A term we are very familiar with after last preseason, "vanilla" is used to describe the type of playcalling that is utilized during the preseason so as to not show a team's strategy or full playbook during the preseason. Last year, this term was all the rage when the Bills puked out of the gate early last August after many NFL analysts, such as John Clayton from ESPN, came out of Bills camp encouraged, at least by JP Losman and his exceptional ability to be "King of Practice".
After a promising end to the 2006 season, where Losman was the eleventh rated QB in the league (at least in the last half of the season) many Bills fans were very optimistic that he was going to "get it" and that optimism was high even though we were missing weapons, because at least we had our qb of the future...maybe.
Then came preseason 2007, and frankly, JP stunk it up. I couldn't believe that this QB I had my faith in was still running around like a rookie who had to put down the Tulane drum set to study the playbook. He ran around, he was inaccurate, and it was very disheartening. However, there was an excuse. VANILLA
That had to be it. Fairchild was merely calling too simple an offense to be effective against defenses that were just playing too complicated for the preseason. And why is that rookie number 5 looking so good? Must be the third stringers he's playing against.
Now the reason I am bringing up last year's preseason, is because once September came along, we learned two things; Fairchild cannot call plays and Losman was not the QB of the future. Both elements combined help create offensive problems, that when Losman went down and the rookie Trent Edwards still looked better, the playcalling was still crap.
Now its 2008. Starting QB, Edwards; Offensive Coordinator, Turk Schonert,; weapons added, 2nd year progression of Marshawn Lynch and a giant sized WR James Hardy just to name two besides other possible positively developing players like Jackson and Schouman. Optimism is even higher this time, and it looks like we are going to do all the things that we didn't last year with a QB who seems to not have drum beats going off in his head when he is under center. But just remember, if they come out looking crappy on August 9th, a spade is a spade, and don't blame it on the "vanilla"; just pray they get their act together come September.