Postcard from camp: Bills
On the campus of St. John Fisher College in a bucolic Anytown USA suburb a few miles southeast of Rochester. Lots of bike trails and golf courses nearby; you can tell this is where a lot of Kodak and Bausch & Lomb executives settled.
If any team doubts the importance of going to a small college campus for training camp, just come here. The joint is jumping with love for the Bills -- to be fair, interest has shot up 30 to 40 percent because of the presence of
Plus, don't forget the crowded backfield, where
Look for Evans' production to slide. He told me earnestly (at least he sounded earnest) that he can live with a drop into the 50s if the Bills are winning, but that's what they all say in July.
Wide receiver Terrell Owens. Other than T.O., the Bills haven't changed much from last year's squad. Rhodes adds a valuable backup option in the backfield and most of the offensive line is brand new, but Owens is the only impact player GM
What we can't know now is how Owens and the other offensive weapons on this team will react when fighting for one football. But I do know this: Owens is supremely motivated to be a positive force on this team. He's 35. He's working on a one-year contract. In his first years in Philadelphia (2004) and Dallas (2006), he scored a total of 27 touchdowns in 30 games. I'd argue he's under even more pressure to be a good soldier this year because he wants there to be a next year.
So far, so good. Owens will likely play consistently on the outside of Evans with two accomplished slot players inside. My gut feeling is Edwards will probably throw around 130 balls T.O.'s way this year. How many of those he catches will dictate his happiness.
This is a position of long-term significant need for the Bills, and until Nelson got kicked in practice early this week and missed several sessions, the 6-5 240-pound kid was on course to be an impact player in his first year.
He put together a highly productive college career -- 157 catches for a 13.1-yard average in 52 college games -- and the Bills plan on giving him every chance to be a major part of their offensive packages this year, particularly when they're not in the no-huddle.
See below for a description of nutty crowds going crazy for a 35-year-old wide receiver.
The cafeteria for players, coaches and staff at Bills camp is one of the finest in the league, and it didn't disappoint at lunch Wednesday.
Went to the stir-fry section with Bills' assistant PR man
I know I need to rate several meals over the next few weeks, so I don't want to be too lofty too early, but this dish earned a solid 'A'.
Mixed fresh fruit (raspberries, blackberries, cantaloupe, pineapple) followed along with filtered water.
Before she left the cafeteria, Helin also glommed onto a Choco-Taco in the Bills' plentiful ice cream area. I was good. I stuck with a little of the frozen yogurt.