1 – What Daboll values in his quarterbacks
He’s worked with NFL quarterbacks from Derek Anderson and Matt Cassel to Brett Favre and Tom Brady. What both Bills quarterbacks AJ McCarron and Nate Peterman are finding out about new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is what he values in quarterbacks doesn’t change.
“He values a quarterback who can take the team down and score and protect the football,” said Peterman of Daboll. “It’s a big emphasis on what we’ve got to do to win games in the NFL. It’s been good I’m excited to learn from him.”
Daboll’s offensive system will be new to both McCarron and Peterman, but McCarron might take a little longer to flush out the scheme he has worked with in Cincinnati.
“It’s a little different from what I’ve been accustomed to because I was in the same system for four years,” said McCarron. “I’m working my tail off to learn it and how to do everything the right way. I’m just taking it day in and day out.”
What is clear, is both McCarron and Peterman have a healthy amount of respect for Daboll’s depth of football acumen.
“The past couple of days we’ve been able to get in the meeting room and learn from him, he’s extremely smart and very knowledgeable,” Peterman said. “He’s been in a lot of places and has a lot of experience and just to be around him you get a feel for that. You can tell how much knowledge how much he has to bring.”
*2 – Grooming new leadership *The Bills had a strong base of leadership in the locker room in their first season under head coach Sean McDermott. Some of that leadership, particularly on the offensive side of the ball has been chipped away with the trade of Tyrod Taylor, the career-ending neck injury of Eric Wood and the retirement of Richie Incognito.
So, who will be the replacements?
According to perennial leader, Kyle Williams, new leaders on the offensive side of the ball will have to come to the forefront.
“We’ll get guys offensively that will have to step up into those roles,” said Williams. “I’m obviously not in the meetings with those guys and be the voice in those meetings. Year in and year out you’re always going to need different guys to step up whether it’s in play or in leadership. And 2018 won’t be any different.”
*3 – Lotulelei is a “star maker” *If one looks at Star Lotulelei’s career stats, there won’t be many seasons that jump off the stat page. But those who play alongside the run-stuffing defensive tackle, or have seen enough film of the veteran defensive tackle, know his value to a defensive front.
“I’ll be the one who probably benefits the most playing on the weak side and behind the nose a lot,” said Lorenzo Alexander. “So him just eating up double teams, making sure the center and guard can’t get up to me so I can make a lot more plays in the backfield, or somebody decides they want to single him, that’s a tackle for loss for him every day.”
After the Bills signed Lotulelei in free agency, Alexander spoke to his friend, Carolina LB Thomas Davis, who wasn’t happy to see the defensive tackle leave.
“They were sad to see him go because of that type of dynamic that he brought to the field. He’s a guy that I would consider a star maker,” said Alexander. “Luke Kuechly benefited a lot from his presence on that line. Hopefully I can mimic some of the things that Luke was able to do by benefitting from that guy in front of him.
“It should allow me to make more plays in the backfield, or allow Jerry Hughes to turn the corner and not have to worry about the quarterback stepping up because he’s pushing the pocket. So guys around him will benefit.”
*4 – New secondary coach Butler knows his stuff *One of the new faces on Buffalo’s coaching staff is secondary coach John Butler. The coaching veteran has a lengthy amount of experience in both the NFL and college ranks, with a stint as a defensive coordinator in a previous coaching stop.
Safety Micah Hyde has been impressed in just the first couple of meetings with Butler this week.
“Coming in this year understanding the playbook and having a guy like coach Butler, you can tell he knows his football,” said Micah Hyde. “Just in the couple of meetings we’ve had you can tell he’s really detailed. I think that’s a good thing for our secondary. When we focus on the details I think that we’ll come up with big plays because everyone will know what they’re supposed to do. I can tell he’s a great coach.”
*5 – Groy’s ability comparable to Incognito *There were a healthy number of Bills fans who were concerned about the kind of hole Richie Incognito’s abrupt retirement left in Buffalo’s offensive line. Veteran DT Kyle Williams, however, believes a viable replacement for the left guard spot is already on the roster.
Ryan Groy, who stepped in and made seven solid starts in place of Eric Wood in the second half of the 2016 season, is a player Williams sees as a prime candidate for that left guard job.
“You’re talking about a big, powerful man who when he latches onto you, he’s hard to get rid of,” said Williams. “He’s not so different than Richie. He might have a bit of a different skill set, but a similar player. Any role they give him, he’s going to be just fine.
“He’s what you want as a teammate. He’s a quintessential lineman. A grinder. A tough guy. He’s somebody you want to play with on Sunday. He’s a great guy to be around.”
*6 – Hyde’s Pro Bowl thirst unquenched *Hyde was named to the first Pro Bowl of his career last season when he logged five interceptions and was among the league leaders at safety in pass breakups. But at the close of the 2017 season, Hyde was unable to participate in the Pro Bowl due to injury.
It was widely reported that it was a concussion discovered in Hyde’s exit physical that forced him to sit out of the Pro Bowl. But Hyde refuted that on Tuesday.
“It wasn’t the concussion that kept me from the Pro Bowl,” Hyde said. “There were some other things that were going on. It was another injury.”
Hyde was very happy to be chosen by his NFL peers calling it a “huge accomplishment,” but there is clearly a piece missing from that personal goal for him.
“I was super excited to be selected, but then I wasn’t able to play in it. I really haven’t experienced it yet. I still have that drive to participate in it, like so many other guys on this football team. So, I’ve got to continue to get better and find a way to help this football team any way I can.”
Hyde declared himself 100 percent healthy now as he’s participating fully in the team’s offseason conditioning program.