- Associated Press - Sunday, July 20, 2014

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) - Going on his fourth year in Buffalo, safety Aaron Williams is all too familiar with the cycle of emotions Bills players and fans endure during a season.

The high expectations elicited at the start of training camp in July are usually dashed by December with another losing record.

“Every year, everybody gets hyped-up for an incredible season, and then people get let down with a six-win season,” Williams said upon reporting for the start of camp. “To me, I’m getting tired of it.”

Who isn’t?

The Bills have lost much of their relevance during a 14-season run in which they’ve failed to make the playoffs - the NFL’s longest active drought. They’ve not won more than six games since a 7-9 finish in 2008, and haven’t had a winning record since going 9-7 in 2004.

It’s no surprise to Williams that some already look at Buffalo as an afterthought.

“Everybody just thinks we’re the same old Bills,” he said. “But we’re going to come out here with a new attitude and be aggressive and bring this city more wins.”

There are indications of a turnaround being possible.

General manager Doug Whaley addressed the team’s biggest need this spring by adding talent to an offense that sputtered under rookie quarterback EJ Manuel. The boldest move came at the draft, when Whaley traded next year’s first-round selection to move up five spots and choose receiver Sammy Watkins fourth overall. He also acquired receiver Mike Williams and running back Bryce Brown in trades.

On defense, the team’s strength last season, the Bills added free agent linebackers Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers. Questions marks remain on a unit that lost three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd to free agency and is without starting linebacker Kiko Alonso, who sustained a season-ending knee injury this month.

Look for these things after Buffalo on Sunday became the NFL’s first team to open camp this summer:

STICKING WITH MANUEL: The Bills are staying with Manuel at quarterback, but the question remains for how long?

The 2013 first-round draft pick is coming off an inconsistent rookie season during which his development was slowed by three separate knee injuries. Manuel went 4-6 and showed signs of struggling even when healthy. He finished with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

“I believe he has to take a step,” Whaley said. “He doesn’t have to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he has to go out and win. We’ve surrounded him with some people where, if he does his job, we should be OK.”

Making quicker decisions in the pocket and taking command in the huddle are key issues for Manuel.

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