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Bills' struggles inexcusable

Yes, it's only preseason. But how about we stuff that tired old cliche in a sock and move forward here?

Memo to the Bills: No one else had minicamp or OTAs either. It would be nice if you could show some semblance of signs that you accomplished anything at St. John Fisher this month.

Saturday's 24-10 loss in Denver was more preseason silliness, just like the opener in Chicago. I'm not going to soapbox and rage about the joke-of-a-cash grab the NFL preseason is. Still, the Sept. 11 opener is closing in and we'd better see a lot of improvement Saturday night at home against Jacksonville.

And not even on the scoreboard. Win or lose, the Bills have to show some organization, some purpose and some plan in what figures to be the first string's last major appearance of the summer.

Football insiders insist you can't worry about preseason, that schemes are all vanilla until the real show opens. That's fine when Kelly and the boys are wearing the charging Buffalo helmets and basically playing possum under Club Marv.

It's not OK when you haven't played a playoff game since the eighth day of this century, the first string looks this bad and the depth is barely much better.

Former Bill Steve Tasker spent the beginning of Saturday's telecast talking about how much better a team this is, how it played well in Chicago. Was he serious? I get that it's a propaganda show but come on. We can see the game too.

We can see that Ryan Fitzpatrick has been terrible so far. And that's when he has time to throw.

We can see the Bills need a healthy Shawne Merriman on the field. (But any takers for that bet?)

We can see the offensive line continues to be a trainwreck, with Demetrius Bell simply playing the role of turnstile. Erik Pears? Kraig Urbik? Seriously?

We can see that the coaches want to get the ball to C.J. Spiller and that he has little idea what to do with it. And as for pass protection, Spiller is so clueless that he'll get Fitzpatrick killed one of these days.

We can see that the secondary continues to be mediocre. Leodis McKelvin can't cover and is Jairus Byrd even on the field?

You want depth? How many second-stringers are jumping out at you at this point? Thought so.

Newly acquired linebacker Nick Barnett is obviously immune to the years of futility here and put on a happy face when he said, "I wouldn't throw away your season tickets today" after this one.

And he's right. Folks still love to Party in the Parking Lot even if they can't save spaces anymore. But let's not digress too far into Sunday morning chili. Barnett is something you can like and the good news is there were other things.

No. 1 pick Marcell Dareus is a beast. Pretty obvious they got one right for once.

Barnett is a huge upgrade over Paul Posluszny, who couldn't cover his mashed potatoes with gravy let alone an NFL back.

Brad Smith is a weapon the Bills haven't had in a while. Love that fake punt too but why show that in the preseason?

You had to like the edge that Jackson, Stevie Johnson and Corey McIntyre showed when Donald Jones was dropped by a vicious cheap shot. Chan Gailey and Spiller were hot during in-game interviews on that topic too. Emotion is there. Good.

Brian Moorman still looks strong. Although having a punter as one of your standouts shows where you are.

There's not much there so far but there's still time for that to change. Absent of change, however, three words are going to take over the town soon enough.

Drop the puck.

email: mharrington@buffnews.com