The pair of trades the Buffalo Bills pulled off Friday in a span of 20 minutes sent shockwaves through the NFL.
Sean McDermott coached his No. 1 receiver in one meaningless game. Same with one of his starting cornerbacks. Sammy Watkins is now in Los Angeles and Ronald Darby in Philadelphia. On top of draft picks in return, Buffalo picked up Eagles' receiver Jordan Matthews and Rams' corner E.J. Gaines.
Later Friday, the Bills practiced, the loss of two starters still fresh. Players spoke, and mainly stressed that football is a business and that superiors' decisions are to be trusted.
In the days following, McDermott has been satisfied with how his group has responded to the sudden changes.
"The leadership did a phenomenal job," McDermott said, "and they understand that this is about winning."
The Bills' new leadership has seemingly made a vow to do things their way, at least piece-by-piece, rather than build from the remains of former GM Doug Whaley and coach Rex Ryan. Both Matthews and Gaines will practice in full on Sunday, McDermott said before Day 13 of training camp. He doesn't expect any significant drawbacks in getting the two newcomers up to speed.
When asked about quarterback Tyrod Taylor's ability to ged rid of the ball in the pocket, a hot topic earlier this week, McDermott mentioned Taylor's start of Thursday's preseason game. His first three passes were all completions to Watkins for 30 total yards, accounting for 60 percent of his completions and over 65 percent of his yards through the air in his brief time on the field.
Yet McDermott didn't mention Watkins' name when praising Taylor's hot start. Intentional or not, the Bills' head coach and his team has turned the page.
"This is about building a football team," McDermott said. "I was extremely proud of them."