Buffalo Bills: Zero expectations is exactly how it should be

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

After breaking the 17-year playoff drought last season the Buffalo Bills enter this season with low expectations, and that’s how it should be.

The first NFL Sunday of the season is here and it is time to rejoice. This season marks the first time in nearly two decades that the Buffalo Bills don’t have a large dark cloud hanging over the franchise.

This offseason has been the most exciting for me of my lifetime. Coming off a playoff appearance (still can’t believe it), the team traded away their quarterback, traded up into the draft, were linked to every QB in the draft class, drafted the QB with the most question marks, traded up twice, drafted a teenager, had a quarterback competition, and didn’t really address the offensive talent on the team. It has been crazy.

All of that has led us to where we are now. The veteran we signed to be the presumed starter when he signed here is now in Oakland via trade, the seventh overall pick with all-world talent and a bazooka for a right arm is the number two, and the fifth-round pick in 2017 who threw five interceptions in the first half of his first start was named the starter and is QB1 for the time being. Not to mention, the offensive line looked really bad at one point and the defense looks like they took a step back, but hey, real football!

For me, this season is about next season. That doesn’t make a ton of sense because it is Week 1 of the 2018 season and we have a lot to learn about the team, but this isn’t the year we contend and this isn’t the roster that will be part of the team’s long-term success. This season is about clearing the cap for next season, seeing what we need to add on offense, maybe making the playoffs again, furthering the process and seeing if Allen is ready.

Ultimately, making the playoffs last season allows this season to be expectation free. Whatever happens, happens. If the team goes 3-13, great! We pick near the top of every round and we get to add top talent. If we go 8-8, we came back to earth and had a solid year with a team that is lacking a lot of talent. If we go back to the playoffs, statues for Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott should be built immediately.

If the Bills have a winning record this year that means something went right. Either Nathan Peterman or Josh Allen has had success at QB and either is a good sign for the team. If Peterman doesn’t do well, that means Allen is in and we can see what he looks like.

Other than the drought being over, what makes me comfortable with no expectations this year is Beane and McDermott. It seems like every player on the roster has bought into what McDermott demands from his players and the “process,” and I have too. He does do some things that I don’t always agree with, but you will get that with any coach.

When it comes to Beane, I am blown away by what he has done with the roster. I cannot recall a trade he has lost. He has built a roster with some talent and affordable contracts, and his ability to get picks for parts is amazing to me. While he has nearly $50 million in dead cap money this season, that will disappear next season and he can spend a massive amount to transform the roster.

I continue to compare the Bills plan to the Bears – build around a young QB on a rookie deal and add weapons to allow him to succeed. The Bills will be big spenders next season to help build up the offensive line and add to the receiving corps to make the offense more talented.

This is the first year in over a decade that my expectations for the team are minimal. Of course I want them to win, but if they don’t, that is okay. It isn’t about this year or the next, it is about the next 10-15. It is about the long-term plan for the Buffalo Bills and how can the team continue to lay the foundation for years to come.

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I am going to sit back, relax, and truly enjoy the Bills season this year. No stress, no worrying about the playoffs or asking why I do this every year. All I am left with hope and the potential that this is the start of a new era for the Bills.