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Sammy Watkins, McCoy push for a Bills culture change

Now that Rex Ryan has been banished from Bills headquarters, his former players are making it clear what they want in Buffalo's next head coach.

Wideout Sammy Watkins on Thursday called for team brass to hire a leader willing to bring renewed discipline to the locker room.

"I think they just have to come in and whatever coach that we have, and I think (interim coach Anthony) Lynn is a great coach. He has that demeanor, that leadership," Watkins said, per the team's official website. "But the new coach has to change what needs to be changed. Change the culture, change the mindset and get players on board. If they're not listening, cut them, kick them out, whatever. Sit them on the bench. I think that will help us move forward."

Running back LeSean McCoy gave his two cents Friday on the Bills needing a culture change as well.

"I think the discipline has been an issue," McCoy said to reporters, via ESPN. "I just think that players just (need to take) accountability for their own actions. It's one thing to talk about discipline and guys not (being) bought in. But if they're not doing (their job), you can't really take (them credibly). I just think as players, as professionals, we need to step up and play accountable. That's the biggest issue."

Watkins went so far as to point to his college coach, Dabo Swinney, who helped turned Clemson into a national power, saying: "Coach Dabo was strict and that's why I think he changed the culture. He changed the players and we started winning. We started to expect to win. Every game I came into I never thought I was going to lose it. That's what we've got to do here."

Added McCoy: "The talent is definitely here. It's the small part about being disciplined as a team. There's no reason why we should be high on penalties. There's no reason why we should be high on missed opportunities, missed mistakes. It shouldn't happen. I think that's the difference."

Chalk it up as a fair request -- and a not-so-subtle jab at Ryan, who finished last season with a flock of defensive players openly questioning his defensive scheme. This time around, Ryan won't finish the season at all as Buffalo decides whether to retain Lynn or look for a coach from outside team walls.

Whomever they pick, Watkins wants someone willing to keep players accountable.

"Whatever around the locker room that needs to be addressed, on the field, off the field, (penalty) flags," said Watkins. "Whether it's working on things in the summer that we're not good at and being a professional. As players that's got to get fixed first. Then the coaches have got to be hard on us, not scared of us. Get at us, yell at us, curse at us, whatever to get the player to do that job the best he can that's what they need to do."

It's an interesting, honest take from a young NFL star-in-the-making, but calling for a culture change is easier said than done. Especially when the Bills have decided to retain a general manager in Doug Whaley who still sees EJ Manuel as a better option under center than Tyrod Taylor.

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