1. Will Buffalo have a top five defense in 2019?
NFL.com columnist Adam Schein certainly thinks so. Buffalo ranked second in total defense last year and first in passing defense. They also ended up 18th in points allowed, a number Schein expects to see shrink in 2019.
A big part of my confidence in this group is tied to Sean McDermott. I know on paper his 15-17 record in two years at the helm isn't going to wow anyone, but he's one of those coaches who leads teams with a sum greater than its parts. Just look back at 2017, when he led an overachieving Bills team to the playoffs, snapping a 17-year postseason drought. He's a fantastic defensive mind and motivator.
And don't misinterpret what I'm saying here -- I love the talent at every level of this D, from Tre'Davious White in the secondary to Tremaine Edmunds at linebacker to Ed Oliver, a steal in this year's draft at No. 9 overall, up front. Don't forget about Jerry Hughes, who pressured the QB on 16.2 percent of his pass rushes in 2018, which was the highest rate in the NFL (minimum 350 pass rushes).
Buffalo comes in at fifth on Schein’s list of top nine defenses in the NFL. In order, Schein lists the Chargers, Cowboys, Bears and Jaguars as the only teams ahead of the Bills. The Bills aren’t the only team in the AFC East to make the list, the Patriots are sixth on his list.
2. Sam Acho fits McDermott’s mold
There are certain characteristics that Sean McDermott looks for in his players, a certain DNA. Sam Acho became available from the Chicago Bears and less than two days after he got a call from the Bills, Acho was on the field practicing.
Acho has eight years of NFL experience but alongside he also has his MBA in international business, speaks three languages (English, Spanish, Igbo) and participates in a multitude of programs and initiatives off the field.
“It was a very easy decision to come here, it’s a great fit,” Acho said on One Bills Live. “You think about organizations that stand for something, I saw that last year in Chicago with coach Nagy and in Arizona with coach Arians and once you see that it’s hard to say no.”
Acho wants to play as long as he can in the NFL but has done work globally to help others. Him and his family went on a medical mission in Nigeria, he was in Guatemala trying to fight sex and human trafficking. Acho considers himself a global citizen.
On the field, Acho feels that his work can help him become a better football player. Despite only being signed a week ago, Acho says there is no doubt he will play on Friday.
“You have to prove yourself and earn it every day,” Acho said. “So these last few practices I’ve been trying to do my best to earn it. On Friday, I’m really excited about getting a chance to go out there and make plays.”
3. Shaq Lawson inspires kids from his hometown
Shaq Lawson brought 50 kids to practice with him on Wednesday as part of the Shaq Lawson Foundation. Lawson is a South Carolina native who attended Clemson University and has had a large family presence at each of the joint practices in Spartanburg.
“We work with underprivileged kids and try to lead them in the right direction,” Lawson said on One Bills Live. “We know some kids might not have had a father figure role and I just want to be that guy.”
Lawson had figures in his life do that for him when he was younger. Lawson wants to be able to give advice and help kids in the same situation.
“I told myself one day if I get the opportunity to make money, I was going to do it in my area and here I am playing in front of them,” Lawson said.
Lawson has been active giving back to his community. In June, he paid for the funeral of 11-year-old Ja’Naiya Scott.
"It could have been my little sister," Lawson said via The Greenville News. "I've got a little sister around that age, and it could have been one of my family members."