Josh Allen is battling for the Bills starting job and it’s been a steady progression as the rookie has worked from the third team up to the first team throughout mini camp and the preseason.
But for the Bills’ other first round pick, Tremaine Edmunds, he was thrust right into the starting role at middle linebacker.
The hype surrounding Edmunds was almost other worldly coming out of Virginia Tech. Standing 6′-5″ and weighing 250 pounds – with his size, speed and skill — he was a “can’t miss” prospect.
But, there is a learning curve making the jump to the NFL, something the 20-year-old, like many other rookies in the league are going through.
“You don’t just wake up and everything is going to be perfect,” Edmunds said after practice on Monday “It’s going to be a process, there’s going to be struggles along the way, it’s about how you react to them and how you respond.”
“We know he’s a young player, we’ve got to manage expectations that way,” head coach Sean McDermott added. “Certainly, he’s done some nice things to this point, but has a long way to go as well. We’ll just take it one day, one play at a time.”
After the preseason opener against the Panthers, Edmunds said the speed of the game took him by surprise. After Cleveland, he followed up by saying things were starting to slow down.
But Edmunds, along with the rest of the defense, struggled early. Head Coach Sean McDermott said some of the big runs and busted plays were not the rookie’s fault.
“Listen, there are plays that he wants back, but all of those runs that broke are not on Tremaine Edmunds,” he said. “Every single one of them wasn’t on Tremaine, and quite honestly, if you look at the tape, it’s always 1/11th. So, he has to do his 1/11th and so does everyone else. That’s where team defense comes into play.”
McDermott has worked with linebackers who struggled early in their career and gone on to develop into some of the top defensive players in the league.
“I’ve had a chance to be around some good ones. Luke Kuechly, being one of them in Carolina, Thomas Davis, some in Philadelphia as well,” McDermott said. “I saw Luke in his first year and I can tell you that he’s a different player now than he was then. It takes time. This is the best of the best in the NFL and the world, so it takes time.”
“I’m going to continue to make strides getting better. Anyone you ask, they’ll say they each day they want to come out here and get better,” Edmunds added. “That’s been my mindset from day one. I’ve come in knowing things are not going to be be perfect from day one, so I’m just keeping that positive mindset and continue get better.”