After an offseason of almost little to no football action until training camps in August due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 NFL season is finally upon us.
The regular season kicks off on Thursday night as the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs get set to host the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium in a rematch of the AFC Divisional Round back in January.
As for the Buffalo Bills, their season gets started on Sunday afternoon when the New York Jets come to Orchard Park for the second time in four seasons. The Bills managed to earn a win in the season opener in 2017 over the Jets at, then, New Era Field, while last season, Buffalo came back from down 16-0 to down New York at MetLife Stadium by a 17-16 score.
This offseason has been a busy one, in particular for general manager Brandon Beane. Entering his fourth full season with the Bills, Beane has started the process of re-signing some key pieces of the team to long-term contract extensions, following along with his plan of "draft, develop and re-sign." First, it was left tackle Dion Dawkins to get a contract extension on Aug. 13 that will keep him in Buffalo through the 2024 season.
Then on Saturday, it was cornerback Tre'Davious White's turn to earn a new contract with the Bills that will see him staying in Orchard Park through the 2025 season.
Beane took some time on Tuesday to join Howard Simon and Jeremy White on WGR to talk more about the extension for Tre'Davious White, the return of football during COVID-19 and more.
Here is some of what he had to say:
Beane on the return of the NFL after much uncertainty in the offseason:
"I'm generally an optimist, so I thought we'd figure it out and was very hopeful that our country would continue to get better at figuring out this virus as well and how to deal with it. I think of all the sports, football got the luckiest with the timing, and again, still a lot of unknowns. We haven't played a game yet, but it gave the NFL time to see what others were doing, and also the country a chance to get better at it. Even the testing stuff has gotten better for us."
Beane on the improvements of COVID-19 testing through training camp and into the season:
"We have a less-than basic test than we started with in late July. The first one, we do this daily, it was going up into your eye balls it felt like, and the one now is kind of a mid-nasal swab. Everybody, including myself, was much happier when that changed a couple weeks ago. Hopefully we'll get to a point where it's a point-of-care test for everyone where you can wait 5-10 minutes and get your answer for that day. Right now, we all test this morning when we come in, and that allows us in the building tomorrow. There's still a 24-hour, probably about an 18-hour turnaround before you know if you were positive or negative. That's why you can't make it a perfect bubble, but at least we are testing daily."
Beane on getting cornerback Tre'Davious White signed to his contract extension:
"It's a win-win. That's the best deal. We wanted something fair for the Bills and fair for Tre. As I said [on Monday], I am super happy for this young man. He has done everything we could ask for a player three years in. He's such a pro, he's so well loved, he brings a great energy to our locker room, and beyond that he's a damn good player."
Beane on a possible contract extension in the works for linebacker Matt Milano:
"Right now, I don't know. This year, our cap space is down to a little over $5 [million] right now, so we have to save money for replacement cost. For this year it would probably be hard, never say never, but we would have to get pretty creative or restructure someone else to do it now. In the end, it may make sense to wait until next season and see what this cap is, but we do want Matt here long-term. We love who he's been and what he's about. He's a Buffalo Bill through-and-through, and hopefully we'll get the economics worked out at the right time."
Beane on not having the crowd a factor at home games to start the 2020 season:
"It's definitely going to be different. There will be noise piped in and things like that, I believe 70 decibels is the measure the league put out and with music it can get up to a max of 75. So I know the league is going to try and do things, and I think that there's an experience on TV for the fans viewing at home.
"I think, especially pregame, the energy is going to be hard to muster up. You can kind of feel that crowd filling in, and when players are coming in on and off the field, there's roars and things like that, especially if you have a fanbase like ours, even on the road, that will be missed. Our fans really travel well. So not only do we have an advantage here in Orchard Park, but we find ourselves with an advantage a lot of times on the road and our players feed off of it. It will be a challenge.."
You can listen to the entire interview below: