The Bills had their final practice of the week on Thursday morning before a quick break with Jets prep beginning next week. With the 53-man roster, practice squad and captains set, players discussed what it means to be in a building full of elite talent.
GABE DAVIS ON BEING NAMED A FIRST-TIME CAPTAIN
Fourth-year wide receiver Gabe Davis is one of eight players who was voted by their teammates to be a part of this year's group of captains. It's Davis' first time being elected as a captain and even he was a bit taken aback when his picture was revealed as the last captain to makeup the 2023 group.
"It was a little surprising," Davis shared. "I feel like when they were announcing, I was the last one to be announced, everybody was kind of a little bit happier and a little bit more juiced up to know that because I'm a goofball. I play around a lot, but I'm glad those guys again look at me as a guy that can lead the team."
Many players look up to Davis because of his work ethic. The WR has scored 20 touchdowns in just three seasons with the Bills and had over 800 receiving yards last season. Veteran players like Stefon Diggs have sung his praises for multiple years, and now it's spread across the locker room.
"He works extremely hard," Diggs said. "And he's one of those guys who gets along with everybody, people are leaning on him at this point. It kind of gets to that point where he's a trusted player."
"I feel like guys can trust me when it comes to the hard times because I'm going to work my hardest," Davis added. "I feel like I've shown that over the years being here in Buffalo. So, I feel like that's a big thing about me is I try to lead by example and when times get tough, that's when I push my hardest."
Being named a first-time captain, Davis believes he can learn from his peers like Diggs who was named a captain for the third year in a row.
"I feel like we can all take a little bit from each other," Davis said. "Diggs is a big energy guy. Diggs wants to compete, it's contagious around the locker room and contagious on this team. I mean, that guy's a winner. So, to be able to have that energy and that kind of tenacity that Diggs has is something special."
"For me, it means more now than it did when it was my first time being named a captain," Diggs said. "It's just the consistency of it, the respect from your peers. I know the biggest thing for me is always earning the respect from my teammates, and respect from my coaches."
The two wide receivers understand there's now a level of accountability they must live up to knowing multiple players from the same position group make up this year's squad of captains.
CHRISTIAN KIRKSEY ON WHY HE'S EXCITED TO BE IN BUFFALO
The Bills signed 10-year veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey to their practice squad on Thursday morning. Kirksey spent the last two seasons with the Texans. After being released by Houston earlier this week, the LB is excited about his new home in Buffalo because of the people and the culture.
"I have some good people that's over here," Kirksey said. "Micah (Hyde), (Jordan) Poyer, Shaq Lawson, Von (Miller). Just a bunch of people that are in the coaching staff that I've been with, Al Holcomb, Bobby Babich I've been with in the past. I like the culture they got over here, being a part of a winning culture, I'm all about it. I'm hungry. I'm ready to help out wherever I can. I'm ready to win, so it was a no brainer for me."
Kirksey believes the familiarity with several players and coaches will help him transition into a new defense. The LB and Hyde played together at the University of Iowa for three seasons. Poyer and Kirksey played together in Cleveland from 2014 to 2016. Holcomb was also Kirksey's position coach in Cleveland in 2019.
Kirksey shared this is his seventh defense he'll have to learn and believes his ability to adapt will help him pick it up quickly.
"When it comes to defenses, the biggest thing or difference in my opinion is the terminology," Kirksey said. "How's the language on the defensive side of the ball, the communication? I think that's the toughest part when it comes to adjusting to learning a new defenses. But at the end of the day, a defense is a defense…it's all about the communication part. So, for me, I'm a quick learner, and I'll get on board real fast."
The vet has started in 94 games and played in 114. He's racked up 16.5 sacks, 33 quarterback hits, 45 tackles for loss, seven interceptions, 33 passes defensed and 778 total tackles over his NFL career. Knowing the impact he's made on his former teams, he's excited for the opportunity with Buffalo.
"The opportunity man, it's great for me because I'm around a group of guys that they've been a top defense in this league for a while," Kirksey explained. "And to be able to be a part of it and have this opportunity, it's humbling. I'm hungry. Coming into Year 10, this is the time. I'm ready to win. I'm ready to ball. (I'll) follow the leaders that are here and then you never know what may happen."
QB SHANE BUECHELE IS READY TO TACKLE BUFFALO'S PLAYBOOK
Buffalo signed quarterback Shane Buechele to their practice squad on Thursday morning. The QB spent the last two seasons on Kansas City's practice squad. Thursday was Buechele's first day at practice in a Bills uniform. The young QB is happy about his opportunity with Buffalo.
"That's all we look for in this league is an opportunity," Buechele said. "And so, this is a great one, a great program, a great organization. From the top down, it's been great. I've been here less than 24 hours, and it's been good. So, we're looking forward to it."
Buechele was picked up by the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2021. He spent 2016 to 2018 playing for SMU and 2019 to 2020 playing for SMU.
The QB knows it won't be easy, but he's ready to tackle a new playbook.
"I've heard it's a lot," Buechele explained. "And looking over it today, there's not a lot of carryover, so it's gonna be a lot of study and just diving into it. But I'm looking forward to it and I'm really excited for it."