1 - McDermott up for challenge of 'highly skilled' Vikings
The Bills will travel to U.S. Bank Stadium this weekend to take on the Minnesota Vikings in a Week 3 matchup.
The Vikings, who currently sit at 1-0-1 on the season, are coming off an incredible 2017 campaign in which they came within one win of a Super Bowl berth. Minnesota finished the 2017 season with the league's top-ranked defense and 11th-best offense. They improved at a number of positions in the offseason and have been impressive yet again in the 2018 season.
Through two weeks, the Vikings have a top-five offensive unit and a defense that is allowing an average of just 22.5 points per game.
Since hiring head coach Mike Zimmer in 2014, the Vikings have been perennial contenders, making the playoffs in two out of the last three seasons. Bills head coach Sean McDermott hopes to one day accomplish a similar feat in Buffalo, and he's excited to take on a talented Minnesota team this weekend.
"They're highly skilled," McDermott said. "They're a team that's been to where we're trying to get to overall. Lot of respect for their coaching staff, Coach Zimmer, all the way down the line and their players. They've got players that make plays on the football on both sides of the ball, they've got a good defense starting with the way that they've built it up front. It'll be a good challenge for us."
2 - Mike Zimmer sees promise in Bills' offensive line
Buffalo's offensive line underwent some renovations in the 2018 offseason.
The Bills lost two long-tenured starters in the offseason when both Eric Wood and Richie Incognito retired. Buffalo brought in a few new faces across the offensive line, signing former Cincinnati center Russell Bodine and veteran tackle Marshall Newhouse. The Bills also utilized a draft pick on a lineman, selecting guard Wyatt Teller in the fifth round of the 2018 draft.
Through the first two weeks of the regular season, Buffalo's offensive line has shown flashes of potential. While the Bills have allowed 11 sacks this season, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll believes that "more than half of those sacks aren't on the offensive line."
According to Pro Football Focus, guard Vlad Ducasse has been the NFL's best pass blocker throughout the first two weeks of the season.
The makings for a solid offensive line are there for the Bills. Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer thinks that Buffalo has a few solid players across their offensive line, feeling as though sophomore left tackle Dion Dawkins is an exceptional talent.
"I think with us, our whole thing is trying to get the run stopped first and then try to get to the quarterback the best we can," Zimmer said. "I feel like we have a good defensive line. I think they have good players in their offensive line. I think Dion Dawkins is an excellent player. He gives you a full day's work and we really liked him coming out [of Temple]."
Zimmer thinks that Buffalo's offensive line can overcome some of the critiques surrounding them in time.
"Sometimes it just takes some time to jell," Zimmer said. "I know they were saying the same things about our offensive line a couple years ago and these guys started playing together and it really helped."
3 - Taiwan Jones healthy after brutal injury
Special teams captain Taiwan Jones suffered a gut-wrenching injury in the third quarter of Buffalo's Week 2 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers.
After recovering a muffed ball on a punt return, Jones' helmet fell off after he shrugged off a tackle in the end zone. He spun directly into the path of linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, resulting into a helmet-to-head hit that left Jones on the ground.
Fortunately, Jones was able to walk off the field under his own power. He didn't suffer a concussion on the play, and remarkably, just days after the injury occurred, Jones is only left with some neck soreness.
"I feel pretty blessed to be able to walk away like I did," Jones said. "You know, I've got a little soreness in my neck, which is expected. For the most part, no headaches really lingering around or anything like that."
Jones has been a limited participant in this week's practices.
Nwosu has since apologized for the hit. Jones, however, doesn't feel that an apology was necessary, as he knows that the play happened in the heat of the game.
"No, I don't think it was dirty at all," Jones said. "It was a bang-bang play. He caught me coming out of my spin, his head was down, I don't think there was no way for him to pull up. You know, it was just an unfortunate accident."