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

Head coach Sean McDermott

Q: What is the status of Charles Clay after some more evaluation?

A: Charles underwent a scope this morning, and he’ll be out multiple weeks at this point.

Q: Is there fear that it could be a season-ending injury?

A: We haven’t gotten that far at this point. I haven’t even met with the docs on it yet.

Q: Obviously, he’s been your most dependable prepped receiver, how do you move forward with Jordan Matthews still uncertain and Charles now going to be out for multiple weeks?

A: Next man up, that’s what we do. That’s what happens in the league, sometimes this happens. We’ve gotten hit a little bit by the injury bug. The great part about it is, if there’s a silver lining if you will, is that we had five rookies on the field yesterday getting significant experience. Whether they started or played, that’s important for our future, and as we continue to build, there’s a silver lining in some of this. Although, I never want to see a guy get hurt, in particular, any player, let alone a player of Charles’ caliber.

Q: How would you asses that rookie class, I don’t know if you want to go through them one-by-one, but you just mentioned that they’re contributing heavily, now at the bye through five games?

A: Again, I probably prefer to go just generally speaking at this point. I would say great contributions early on. That said, much like our team, we’re building, and you learn from one game to the next, positives and negatives. Yesterday, we had some of those moments where we have to learn from those. Really, what I’m looking for is for us to continue to grow from one game to the next, just like our team. One game does not define who we are as a football team, win or lose. We have to continue to build, continue to put in the work, and grow, and that’s what you do. You want to play, again like I mentioned yesterday after the game, your best football in November and December.

Q: We saw Tyrod [Taylor] a lot going into that game, take off for runs and breakdowns, really doing well with his feet, he didn’t do that that much yesterday, he only had one carry total for three yards, but really he stood in the pocket a lot. Was there something game plan wise you guys saw that maybe was not conducive to allow him to do that yesterday?

A: No, they did some good things defensively, give them credit, that’s a good defense. That said, there’s some things that we could do better, offensively. We have to work on that moving forward. To capitalize, in particular, on opportunities that we had field position, you take the ball away three times. In the first three, four quarters there, the better half of the first three quarters, you set yourself up with valuable field position. Those have to be opportunities for us where we cash in, and we didn’t do a good job of that yesterday.

Q: The fact that Charles had a scope, he didn’t tear his ACL, or was it full surgery?

A: Yeah, again, trust me when I’m telling you that, I haven’t even spoke with the docs yet, other than I know that he had the scope. We’ll catch up at some point here in the next couple of hours.

Q: With LeSean McCoy, yesterday [he] said he was angry at himself, mad at himself based on what he was able to do in the run game. He also mentioned that you’ve had a lot of conversations with him about not getting frustrated or to that effect, how do you prevent that from setting in for him because his production has not matched this year, what we’ve been accustomed to the last couple [of years] so far?

A: Right, every year is different. Those conversations are really about, that LeSean has mentioned, just about the team, not so much with respect to the running game, but just as a team. That’s part of my relationship with LeSean - early on in his career I knew him, he knew me early on in my career, and to watch him evolve as a teammate, is one of the joys of coaching or being a coach. Separate conversations, and now it comes to the running game. We have to look at everything, and it’s never just one thing, it’s never just the offensive line, never just the tight ends, never just the wide receivers, and the eight-man box, it’s all of that. It’s everything we could do better, and this week, being our bye, it’s about self-awareness, and evaluating what we’ve done well, what we haven’t done well, and also looking to evolve. That’s the important part as we look at what’s in front of us this week.

Q: LeSean specifically, I know you weren’t here last year to see what he did, but when you evaluated last year’s tape versus how you look at how he’s performed this year, what do you see from him?

A: Well I saw him have success last year, and I’ve seen him have similar success at times this year. The important part here is we’ve had untimely penalties that have cost us critical first downs, as late as yesterday in the game. Really, getting on track in a rhythm with the running game, so that he knows where the holes are, he knows where the blocks are, and that we’re getting on those blocks and sustaining those blocks. Again, it’s not just one position, it’s multiple positions, all of us doing our job better.

