I am an eternal optimist, especially when it comes to the Bills. They could have no shot at winning 3 games all season, and I'll still pick them to make the playoffs. That's what nearly a decade of AFC East dominance does, even ten years after the fact.
BUT (and I know it's only pre-season), the Bills looked good on Thursday night in their 20-13 win over the Detroit Lions, especially on the opening drive. Quarterback J.P. Losman was 5 for 5 to start the game, marching the Bills 85 yards down the field to score on the opening drive. And it's not just that his passes were accurate: he was confident. He looked like he knew where the ball was supposed to go at all times. He was not dancing in the pocket, he was not looking left and right. He was in control. I know, things could fall apart in the regular season, but Jonathan Paul Losman, the Adam Sandler lookalike, was clearly the best QB on the team. I also like the change in offensive philosophy. New offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild seems to be using the Mike Martz school of offense and spreading the field out. Not only are they utilizing the outside speed of wide receivers Lee Evans and (welcome back) Peerless Price, but they are having Willis McGahee run more to the outside. They could be a fun offense to watch; seem to have some precision.
Also (and again, I know this is all pre-season), they committed zero penalties and no turnovers in the entire first half (which is when the first and second strings play the most). No major mistakes. This is a good sign, and maybe a sign that new head coach Dick Jauron is getting through to a team that was heavily penalized over the last five years. Maybe I'm being way too optimistic. I know they aren't going to make the Super Bowl. Heck, the chance of them even making the playoffs this year is a longshot, but if they can make some strides, I think they are about 2-3 years away from being a very good team.
I'm really digging the new Tampa-2 defense they're running now too. There is clearly a lot more speed on the line and on the ends, which is something they didn't have with 300-plus lb linemen Pat Williams and Sam Adams over the last few years. Now they have guys who can disrupt the inside lanes and plug the gaps, but who are also fast enough to get to the quarterback. And all those who said the Bills reached too high for Donte Whitner and John McCargo in this past year's draft should realize that Whitner is going to be the starter at strong safety, and McCargo is making nice strides in camp. Plus, apparently this kid Kyle Williams out of LSU is a bit of a steal. I like the defense very much.
I know that this year will likely be a crushing disappointment, as every year since 1965 has ultimately been. But you gotta have hope. Otherwise, what's the point?
LET'S GO BUF-FA-LO!