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What They Said: Bills coach Sean McDermott

Head Coach Sean McDermott

Monday, September 4, 2017

Q: So, if we could ask about Tyrod [Taylor]’s status for this week?

A: Yeah, he’s still in the concussion protocol. I think he’s getting better but he’s still in the concussion protocol.

Q: What about T.J. [Yates]? Is he …

A: Same.

Q: Then naturally, does that explain the Joe Webb signing? Can you expand on why you have the fourth guy there?

A: Right. I like Joe Webb. I mean, my history, Brandon [Beane]’s history with Joe, he plays a lot of different positions. He brings a lot to the table just starting with the person he is. He’s a high-energy guy, positive person, good for our culture, good for our locker room, he plays special teams, he plays quarterback as you mentioned, he plays wide receiver, he plays [defensive back], I mean he’s done it all. I’ve just been around Joe for a couple years in Carolina there. We know what he brings to the table and when Carolina let him go, we felt like it was a good opportunity for us in a lot of ways.

Q: So, essentially, Tyrod’s status is really up in the air right now for Sunday?

A: Yeah, because [he’s] in the concussion protocol.

Q: Is there a day that, like if he doesn’t get cleared by Wednesday or Thursday, that you would say we have to make the decision to declare a starter if it can’t be Tyrod because he can’t get enough work in? Does that work any certain way in your mind?

A: With any starter, it gets to the point in the week where you’ve got to say ‘hey, we’re going to have to go one way or the other.’ We’ll cross that road when we come to it at this point.

Q: I know you don’t want to get into hypotheticals as much as possible, but if Yates and Taylor are not cleared and [Nate] Peterman has to play and Joe [Webb] has to back up, is a week’s time enough for a veteran like him to serve in that capacity if necessary?

A: Yeah, very confident. [We’re] very confident in Nate and Joe in that regard, yes.

Q: Sean, with the release of Jonathan Williams yesterday, it seemed like, from our perspective, that he was having a solid preseason [and] a solid training camp. What went into the decision to release him and leaving your roster without any young, developmental running backs on the roster?

A: Well, Jonathan, I thought he had a good preseason. There’s a lot to like about what he did. That said, we’re doing what’s right for this football team. [I have] a lot of confidence in the running backs behind LeSean [McCoy] in Mike Tolbert, Joe Banyard, Taiwan Jones. I feel good about those guys. There’s also an element of special teams baked into this here with those players. There’s three phases to the football team, as you’ve heard me say before, and having a balance in all three phases is important for us.

Q: I know that Brandon [Beane] said that if guys aren’t buying in to the team, that they would find a way to get rid of them. Is there anything that has to do with that linked to Jonathan Williams being released?

A: Absolutely not. Jonathan is a great young man. He did everything we asked. There’s none whatsoever in that regard. He did a fine job.

Q: Where’s the offensive line at this point? We saw Cordy [Glenn]. Is he probably good to go? And we’ve been discussing the door with [Vladimir] Ducasse at guard and where [Dion Dawkins] even fits in. Do you kind of have it in mind what your offensive line is going to look like?

A: We’ve got a thought. We’ve got a vision at this point of where we’re going. Cordy got some good time the other night and we’ve got to continue to acclimate him and get him going in terms of his conditioning and all that type of stuff. He was in over the weekend, did a nice job putting in extra time. The competition between John [Miller] and Vlad [Ducasse] has been fun to watch in that regard, in terms of watching both of those players put their best foot forward. Those guys are going to continue to battle and then, when you look at the right side with what Dion [Dawkins] did and what Jordan [Mills] did the other night, there was good healthy competition on the field against Detroit. We feel good about our group there and with the guys also back from last year with Eric [Wood] and Richie [Incognito], in that regard.

Q: What’s your plan though? Who will start at right guard and right tackle for the opener?

A: Right. John [Miller] will start at right guard and Jordan [Mills] will start at right tackle.

Q: How does [Conor] McDermott fit into this? I know he’s a new guy, but I remember at the draft that there were some nice things said about him maybe as a fourth- or fifth-round guy. He went to the sixth round, but where does he fit in?

A: Well, he’s got high expectations coming in here. I told him that with the last name. He adds to that group nicely. Obviously, he’s a young player and position value is important in terms of that tackle position. Those positions are hard to find. That type of body type and what he brings to the table with the skills in that area.

Q: Who’s the number two running back now behind LeSean?

A: Well, when you look at it, it’s a little bit by committee. We’ve got Mike Tolbert and we know what he’s done. I’ve been around Mike and he carried the ball well in Carolina and he carried the ball well, we felt like, in the preseason. And then with what Joe [Banyard] did and Taiwan [Jones did], we’ve got kind of different body types, if you will, all bring something a little bit different to the table. That’s a good thing, and then with the element of special teams, we were able to stay balanced as a roster, for the most part, in all three phases of the game.

Q: Coach, I know you picked up Deon [Lacey] on the other side of the ball. Talking about linebacker, Gerald [Hodges] was released. Gerald was the number two to Preston [Brown], so how does that all shake out right now?

A: Well, Deon is a good football player, a young football player in terms of NFL experience. Again, the element of special teams. We know how important that is to winning football games. Our players know that. Our coaches know that, just philosophically. That was a big part of that move in terms of adding Deon. We’ve got guys that have worked at the middle linebacker position so if something, God forbid, happened there, we’d be ready to react.

Q: Where do things stand at corner, opposite of Tre’Davious [White] between Shareece [Wright] and E.J. {Gaines], and also the decision to part ways with Kevon [Seymour]?

