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Bills Today | NFL execs vote Sean McDermott coach of the year in this informal NFL.com poll

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1. NFL execs vote Sean McDermott coach of the year in this informal NFL.com poll

NFL.com's Tom Pelissero surveyed high-ranking executives in personnel from 24 NFL teams, including 13 general managers for his annual year-end awards column. The league's top talent evaluators voted on the top awards given out every season. The actual awards will be voted on by a panel of media members and handed out on Feb. 1 during the NFL Honors show.

But for now, Sean McDermott is winning the coach of the year vote.

With a 10-4 record and a second playoff berth in three years secured, McDermott received seven votes to edge out Ravens coach John Harbaugh (5 1/2) and 49ers head man Kyle Shanahan (five). "They've played really good defensively," an NFC personnel director said of the Bills. "He's winning with a young quarterback -- they're kind of winning because of the quarterback, too. I just think they have an identity. The team knows who they are. Isn't that 90 percent of it?"

Mike Tomlin (Steelers), Matt LaFleur (Green Bay), Bill O'Brien (Houston), and Brian Flores (Miami) received votes as well.

Voters weren't done with the Bills at coach of the year. Bills general manager Brandon Beane received four votes for executive of the year and came in third place behind John Lynch (49ers) and John Schneider (Seahawks).

2. Tre'Davious White now understands the intensity of the Patriots rivalry

Patriots week means something else in Buffalo.

For every Bills player brought in, the number one goal from the fanbase is to beat the Patriots every single year. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened in a while. The gap between the two teams might be the smallest it's been in a long time and Saturday is an opportunity to go and beat them.

Pro Bowl selection/AFC Defensive Player of the Week Tre'Davious White shared his memories on the topic based on what he learned during his rookie year.

"Since I first got here, before I even played my first game, I think I was sitting at Buffalo Wild Wings by myself and the Patriots were on Thursday night. A random guy came up to me and told me 'you need to beat these guys.' This was 2017 so back then I didn't know how big a deal it was but now I do. It'll be a big deal for us to get a win and the fans too. It's been a long time."

Dion Dawkins remembers a similar moment when he was drafted.

"When I got drafted it was a bunch of congratulations and then it was 'make sure you beat the Patriots, make sure you squish the fish'. Here in Buffalo and this area they're all for it but to us it's just another game."

3. This Bill is "hurting" over Jordan Phillips' pro bowl snub

Ed Oliver has learned a lot from Jordan Phillips during his rookie season. Playing side-by-side, Oliver has tried to emulate what Phillips has been able to do.

The only player with more sacks from the defensive tackle position this season is Aaron Donald.

"Even though he's a different style of player to me, everything that he's done, I try to copy. Honestly he's raised the level of play of my game," said Ed Oliver.

Oliver and Phillips have played a similar number of snaps this season. It's so close that the starting role almost doesn't matter, says Oliver.

"It's been great competition. To compete with him has elevated my game and that's why I'm hurting," Oliver said.

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