Jul 21, 2014; Pittsford, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) passes the ball during training camp at St John Fisher College. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Optimism isn’t a word regularly used to describe fans of the Buffalo Bills.
But in 2014, Optimism is brewing in Buffalo, NY. It is in the air. You can feel optimism in the players and the coaches. Optimism is running through the organization and the fans are feeding off of it.
As I watched the Bills practice at the St. John Fisher athletic facilities in Pittsford, NY, I couldn’t help but notice the excitement in the air. Optimistic fans walked around the tents of local businesses who work with the Buffalo Bills franchise in their Sammy Watkins jerseys. Children ran around the field after practice to grab a few signatures from players on the sidelines. Aaron Williams even stopped by my VIP tent and chatted up with a few friends; When a fan asked if he would sign some autographs for some kids in the VIP tent next to mine, Williams jokingly said “How many?” The fan looked a little shocked until Aaron laughed and ran over to the tent, signed some autographs, then threw his Gatorade towel into the tent and ran off with Brandon Spikes.
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As the youthful Buffalo Bills organization enters their second season together, the pressure of making the playoffs and bringing success to the city seems to be of top priority. The players are energetic and confident as they work hard on the field to make not only themselves better, but the team. I watched Mario Williams own every offensive tackle who tried to block him as he applied consistent pressure alongside Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. Some people have questioned the quarterback play of EJ Manuel throughout training camp, claiming he seems to still struggle reading coverages. When I watched Friday’s practice it was easy to see the defense was not making it easy for any of the quarterbacks. In one drill, Jeff Tuel threw a strike to a receiver competing for the ball with Nickell Robey only to have it picked off by Robey. This intensity will have to correlate into the season but there is no denying the energy brought to the table.
As a lifelong Bills fan I will be the first to admit that Optimism is always brewing at it’s peak during the Buffalo Bills training camp. As we approach the beginning of the preseason Buffalo has high hopes. Hopes of a winning season. Hopes of a playoff berth. Hopes for a young quarterback to develop quickly into a franchise quarterback. With the depth of the 2014 team, how can you think otherwise?
At the end of the day, the Buffalo Bills know they need to carry the energy and confidence from the preseason into the regular season. All that’s left to do is put the pieces together and stay optimistic that they will fall into place.
After all, what else can Buffalo fans do but hope?