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Pre-Pre-Season Assessment: The Excitement is Great, But Is It Justified?

The Bills have become the toast of the town. With the Sabres left picking up the scraps, and with the Bills’ offseason moves, many fans are now jumping on the Bill’s bandwagon. Season ticket sales are through the roof, and five games are already sold out. Will Buffalo sports fans’ hopes once again be dashed or will the Bills live up to the hype?

To be sure, the Bills have improved their defense. The additions of Spencer Johnson (DT), Marcus Stroud (DT), Leodis Mckelvin (CB), William James (CB) and Kawika Mitchell (OLB) will help solidify what was a weak defensive unit last year. It also doesn’t hurt that Paul Posluszny and Ko Simpson will be back and healthy. On paper the Bills’ defensive unit has the ability to develop into one of the AFC’s best units. I see no reason why it won’t if it can stay healthy.

But for all the Bills’ woes last year on defense, you could argue that the offensive unit was just as bad. A quick glance at the moves made by the Bills to improve the offense leads one to conclude that the Bills’ offense enters the season as a huge question mark.

The Bills still enter the year with a young, unproven quarterback. At times Edwards looked good last year, but Bills fans don’t need to be reminded that young quarterbacks who show flashes of brilliance don’t always develop into superstars.

Last off-season, the Bills revamped their offensive line, shelling out millions for Derrick Dockery and Langston Walker with less than adequate return. One could argue that the offensive line is poised to have a breakout season now that the guys have a year’s worth of chemistry built up. But with prospect of a lengthy holdout by Jason Peters, the chemistry of the offensive line could actually get worse as Peters is missing valuable reps with his fellow starters. The Bills want to run the ball with Marshawn Lynch and rely on their defense to win but without improvement in the offensive line or passing game, don’t expect Lynch to get too many holes.

The Bills also did not do much in terms of giving Trent Edwards more options in the passing game. The Bills didn’t like the price-tags on free agents Alge Crumpler(TE) and Bryant Johnson (WR), so instead they brought in scrubs and a rookie receiver who seems to have project written all over him.

For a team that was somehow able to win seven games despite being awful (statistically) on offense and defense, it’s not clear that revamping the defense will be enough to push the Bills over the top and into the playoffs. The potential is there and it’s an exciting time to be a Bills fan. I like the direction that Dick Jauron has brought to the organization. But for the Bills to matter this year, their young offense must have players step up. Here’s keepin’ em crossed.

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