The fourth and last episode of the series Buffalo Bills: Embedded premiered last night on Facebook watch. It was entitled “The Mindset” and featured some moments through the preseason week one game versus the Panthers, also showing another week of practices, positional battles, and team and coaches’ meetings. It was another pretty entertaining episode, and here are my top three moments:
Getting to know our centers
Episode four showed how both centers worked hard to win the starting job and become leaders on the offensive line. The show opened with Russell Bodine being called by head coach Sean McDermott to open up about his life and his family. He was very direct and passed to the team an important message he received from his father at young age. “Do what you need, not what you want”. It looks like Bodine has a really nice character and fits well the mold of true pros McDermott wants around.
Bodine’s performances on the field weren’t very impressive, and Ryan Groy won the gig. He will be starting against the Ravens next Sunday, and we could see a bit of why. He’s a true pro who works hard on his craft and has good leadership skills. Backing up longtime Bill Eric Wood for few seasons certainly helped to mold him as a professional, and now he has his chance to shine.
Rookie haze? A positive one
The NFL has a longtime tradition of veterans hazing the rookies during training camps. From crazy haircuts to carrying the veterans’ shoulder pads, every team has a different type of way to “welcome” the rookies to the NFL. Since coming to Buffalo, head coach Sean McDermott has been clear about the type of environment he wants, and I’m sure the Bills’ tradition of “rookie hazing” is one he sees as a positive:
The Rookie Pizza Eating Contest is something I created and I'm glad it is carrying on without me. I never wanted to cut rookies hair or hurt their pocket books (outside of one dinner). Rookies work harder when they respect vets and not hate them https://t.co/CD5Qbiz2q3— Eric Wood (@EWood70) September 5, 2018
Eric Wood says it all there. That’s the mindset the Bills’ veterans have, always helping their fellow rookies to become their best versions. The character speaks volumes, and it’s awesome to have the team still carrying the positive things Wood brought with him.
Head Coach Sean McDermott again stealing the show
‘Embedded’ opened up with McDermott’s postgame speech after the first preseason game, demanding better production from his players and coaches. He was emphatic, pointing out it’s very difficult to win in the NFL and the team couldn’t beat themselves like they did in that game. Always good to see your HC being so demanding and not accepting a losing culture.
During the episode, we also could see the head coach’s pre-game routine, his habits on game day, and also his greetings to his former teammates in the Panthers organization. One of those re-encounters was particularly interesting. When Luke Kuechly met with his former coach, he couldn’t wait to talk about how physically impressive is rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is, calling him a “monster”.
Jared Norris, another linebacker, quickly called Edmunds “the guy who can touch his knees standing up, straight”, making reference to the rookie’s long arms. McDermott praised his LB, saying he’s in the same mold as Kuechly and the Panthers’ guys. It’s always good to see one of the Bills’ most promising young players being singled out this way by the top NFL player at his position.
To finish not only the episode but the entire series, McDermott spoke to his players in a meeting about how they’re unique and how they fit the DNA the Bills are looking for. He guaranteed he never saw a group of players, in his more than 20 years of NFL experience, that works as hard as this group does, or who are as focused as they are. It’s a big praise for this group of players and can make us, as fans, hopeful of another overachieving season.