1. A tough 24 hours ahead
The next 24 hours are full of several emotions for the Bills coaching staff and team. With the final 53-man roster due on Saturday at 4 p.m., there will be waves of sadness and joy. After Thursday’s fourth quarter win, head coach Sean McDermott expressed his thoughts on the decisions that lie ahead.
“This is a tough time,” McDermott said. “We were just in the locker room and these guys put it out there, and they put it on the line to win like that and then have to say goodbye to almost half the team, that’s hard to do but that’s the business we’re in. But like I told the guys before the game, I told them they’re all winners and no matter what it is, whether they play football for one more night like tonight or 10 more years, it’s been an honor to be around them and I think they’ll remember this game tonight for a long time.”
One player who will remember the final preseason game is wide receiver David Sills who caught the game winning touchdown. Sills, a rookie, is fighting to make it onto the roster.
“I did everything I can this preseason, so it’s out of my control,” Sills said. “Whatever happens I’ve always had pretty good perseverance, so it’s not going to be the end of the world with whatever happens. I hope I am here in Buffalo, I love this organization, I love this team and it’s really a shame that this whole team can’t stay together, but we do understand that this is the NFL. This team has a special bond together right now.”
So, what do the players battling for job with the Bills do in the next 24 hours? Most keep their mind away from playing out all the situations that could happen and spend time with loved ones.
“I mean I have been through this situation, this is going on my fifth year,” running back Marcus Murphy said. “I’ve been through this. I just try to get away from football, spend time with family and friends. Get my mind off of football and whatever happens, happens.”
It’s not an easy time for many, but harder decisions in year three under McDermott mean a team that is trending in the right direction.
2. Bills kicker thinks Carli Lloyd can succeed in the NFL
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Carli Lloyd took her national soccer team talents to the football field earlier this month and drilled a 55-yard field goal at a joint practice between the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens.
After the video clip hit social media, the buzz began on if Lloyd could have a future in the NFL. Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka told ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques that he believes she could succeed and is willing to help her get there.
“If it’s something she really wants to do, not only will I help her out — if she wants it — but I hope she goes for it,” Hauschka said after Buffalo’s preseason finale, per ESPN. “I do think it’s possible to kick well in this league as a female. It’s a very mental position, it’s physical, it’s technical, and I think it could be done eventually.”
Hauschka told ESPN he’s so willing to help because the situation hits home.
“It feels close to my heart because when I was 18, 19 years old, I was a soccer player and I had a dream of kicking footballs just for my Division III college team,” Hauschka said. “I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity and I had a coach that showed me how to do it.”
3. Quarterback Matt Barkley has AFC’s best passer rating in preseason
With the preseason over, the NFL released its individual and team statistical leaders.
Backup quarterback Matt Barkley is first in the AFC, second overall, with a passer rating of 133.4. Barkley finished the preseason 29 of 38 for 378 yards and three touchdowns. Beyond preseason performances, the quarterback has had a great training camp as well.
Running back Christian Wade is first in the AFC, second overall, with the longest run from the line of scrimmage with his 65-yard touchdown run against the Colts in week one of the preseason. That touchdown came on the former rugby star’s first NFL carry.
“One of the coolest moments of my football career, Christian Wade taking that to the house on his first NFL play,” quarterback Josh Allen said. “Big congrats to him. You saw how we reacted on the sideline. We all have an affinity for him, what he’s been through and the challenge he’s been going through trying to learn the game of football and he gets an opportunity and he makes the most of it. I wasn’t even on the field and it was just awesome.”
The Bills finished the preseason scoring the most points in the AFC with 102.