Buffalo Bills: The state of the team before the 2018 regular season

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Reflecting on last season’s playoff run, added players on the roster and position battles are just a few things addressed in the state of the Buffalo Bills.

After the memorable and exhilarating run to the playoffs a season ago, the Buffalo Bills return to regular season action on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

The team hopes to continue where they left off in January, feeling optimistic and excited. It’s ironic that the Bills play the Ravens to kick off their season.

Week 17 last season, Bengals vs. Ravens. A win for the Ravens meant the playoffs. A loss meant a long-awaited return to the playoffs for the Bills. In the last minute of the fourth quarter, everyone watched as Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw the game-winning touchdown to wide receiver Tyler Boyd, pushing the Ravens out of a Wild Card spot as Buffalo swooped in.

Fans were silent because they were speechless. The realization that an 18-year drought would finally come to an end sent jaws dropping and goosebumps down your arm.

That moment is still very real in the minds of players, coaches and fans. Entering this season, the team looks different. New players added in free agency and the draft cover the depth chart. Future stars like rookie quarterback Josh Allen and rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds will soon show their talent on the national stage and could very likely transform into top players in the NFL. These two reflect the future of the team.

Nathan Peterman has shown enough this preseason to be named the starting quarterback in Week 1 and will give much-needed time to rookie quarterback Josh Allen to study Sean McDermott’s playbook and learn under Peterman.

I believe the Bills have the best running back group that we have seen in a good while. Led by six-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro LeSean McCoy, who crossed 10,000 rushing yards last season.

Marcus Murphy has really made a name for himself in training camp and during the preseason. This season will really be his first showing the amount of skill he has. He could, in my mind, soon be a backup running back in the league. He has so much skill and determination for the game.

Chris Ivory spent last season in Jacksonville, getting very limited time on the field. He played behind Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon. He’s a definite upgrade from Mike Tolbert and I think he’ll play well this season.

The offensive line was disappointing and all out embarrassing during the preseason, allowing opposing defenses to rush and sack the quarterback, a lot. Losing Eric Wood and Richie Incognito during the offseason left a blow to the offensive line.

Ryan Groy has won the battle for starting center, against Russell Bodine. I believe Dion Dawkins is one of the many underrated players in the league and is our best lineman on the roster.

On Saturday, the final cuts came down and some of the notable ones were tight end Nick O’Leary and wide receivers Corey Coleman and Brandon Reilly.

The Bills kept six wide receivers on the squad and it’s not a bad group of guys. Just have to keep Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones healthy. I would have liked to see Reilly make the roster, or at least the practice squad. But his time in Buffalo is done. Once rookie Ray-Ray McCloud is healthy, he will be a valuable piece to the offense.

I think most people saw Nick O’Leary’s tenure on the Bills coming to an end during training camp and in the preseason. He has good pieces here and there, but not enough to keep a roster spot. Jason Croom and Khari Lee looked impressive during the preseason and fans should be looking forward to seeing them play again, behind starter Charles Clay.

The defense is what I am most excited for this season. We get to see another season with the “dynamic duo” of Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde and see if they can continue what they did all last season. The cornerback squad is pretty much all new, besides Tre’Davious White and Lafayette Pitts.

I believe the duo of Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano will be great; two solid players who make the big plays. Lots of new additions to the defense this season will hopefully bring a new light to that group.

Entering training camp, the Bills had two punters on the roster, Colton Schmidt and Corey Carter. Carter suffered a torn ACL against Cleveland and is out for the season. Then the team signed 13-year veteran Jon Ryan, formerly with the Seahawks. Ryan didn’t see much play in the preseason and cut. Most thought that Schmidt won the battle right there, but we were wrong.

Colton Schmidt was released along with the final cuts and the Bills signed Corey Bojorquez off waivers from the Patriots. An undrafted free agent, he has not attempted a punt in the preseason. Fans and players alike are confused with the decision made about Schmidt and most weren’t expecting that.

Next. Starting Nathan Peterman is the right move. dark

The games actually count for real this week as another Bills season is set to get underway.