As training camps are in full swing, and teams are attempting to get into mid-season form, opinions around the league swirl. Below is a list of what various media pundits have to say about the Bills as they attempt to get back to the playoffs in 2018.
It seems that the goal of every AFC East team in 2018 is to unseat the New England Patriots. Former Chargers and Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson believes that the Bills have the best odds of doing just that.
“If anybody has a chance of beating the Patriots, it might shock you a little bit; but I am going to say the Buffalo Bills,” said Tomlinson.
Tomlinson went on to explain that he believes the Bills defense will be the key to AFC East success in 2018.
“The Buffalo Bills can be a scary group of guys because of what they offer on defense,” he said. “They play a physical style of football on defense. Also, offensively, they can get it done.”
Bills fans are hoping that Tomlinson’s prediction is accurate as the Bills look to knock off the reigning division champs.
The biggest question entering this year’s Bills camp was the quarterback battle between A.J. McCarron, Josh Allen, and Nathan Peterman. Bills fans are itching to know how the team will proceed, and Jason La Canfora offered some insight as to how he believes the battle will shake out in Buffalo.
“They will see how he plays in the preseason and make plans according to that,” said La Canfora of Josh Allen. “There is no fast track for him at this point.”
La Canfora knows the importance of patience for the Bills in 2018, and he believes that the Bills’ front office has a plan in place.
“This is a very detailed and methodical front office,” he said. “They did that to become a perennial playoff team.”
“If I had to vote on who I think will be rookie of the year on defense right now, he [Edmunds] would be my pick. I think the guy gets it mentally.” Sirius XM's Pat Kirwan
Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM radio has a few opinions on players who may significantly contribute to the 2018 Buffalo Bills. Although there are some question marks surrounding what the Bills have in Josh Allen, Kirwan detailed what he likes about the first-year quarterback.
“I like the big arm,” said Kirwan. “I like where you are playing him, you play a lot of cold games in December here and he will cut through the wind when the time comes.”
Kirwan also mentioned that he likes Allen’s attitude as a rookie quarterback.
“He is not paralyzed by all of this stuff,” he said. “He told me his protections here are extremely similar to what he had at Wyoming.”
Kirwan also offered his thoughts on one of Allen’s teammates and quarterback competitors, A.J. McCarron.
“I was really comfortable with his perspective on things and how prepared he is for this year,” said Kirwan of McCarron.
Kirwan's thoughts on both Josh Allen and A.J. McCarron are promising for Bills fans, as he believes that both quarterbacks are willing and ready to perform at a high level. Another player Kirwan has his eyes on is second year left tackle Dion Dawkins.
“Dawkins to me is an upgrade from what the Bills had last year,” said Kirwan. “I think he is a really good left tackle.”
Along with his confidence in Dawkins, McCarron, and Allen, Kirwan says that Tremaine Edmunds is his choice for defensive rookie of the year.
“If I had to vote on who I think will be rookie of the year on defense right now, he [Edmunds] would be my pick,” Kirwan said. “I think the guy gets it mentally.”
Kirwan has a positive outlook on the Bills’ young core, and he anticipates a great deal of success from the 2018 Bills.
As Bills fans know, GM Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott have worked tirelessly to rebuild the culture in Buffalo. They wanted to be sure that each and every member of the team played a selfless brand of football; and they have assembled a group that does just that. NBC Sports analyst Peter King reiterated those sentiments when he visited Bills camp.
“He [McDermott] takes pride in the fact that this is a starless, blue-collar, very ‘Buffalo’ team,” said King. “Micah Hyde, he is such a valuable free agent that 31 other teams didn’t want; and what happens? He has one of the best years of any defensive back in football.”
King emphasized that effort plays a larger role in succeeding in the NFL than talent does.
“What really wins in football, and don’t get me wrong, you have to have talent; I think effort is just as important as talent.”
The 2018 Bills are certainly stocked with players willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of the team and the front office and coaching staff will continue to build the team in that manner.
Entering 2018, the Bills secondary will be looking to improve upon an already impressive 2017 season; and CBS Sports’ Evan Washburn believes that they will do just that.
“I was struck by the work of the secondary,” said Washburn. “I like Micah Hyde, [Jordan] Poyer, and Tre’Davious White. I like that group.”
Washburn emphasized his confidence in the Bills’ secondary with a comment about what they mean to the 2018 Bills’ chances of success.
“I think that group is going to be as important as any in 2018,” said Washburn.
Washburn also delved into what he believes the best outlook for the 2018 Bills is.
“I think it is similar to what they had last year,” he said. “Rarely do you see a first-year head coach and a new GM go 9-7, eek their way into the playoffs and then recognize that they may not be as good as that looks on paper; and then make the necessary changes to build long-term.”
Overall, Washburn believes that the Bills could head to the playoffs for a second straight year, and that the secondary will have to play a large role for that prediction to come true in 2018.
As the bleachers at St. John Fisher college filled in with die hard Bills fans, reporters, journalists, and broadcasters filed into Bills camp for a closer look at the team. NFL Network’s Omar Ruiz recently visited Bills camp, and he and some interesting thoughts on the trip.
“I just can’t say enough good things about St. John Fisher College,” said Ruiz. “The setup the Bills have for camp in Pittsford is truly one of the most charming towns in my training camp rounds.”
Ruiz continued to praise the Bills’ training camp facilities and environment at St. John Fisher.
“I thought the facilities were beautiful,” he said. “We’re kind of hustling and bustling through all of these big cities; to be in a small town, it was just a refreshing visit.”
Ruiz is not alone in his praise for the Bills’ training camp site in Pittsford, as many fans and media members are also fond of the setup.
As LeSean McCoy enters his 10th NFL season, some believe that the depth behind McCoy has improved. Matt Parrino of NYupstate.com believes that veteran running back Chris Ivory brings a much-needed physical punch to the Bills’ backfield.
Now in a backup role again in Buffalo, Ivory is determined to fill the role coaches need him to play but will be ready to shoulder the load if his number is called.
Parrino says that McCoy still runs the show in the Bills’ backfield, but that Ivory’s addition is already being felt throughout the organization.
The unit is obviously led by six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro LeSean McCoy, but Chris Ivory’s presence has already been felt in the Bills’ backfield.