1. For Edmunds, year three is all about the confidence
Tremaine Edmunds has been running Buffalo's defense for each of the last two seasons. Since his rookie year the younger player has been entrusted with getting the defense lined up pre-snap and helping the unit execute as flawlessly as possible. So far, so good as Buffalo has finished as a top three defense each of the last two years.
Now entering his third NFL season, Edmunds believes he's reached a different stage of his playing career.
"I think it's confidence," he said. "I think it's normal for somebody that just stepped into a situation to not exactly have the amount of confidence they want. I'm a very confident person but I had to get adjusted to it and learn the system and get back to my normal self so I can play fast like I wanted to. And now my confidence level is really high. But it's always something that we always can get better with, but that's with everybody in life. I'm my harshest critic. So, I know out there when I mess up on something I know things that I have to get better with."
Edmunds doesn't believe he has all the answers, but he feels his experience gives him the ability to find those answers quicker.
2. McDermott making sure players have space to socialize
Buffalo's roster is as tight-knit as any in the league. It's been the result of the players on the roster making a point of spending time with one another away from the field the last few years. With the COVID pandemic and social distancing requirements both at the team facility and at home the ability to spend time with teammates is not what it once was.
To help create such opportunities during time away from the field during the workday at One Bills Drive, coach McDermott and his staff made sure to set up areas outdoors on campus where players can socialize.
"I think we've taken that into consideration," McDermott said. "Really, we started about two or three months ago with our meetings on that, as well as many other things around our building with protocol. We've tried to give them other options, you'll see we added a rather large tent outside at the back of the end zone of field one and obviously a big investment from Terry and Kim (Pegula), but well thought out so that now has become their cafeteria, their place where we want them to hang out as opposed to hanging out where they're spending too much time in the locker room. So they can hang out there, watch some TV, hopefully bring the team together in a healthy way."
3. First step for Harrison Phillips, availability
It has been a long and arduous rehabilitation for DT Harrison Phillips in his return from ACL surgery. Blessed with a clean bill of health and cleared to practice, the defensive tackle wants to make an impact and has some lofty goals. But the first goal he's shooting for is to finish the season on the field.
"I don't want to make any fast, big judgments or anything but, the most important thing after coming off some of this traumatic is, I want to be available, the whole year," said Phillips. "I want to be available for every single snap of every single game. And I know that might seem like a low bar to set, but the injury rates in the NFL at my position specifically, the type of blows and bangs that you have in the trenches, the number one goal is I want to make sure that I'm healthy for the entire year so that whatever position that they need to use me in, if it's one play a game or I'm playing 100 snaps a game, that I could do that for the Buffalo Bills and help us win."
Phillips said the athletic training staff will be keeping tabs on his load management in practice and have him back off on his workload when it is prudent to do so.