The second episode of “Buffalo Bills: Embedded” premiered last night. It was entitled as “The Standard” and focused on the defensive side of the ball, showing a bit of the character and work ethic of some of the top players in Leslie Frazier’s unit. Here are my top three highlights from yesterday’s episode:
1. Kyle Williams – The Heart and Soul of the Defense
If head coach Sean McDermott was the star of the first episode, the same can be said about defensive tackle Kyle Williams in the second. The show started with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier talking to his players about how he wants his defense performing day in and day out. After the introduction, the episode moved to a coaches-only meeting with general manager Brandon Beane, where the positional coaches were giving reports about each of their players. Defensive line coach Bill Teerlinck was the first to speak, then Williams shone.
How can you not love Kyle Williams? The veteran gives 100% every time he steps on the field, whether it’s a game or a walkthrough. His work ethic sets the tone for his fellow defensive players, but it isn’t only that. Kyle is a coach on the field, giving instructions, helping young and veteran players alike, and even getting in their faces when needed, always direct and speaking eye-to-eye, without any yelling and never playing it up for the cameras or coaches. But he knows how to be an awesome dude, too. Featured in the episode, Kyle paid for food trucks for all of his teammates and coaches. They were there post-practice in the parking lot, just outside the field, to everyone’s evident glee.
That’s why he’s so respected by his teammates and still crucial to this Bills team’s success. His leadership is second to none. Teerlinck was clear when he emphasized the practice wasn’t the same when Kyle had his day off. It sounds like cliché, but this defensive line goes as long Kyle Williams goes. Teerlinck summed it up best: “glad we have him”.
2. Defensive Cornerstones
The GM/coaches’ meeting continued, with the show focusing on the cornerstones of this Bills defense. Linebackers coach Bob Babich gave his report about rookie first-round pick Tremaine Edmunds, noting how he’s doing a good job, but also how he wants to see more “big plays” from him. According to Babich, Edmunds has the athletic ability and football IQ, but he just needs to add consistency. As the “Mike” LB, he’ll be put in a position to make those big plays; it’ll be up to him to deliver.
The episode continued showing the Bills’ secondary, the top group of the defense, highlighting Tre’Davious White, Micah Hyde, and Jordan Poyer. It looks like they have a really good camaraderie there, with the guys joking with each other in the ice tub for example, but always working hard on the field. Safeties coach Bobby Babich pointed out how Hyde is already at the stage where he doesn’t even need to be corrected about his mistakes because he’s always the first to recognize them. Babich also praised Poyer as a consistent presence every day on the field and called him “the quarterback of the defense”. Defensive backs coach John Butler was the next to talk and highlighted White’s all-around excellence.
Those guys playing at their full potential will be crucial to the growth of the Bills’ defense in 2018.
One Notable Absence
When coach Bill Teerlinck was talking about the defensive ends, Trent Murphy was highlighted, and afterward, Eddie Yarbrough. Both were praised for their work habits, non-stop motors, and performance in general. Jerry Hughes made an appearance too, teaching Yarbrough some pass rushing moves and how to react to the opposing offensive lineman’s actions. But one guy that was left completely out of the show was Shaq Lawson.
Maybe I’m overreacting, but I don’t see why Embedded wouldn’t show any praise for the third-year defensive end, other than, maybe, what Teerlinck had to say about him in the meeting wasn’t so pleasant. Shaq looks in shape, and I really like how he’s looking active in the preseason games, always around the ball, but maybe the coach showed some concern with his lack of development as a pass rusher.
We’ll never know. After all, everything that’s shown on Embedded is controlled by the Bills, and they will not show any contentious, behind-the-scenes criticism there. But Lawson not being featured in a defensive line-heavy episode can’t be good for him. Time will tell.