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Bills Today | How Jordan Phillips earned the starting defensive tackle spot

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1. How Jordan Phillips earned the starting defensive tackle spot

“He earned it,” head coach Sean McDermott said on Sunday.

Jordan Phillips took over at the three-technique defensive tackle spot for his first start of the year against Washington on Sunday. Phillips had three tackles and one sack. He leads the Bills with 6.0 sacks this season. It’s also the highest total among defensive tackles in the NFL.

“It was a long time coming,” Phillips said. “I’ve been grinding, been working for it. Finally the opportunity came and hopefully I get to be there next week.”

Phillips re-signed with the Bills this offseason after appearing in 12 games for Buffalo in 2018 after he was cut by Miami. When he signed his one-year deal in March, Phillips stated that Buffalo was home and he thought he was the best candidate for the three-technique spot after Kyle Williams’ retirement.

With the breakout season he’s put together so far Phillips hasn’t thought much about his future plans.

“I’m just taking it day by day, game by game,” Phillips said Sunday. “It doesn’t matter what I do if we don’t win.”

Teammate Trent Murphy spoke highly of Phillips’ performance this season and his elevation to the starting lineup.

“I think it says a lot about our coaching staff that they can trust the process and give the job to whoever they think has earned it in practice,” Murphy said. “…we’re a close group and I think we’re always happy for him and his success, especially in our room.”

2. John Brown became the 1st Bills receiver to achieve this feat in 17 years

John Brown has surpassed 50 yards receiving in every single game this season. He’s the first Bill to open the season on an eight-game 50-plus yard streak since Eric Moulds’ nine game streak in 2002.

Brown says this is the most he’s been featured in an offense since college.

“My key is to come here every day, put in the work, practice my weaknesses and try to stay consistent with catching the ball,” Brown said. “I just try to control what I can and make plays when they come to me.”

Brown has caught 42 passes for 603 yards and two touchdowns. He has an average of 14.4 yards per reception. His career high for receiving yards in a season is 1,003 in 2015 when he was with the Arizona Cardinals. Brown has 65 receptions.

Brown is on pace for 84 catches and 1,206 yards this season. He’s matched his reception total from last year already.

“I need to stay consistent and stay ready for all four quarters,” Brown said. “I think I can be more vocal to try to speak more as a leader to try to see if we can get something going.”

Brown finished Sunday’s game with four receptions for 76 yards.

3. Lorenzo Alexander: Playoffs aren’t automatic

Lorenzo Alexander played on an NFL team that began the season 6-2 and ended up missing the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills franchise has never missed the playoffs the four times they started a year 6-2.

Alexander’s experience will come in handy with a youthful Bills team.

“I think we just had an assumption that we were going to go to the playoffs,” Alexander said. “We were riding that high and got lax in practice and our mentality. That’s the biggest hurdle is success, I think more than failure. Because you can relax and say we got this instead of being very critical. Often times coaches are less critical when you win. We have to continue to grow even in wins making sure we have the mindset of correcting things moving forward.”

Alexander was a member of the 2008 Washington Redskins. They began the year 6-2 and finished the season at 8-8, fourth in the NFC East.

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