A: Kevon’s a good player. I’ll address that part first. Similar to Jonathan, those were tough decisions. Nothing [wrong] in the off-the-field bucket, if you will. He’s a fine, young man. He really is. We enjoyed having him with us. We just felt like the timing was right for us to move forward and with Shareece and E.J. battling, along with Greg [Mabin] for that position opposite of [White]. We’ll take a good look at that today with E.J. at this point having the upper hand. The good part about those guys is that they play inside, in terms of E.J., he plays outside, so there’s some versatility there as well.

Q: You’re down to three safeties. I think [Trae] Elston is the only backup on the active. Are you okay with three there, or is there going to be a move coming?

A: Well, we’ve done that before. We’ve done that before. Trae, I thought, had a good preseason [and] looked good again in the Detroit game. We’ll just see how that plays out over the next couple of days and week and we’re always looking to add good football players to this team, both short and long term.

Q: Coach, if Preston [Brown] does get injured, who would be the man that steps in at middle linebacker?

A: Well, it would be, you look at what Lorenzo [Alexander]’s done, he’s played multiple positions. He’s shown us that he can handle that. Lorenzo, at this point, would be the guy that would step in and we’ve got all the confidence in the world in Lorenzo. He’s shown us that he can move around in a short amount of time. He’s played, what, on the defensive line, he’s played on the offensive line, so if anybody can do it, Lorenzo can. It sounds like a cheer, right? He’d be the one at this point.

Q: How much of a setback is it, knowing that you’ve done all these roster changes over the past month and now you’re uncertain at what is essentially the most important position going into the season opener?

A: You’ve heard me say this before: resilience is important. Resiliency, grit, being adaptable, and sometimes a setback is a setup for a comeback. That’s the name of the game in this business. We feel good that we’ll have clarity around the situation when we need it. This team’s ready. We’ve adjusted before, and I expect that we’ll adjust again.

Q: Sean, with the quarterback situation if Tyrod and/or Yates can’t go, it’s going to be Peterman. We saw him in the preseason operate a portion of the offense, a preseason plan. Is he, as a rookie, ready to take on what’s going to be a far more diverse plan Sunday?

A: He is ready. When you look at what he’s done throughout the preseason, I’m confident and we’re extremely confident in Nathan. I expect that he’s only going to continue to get better, just like all of our young players, all of our players as a matter of fact. That’s what this is about. This is about development in terms of a young player. We’re looking for all of our players to continue to improve, all of our coaches, myself, that’s what we do. We went through a film [session] this morning on valuable lessons learned from the game the other night. Just because it’s a fourth preseason game doesn’t mean we just ignore what happened in the game. There [are] a lot of valuable lessons that we, as a football team, can learn from. That’s the process. You’re going to continue to grow and get better, and that’s our process as individuals and as a team, and in this case with Nathan.

Q: When you took over and went through free agency and before Brandon [Beane] got here, did you ever expect that there would be maybe 26 holdovers from last year’s roster? Did you expect the changes to this roster to be so deep?

A: I believe in the first year, when you look at it, you’re always going in and looking to make sure that you get the right people on board, on the bus, and get the people that are already on board in the right seats. That’s a natural occurrence, if you will, [in] the first year at times. Some of those are tough, difficult decisions and unpopular in some ways. I recognize that. Brandon and I both recognize that. But it takes some of those decisions for us to get to where we’re trying to go. It’s very easy, I think it happens a lot quite a bit out there, when you come in and you say ‘let’s err on the side of not rocking the boat.’ Well, short-term gain sometimes doesn’t equal long-term success. We want to make sure we’re doing both. We always do that with the team-first mentality. That comes with the territory. Our teams, we’ve been there. You guys have seen what we’ve gone through in preseason and training camp and this team is ready to adapt. That’s an important characteristic of good football teams.

Q: How much has Jordan Matthews taken in a step to full participation? Are you still waiting on that?

A: We’re working in that direction, working in that direction. You’ll see him out there a little bit more today. Not quite there yet, but working in that direction.

Q: Cordy [Glenn] as well?

A: Yes.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about Kaelin Clay and what his role will be? Also, with Brandon Reilly and Daikiel [Shorts] not making the 53-man roster, just talk about what they did for you and why you wanted to not necessarily have them on the 53 but then bring them back to the practice squad? Was it special teams or things that they could’ve done differently?

A: Yeah, with respect to Kaelin, he had a good preseason. We’ve kept a close eye on him and what he did down there in Carolina. Thought he had a nice preseason and for us, we felt like there was a need at the position and he fit that need. With respect to the other two players, [they are] good, young players that we were happy to get back. We look forward, as I answered earlier, to watching them develop. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. As coaches, we’re given the task of developing young men, developing young football players and those are two that we look forward to developing.

Q: Can we get an update on Jerel Worthy?

A: He’s in the concussion protocol as well.

Q: Sean, along the lines of what John [Wawrow] asked with the roster turnover, there’s six guys left on this roster that Doug Whaley drafted. How much of an emphasis have you guys put on bringing in your own guys to sort of establish that culture?

A: It’s not so much bringing in our own guys. I’m not, we’re not in that mode of thinking. It’s about the right guys. It’s about the right guys at the right time. That’s really what we’re interested in, is good people, good football players that are interested in the team-first mentality [and] that embrace what this city is all about. With regards to that, there’s good football players that were brought on by Doug [Whaley]. That’s what we’re interested in. Whether it was past regime [or] current regime, I’m not interested in that mode of thinking.

Q: You guys have made a point of collecting draft picks. You have a ton of draft picks now, but you did not cut the players that would have factored into the compensatory pick formula. You haven’t done that yet. How much of a discussion has that been and how much will you factor that in going forward?

A: Yeah, it’s something you always keep your eye on. Obviously, it’s a way that some teams are operating out there. It’s something that we are certainly aware of. We’ll just see how that plays out over the next couple of weeks and what-not.

 

 

 

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