1. Ready for work in a virtual offseason
Bills head coach Sean McDermott could sense what might be coming as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country in alarming fashion. Knowing that NFL team facilities could be shuttered sooner rather than later he met with his coaching staff, strength and conditioning staff, athletic training and sports science staff to formulate a plan for an offseason with players in remote locations rather than on site.
"We got together as a staff and tried to really anticipate where it could go and you could kind of get a feel for where this was headed and that we probably weren't going to be back into building for weeks on end," McDermott said. "So we got together as a staff and really tried to put our collective minds together and put together a plan so we would have our act together."
McDermott and his respective staffs had an off-site offseason conditioning program plan in place a few weeks prior to the start on April 20th.
"We felt like the team or teams that came out of this the most prepared, the most unified would potentially have a competitive advantage. Now that remains to be seen, but we felt like when things kicked off really a week ago that we were ready to go. And I give I give our staff a lot of credit for that."
2. Stefon Diggs' performance under pressure will serve us well
Whether it's his 23 touchdowns over the past three regular seasons, or his game-winning touchdown catch in the 'Minneapolis Miracle' game to send the Vikings to the NFC title game in 2018, Stefon Diggs has proven he can be a dynamic scoring weapon.
Six weeks removed from the trade that enabled the Bills to acquire the playmaking receiver from Minnesota, coach McDermott is encouraged by what Diggs will bring to Buffalo's offense.
"I think when you look at the production that Stefon has experienced over the course of his career that speaks for itself," he said. "He's played in big games. He's had big roles in those games and so we believe that it's been shown and proven to this point that people are able to come to Buffalo and become the best version of themselves. And he's certainly been awfully good to this point. It's an opportunity for him to continue to grow, and it's an opportunity for us to get a good football player that'll help us win."
Though there has been no face-to-face introductions in person amid the COVID-19 pandemic, McDermott is pleased with the way that Diggs has kept the lines of communication open with him.
"I've been very happy with him since he's become a Bill and since I've gotten to get to know him a little bit," McDermott said. "Certainly, it'd be a lot easier if we were together to get to know one another, but the communication to this point has been top notch and he's been a nice addition."
3. Expecting O-line to take another step
Buffalo's offensive line did not undergo any major changes this offseason. All five starters from last year's unit are back after the team successfully re-signed free agent guard Quinton Spain. They also signed free agent guard-tackle Daryl Williams, who could challenge for a starting role.
Coach McDermott did talk this offseason about taking the consistency of the pass protection a step further in 2020. And though there weren't sizable changes to the personnel up front, Buffalo's head coach still expects the unit to take another step forward.
"It's interesting because you look at it and there is added value and continuity," McDermott said. "We all hope we're better in the second and third years of our job than we were in the first year, and I think if you're a true pro that's what happens. When you have a group like we had last year that for the most part had not played a snap, or many snaps together as we headed into the season, I thought that they really did some good things and took some significant strides as a group.
"Now to be able to have that group back, and then to add a piece or two in there is valuable to us. It is a veteran group. There's a lot of work to do between now and the time we kick it off in September. So, we recognize that. We did look at some things in the draft, but overall, we're very comfortable with the group that we have and I'm anxious and excited to watch these guys take another step under (offensive line coach) Bobby Johnson and the other coaches we have there."