After nearly 20 of its players knelt last Sunday at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots, for instance, had decided Monday that they would no longer kneel but would put one hand over their heart and the other around the shoulder of the nearest teammate.
The protests of the prior weekend’s games had unfolded mostly at the discretion of the players, a rarity for the league. Goodell did not send out a mandate, which owners agreed had been wise. Pittsburgh owner Art Rooney II told Goodell last weekend that the Steelers had planned to stay in the locker room during the anthem, despite it being against the wishes of both men. Still, on this issue, the commissioner didn’t try to impose his will. On this Sunday, it was better to let each club handle the matter on its own.
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But McDermott is taking a cautious approach when asked to assess the first quarter of the 16-game season. After all, other Bills teams have flashed early promise but haven’t backed it up, and this club is battling injuries that will leave it short-handed for a tough road test.
I believe it’s a big challenge for our building to keep things in perspective, McDermott said. If we’re going to get addicted to anything, let’s get addicted to the process of what leads to winning.
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One can’t blame long-suffering Buffalo fans for guzzling the kids’ drink at this point, though. It’s been a while since the Bills appeared to pay attention to detail. An argument can be made that the Rex Ryan teams of the last couple of years possessed far more talent but about one-tenth of the discipline this group has featured so far.