1 - Tyrod Taylor made a fan of late Buddy Ryan
It's hard to say what is the most important motivator behind the 2016 season for the Ryan brothers. For Rob, he is looking to bounce back from two subpar seasons with the Saints. Rex is under pressure to improve on last year's 8-8 record. Both brothers want to honor the memory of their legendary father, Buddy.
As the Bills have faced numerous training camp setbacks, the Ryans have maintained an unusually reserved confidence. No boasting, just a promise to improve each and every day. With players like Tyrod Taylor on the roster, the belief is that the results will speak for themselves. A recent feature for ESPN explained how the Ryan twins’ confidence was an echo of Buddy’s own.
They cling to those moments, and it sharpens their resolve. Buddy's favorite player was not a defensive guy but one of the NFL's most unknown quarterbacks, Tyrod Taylor. Buddy was in the stands last year when Taylor rallied the Bills from 10 points down to beat Tennessee and fell in love with him.
"He would call him a warrior," Rex says. "He was so excited about him."
2 - Pro Football Focus names Adolphus Washington a rookie to watch
For all the disappointment that comes with a team's first and second round picks suffering serious injuries before they play a pro snap, the Bills look to have found some draft redemption with third rounder Adolphus Washington. Washington turned in an impressive camp and figures to start on the Bills defensive line.
In Pro Football Focus' analysis of the Bills roster, they identified Washington as Buffalo’s most promising rookie in 2016.
Buffalo got tremendous value when they nabbed Washington with the 80th-overall pick, it would not have surprised us one bit had he gone much earlier in this spring's draft. Washington figures to see quite a bit of playing time right from the get-go, and if his first preseason game was any indication, he should be an immediate factor.
3 - Stephon Gilmore refuses to be anything but the best in the NFL
In the NFL, cornerback is the positon of bravado. The Petersons, the Shermans, and the Revises of the world are televised nightly, but not Stephon Gilmore. Playing in Buffalo has a built-in anonymity but Gilmore has always taken the road less traveled of modesty.
Gilmore has steadily improved his play over his four professional seasons reaching the tier of elite shutdown corner in 2015. With that status achieved, Gilmore has undergone a metamorphosis. He may not be shouting from the rooftops, but long gone are the days of humble silence. Gilmore will now will only measure himself against one benchmark, being without a doubt the best shutdown corner in the National Football League.
The results — Boone describes Gilmore's confidence as far from arrogant, but rather "a fire within to prove a point and achieve his mission" — have been obvious at Bills camp.