Bills' Foster learned a lot from an up and down rookie season

Robert Foster became a big contributor in the final seven games

Paul Hamilton
June 12, 2019 - 4:48 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) - Robert Foster had about as up and down of a year as a rookie could have last season. Foster was on the practice squad, he was released because Sean McDermott didn’t like his practice and meeting habits and he was brought back.

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Foster caught two passes for 30 yards in September against the Chargers and didn’t have another catch until November 11 against the Jets. The rookie from Alabama broke out in that game with three catches for 105 yards. Foster put a lot of work in to get where he got by the end of the season. He said, “It was a great humbling experience for me, going through adversity, going through different types of ups and downs, it was definitely a big jump for me.”

When players have tough times, very often they turn to their teammates and Foster was no different. He said he went to Pat DiMarco, LeSean McCoy, Dion Dawkins and Lorenzo Alexander. The message from those players was clear. Foster said they told him, “Continue to work while I wait because one thing about the business side is you have to learn how to be patient because things aren’t going to come when you expect it.”

McDermott wanted Foster’s habits to change, so what does that really mean? Foster said, “I put more time into it, more time into my ability, more time into the business side of it, more time in the film room, more time to meet with my coaches and just try to build a chemistry with my teammates and eliminating distractions.”

If there was one thing Foster was weak at it was his route running. That’s where he really went to work and it paid off because in his last seven games, he had 25 receptions for 511 yards and three touchdowns. That’s over 20 yards per-catch. He said, “Coach McDermott and coach Daboll and coach Terry at the time were really getting on me about my route running and that’s one thing I stayed after and worked on. I did mental reps and watched film and that’s one thing I still continue to work on, I have speed, but I still have to become a pure route runner and that’s why coach brought in Cole Beasley and John Brown so I can watch them run their routes.”

While I was talking to Foster, I was getting the impression that the 25-year-old is a very humble man. I mentioned how he turned the season into a success, but he didn’t want to hear that, “I don’t want to call it success. It’s not success because life always goes on and there’s always room for improvement, so I don’t want to be comfortable, I’m still a rookie. I’ve got three more weeks before I’m a second-year player, so I just want to continue to grow.”

Josh Allen is already more of a leader on the field. On Wednesday, he was very upset with his practice. He told the offense he hadn’t been good and now is the time to finish strong. Foster sees a difference in his quarterback, “He’s more of a leader, more vocal, more demanding, just someone with a chip, he trying to prove himself again and I’m in the same boat, I’m ready to just keep proving myself against and keep grinding and be motivated.”

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a Bill improve in one season the way Foster did. He ended the season with four catches over 40 yards and he really just played in the last seven games. I think it’s going to interesting to see where his career goes from here.

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