Here's the Bills news of note for Sept. 4th.
1 – McDermott continues to build culture
As the regular season approaches, and the Bills continue to shape their roster, it has become very clear that Coach Sean McDermott and the front office have a vision. Every head coach has a certain type of player they look for. The Bills have unequivocally looked for players with high character, and a willingness to work. As Brent Sobleski, of Bleacher Report said, McDermott is building a culture in Buffalo.
Every time a new regime is hired to run a franchise, the new head coach wants his type of players. Sean McDermott is trying to create a new identity, and there will be roster casualties along the way.
To say that former-head coach Rex Ryan and McDermott have different team building ideologies would be an understatement. Under Ryan, the Bills didn't look for players with high character, and he had rather loose team rules. Although somewhat successful in the past, it simply didn't work in Buffalo. When hired, McDermott quickly saw the change that had to occur.
The Bills have made their team building view point abundantly clear. General manager Brandon Beane reiterated it recently on the John Murphy Show.
"You have to be careful when you put together a team," said Beane. "Don't just draft talent because if they don't have everything that goes into making a team – the hard working, the character. Sean uses it and I like, 'chin above the bar.' It's perfect. When you look at the good teams, it isn't always the team with the most talent, or pro-bowlers, it's the team that is playing the hardest, working together."
As the Bills continue to shape their roster, and some surprising cuts are announced, Beane's statement is important to remember. The Bills aren't looking for the most talented players, they are looking for the right players.
2 – Seau's push earns practice squad spot
Before the final preseason game, Ian Seau was a long shot to make the Bills roster. He missed time around the start of training camp due to an injury. He was used sparingly during the first two preseasons games, and looked destined to be cut. In the face of adversity and mounting odds, Seau put together his best performance of the preseason. According to ProFootball Focus, he was one of the top performing Bills against the Lions.
Seau dominated the edge against the Lions. His 4 total pressures (including a strip sack to end the game) led him to having the top-rated pass-rush productivity among his position group at 16.7.
Seau has had an up and down career in the NFL. After signing with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent out of Nevada, the athletic pass rusher was cut at the end of training camp. Featured heavily on the show Hard Knocks, Seau showed a strong desire to fight his way onto an NFL roster. Cut largely because of his lack of strength, Seau spent the season unsigned, but working on his weaknesses.
His effort was vindicated when he was signed by the Bills in April. After starting the preseason slow, Seau has made a late push to show that he belongs in the NFL. He recorded a half sack against the Ravens, but broke out against the Lions. He ended the night with two tackles, and two sacks, one of which forced a fumble that he recovered.
Although Seau still found his name of the list of players the Bills cut, he showed a fight and effort that is truly commendable. Despite a poor chance of making the team, Seau did everything he could to stake his claim for a final roster spot. And, in the end, his effort was recognized with a place on the practice squad.
Check out photos of the 2017 Buffalo Bills.
3 – Bills fielding veteran roster
The Bills roster is one of the oldest in the league, and that isn't a bad thing. As McDermott and the Bills front office try to bring a winning culture to Buffalo, the team has consistently looked for older veterans to help bolster the locker room. As Jim Kempski, of Philly Voice calculated, the average age of the Bills roster is 26.74 years old, which is third oldest in the NFL.
The Bills will field one of the oldest rosters in the NFL for two reasons. First, they looked to add players this offseason that deserved second-chances to prove their talent in the NFL. To help build the depth of the roster, the Bills added several older, but high-potential players. For example, Andre Holmes has had mild success throughout his career. But, for one reason or another, never had the opportunity he deserved.
Second, McDermott has said several times that he leans on the veteran leaders in the locker room. For instance, McDermott said he will often talk with Eric Wood, or Lorenzo Alexander to better understand the morale of the locker room. Also, McDermott and the front office have looked to veterans to act as models and mentors for younger players.
As the Bills continue to overhaul their roster, and the culture that dictates it, McDermott and Beane will lean on veteran players to help build the winning culture they've envisioned for Buffalo.