It’s accepted – maybe even expected – that rookie quarterback Josh Allen will go through some growing pains.
The same is true for Bills middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. Some of them were on display Sunday in a 31-20 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at New Era Field.
“Me in particular, every play that I have the opportunity to make, I definitely want to make it,” Edmunds said. “Everything is a learning experience. Got to look at it and learn from it as in 'what better angle could I have taken to the ball?' Definitely frustrated, but sometimes things like that happen.”
Edmunds tied for the team lead with seven tackles Sunday, but it was the plays he didn’t make that were more noticeable. That included getting beat in coverage by Chargers running back Melvin Gordon on a 9-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter that made the score 21-3. There was also a fumble that Edmunds looked to be in good position to recover, but couldn’t secure. On the next play, he was in coverage on another Los Angeles completion.
As a first-round pick, much is expected of Edmunds. He was on the short list for Defensive Rookie of the Year entering the season.
“A big growth process” is how he described the game against the Chargers.
“You've just got to keep your head on straight, continue to learn every day and be honest with yourself,” he said. “You're going to make some plays out there, but be honest with yourself on the plays that you could have made. Don't make excuses for yourself. We've just got to learn from it, man. There's going to be some struggles along the way, but it's about how we respond to it.”
Edmunds flashed his vast potential in the Week 1 loss to Baltimore when he had a four-play sequence that went sack, pass defensed, assisted tackle, forced fumble. He did not have any of those big plays Sunday, though.
“He's going to be fine,” veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. “I kind of put him in Josh's category. The more he plays, the more snaps he gets, the better he's going to get. He's obviously a talented kid. He works hard and he wants to be good, which are important pieces of the puzzle that you don't see in everybody, believe it or not. I've got a lot of faith in him. I know he's going to get better. We all have to get better.”
Edmunds was the only defensive player to take every snap in the opener, and again was a constant presence on the field Sunday. He struggled to describe what happened to the defense in the first half.
“I think it just goes back to communication,” he said. “We wasn't locked in. I wouldn't say it was a struggle. It was more on us – not locked in, not doing our job. We’ve got to lock in and make sure we're doing our assignment.”
Communication is a big part of Edmunds’ job as the middle linebacker. He’s in charge of calling out the defensive plays, which started to come in from coach Sean McDermott in the second half Sunday.
“Everybody was locked in from the jump, regardless if it was coach McDermott or coach Frazier, we were going to all play as one, listen to the call and react to it,” he said. “For the most part, it's just us doing our job. We can't continue beating ourselves, and I think that's something that happened to us in the first half. Just got to learn from it and move on from there.”