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ORCHARD PARK – Washington head coach Ron Rivera wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do when his playing career with the Chicago Bears ended in 1992.

Knowing that, Rivera’s former Bears teammate Leslie Frazier, now the Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator, presented an option.

“When I was a head coach at a very small school in Chicago (Trinity International University) and Ron was trying to figure out what he wanted to do after he was done playing, I said, ‘Come on. join my team, man, you’d be a really good coach, ”Frazier recalls. “He didn’t want to coach at the time, he wanted to get into other things.”

This paddling was in the media, and Rivera worked as an analyst for WGN-TV of Chicago and also for SportsChannel Chicago covering the Bears and college football for about four years. However, in the back of his mind were the words of his former Bears teammate – with whom he won a Super Bowl after the 1985 season – that he would be a good coach, and he finally acted.

“I have a lot of history with him,” Rivera said of Frazier.

Rivera went to the Bears before the 1997 season and head coach Dave Wannstedt offered him a low-level defensive quality control position. in Washington.

“His wife (Stephanie), in fact, ended up coming to the school I was in and was the assistant basketball coach, and then eventually Ron went to do some quality control work with the Bears.” , said Frazier.

“Next thing you know, we’re both in Philadelphia as assistant coaches and I said to him, ‘Didn’t I try to tell you that you were a coach, man, and someday you’ll be head coach and a good coach? ‘ He said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I remember you telling me about it.’ So now, whenever we have the opportunity to speak, I remind him, that he owes me leftovers for hiring him in this profession, that’s for sure.

Rivera, of course, also has a close connection to Bills head coach Sean McDermott. McDermott was also on the Eagles staff under Andy Reid, and when Reid fired him after the 2010 season, Rivera – who was hired as the Carolina head coach in 2011 – brought in McDermott to be his defensive coordinator.

They worked together until 2017, when McDermott was hired by the Bills, and the two remain close, but not on Sunday when they meet for the second time as head coaches when the football team will invade Highmark Stadium.

“It started with Andy,” Rivera said. “I mean, it all goes back to 1999, because all of us – Sean and I and Leslie Frazier and the guys who on this team we all started with Andy; we all learned from him. And so a lot of the things we do are very similar. Because it is a plan, it has proven to be effective. Remember, Andy started in Green Bay and those Green Bay roots. We’re going back to San Francisco, and to San Francisco under Bill Walsh. So it’s just kind of an extension of what that tree was.

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The Rivera Panthers beat the McDermott Bills 9-3 in what was only Game 2 of McDermott’s tenure with Buffalo in 2017, and they haven’t met since.

“Ron has been one of my biggest mentors in this business,” McDermott said. “He taught me a lot. Going to Carolina, I learned a lot during those six years under Ron’s tutelage and tutelage both as a head coach and from a defensive standpoint.

“Our ties go all the way back to Philadelphia, of course. So he taught me a lot about the linebacker when I was his QC and also worked with linebackers. And then just with regard to Ron being on the other side, I have enormous respect for Ron.

Logan Thomas makes a comeback

The Bills had the athletic 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight wing in their building for nearly three seasons, but they never unlocked his potential to play the position and continued to play free agent acquisition. high priced Charles Clay.

Thomas played 24 games in 2017 and 2018, playing most of the time on special teams, and he made just 19 catches for 144 yards. He then went to Detroit before landing with Washington in 2020, and that’s when it happened for Thomas.

The football team let him go and he caught 72 passes for 670 yards and 6 touchdowns as he became one of the main weapons in attack. This year he has eight catches for 75 yards and one scoring.

“Always great to watch,” said Bills coach Sean McDermott. “We hope the players play their best football here, and I think most of them have. But in this case, we wish Logan good luck and he did a great job. Credit to him, credit to their staff. He seems to be playing his best football. And I’m happy for him. He is a great person, a great family and a guy with a high character, so happy for him, really proud of him.

A guy who wishes Thomas was still in Buffalo? Josh Allen.

“I miss him,” Allen said. “I actually talk to him a little bit more and it’s great to see what he has done. He made some amazing plays and when he was here you saw guys like that who are big, fast and ultimately smart, these guys usually find a way to stay in this league. Not only does he stick around, but he’s sort of billed himself as one of the best tight ends in this league and one of the best guys too.

Matt Milano was everywhere in Miami

Of all the things the Bills did in the offseason to polish the roster for a Super Bowl run, re-signing linebacker Matt Milano was perhaps GM Brandon Beane’s biggest decision.

Milano was an unrestricted free agent and could have signed anywhere, and probably had options, but he wanted to stay at Buffalo because he enjoys it here and believes in the culture and vision of the organization.

Beane moved on from the fact that Milano struggled to stay healthy in his first four years and focused on the fact that when he’s right he’s one of the best outside linebackers in the league. .

Milano was fantastic last week in Miami as he recorded a record seven presses according to Pro Football Focus, one of which resulted in a sack. And as always, he was a sure tackle (he only missed one tackle in two games) and was reliable on his cover shots.

“How active he was,” Frazier said when asked what stood out from the film. “I mean, he won almost every time he faced their running backs in protection. He also won his battles in passing coverage. He was everywhere at the same time. Very active and disruptive. I had a very good game. “

Dawson Knox has had a busy day

With the Bills playing 70% of their offensive snaps in Miami in 11 people (three wide, a tight end and a back), Knox has played 83% of the snaps overall, more than any other skill position player besides Josh Allen. .

He was only targeted three times and caught two passes for 17 yards, but one of them was a slippery pass from an eight-yard TD early in the third quarter that helped the Bills master the game firmly. Additionally, Knox delivered a great block that helped Devin Singletary pitch his 46-yard TD in Buffalo’s game two of the game.

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said Knox’s number of snaps was mainly due to the game plan, but added, “We have a lot of confidence in Dawson. He played a lot of plays for us. (Sunday) we had, I would say, a variety of staff groups, probably a little more than what we’ve had in the past before this game. And most of them involved the tight end of this game. He’s our tight end we’re looking to, so he’s had a lot of reps.

Of course, that also meant that with the Bills going four or five wide in just four plays, Gabriel Davis was largely knocked out. He was on the pitch for just 22 shots and was never targeted.

Bills OG Jack Anderson claimed by the Eagles

The Bills lost their seventh-round pick guard Jack Anderson on Tuesday when he was pulled from the practice squad by the Eagles.

Teams can protect two players per week in their practice squad, but they can only do so on Tuesday afternoon. Therefore, all players are eligible to be selected before that and the Eagles have stepped in. Anderson had been protected for the first two weeks. To replace him, the Bills re-signed OT Bobby Hart who they cut after training camp.

Anderson was a work in progress and it probably would have been the equivalent of a red shirt year for him in the NFL had he stayed in Buffalo. Because the Eagles have claimed him, he has to be on their 53-man roster, but if he were to be demoted to their training squad, the Bills, if they wanted to, could bring him back.

Sal Maiorana can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.


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Rodney N.

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