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What the national media is saying: What if Tyrod picked Denver? How did Carolina stop McCoy?

Here's a look at stories involving the Bills from around the country.

1. What if Tyrod Taylor had picked the Broncos over the Bills?

Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was a free agent after the 2014 season. It was reported at the time that the Broncos were interested in his services – and that they offered him more money than the Bills. But Taylor picked Buffalo for the chance to win the starting job instead of backing up Peyton Manning (and potentially Brock Osweiler, too).

What if things were different? ESPN's Mike Rodak examined that possibility this week.

Rex Ryan likely would've started Matt Cassel that season. If he quarterbacked the team to a worse record than the 8-8 they achieved under Taylor (and some of EJ Manuel), the Bills would've owned a higher draft pick, but Cleveland owned their first-rounder that year anyway. The only top-level quarterbacks in that class, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, went 1-2 ... but one quarterback available later in the draft was Trevor Siemian, who ended up in Denver and will start this weekend against the Bills.

Taylor was asked Wednesday how close he was to signing with the Broncos that offseason.

"It never got to the point where I was that close. I never took a visit out there," Taylro said. "Me and Coach [Gary] Kubiak were very close in our relationship with the year that I spent with him in Baltimore. Ultimately, it came down to a decision that I wanted the opportunity to get a chance to compete and at the time, Peyton [Manning] was there. Here, it was a three-way battle for a chance to start and I wanted to play at that time in my career so I wanted to get here and compete and everything worked out well."

Sammy Watkins is a flat-earther

2. So what if we're rebuilding, Lorenzo Alexander says – that's what GMs do. 

Jonathan Jones of Sports Illustrated's MMQB site asked players about the idea of rebuilding in his piece, "The Bills Will Not Win Games If LeSean McCoy Does Not Produce."

"We’ve got a lot of veterans on this team, so I wouldn’t call us as much of a rebuild as people may think," LeSean McCoy said, though others were less afraid to agree with that narrative.

"Yeah it’s a rebuild. What’s that mean, that we’re tanking?" Lorenzo Alexander asked. "That’s part of what a GM does is look to future and current. That’s what his role is. I don’t understand what the issue is.

"Tanking is so disrespectful for the guys in this locker room," he added.  "... I want to go out and represent my name on my back and my family, people and teammates. I’m not going out there to lose a game. It’s a silly concept that people even bring up. Especially when we have people like Kyle Williams, E. Wood, Richie, vets in this league who haven’t won a championship, and now we’re trying to figure out a way to lose to have a draft pick in the future?”

(We don't have to get into another are-the-Bills-tanking debate, do we?)

Jerry Sullivan: More trouble ahead for Bills running game

3. How did the Panthers bottle up LeSean McCoy so effectively?

The Charlotte Observer's Jourdan Rodrigue examined that question this week. Here's what he found:

The Panthers’ defensive line and linebackers were able to be so effective against the run because of their strict gap accountability and run fits.

...

Carolina also found so much success against McCoy specifically because they eliminated the cutback lanes that are so important for a shifty back like McCoy to find.

Here's the money quote from defensive coordinator Steve Wilks:

"If you go back and watch the tape, our tackles did a great job staying alive and not being on the ground. That’s what [McCoy] is looking for: They’re going to set the edge on the front side and he’s looking for that cutback, but we stayed alive on the back side. Our tackles did a great job staying alive and getting into that crease."

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