Organized Team Activities are underway, most pieces are in place, and the Buffalo Bills are preparing for the 2009 season.
Trent Edwards is still under center, Lee Evans is still one of the best deep threats in the game, Marshawn Lynch is still "Beastmode", and newcomer Terrell Owens is still T.O.
The Bills only have one glaring question mark on offense, and that's the offensive line. Behind a newly aligned offensive front, if Trent has time, we may see these plays develop.
It's been a staple of the Bills offense since 2004, and it's still nearly impossible to stop: send Lee Evans deep.
He had an impressive 13 receptions over 20 yards last year, and four over 40 yards. Almost every time it seems that if Trent throws the ball deep down the sideline, Lee will be a step ahead of two defenders and let the ball fall over his shoulders in to his hands.
Terrell Owens (or "Tee" as I like to call him) when lining up opposite Lee Evans, may not be the deep threat he has been over the years, but still calls for a double team.
Opposing defenses will either have to double team both receivers, or choose which one to pay attention to.
An ideal formation with the receiving depth the Bills possess would be a four-wide split with Fred Jackson or Dominic Rhodes in the backfield.
This leaves the option of either sending Jackson or Rhodes to the outside where they are legit receiving threats, or let them stay in the backfield to help block or run a draw.
Sending Evans and T.O. deep will draw significant attention from defensive backs, leaving slot receivers Josh Reed, Stevie Johnson, and Roscoe Parrish open in the middle.
With the new offensive line, Turk Schonert is most likely expecting heavy blitzes. If Jackson, Rhodes, or Marshawn Lynch are in the backfield and the defensive backs have their hands full, the draw out of this formation would be ideal.
If Lee or Terrell are in single coverage, the play simply becomes throw it high for T.O. or deep for Evans.
This could be labeled as either Jackson or Rhodes in the flat, but with Edwards being more comfortable with Fred Jackson as of now, I let it be.
Fred Jackson as a receiving threat is underrated and scary. Putting blockers in front of him in the bubble screen or just sending him out of the backfield causes problems for whoever has to cover him.
With Rhodes being a significant receiving threat in Indianapolis, having both in the backfield with three wide could turn in to a problem for opposing defenses. Pro Bowler Marshawn Lynch is also a great receiver out of the backfield, but doesn't possess the YAC capabilities of Jackson and Rhodes.
Rhodes has the finesse after the catch, Jackson can break ankles or take people with him in the same.
If anything, without a proven tight end, they will serve as excellent safety valves for Trent Edwards.
Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch is a hybrid of a sidewinder and a bulldozer.
It's evident that he's nearly impossible to bring down with the first tackle, and even when wrapped up, he will fight for the extra yards, dragging anyone he wants with him. He's also a shifty runner, breaking ankles of defenders with his quick, staggering steps.
With his one cut technique, Marshawn finds a lane and goes full force at it. Last year, he excelled by heading outside and trucking defensive backs, but he also likes to drag linebackers with him.
Sending Corey McIntyre up the middle from the I-formation and pulling either Eric Wood or Andy Levitre on a trap could open up significant space for Marshawn, trapping linebackers would leave just the safeties for Marshawn to have to beat.
Every punt coverage team knows the name Roscoe Parrish.
The elusive 5'9" receiver has been buried on a depth chart in his four years in the league, but has made his presence known in the return game.
Current NFL record holder with 14 yards per return on punt returns, he has the moves in space, and anyone who saw him embarrass the Seattle Seahawks coverage team last year in the first game of the season knows it.
My question to the coaching staff is this: Why not give Roscoe the ball on offense?
He's been a solid contributor when called upon, shows he has the receiving skills, and is just as fast as Lee Evans, so why not Roscoe?
This could be the year that all changes. Although Josh Reed is the probable starting slot-man, when he's resting, Roscoe can come in and cause some havoc.
Going back to sending Lee Evans and Terrell Owens deep, I could see sending Roscoe on a 10-yard curl route, then watching what he can do with the ball. If not, set up two blockers in front of him on the bubble screen. in a trips formation. Quick passes will be key this season.
Trent Edwards has been under pressure ever since suiting up against the Patriots in week three of 2007.
In a division consisting of monster offenses and imposing defenses, he's faced constant pass rush pressure, has a young receiving corps, stood behind shifting offensive lines, attempted comebacks, and everything in between.
And he's done so admirably.
With a total 21 touchdowns (3 rushing) and 18 interceptions, he's been mediocre at best in the scoring aspect, but his accuracy has been impressive, with a 65.5 completion percentage.
He faces a horde of challenges this year, though; with Terrell Owens in town, a playoff hungry city in Buffalo, and injury concerns.
Behind a new offensive line, he'll take hits, he'll get sacked, and he'll be pressured, but he and the people of Buffalo know it's all on his shoulders.
Although, as a writer, I personally wouldn't be able to carry that burden, I believe Trent Edwards has broad enough shoulders to lead the Buffalo Bills to victory.