1 - Derek Anderson embracing role as mentor
The Bills added another quarterback to their roster earlier this week, inking Derek Anderson to a one-year deal. The veteran passer, who is now in his 14th NFL season, is familiar with Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane, as Anderson spent the past seven seasons of his career with the Carolina Panthers. While in Carolina, Anderson mentored Cam Newton, helping him develop into the elite-level quarterback he is today.
McDermott and Beane hope that Anderson will be able to do the same with their prospective franchise quarterback, Josh Allen. Anderson is excited to help Allen take the next step in his development.
“I’ve seen a lot of football,” Anderson said. “I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in my career. Just be a guy that [Allen] can lean on. Something like ask a question, any question, I told him, ‘Bud, I’m here for you. If you need me to go watch a guy, find something special, something you’re unsure of,’ things like that. Obviously the last seven years I was with Cam [Newton], watched him grow. I get really happy when I do something in the week or point something out and he goes out and executes, it’s fun for me.”
2 - LeSean McCoy: ‘Sky’s the limit’ for Josh Allen
Like Anderson, running back LeSean McCoy is helping Allen develop. However, he’s doing so in a different way, taking a bit of the load off Allen on the field.
In Buffalo’s Week 5 win over the Titans, the Bills leaned heavily on McCoy and the run game in general. McCoy ran for 85 yards on 24 attempts. Chris Ivory picked up 43 yards on 14 carries.
Allen threw the ball only 19 times last Sunday, leading some fans to fear that the quarterback’s development could be stunted by the lack of attempts. McCoy, however, doesn’t think this will be an issue.
“He threw the ball the first two games he started,” McCoy said. “Green Bay game he threw the ball a lot. Threw the ball a lot the game before that. He’s a rookie so it’s hard to really judge. Most teams they slowly get them going. I think he’s fine. I think he has a good quarterback coach, great offensive coordinator. I think Sean is the best coach for him. He’s fair. He’s tough on him.
“The sky is the limit for that kid. He has a big arm. He’s smart. He’s talented. I’m a fan of Josh. He has to learn small things, but other than that he’ll be a good player. You’ll see.”
3 - Micah Hyde on how Bills are preparing for Deshaun Watson
The Bills are coming off a Week 5 matchup in which they largely contained Marcus Mariota, one of the league’s premier mobile passers. They’ll face off against another dynamic quarterback this week when they take on Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans.
According to safety Micah Hyde, preparing for a player with Watson’s skill set is no different than preparing for any other quarterback in the league.
“I think there’s a lot of things you have to do,” Hyde said. “I think it starts up front, keeping him in the pocket, and then on the back end just being able to have tight coverage. I think that it doesn’t matter who the quarterback is, if you keep the quarterback in the pocket and you have tight coverage on the back end, then if the quarterback does get out of the pocket, you have to be able to plaster.
“That’s not just for Watson this week, that goes along with a lot of quarterbacks in this league. As a secondary player, it’s tough, but you have to work hand in hand with the front seven and at the same time be able to plaster the receivers.”
4 - Taking Watson down a key, according to new Bills DT
Houston’s offense, led by Watson, is filled to the brim with talented players, with wide receiver Deandre Hopkins perhaps being the best playmaker on the Texans’ roster. Through five games this season, Hopkins has 39 receptions for 594 yards and two touchdowns.
New Bills defensive tackle Jordan Phillips knows that containing the two playmakers won’t be an easy task.
“[Deshaun] Watson, him and Deandre Hopkins, they’re great players,” Phillips said. “Everything runs through them, and it’s hard to contain two explosive players like that. We’re just going to have to do the best we can to do what we can to limit what they do.”
Phillips thinks that Buffalo’s defense will be able to get after Watson on Sunday, and he knows that consistently taking him down is an avenue to success.
“[Watson] is very elusive, he makes plays on his feet, Phillips said, "Sometimes he hits his back foot and just takes off just because. So we’re going to have to stay in our rush lanes and rush smart.”
Practice photos from Week 6 of the 2018 season as the Buffalo Bills prepare to take on the Houston Texans on the road.
5 - Jordan Poyer thinks Bills need to limit ‘big plays’
Entering Week 5, the Texans had attempted 23 deep passes on the season, or passes that traveled more than 20 yards downfield. They had completed an impressive 47.8 percent of these passes, trailing only the Kansas City Chiefs in percentage of deep passes completed.
Buffalo safety Jordan Poyer thinks that taking away the deep ball will limit Houston’s offensive progress on Sunday.
“They thrive on big plays,” Poyer said. “Throwing the ball down the field, they have really good receivers, they have a quarterback that can run around. So it’s going to be real important that we’re able to plaster when he scrambles, and we have to take away the chunk plays.”
Poyer also had praise for Watson’s pocket presence and ability to take off with the ball when needed.
“He’s playing in the pocket. Yeah, he is,” Poyer said. “But at the same time, he understands that if his read isn’t there, he’s able to take off and be able to find the lane that he’s able to either take off and run it or take off maybe scrambling and throw. I saw one throw, he threw scrambling, might have been [against] the Cowboys, threw it off his foot, hit the dude in stride probably 50 yards down the field. He’s really good, you have to respect a guy like that.”
6 - Taron Johnson thinks defense is ‘getting better each game’
The Bills limited the Titans to just 12 points and 221 net yards in Week 5. The week before that, the defense held the Packers to an offensive performance that quarterback Aaron Rodgers described as “terrible.”
Over the past few weeks, Buffalo’s defense has started to look more like a stout unit. Rookie cornerback Taron Johnson can feel the group improving each and every week.
“I feel like the defense altogether, I feel like we’re getting better each game,” Johnson said. “That’s something, great thing with Coach Frazier and Coach McDermott, who helped us out, [helped us] get it. Our starting middle linebacker is a rookie, as well. He calls a lot of the calls in the defense. That’s something that, as we play more, we’re going to get better at.”