully boring thanks to incessant touchbacks, which is true for every team. There’s no need to waste a roster spot to make it so. But anyone who’s seen too many checkdowns and not enough accuracy is struggling to explain why it’s not as bad as it seems, no matter how skilled Bills fans are at it.

There are no excuses for preseason creakiness. If they were rusty, then every other team should have been in similar condition. Tampa looked like it had eradicated oxidation. Maybe the Bills can blame youth for their alienated ways, as if they’re the only team trying to stir in youngsters.  How about sticking their troubles on player absences?  Buffalo’s offense seems to be leaning on Sammy Watkins before he’s even played a real game. Dependency this early is not a strong sign for the relationship’s future.

Everyone knows these semi-games doesn’t correspond with regular slate. Maybe. The Lions famously won all their preseason games in 2008 before losing all the ones that counted. So, preseason means nothing, except when it does. By contrast, the ring-wearing Seahawks won all their exhibitions least year as they set the tone by emphasizing victories while the kids were still out of school. Individual culture determines the approach. The importance of winning games that don’t count depends on the franchise. Either way, Buffalo did not come out ahead.

Score aside, the real summertime win comes in looking competent. By that measure, the passing game lost. Trepidation about sloppy play overwhelms fans looking for any sign loyalty will finally be rewarded. Bashing attendees who booed just because they paid to see a poor effort is not making an understandably cranky audience feel sympathetic toward the performers. Fans want evidence up front. A Bills Mafioso may presently feel like a doubting Thomas, and not Thurman.

Exasperated observers may feel challenged enough to research the benefits of pessimism instead of creating scenarios where a largely uninspiring preseason was an aberration. A tempered outlook for the regular schedule isn’t any more enjoyable than implausibly postulating why they’ll make the playoffs without improving from woeful scrimmage showings. The offense still needs to establish proof. Backers have spent months this offseason and years since the last January game looking for progress. Now, it’s players’ turn to show it.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.

One Reply to “Bills Should Go First”

  1. When a team is building an offense, it really does matter in what order they roll it out. That’s to say, start up front on the line. A good offensive lineman will have (barring a very catastrophic injury) perhaps a dozen years in which to play. A promising young QB placed behind a bad line may develop into a head case. It’s good to have a couple of WRs who really know what they’re doing by the time he starts, obviously, and WRs can play about 10 effective years, if they’re not being continually led across the middle into traffic. The last component is the RBs. A good workhorse RB might only have 5 or 6 years before he’s beaten to pieces, and it’s important to him and to the QB to have a TE who’s a good in-line blocker, or at least a competent FB, if you want to go retro and save cap space down the line.