Almost four years later that vision has become reality. Buffalo’s first division title ensures that there will be at least one home playoff game in Orchard Park this January.
McDermott knew from his time coaching in Philadelphia and Carolina that there was great value in playing in your stadium when the stakes were win or go home. But that vision had to have a plan. Fortunately for the Bills, McDermott’s plan was one that was fully supported by Terry and Kim Pegula.
From the time he took the job, McDermott knew there would be difficult decisions ahead. Decisions that would not make sense to outside observers. Decisions that would require an enormous amount of conviction to adhere to a philosophy that would eventually breed sustained success.
Brandon Beane would join him as general manager just a few months later, and the tear down and reconstruction began.
There would be no quick fixes like so many of the failed rebuilds of the past. The build would be methodical. A step-at-a-time approach that would have small setbacks on occasion, but one that with steadfast determination and commitment would succeed in making the franchise a perennial contender.
“I want to thank Brandon,” McDermott said after their division-clinching victory. “I wouldn’t want to work next to anybody else. He’s really put together a heck of a roster, not just this year, but as we built this thing through the years.”
That foundation was chiefly focused on getting the right people on board and moving on from those who wouldn’t be able to subscribe to what was soon to be asked of them.
McDermott preached a philosophy rooted in daily self-improvement and asked his players and coaches to trust that it would yield results.
The head coach encouraged players to share their personal stories to build the kind of bond with teammates that hadn’t existed on Buffalo’s roster since a handful of future Hall of Famers were winning division titles like they were door prizes.
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TRACKING TRAINING CAMP
Bills Digest was there for all the big moments at training camp. Here are some observations …
‘We're constantly trying to evolve'
For more on what’s happening within Buffalo’s offense, here are some highlights from offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s recent press conferences.
‘On the field you must flip that switch'
Here are some highlights from head coach Sean McDermott’s recent press conferences.
ALLEN GETS HISTORIC DEAL
Bills QB now under contract through 2028
Right back in the swing of things
It’s fair to say that this year’s Bills training camp looks wildly different from those of the past.
1st & Ten with STEFON DIGGS
Stefon Diggs had one of the best seasons ever by a Bills receiver in 2020, and he’s looking for an encore. Diggs was clearly amped up and ready to go as the Bills began their preparations for the new season, leading the huddle and supporting his teammates as they kicked off training camp in Orchard Park. Diggs recently touched on his goals for the upcoming season for both himself and the team in an informative discussion with members of the media. Here are the highlights from that discussion.
RUNNING BACKS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Aaron Jones, Packers 5-9 • 208 pounds • 27 years old A fifth-round steal in the 2017 draft out of UTEP, Jones is equally proficient in the running and passing games. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards the last two years, and caught 49 and 47 passes, respectively. He’s also a touchdown machine with 30 TDs the last two years (25 rushing and 5 receiving). The son of two career Army officers, he’s a tough, driven player and the kind of guy players want on their team.
THE RIGHT STUFF?
Keeping two important starters is a priority as the right side of the O-line hits free agency
QUARTERBACKS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Dak Prescott, Cowboys 6-2 • 235 pounds • 27 years old A solid starter who has a nice TD-INT ratio over his first five seasons (104-40), Prescott is an accurate thrower and very mobile. However, he’s coming off a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle, so it remains to be seen if this will impact his game moving forward.
TIGHT ENDS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Hunter Henry, Chargers 6-5 • 250 pounds • 29 years old A very talented player, Henry has had issues staying healthy, unable to complete an NFL season, including missing the entire 2018 season with a torn ACL. But when healthy, he’s a terrific all-around tight end who really connected with Justin Herbert in 2020 with 60 catches. Henry is very good at finding holes in zone coverage.
Kathy Hochul's Got Seven Months
To govern. To campaign. And to tell New Yorkers what, if anything, she believes in.
Head coach Brian Flores talks about the Raekwon Davis injury, beating New England Week 1, Tua Tagovailoa, Noah Igbinoghene and more
AROUND THE AFC EAST
The race for the AFC East crown gets started
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Talk about a grand entrance! After driving across the state of Pennsylvania and spending the last 40 minutes of our journey in a snowstorm, Nemacolin’s The Chateau coming into view was a welcome and gorgeous sight.
An Officer of Honor and Grit
A remarkable biography of U.S. cavalryman Lt. Powhatan Clark, plus a new history of the Civil War in the Southwest, big new biographies of Billy the Kid and Ned Buntline, and a dramatic novel of the Minnesota frontier.
How should season be remembered?
The Dolphins clearly saved their worst for last, losing against the Buffalo Bills, 56-26, in a game that could have meant a trip to the playoffs. Instead, it provided a hollow ending to an otherwise encouraging season.
THE ICONIC AMAZING ARTIST
It all started with the buffalo bike.
Genetic Study Yields Answers
STUDY SUGGESTS LEECH STRAIN IS NOT THE ‘SILVER BULLET’ FOR WISCONSIN MUSKY WATERS
Letterfly - The Iconic Artist
MOTORCYCLES AND ONE SIGHT STOPPED ME IN MY TRACKS
THE SIOUX LEADER’S FINAL FLIGHT TO FREEDOM