1 - McDermott: Monday Night Football an 'American tradition'
It's been nearly 10 years since a Monday Night Football contest has been played at New Era Field. This streak will come to an end next Monday when the Bills host the New England Patriots in a primetime matchup.
For Buffalo fans, the Week 8 contest will serve as a source of pride, an opportunity for the fan base to live up to its reputation as one of the league's strongest in front of a national audience.
For head coach Sean McDermott, the game will serve as a special experience, the realization of a lifelong goal. In Week 8, McDermott will take part in his first Monday Night Football contest as a head coach.
Buffalo's sideline boss fondly remembers watching the primetime games as a child.
"I remember growing up, couldn't wait to get home from school on Mondays because of Monday Night Football," McDermott said. "I mean, the theme song of it was pretty cool. They still have the same song, right?
"I used to try to sneak and stay awake and sneak the fact that I was really supposed to be asleep, and I'd keep one eye on the TV as long as I could as a young guy. To me, it's an American tradition, Monday Night Football. It brings a lot of energy and excitement to a town."
Though certainly a special occasion, McDermott and his staff are going to treat the highly-anticipated contest like they would any other.
"There's a fine line there, a balance," McDermott said. "We've got a young football team on our hands and the biggest thing is that we treat it as another game. With all due respect to the opponent and having it home, it's great that we're going to have a home game, number one, and play in front of our fans. But we have to continue to grow and be able to execute in a situation like this. I found that if you get too high, you lose yourself in the moment, and we can't do that."
2 - Frazier, Daboll to work together in game planning vs. Pats
When Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier starts constructing his game plan for Buffalo's Week 8 matchup with the Patriots, he'll have access to something that he didn't have last year - an 11-year veteran of New England's system.
New Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is no stranger to the Patriots' offensive scheme. The coach spent 11 seasons with New England in a multitude of roles, earning five Super Bowl rings throughout his time with the team.
Daboll most recently served as the Patriots' tight ends coach in 2016. Frazier plans on including the coordinator in his defensive meetings this week.
"We'll definitely pick his brain for sure," Frazier said. "We'll ask him as much as we can to try to get behind the curtain a little bit and learn as much as we can about their offense and how they put it together and how they game plan for opponents. We'll definitely try to utilize his knowledge of their offense over the course of the week."
The experienced Frazier plans on presenting defensive situations to Daboll and asking him how the Patriots would react.
"We'll sit down and talk and just give him some scenarios that we might have on defense and how we're thinking just to see how they would try to counteract that," Frazier said. "We'll delve into it as a defensive staff with him and just pick his brain a little bit."
3 - Brian Daboll will coach from sideline again vs. Patriots
In Buffalo's Week 7 matchup with the Colts, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll called plays from the sideline as opposed to from the coaching box. He'll do so yet again in the team's upcoming Monday Night Football meeting with the Patriots.
"Yeah, this week I will," Daboll said. "I'll be down there."
Daboll's decision to coach from the field was influenced by the team's current situation at the quarterback position. With rookie passer Josh Allen sidelined with an elbow injury, Derek Anderson has taken the reins of the offense. The 35-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Bills in early October.
The ability to talk to his signal caller directly is something that Daboll greatly values.
"I think the communication, particularly with [Derek Anderson], early on, communicating with him back and forth is important," Daboll said. "It's important with all of them, but I just thought that would be a good time to go ahead and go down there so I could communicate with those guys."
Daboll did not mention whether coaching from the sideline is a permanent or temporary verdict. According to head coach Sean McDermott, the decision will ultimately be Daboll's.
"At the end of the day, I give him the right to call it from where he feels most comfortable," McDermott said. "Sometimes that changes from week to week, I did that in Carolina from the defensive side a few times whether for these reasons or for other reasons, a no-huddle offense where I wanted to get the call in right away. Different situations call for different positions."