1. Sean McDermott details the three R’s heading into summer break
The Bills are still five weeks away from opening training camp but it’s never too early to start looking at where the team can improve. Bills head coach Sean McDermott feels the Bills were held back during OTAs and minicamp due to injuries and the offense currently doesn’t have the continuity they planned for.
Still, that just means the Bills will have to make an adjustment in the way that they develop continuity going forward and make sure players can get together beforehand.
But the Bills are starting later than normal this year. Practices typically begin at 9:45 a.m. and the team usually sits back for an hour as a part of McDermott’s three ‘R’s of rest, retention and reps.
“We spent a lot of time this offseason trying to improve our processes in terms of making sure there’s three areas that we really wanted to improve on,” McDermott said. “Recovery and rest were one area, so we’re starting a bit later and for retention we’re making the most of our meeting time and then reps on the field.”
Regarding retention, McDermott has developed a new nickname for his younger players. Instead of calling them millennials he’s referring to them as “Screen-agers” since they’re so attached to their phones and devices.
“They spend a lot of time in that realm of on their phones, looking at their screens, so how do we get their attention at a max capacity but in a shorter amount of time before they lose interest. We’re always trying to evolve and grow in that area,” McDermott said.
While some players have missed reps during the offseason due to injury, it’s been to the benefit of other players. Rookie tight ends Dawson Knox and Tommy Sweeney each received plenty of time with the first-team offense and the Bills were able to see the development of their returning receivers and new pieces.
Offensive line coach Bobby Johnson took his reps to a next level and kept a spreadsheet of where each lineman lined up and for how many plays to make sure each player got a fair shot.
Continuity might be on McDermott’s list of concerns, but the Bills have developed new strategies to try and mitigate any losses.
2. Josh Allen’s budding relationship with Jim Kelly
Josh Allen has certainly received some help in his time in Buffalo, and among quarterbacks there’s no one better than Jim Kelly.
“Yeah, it’s been an honor to get to know him. And he’s kind of took me under his wing, you know, and I got to be at his fundraising event, you know, help him raise some money. And, you know, he’s been able to drop some knowledge on me about the city of Buffalo about the game of football,” Allen said.
Allen and Kelly have been able to build a relationship and have started to work together on reintegrating some of the “K-gun” from the early 90s Bills teams this offseason.
“You know, we’ve actually watched him some old film with him and just kind of seeing how he went through progressions and how quickly he was able to do that, taking some of his knowledge and trying to apply them to today’s game,” Allen said. “So, you know, he’s been a huge help for me already, not just on the field but off the field, in terms of, the city of Buffalo, and I’m going to continue to talk to him continue to try to learn from him, he’s a heck of a guy.”
3. Levi Wallace could end up among the PFF top 50 players next year
No Bill ended up on Pro Football Focus top 50 players this season but next season, Sam Monson pictures second-year corner Levi Wallace to make the leap.
If there’s a player with the backstory to rival Wake’s, it’s Wallace. With precisely zero scholarship offers coming out of high school, Wallace walked on at Alabama, and eventually earned a starting job. Then he had to do it all over again when he went undrafted before signing as a collegiate free agent with Buffalo. As a rookie in 2018, he earned the highest PFF grade of any first-year cornerback, along with the highest coverage grade, and wasn’t beaten for a catch longer than 29 yards all season. Though he played far fewer snaps than first-round selection Denzel Ward of Cleveland, Wallace looks like a potential star in the making if he’s given greater opportunity in year two.
Wallace started seven games for the Bills last season and never lost his starting spot once he earned it. He will have competition this offseason with the additions of E.J. Gaines and Kevin Johnson but Wallace has kept his starting spot so far.
SPECIAL NOTE: Bills Today will take a hiatus until Monday, July 22.