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Bills Today: McDermott sees confidence growing in Zay Jones

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1 - McDermott sees confidence growing in Zay Jones

As a second-round draft pick, expectations for Zay Jones have always been high. Perhaps nobody has higher expectations for the wide receiver than himself.

Jones was unable to live up to those expectations surrounding him in his injury-plagued rookie season. The former East Carolina Pirate played with a torn labrum throughout much of the 2017 campaign, finishing the season with 27 receptions for 316 yards.

Though the production wasn't there, Jones never stopped believing in himself and his talent level. Through the first six weeks of the 2018 campaign, Jones' ever-present confidence has benefited Buffalo's offense, as he's been one of the team's most reliable weapons. With 16 receptions for 199 yards and one touchdown, he's the team's leading receiver after Week 6.

Jones played well in Buffalo's Week 6 loss to the Texans, catching three passes for 35 yards and one touchdown. His touchdown came off a nice double move and gave the Bills a late fourth-quarter lead.

Buffalo coach Sean McDermott has sensed Jones' level of comfort grow.

"He's worked hard and I think he's done a good job," McDermott said. "He's made incremental gains, and I'm seeing some signs of confidence which I like. He's worked hard during the week and that carries over to the game, as well. I think he made a big catch on the sideline as well [Sunday]. There are a couple other plays that were big for us."

2 - Frazier: Lorenzo Alexander has found 'his fountain of youth'

Despite physics suggesting that it's not possible, Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander is seemingly decreasing in age.

Throughout the past three seasons, Alexander has consistently been one of the team's most impactful players on defense. This has been no different in the 2018 campaign. Through six games, the 35-year-old has totaled 28 tackles, 2.5 sacks, five pass deflections, and one interception.

Alexander is coming off what was arguably his best game of the 2018 campaign thus far. In Week 6, the former Cal Bear totaled four tackles, 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hits and one interception on just 20 snaps.

Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier values what Alexander brings to the team both on and off the field.

"The way he played [Sunday] was incredible when you consider where he is in his career," Frazier said. "He's playing defensive end for us. We line him up inside at tackle at times in our third down defense. He's playing inside linebacker, outside linebacker, and making plays. It's just great for our young players to see a guy who has kind of evolved as a player over the course of his career. He's a tremendous leader, great teammate, and obviously a terrific player as well. I don't know if I can pinpoint where he's found his fountain of youth, but it's working out really well for him and for our defense as well."

3 - Defenders graded well in Week 6 loss

Buffalo's defense followed up a stellar Week 5 outing with an even better performance in Week 6.

After allowing just 12 points in the team's Week 5 win over the Titans, the Bills' defense gave up just 13 points to the Texans last Sunday. The unit combined for seven sacks and three forced fumbles.

When the Texans' scored a touchdown on their second drive on a short field off a turnover, Buffalo's defense did not allow Houston to enter the end zone again for the remainder of the contest. The group allowed only six points over the final three quarters.

In the 20-13 loss, the Bills received great performances from a number of their defensive players. Pro Football Focus gave five Buffalo defenders grades of 80 or higher.

According to PFF, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander led the way for the Bills defensively, earning a grade of 92.7.

Jerry Hughes also earned a stellar Week 6 grade, receiving a 90.2. The defensive end totaled 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, and one forced fumble in the contest.

Kyle Williams finished the game as Buffalo's highest graded interior defender, earning an overall grade of 84.9. The former LSU Tiger recorded three tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble.

Sophomore Matt Milano continued his stretch of strong PFF grades in Week 6, receiving an 81.2, his highest of the season. Milano totaled eight tackles and one pass deflection on Sunday. PFF dubbed the linebacker a "secret superstar" last week.

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