Alex Brasky | @BataviasBest
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 | BataviasBest.org
One of the Buffalo Bills’ most-important training camps in recent memory will begin on Thursday at St. John Fisher College, where several positional battles will be resolved, and new faces will break through in hopes of making the team heading into the bulk of the preseason.
Training Camp Dates: July 26 – August 15
Location: St. John Fisher College, Pittsford, New York
Before the action gets started, here is a brief preview of the most-important storylines surrounding Buffalo Bills 2018 Training Camp:
Most-Important Position Battle
Without a doubt the most-important position battle heading into camp is the fight between AJ McCarron, Josh Allen, and Nathan Peterman for the starting quarterback position. After acquiring McCarron in the offseason, drafting Allen, and bringing back Peterman for his second season with the Bills, the stage is set for these three to make for an exciting camp.
I’ve made my position clear already but the question concerning what Buffalo will choose to do with their three options at quarterback remains.
With McCarron you have an unproven veteran quarterback who is in a new city for the first time in his career, presumably ready to prove himself to the league as a bonafide option at the position.
With Allen you have the young prospect who is still raw, but could be a threat to take over the starting spot lightyears ahead of schedule.
With Peterman you have the second-year player who endured perhaps the worst debut in NFL history but is back to overcome the doubters and force his way into the QB controversy.
Which is the best best choice? You tell me.
Newcomer to Watch
We all know about Josh Allen, but there is another Bills rookie who has huge expectations in front of him heading into the 2018-2019 season. Middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is already becoming a huge part of the Bills’ future, and seems set to command the defensive huddle when training camp opens tomorrow.
Calling the defense is never an easy responsibility for a rookie, especially one that is just 20 years old, but reports surrounding the Bills’ new MLB indicate that he is mature beyond his years – which must make the Bills’ coaching staff more comfortable when settling on the fact that a rookie will be the leader of their defense.
Edmunds’ progress is certainly something to look for over the next month.
Under the Radar Camp Storyline
Aside from the quarterback situation, another important storyline heading into training camp is the presence of new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and whether or not he can come in to Buffalo and put the offense on a track toward becoming a stable, productive unit.
For years the Bills’ offense has been near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories, and the time is now for Daboll and his staff to get this thing in gear. I’m interested to see how his offense looks on the field, and how it gels with the personnel which the team has equipped him with.
We all know that Buffalo’s stable of receivers is less-than stellar, and with the questions surrounding LeSean McCoy heading into camp, a lot of pressure is on the Bills’ new OC to make the most out of what he is given.
Rick Dennison was hated by most Bills fans last season and like Dennison, Daboll won’t be given a very long leash by the fanbase if the team is to struggle out of the gate. On the other hand, if he is able to open the year with a competent gameplan and reasonable performance, two things which have eluded whoever has filled the position of Bills’ offensive coordinator in recent seasons, Daboll will become beloved in Buffalo.
Looming Camp Question
What’s going on with the offensive line?
After Eric Wood’s forced retirement, Richie Incognito’s fake retirement, and the trade of Cordy Glenn, the Bills’ offensive line is in a state of flux which the team hasn’t seen in quite some time. With plenty of new faces in the mix, along with some returning players who haven’t quite reached the level of a consistent NFL starter, it is certainly a question as far as whether or not Buffalo will put together a capable front in 2018-2019.
As it stands today Jordan Mills and Dion Dawkins seem to be the frontrunners as the team’s right and left tackle, Russell Bodine and Ryan Groy are likely to battle it out for the starting spot at center, while Vladimir Ducasse, John Miller, and rookie Wyatt Teller will fight for the starting guard positions.
I expect this to be the most fluent positional battle throughout camp and it will certainly be something worth paying attention to.
With everything discussed above, the member of the Bills’ organization facing the most pressure this season is undoubtedly head coach Sean McDermott. A year after leading this team out of the darkness of the drought and into the playoffs, there are now expectations in Buffalo and it’s McDermott’s job to live up to them.
This certainly seems to be the right man to lead this franchise, but do we know that?
We’ll know if he can back up last year’s performance with another playoff season in 2018-2019.
Then we’ll know.