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Bills Today: Bills reach out to Alexander


Here's the Bills news of note for Jan. 30th.

1 - Bills reach out to AlexanderWhile most of Buffalo's 24 unrestricted free agents have remained tight-lipped on their futures, at least one guy is making his intentions fully known.

Lorenzo Alexander told Alex Marvez on Sirius XM Radio that he would love to be back with the Bills, and that the Bills have expressed interest in bringing the 33-year-old back for another season with the team.

"[The Bills] have reached out to me," Alexander said. "They want me to be back ... I'm waiting to see what all the offers are on the table. My wife and I will sit down and make the best decision for ourselves."

Buffalo signed Alexander for the veteran's minimum to be a key contributor on special teams, but the linebacker exploded for a career season that saw him named to the Pro Bowl and a second team All-Pro selection.

Alexander finished with the third-most sacks in the NFL with 12.5 and added a much-needed spark to the pass rush that was beleaguered with injuries for most of the season.

The potential change in scheme with McDermott coming to Buffalo doesn't faze Alexander, either. Despite having more sacks in 2016 than his first nine years in the league combined, he is confident he can replicate that success under a different coach.

"I've heard great things about (McDermott)," Alexander said. "I know I can play in any scheme in the league, but obviously, coaches have their own opinion."

Any team looking to sign Alexander will certainly have to pony up more than the $885,000 Buffalo paid him in 2016, but he is hoping that he can find a way to make things work with the Bills front office.

"I would love to go back," Alexander said. "It's a great football city, a blue-collar town and family oriented. It's right up my alley."

**2 - Incognito actively recruiting Bills free agents

**In addition to the 24 impending free agents, the Bills also have to worry about whether one of the best defensive players in franchise history will hang up his jersey this offseason.

While Kyle Williams admitted he is still uncertain about his playing future, he told at the Pro Bowl that he has been in contact with his coaches and that they want the 33-year-old back for a 12th season in Buffalo.

"Talking with them, they want me back and I'm just going to prepare like I am. We'll see where we end up.

"(McDermott) seems to be on top of things," Williams added. "He's asking me the right questions and he's had some great answers for me. I think he's going to do well."

Williams was named to his fifth Pro Bowl after another impressive regular season campaign. He had five sacks and the most tackles he's had in three seasons. Despite playing in 15 games, he was hampered by a back injury in the second half of the season that contributed to Williams contemplating his future.

"You know, I really haven't thought about it right now," Williams said. "Just been down here and the first few weeks of the offseason I've just tried to reconnect with my family and everything like that. But I always take a month or so off then I'll get back to preparing like I'm going to be back in Buffalo and I'm going to play."

As for Pro Bowl preparation, while Williams, Stephon Gilmore, Zach Brown and Alexander practiced in Orlando all week, Richie Incognito was busy trying to convince all four guys to return to Buffalo in 2017. Incognito told the John Murphy Show on Friday that he doesn't want to break up a group that he feels is on the cusp of making the playoffs.  

"I've been talking to them, and they're getting ready to go through the free agent process, but I hope all of our guys come back," Incognito said. "I hope we can retain everything and keep this thing going. We're starting to build something special, and we've fallen short the last two years but we're right there. You take a few games and push them into the win column and we're competing every year."

**3 - McDermott's former safety swears by former coordinator

Sean McDermott is really going to be missed by the defense in Carolina.

Kurt Coleman, who played under McDermott as a rookie in Philadelphia and the last two seasons with the Panthers, is the latest player to praise his former coach.

Coleman spoke with USA Today about how McDermott developed him into an NFL-caliber safety and the impact he's had on his seven-year career in the league. Coleman said that as he improved with experience in the NFL, so did McDermott.

"If you just look at statistics, in my first year in Philadelphia when he was there I think we were one of the last teams in first downs, and one of the last teams in red zone." Coleman said. "And then you look at where we've been in Carolina, we're one of the top teams (in both). I feel as though he's really taken his game to the next level in understanding the opposing offensive coordinator, the opposing head coach, and the style of football they play."

Coleman was part of Carolina's dominant, physical defense that propelled the team to a 15-1 record and a Super Bowl appearance in 2015. That was Coleman's first season back in McDermott's system, and also the best of his career. He had nine interceptions, including two in the NFC Championship game against Arizona. McDermott allowed himself to be open to those talented players on Carolina's defense. 

"One of the greatest things I enjoy is he's really receptive to listening to his players," Coleman said. "When I think about a Luke Kuechly, or Thomas Davis or myself — some of those top leaders, anybody that understands this game that you could call upon to help lead your team — he'll say, 'Is there something we need or don't need in this game plan, something we need to change or modify?' And he's really receptive to changing things, so we can play better, play faster and be more efficient."

For a Bills defense that had a different starting safety almost every week in the second half of the 2016 season, Coleman is also confident that his former coordinator can find and develop guys to excel in Buffalo—just like he did with Coleman—because he puts faith in his players.

"But defensively the great thing that we did was, we'd have a game plan." Coleman said. "And I will say this. Sean is not afraid to call that play where that quarterback has to get the ball out of his hands quickly, and they have to make that play. We're not going to sit back and let them make a play on us. I do know that. And it doesn't matter what type of game it is. He believes that we will make that play, more likely than they will make theirs."

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