Q: Why has it been so much of tough sledding for him in running the stretches to the outside? It seems like those aren’t popping like maybe they were against the Jets or in the preseason against the Lions?

A: Teams see that and they adjust, they do a good job of setting the edge. At times yesterday, we thought we had the edge and we didn’t make a key block that we needed, in particular, on those outside runs. We started running the ball outside and had success on the first drive on a run, we came back in the second half and we didn’t make a block or we should’ve made the block. You want to go back, and that’s what coaches do, that’s why they call us coaches, we go back and we evaluate, we adapt and we adjust, and that’s what we have to do.

Q: Might we see any changes along the offensive line, now that you’ve had some time to think about it, adjust and adapt, as you’re talking about?

A: We’ll see, that’s what part of this week is, we evaluate ourselves first. I have to evaluate myself, and the coaches will all do that, and then we evaluate personnel and we’ll do that moving forward.

Q: Given that he’s your highest paid receiver, Andre Holmes only played in the fourth-most snaps out of the receivers yesterday, even with Jordan’s injury, how do you square that, in terms of the contract you gave him versus the role he’s had so far? Why did he only receive that many snaps given that he’s your highest paid receiver, and you committed that sort of resource to him, but you have a game where you’re missing a receiver, Andre’s not really in the mix as much as the other guys?

A: Just rolling guys in and out based on game plan, based on the opponent, and also Andre’s role on special teams. That also plays a role in this.

Q: I know you’ll spend a lot of time this week evaluating and self-critiquing, how big of a priority is it to get this offense going given how it has not gone the past four weeks?

A: That’s a big priority, it really is, it’s a big priority. That said, you just don’t ignore the other two areas either, there’s three phases to the game, and we have to continue to grow and get better at all three phases. There’s areas, as late as yesterday with the offense, and like I mentioned, field position. You come out and take advantage of those opportunities in order to win a game, and we didn’t do a good job of that yesterday, we have to improve in that area.

Q: This has been an ongoing thing from before, [but] Tyrod struggles when it comes to this team falling behind. He’s 2-16 when the Bills fall behind by four points or more at any point in the game. What might that be a reflection of and how much of a concern is it that he can’t seem to be capable of bringing this team back from just a four-point deficit?

A: Again, I don’t know what necessarily happened before I got here. 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.

Q: On the flip side, yes he did well in those three wins, but in the two losses, he did have the ball in his hand on a final drive down by six points or less in each game and failed to deliver. That is also a make of a quarterback and what concerns you about that?

A: Well, the thing I love about that is the fact that we’re in those games. We have a chance to win the game and that’s what I mentioned to our team this morning is [that] we sit, currently right now, in first place in the AFC East. Do we have a lot of room to grow and work to put in? We absolutely do. That said, let’s continue with the momentum, let’s keep it going, and let’s improve where we need to improve and let’s be honest with ourselves. We all have to continue to improve and I want our players confident that when we get in those situations, we will prevail and we’ve shown that. I think one of the things we’ve done well early on at this point is we [have] won games in the fourth quarter that haven’t been won in the past. I think that’s a mindset and that mindset continues to evolve for the better at this point.

Q: On the offensive line, right guard and left tackle, you have guys in and out. When you say you want to make sure you want to see how things look, see how guys are progressing, there’s still some competition. At some point, it’s only week five, but at some point, do you feel like you have to kind of settle on maybe a group of five in order to get the most consistency you want and I know the competition has always got to be there, but at some point do you feel like you kind of have to wedge that gap there and settle on a group of five?

A: Yeah, you’d like to. You’d like to be able to go out there and say, ‘hey, we’ve got 22. Eleven on offense, eleven on defense,’ and then you throw the eleven 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 [and] 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.

Q: Do you think that’s part of the issue with the run game right now, maybe just because it hasn’t been the consistency amongst the five that are out there?

A: It could be. It could be. I don’t want to dismiss it that it’s not. It’s certainly something that it could be a factor. I don’t think it’s the biggest factor. I think there’s, again, pieces that are factoring into that overall puzzle at this point and that’s what we get paid to do. That’s what we get paid to do, is to go in and solve those problems and make the adjustments.

