1 – Seymour eyes opportunity to earn starting job
Kevon Seymour is well aware of the big opportunity that sits in front of him.
The cornerback, entering his second season with the team, is penciled in as a starter opposite Ronald Darby as offseason workouts begin next week.
Seymour joined The John Murphy Show on Friday to discuss his offseason so far and the goals he has for 2017.
"Last year I had a nice opportunity to get my feet wet and get the understanding of what being a starter felt like," Seymour said. "Now, the opportunity is here and I'm going to take full advantage of it as much as I can and I'm definitely excited about that."
Seymour started three games in 2016 as a rookie, both as an outside corner and at the nickel position. That in-game experience has been invaluable to Seymour and has made him feel more comfortable in all areas of the defensive backfield.
"It prepared me a lot," he said. "Knowing where my help is and knowing my surroundings and things like that. I'm just ready to go out there because if I'm not what they're looking for on the outside I can help on the inside. Whatever they need me to do, I can do."
The defensive backs will look much different as new faces like Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer and Leonard Johnson enter the fold. Even with all of the changes that will present some challenges, Seymour has pledged to stay in touch with his mentor from last season.
"Whole new family," Seymour said. "I'm going to miss (Stephon) Gilmore a lot. He taught me a lot this year just watching him and he's isn't the most vocal guy but when he does talk you have to make sure you're listening and paying attention because he had something meaningful to say. I'm going to still pick his brain every now and then with a text or maybe a call and I'm glad to have a person like that to talk that has been in the league for several years."
Seymour, drafted by Buffalo in the sixth round in 2016, realizes he may also have to become a leader on the defense going forward.
"Whatever it is going to take, I'll do it," he said. "I mean first off, I'm going to do my part on the field and in the classrooms and the meetings. And then I'll let everything else fall into place."
2 – Bills propose rule change at this week's NFL Owners' Meetings
As the NFL owners gather in Phoenix this week for their annual meetings, a rule change proposed by the Bills will be front and center.
Part of a joint proposal with Seattle, Buffalo is recommending that coaches be allowed to challenge any decision by an official, except scoring plays and turnovers—which will still be automatically reviewed. This potential change would include fouls that are called or to challenge a foul that isn't called on the field.
Senior Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino commented on the joint Buffalo-Seattle proposal in a conference call to reporters.
"That is a significant change to our current replay rule, and it is something that will be on the floor, and be debated and voted on next week," Blandino said.
The expansion of coaches' challenges is part of 24 rule changes that will be discussed by league owners. A proposal needs the approval of 24 of the 32 owners to be passed.
3 – Stephen Hauschka finds a lot to like about Buffalo
Stephen Hauschka has battled adversity in the NFL before and is eager to tackle the challenge of kicking in Buffalo.
Hauschka, who signed a four-year deal with the Bills just as free agency began, joined The John Murphy Show to discuss why he chose Buffalo and what he's learned throughout his NFL career.
The 31-year-old admitted he gave some thought about the weather conditions in Buffalo, but that wasn't going to keep him away from what he thought was the right fit.
"It is a difficult place to kick but at the same time I'm not afraid of that. I'm excited for the challenge and that's what this league is all about. You're either competing against another guy for your job or you're kicking in a difficult situation or the game is on the line. That is what people love about the NFL. It's a competitive job, it brings out the best in people and I'm looking forward to the challenge, honestly."
Hauschka has been one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL since 2009, missing only 28 of the 219 kicks he's attempted. He can also hit from range, sending 52 kicks over 40 yards through the uprights, and an additional 16 kicks over 50 yards.
He has missed 10 extra points over the past two seasons since the league moved PATs to the 15-yard line. Hauschka says that he understands the rule change but also knows it is a part of his game that he has to get better at.
"I think they are trying to make it harder for kickers," he said. "They don't want to see everything go through the uprights anymore. They want every play to be interesting and they got that in the last couple of years with having more extra points missed or blocked and having people go for two. It sets the pace of the game on this wild goose chase. It's just an adjustment. You always have to be able to adjust in this league."
After bouncing around with five different teams in his first two years in the league—which also included a stint in the UFL—Hauschka stuck with Seattle in 2011.
As for Buffalo, although it was painful for Hauschka to move on from the Seahawks, he knew Buffalo was the right choice right from the start.
"Got up to visit there about two weeks ago and the people in Buffalo are some of the nicest people I've ever met," Hauschka said. "They are super friendly and kind of relaxed. The Bills made the offer that made the most sense. They wanted me from the get-go and that means a lot. You want to be wanted in this league and that meant a lot."