Here's the Bills news of note for May 31st.
**1 - Darby expects more chances for picks
**Bills CB Ronald Darby has 29 NFL games under his belt and 33 pass breakups in his young career. He also has just two interceptions, after posting none in 2016. But Darby aims to change that due to a couple of key factors.
First, Darby has been working diligently on his ball skills so when an opportunity presents itself, he's going the other way with the ball as opposed to forcing an incompletion.
"Last year I dropped about four or five picks, so you know, my season wouldn't have been that horrible if I caught those," he said. "I've just got to work on my hands, and that's something I've been stressing."
The second factor is the new defensive scheme. With less man-to-man coverage, when a cornerback often has to turn and run with a receiver and put his back to the quarterback, Darby will be facing up field enabling him to see and anticipate a quarterback's throws.
"A huge difference, you know, we not in cover one every play, like, you know, we could mix it up a lot. You know – a lot of different coverages to help you keep your eyes on the quarterback to make plays on the ball."
2 - Hughes is Bills best kept secretEvery Bills fan is familiar with the production Jerry Hughes put up when it came to putting pressure on the quarterback in the two seasons he played in 4-3 defense under defensive coordinators Mike Pettine and Jim Schwartz. Hughes posted back-to-back 10-sack seasons. Now back in a 4-3 scheme, Bleacher Report has tabbed him the Bills best kept secret in 2017 citing a comment Lorenzo Alexander made to Bills Wire.
"I know with Jerry now playing with his hand in the dirt he's going to have a big season," teammate Lorenzo Alexander said. "A double-digit sack season because he just doesn't have to worry about standing up and worrying about pass coverage."
Alexander will get no argument from this guy. There hasn't been a player on the Bills defense who has suffered more from the schematic pogo stick in Western New York the past five years than the 28-year-old Hughes.
Not that Hughes can't play standing up, mind you. That was his role during his breakout first season with the Bills in 2013, the first of two straight seasons in which Hughes piled up 10 sacks.
With McDermott apparently set to let Hughes do what he does best again, the upward trajectory to his career that he established a few years ago should get back on track in 2017.
3 - McDermott's take on on-field celebrationsAs Bills head coach Sean McDermott enters season one as the team's sideline boss, it was only natural to get his opinion on the new relaxed rules concerning end zone and big play celebrations by players during games.
"Number one, I believe in celebrating with teammates," McDermott said. "I like the fact that guys have a chance to express themselves but we're so much, right now, [more] focused on what it takes to score touchdowns and prevent touchdowns that that's really been our focus and will continue to be our focus. I want it to be a healthy dynamic and where it becomes unhealthy is when you affect the team."