It’s good to know we know nothing. I’m at the forefront. Well, that’s a relief to admit. I blame circumstances. Time’s nature means countless questions about tomorrow remain unanswered today. But the Buffalo Bills are even more enigmatic than usual. We’ve often followed this team down shadowy alleys. There are dark forces lurking, especially in the AFC East.
I hate the Vikings so much. It’s true until about midnight tomorrow. Getting wound up for preseason is a sign you’re just frenzied enough. The 18th time’s the charm, according to a proverb I’m hoping catches on soon.
Preseason is like a photocopy of real games. But this reproduction is worth seeing. They even technically track points. The presence of different jerseys means we’re stepping up from tracking training camp updates. A broadcast, clock, and other trappings of genuine NFL action alleviate the impatience of those who note exhibitions are the cover bands of sports.
There are a million problems with the Transformers movies starting with how they’re the worst things humans ever created. Almost as egregiously, they don’t match the intensity of action figure battles. A staged event can’t replicate game conditions. Four preseason games always seems excessive. But every rehearsal is a blessing for a team that needs to learn delicate steps.
New Bills want to formally introduce themselves. August snaps are not for the McCoys and Watkinses of the world who are known quantities. Rather, they’re for the rookies and free agents who hope a new uniform creates something mutually beneficial. It would be especially relieving if any of them are linebackers or right tackles.
I especially can’t wait to see the newest. A team who happened to need a veteran wideout found an ideal pairing. Anquan Boldin brings both four figures’ worth of catches and a Super Bowl ring, although I suggest taking it off before trying to catch passes. As a professional, he probably already does so.
A Walter Payton Man of the Year winner brings more than leadership. It’s valuable to have a calm veteran. It’s even better to have someone who can still play. Boldin still caught 67 passes last year. While he only gained 8.7 yards per catch, he added them where it counted.
It’s always good to remove excuses. With Anquan joining Zay Jones, Tyrod Taylor now has weapons from A to Z. Boldin is already pretty high on the depth chart. There’s a chance pending for others to join his caste. Guys you don’t expect climbing the rankings help make the Reserve Bowl enjoyable.
Preseason is the greatest thing in the world for the time of year. Like Saturday Night Live, the time slot is the best asset. There’s nothing else to laugh at if you’re home at that time. Similarly, football fans are so desperate to indulge that even games being played in front of empty sections sound enticing. Anything resembling our beloved game is a gift, which is what I’ll be telling myself as the third quarter drags.
The roster is as relieved as you are at reaching this milepost. Practice is a zero-sum game where nobody really wins. It’s hard to cheer great moments because of who is bested.
Everyone’s sick of only learning from burning each other. A great Sammy Watkins catch comes at the expense of someone like Tre’Davious White. At least the rookie is getting to show he’s a gamer against prime competition. If it makes the rookie feel better, veterans on enemy squads will ideally face even tougher struggles.
There’s value in being beaten. The best way to learn is through being embarrassed. Proficiency is the best case during the quasi-opener; failing that, tough lessons are best encountered over the summer. Hope for mistakes that must occur to happen now so unhelpful movements can be eliminated. Another team will cruelly try to evade coverage in New Era Field, so at least we can gauge responses.
Explanations can’t match illustrations. Try to tell someone why you like rock music. It’s better to just play them some Thin Lizzy. Nothing can recreate game action. Preseason taxes that theory. But the pending simulacrum is as close as it gets.
Training camp is about looking for clues in a case that hasn’t happened yet. Football detectives struggle to crack cases for a reason. The evidence doesn’t exist yet, Columbo. This season will remain mysterious despite brief insight we gain by moving from intramural action to sort-of competition.
Preseason is confusing. The useless scoreboard is only the start. We’ll feel a simultaneous urge to both disregard and overanalyze the results. This is the time of year for seeking broad trends. We’ll feel like treating the first drive as momentously as the original KISS lineup reuniting. The guy pretending to be Ace Frehley will get many solos. See if he’s at least good enough to play with a tribute band.
Personally, I’m looking forward to new schemes that won’t be on display. Coaches refuse to game plan like they don’t care about us being entertained. Next, you’ll tell me the results won’t affect their record.
Yet this skirmish still affects the campaign. It’s pleasant just to get semi-football back. Even better, there are vacancies to fill. That’s not really a positive. But hungry players can prove they’re worthy of feasting.
If anyone presently considered a marginal roster candidate wants to shock coaches and the league, the first preseason game is the time to electrify. There are so many jobs on the line that we may even be entertained. The game doesn’t count. But the careers on the line do.