3 things we learned from Sean McDermott about Bills-Dolphins week

Tremaine Edmunds (49) Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets, September 13, 2020 at Bills Stadium. Photo by Sara Schmidle
Tremaine Edmunds (49) Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets, September 13, 2020 at Bills Stadium. Photo by Sara Schmidle

Buffalo Bills linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Tyrel Dodson both wore red non-contact jerseys as they joined the team for practice Wednesday in preparation for a Week 2 matchup with the Miami Dolphins.

Edmunds left Sunday's win over the New York Jets in the third quarter after sustaining a shoulder injury on an attempted tackle of wide receiver Jamison Crowder. Dodson, who recorded a sack and four tackles on 17 snaps, exited the game during the fourth quarter.

Fellow linebackers Matt Milano and Del'Shawn Phillips – both of whom also sustained injuries against the Jets – did not practice. Coach Sean McDermott said that no determinations have been made regarding the statuses of Edmunds, Milano, or Phillips for this Sunday's game. He labeled all three players as day-to-day on Monday.

Wide receiver John Brown also did not practice with a foot injury.

Here are more takeaways from McDermott's session with the media on Wednesday.

Jump-starting the running game

Buffalo's running tandem of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss each carried the ball nine times against a New York defense that ranked second in yards allowed per carry in 2019. Singletary earned 30 yards on the ground for an average of 3.3; Moss earned 11 for an average of 1.2.

McDermott said it will take a group effort to increase those totals against the Dolphins, beginning with himself and his staff and extending to the offensive linemen as well as the running backs.

"I think it's a mindset, right? And that's where it all starts," McDermott said. "Playing well at the line of scrimmage is important. … That's where it starts. You've got to play well in front on both sides of the ball and then, when the holes are there, backs have to hit them. It's never just one person or one position. It's all of us, starting with me."

McDermott expressed confidence in the ability of both young running backs, both of whom were involved in the pass game against the Jets. Singletary caught five passes for 23 yards while Moss slipped into an open space in the end zone to receive his first NFL touchdown.

"There's a lot of positives with both of those situations," McDermott said. "… I thought [Moss] made some good runs, he protected well most of the day, and I thought he caught the ball well as we saw with the touchdown catch and having a good feel there in terms of the scramble situation. So, a lot of positives early on with a lot of work to be done."

Defending the run

McDermott spoke highly of the Bills' run defense, which allowed just 52 yards against the Jets. The Bills leaned on eight players for snaps along the defensive line with defensive ends Trent Murphy and Mario Addison and defensive tackle Justin Zimmer all recording tackles for losses.

"It starts up front," McDermott said. "... Just like I mentioned about the offensive line, it starts with a mindset and you've got to have that mindset every day in practice, you've got to carry it into the game, and they're the tip of our spear on both sides of the ball. We go as they go, and I think them playing with great fundamentals, great hands in terms of trying to defeat blocks, that's a key. That's the start of it, at least, and you've got to have that."

The Dolphins rushed for 87 yards against the Patriots in Week 1, led by 40 yards from 2019 seventh-round pick Miles Gaskin. Newcomers Matt Breida (22 yards on five attempts) and Jordan Howard (seven yards on eight attempts) round out the Miami running corps.

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