Minicamp is over. The spring time workouts are in the rear-view mirror. The Bills offseason has been chronicled weekly on ‘One Bills Live’ for months now. This past week, there were plenty of observations about the offseason, the rookies, team history, and the Dolphins.
‘One Bills Live’ with John Murphy and Steve Tasker airs weekdays from 12 noon to 3 pm on WGR 550 and MSG.
Here are six things you may have missed on the show:
1. MCDERMOTT SAYS TEAM LEADERS DRIVE STRONG ATTENDANCE
Until the last three days of workouts, the mandatory minicamp, the Bills offseason workouts were voluntary—attendance not required. Yet the team seemed to have a full or nearly full roster on hand every day since the workouts began nine weeks ago.
The reason? Head coach Sean McDermott told ‘One Bills Live’ his team leaders set the standard for high participation in the workouts.
“We had what I thought was pretty good attendance last season at this time of the year,” McDermott said. “This year, the needle moved in a positive direction. We had even better attendance this year.”
“Credit to the players,” he continued. “Also, credit to the player-driven leadership, in fact, by holding people accountable and players wanting to be here--the culture that we’ve been able to build to this point.”
2. A ROOKIE IN CHARGE
His teammates have been talking for weeks about how impressive first round draft pick Tremaine Edmunds has been in the offseason. He’s been plopped into the starting unit as the middle linebacker, and Edmunds has been charged with relaying the play call to his teammates on the field and getting them lined up each down.
When he appeared on the show this week, I asked Edmunds if he’s had any trepidation about assuming a leadership role on defense, with several battle-tested veterans around him in the defensive huddle and on the field.
"No sir,” Edmunds answered forcefully. “In this game you've got to be firm with what you say and once you make a decision you've just got to go with it. That's what I'm doing out there. I rely on those guys for help and advice while I'm out there. They've done a good job with that and I can't thank them enough."
3. NO DAYS OFF NEEDED
Bills rookies have been around the team for about five weeks now, going through rookie minicamp, the OTAs, and the mandatory minicamp. Even now, with the practices over until training camp, rookies still participate in a development program at One Bills Drive for a week to help them adjust to life in the NFL.
First round draft pick Josh Allen says bring it on. Even after an extensive workload of All-Star games, combine prep and the combine, throwing instruction from Jordan Palmer, the draft and then time with the Bills, Allen says he’s not overloaded and he loves the work.
We asked Allen if he feels like he needs some down time.
“No. This is what I’ve wanted to do my entire life, and now that I’m here it just reiterated the fact that this is what I love to do,” he answered. “It's football 24/7, the facilities are open for us. I get to throw the ball every day. I get to come in and be a professional football player and in my mind, that’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me.”
4. VISION INTACT FOR MIAMI
We spent some time talking about the minicamps for the Jets and the Dolphins this week on the show, two of Buffalo’s AFC East rivals. And in Miami, they’re feeling good about their progress this offseason.
The Dolphins dropped from 10-6 in 2016 to 6-10 last year with two demoralizing losses to Buffalo in the final three weeks. They’ve overhauled their roster and jettisoned some big name, highly-paid players to change the culture.
Going into his third year, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase gets a chance to reboot his team. And Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero, who’s been around the team for more than 25 years, says Gase still has the confidence of team ownership, and still has a vision for the type of Dolphins team he wants on the field.
"He knows what his football team must look like,” Salguero told “One Bills Live.” “So, he has a vision in his head of what he wants to put on the field and how he wants them to play. He thinks that is going to work. It’s yet to be seen, whether he’s able to put that thing together to where on a Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium you see his vision manifesting, but at least he has a clue and a vision of what he wants.”
5. BISCUIT SAYS TALLEY WAS THE KEY
This year’s Top 10 series launched this week on MSG with the “Top 10 Trades in Bills History.” Buffalo’s top trade was the 1987 Halloween deal that brought Cornelius Bennett to the team.
Bennett told us on “One Bills Live” he owes former teammate Darryl Talley a lot for his success with the Bills.
“Darryl was smarter than any coach I ever played for,” Bennett said. “Darryl knows football and it’s a shame that he never got a chance to coach. And I think coaches were afraid to hire Darryl because he was so opinionated and knew what the hell he was talking about.”
“Darryl is the smartest football brain I’ve ever been around and I was so grateful to have him as a brother then and as a brother now.”
“Darryl is the smartest football brain I’ve ever been around and I was so grateful to have him as a brother then and as a brother now.” Cornelius Bennett
6. PHILLY GUY REMEMBERS ANOTHER PHILLY GUY
There have only been three radio play-by-play voices in Bills history. One of them passed away this week, longtime Philadelphia sportscaster Al Meltzer. He called Bills football on the radio from 1972-77, but was on the air in Philadelphia, radio and TV, for decades.
That means young Sean McDermott grew up watching and listening to Meltzer cover sports in Philadelphia. The Bills coach told our show Meltzer was an icon in Philly.
“He was one of the faces and names in Philadelphia sports,” McDermott said. “You listen, we all can relate to a familiar voice, even if you don’t see the face, you hear the voice. You grow up around those voices. He’s one of the ones I grew up around in Philadelphia.”