What 2 Watch 4: Ten storylines to track

The Bills have officially begun their push for the playoffs in 2008. What needs to be done during camp to achieve this lofty task? Who will the standouts be? Who's in danger of getting traded or axed completely by camp's end? Here are 10 things to pay attention to during the coming weeks...

1. Jason Peters Holdout

This should be close to priority No. 1 for the Bills. He is an impact player, and their entire offense's success hinges on his presence. Most likely, fingers will be pointed as this Cold War-esque charade continues. It is quite obvious that this has become a holdout at this point and Bills officials can't play dumb anymore. They haven't seen or heard from Peters since January and they still believe he is going to "honor his commitment to the team?" As soon as the front office comes to grips with the fact that it's a holdout, then hopefully, for the team's sake, the negotiations start. It could take hours, or it could take weeks. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, it will be the former and a deal is made quickly.

2. Turk unveils new offense

Bills fans are eagerly waiting to see if new offensive coordinator Turk Schonert can spark a little fire in the team's currently drab offensive performance. It is only training camp, but after enduring two seasons of Steve Fairchild's conservative, lack-luster offense, the Bills need to show they can spread the field. Spread it they can with newly signed rookie receiver James Hardy, the huge target who will be giving veteran Lee Evans some extra breathing room with defenses. Both of these receivers could be part of a much more powerful offense this season, which the Bills desperately need. In order to get into the playoffs, they need to score points, period.

3. Jabari Greer vs. Leodis McKelvin

On a team with very few position battles, this is one that will have everybody watching. The coaches have said that just because McKelvin was their first-round draft choice doesn't mean he'll start immediately. Just like on every team, rookies need to turn in near-perfect training camps to get that starting spot, and McKelvin may have some stiff competition from Greer, who had a breakout season last year. In the world of politics, the incumbent usually has the advantage, but in this case, the money seems to be on McKelvin to be starting in September. Talent usually wins out over seniority, and McKelvin simply has more talent.

4. Ko Simpson vs. George Wilson

Wilson had one heck of a season last year with two picks, two defensive touchdowns, and a forced fumble, all before getting placed on injured reserve in December. Simpson knows that IR list very well, as his season ended during week one, after just one tackle. Wilson made the very difficult switch from receiver to safety last season, and impressed everyone with how quickly he grasped the position. If Simpson can return to his pre-injury form, he should be able to beat out Wilson for the position. Again, talent wins over all else and Simpson seems to have it.

5. Return of the Beast?

Marshawn Lynch had a turbulent start to his summer with his hit-and-run traffic incident grabbing headlines and causing quite a stir. Off-field distractions can sometimes hamper production from players (Tony Romo, anyone?), and are generally not what playoff-hopeful teams need. Lynch's case dragged on for over a month and was a huge distraction, but Lynch seems un-phased by it. He still showed up at mini-camps and OTA sessions, ready to work and improve on his excellent rookie season. Look for Lynch to be better, and more ready than ever. It will be "beast-mode" once again because Lynch can pretty much fight his way through anything.

6. Chip on Losman's shoulder

During the off-season, J.P. Losman was lobbying for a trade because of his fall on the depth chart to behind Trent Edwards, and in the No. 2 QB spot. The Bills didn't listen and Losman is still on the team. Losman has always played a lot better when he's been benched and has to prove himself. Well he was benched last season, and then figuratively benched again this offseason by not getting his trade. JP could be angry enough to bring his A-game, and possibly make the coaches start scratching their heads again about their QB situation. He probably won't unseat Trent as the starter, but he could stir up the old debate again.

7. Endangered List

Training camp is the time when players start fearing for their spots on the roster every moment of every day. This is mainly for rookies, or unproven backups, but there are a few veterans on the team, who have a chance of not being a Bill by September. One is Ashton Youboty, who has done little to impress during his two seasons with the team. The Bills seem to have an arsenal of talented cornerbacks, and Youboty could be offered up to a team in need. Although unlikely, another one could be JP Losman. If the coaches come to the conclusion they don't really need him, there may be several teams desperate for a veteran QB come the end of camp. The Bills could get some real value for Losman in this situation, but would be departing with a solid number two QB. Regardless of if these two actually do get traded or not, there's going to be 26 cuts to get the roster down from the current 79, to the official 53-man roster in September.

8. Will the real tight end please stand up?

Beyond the tall receiver the Bills needed this off-season, the offense was also in need of a solution at the tight end position. The Bills have not had a solid TE for a few seasons now, and any team looking for the playoffs needs a good TE. Robert Royal had a below average showing last season, and the team needs more production this season. The team brought in six-year veteran Courtney Anderson from free agency and rookie Derek Fine from the draft. Also listed on the depth chart are Derek Schouman and Tim Massaquoi, both having played on the team last year. Someone from this group needs to emerge as a threat for defenses, and hopefully with Schonert's new offense, they can be incorporated into the game plan more.

9. Countdown to a sellout

Can a small-market team that hasn't made the playoffs in eight-seasons sell out their entire season before it starts? With the way things are going now, the Bills can expect to have a sold-out season. Just last week, the team announced 54,200 season tickets have been sold, the third highest total ever for the franchise. Individual game tickets are also selling out quickly and only a couple of games have yet to sell-out. Individual game tickets have not even gone on sale to the general public yet, so there is a very good chance the team will have a sold-out season. Optimism is soaring for Bills fans and they're certainly showing it with their wallets.

10. Canada-bound

The Aug. 14 preseason match-up against the Steelers will officially begin the Toronto Series. This moneymaking foray into Canada has been highly publicized as a means for the team to regionalize even further to the North. The games will be played at the Rogers Centre and series promoters reported that there is a waiting list of 180,000 people to get tickets, despite a hefty price tag. Bills fans are still very uneasy about the series, fearing that the deal is a precursor to the team moving to Toronto permanently in the future. Either way, it is a change of scenery for the team and an exciting event to be a part of. Another trip up north is on tap for the Dec. 7 game against Miami.

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