1. Why team communication is critical for Buffalo right now
Bills Assistant head coach Leslie Frazier said with a topic as personal as racial injustice it's easy for an NFL locker room to splinter. He along with head coach Sean McDermott have emphasized to their players that the lines of communication must remain open.
"We don't want to be a team that becomes fractured over what's going on in the world today and it could easily happen where your locker room is split because of comments or things that are happening around the world so we really emphasize, educating ourselves whether you're in the majority or the minority," Frazier said.
Part of the player development in Buffalo goes beyond the field. Yes, the organization wants to maximize a player's ability on the field and the coaching staff works very hard to achieve that with each of their players. But their Player Development staff also works hard to help young players become just as valuable off the field.
"We try to value our players as more than just assets in Buffalo," said Frazier. "We really do our best to see our guys become great men in the community and develop them as people outside of football because at some point football is going to end. And you don't want to just value people because they are an asset (on the field), but for who they are as people and that's what we're trying to do, build relationships with our players. And I think you see that in our culture and I think you see that in the way our players play as well and that's a credit to our head coach."
With all of the obstacles that have been presented to NFL clubs this offseason, navigating their way to a healthy dialogue between teammates about racial injustices is the latest challenge. And Frazier wholeheartedly believes that the clubs that can incorporate a free-flowing conversation on this important issue will fare better when the regular season arrives.
"Some teams will handle this better than others, just like some teams will handle this virtual offseason better than others," he said. "It's going to be an indicator of what will happen in the 2020 season. None of us knows what direction it will go, but we're going to do all we can in Buffalo to make sure that we keep the lines of communication open with our players, because we think that dialogue is important."
That's why rookie QB Jake Fromm, after speaking with the coaching staff, asked if he could issue an apology to his teammates after text comments he made in 2019 were put on social media and he was granted that opportunity.
"We don't want to fracture our team by some of the things that are going on in our country today. And the only way you can do that is to educate ourselves, make sure we're doing a good job of communicating as a coaching staff with our players and vice versa," said Frazier. "Putting some action behind our cause. Getting out and getting involved and not just standing back and pointing out all the problems that there are. We have a responsibility to get involved."
2. Baldinger excited for Tre'Davious White's 2020 season
NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger believes Tre'Davious White's 2020 season could be even better than last year when he set a single-season high and tied for the league lead in interceptions with six. Those feelings were the result of his sit down with White for the NFL Network series 'Film Session.'
Baldinger along with colleague Kurt Warner break down the game film of some of the league's top players, with that players sitting next to them in the film room. Tre'Davious White did it with Baldinger for an episode that will air later this summer on NFL Network.
In an appearance on 'One Bills Live' this week, Baldinger explained how White was very knowledgeable in breaking down how they stymied Tom Brady in their first meeting with the Patriots last season when they held him to his lowest single-game passer rating since 2006.
But more than that, Baldinger believes White can go from Pro Bowl to first team All-Pro level if he strategically takes on more risk.
"You've got to come up big in big games," Baldinger said. "I think the overall communication whether it's with Micah (Hyde) or Jordan (Poyer) at safety or Taron Johnson in the nickel, just the overall level of communication that allows you some time to freelance, take a chance. Those are some things that you can always look at as a player.
"I just did a big breakdown on Troy Polamalu for his Hall of Fame induction this year. And for eight years he had Ryan Clark in the back end and it allowed Troy to really be Troy and to take chances and use his instincts, to a degree because he had somebody protecting him on the back end.
"I think for Tre' when you look at it right now you go, 'Okay, he's got all these skills right now. He had six interceptions which was near the league top and I think he could get more. Being a team player but also knowing when to kind of take some chances within your group and so it's just more communication. It's a secondary that's getting more and more experienced."
White episode of 'Film Session' is scheduled to air on Aug. 17th on NFL Network.
3. Ray-Ray McCloud glad to spread some positivity
It's been well documented that Bills WR Ray-Ray McCloud along with his brother Jordan, a University of South Florida football player along with several other alums from Sickles high school engaged in clean up efforts in their native Tampa after some looting and vandalism accompanied some of the racial injustice protests.
McCloud was a guest on the Golic & Wingo show on ESPN Thursday morning and explained what happened.
"Two of my cousins got in touch with me on a Google message and said they wanted to clean things up. We started out by checking on the University of South Florida, where my brother plays and the university was fine," said McCloud. "But then we looked across the street at the store fronts and I didn't realize it was that bad. So we went over to clean up and people were pulling over to join in and help asking for bags and gloves. It was good to see a little positivity in our community and to know there's good stuff going on."
McCloud said there are still protests going on in the Tampa area, but no buildings are suffering damage as was the case a few days ago.