1 - Winston gives a ton of credit to Bills defense
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Jameis Winston, is in his third season in the NFL. In those years he's played against the NFC South a fair amount, considering that's the Bucs division. That's also the division of the Carolina Panthers. Buffalo Bills head coach, Sean McDermott, was the defensive coordinator in Carolina for six years. From 2015-2016 Winston faced McDermott's unit four times. He thinks the Bills defense has similarities to those stout Panthers teams.
"Very similar schematically. The Bills have a great team," Winston said. "Their defense swarms the ball. They're aggressive. They're what I call head busters. They swarm around the ball and try to knock it out. That's fun. It's fun when you see a team that has that."
Winston has had trouble figuring out McDermott's defenses over the years. In four games against them he has tossed seven interceptions. Buffalo's defense, which has the third most interceptions (8) in the league, will look for those takeaways against Tampa's QB.
Winston has yet to put up an eye-popping performance against McDermott. In 2015, his rookie year, he had the most troubles. In Week Four, he completed 26 of 43 passes for 287 yards and threw two touchdowns and a career-high four interceptions. In Week 17, he completed 29 of 47 passes for 325 yards and tossed two interceptions.
In 2016, he reduced the mistakes against Carolina's defense. In Week Five, he went 18 for 30 passing for 219 yards and had one touchdown and zero interceptions. In Week 17, he completed 20 of 35 passes for 202 yards and threw one touchdown and one interception.
It's clear that Winston has struggled against McDermott's defenses. He said that the Bills 'D 'resembles those units, which could wreak havoc for the Bucs signal-caller who is dealing with a sprained AC joint.
"I don't know if they have a chip on their shoulder because they have some pretty impressive wins," Winston said. "But it's fun to see a team that plays like that, all out."
2 - Hughes recognizes Brown's underappreciated role
The last two seasons the Buffalo Bills defense hasn't been up to par. The team's linebacker, Preston Brown, received a lot of heat when they struggled. He communicated the plays to the rest of the defense and that's where the criticism arose. Now, the Bills have bolstered one of the league's top defenses and Brown hasn't received recognition.
Buffalo's elite defensive end, Jerry Hughes, expressed his feelings on Thursday towards his underappreciated teammate.
"He's our leader out there, he's our signal caller. He communicates to everybody, and certainly being underappreciated just because of the way the defense is flowing and we credit that to him," he said. "For him to get the calls in and be able to communicate to the front four and then turn around and talk to the back seven, and everything like that, that's perfect, to get everybody in perfect unison."
Brown currently has the team-high in tackles with 38. In his fourth season in the league he's making healthy strides. Though, the third-round pick has made his mark since entering the league in 2014. Brown has the fourth-most tackles in the NFL from 2014-2017. The top-four include: Bobby Wagner (426), Luke Kuechly (419), Lavonte David (399), and Brown (398). The Bills have a special player commanding their top defense.
Buffalo's coaching staff was completely revamped this season. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and linebackers coach Bob Babich are each in their first season with the team. Brown has been committed to making the most of his time with those coaches.
"This is our first year working together, and for him to kind of put that all on his shoulders and he's doing that. Coming into the building early, working with Coach Babich for the first time, really doing everything he can to kind of build that relationship," Hughes said. "We understood that last year it wasn't Bills football, it wasn't anything up to our caliber. He made that personal, and we certainly can see it."
3 - Buffalo's newest receiver reunited with Taylor**
The Bills signed wide receiver Deonte Thompson to the team's 53-man roster on Tuesday. He was cut by the Chicago Bears last Wednesday and he spent the past two seasons with them. Thompson is familiar with Buffalo's quarterback, Tyrod Taylor. They spent time together in Baltimore and briefly in 2015 in Buffalo.
"Yes, me and Deonte we go back to high school, we actually played in the U.S. All-American game together, we were in Baltimore together for a little bit of time, and was actually here for a training camp together," Taylor said. "Comfortable with his ability, I know his strengths, and excited to have him on board. Anytime you have a friend that you know, that you can play with, it's definitely exciting what he can bring to this offense."
Thompson now has had three full days of practice with the Bills. Things are clicking for him quickly and he's excited to be back with Taylor. We'll see Sunday what his role will be with the team if he's active.
"We were just talking about it walking off the field. It's just crazy how things come back full circle," Thompson said. "It's great. I've already been in this offense before so I'm picking it up pretty easy."
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