Is "The Process" so 2017 for Bills coach Sean McDermott?
Is "Earning It" the new wave for 2018?
Throughout last season, the first-year coach uttered the word with such regularity that hardly an interview or news conference went by without him using the word. Win. Lose. The circumstances didn't seem to matter. After all, sensing the irony, McDermott at one point referred to himself as a "process-oriented guy."
It was hardly a reach to identify the process, in the various ways McDermott applies it with his team on a daily basis, as the very foundation to the Bills' first playoff season since 1999. McDermott also often said he was striving for "playoff caliber," something that the players latched on to last season.
But listening to McDermott this offseason, there has been less process talk and more talk about "earning it."
The first reference came in February at the scouting combine when McDermott was asked about new cornerback signee Vontae Davis: "Every spot on our roster has to be earned and he'll embrace that mindset."
Start of the offseason program: "We’ve got a long way to go; that really hasn’t changed. We’re excited about the guys that we’ve added to the roster and the work that, apparently, has been put in since the players have left us X amount of months ago. Really, we’ve got to earn the right, and that starts today."
On the potential ceiling for the team's two first-round picks: "We earn things around here. So, let’s just start there and these two young men are going to come in and embed into what we do and how we do things here. We’ve got a lot of good players already in that locker room that do things the right way."
On third-round draft pick Harrison Phillips: "He’ll go into the defensive line room and rotation and, just like we’ve said before, he’s got to earn his spot on this roster, but you look at the qualities that he has with his strength, the intelligence, he’s played and seen a lot in terms of his college career."
Before rookie minicamp on whether Tremaine Edmunds could earn a top spot among the linebackers: "The No. 1 thing I would say is he’s got to earn it, and that goes for everyone on our roster. This is a place where we earn things and spots are earned and you’ll see him out there today commanding the huddle."