OTAs (voluntary spring practices) started this week and that means...well, what does that mean? I'm obviously intelligent enough to understand that it's a chance for coaches to see what they're working with this season and for players to show coaches (and each other) what they've got. Coaches start brainstorming who might play where, see what combinations work well and for players to get a jump start familiarizing themselves with new plays, formations, etc. But I don't get why fans get so excited about it. I consider myself a "die hard fan" to reference the cliche, but I just can't bring myself to be more than mildly interested in what happens during these practice sessions, much less read in anticipation every update buffalobills.com posts.
Which is why I'll leave the highlights, analysis and play-by-play (or practice-by-practice) notes to buffalobills.com.
What I can give you (you're welcome) is a quick list of what I'm looking forward to seeing as I skim the OTA recaps.
-Who will emerge as a solid QB? Will it be Trent Edwards, who's performance steadily declined after that massive hit against Arizona two seasons ago, but apparently still remains a contendor? Ryan Fitzpatrick, who finally got into a groove toward the end of last season (as much of a groove as he could find without any protection)? Brian Brohm, who didn't get much (if any?) action as third stringer last year? Or rookie Levi Brown, the seventh round pick who had a decent performance during rookie minicamps?
-What's the receiver situation? Lee Evans is a shoe in (hey Lee, I love you, man) but his "partner" is up for grabs, with James Hardy and Steve(ie) Johnson looking to be starters and Roscoe Parrish's name thrown in there somewhere. I was pumped to see how Hardy would perform before he got hurt last season. And ever since he's blown up on Twitter and I've seen he's the sweetest family man since Freddy J stole my heart, I've wanted to see him succeed.
-Will Chan Gailey finally see what I've been shouting about FOREVER, which is that time should not be split and/or wasted between Freddy J and Marshawn Lynch but given all to Jackson, who is clearly the more talented and valuable RB. I'm all for rookie and first round pick C.J. Spiller to be Jackson's backup/reliever. I'm far more confident in his abilities to perform than I am in Lynch's. Lynch had his chance to prove himself. In my opinion, he failed. Time for someone else to get a chance. Also, Lynch didn't show up for the first practice. I know they're voluntary, but that's really taking the term literally because this is his chance to show the coaches he deserves to be a starter and get heavy play. Looks like...he doesn't.
-How will the defense adjust to the new 3-4? So far, I've read that they're adjusting nicely. I've read on Twitter, specifically from Donte Whitner, Kawika Mitchell and Aaron Maybin, that they're feelin' it and are excited to see what they can do with it. I'll also be looking to see how Jairus Byrd looks, as many are questioning if he can live up to his rookie year performance--I'm totally Team Byrd.
-And last, but CERTAINLY not least, I'll be waiting to see if we get an offensive line. Last year, it consistently failed to show up for games (I'm not sure if their alarms were broken or if they kept getting kickoff wrong) so hopefully this season they'll be able to grasp what it means to protect the QB and make holes for the RB. I'm just sayin'.
What are you guys looking forward to seeing from OTAs/this season?