Here's the Bills news of note for Aug. 23rd.
1 – McDermott looks to team leaders
When Anquan Boldin retired, the Bills were left at a loss. Although coach Sean McDermott said he respected the decision, the Bills' locker room was left shocked. As McDermott preaches that building this team will be a process, it's hard to continuously reaffirm that message to a young roster. Although the Bills lost Boldin's veteran leadership, McDermott stated he's confident that his experienced coaching staff will continue to bolster the team's message.
"We're always teaching as coaches," said McDermott. "We're always reinforcing in a positive context…It's also why we have an experienced staff that's been around the NFL. That's why I hired the caliber of coaches that I did. It's a people-driven business as far as that goes, so yes, it is important that we acknowledge it and then we circle back on things to continue to reinforce what's important to us, why it's important, and then how we move forward."
McDermott said that he will also lean on the leaders in the locker room to help to continue building a culture of brotherhood and winning in Buffalo. McDermott said that although he hasn't met with the team leaders since Boldin retired, they've been instrumental in helping him connect with the locker room.
"The Kyle Williams' of our football team, the Lorenzo Alexander's, the Eric Wood's, and the list goes on," said McDermott. "They're a great sounding board for myself in terms of what's going on, how the team's reacting to things, are we tired, or are we in a good spot physically [and] mentally. They've been a tremendous help to me and I really appreciate their leadership, their guidance, and their feel for the pulse of the team overall."
Although the Bills lost veteran leadership when Boldin left, McDermott stated that he was still confident in the veterans on the team. If the Bills want to win this season, and in the future, the leadership and culture that McDermott establishes now will be paramount.
2 – Why Glenn's return would bolster Bills line
According to ProFootball Focus, the return of Cordy Glenn will be paramount in determining how well the Bills offensive line will perform this season. Last year, the Bills boasted one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, due largely to the play of Glenn at left tackle. ProFootball Focus stated that Glenn is one of the best tackles in the NFL.
Glenn is a premier pass blocking tackle and in 2016 he earned the10th highest pass blocking efficiency at 96.4while only allowing 17 total pressures. Glenn's pass block grade of 85.0 ranked 14th.
McDermott stated that the Bills are "cautiously optimistic" that Glenn will return healthy in time for the start of the season. Glenn anchoring the left side of the Bills line will be vital to the success of the offense this season. When pressed into duty in the first two preseason games, Seantrel Henderson's performance has been up and down. Rookie Dion Dawkins has also started to receive reps at left tackle in practice, as the Bills try to find a suitable back-up and contingency plan.
Glenn was graded as the second-best tackle in the AFC East by ProFootball Focus. As the Bills have shown the first two weeks of preseason, the offensive line desperately needs the abilities of Glenn. If he can return by week one, the Bills offensive line will immediately improve, as his talent stabilizes the unit.
3 – Peterman still learning
Although Tyrod Taylor, by his own admission, did not have the best of performances at Philadelphia last week, head coach Sean McDermott is resolute in his stance that Taylor is his starting quarterback.
Though there were some encouraging plays turned in by rookie Nate Peterman in the Eagles game, he still ended the night with a 50 percent completion rate (10-20 passing, 176 yards).
Pro Football Focus uncovered some interesting statistics with respect to Peterman's play. The Bills rookie signal caller does a good job on the whole of getting the ball out in rhythm, but according to PFF when under pressure his passing accuracy and effectiveness suffers.
When not pressured or blitzed, Peterman has completed 37-52 passes (71%) and averages more than eight yards per attempt. When blitzed or under pressure Peterman has completed nine of 36 pass attempts this preseason (25%).
"I'm always trying to get better," said Peterman. "I know there are some plays I've left out there. I feel like I'm still confident, but we want to get better and fix those things so we can get into the end zone."