(This is the second of a two-part series with Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll from a Zoom conference call with the team media last Friday.)
Brian Daboll admits the inconvenience of restrictions created by the COVID-19 precautions are the same for the Bills as the other 31 NFL teams.
“This offseason has been really the same for every team,” he pointed out. “I think the thing that Sean (McDermott, head coach) has really expressed to us is we’re not going to make any excuses about the situation that we’re in. How can we do our part to make it as good as we can ... that’s where our focus has been.
“The thing you learn is different techniques of teaching and it makes you better maybe along the way to help these guys out.”
And according to McDermott, Daboll has one specific charge … score more points.
Last season, Buffalo ranked 24th in the league at barely 19 per game and a single point from being in the bottom quarter of the NFL.
“That’s the goal every week,” Daboll said of increased scoring. “Offensive football is assignment football and execution football. You have to get as many reps as you can to perfect the craft you need.
“Certainly we all want to score more points, but we all want to win, however we need to win, however the game dictates. Offensively, your No. 1 goal is to score points and that’s an area we definitely want to improve on.”
AS FOR Buffalo’s new offensive additions, Daboll noted of wide receiver Stefon Diggs, the trade acquisition from Minnesota, “Stefon is a good football player … a good receiver … a good person. I’m glad we have him. We’ve had quite a few conversations with him, trying to develop the relationship that’s so important. He’s smart, he’s been involved in all the meetings.”
Of Zack Moss, the Utah running back Buffalo drafted in the third round, Daboll added, “Zack was very productive, he really did a good job on his college tape of demonstrating some of the qualities that we’re looking for in a running back. He’s a tough, hard-nosed downhill guy that, for being a bigger body guy, still has the ability to make people miss in short spaces. We really liked the toughness he ran with.
“How it’s going to complement, we’ll find out soon enough when the pads come on. I think it’s just important for all these young guys to come in ready to go, be in shape, be physically fit, and demonstrate the things that we saw them do on their college film.”
Daboll pointed out, “It’s a hard transition to go from college to the pros and be successful right away. Some can do it. Some it takes a little bit longer. But the quicker that you can do it, the more you help your team out. We’re certainly excited to have Zack join our team and we think he has a good skill set for the type of things that we would do with him.”
Of course, heading into last season, Buffalo’s top two running backs were veterans LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore, but the former was released at the end of training camp and the latter wasn’t re-signed this past offseason. Thus, 25 years of experience at that position are gone, leaving Moss and Devin Singletary, last year’s third-round pick, as the heirs apparent.
“A lot of mileage with those two guys,” Daboll said of Gore and McCoy. “Two of the best that’s ever done it. (But) in pro football, things change on a year-to year-basis. You add new players, obviously Motor (Devin Singletary) is not a new player, he’s in his second year. But you add new players and you’ve got to get them ready to go. We have confidence in these guys, particularly Motor having seen him do it for us.
“I’d be remiss to leave out a guy like TJ Yeldon, who was a productive player at Alabama and has gone through some things in the league but he’s done a good job with anything we’ve ever asked him to do here. We’ll have a competitive (running back) room. We brought back Taiwan Jones (for special teams).”
He pointed out, “It’s our job as a coaching staff and, ultimately, my responsibility to make sure we’re trying to do the things that fit, not just the running backs, but the entire offensive unit. (Singletary and Moss) definitely have the skill set. They might differ a little bit in some of it and some of it, they may be the same, but they’re two young eager players that I have a lot of confidence in and that they’ll be ready to go when training camp comes.”
As for the offensive line, Daboll concluded, “Those guys are close knit. (They) really have to see the games through the same set of eyes. It takes all five, and if there’s a little leak in one of them it’s a reflection of all five of them and they take pride in that.
“It’s a hard position to play. Control what you control (and) you can dominate those things, your preparation, your communication skills and really make no excuses.”
(Chuck Pollock, a Times Herald senior sports columnist, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)