It isn't just about the quarterback

July 24, 2018 - 5:40 pm
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Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback.  That position will dominate the daily discussion about Bills training camp. I asked Bills fans, via twitter, what was the biggest question they had after the quarterback competition and one fan tweeted back that his top 10  were all about the quarterback.  That's probably not far from the truth but there will be other story lines to follow at camp.

Most of them are on the offensive side of the ball.  What will the offense look like under new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll? I would expect the Bills will still be a run heavy offense but maybe Daboll will let whoever wins the QB battle throw the ball more often.  

Whether the Bills will be run heavy or more aggressive in the passing game, how will the offensive line hold up and who are the five starters?  Right now left tackle Dion Dawkins is the only guy you can write down in ink.  The other four spots look like they are wide open.

When the Bills do throw the ball, do they have enough(or any) wide receivers who can make plays?  Its a big year for Kelvin Benjamin since he will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.  I'm sure he was delighted to see where receiver salaries went on the open market the last few months.  Benjamin needs to stay healthy and show he can be a top target.  Zay Jones needs to make a leap up from his rookie season which was plagued by inconsistency and some drops.  Beyond those two, your guess is as good as mine.

The defense should be the strength of the 2018 Bills but there are some questions for Leslie Frazier's group too.  Can the secondary repeat their standout performances from last season?  Safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer turned out to be tremendous free agent signings and rookie corner Tre White showed the potential to be a shutdown corner.  If Vontae Davis stays healthy and returns to form the Bills will boast one of the best starting quartets in the NFL.

Plenty of eyes will be on rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds at camp.  I think the Bills have struck gold here and he'd be getting a lot of the pre camp hype if the Bills hadn't used the higher of their two first round picks on Josh Allen. Edmunds should prove to be an upgrade over Preston Brown who departed via free agency.  The other story line at linebacker involves Matt Milano who certainly showed some promise in limited playing time last season.  If he turns out to be an every down player, the Bills will have seriously upgraded that position.

The Bills used free agency to make improvements along the defensive line.  We won't really be able to judge this until the real games are played but Star Lotulelei should make the Bills run defense better.  It was noticeably worse once Marcel Dareus was traded to Jacksonville.

The pass rush left much to be desired last season and the Bills are hoping the addition of Lotulelei as well as Trent  Murphy will help that area.  Murphy missed all of last season with an injury but he did have nine sacks in Washington two years ago.  A pass rush presence from him should make life easier for Jerry Hughes who has not been as productive over the last three years as he was in his first two with the Bills. Its also a make or break camp for former first round pick Shaq Lawson. If Lawson does not look good, its not out of the question he is traded or released at the end of the pre-season.

The Bills also have to figure out who will be handling kick returns and punt returns.  Let camp begin.

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