Buffalo’s 2019 training camp schedule was released Friday and the Bills as an organization still value taking their summer practice regimen on the road at St. John Fisher.
“First and foremost, we love going up to Rochester,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “We love going to Fisher. I think it’s a great venue for NFL training camp. I think the people are staff are first class. I’ve been around before when you go to a campus when you’re wanted contractually but not wanted maybe once you’re there. They open up their home to us. We love going up there. I love my early morning runs up there."
All told there are eight public practices and a pair of closed practices. In an ideal world McDermott would like to make as many sessions open as possible.
“The challenge a little bit is some of the location and the fields as it relates to the public practices,” he said. “We’d love to make everything public, quite honestly. We’re just not able to do that necessarily with the physical location of things and trying to rotate fields and space."
"It’s just when you go to that other field, that’s not the main one, it’s not conducive for the fans,” said general manager Brandon Beane in reference to the grass field behind the St. John Fisher Fieldhouse. “It’s just hard to do that. It’s not fair for us to advertise — they don’t know which fields. We wouldn’t want someone driving multiple hours, bring kids and there’s not seating.
“You’ve got to rotate these fields or then you’ll destroy them and then they’re not as safe or you can’t get what you need done."
Beane and McDermott admit they do review the value of going away for training camp every year knowing the needs of the modern-day professional athlete are constantly changing. But they still believe the benefits of having the team away at training camp outweigh any potential drawbacks.
“You’ve watched over the years the number of teams that don’t go away versus the teams that go away,” said McDermott. “It’s changed drastically. You have to give consideration to the cost/benefit of going away. We have to make sure we are giving them every chance to become the best versions of themselves. I still believe, and I know Brandon does too, that there are benefits that are involved with going away."