Here's the Bills news of note for Nov. 20th.
1 - Adapt or dieIt's a phrase that Bills head coach Rex Ryan has used throughout his career in the NFL. Adapt or die is a mantra he's communicated to his players and his coaching staff. With schemes being constantly tweaked and changed in an effort to gain an edge on the field, players in turn must adapt as well. James Ihedigbo has embodied that motto, which is how he's played nine years in the NFL.
The veteran safety signed with Buffalo on Tuesday and had to implement a world class cram session this week to re-acclimate himself to Rex Ryan's defense.
"Just spending extra time studying, it's nothing new to me in terms of learning," Ihedigbo told Buffalobills.com. "Learning a new defense is always tough, but it comes down to spending that extra time studying. Being here early, being here late, meeting with coaches, meeting with other guys.
"As a secondary we met after hours outside of the facility just to catch each other up to speed. You're learning the guys you're playing with. That comes with it, learning guys' personalities and what they like to do, how they like to play things on the field, so you can fit to match everyone else's game. There's a saying that Rex always had. Adapt or die. You adapt to your situations like a chameleon and you perform."
The results were positive on the practice field to the point where Ryan is going to give Ihedigbo time on the field on defense through the years, some tweaks here and there, but he's doing a really good job. I'm confident if we need to play him I'm sure he'll do a really good job. I think he will play in this game. He's going to play. How big a role that is we probably don't know, but he's going to play."
For Ihedigbo, who just last week was sitting at home, the chance to play again is not lost on the veteran safety.
"I'm just so blessed for the opportunity," he said. "I just prepare and I'm ready for whatever coach wants to do. I'll prepare my best and be ready to go, but I'm excited to get back on the field and unleash some madness."
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2 - Rotation in the name of consistencyRex Ryan introduced competition at a few positions in practice this week in an effort to get more consistent play out of the candidates battling for playing time. It apparently kept players extremely focused during the week. So much so that Ryan plans to continue to do so in today's game against Cincinnati.
At right tackle Seantrel Henderson and Jordan Mills are expected to both get work in the game. Ronald Darby and Corey White are likely to both see time at left cornerback. At safety Robert Blanton, Sergio Brown, James Ihedigbo and Jonathan Meeks could all see snaps. There will be another pair of players rotating at nickel corner too.
"(Kevon) Seymour will play some nickel and so will (Nickell) Robey-Coleman. Are the corners going to play? Yeah," said Ryan. "We're going to play a lot of guys because we've got good players. Competition makes everybody better and quite honestly we feel good. This week I love the preparation that we've had."
Ryan believes a player rotation at these same positions in the game will keep all of those players engaged and on their toes.
3 - Veteran presenceAnother noticeable trend on the defensive side of the ball is the increased presence of veterans in the lineup. It began when Lorenzo Alexander stepped into the starting lineup for Shaq Lawson who was recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Then Zach Brown stepped in for rookie Reggie Ragland, who suffered a torn ACL. Both vets are having super seasons. But starter Kyle Williams, rotational DL Leger Douzable and S Corey Graham have all been reliable on defense.
The inconsistency has come from some younger players, and Ryan and his defensive staff chose to address that by adding more vets to the rotation. Corey White, Sergio Brown and the aforementioned James Ihedigbo are the latest players who could get time on the field on defense.
"I think first off you're trying to get the best player available and some of these guys are real pros," said Ryan. "Lorenzo Alexander, Zach Brown. They're having career years, but it's because of them and their commitment and the guys that are coaching them have done a great job as well.
"I think there's a professionalism with all these guys and they're a great example for our younger players."