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'We're back to work now' | How Bills veterans are showing their leadership going into Week 2

Buffalo Bills Week 2 practice at One Bills Drive, September 14, 2023.
Buffalo Bills Week 2 practice at One Bills Drive, September 14, 2023.

The Buffalo Bills are gearing up to welcome fans to Highmark Stadium for the first home game of the regular season against the Las Vegas Raiders.

While the 2023 season did not get off to the start many Bills fans hoped it would, the team is focused on preparing for a Raiders team with a talented defense and an offense featuring two of the best offensive weapons in the league.

For much of the preseason and now the regular season, the Bills' team mantra has been to "stay where your feet are." Center Mitch Morse, one of the eight Bills selected as team captains this season, said that the team has continued to stay grounded despite the loss on Monday night.

"This league wants you to ride the ebbs and flows," Morse said after practice Thursday. "The highs are incredibly high and the lows are devastatingly low."

"So it's just understanding that it wasn't all for naught this past week and there are some stuff we can look back and hang our hat on. But we have to carry that over and then some and fix the stuff that we just can't let happen."

This weekend, Morse and the offensive line will face one of the top pass rushers in the league in defensive end Maxx Crosby. The 26-year-old had 12.5 sacks last season and was selected to his second Pro Bowl.

"He's just a phenomenal football player," Morse said. "If you look at play one to the last play, you really can't tell a difference in his speed and his relentlessness with the football. He's just got every tool in the book."

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs noted the strength of the Raiders' secondary, which added cornerback Marcus Peters, a two-time first-team All-Pro, in the offseason.

"They're an impressive group as well," Diggs said. "I feel like it's gonna be another test for us to see, being smart and trying to stay in the green, not too many negative plays and, you know, trying to score too."

On the offensive side of the ball, former Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams is in his second year with the Raiders. While this will be only his second game with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Adams has had four seasons with over 1,350 yards and scored 14 touchdowns last season.

"[Davante] has been a guy that's been one of the best receivers in the league for a while now," said Diggs, who in his time at Minnesota saw plenty of Adams when he was a Packer. "He doesn't have too many weaknesses."

On Monday night, the defense held up well against the New York Jets, holding them to just 289 total yards. However, running back Breece Hall had two big runs in the first half, one for 26 yards and the other for 83, which led to a Jets field goal. As the Bills will now face Josh Jacobs, an explosive running back who led the league in rushing yards last season with 1,653, defensive line and assistant head coach Eric Washington said that the team needs to stick to their game plan and play physically.

"This is a determined rushing attack that we're going to see so we have to make sure that our fundamentals, how we address specific runs relative to the calls, are at a high-end level," Washington said. "So it's really about us and what we have to do to make sure that we give ourselves a chance at every snap."

As the last line of the Bills defense, safety Jordan Poyer said he is determined to make the challenging open field tackles that can prevent explosive plays.

"I gotta have a high standard for myself, so you know, I expect myself to be able to make those plays," Poyer said. "They are extremely hard plays but there's no excuses in the job that I do."

As the Bills prepare for the next chapter of the long saga that is the NFL regular season, Diggs said that this weekend offers the team a chance to "right the ship."

"If you have the right approach daily throughout the week, if you lose a game or win a game, if you had the right approach or you put the necessary time and effort to have the right results, I feel like you can live with that," he said. "Reset, we're back to work now, we've got a new opponent this weekend."

Scroll to see photos from the September 14, 2023 practice as the Bills prepare for Week 2.

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