Time to buy that Buffalo Bills’ jersey at the Bryk House

Last weekend we were camping and attended the Smashing Pumpkins concert at Six Flags. I noticed quite a few Bills jerseys. I will obviously take more notice at the stadium and certainly will have more opportunity, but a small sample is adequate for now.

The safe jerseys in recent years have been retro jerseys with Jim Kelly leading the way. I officially saw several more Josh Allen jerseys than Kelly jerseys while entering the amphitheater to catch the Noel Gallagher opener correctly anticipating hearing a couple Oasis classics.

This did happen for a little bit when Tyrod Taylor broke out as a starter. It also happened with Trent Edwards. I do not recall that being the case for the E.J. Manuel/Kyle Orton mustache administration.

I do not recollect that being the case with Harvard’s Gunslinger; Professor Fitzpatrick.

When Buffalo suffered with the quarterback from Bill and Teds Excellent Adventures that Buffalo traded up to select as part of the famous quarterback draft class of 2004, no big boom on Losman jerseys. Well expect for Flutie tape-overs or later at Marshall’s for $15. This all following Buffalo realizing they not only failed to  draft one of the several future Hall-of-Famers from that draft, but they drafted a guy who would eventually be replaced by Trent Edwards.

Not what a big armed quarterback selected in the first round to replace Drew Bledsoe wants on his resume.

Give him a break. He was a world champion for the Las Vegas Locomotives in the United Football League. Raise the roof!

The point being the Buffalo Bills typically are staffed at quarterback in a way that more people feel safe with a Jim Kelly jersey than the current quarterback-of-the-future.

I will not go back in history any further because if we get in to Rob Johnson, Alex Van Pelt or Todd Collins, all of the Kelly jerseys were not throwback retro jerseys by Mitchell and Ness. They were actual Kelly jerseys the fans wore since Kelly was under center.

So it is safe to say that many fans have high expectations for Allen. Last year’s jersey wearing fans were the fans that buy the new quarterback each time. This year is those fans still wearing them plus fans that actually evaluated Allen’s rookie season and still bought his jersey, which means they have solid hope. I have solid hope however I do not have an Allen jersey.

Although I do have two Kelly jerseys. Do not read in to that because I have owned both of the Kelly jerseys since way before Allen was drafted to play in the resurgence Queen City.

The Carolina Panthers joint practices have come and gone. They seem to have been just what the Doctor ordered. Both teams offenses seemed to have elevated their games as they were engaged against other professional players whom were tasked to shutting them down.

It was a nice change of pace after spending so much time competing against the same old players from your own team. After the rave reviews that the Bills leadership have been proclaiming, it would seem likely that we could expect a similar structure next year after St. John Fisher College workouts wrap up.

That being said, the fact that they had a scheduled pre-season game against the Panthers could have been the needed event making all of the Carolina connections bring the combination a reality. Sorry McBeane.

It would be much more of an annual opportunity if Buffalo had connections with Detroit. It seems to me that some unwritten scheduling policy exists ensuring that the Bills and Lions play against one another on most years preseason schedules. Just me? My notes indicate the teams met every pre-season from 2002 to 2017 and resume after a year off later this week.

I do recall the teams meeting in the pre-season back before the playoff drought in the 20th century when you could smoke cigarettes in bars. You could smoke cigarettes outside of malls and hospitals, not having to leave the property. I don’t smoke. I did. Denny’s glass enclosed smoking area had my name on a seat for 4:30 AM to 5:15 A.M on a given Friday or Saturday night..oops morning.

Previous owner Ralph Wilson’s hometown being Detroit may have had something to do with the frequency of meetings. Detroit had a match-up in the preseason with the Browns called the Great Lakes Classic going back several years.

With the frequency of the games involving the Bills and Lions, one would think some kind of rivalry or classic series was in place. We live on two Great Lakes. We have Finger Lakes. Come on, we have Niagara Falls. Not sure I should be bragging other than the Mother Nature aspects.

The Bills continue addressing needs created by injuries or basic observed areas of need by continuously cutting players and immediately signing other players. Trades that do not seem immediately relevant are completed. The revolving door to put the best possible talent at each position as well as create competition likely will continue until the team is game planning for the opener against the New York Jets.

It’s nice to see the Bills winning a home and away pre-season game to this point of time keeping the record at a perfect 2-0. It is easy to get excited with the record along with many positive takeaways at many positions.

However, one must be even keel when evaluating pre-season football. I recall during the Marv Levy-Almost-a-dynasty-years, the Bills could not buy many preseason victories. When the  meaningful games began, Buffalo won a lot of football.

Other seasons by the Bills, or most NFL teams, result in the preseason games really being insignificant as far as the scoreboard goes. Stay healthy. Evaluate talent. Experiment. Keep the plays vanilla.

As long we are all on the same page, getting excited is fine after so many hopeless preseasons have come and gone. Get excited. That’s what fans do. Keep it in perspective, though. No booking plane tickets.  No hotel reservations. No need to get Bills attire ready just yet for Hard Rock Stadium in South Beach for February. Pump the brakes.

Now that we are managing emotions, I digress.

Both Josh Allen and Matt Barkley looked confident and sharp standing in the pocket delivering the ball. No happy feet. Josh Allen’s athleticism and ability to make plays with his feet whether by design or when plays break down is fantastic. That should be a nice perk. A nice way to recover or catch the opposition off guard. However, your quarterback should not be your leading rusher.

Just think, a year ago the Bills traded away their quarterback depth setting things in place for Nathan Peterman to be the starter.  Somehow Josh Allen was to be secure at number two to learn without playing.

It is a tough enough challenge to have your number two quarterback avoid playing when you have a franchise guy starting due to injuries. Last season Buffalo placed all of their plans of bringing Josh Allen along slowly, in the hands of not only Peterman staying healthy, but actually reversing results from the previous season and having him resemble an NFL quarterback.

Sheltering Josh Allen as a rookie was not ever really anything but lip service if you enter an NFL season counting on your planned starting quarterback staying healthy behind the O-line that was missing Eric Wood, Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito. Now in reality the team never really needed to assure Peterman remained healthy because he totally played himself out of the job within a hours. One could even argue he had already done that the previous season when he “earned” the start over Tyrod Taylor which quickly was returned to T-Mobile.

Christian Wade, British rugby payer turned NFL running back, continues to impress.  It gets more difficult to cut a player who runs 65 yards for a touchdown in the first preseason game. How about catching a pass from the third string quarterback in his second game and carrying the ball almost 50 yards only to be stopped at the goal line?

The Bills have a ton of depth at the running back positions. Wade is athletically gifted, but is quoted as saying he has about as much knowledge of American football as a four year old child.

Policies are in place allowing the Bills an extra practice squad roster spot as part of the International Player Pathway program. He could learn the game of football. Next season, three of the Bills running backs will not be under contract. The depth of this season could be an opportunity next season. I do not see him cracking the 53 man roster this season.

He positioned his hands incorrectly to receive the hand off against the Colts. Missed opportunities during his brilliant run after catch against the Panthers could be viewed as costing the team six points. He even stayed on the field after scoring as if he was playing rugby.

Next: Bills release cornerback E.J. Gaines

All of this depth and his lack of football experience hints strongly to him possibly grooming on the practice squad. That is easy to say right now, but what happens if he continues to make things happen every time he touches the ball over the next couple of weeks? Can he kick field goals?

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