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Forward Progress

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  1. The debate of culture vs. talent is an interesting one, to say the least. I think that you need both to win in the NFL, because the league is so competitive. The 2018 Bills had a good culture, that lacked talent, depth and competition at every position. The next step in culture evolution for this team is real competition at every position which drives players to improve to keep their million dollar jobs. It is essential that the best players are self-motivated individuals because their talent allows them to get by without a full effort. To compete in the NFL the best players need to be your best players, and not be satisfied by staying above the backups on the depth chart. Dareus was satisfied with with his situation and wasn't driven to be the best. I think that Watkins could have been more if he hadn't landed in Club Rex. Watkins was told he was the shiny Ferrari in the garage and he wasn't motivated to escalate his level of play to his highest possible level of play. When Tre' White was told by GMFB that he may be the best CB in football. He brushed the comment off and talked about how he's working hard every day to take his game to the next level. This is the type of attitude you want from your best players. He could be satisfied with his level of play today and has already done enough to position himself for a big second contract. When Ed Oliver walks into a culture like this (where nothing is given, everything is earned and the leaders on the team set the kind of example that Tre' is), he starts down the path of continuously improving his game instead of being content with his God-given talent.
  2. I had a very similar experience as part of the coaching staff of a hockey team. We had taken on a team of 16/17 yr-old boys of a AA midget hockey team. In the previous season, this team had a terrible locker room with bullying issues, while on the ice they played as individuals. They wouldn't pass the puck, lead the league in penalties and finished 10th in an 11-team league. Through the off-season our head coach devoted hours and hours to get to know the players to find out what kind of people they were (sound like the drafting strategy of any teams you know?). He spent time with their coaches of other sports, as many of them played lacrosse or soccer in the summer. He needed to know if they were coachable and team-first players. When training camp opened, there were 5 players from the previous season that were cut after the first practice. These players were physically more talented than the 5 players who were ultimately promoted from the team below, but they had to go change the culture. It shocked a lot of people to see the team gutted and many predicted that this team could not win a game with so little talent on the ice. Remember, this team was almost last a year ago, so how could they compete with so many of the most talented players cut from the team? The early practices were focused on building the player's individual skills needed to compete as a team. These were the most efficient practices I had ever seen, without a moment of practice time wasted. This team that wouldn't (couldn't) pass the puck effectively one season ago was now executing very challenging drills to drive a quick-passing and finesse style of hockey. This first month of the season was predictably tough, but the team-first culture was evident. The locker room was healthy with a "team above all else" attitude permeating from every boy on the team. By the end of the second month, it clicked and close losses turned into close wins. The team got better and better as the year wore on, finishing in the middle of the standings. In the playoffs the team won the first round easily, knocked off the 2nd best team in the second round and battled hard but couldn't take down the league champions in the finals. In one year, the team went from second-last to second place with less individual talent because culture matters in team sports. The Bills are on the right track. Their culture is healthy. Every player is driven to get better and determined to do whatever it takes to help the team win.
  3. As long as the most productive RB gets the most snaps, then I'm happy. I'm not sure that Shady stays happy if he's losing reps to the rookie.
  4. 9 would be fantastic, but 5 or 6 would be a great rookie campaign. Under. Hughes, Oliver and a healthy Trent Murphy should get to the quarterback more this year than last. With multiple points of pressure, The QB will run away from the first pressure into the waiting arms of the second.
  5. I think there's more to the story of contributing late round picks than just picking the right players in the draft. There are several components that I see supporting to better player development on the Bills roster... Establishing a culture where every player is driven to improve. It's not about where you start but where you finish, so late round picks and UDFA's can earn playing time by showing up every day and competing hard. Capable coaches providing tangible development plans, giving road maps for players to become better versions of themselves. Competition at every position, leading to a "no plays off" mentality. Drafting players based on character in addition to physical talents. This doesn't mean we are drafting choir boys - it means we are drafting team-first, competitive-by-nature football players. One of the characteristics that shows up in these players is the drive to get better. I think our future Bills teams will have more depth because of the developing players on the roster. Not every late-round pick can become an NFL starter, but it feels like we are trending in the right direction.
  6. This reasoned and patient perspective takes away the fun over reactions that make message boards so much fun this time of year. Please refrain from this destructive behavior.
  7. 71.4% completion percentage for those who are obsessed with such things.
  8. Should we be concerned about our running game with Daboll? I’m hoping it gets better with a more competent o-line. Something to watch this year.
  9. I agree, but I can also judge a guy for how he takes responsibility for his actions. After the benefit of time to think about what he did to Tre, he showed no remorse for an action that resulted in a concussion and had the potential to end the career of another player. After a great career, this will be the one Gronk play that I remember most.
  10. Fake news!! I read right on this web site that Zay won't be on the Bills roster this season.
  11. I have many reasons to hate Tom Brady. Skipping OTA's to spend time with his family is not one of them.
  12. I was wondering the same thing. It seems reasonable that if Wade is designated to a regular practice squad spot that the same rules apply to him as everyone else. He has a roster exemption now as well, so he doesn’t count against the 90-player offseason roster limit.
  13. I think that makes sense. Essentially, the Bills get one extra practice squad spot for Wade, but they can’t activate him if from that extra spot.
  14. So if I need to take a leak at half-time, I will miss the Frisbee dogs!! I hope they live-stream the Frisbee dogs into the washroom, so we don't miss all the action!!
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