"They've built the right team" | How Bills GM Brandon Beane, HC Sean McDermott have turned Buffalo into a Super Bowl contender 

Beane McDermott feature

It's no secret Bills Mafia is enamored with this Bills team and the successful trajectory the team has been on the last few seasons.

But what about some of the top media members that cover the NFL? Do they view the Bills the same way as the fans — as legitimate title contenders?

We spent several weeks during training camp and preseason asking many national media members their thoughts on how the outside perception of the Buffalo Bills has changed and why they are among the league's best entering the 2022 season.

The Bills are seen by many to be among the Super Bowl favorites — if not the favorite. Should they be viewed this way?

Michael Robinson | NFL Network

"Damn right they should be viewed as the favorites. They got the top quarterback in the NFL, there isn't a guy better than Josh Allen when you talk about skillset, not anyone on this planet. Talking to Von Miller, he said Josh Allen was a big reason he came to Buffalo. Great players want to be around great players. You can't win in this league without a great quarterback and Bills Mafia probably has the best quarterback."

Albert Breer | Sports Illustrated MMQB

"I think that they're in that group, definitely.  You look at the point that they built to where they're really in that sweet spot. They've still got a lot of guys that are really good, solid players that are on rookie contracts that are performing like veterans and guys like Dawson Knox and Tremaine Edmunds and Gabe Davis. So you've got like a good base of certain fourth year players who are playing for contracts, and now you've got some of your core that's already paid (Josh Allen, Diggs, etc.)... I think they're a team acting with a sense of urgency and recognizing it."

Mike Garafolo | NFL Network

"Oh absolutely they should. Now that doesn't mean I'm saying they are going to win it all because it's a long way away. But when you come out to camp and see the depth that the Bills have, a lot of teams are nowhere near that kind of depth. So they absolutely should be viewed as a favorite."

How has the perception of the Bills as a franchise changed since 2017 when Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott arrived?

Albert Breer | Sports Illustrated MMQB

"People view them completely different than they did five or six years ago. I can still remember a while ago when there was uncertainty the team was even going to be here. The team gets sold, obviously, but even then there were questions of is this where they're going to be long term? And now you've got a new stadium going up soon and you've got a franchise quarterback in place. It's one of the more stable organizations in the NFL, and I think maybe the best sign of that is the way they're getting poached. Brian Daboll going to the Giants, Joe Schoen going to the Giants, Dan Morgan going to Carolina. You see they way other teams look at the Bills and saying 'Okay, that's something we want to emulate'. I think that speaks well to the way Sean and Brandon work together, which is such an important piece."

Ian Rapoport | NFL insider for NFL Network

"It's gotten a lot better, for sure. It is interesting, though, I've learned a lot about the choosing of a GM and the choosing of a head coach from these two — what it means, what's important, and what the public says. Because I remember when Beane was hired, it was kind of like 'What his specialty?' And for McDermott it was 'He seems kind of quiet, can he command a room?' And then fast forward five years and they've basically set the culture that is what every team that hired a coach and a GM wants to set. They've created an atmosphere where players can be themselves but also be successful and win. And it's got a pretty good togetherness and you've seen that as it's become a breeding ground for other teams to come and pluck from."

Jeremy Fowler | ESPN NFL senior writer

"It's been a kind of a slow ascension. You could see the seeds being planted to a potential winner for teams when the quarterback starts to make a turn and it's amazing what a few good draft classes will do. You put together those pieces and you have the right recipe. You could see here slowly in Buffalo building into a winner but now it's building into a crescendo where you have a serious contender. I would say the expectations feel a little weightier now."

Michael Robinson | NFL Network

"It was May of 2018 when I was the first person in the national media to go on a national football show, Good Morning Football and declare the Buffalo Bills have started its ascension to the top of the AFC. So it's not surprising now to me. But it's changed partly because of the people they have running the organization, Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott. And what I like is that they focused on the line of scrimmage, can't win in this league without winning the line of scrimmage. And they got that dude Josh Allen. With No. 17, you always have a chance."

