Diggs focuses on giving and receiving in 1st year with Bills

September 23, 2020 GMT
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Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) catches a pass ahead of Miami Dolphins cornerback Noah Igbinoghene (23), during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) catches a pass ahead of Miami Dolphins cornerback Noah Igbinoghene (23), during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Stefon Diggs is more interested in giving than receiving.

Putting aside the AFC-leading numbers the Bills receiver has generated two weeks into his first season in Buffalo, Diggs shifted the focus by instead paying a compliment to quarterback Josh Allen.

“If there’s anything I can say, I give all the credit to Josh and his consistency,” Diggs said Wednesday.

“His effort in practice, his effort in the games, as far as doing all the right things ... for us to get on the same page and kind of just grow as one,” he added. “And it’s not just me, but with all the receivers.”


The suddenly pass-happy Bills are off to a 2-0 start with Allen’s 729 yards passing leading the league, and following a 31-28 win at Miami in which he became just Buffalo’s fifth player to top 400 yards.

Diggs has been his favorite target in opening the season with two consecutive eight-catch outings, including a 153-yard and one-touchdown receiving performance against the Dolphins. His 239 yards receiving are tied with Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley for the NFL lead.

“It’s super early,” Diggs said with a shrug. “I’ll have another conversation with you after Game 16 or like Game 17. I kind of don’t really get caught up too much in that type of stuff because things can change fast.”

After knocking off two AFC East pushovers in the Jets and Dolphins, both 0-2, the Bills face a heftier test in hosting the Los Angeles Rams (2-0) on Sunday in a game Diggs will likely be shadowed by star cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

And yet, the buzz in Buffalo is growing over how Diggs’ addition has provided a dynamic dimension to a Bills passing attack which already featured established receivers in John Brown and Cole Beasley.

Brown, who had a career-best 1,060 yards receiving a year ago, has 10 catches for 152 yards and two TDs. Beasley, who works out of the slot, has nine catches for 128 yards.

The balanced production doesn’t surprise Allen, who anticipated this would happen once the Bills gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire Diggs in March.

“I don’t know if people were thinking that the production rates for John and Cole would go down. I came out and said, it’s going to allow them to have more opportunities,” Allen said. “And I think we’ve seen that in the first two weeks.”


What might not have been anticipated is the instant chemistry Allen has established with Diggs following a pandemic-altered offseason. The two managed to get on the field just twice during separate workouts on both coasts before the Bills opened a shortened training camp in August.

One of coach Sean McDermott’s biggest concerns last month was how little on-field practice Diggs and Allen would have to develop their timing.

McDermott on Wednesday wouldn’t call his worry unfounded, though he’s pleased with how quickly the two have clicked.

“I love how they’re subscribing to a team-first approach,” McDermott said. “We’re getting different guys the ball, and one guy complements another guy. I think that’s a healthy dynamic.”

Diggs’ team-first approach comes after he developed a reputation for occasionally growing frustrated in playing a secondary role during his first five NFL seasons in Minnesota, where he topped 1,000 yards receiving in each of his past two years.

Diggs opened camp vowing to put the past behind, and has been openly campaigning to get others involved.

That was evident to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll on Sunday.

During the first half, Daboll recalled Brown urging him to “Keep feeding 14,” referring to Diggs’ jersey number. Come halftime, Diggs approached Daboll proposing ways to get the ball to Brown and Beasley.

“They’re working together and they’re working for one another,” Daboll said. “When you have a group of guys that are unselfish like that, you like to see that as a coach, because there’s only one ball.”

Just doing his part, Diggs said.

“That conversation we had with Coach Daboll kind of shows you it’s not fake. It’s for real,” he said.

“The guys that are in my room, we’re not selfish guys, especially not me,” Diggs added. “It just goes to show we’re all in this together. We’re all trying to push everybody forward. And having success isn’t just one guy’s thing. We all have success as one.”

NOTES: Starting linebackers Tremaine Edmunds (shoulder) and Matt Milano (hamstring) were both listed as limited in practice after being sidelined Sunday. ... Beasley did not practice due to injuries to his hip and thumb. ... Allen debuted a new cereal, called “Josh’s Jaqs,” which is available in Buffalo-area stores. He said 17% of proceeds will go toward Buffalo’s Oishei Children’s Hospital.


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