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Bills Today

Bills Today: Defense doesn't miss many opportunities


1 - Defense doesn't miss many opportunities[internal-link-placeholder-0]
This season the defense has been the heart and soul of the Buffalo Bills. The team's relatively familiar front-seven has caused trouble for opposing quarterbacks. And a completely revamped secondary has pounced on the opportunities that have come to them.

At first it may have seemed like a fluke, but this unit is legit. Week after week they're flexing their muscles and playing with high energy. Buffalo's first-year defensive coordinator, Leslie Frazier, has rejuvenated the Bills defense. The switch back to a 4-3 has fit the players and it shows on Sundays.

A major key to the defense's success has been the high rate of takeaways. They also cause a disturbance with their pass deflections and sacks. Buffalo ranks at the top of the NFL in most of the major categories.

The Bills rank first in the league in passes defended (35). Rookie, Tre'Davious White, is the league-leader in that category with 11. Their ability to contest passes has resulted in a high rate of interceptions. They also rank third in the league in interceptions with eight. Safety, Micah Hyde, is the league-leader with four picks.

The team ranks fifth in the league in forced fumbles (6). They've recovered two of the six fumbles and Tre'Davious White returned one for a touchdown.

Combined Jerry Hughes (3), Jordan Poyer (2), Lorenzo Alexander (2), Shaq Lawson (2), Kyle Williams (1), Marcell Dareus (1), and Eddie Yarbrough (1) have tallied 12 sacks. That's good enough to be ranked number 12 in the league. Buffalo's defense also has the most sacks in the AFC East.

While the offense has tried to find some consistency, the defense has remained stout through five weeks. Frazier's unit won't need too much tweaking in the bye week.

2 - Hyde has formed ball hawk identity in Buffalo
Buffalo's first-year safety, Micah Hyde, has outdone himself through five games. He spent his first four NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers. With the Bills he's already achieves feats he never did with the Packers.

Hyde is the league-leader in interceptions with four. He has never brought in that many interceptions in one season. The most he ever had in Green Bay was three. He did that in 2015 and 2016. The season's still young, but Hyde has already notched a season-high in a major category.

The five-year veteran's most recent game was against the Cincinnati Bengals. He had a total of six tackles, a pass defended, and an interception. The performance resulted in him being graded the second-highest safety in Week Five, according to Pro Football Focus.

Eleven more games remain on the Bills schedule this season. If Hyde can somehow keep his current pace with takeaways he'll be a lock for the Pro Bowl.

Relive Buffalo's interceptions from the first five games of the 2017 season.

3 - First bye week for McDermott
Head coach, Sean McDermott, will endure a lot of new situations this season. Considering it's his first season as an NFL head coach. It's Week Six in the NFL and the Buffalo Bills are on their bye week. This is McDermott's first time going through this process as the head guy.

The first-year head coach has hopes for what his team will take away during the week off.

"The self-building, the self-awareness as to what we're doing well, and there's a lot of things, and what we're not doing well enough," McDermott said. "Our hope [is the time] should allow us to grow and evolve into the team that we're trying to become, and that's still a process… This will be a big week to put in our work, a lot of it being off the field, but it starts by being humble, being honest with ourselves, and saying 'Hey, what can I do better? What can we do better?"

McDermott is in his 19th season in the NFL. During his time with the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles he's had a mentor or two to learn from. One of the most notable is Andy Reid, who's currently coaching the Kansas City Chiefs. Reid is a genius in preparing his team to play after a bye week. He's 15-2 in his head coaching career in the week after the bye.

"I know his record is pretty impressive coming off of the bye," McDermott said of Reid. "I think he's what? One loss on his record coming off the bye? I've taken some notes over the years."

This is one area where McDermott would love to emulate his coaching mentor.



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