Mike Garafolo | NFL Network

"I know it hasn't always been this way around here. When people come through here now, there's a different energy, there's a different vibe. There's talent all over the place. What are we not going to talk about when it comes to the Bills? Because a lot of times from a national perspective, when you talk to a national audience about a team, it's got to be about the top level stars and this team has a ton of them. And that hasn't always been the case here. So it's exciting for us to talk about the Bills, for sure."

Sheil Kapadia | NFL writer and podcaster for The Ringer

"I think I wrote last year that Beane leads the league for me in MTMS 'Moves That Make Sense'. And I'm analyzing what the team did in free agency, trades, the draft, everything. Sometimes I get those evaluations wrong. But almost every time the Bills have made a roster move or something the last four or five years, I'm thinking 'Okay, I can see that.' I joked with Beane this offseason that the Von Miller signing was out of character, it was big and splashy and I'm used to the Bills making these under-the-radar moves. But I understand why they made that one.  Just all the little stuff they've done to get to this point. They are in good hands, but now it gets a little different. You're not going from upstart to contender, the expectations are just high now."

How have Beane and McDermott built the Bills roster to be among the best in the NFL on both sides of the ball?

Jeremy Fowler | ESPN NFL senior writer

"They've put the team in a good position where you look across the board and you see a blue chip guy or a top 10 or 12 player at almost every spot. And they even have underrated players like Dion Dawkins that don't get talked about enough. They have plenty of firepower, and they've built the roster year-by-year."

Pat Kirwan | SiriusXM NFL Radio

"They've built the right team. Sean came first and he knew what he wanted from a right-hand man in Brandon and he came. And those guys are really tuned into each other, they know what to look for. Sean doesn't have to explain what kind of guys he wants; that started the building process so that they can keep getting the right guys and get rid of the wrong guys. So, it's no surprise to me they got to this point, and then they hit on Josh — which was not hard to figure out. So now when you hit on the quarterback, other players start to want to come, that's another part of it."

Albert Breer | Sports Illustrated MMQB

"I think the main thing is that their roster foundation is still draft and develop. And that allows you to still have the flexibility to go out and get a Von Miller, because you have all the younger pieces in place that are still on rookie contracts. A lot of it is bringing in guys that match the vision for what they're trying to build as well as drafting and developing their own guys."

What has stood out about the rise of Josh Allen and what's the next step for him and the offense?

Jeremy Fowler | ESPN NFL senior writer

"He's just a playmaker, he can make every throw. When the play breaks down and you need a great player to make a great play, he can do that. There are only a few people alive that can do that sort of thing. Now, the next step is what kind of ownership can he take with the offense with Ken Dorsey as his OC. I think he's eager to take on even more and it sounds like he's at his best when he can control the line of scrimmage."

Sheil Kapadia | NFL writer and podcaster for The Ringer

"When he made the big jump, a lot of it was being better against man coverage and being better against the blitz. And that obviously coincides with Stefon Diggs coming to town, he's going to help make you better in those areas. And then what's interesting to me about the Bills this year is they been so pass-heavy the last two years, I think most pass-heavy team in the NFL if you just look at first and second down situations when it's the score is neutral or close, it's not a blowout one way or the other. They've passed more than any team and that's smart when Allen is back there but I'm curious to see if that carries over with a new play-caller in Ken Dorsey. Do they stick with that formula with Allen?"

Ian Rapoport | NFL insider for NFL Network

"Josh Allen, he's got nothing to do in terms of reaching another level. The offense might be a little different this year under Ken Dorsey, who I think is going to do an incredible job. Josh needs to do exactly what he's done, seriously. I don't think he has to do anything different to get this team to the next level, he's already an MVP candidate. He's a great guy and a great leader. I think he should do everything exactly the same as he has been and they'll be just fine."

Take a look at your favorite Bills players as the start of the 2022 NFL season approaches. The gallery is presented by St. Bonaventure.

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