Here's the Bills news of note for March 16th.
1 - Hokies get to tour One Bills DriveThe Villanova Wildcats weren't the only NCAA Tournament team that got a warm welcome to Buffalo. Buzz Williams' Virginia Tech Hokies got the opportunity to tour the facilities at One Bills Drive.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott even spent some time with the team and talked with them for a few minutes in the Bills locker room near Tyrod Taylor's locker. Taylor is a Virginia Tech alum, but the most famous Hokie to wear a Buffalo uniform was Hall of Fame DE Bruce Smith.
Coach Buzz Williams' Virginia Tech squad is the 9th seed in the East and they face 8th seed Wisconsin at 9:40 pm on Thursday night.
2 - WR Butler banks on chemistry with TyrodOne of Buffalo's newest receivers Jeremy Butler comes to Buffalo with an advantage most new wideouts do not possess. Time on the field with QB Tyrod Taylor. The two were teammates in Baltimore in 2014 when Butler was signed as an undrafted rookie out of Tennessee-Martin.
With the 2017 free agency period officially open, here's a look at Buffalo's pickups.
Taylor was the Ravens' backup quarterback at the time and ran the second team offense, so working with Butler was a common occurrence. They built some on field chemistry that Butler hopes to tap into again now that he's teamed up with Taylor in Buffalo.
"Comfort is the main thing for me. You can't really find that anywhere," said Butler. "Just familiarity and previous relationships with Rick Dennison the offensive coordinator, (offensive line coach) Juan Castillo and especially Tyrod. He actually threw me my first preseason touchdown in Baltimore my rookie year. So that chemistry and relationship I think will give me a great chance to compete. I'm thankful for the opportunity."
Even when Butler suffered a shoulder injury that kept him off the field for a few weeks leading up to the 2014 season, Butler made it a point to still get reps in with Taylor being an undrafted rookie.
"My shoulder injury healed up in a couple of weeks, at least well enough to run routes and catch," Butler said. "Every day after practice I would stay after and run routes with Tyrod and work with him because at the time I still couldn't practice. I would stay out there and work with him.
"So we didn't know it at the time, but we were building some chemistry that played a factor now. It's kind of come full circle, but I just worked with him all that preseason, working after practice and just talking. I wasn't a starter my rookie year and he had control of that second unit so our relationship kind of grew from there."
It's clear that Butler has a lot of respect for Taylor's game having seen it up close and personal on a daily basis. He admitted watching him a lot when he was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech.
"Even back then I saw his talent and how good he was and that poise, that cool, calm, collected mentality," said Butler. "I love the kind of guy he is. Great guy, great player. That was a really big factor in this whole situation. I'm looking forward to it. I want to help out any way I can to bring my abilities to the table."
A wide open receiver contingent and familiarity with the starting quarterback never hurts.
3 - New DE Davis likes to keep football funWith new additions to Buffalo's roster come new personalities. As long as everyone has the common goal in mind, different personalities are often healthy for NFL locker rooms. Bills new DE Ryan Davis is a guy who brings his lunch pail to work, but also likes to keep football fun.
"I feel like I'm a pretty vibrant guy, especially in the locker room," he said. "Once I get to know you or once you get to know me, I'm kind of funny and all that kind of stuff. But on the real, I like to bring a little life to everything, just be excited. Me coming in undrafted in 2012, I kind of had to fight for everything so I kind of want to bring some joy to it and some happiness and some fun to it because at the end of the day, this is a kid's game. Like we're all adults playing a kid's game, so I kind of want to bring some fun and happiness to it because the business side of things can get a little ugly, so why not just go out there and enjoy yourself and be a good teammate and get everybody else on the same page. That's kind of who I am and how I approach everything."
Davis, whose most productive season came in Jacksonville in 2014 when he had 6.5 sacks, believes he can get back to that kind of production if not better knowing he'll be lining up alongside talents like Jerry Hughes, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams.
"I feel like I control what I do when I'm in there, so I feel like anytime I'm in there I can do something," he said. "I feel like I can have another year, a better year, than that this year. I get a full offseason to get in here and learn and get the chemistry going with the other guys and I think it will be fun. Overall, I'm just here to win if me playing fast and being disruptive can aid in that, then I'm all for it."
Davis finished last season on injured reserve with a knee injury, but said he had minor surgery and is cleared for when the team begins on field activities in April.