ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.- Off the field, the Buffalo Bills' future is immersed in uncertainty. But, with training camp around the corner, let's look at some of the biggest questions facing the team on the field.
How can EJ Manuel prove he should be the franchise quarterback?
The Bills have invested a lot in Manuel. They used last year's first round pick on him, then traded two first round picks this year in order to get receiver Sammy Watkins. That's a surprising level of faith in a guy who completed 59% of his passes in 10 games. Not to mention, he sustained three separate knee injuries in one season.
BUT, Manuel now has the pieces around him to take the next step. The receiving corps is better, the offensive line is better and even the running back depth is better. Manuel's accuracy and pocket presence was concerning, but now that he's got one year under his belt, we should expect to see a more confident, poised quarterback, who finds the targets down field, not just the check down.
How different will the defense perform without former defensive coordinator Mike Pettine?
The Bills led the NFL in interceptions last season and were second in sacks. That was a huge testament to Pettine's scheme. New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is not as aggressive. His Lions defense was bottom five in sacks last year and wasn't great against the pass. However, they boasted a top 10 run defense - something the Bills haven't had since 2004. With a Pro Bowl defensive line, veteran linebackers and a solid secondary, Buffalo's defense could be top 10 once again, despite the injury to linebacker Kiko Alonso.