The Detroit Lions will complete their preseason schedule Thursday with a game against the Buffalo Bills. Lions fans probably don’t want to remember back to that rainy Sunday afternoon when the Lions gave the Bills their first win of the 2010 season. Fortunately, the mood surrounding the team is much better this time around.
I caught up with Brad Andrews, a Bills blogger at BuffaLowDown, to get his take on the Bills this season and a couple things to look for from a Bills perspective during the game.
Zac Snyder: How have the Bills looked in preseason play so far?
Brad Andrews: After looking pretty dreadful in losses to Chicago and Denver, the Bills looked really good against Jacksonville Saturday. The first-team offense in particular was very effective. The line was able to keep quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick from getting pummeled (which didn’t happen against Denver), and the Bills moved the ball very well. Defensively, signs are good that this will be a significantly better unit than last season’s league-worst outfit. First-round pick Marcell Dareus is an absolute beast, and former Packer LB Nick Barnett looks like a great pickup so far.
ZS: Is there a hot Bills position battle going down to the wire that we should watch on Thursday? Who is fighting for a roster spot?
BA: Most of the positions are more or less set, but two places to watch are wide receiver and cornerback. The Bills are absurdly deep at WR when everyone’s healthy, with at least eight or nine NFL-quality guys in camp. Unfortunately, someone’s gotta get cut. The team is also looking for someone to start opposite star WR Stevie Johnson. David Nelson, Marcus Easley, Roscoe Parrish, Naaman Roosevelt, and Donald Jones are all contenders. At corner, four guys – Terrence McGee, Drayton Florence, Leodis McKelvin, and rookie Aaron Williams – are competing to start, with Reggie Corner and rookie Justin Rogers behind them fighting for a roster spot.
ZS: What is something the Bills are doing well so far and something they need to improve?
BA: The Bills are going to attempt to be a poor man’s version of the Saints this year – spread the field out, get a ton of guys involved, etc. So far, it’s looked good when the offensive line holds up. Problem is, it hasn’t held up all that often. The offensive line play, especially at tackle, really needs to improve. Defensively, the run defense has looked good so far, with the pass coverage being a little more suspect. The Bills need to find a way to generate some pass rush on a consistent basis.
ZS: What are your expectations for the Bills this year?
BA: This could be a .500 team or maybe even a bit better…if everyone stays healthy. This is NOT a deep team, and a few injuries to the wrong guys could send the Bills to the bottom of the league really quickly. Realistically, if this team 1) wins more than six games 2) beats the Dolphins out for third place in the AFC East and 3) takes a game or two from the Jets and Patriots, I think most Bills fans would take that. That scenario would set up a playoffs-or-bust year in 2012.
ZS: What has the reaction been to the Bills new uniforms?
BA: Overwhelmingly positive. It’s not that the new uniforms are amazing or anything – it’s just that the old ones were so freaking terrible. The away uniforms is particular were simply awful. Reaction is a bit more mixed to the switch to the white helmets (I liked the red ones myself), but that’s a small price to pay to rid the team of the failure robes it wore previously.