You don't hear any Buffalo Bills players talking about wanting to "win one for Sean" or "let's do it for Coach" Sunday.
That isn't by accident.
Sean McDermott has made it clear to his team all week that facing the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium isn't about him, even though he spent the past six seasons as their defensive coordinator.
"Crystal clear," offensive tackle Jordan Mills said Friday.
So much has been discussed in the media about McDermott and Bills General Manager Brandon Beane, the Panthers' former assistant GM who had been a lifer in the club's front office, having their big homecoming this weekend. The same goes for the former Panther players, such as fullback Mike Tolbert, on the Bills' roster.
Yet, so little about it has been mentioned within the confines of One Bills Drive.
"That’s the wrong approach, that is 100-percent the wrong approach," McDermott said. "They don’t need to win anything for me. ... that’s fair and reasonable to think (that players would want to win the game for him), but I would never want them to win one for the coach. Let’s just go out and do what we do and embrace who we are, and continue to get better.
"That’s really the process that I want us focused on."
Process, in case anyone hasn't been paying attention to the new coach's vocabulary, is McDermott's favorite word. His favorite term is "One Eleventh." Team first, everything else last.
Individuals must put their concerns aside for the greater good. That applies to the man in charge every bit as much as it does to the players. If anything, McDermott must hold himself to an even higher standard in that regard or all of the preaching he does will be dismissed as so much noise.
"He made sure early in the week that it wasn't about him," center Eric Wood said. "It hasn't been brought up, it hasn't been mentioned. Beyond that, we're going down there trying to win a ballgame and any kind of ulterior motives besides just winning, that doesn't usually linger into the game anyways. Once the first kick happens, you just kind of fall back on your habits, you're into the game plan and you're really not focused on (anything else)."
"It's about us and what we're trying to accomplish," Mills said. "He doesn't try to make himself the focal point this week or any week. It's about now and living in the moment. We're just going down there to execute our plan, do what we have to do as a team and come out with a victory."