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Bills HC says overlooked safety ‘asserted himself’ and took leadership role

The safety position has been talked about a lot in Western New York this spring, a new occurrence considering the Buffalo Bills’ long-standing continuity at the position.

Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer have manned the team’s defensive backfield for the past seven seasons, combining for 202 starts, three All-Pro selections and two Pro Bowls throughout their time in Orchard Park. They played a pivotal role in implementing the Bills’ now lauded culture; Buffalo, one of the first free agents of the “Sean McDermott era”, simply doesn’t get the success it has had over the past few seasons without stalwarts putting a lid on the defense.

This type of continuity any position it’s rare; in safety, it’s almost unheard of. Reality – and father time – would eventually catch up, and “finally” arrived during the 2024 NFL offseason.

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Buffalo moved on from both 33-year-old players in the spring, freeing up financial flexibility while allowing younger players to move into bigger roles. The Bills made some significant moves at safety following the departures of Hyde and Poyer – drafting former Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Mike Edwards before selecting Utah safety Cole Bishop in the second round of the draft. NFL 2024 – but the frenzy has been overlooked. – signing of Taylor Rapp, who signed a three-year extension with the Bills after spending the 2023 season with the team as a depth defender.

Rapp played in 16 games for Buffalo last season, starting four while totaling 50 tackles and an interception. He hasn’t been a name mentioned often by the Buffalo faithful throughout the spring, perhaps due to the fact that he’s not new; After drafting a defender from the reigning Super Bowl champions and investing a premium pick at the position, it’s easy to overlook the player who was already on the roster.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott is not a victim of the “shiny new toy” myth. Speaking to reporters ahead of Tuesday’s mandatory minicamp, McDermott praised Rapp, saying the 26-year-old has taken on a leadership role in the secondary before suggesting he has already strengthened the one of the team’s starting security points.

“Last week, in particular, (Rapp’s growth) really stood out,” McDermott said. “Last year when T-Rap came here, new system, different environment in the room, and he did a great job understanding his role and excelling in his role.

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“Now, new role this year, and I hate to say role because roles aren’t really defined until everyone is on the team, but at this point, Taylor has really taken on that role, and I I would say that he asserted himself from a leadership point of view, a little bit, and a communicative point of view, which is huge in this backend where, next to him, who is Mike Edwards going to be? brought in; Mike is also on the injury report and hasn’t really been practicing, nor have the other pieces competing there. It’s interesting to see, but necessary from a communication standpoint.

Rapp taking it upon himself to take on a leadership role in the secondary is encouraging considering the turnover the unit saw during the offseason; In addition to Hyde and Poyer, Buffalo moved on from Tre’Davious White in the spring. The 29-year-old started 82 games for the Bills during his seven seasons with the Bills, serving as a distinct but reliable voice on the unit.

One factor that has perhaps been a little overlooked in the offseason discussions about Rapp is his experience; Although he was only in his 20s, he started 52 games throughout his career, even starting all 17 games for a Los Angeles Rams team that won the Super Bowl that season. 2021 NFL. His signing with the Bills as a depth defender last season was considered an odd move by some, and suggested he had ambitions to succeed Hyde or Poyer as Buffalo’s starting safety; ahead of his second season at Orchard Park, it looks like that plan could come to fruition.