Skip to main content

How Stefon Diggs' competitive fire motivates the Bills

Buffalo Bills Practice at One Bills Drive, October 12, 2023.
Buffalo Bills Practice at One Bills Drive, October 12, 2023.

From a Thursday practice to a primetime game, Stefon Diggs brings a competitive fire wherever he goes.

Two days ago, Allen was asked about a moment captured during the Bills' 25-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. As the Bills offense struggled to get going on the field, Diggs threw a tablet, which he had been using to watch tape of the game, on the ground.

"He's a fiery competitor. I'm tired of hearing all this nonsense from people," Allen said after practice Wednesday. "Frankly it kind of ticks me off when people wanna say stuff about him."

Diggs described what happened after Thursday's practice.

"I had a moment of looking at the [tablet] and I got lost and I'm like, it's not the [tablet], it's not the X's and O's. It's just us. It's just me," Diggs said. "I felt like I'm not doing enough, so that's where my frustration came from."

Diggs is far from the first NFL player to take out his frustration on a tablet but has repeatedly garnered attention for his sideline reactions and questions regarding his leadership style.

His teammates quickly put to rest any speculations about his attitude and ability to effectively lead as a team captain.

"He just brings a lot of energy, a lot of confidence and instills it in a lot of guys," said fellow wide receiver Gabe Davis. "As teammates, we know who he is. We know where [his competitiveness] comes from, we know it comes from a place of love."

Center Mitch Morse alluded to the fire that drives Diggs, who has been one of the best receivers in the league for much of his time in the NFL.

"I would describe [Diggs' leadership style] as effective, intense, transparent but also fair and by example, all the traits you want out of a leader who's also a competitive firecracker," Morse said. "His fire to win burns deep and constantly, kind of like an Olympic flame, like it's just always going, and he's got the torch and he's trying to pass it onto everyone else."

It's easy to see how effective the addition of Diggs, who is in his fourth season in Buffalo, has been.

In his first season in Buffalo, the Bills went from averaging 19.1 points per game (23rd in NFL) the year prior to 29.9 points per game (3rd in NFL) with Diggs on the roster. Diggs accounted for eight touchdowns as he had perhaps his most productive season.

Now, the 29-year-old is on track to blow by his previous numbers. With 39 receptions for 520 yards and five touchdowns, Diggs is on track to set career highs in all three categories. No receiver in the NFL has scored more touchdowns this season than Diggs, whose connection with quarterback Josh Allen has been key behind the duo's success.

But Diggs said that the ability to learn from early mistakes in the season can pay dividends as the long season progresses.

"That low area of us figuring it out, I feel like it's needed and it happens," Diggs said. "There's nothing that we can do about it other than get back out here on the practice field and start the right way as we're gaining that confidence in our preparation."

Scroll to see photos from the Buffalo Bills Week 6 Practice as the team prepares to take on the New York Giants.

In practice, Diggs is often one of the most vocal players on the field. Whether it's celebrating a big catch from a fellow receiver or playfully smack-talking opposing defensive backs, Diggs is effective in spreading his fiery, competitive spirit around the entire locker room.

"The older I got, the more I realized that everybody needs to be led differently. And the best leader is the guy that can get the most out of his teammates," Diggs said. "So for me at this point in my career, it's more so pushing the guys around me and motivating them to be a better player."

McDermott offers support for the Sabres and Diamondbacks

Head coach Sean McDermott opened his Thursday morning press conference by congratulating the Arizona Diamondbacks, who swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Divisional Series Wednesday night. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo formerly managed the Bisons and is a diehard Bills fan.

"Want to give a quick shoutout to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Torey Lovullo and his team," McDermott said. "He's a big member of the Bills Mafia and I had a chance to visit with them with his team … Quite an accomplishment."

While the Diamondbacks are enjoying a postseason run, the Buffalo Sabres' season is just beginning. The Sabres will host the New York Rangers at 7 p.m. tonight at Keybank Arena to kick off their season. If you look carefully during intermission, you might see a familiar face aboard one of the Zambonis.

"Excited to watch them and Coach Granato and [general manager Kevyn Adams'] team and what they put together and getting out there on the ice," McDermott said. "I told them I'd be out there guest driving the Zamboni in between periods tonight if I get off in time."

McDermott said that he loved talking to coaches in other sports to adopt their tactics as a part of his coaching philosophy.

"That's one of my favorite things about the offseason," McDermott said. "Just a time to try and pick some people that I want to pick their brains and see what's going on, what got them to where they were … the older I've gotten, the more curious I've gotten about things."

Damar Hamlin, Josh Allen, Dawson Knox and Gabe Davis take in the Sabres 2023 season opener against the NY Rangers on Thursday night.

Related Content