Q: Do you think Nick O’Leary can fill in if Charles is out for an extended period?

A: I do. I thought Nick did a good job yesterday in the passing game. In particular, made some key catches for us. He’s a guy that Tyrod trusts, obviously, and he’s made some big plays this year so far. I like the direction that he’s heading in right now.

Q: Sean, do you foresee Dion Dawkins continuing his role as the starting left tackle of this team?

A: We’re going to continue to evaluate that. With respect to Cordy [Glenn]’s situation as well, Dion, as you mentioned [and] we talked about the young players, he’s coming in and [has] done a really nice job at that left tackle position. He’s going up against some good pass rushers on that side of the ball and he’s got some plays that he wants back and so we’re going to continue to evaluate that moving forward.

Q: Given the fact that all of your players stood for the anthem yesterday, was this something that was determined by the leadership council that they were going to this, or as some teams and owners have ordered their teams, and players to stand?

A: Yeah, that’s really a question for our players. 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.

Q: What happened on the two big plays that Tre’Davious White let up? Was there any scheme breakdown? Was it a simple case of him getting beat?

A: Ah, no. Tre’s going to be fine and I think that’s the takeaway from all of this, is he’s going to be fine. We’ve got to continue to play with good technique and detail our work and that’s really where it stemmed from, more than anything. The great part I love about that, adding to that if I could, is just how he learned. He got beat early in the game and to come back and battle a receiver of that quality for the better part of three quarters after that, I thought, was impressive and that’s the mental toughness, the makeup of Tre and that’s something we can build on.

Q: It seemed like you guys had him follow [A.J. Green] on the field a little bit. Was that part of the plan, to kind of see where he’s at and kind of see how he would respond to that challenge?

A: Well, I think we knew where he was at. That was a key part of the game plan, overall, when you face a receiver like that. That was also the game plan, of having Tre follow [Green] at times, yes. To be able to do that in his rookie year, fifth game in, I think is pretty impressive.

Q: You have more time on the bye week for the next opponent, but do you think maybe more of a benefit from this extra time is self-evaluating and self-scouting? What do you think about that?

A: I think that’s huge. As I mentioned earlier, the self-building, the self-awareness as to what we’re doing well, and there’s a lot of things, and what we’re not doing well enough. Our hope [is the time] should allow us to grow and evolve into the team that we’re trying to become, and that’s still a process. That’s going to take time, but that’s important. This will be a big week to put in our work, a lot of it being off the field, but it starts by being humble, being honest with ourselves, and saying ‘hey, what can I do better? What can we do better?’

Q: What did you see from Matt Milano in his first start?

A: I thought he did a good job. The first thing we look at is really the look in his eye and we talked about that. I’ve talked about that with Coach [Bob] Babich, our linebackers coach, and he said he had the right look in his eye on the boundary and I thought he handled himself well. It wasn’t too big for him and now, knowing Matt, he’ll continue to improve. He just, he puts a lot of time into his job and again, another young guy that was out there on the field and did good job at times for us.

Q: Is there a timetable on Jordan Matthews? Any updated timetable, or E.J. Gaines, for that matter?

A: Yeah, I would put them both, really, in the same bucket. They’re both there and just day-to-day at this point. We’ll see, week-to-week really, and just evaluate as we go [and] as we move forward each day here.

Q: How about Leonard Johnson?

A: You know, he came out. He had the hamstring [injury] and he’s day-to-day, really, so hopefully this bye will come at the right time for Leonard.

Q: To clarify, are Matthews and Gaines day-to-day or week-to-week?

A: I’m sorry. Yeah, it’s week-to-week with them but we’re going to evaluate them day-to-day and see how they move on.

Q: After coaching and working with Andy Reid, do you have a book of secrets from him on bye weeks?

A: [laughs] I know his record is pretty impressive coming off of the bye. I think he’s, what? One loss on his record coming off the bye? I’ve taken some notes over the years, yeah.

Provided by the Buffalo Bills. 

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