If anything is certain about the Buffalo Bills, it’s that there will be some growing pains this season. With a new coaching staff and new system, one thing that’s trending in the right direction is the play of the defense.
The defense played with what looked like a bend-don’t-break mentality. The first unit allowed the Eagles to move the ball in between the twenties but were able to hold them to multiple field goals and a turnover of their own. Coach McDermott recognizd their play.
“The first group, they did a pretty solid job across the board,” said McDermott. “They didn’t give up big plays over the top of the defense, took the ball away a couple times. Overall I thought there were a lot of great things defensively, starting with effort.”
The front four is clearly the strong suit of the defense. With questions in the secondary and uncertainty around the linebacker corps, the defensive line is going to need to set the tone and put pressure on offenses to keep the pressure off their back end.
“We were able to create some negative plays and put them behind the sticks which is part of being a good defense,” said McDermott about his front four. “Keeping ourselves in favorable third down situations defensively... I thought we did a pretty good job of controlling the line of scrimmage.”
The straight-line coach was even able to crack a few jokes about the defense in his press conference Friday. He was asked about Buffalo opponents’ 2.8 yards per rush this preseason, a remarkably low number for any game.
"We need to be about 2.5," McDermott joked. "No, but they’ve done some good things. I’d be lying if I sat up here and said I wasn’t happy with the run defense. I am. I’m extremely happy with the run defense. That said, just like our whole football team, we’ve got a lot of work to do and when you get comfortable is when things kind of get you. We’ve got to stay hungry and stay humble on our approach as a football team and as a defense in this particular case. I look forward to watching us develop in those areas this next week."