The Bills have clearly made progress since General Manager Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott took over in 2017.
But they still haven’t won their own division since 1995, and that remains the goal as they enter the season.
Via Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN.com, Beane said Monday that the it’s hard to gauge their rebuild until they check that box.
“Hopefully, we’re still trending up,” he said. “We haven’t won the division, and to me, that’s the goal we have to do, because we need to host playoff games here in Orchard Park, and the only way we get a chance to do that is if we win the division. We haven’t been able to take down the Patriots yet — nobody has since we’ve been here.
“That’s still the team we’re chasing. We don’t play them until the middle of the season, but I’m sure the Jets and the Dolphins are thinking the same thing. That’s our goal, that’s our focus. We’ve got to try to compete and win the AFC East.”
While Beane knows all too well that the Patriots can still be dangerous with Cam Newton at quarterback (he was with Carolina when Newton was drafted in 2011, and when Newton carried them to a Super Bowl in 2015), he’s also put his own team in position to be able to compete.
“I think we’re on track, we’re getting to the point of building this thing.” he said. “From my seat, I want to win now, but I also want to win tomorrow and that comes with drafting, developing and re-signing. Now that we know we’ve got Stefon Diggs here, who wasn’t drafted but we traded some capital for, we’ve got him here the next four years, Dion Dawkins the next five, Tre White the next six and some other young players in the pipe — to me, that’s very positive for the Buffalo Bills going forward.
“Time will tell if we’re building it right, if we have the right pieces, but I truly believe we’re trending up and we’re heading in the right direction. The results will speak for themselves, and again, until we win the AFC East, I’m not going to feel like we’re on track. That’s a big hurdle that we need to do here.”
And it’s probably the same hurdle the entire division has been trying to clear for the last two decades.