ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – There was a lot of hype surrounding Stefon Diggs before the season started and what he could do for this Bills offense. And nine games into the season, he’s living up to those expectations.
“He’s brought legitimacy to that group even more than we were before,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said.
“He’s brought energy and a dog mentality to our offense and our football team quite frankly. And the yards, everyone can pull up and find the numbers but I believe it goes beyond that. There’s a lot of intangibles in there as well that we as a team have benefited from.”
When the Bills traded for Diggs, the expectation was he would be that true number one receiver and a legitimate deep threat for Josh Allen. It was also thought just his presence on the field even without the ball would help other guys in the passing game and that’s certainly been the case as well.
“The mentality, the attitude, the energy, the toughness, unselfishness, you see other guys catch balls, he’s blocking for them, you see our run game get going, he’s blocking out there so as a head coach I really appreciate those intangibles and that mentality,” McDermott explained.
In Sunday’s 44-34 win over the Seahawks, Diggs had nine catches for 118 yards and 12 targets which put him at the top of multiple stats. Diggs leads the league in receiving yards (813), catches (63), which matches his total from 2019 with the Vikings, and targets (91).
Speaking of his time in Minnesota, Diggs said he’s trying to learn from his first five years in the league and apply that to what he’s doing with the Bills.
“As far as my maturation process, I feel like I learned so much from my previous situation that I kind of carried it over trying to turn over a new leaf and really handle things a lot differently than I did before,” Diggs explained.
“I played with a lot of quarterbacks, I played on one team for a long time and having to adjust and kind of applied all those things that I learned in my past situation to my current one. Whether it’s communication skills, whether it’s learning curve, whether it’s learning a new offense, learning who to lean on, who to learn the most from and pushing and thriving from the standpoint of a team aspect,” Diggs said.
“Trying to push my quarterback, trying to keep him positive at all times, always taking the blame because I never think he’s wrong, he can’t do no wrong. So for me I’m just always trying to be there for him and apply those old things that I learned to my new situation to make me a better person and better player.”
Regardless of what was said about him when he was with the Vikings as far as his attitude, Diggs’ current teammates have nothing but positive things to say about him from that aspect.
“He’s a very team-first guy, contrary to popular belief,” Bills quarterback Josh Allen said.
“All he does, to me is keep making the right decisions, he’s not trying to get me to force him the ball, that saying he does have the most targets in the league and he’s got the most receptions and yards now,” Allen laughed.
That was a big question coming into the season is how was Allen going to spread the ball around given all of the weapons he has in the passing game. Obviously, a lack of targets can lead to bruised egos but Diggs is still getting his fair share of looks.
“But he’s never once given me any reason to believe he’s nothing but a team guy. He’s team first, he loves ball, he’s very competitive, we get along extremely well, he’s a great fit in our receiving group and our locker room for that matter. We’re lucky to have him,” Allen explained.
Diggs has been arguably the most consistent player for the Bills this season. It seems a change of scenery was just what he needed and now he’s helped the Bills get to 7-2 with one more game to go before the bye week.
They head out west to take on the Cardinals this week after a big win over Seattle that made a huge statement around the league about this Bills team, although he doesn’t want that attention.
“As far as taking us seriously or not, hopefully you don’t. As far as being the sleeper team it’s always good. Being the underdog I feel like is the best makeup of a team is built of underdogs, built of guys who are late-round guys or guys who were counted out. It kind of fits that mode of our team and keeps us motivated, keeps a chip on our shoulder and no matter kind of where everybody is,” Diggs explained.