Repeating as a Pro Bowl offensive lineman in the NFL is no small task. Repeating after missing the entire offseason and training camp with your team is even harder. But Jason Peters was up for the task.
While some may have questioned his playing shape the first few games, his coach and teammates gave Peters credit for working through any progress he had to make up.
"When you miss the whole offseason and training camp, it's hard to step right in and do it," Bills offensive line coach Sean Kugler said. "You know, he had his whole process he had to work through."
Kugler said that process included making the necessary mental and physical adjustments in a short amount of time.
"We put in a new offense this year so there's the terminology aspects, there's the conditioning aspects, football conditioning. You can do your own workouts at home but it's different," he said.
But the biggest adjustment, according to Kugler, was between Peters and his teammates.
"Probably the most important thing is him meshing with the line and getting those reps together and communicating together and getting the calls and those sort of things and it takes a little time and he worked through those things," he said.
Center Duke Preston said it only took Peters a few weeks to shake any remaining rust off to get in sync with his linemates.
"It took a little time (but) I think him and (Derrick) Dockery were used to playing with each other for a year and kind of fell right back into their old ways," he said.
For the Bills' running game, those old ways were good ways.
After dismal running performances in weeks nine and ten in which the Bills gained 30 and 60 yards on the ground, respectively, Buffalo's run game has racked up over 150 yards in three of its last four games, including a season-high 187-yard performance in last week's rematch with the New York Jets.
"We put a lot on our shoulders and we told the offensive coordinator to run the ball and he believed in us and he started handing the ball off," Peters said. "The run set the pass up. We started clicking the last two games, we just came up short."
"Rounding into form for him is where a lot of guys are just hoping to get," Preston said. "Especially the second half of the season and the last couple weeks, we've been dominant and (he's) certainly been a big addition to our line."
Peters said he appreciated the selection because it served as a sort of validation from his opponents, since Pro Bowl starters are selected by players and coaches.
"When you play on the field, you'll recognize me," Peters said. "When you line up in front of me, you're going to recognize me. Bottom line, that's what matters: the coach and the players. The fan voting… they only see the bad plays."
Kugler said despite any mistakes fans may have seen from Peters, he has played consistently all year long and peaked over the last few games.
"He's played well all along," Kugler said. "He's had some mistakes and some have been glaring but Jason's been pretty consistent all year and recently he's been really consistent."
Peters said it comes down to what the man across from him thinks of his play when the two line up each Sunday.
"When I get on them, it's hard to get around me," he said. "I'm a run blocker and a pass blocker. Once I get you, you're not going to get away."