"We're nowhere close to where we want to end up. I think everybody feels the same way, that we have a long way to go. We know how hard we worked to get to this point, and I know that's not going to change now."
Eric Wood said those words on a Wednesday six years ago. The Bills were 3-0, coming off a rousing home win over the Patriots. They were the talk of the NFL. Ryan Fitzpatrick was the subject of a Sports Illustrated piece on the win over the Pats that week. They were preparing for a Week 4 game in Wood's hometown of Cincinnati.
The Bills lost that week to the Bengals, 23-20. They blew a 17-3 halftime lead and lost on Mike Nugent's 43-yard field goal as time expired. They got to 5-2 later in the year, then lost seven in a row and finished 6-10.
So you can bet that Wood, Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus, the only remaining players from that 2011 team, have provided their younger teammates with a little history lesson.
"They've reminded the team," McDermott said during his weekly Wednesday media conference at One Bills Drive. "The great part of this team is that we've got a ton of leaders that make their presence known around the building and the locker room in particular and lead verbally and by example.
"Those guys made it very clear what it was like years ago when the team had a good start and didn't stay focused on the process."
I'm not sure how much the process had to do with it. That 2011 team suffered from a rash on injuries. Kyle Williams went out for the season a week after the Bengals game with a heel injury. Fred Jackson was lost for the year just before Thanksgiving with a broken bone in his lower right leg.
The defense that year wasn't nearly as good as this year's version. They got to 3-0 by coming back from large deficits in their second and third game and gave up 434 points on the year, the third-most in franchise history.
Whatever the case, some caution is advisable in this situation.This is the Bills, after all.