Tonawanda News

Columns

August 4, 2013

Manuel gives Bills fans hope

Tonawanda News — It’s a tad early for me to make my annual Bills prediction — the one where I dramatically overestimate either their potential or underestimate their ability to disappoint. But let me say this: I’m excited for Bills season.

I wasn’t excited a week ago. Headed into training camp I figured they’re still going to be a pretty bad football team. I was hopeful they’d at least be bad but interesting.

I’ll stop short of saying I think they’ll be good — I’d like at least a couple useless preseason games to watch before I make that determination, thank you — but it’s looking more and more like they’ll be interesting.

I’ve found myself fairly glued to training camp updates in any form available. News articles, radio chatter, Twitter — you name it, I’m ingesting it. Devouring it, really.

Reading Saturday’s piece by Mark Gaughn in The Buffalo News about EJ Manuel’s pretty deep toss to rookie speedster Marquis Goodwin got my heart racing a little faster than my usual morning coffee can muster.

And here’s the reason: For the first time in a long time there’s a guy lining up under center who gives us long suffering Bills fans some hope. Manuel is tall, fast, has a cannon for an arm and he was the first quarterback taken in the NFL draft. 

As much as the nerd in me wants to break down the teams wacky new defensive scheme to figure out if its genius or bluster, as much as I want to see if CJ Spiller can follow up his breakout season, as much as I wonder whether Mario Williams will ever live up to all that money — none of that really matters in the end. The Bills will never be good until they find a guy to replace Jim Kelly. They’ve been looking for a generation with little success. There have been spurts of success — Drew Bledsoe’s first six games, Doug Flutie when he wasn’t being an arrogant jerk, Ryan Fitzpatrick for half a season. But none of it was ever sustainable.

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