Jay Skurski's 10 takeaways from Sean McDermott's Monday news conference - The Buffalo News

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Jay Skurski's 10 takeaways from Sean McDermott's Monday news conference

1. Tight end Charles Clay had a knee scope performed Monday morning and will miss "multiple weeks," according to Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott.

Clay was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday's 20-16 loss to Cincinnati when he was hit by Bengals safety Shawn Williams at the end of a 24-yard gain. Pro Football Talk reported Monday that Clay suffered a torn meniscus and sprained MCL, though McDermott did not confirm those details, saying he had yet to get a full report from the Bills' medical staff.

"We haven't gotten that far at this point," the coach said when asked if Clay's injury could be season-ending.

Clay, 28, has gotten off to a good start this season. He has 20 catches for a team-leading 258 yards and two touchdowns.

"Next man up," McDermott said when asked how the team would replace Clay's production. "That's what we do. That's what happens in the league."

2. That next man up is Nick O’Leary. He set single-game career highs with five catches for 54 yards against the Bengals.

“I thought Nick did a good job yesterday in the passing game,” McDermott said. “In particular, made some key catches for us. He’s a guy that (quarterback Tyrod Taylor) trusts, obviously, and he’s made some big plays this year so far. I like the direction that he’s heading in right now."

3. Speaking of Taylor, he’s not going anywhere as the starter. When asked about Taylor’s 2-16 record in games in which the Bills fall behind by four points or more at any point, McDermott gave his quarterback a vote of confidence.

“Again, I don’t know what necessarily happened before I got here,” the coach said. “What I’m concerned about is where we are now and where we’re going. Just like all of us, we have to continue to improve. Tyrod’s working hard to continue to improve. I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Tyrod Taylor.

"When you look at some of the things we’ve done in the Jets game, in the Denver game, and then also in the Atlanta game, those are some things where we said, ‘Hey, that’s up to the standard of performance that we’re looking for.’ Obviously, yesterday wasn’t and that starts with me, and then it goes all the way down that we’ve got to continue to grow and get better.”

4. Veteran receiver Andre Holmes played 31 snaps Sunday against the Bengals – the fewest of any active player at his position. McDermott didn’t have much of an explanation for why the team’s highest-paid receiver got such little work.

“Just rolling guys in and out based on game plan, based on the opponent, and also Andre’s role on special teams,” he said.

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5. McDermott continues to push the idea that the left tackle job is there for the taking between rookie Dion Dawkins and veteran Cordy Glenn, provided he is healthy enough to play.

“We’re going to continue to evaluate that,” he said.

6. That might not be the only change on the offensive line. After the Bills benched John Miller on Sunday in favor of veteran Vlad Ducasse, McDermott was asked whether the team needs to settle on a starting group of five in order to build some sort of chemistry.

“Yeah, you’d like to,” he said. “You’d like to be able to go out there and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got 22. Eleven on offense, 11 on defense,’ and then you throw the 11 on special teams on top of that 22 and you say, ‘Hey, these are, we know what we’ve got.’ That’s not always the case early on in the process, when you’re trying to build, you’re developing a team, you’re adding pieces, taking pieces away, sometimes intentionally, sometimes due to injury. Yes, that is the ultimate goal that you can have that continuity and that chemistry that comes from that continuity. In this case, we haven’t had that, but that’s what we’re driving at is to find that combination and then build that continuity and the chemistry that comes from it.”

7. McDermott said the decision by the team’s players to discontinue taking a knee during the national anthem as a form of silent protest against the oppression of minorities in America was made without his input.

“That’s really a question for our players,” McDermott said when asked whether that was a decision they reached on their own or were ordered to do by the team. “Our players decided to do that and just like when they knelt, we stood by them and we support them in the same way when they stand, we stand by them and support them.”

8. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews (thumb) and cornerback E.J. Gaines were classified as “week to week” by McDermott, but are going to be evaluated daily.

9. Cornerback Leonard Johnson, who was knocked out of Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, is classified as day to day.

“Hopefully this bye will come at the right time for Leonard,” McDermott said.

10. Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson’s 10-game suspension that dated back to last season concluded Monday. The Bills were given a roster exemption for Henderson, meaning they now have 54 players. Typically, such exemptions last for a week, but because the Bills are on their bye week, it’s possible the exemption will last longer. If the Bills do decide they want Henderson as part of their 53-man roster, they’ll have to cut another player.

What They Said: Sean McDermott on Clay's injury, the bye week & more from Monday's press conference

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