1. Stefon Diggs demonstrating leadership
It's not always easy to exert leadership when you're the new player on an NFL roster, especially one that is has an established culture and plenty of leadership. But very quickly, Stefon Diggs has set a standard at practice that has only prompted his teammates to follow him.
"He's got a lot of energy about him," said offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. "And that rubs off on a lot of people. It's hard sometimes when you're coming to a new place to go ahead and assume the role of a leader, because you're really concentrating and focusing on the things you learn in the new playbook and learn your surroundings. You're not a rookie, you've been in the league for a while, but you're still kind of getting your bearings about yourself. I think he did a really good job with that."
Having quickly mastered his own responsibilities, Diggs is now leading by example and demanding the best from his new teammates.
"He has this really good moxie to him and guys want to follow him," said Daboll. "He's a good football player. I'm glad we have him."
2. A.J. Epenesa takes a step
He's been learning on the fly as a rookie during training camp with only virtual learning during the spring and most of the summer. So for most of the practices over the last few weeks, A.J. Epenesa's progress has been steady. But in the last week defensive coordinator has noticed that the defensive end's play has been advancing at a more significant rate.
"We have seen tremendous growth with A.J. from when we open training camp with the rookies up to today," said Frazier. "I just told him the other day in the stretch lines that I'm just so proud of the way he has progressed because it's hard for those rookies with not having an offseason and to come into a training camp with the veterans that we have and try to find your way to get acclimated to football with a game that is so much faster than college football, it took him a moment to adjust.
"But you can see him going through that process and slowly but gradually improving along the way to the point where now he's more part of the conversation in how we can use him in the game. So it's our conversations about him that have gone in a totally different direction because of his increased confidence and more experience that he's got within our system and how we do things. Really pleased with his progress."
It sounded like Epenesa has earned the trust of the coaching staff to the point where he could have a role in Sunday's game and make his Bills debut.
3. Micah Hyde glad Bills offense has weapons to practice against
They say proper preparation prevents poor performance. Buffalo's defense has been eminently prepared for games under Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier the past three seasons. But helping their preparation even more now is the raised performance level of Buffalo's offense.
Micah Hyde said early in training camp that it was the most competitive camp he's had in Buffalo in terms of offense versus defense, which speaks to the improvements made on the offensive side of the ball.
In going against Buffalo's talents on offense, Hyde feels their defense will be all the more prepared for what will be thrown at them on Sunday and used Cole Beasley as an example.
"With their team it obviously starts with Le'Veon Bell and their quarterback, Sam Darnold who can make any throw, but (Jamison) Crowder last year… Crowder, the first game of the season he had a heyday against us," said Hyde. "He was not necessarily taking the top off the defense, but he just does his crafty stuff on the inside.
"So it really helps going against a guy like Cole Beasley every single day in practice for everybody. Not just for the nickels, but the corners to the safeties and linebackers. Everybody having to go against a guy like that has really prepared us well so we have a bunch of guys on offense that have particular skill sets that are going to get us ready for this one."
Crowder had 14 receptions for 99 yards in the season opener against the Bills last season and added another eight receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown in the season finale.