Not good enough.
That was the message delivered by receiver Stevie Johnson after the Buffalo Bills returned to practice Saturday, two days after the offense produced a preseason-opening dud.
“It’s only so long where you can be the old Bills getting beat around this conference,” Johnson said. “Preseason game, practice, we’ve got to be better if we want to get to where we want to be.”
The high expectations the Bills (No. 19 in the AP Pro32) carried into training camp were dealt a setback after the offense bumbled through a 7-6 loss to the Washington Redskins on Thursday.
Buffalo’s starters managed just two first downs and 40 net yards in three possessions. Worse yet, they settled for a field goal on their second drive, which began at the Redskins 21 following a fumble recovery.
Instead of looking like the productive offense that helped the team get off to a 5-2 start last season, the Bills on Thursday resembled more the unit that came unraveled in losing eight of its final nine games.
Johnson refused to use limited playing time or first-game jitters as an excuse.
“We’re the ones (starters) so we’ve got to play like ones,” Johnson said. “It’s only so long before it’s going to be Week 1, when we’ll be going out there and playing against the Jets. So let’s get it going.”
The Bills look to rebound in preparing for a game at Minnesota on Friday.
Coach Chan Gailey was pleased in being relayed Johnson’s comments, because they echoed the message he issued to players in a meeting before practice.
“I’m glad he feels that way. If everybody doesn’t feel that way then we’re in trouble,” Gailey said. “We made progress last year, but it’s not going to happen just because we did it last year. You’ve got to make it happen again this year.”