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‘Culture’ & ‘Chemistry’: Bills’ buzzwords of the day

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I could heard the collective roar of laughter on my Twitter timeline all the way to Wyoming after Bills fans were suddenly inundated with the words “culture” and “chemistry” coming from One Bills Drive this week. Those who’ve read my early rants on culture and chemistry back in the days of the (RIP) Buffalo Bills Message Board know somewhere in the mountains there is an old lady dancing to the tune McDermott is singing.

It’s about time. Sheesh. Those of us who continue to endure the ills of the Bills decade after decade are suddenly popping our heads out into the sunlight like prairie dogs in April on a sunny day.

Wut?

Sean McDermott is the first Bills head coach who places what I believe is an appropriate amount of emphasis on the behavioral aspects of team development. It was music to my ears to hear him talk about mixing up the locker room in terms of putting players from different position groups together so players are forced to get to know players from other position groups. Duh!

In fact, I would bet McDermott spent a fair amount of time assigning lockers precisely set up with respect to how communication flows depending on the placement of said player at said position in the locker room. He’s not going to leave any stone unturned when it comes to maximizing productive interaction.

Photo from buffalobills.com.

He gets it. Listen to the players talk about McDermott. What are they all saying? They consistently bring up how easy it is to talk with their coach. How “detail-oriented” and structured his workout sessions are. How much more organized their time is and how much more they are expected to interact with one another.

McDermott said in his initial press conference after becoming the ninth head coach for the Bills since 2000 that forming a winning culture requires a specific process and total commitment on the part of every member of the team. Since that statement, he has methodically gone about his business without fanfare, yet making his mark every step of the way.

There are new people in the front office who are completely revamping how the organization interacts with the community and the media. As fans, we haven’t seen this type of evolution in the front office for many decades. Some of you may remember my whining that the Bills were basically in ‘cold storage’ for a couple of seasons before the transfer of ownership.

As I opined with my good friend Rob Quinn from BillsWire on the podcast recently, building a winning culture requires first and foremost a stable front office and coaching staff. Hall of Fame players can’t live up to their potential if there’s a change in the coaching staff every three years.

A winning culture happens when nebulous concepts like team chemistry are respected for their importance in creating a championship football team. It’s the first time since Marv Levy that the Bills have a head coach that gets it as far as the importance of ‘the intangibles’. I can hardly wait to see what happens next :)


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Robyn Mundy

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is a retired oncology nurse and psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. She lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the shadow of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.

8 thoughts on “‘Culture’ & ‘Chemistry’: Bills’ buzzwords of the day

  1. Thanks for another new article Robyn, you rock!! McDermott is coming from the Andy Reid coaching tree, so he learned from a great teacher. That would be great to see McDermott have the same success or better with the Bills. But, as previously stated, it’s a wait and see as previous Bills HC’s have been hyped up many times over the past 17 years.

  2. Thanks Steve, soooo happy to have all of you here :) Indeed, it’s definitely a wait and see approach with the Bills after 17 years of heartache. However, I’m more encouraged by this coach’s approach than any other since Levy (so far :) Hopefully the end of the drought is in sight. Have a great weekend!

    • Robyn, thanks for the good work during the dog days of the off season!
      I actually thought Greg Williams was going to do some good things as the Bills coach- an up and coming defensive coordinator with a league leading defense at Tennessee, coached under Buddy Ryan, very hard working, detailed and serious about the game (in hindsight, maybe just a little too serious). Unfortunately it did not work out and many really good coordinators just cannot make the transition to HC. Maybe they become too hands on with their area of specialty and just cannot delegate well enough to their coordinators and assistants and so they can be free to focus on both sides of the ball and game management.
      Hopefully McD can let coordinators coordinate!

      Draft is 2 weeks from Thursday!

  3. It think it’s painfully obvious now after 17 years, no Bills HC will be successful unless they have a good QB. Is Taylor good enough to get them to the playoffs? If the defense improves from it’s moribund performances over the past two seasons, then yes, but he’s more like an Alex Smith type where he’ll be good enough just to get you there (and maybe a wild card win, nothing further). Is Taylor a Superbowl caliber QB, so far that answer is no. Taylor needs to be able to prove he can put the team on his back and lead them from behind in the 4th quarter.

    • No doubt about it, Steve. Taylor will need to improve, especially short to intermediate passes in Dennison’s WCO. It will be interesting to see how he progresses in that regard.

    • I wouldn’t take that piece too serious, myself…the dude keeps talking about Rob being the DC and that the Bills had an opening at DC….Dennis Thurman was the DC the entire time. Maybe in name only, but I’m sure Wrecks was just as involved…and considering they looked a whole lot like the mediocre D from the year before when Rob wasn’t around… I dunno, I’m sure Rob did the team no favors, but to act like he came in and everything fell apart as a result, no. It was well and mediocre well before that.