The Bills got rough on Tuesday.
Ray-Ray McCloud swung a haymaker at Dean Marlowe. They seemed to patch things up after practice.
Not long after, Siran Neal was exchanging punches with Duke Williams.
The practice was supposed to be intense. It featured a goal line drill with nearly full tackling.
However, the intensity is also fueled by motivation from Sean McDermott trying to make sure his defense–ranked second in the NFL last year–doesn’t get over confident.
“We can have a good or an ok day and he’ll come out and trash talk us and really try to motivate us in that sense,” Lorenzo Alexander said. “I think that’s why you saw some guys come out today and be extra physical. I think that’s just part of his job: not to allow us to get complacent.”
The Bills defense has almost entirely avoided questions this offseason. It’s simply expected to excel.
“Only thing we can do about that is go out and work every day and show people this didn’t just happen overnight,” Tre’Davious White said. “This is something we pretty much worked for going back until 2017.”
Alexander even admitted it’s a feeling that could spread in the locker if the Bills aren’t careful. “I think it’s easy for guys to fall into a position of comfort.”
Hence, McDermott’s recurring defensive chides.
The strategy seems to be working. Or the Bills defense has enough veterans to patrol themselves.
“I think we’re trying to stay away from last year as much as we can,” Jordan Poyer said. “It’s a new team. It’s a new everything. It’s a new start for us.”
If McDermott is going to build another defense capable of standing up to some of the NFL’s best offenses, it’s clear they’re going to push back a little against each other in practice first.