The Bills are going back to the future in an effort to jumpstart an offense that was scoring challenged in 2008.
This spring, quarterback Trent Edwards has gone whole practice sessions without huddling his team up even once as Buffalo works on becoming more comfortable with a no-huddle attack. It's doubtful the team would run the hurry-up offense as its regular mode of attack, as the Jim Kelly-led Bills of the early 1990s Super Bowl Era did. But it is an effective way to move the ball and communicate plays quickly to catch solid defenses -- of which the AFC East should be well stocked -- off guard.
Edwards, entering his third season, doesn't have Kelly's raw arm strength or leadership presence. But he's a smart player, cool under pressure and has shown under game conditions an ability to distribute the ball quickly. Those attributes serve the no-huddle well.
"I like it," Edwards said. "I like the system that we have in place right now and it's a matter of whether or not we'll use it. I'm not exactly sure but we have practiced it a lot, so we have it in our back pocket."
Offensive coordinator Turk Schonert used the no-huddle for stretches last season but the offense wasn't that efficient in communicating plays at the line of scrimmage. That's why they are practicing it now and will continue to do so through the summer in training camp.
Edwards likes the pressure.
"It puts a lot of responsibility on you in terms of getting your offense in the right play and the right call and that's enjoyable as a quarterback," he said. "You want the ball in your hands late in the game when the game is on the line and every play feels like that."
Bills quarterback coach Alex Van Pelt, a teammate of Kelly's, has a strong grasp of the hurry-up and has been a good source of information for Edwards.
"He's a firm believer in it," Edwards said. "It's not necessarily something we'll run every single play or every single series, but it's a change. That's what Turk wants, that's what Dick (Jauron) wants."
Veteran wide receiver Terrell Owens likes the fast pace.
"I know one thing, it's getting me in shape," the former Cowboys, Eagles and 49ers star said. "I think it's going to keep teams on their heels, especially teams that like to bring pressure. They're not going to be able to do that if we hit them a couple times quick and get some home runs on them."
Why teams don't run the no-huddle full time is the reason Buffalo eventually stopped doing it: it kills a defense. While a hurry-up offense can score quickly, it can also punt quickly and put a tired defense back on the field.