By Tim Graham
PITTSFORD -- The Buffalo Bills have reported to training camp here at St. John Fisher College since 2000, the year after their last playoff appearance.
They began arriving on campus today with the hope of breaking the NFL's longest postseason drought.
"It's very realistic," Bills receiver Stevie Johnson said. "I feel like we've got the team to make that move, and I believe in that.
"Why not now? Why not us? We're going to do it. We're going to make it happen."
A playoff trip certainly would be a shock.
Although an NFL team has improved from worst to first within a division 10 straight years, the Bills won only six games last season and have a rookie head coach, offensive coordinator and maybe quarterback.
The Bills still are in a division with the New England Patriots. The Miami Dolphins look like a team on the make.
Maybe the Patriots are vulnerable, given all their offseason issues and big-name departures. Perhaps the Dolphins aren't as good as people think.
But how do the Bills go from six victories to the playoffs in 2013?
"Basically, just finishing the games," Johnson said. "We had a few games where if we was to finish out stronger than we did then that gap would have been much easier to get to as far as playoffs go."
Bills center Eric Wood and pass-rusher Mario Williams also used the word "realistic" in regard to contending for the playoffs.
"I think it's absolutely realistic," Wood said. "I've been around here for a 4-1 start, and hopefully we can make some plays like we did then."
Said Williams: "It's just as realistic as us standing here right now. At the end of the day, we've got to go out and we've got to do it. No ifs, ands or buts about it. No excuses. No distractions."
Aside from Johnson's prediction with conviction, there were no Joe Namath, Muhammad Ali or Tom Golisano guarantees. There was, however, an optimism that this year actually could be different.
"I like this coaching staff we've assembled," Wood said. "I like this group of guys we've assembled. I like our attitude right now. I like our scheme.
"At this point, that's about all you can say. We can say, 'Well, we're going to be tougher this year.' Until you get out on the field, you don't know that. You can say, 'We're going to be smarter, and we're going to be healthier, hopefully.' But until we're out there, that's all up for debate."
taggedEric Wood | Stevie Johnson