Trusting the process may finally lead Brandon Reilly to ultimate goal

June 10, 2018 - 9:08 pm
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If there’s one person who personifies what Bills head coach Sean McDermott means when he talks about “the process,” it could very well be wide receiver Brandon Reilly.  In fact, if things go as planned this year for the second-year wideout, the team right want to - literally - use him as the poster child for a “trust the process” marketing campaign.

Reilly, an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska a year ago, showed up at training camp as what many thought would simply be camp fodder.  But over the next few weeks, the 6’ 1”, 200 lb. wideout began turning heads of fans and media.  Almost on a daily basis, Reilly was making hard catches seem routine.  He was high-pointing balls and coming down with them over defenders, getting open over the middle, and taking hits and hanging on.  He suddenly became the darling of camp amongst Bills fans.  And Reilly didn’t disappoint with his production. By the end of the preseason, he led team in both receptions (11) and receiving yards (139).  He was one of only two wide receivers to score a touchdown through the four-game exhibition season.

Many in the media were putting Reilly on their projected 53-man roster, and plenty of fans were clamoring for him to make the team, not seeing how he possibly couldn’t given what they were watching.  Many even suggested that if the Bills released the former Cornhusker, Bill Belichick and the genius Patriots were going to scoop him up and he’d then terrorize the Bills’ secondary for the next several years.

The Bills ultimately decided to release Reilly during the team’s final cuts.  He didn’t sign with the Patriots or any other team.  In fact, he signed right back with the Bills the very next day to be a member of their practice squad, where he stayed for three months.

Reilly knew what was being said and written about him in the preseason.  It’s tough not to when fans are constantly tagging you on Twitter and letting you know what they think.

“It definitely makes you feel good, but you can’t get too caught up in it,” he told me Thursday after just coming off the practice field for the team’s second-to-last OTA.  “You can’t just have a feel-good story.  You can feel good inside, but if it’s not the result you want then you have to keep working towards that result, and my result was (I wanted) to play on Sundays and I haven’t quite got there yet, and that’s the goal this year.”

Reilly did get a chance to be on the team’s active roster at the end of last season.  He was signed on December 5 with four games remaining in the regular season, but was still left inactive on game day.  So, he’s still looking for that first Sunday with an NFL helmet and jersey.  And although he’s yet to achieve the goal of suiting up for a real game, and as disappointed as he was to not make the final roster, he now knows last season’s experience will go a log way in making that happen in 2018.

“You've got to come to work every day,” he said of the valuable lessons he learned through last year’s process.  “Everyone's a professional.  You can't take a day off.  If you take a day off you could get cut, or if you take a day off and have a bad day you could drop two spots on the depth chart, and the next day is the most important.”

By the looks of it, Reilly has carried that mindset over from last year to this year.  Thursday he was working with the first-team offense opposite Kelvin Benjamin as the other outside receiver.

“It’s a starting point,” he said.  “I come out here every day, it doesn’t matter of I’m (with the) ones, twos, or threes.  Every play is evaluated and every opportunity I can get I’m going to try to make a play and keep moving up.”

 

 

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