Q: There might be a perception that when you get to this level there’s no more teaching, but you still do a lot of teaching out here. How much of that still has to happen at this time?
SM: Yeah, health and safety of the players is A, No. 1. So we talk a lot about that. We try and make sure our techniques and drills are up to the latest techniques that are out there so we do stay safe. That’s our No. 1 goal, always. My dad always told me coaches at the end of the day are teachers. And I’ve found that to be true over the years, the more experience I got. We’ve got to be able to teach in order to get our point across and communicate clearly, so that’s what we want to do here, making sure we’re using the proper techniques and whatnot.
Q: How has your rookie group kept up as a whole? This is a unique tempo that you guys have out here in the practice setting and it has to be an adjustment for any rookie.
SM: That’s where you count on the player-driven leadership, the senior leaders on our team to come through. So those guys set a great example and the young guys follow. And that helps. And then clear communication. ... The guys know what to expect and how the drill’s going to be run, what the tempo is. Sometimes injuries happen when people are working at two different tempos. Yeah, we pride ourselves in practicing fast. That’s one of the things I learned being around Andy in Philadelphia, the environment around, ‘Hey, you cross over that line, it’s time to move and it’s time to hustle and all those things that we do.’ You can be a quieter guy off the field, but on the field you’ve got to flip the switch.
Q: Isaiah Hodgins missed all of last year with his injury. Is he still kind of a rookie right now, in your eyes?
SM: He’s extremely mature. He’s got a young family and the way he handles himself off the field has been impressive to this point, even last year with what he was going through. But on the field, yeah, just from time on task he’s a rookie as far as that goes or somewhat of a rookie to your point. But he made a bigtime play as you saw (recently) at practice down the field, and that was good to see. So I thought he got off to a good start.
Q: How has Mario Addison provided veteran leadership to the youngsters on your defensive line?
SM: Yeah, Mario’s back. He looks good. I think he’s in a good mental space, speaking of the mental piece of the game. And with that, when you’re in a good spot, he’s in shape ready to go, it makes it all that much easier to help others. So lead yourself first and lead others second is what he’s done to this point in camp in just over a week here.
Q: How have you seen Tre’Davious White mature? He said he can’t believe he’s heading into his fifth year. He’s got two kids, he talks about his family a lot ... what has that process been like for you to see?
SM: Yeah, fun to watch. That’s one of the joys of coaching, just like teaching, right, where you can watch in this case a young man develop, yeah on the field, but also off the field. Now having the children that he has and the life he’s been able to lead to this point. What a great example our first draft pick, right? What a great example to be a Buffalo Bill that he’s been to this point and in the community also. You see him out here, he’s positive. He’s got a great smile. He leads in his own way. And I think that’s all well and good.
Q: Where have you seen the development of A.J. Epenesa from last year to right now?
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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.