Joe Schoen has held every front-office role in the NFL from early morning coffee maker to assistant general manager. One of the biggest lessons he has learned from that experience is that the best teams aren't necessarily the most talented.
Asked this week what it's like working with Bills coach Sean McDermott, Schoen shared an anecdote from his time in Miami that helps explain the Bills' roster-building philosophy.
"Probably the biggest thing – and he said this after I was probably in the building for two weeks and it really resonated with me – is that some of his best teams weren't necessarily the most talented teams," Schoen said. "So it's not going out and just acquiring all this talent. It's trying to build the best team where everybody's pulling in the right direction. And a good example is, during the year we go to the playoffs, we lose a couple in a row and you’ve got guys like Lorenzo Alexander, Kyle Williams, high-character guys in the locker room. We easily could have gone in the opposite direction and we didn't, because we had those high-character guys in the locker room and leaders that can continue Sean's message down in the locker room. It's probably the biggest thing that I've learned.
"In Miami, we were collecting talent. We had some big-name guys here and there, but when you don’t have high-character guys and the right type of guys and things are great, they're at the front of the line. When things are bad, they’re pulling people with them to the back of the line. When I was in Miami, we scrimmaged Carolina the year they went to the Super Bowl. Joe Philbin was our coach and afterward we were like, 'We're going be pretty good. These guys aren't gonna be very good at all.'
"The Panthers had some older players, (receiver) Jerricho Cotchery, (cornerback) Charles Tillman, (safety) Roman Harper. And they went 15-1, while our coach gets fired. We had talented individuals, but we didn't have the team. They had guys that were instinctive and still had enough in the tank that they could play. Eleven guys on the same page. That gets overlooked a lot of times when you're looking at how a team is constructed."
Anthony Johnson will wait until UB's Pro Day to show his speed: An ankle injury with keep Johnson out of the 40-yard dash this weekend, but he'll run in about two weeks at UB's Pro Day.
UB quarterback Tyree Jackson looks to boost draft stock: Jackson says he doesn't bother to look at mock drafts, but for a prospect with a wide range of projections, a great performance this weekend could have him shooting up draft boards.
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Story topics: Joe Schoen