As the calendar flips to August, the mood of back to school is upon us. One NFL team has already gone back to school as the Buffalo Bills have returned to St. Fisher College for their 2012 training camp.
Since 2000, St. Fisher College has been the home of the Bills training camp and it is widely considered to be one of the best venues in the NFL for the rigorous regular season preparations. A long term agreement was reached last season and the Bills will be spending plenty more summers on the campus. A new grass field helped woo the Bills to extend their stay.
While there are some warm sentiments about the Bills and their training venue, make no mistakes about it: this is a business trip. The NFL odds makers have listed the Bills at 58-1 to win Super Bowl XLVII, which means that they have plenty of work to do.
Chief among the concerns at training camp will be the performance of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The franchise quarterback started the 2011-12 season very well – as did the Bills – and he was handed a contract extension. Almost immediately, he fell flat on his face as the Bills would finish the year with eight losses in their last nine games while Fitzpatrick threw a whopping 16 interceptions in the process. If Fitzpatrick can return to the form that earned him a six-year, $59 million contract extension, the Bills offense should be in good hands.
That’s critical because the Bills put most of their offseason focus into boosting the defense. The Bills landed prized free agent Mario Williams and spent their first-round draft on cornerback Stephon Gilmore, so that element of the team is expected to be better. But the Bills know they aren’t going anywhere this season unless Fitzpatrick proves to be capable quarterback he appeared to be early last season.