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We are under a week from the start of training camp, and there is a buzz around Bills land. It is the typical late-July buzz, but this year the din seems to be a bit louder. Players are excited, coaches are excited, and fans are excited. Even some of the media is starting to catch on, calling this Bills team a possible “Sleeper” in the 2008 season.
And for good reason, as I have mentioned before in parts 1 and 2 of my pre-pre-season preview of the 2008 Bills.
But something has been bothering me almost every time I hear any player talk about this upcoming season. Sure there is great optimism, and there are many good reasons to believe (returning players, new players, system is established, good talent level on this team, good depth) … but what are they believing in?
“I want to be the best I can be and I want to take this team to the playoffs and I want to win some football games,” said QB Trent Edwards.
Did you see it? What is it that Trent (and seemingly every other Buffalo Bill) wants from this season?
To make the playoffs.
Granted, when a franchise has not attained that level in nine seasons, that seems a respectable goal. But is it enough? Is it like in karate (I don’t really know what I’m saying here) where you try to break a board, you have to envision your hand going through the board, not to the board. If the Bills dream of only the playoffs, might they only get that far… and miss the chance to advance in the post season?
To me, it seems they are not thinking far enough ahead. I have heard the popular sports adage, “Cross one river at a time.” We often heard it coming from the mouth of our beloved Marv Levy. And I do understand that thinking also. But really, is it enough to only want to make the playoffs? Don’t we want to at least win a playoff game? Shouldn’t we be thinking we have as much right to that Lombardi Trophy as the other 31 teams? Maybe more??
As we enter training camp, I’d like to see the Bills language change slightly. It may be only a word, but I think it might be important. Once we see the players start thinking they really can win, they really are good… perhaps they will start to talk like they believe that too, and maybe that will bring about a change not only in language and thinking, but on the football field as well.