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Consulting With The Coaches

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Bills coaching staff gives their takeaways on Stefon Diggs' & DaQuan Jones' Week 17 performance


It all comes down to Sunday night for determining who will take home the AFC East crown as the Bills and Dolphins battle it out at Hard Rock Stadium.

Following a 27-21 win over the Patriots in Week 17, the Bills now have their attention squarely focused on the Dolphins with a full week of preparation ahead.

Head coach Sean McDermott, interim OC Joe Brady and Asst. HC/DL coach Eric Washington all met with the media Monday evening. Here's what we learned:

McDermott & Brady explain Diggs' dip in production

WR Stefon Diggs was on the field for just 65% of the team's snaps against the Patriots and hasn't topped a 70% snap share since Week 14 against the Chiefs. While those aren't typical usage numbers for Buffalo's No. 1 option, interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady detailed Monday that he and Diggs are on the same page about his usage.

"Look I think there's times where we definitely tag him out of plays," Brady said. "I think it was something earlier in the season we talked about to get to where we want to get — to just not playing (that many snaps)."

He added: "There's plays where we go into the weekend where we purposely have him out of the game."

The reasoning, Brady continued, is to keep Diggs fresh and make sure Josh Allen and the offense is efficient when targeting him.

"There's an intent behind a lot of times throughout the week of certain ones we can get a blow off of him. But in critical situations, third down and that, we obviously want him on the field," he said.

Head coach Sean McDermott also shared that he doesn't believe there is any type of injury that could be hampering Diggs.

"Medically there's nothing big that's been, to my knowledge, ailing him and the communication I'm getting from Nate (Breske), our trainer on that," McDermott said. "And it's just Josh going through his reads and going through his progressions and making sure that we're making sure we're going through the progressions properly."

Allen nearly hit Diggs on a deep pass play that would've likely gone for a touchdown against the Patriots but overthrew him. The QB said it wasn't Diggs' fault the two couldn't connect.

"Just missed him. It's plain and simple," Allen said postgame Sunday.

With a renewed focus on the run game and different personnel groupings over the last four weeks, the Bills have still rattled off four straight wins — even without big performances from Diggs. However, that doesn't mean the team is content with 

"Look I know we're better when Stef's on the field," Brady said. "There was three times we threw the ball yesterday where the intent was Stef on the field. When he's not on the field, then Josh trusts whoever is in that position to make the play. 

"Any time (Diggs) is on the field we're better off. We know that."

While the coaching staff has been asked about Diggs' dip in production in recent weeks, it doesn't appear to be affecting the star WR's mentality.

"In a perfect world, you know I want the ball, I want to have success," Diggs said on Dec. 14 before the Cowboys game. "At the end of the day, we're winning games. That's what I've got to tip my hat to. I'm still chasing greatness each and every day. It's not because I don't want it. I promise you that. I want to still continue to play at a high level."

Luckily for Buffalo, Diggs has been at his best when facing the Dolphins in their two most recent meetings, dating back to last season. In the Bills' Wild Card round home win last year, Diggs had a team-high 7 receptions for 114 yards in a 34-31 win.

In Week 4 of this year, Diggs exploded for 6 catches for 120 yards and three touchdowns.

McDermott said Monday that he wants Diggs to continue being a focal point of the offense.

"He's a big factor for us," McDermott said. "We're going to need him down the stretch here."

Impressions of Jones' return

Bills DT DaQuan Jones made his return to the lineup after missing the last 10 games with a torn pec. He was on the field for 53% of Buffalo's defensive snaps and recorded two tackles.

Upon watching the tape, the coaching staff came away impressed with Jones' performance.

"Strong point of attack fundamentals," D-line coach Eric Washington said. "He did a nice job with some of the mid zone run schemes. It was almost like he never left.

"The sack we had on third down, he and Ed (Oliver) did a nice job of working the pass rush concept we had."

McDermott added that he also liked what he saw from Jones and believes he can be an impact player on the defense down the stretch.

"First step in the right direction. And now it's about taking another key step this week and just getting and continuing to knock the rust off," he said.

Injury update

McDermott had no new significant injury updates to provide and it looks like the team is in good shape health wise going into Week 18.

Josh Allen had a stinger at the end of the Patriots game and McDermott shared that the QB was dealing with some "neck soreness" on Monday.

McDermott said he doesn't believe the soreness will impact Allen's practice schedule this week or his availability for Sunday night.

The Bills won their 10th game of the season. Check out the best reactions on the field and in the locker room.

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