Q: After the win over the Patriots, you said it was an emotional win, it was emotional for the city. What did the win over Russell Wilson and the NFC leading Seattle Seahawks mean?
SM: It was a great win. Any win’s a great win in the National Football League, but let’s be honest, that’s a really good football team that we played and so were the Patriots. To take our game to where the guys took it, they earned it, they worked their butts off during the week, they were focused. I just wish our fans honestly could have enjoyed it with us.
The view locally and nationally seems to be that it was truly a statement win. What’s your view internally on the win over Seattle?
SM: It’s just another win. These are hard to come by, as I’ve said before. I appreciate the way our players played in all three phases, really complementing one another. We took care of the football, special teams got us off to a great start with his return and we stayed resilient throughout the course of the game. We knew it was going to be 60 minutes or longer just based on their success and Russell Wilson’s winning mentality.
Q: When it comes to the offense, we’ve heard a lot about taking what opposing defenses give you when it comes to that gameplan. At what point do you have to dictate and do what you want to do on offense? Where’s that balance there?
SM: It’s gonna be a healthy balance. I think we’ve done some good things offensively, quite honestly. We’ve just got to continue to evolve, continue to keep that offensive mindset on all three sides of the ball really.
Q: Looking at the big picture perspective, I think sometimes we lose sight. Everybody’s talking about what’s wrong with this, what’s wrong with that, but if you look back on your 3 1/2 seasons, you got off to a 6-2 start for the second time in the past two years and then went on to become 7-2. How far has this team come and your process come when you look back?
SM: Well, I’ll let you guys right about that as far as the overall (progress). I would say the expectation now has changed. That’s where we are. The expectation’s changed and that’s where you want to be. It becomes part of the institution, if you will — part of who we are, part of what we do and how we do things. So that’s the best thing I can say internally at this point.
Q: In your experience, how big of a hurdle has that been to change that mindset?
SM: That’s part of the goal when you take over a new program and it’s a full team effort. We’ve gotten a lot of help and it’s been a process, right? Not to throw that word out there, but it’s been a process and that’s to be expected. But I really like where we are, like how we’re positioned, and the (rest of the year) here is really the start of a new season for us here.
Q: We all know about undrafted guys who come in and make big plays, but for a guy who had more transactions than tackles in his four-plus years in the league previously, what do you make of Justin Zimmer’s persistence and what he’s done to get to the point where he makes that game-changing play against New England?
SM: My kids are just about the right age where they can watch and learn from experiences like this. To see a young man like Justin Zimmer go through what he’s gone through and to persevere and make a play like that, I think that’s a great life experience and a life story that we can all learn from and be encouraged by. I think it’s great to see.
Q: Josh Allen has talked about being willing to throw it 40 times if he has to or throw it 18 times in more of a game manager role if that’s what it takes to win. Is that just another sign of his maturity as a person and a football player and a leader?
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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.
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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.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Leonard Williams, Giants 6-5 • 255 pounds • 28 years old An athletic 300-pounder with quick feet, Williams amassed a career-high 11.5 sacks last season. Add that to him being a stout run defender, very durable and possessing great character, and he should be in high demand. He won NFC Defensive Player of the Week twice last year. $$$$$
What Bills Fans Are Saying
Bills Digest scanned the Bills’ Facebook page and other fan message board sites to gauge the hot topics Bills Nation is talking about. We chose some of the better posts, edited for brevity and clarity, and present them here, along with Bills Digest editor Mark Ludwiczak’s take on what’s being discussed.
Bills Digest BUZZ Box: Five hot topics Bills fans are talking about
Bills Digest editor Mark Ludwiczak and editor-at-large Chris Brown weigh in on a handful of the hottest subjects Bills fans have been sounding off about in e-mails to our offices, radio call-in shows and Internet message boards. Have an opinion? Feel free to send an email to Chris (AskChris@bills.nfl.net) or Mark (Mark@asmpublishing.com).
WIDE RECEIVERS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Allen Robinson II, Bears 6-2 • 220 pounds • 27 years old Coming off a 102-catch season, Robinson is a big, physical receiver who can go up and get the rock. He excels at climbing the ladder to high-point the ball. Imagine what he can do with an elite QB after playing in Jacksonville and Chicago. Though he has been in the league since 2014, he’s still only 27.
GUARDS/CENTERS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Brandon Scherff, Washington 6-5 • 315 pounds • 29 years old The fifth pick of the 2015 draft, Scherff certainly lived up to the hype. He’s got everything teams want in a guard — size, grit, great technique, power and the mobility to get to the second level. His massive hands (11 inches) are a huge asset for a guard to grab and clutch. He made the Pro Bowl four of his first five NFL seasons. $$$$$
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FROM WHERE I’M SITTING