1. How guard John Miller has impressed Sean McDermott in camp so far
Last year under a new coaching staff, John Miller was at times the odd man out of the rotation at guard. After starting 28 games in his first two seasons, many believed that Miller was a lock to start in 2017. However he made only four starts playing behind the likes of Richie Incognito and Vlad Ducasse last season. This year so far Miller has been taking first team reps at right guard for most of training camp. Sean McDermott believes that Miller's focus and commitment to his craft have improved since his arrival.
"He looks like, since the time he has come back in the spring, he is focused," said McDermott.
For NFL players, playing a backup role can often throw off the way that you respond to certain challenges on the field. Conversely, McDermott is proud of the way Miller handled himself last season despite not starting.
"He understands what is expected," he said. "I appreciate the way he handled last season."
The NFL can throw many metaphorical curveballs at players and coaches, and the mental aspects of the game are extremely challenging at this level. However, McDermott is pleased where Miller is psychologically.
"I think he's in a good place mentally," he said. "I'm anxious to see him more."
First team reps are hard to come by, and Miller appears to be carving out a nice role for himself in 2018.
2. Bleacher Report names Matt Milano as the Bills' breakout candidate
In 2017, Matt Milano was a fifth-round pick trying to find his way in the NFL. After playing behind Ramon Humber for the first part of the season, Milano ended up wrestling the starting job away and starting five games in his rookie campaign. In those five games, Milano impressed; racking up a forced fumble, an interception, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Recently, Bleacher Report named their choices for breakout candidates on each of the 32 NFL teams. Milano was their pick for the Bills in 2018. Here's what they had to say about the Boston College product.
Milano's ability to cover ground and handle short-area coverage responsibilities would put the Bills linebacker corps on the fast track to solidifying the unit. The fifth-rounder should see the field for at least two-thirds of the snaps with Alexander coming off the field on passing downs.
Milano turned 24-years-old on July 28th of this year, so a future of him playing alongside Tremaine Edmunds for the foreseeable future would be music to Bills fans ears.
Some scouting reports on Milano say that he is a tad bit undersized, but he more than makes up for it with his supreme athleticism. He should play a big role on defense for the Bills in 2018.
3. Tremaine Edmunds receives vote of confidence from Sean McDermott
Tremaine Edmunds is entering his first NFL season after being selected 16th overall in this year's draft. Right from the get-go, Edmunds has been penciled into a starting role at linebacker, adjacent to Matt Milano. Aside from the presence of Lorenzo Alexander, the Bills' linebacking corps includes mostly young pieces. However, head coach Sean McDermott believes that Edmunds is mentally prepared for the challenges he will face in his first season.
"He is a young man who seems mature," he said. "In my time around Tremaine [Edmunds] at this point, [he is] mature beyond his years both on the field and off the field."
McDermott acknowledges that the team expects big things from the first-year former Virginia Tech Hokie, but he also notes that Tremaine was brought up with a fantastic support system to prepare him.
"I credit his upbringing for that and his parents," said McDermott. "He's a guy that expects a lot of himself, and certainly, we expect a lot of him."
Edmunds is certainly poised for a great rookie season, and communication will play a big role in determining his level of success.
"The communication part will be big," said McDermott. "We need to know that he can run our defense and, not only know what he's doing, but what the people around him are doing and anticipate so he can check us in and out of some defenses."
With the Bills' staff focused on polishing Edmunds game, Bills fans can expect big things out of the 20-year-old linebacker in 2018.