I'm a realist. I realize that the preseason doesn't necessarily mean anything, and often doesn't. But for a team such as the Bills, I think there are many benchmarks that can be used to measure success. In my mind, tonight will be a success if (Disclaimer: not all of these things needs to occur, just a few of them to, you know, give me some hope):
1. A two minute drill that doesn't look like chaos. I would love to see something resembling an NFL offense in a hurry up mode. It's been more than lame these last few years and no one seems to know what they are doing.
2. Something resembling a first team offense. I say resembling b/c its going to be difficult to judge Trent and the RBs w/ 3 starting offensive linemen out. To me, does he go beyond the checkdown when there is time to do so. He needs to take risks sometimes, or throw before the receiver leaves his break. Do the three injured lineman get into his head?
3. The Bills 3-4 can stop the run. The Redskins added two aging running backs to add to the aging running back they already had. I don't think all three make it to the regular season, so I think the Redskins will try to get a good look at their backs. Can the first and second teamers shut them down?
4. CJ Spiller adds some electricity to the offense. Going to my Sabres fandom for this example. Max Afinogenov would get people to rise to their feet when he raced down the ice early in his career (later in his career the fans stopped standing b/c they realized he would just skate in circles for 2 minutes and cough up the puck). Can Spiller provide that excitement and, in turn, distract defenses.
5. A player I'm expecting little from, but hoping for a lot from steps up. Maybin, any receiver not named Evans, Stupar, Ellis, Kelsay....I'm looking in your direction on this one.
6. The Bills can give me hope to get me to the season. I'm not going to lie. Excitement is starting to build for me (even though I tried to stop it so my daughters would not have to see my dreams crushed before their eyes). But, a preseason as bad as last year (particularly by the offense) is going to leave me without even hope....I'm willing to be pleasantly suprised, but that's a pretty lame sports fan philosophy, and with the Bills, that's all they give me.
Items just missing the cut: Coaches show me something (its preseason, so we'll leave that for week 1), DeHaven can regain some of that magic from his first go-round, McKelvin doesn't get abused in coverage, the defense shows they can still make plays with the change in philosophy.
So, complete the following sentence: Tonight is a success if: