One of the big reasons for success with the Buffalo Bills during the Sean McDermott era is that they focus on the present. The team doesn't dwell on the past and doesn't worry about what's to come. Being dialed into the present moment allows the team to have more control over what they can control and improve on what's most important now.
Whether the team wins or loses on Sunday, by Wednesday's practice, the coaches and players have already shifted their focus on the upcoming game. No team wants to lose and with the amount of talent on this roster, the players know how good they can be. But, throughout a season, teams will have their fair share of adversity. Coach McDermott has faith that his players will grow stronger as a team because of it as the season progresses.
"No season is clean," McDermott said. "You want it to be, but the reality of it is no season is clean in a straight line. So, you've got to stay with it. And I learned that being under Andy Reid for years."
Unless you're the 1972 Miami Dolphins, you are going to lose games throughout a season. What matters after a loss is correcting the mistakes the team made and making sure a pattern doesn't occur. After the loss to the Jaguars, this Bills team had tough conversations on where they needed to be better. Josh Allen told the media after practice that the page has already been turned to Week 10 and that's all they are focused on.
"I think throughout the entire team we had a good day of communication on Monday," Allen said. "Being honest with ourselves and trying to fix some problems that we may have and come out here and practice and work on the problems. So again, we've got to put together a game plan to face a really good defense on Sunday against the Jets."
On offense, the team is focusing on getting into a rhythm early and often and ending all drives with a kick – either PAT or extra point. The Bills have only scored more than seven points in the first quarter once this season.
One of the big playmakers on offense that they've been missing for a few weeks is Dawson Knox. The Bills' tight end proved early in the season that he can make an impact in games until he broke his hand in Week 6. Currently, Knox has two fewer receiving yards than he had all of last season and has the same number of touchdowns as in his first two seasons combined (5). After not practicing at all last week, Knox returned and was limited on Wednesday. Whenever Knox returns to the lineup, it should provide a boost to this Bills offense. That is something Stefon Diggs is very excited about.
"I feel like Dawson Knox is an intricate part in our offense and the things we do," Diggs said. … "He was playing at such a high level before he got hurt. I look forward to him picking up where he went out."
For the other players on offense, they understand that there is a lot of tape on them now after the success of the 2020 season and the first half of 2021. It's all about the adjustments that have to be made within the season to make sure other teams don't have them figured out. After the breakout year that Diggs had last season, he knows that he is the number one target for opposing defensive coordinators. Whether he is the focal point of the offense or not, Diggs just wants this team to get back to playing Buffalo Bills football.
"It's all about us," Diggs stated. "It's nothing that we haven't seen or went through before. It's not this year that football became a new sport and they started doing things differently. No, we just gotta get back to being us and just having that same approach and executing at a high level, take what they give us."
Allen will be the first one to tell you that he didn't play at the high level he usually does last Sunday. He is his own harshest critic but even he isn't thinking about the loss anymore. He's moved on and is hard at work finding ways to make himself and his team better.
"I'm just trying to be the best quarterback that I can be," Allen said. "We're 5-3, not where we want to be, so we got to turn our attention this week and go one week at a time and try to go 1-0 each week. That's been our mindset since we stepped on the field in training camp. We got to find ways to win football games and stack wins. It starts on Sunday against the Jets."
Josh Allen is confident in Matt Breida if he needs to step in this week
Second-year running back Zack Moss left the game against the Jaguars early with a concussion. Moss didn't practice on Wednesday and if he can't play on Sunday, Matt Breida is the next man up. Breida joined the team this offseason and has only played in the first two games of the season. If his number is called this weekend, Josh Allen is confident that he rises to the occasion.
"He's as consistent as anybody on this team, same attitude each and every day," Allen said. "And obviously he wants to be on the field, as does anybody. I expect him, when he gets an opportunity, if it's this week, next week, whenever, for him to step up and make some plays for us because he's a heck of an athlete. He's got game-breaking speed and he can do some different things for us."
Jordan Poyer on playing a quarterback with a small library of tape
Jets quarterback Mike White has played in three games this season and started two. He played in part of the game in Week 7, had his breakout game in Week 8, then got hurt partway through their game in Week 9. He's only taken 143 snaps through those three weeks and with little film to review on the quarterback, Jordan Poyer explains how the defense has to prepare for that.
"It can be pretty difficult," Poyer said. "But it's understanding who their playmakers are. They've got talented football players over there. It's a team that's hungry right now. A quarterback that won them a game and threw for quite a bit of yards in that game, too. … Defensively we're going to have our hands full. We have to play well."