LeSean McCoy has never been five games into the start of a football season without yet finding the end zone.
“Never. Even little league, I mean,” the Buffalo Bills’ star running back said Wednesday. “It’s something that I kind of just, you know, kind of going through weeks and days, I want to get going.”
McCoy has had extra time to stew on his lack of productivity to this point with the Bills on their bye last weekend. With the team back to work and preparing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, McCoy has made a commitment to turning his season around, which in turn will resuscitate a lackluster rushing attack.
“It’s something that I’ve really put my mindset on, getting going and getting back to just playing my ball,” McCoy said before listing off all that entails. “Finding the end zone. First downs. Big runs. Big chunks. Making guys miss, You know, highlight plays. All that, even it’s good for me, but it’s good for our team. It keeps the offense on the field. … Just got to get going, man, get back to just playing our football.”
The time off afforded the Bills time for evaluating themselves.
“Right before we actually just left, we looked at a lot of runs that were successful that we did well, and runs that we didn’t do well,” McCoy said. “Just trying to separate them, and just get the things that we do that were more successful.”
McCoy accepted his share of the responsibility, saying he has focused on the “fundamentals” and is “just being patient.”
“It’s as simple as that,” he said. “We have to get this thing going. We run the ball, that’s what we do. Myself, I make big plays, that’s what I do. It’s been long enough.”
The Buccaneers’ run defense ranks 12th overall, giving up 101.8 yards per game. Tampa Bay was gashed for 160 yards in Week Six against Arizona, however, including 134 for Adrian Peterson.
“You can’t focus too much on that because we’ve watched different opponents run the ball successfully, and then we have our opportunity and we don’t do as well,” McCoy said. “Just got to look at the matchups, our guys against their guys, our line against their defensive line, our running backs against their safeties and linebackers. We should win our battles, and have a big day.”
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Wide receiver Jordan Matthews practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, and was cleared to catch passes as he recovers from thumb surgery. That bodes well for his potential availability Sunday.
“I know at this point coaches don’t want me to talk too much about it, as far as Sunday,” Matthews said. “Just day-to-day, I can talk about that, I felt great today. I felt good about what I was able to do, and they gave me a lot of opportunities just to go out there and actually get acclimated to playing ball with the guys. I think everybody’s proud of what happened today, just have to continue to progress.”
Cornerbacks Leonard Johnson (hamstring) and E.J. Gaines (groin) joined Matthews as being limited in practice.
Tight end Charles Clay (knee) and linebacker Ramon Humber (thumb) were the only two Bills who did not participate in practice Wednesday. Neither is expected to play against the Bucs.
Left tackle Cordy Glenn (ankle/foot) was a full participant.
“I like where we are right now with respect to Cordy’s progress,” coach Sean McDermott said. “We’ll see a little bit more today and this week in terms of the entire body of work. I feel like he’s headed in the right direction and on a consistent path towards getting back. I think the arrow’s pointing in the right direction right now.”
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The Bills made a change to their 53-man roster Wednesday, claiming linebacker Tyrell Adams off waivers from the Oakland Raiders. To make room, the team released linebacker Deon Lacey.
Adams, 25, appeared in all six games for the Raiders this season as a backup middle linebacker, with 18 tackles. An undrafted free agent in 2015 who originally signed with the Seattle Seahawks, he signed with Oakland in October 2016 and has 12 games of NFL experience.
Before Adams was claimed Wednesday, McDermott explained the Bills’ approach to the frequent turnover on the last few spots on the 53-man roster.
“It’s really us evolving as a team,” he said. “When you stop doing that, man, you better be really confident in what you’ve got, or it’s either that or there’s just nothing out there that you feel is better, potentially even, than what you have. I mean, the good part about us right now, Brandon Beane and his staff do a phenomenal job of really scouring who’s out there and who might be able to help us; and then there’s times when you bring those players in, or potential players, and you take them through the gamut from a tryout standpoint and you don’t feel like they could upgrade who we are as a team; and then there’s other times where we feel like, ‘Hey, let’s take a look at this player,’ and sometimes it’s a short amount of time, sometimes it could last for years.
“That’s really what you’re looking for, but you’re adding competition all the time. Adding to your roster, trying to improve your overall football team in this case and I think that’s healthy.”
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The Bills filled out their practice squad with the addition of cornerback Sammy Seamster.
A 6-foot-0, 200-pounder, Seamster spent part of the 2015 season with the Bills, appearing in the regular-season finale against the New York Jets. He was most recently with Dallas, but was released at the end of the preseason.
Cornerback Greg Mabin, who made his NFL debut against the Bengals in Week Five, was released from the active roster earlier this week to make room for offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, who chose to sign with the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad.