We wrote earlier this week about the impact of continuity on Josh Allen’s career, but the biggest change might have ended up doing the most for him so far.
The face of that change isn’t close to satisfied, either. Taking a page out of LeBron James circa July 2010, Bills receiver Stefon Diggs ran up the total of titles he’s seeking in his new home when speaking with a publication hailing from his hometown.
“I haven’t reached the mountain top yet. I always aim high. I want five Super Bowl rings,” Diggs told DC Magazine in a recent interview. “I want the Hall of Fame. I want the glory. I believe I’m a champion. But, more so, I want to carry some people along with me. I want my brother, Trevon, to have a good career. I want to give my mom a place where she can be comfortable. I want to give people jobs. I want to do more for D.C., my city. The mountain top isn’t just for football; it’s for life in general. The more people I can help — that’s when I’ll look back and know I made a difference.”
Diggs sure helped Allen and countless others in Buffalo in 2020 when he teamed with the quarterback to lead the league in receptions and receiving yards, helping Buffalo to a top-two finish in yards per game and points per game. With the Bills’ offense fully unlocked by the key that was Diggs, Buffalo posted a 13-3 regular-season mark and embarked on the franchise’s first deep playoff run since the days of Jim Kelly, Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Buffalo had a reason to cheer, even if Bills fans couldn’t see their team in person. And they had Diggs to thank for helping their team reach this new level.
“I like to buy into a process, and I want to blend in as much as I can and let my play stand out,” Diggs said. “This is going to sound crazy, but I’m a by-the-book guy. (Allen) will just look at me and say, ‘Stef, just get open and catch the ball. I really don’t care what you do before that.’ And that’s hard to hear because I’m so used to timing routes and doing things in a certain type of way. But this is where the creativity comes in. I can mix things up a little bit, and the quarterback trusts me. The only way you can build that trust is by making plays.”
Diggs made plenty of them in 2020, quickly earning the respect and support of a fanbase that doesn’t need much to rally behind a new arrival. One of the league’s most mutually beneficial trades in recent memory (the first-round pick Buffalo sent to Minnesota for Diggs ended up becoming Pro Bowl receiver Justin Jefferson) provided Buffalo with its first marquee receiving talent in more than a decade, and while Bills fans will point to Eric Moulds’ place in the team’s record books, there’s no denying Diggs and Allen are a better pairing than anyone Moulds had to work with beyond 1996.
In that same vein, as quickly as Bills fans were ready to embrace Diggs, his new teammates were just as eager to find holes in his game — at least, that’s what Diggs said. That’s what has kept him going from the moment he arrived.
“I can give you a million ways to be a leader, but there’s no one real answer,” he said. “Part of it is just being a professional and accountable. It’s like everyone in the NFL is from Missouri, the ‘Show-Me State,’ because they ask what you’ve done for them lately. You have to show me what you can do for me every day in practice and in games. The Minnesota Miracle meant nothing to my new teammates in Buffalo. One teammate said to me, ‘We don’t care what you did in Minnesota; we want to see what you can do now.'”
Diggs proved in 2020 he can do a whole lot for his new team, enough to finish second on our list of top pass-catchers according to Next Gen Stats. It’s likely his teammates don’t need advanced metrics to explain his value to them, though. They saw it with their own eyes last season.
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