Bills coach Rex Ryan gave his players a day off after they beat the Arizona Cardinals last week. It was “Victory Monday,” as he calls it.
But a funny thing happened the next day at One Bills Drive: Everyone showed up anyway.
And it wasn’t just because it was Patriots Week. Ryan gave his players Monday off again with the Los Angeles Rams ahead, and again, everyone came in.
“I never took attendance,” Ryan said, “but I would be shocked if it wasn’t (100 percent).”
Players still had a free pass on media obligations Monday, but center Eric Wood mentioned the off-day attendance Monday during his weekly appearance on the team’s flagship radio station.
“I didn’t even realize it until our Wednesday meeting and Rex made mention that the entire team came in and watched film and lifted and kind of did their normal Monday routine as if we had lost,” Wood said on WGR 550. “Which is a great commitment level from everybody.”
It’s certainly not uncommon for a professional athlete to come in on an off day, but what makes it noteworthy is that it was every single player.
“I’d say it’s pretty atypical for the entire team,” Wood said. “Especially when you technically have a Victory Monday, guys could fly home if they have a short flight and maybe see their family if their family doesn’t live here.
“My family’s here and my life is fairly boring during the season, but some other guys may want to skip town and go to Toronto or somewhere.”
The Bills certainly seem to have woken up from their two season-opening losses that got offensive coordinator Greg Roman fired. They’re now 2-2 after beating two popular Super Bowl picks and seem to be back on track with a trip to Los Angeles ahead.
“That’s where the team’s at,” Ryan said. “I think we know the team. We’re getting everything this team has. That’s why I feel great about it.”
Bills star defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson officially came off suspension Monday morning.
Rex Ryan expects Dareus, the two-time Pro Bowler and team’s highest-paid player, to be in action Sunday when the Bills take on the Rams.
“He’s already been delayed four games,” Ryan said. “So he’ll play. In what capacity, how much he really plays, I’m not sure. But he’s definitely going to play.”
Ryan said Dareus was in the facility Monday and is ready to fully rejoin the team. There were conflicting reports earlier in the year on whether Dareus would enter a drug rehabilitation facility following his second suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Ryan was less sure on Henderson, who was also suspended for violating the league’s drug policy, though his marijuana use was reportedly to help treat his Crohn’s Disease.
“We’ll see how he looks,” Ryan said. “Will he play this week, I’m not real sure. We’ll find out.”
The Bills defense has performed well without Dareus, ranking second in the league with 13 sacks and fifth in rushing yards allowed (96.0).
Ryan also said Monday that first-round draft pick Shaq Lawson’s recovery from offseason shoulder surgery is on schedule, and he should be able to contribute once he’s eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list following Week Six.
“I think he’s going to be ready to roll ... when his time’s up,” Ryan said. “He’s doing a really good job in the weight room and things.
“Now, he’s not going to be in football shape. So don’t expect him to just come in and be starting. He hasn’t even been through one NFL practice. I anticipate him getting back as soon as he’s eligible.”
That means Lawson would make his NFL debut in Miami in Week Seven.
“Oh we’re definitely looking forward to it,” Ryan said. “I mean, he’s an outstanding player. Loves to play the game, is a passionate guy. I think he’s going to fit right in with the guys that we have. It’s only going to help us, when you’re able to keep a guy like Lorenzo Alexander fresh. You can give Jerry Hughes a couple plays off, I think that helps the whole team.”
The Bills haven’t yet made roster moves to bring Dareus and Henderson back to the 53-man roster.
“I think we will let the week play out then we will make some moves,” Ryan said.
There was no injury update Monday since there was technically no practice. Cornerback Corey White, who entered concussion protocol Sunday, is one player to keep an eye on.
Ryan didn’t have anything to add on reports that receiver Sammy Watkins, who was placed on injured reserve Friday, was seeking an opinion from doctors on whether he should have a another surgery to help with his foot that would put him out for the rest of the season.
Ryan did say it’s possible receiver Justin Hunter could suit up for Sunday’s game. Hunter, who was drafted 34th overall in 2013, was signed to fill the roster spot opened by Watkins hitting the IR.
News Sports Reporter Jay Skurski contributed to this report.