Less than 48 hours before their first preseason game Bills quarterback Trent Edwards decided it was time to sit rookie receiver James Hardy down for a little talk. He had seen the second-round pick pressing a bit in practice, feeling as if he was behind after missing five days of work in training camp.
Simply put a smile wasn't a facial expression you were going to find any time soon on Hardy's face.
Edwards thought it was time to help him exhale. So he gave Hardy the same message Robert Royal gave him just one year ago.
"Rob Royal helped me a lot in the huddle," said Edwards of his rookie season when he assumed the starting quarterback role. "He'd say, 'You know Trent smile. Enjoy playing the game of football. Take it seriously, but relax and have fun out there.' That was my message to James a couple of days ago."
Buffalo's signal caller saw the pressure of wanting to produce right away getting to Hardy a little bit.
"I like his attitude," said Edwards. "He's a very positive guy. But I think he had just been frustrated over camp because he was dinged up. So I sat him down and had a conversation with him and told him we'll need to get a few more smiles out of him than he normally likes to give."
Making it a lot easier for Hardy to decompress Saturday night was his 16-yard touchdown catch, which proved to be the only time Buffalo found the end zone in their 17-14 preseason loss. But as is Hardy's nature, he was more focused on his errors.
"The touchdown it felt good, but at the same time that four route that I dropped is in my mind more," said Hardy. "I definitely have to come in and work on the things that I got wrong and make sure I don't make those mistakes again."
Though Hardy is likely to be wound a little tight as a rookie with his intentions of making a big impact on Buffalo's offense as a first-year player, Edwards wants to keep him loose knowing more of Hardy's natural ability is likely to reveal itself.
And after his touchdown reception Saturday Hardy appears to have gotten the message.
"Seeing a smile on Trent's face was what really relaxed me coming off to the sidelines," said Hardy. "Overall yeah I just want to show my teammates that I'm in it with y'all. I'm going to work just as hard as you if not harder. I'm going to at least try to just to prove my work ethic to you because I'm coming in as a rookie even though a lot is expected of me I'm willing to work to make it happen to take this team to the playoffs. That's our number one goal and I just want to contribute."
As long as there are some smiles mixed in his quarterback won't have a problem with that.