1 - Hughes on OTAs, the 'D' and the Bills' ultimate goalOTAs are finally in swing at One Bills Drive, and with Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier entering their second season with the Bills, the defense will have a level of comfort in knowing the system. But more than anything, for Bills DE Jerry Hughes, he told One Bills Live he's just happy to be back on the field.
"It's a lot of fun," said Hughes. "You know, being able to strap everything on and everything that we've been doing in the classroom, actually finally putting that on the field and moving with a pretty good pace for Day 1. I mean, really just knocking off some of that rust for a lot of us."
While rookies and free agents are focusing on learning a new playbook, Hughes and the rest of Bills veteran players understand how the scheme work and will be looking to build on that next season.
"For us, it actually allows us to review some of the past game films," said Hughes. "See where the other areas where we can certainly improve the most. And know it's when you hear a call, or when the linebackers make a check it's just second nature. It's not too much thinking, it's just muscle memory. It's just, 'Ok, now I can do what I know, or I can stay within the scheme and still be able to make plays and not be wrong.'"
Entering his ninth year in the NFL, Hughes will be starting his sixth as a member of the Bills. Turning 30 before next season begins, he knows as good as anyone in the locker room what it takes to reach the Bills ultimate goal.
"For us, it's always been about hoisting that Super Bowl trophy," said Hughes. "So, we all understand when you come into this building it's all about winning the day. What can we do to get better? We really focus hard on that. Take that to the next step with us being in the second year in this defensive scheme, being able to really go over our problem areas, being able to see that on film, seeing how we can improve, as far as pass-rush technique, run stop ability, and you know, really just hone in on that. And then, we get in the weight room and start improving in those areas as well.
"Everybody's got a weakness that you've got to work on, so it's just great to see all the guys coming back for the whole OTAs, been here for the whole football school, really putting in that extra work."
2 - CBS believes Bills tackle is "poised for big things"The Buffalo Bills offensive line is in a situation where multiple players are going to be asked to step up including Jordan Mills and Ryan Groy along with newcomers Marshall Newhouse and Russell Bodine. But for CBS, the breakout star for the Bills will be tackle Dion Dawkins. Entering his sophomore season in the NFL, Dawkins is looking at a more defined role on the offensive front.
As Pete Prisco made his list, he defined his choices by the following.
The list features players entering their second or third seasons who all showed future Pro Bowl potential in 2017.
For Dawkins, it comes down to the role he played after buying into McDermott's next man up mentality.
*With Cordy Glenn bothered by foot and ankle injuries most of last season, Dawkins started 11 games as a rookie at left tackle. Dawkins did a nice job in protection and was especially good in the run game, which led to the Bills trading Glenn to the Bengals in the spring. Dawkins' ability to move players off the ball helped LeSean McCoy run through big holes. Dawkins also improved in pass protection the more he played. He did have a few rough spots, but he has the look of a player who will be a longtime starter.
Check out photos from One Bills Drive as Buffalo's 2018 OTAs kick off.
3 - Bills WR can live up to his potential in contract yearFor the Bills, the passing game has not been the focal point of the offense for years. But, the team has been trying to re-establish a passing game with a true number one target, who will try to blend with a new quarterback contingent.
The Bills will be looking for Kelvin Benjamin to become a key threat for one of their three options at quarterback next season, especially with him playing for his next contract. 247sports believes he'll be able to get back to his old form.
The Buffalo Bills have been in search of a new identity ever since Sean McDermott was hired as head coach before last season. Kelvin Benjamin came to the Bills, by way of trade, as part of that hunt. Benjamin only caught 16 passes in six games with the Bills, but there's reason to believe he can do so much more. That's why the Carolina Panthers spent a first-round draft pick on him back in 2014.
Benjamin, who has been plagued by injuries in both knees after his rookie season, but after surgery and rehabbing he says his feeling leaner and stronger including in his knees. Now, he will look to reach the heights he did in his rookie year in Carolina.
Benjamin eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie and also recorded a career-high nine touchdown receptions. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound receiver hasn't put up those types of numbers since, but he must do so for the Bills in 2018.
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