3 realistic expectations for Buffalo Bills training camp

Bills fans should be looking for these expectations for training camp.
Buffalo Bills Mandatory Minicamp
Buffalo Bills Mandatory Minicamp / Bryan M. Bennett/GettyImages

We are in the lull of the NFL offseason. Minicamp is over and there are no organized football activities until July 24 when the Buffalo Bills return to St. John Fisher College for training camp. However, the positive news is there is a lot to reflect on from rookie minicamps, OTA’s and minicamp. The defense is coming into form and there is a lot of excitement for the new look offense. There are also many players to watch to see position battles and how the roster will shake out by the time September 8th rolls around and the Arizona Cardinals come to town for a Week 1 matchup.

There was quite the roster turnover from a season ago. Kahlil Shakir is the only wide receiver on the roster who caught a pass from Josh Allen last season. Aside from rookie wideout Keon Coleman, the Bills have plenty of veteran depth at the position. Chase Claypool is looking to kickstart his career again. Marquez Valdez-Scantling comes over from Kansas City as the speed the Bills need. Mack Hollins provides a veteran presence and leadership. Curtis Samuel will look to be a jack of all trades on offense. Chemistry amongst the wide receiver room is arguably the only issue right now, but that comes with time and practice.

With all the reports, pictures, and videos coming out of minicamp, it is not uncommon for fans to start getting hyped up for what could be in 2024. The more hype there is, the loftier the expectations become. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I am here to give you some realistic expectations coming off minicamp going into training camp.

Here are 3 realistic expectations for Bills fans to look forward to with training camp

1.) The wide receiver depth chart will shake out quickly

A staple of a Sean McDermott team has always been competition. This front office and coaching staff have always brought in players to compete for a roster spot, for playing time, and more than likely for respect from amongst each other. The wide receivers will be no different. Kahlil Shakir might have come on strong last season but by no means is he “safe”. As of right now, I would put your top three wide receivers as Coleman, Valdez-Scantling, and Shakir. Curtis Samuel, Chase Claypool, Justin Shorter, and Mack Hollins are all going to have their work cut out for them.

But as I said for Shakir, no one outside of Coleman is “safe”. McDermott has to like the experience Valdes-Scantling brings to the Bills just off a Super Bowl win with the Chiefs. Mack Hollins is more or less the veteran voice and a special teamer at best. Justin Shorter is coming off an injury and missing his rookie season so it is crucial he gets meaningful work in if he hopes to avoid being a cut candidate. The new kickoff rules may save Shorter in my opinion because of his ability to make plays in open space.

Claypool is looking to stay relevant and will probably be the first one cut of this group but he will get his chances before then. I think we will know what the receiver depth chart will look like early on in camp and into the preseason.

2.) Kaiir Elam will challenge for a starting job

Injuries and inconsistency have plagued Elam in is his first two NFL seasons. Minicamp may have helped him greatly in the eyes of the coaches and fanbase. He’s made some interceptions in minicamp and has been looking stronger going into his third season. This is all very promising for a defense that will have some new faces on it. Elam may need an outright dominant showing in training camp and preseason to unseat Christian Benford as CB2 but it’s something Elam looks very capable of doing given his strong showing this summer so far.

3.) The team overall will look and play tougher than in years past

The departure of Stefon Diggs should make this an obvious thing. If we look at the offense realistically, there isn’t that one player that makes you say “we need to gameplan for him.” Dalton Kincaid will reach that status in the future but he’s not there yet. Keon Coleman is an unknown entity and the rest of the receivers are fighting for roster spots. This is going to be, offensively, Josh Allen’s magnum opus. Allen seems to pour it on late in the season for the Bills. Per Statmuse, Allen has a passer rating of 88.8 with 5,428 yards, 44 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 25 games in the month of December in his career.

Now with no Diggs I am expecting not a complete shift in philosophy but more of an urgent need to get James Cook involved on the ground early and often. McDermott likes balance on offense and there will be more of that this season, but it’s nice to know when the team needs it, Allen will be there to carry them into the playoffs if need be.

Defensively, this feels much different. The departures of Tre’Davious White, Micah Hype and Jordan Poyer make it feel like there are more new players than there actually are. Mike Edwards at safety and Nicholas Morrow at linebacker are penciled in as starters but I think rookie Cole Bishop will push Edwards for the starting job and anything can happen at that linebacker spot with the amount of competition behind Morrow. With what we have seen so far and what is yet to come, July 24th cannot get here fast enough.