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What They Said: Transcript of Bills coach Sean McDermott at Friday's practice

Head coach Sean McDermott

Q: I guess where it starts is injuries: Hauschka was an added person to the injury report yesterday, is he in jeopardy of missing the game?

A: No, he looks good. He’s moving in the right direction, just a little bit of soreness yesterday.

Q: Do you feel like this is the first big crisis of your first year as a head coach?

A: [Laughs] I don’t look at it as a crisis, I don’t. I look at it as making decisions that are in the best interest of the team, and about winning, now and in the future.

Q: The decision to stay the course as far as your schedule this week, and nit adjust to the west coast, how much of that was from your time with Andy Reid, and how much of it was your own study, or was a little of each?

A: A little bit of each. The schedule emulates some of what Andy’s done in different trips from a line item standpoint, from an order standpoint. Andy’s gone one days, two days. This is a lot of research by our staff and also trying to keep our guys in a routine, where they can sleep at home, sleep in their own beds. We’ll approach it as a normal game.

Q: Is Cordy Glenn going to be able to play coach?

A: At this point, he’s going to be out today, so we’ll just see. He’s not going to practice today.

Q: What about Mike Tolbert? He wasn’t out there?

A: Similar, yeah, he’s in that same bucket as Cordy.

Q: Are you confident in [Travaris] Cadet’s abilities behind him?

A: Absolutely.

Q: What have you seen from him, I know you had experience with him?

A: Cadet-wise?

Q: Yes.

A: Yeah, I mentioned this the other day, he looks very comfortable in the system, in the scheme; from a running standpoint, and also, the passing game. He’s got a wealth of knowledge from that standpoint and looks very comfortable.

Q: The quarterback change certainly deflected attention away from the worst defensive performance in 10 years by this team. When you were making that decision, did you think of that at all, like people are going to think [I’m] trying to change the subject here, change the attention away from my defense?

A: I did, I looked at everything. You know me by now, I’m thorough in my approach, [and a] methodical decision maker. I weigh everything. Like I said before, it’s not about one person or one player. It’s never about that. It’s about us as a team, we have to get better. You mentioned the defense, we have to get better. There’s a lot of guys that [have] taken ownership of that, I’ve taken ownership of that. We’re hard at work at that right now.

Q: So, you didn’t care, you knew how it would look and it’s like, you’re still going to make what you thought was best for the team?

A: Absolutely.

Q: A couple other injuries: Zay Jones and Jerry Hughes? What are their outlooks for Sunday?

A: Zay looks good, he should be full today. And you mentioned Jerry? Jerry, he’s heading in the direction. He’ll be limited today, but I like what he did yesterday and what he did in practice.

Q: Coach, and also limited, Jordan [Matthews] and Charles [Clay]?

A: Yeah, they’ll be limited today also, along with Jerry. They’re moving in the right direction as well. We’ll just monitor those as well as Jerry moving forward here.

Q: Coach, how about E.J. Gaines?

A: Same. He looked good yesterday, he’ll be bumped up a little bit today, and we’ll see how he comes out of practice.

Q: Coach, how has Nathan impressed you throughout the week? His first week in preparing as a starting quarterback.

A: He prepares – The great part about our guys is they prepare every week, like they’re the starters, even though they may not be, because they know they’re one snap away. When you prepare that way, when your name is called, you’re ready to go. You’ve seen that over the course of our season already, with different guys that have stepped in and stepped up; Nathan, no different. He’s prepared all season long like he’s the starter and that’s what you have to do. He’s had a great week, he looks sharp and crisp. We’ve had a great week as a team.

Q: How is the rhythm with the wide receivers? His targets went up this week. It seemed like Sunday when he got in there and threw a quick pass to Kelvin [Benjamin], it bounced off of his hands. It was probably a catch he usually makes but maybe he’s not used to Nathan’s zip or anything like that. I guess the rhythm with his wide receivers this week, has that progressed in a good direction, do you think?

A: It has. It has, obviously, he has not had the time maybe that Tyrod [Taylor] had up to this point with some guys. Now, other guys he’s had more time in fact with. He’s thrown a number of balls through practice up to this point in time with these receivers and I’m confident in the more opportunities he gets, the more comfortable they’ll get together.

Q: When you look back at the rookie class, now that Nathan is going in, you’ve got Zay and the contributions that he’s made recently of course, Dion [Dawkins], Matt Milano and of course Tre [White] and what he’s done. Did you anticipate this class being where they are right now? Obviously, you couldn’t anticipate the quarterback change necessarily, but the contributions that this class has made for you so far?

A: Well that’s why you draft these guys. That’s why you do the research you do. Our scouts are out there now busting their tail trying to find the next group to add to this group. We just keep adding. We keep building with our type of guys. Guys that have our type of DNA, as you’ve heard me say before. This is the foundation we’re building towards what we want to become and where we’re going. I’m very happy with the draft class this year in terms of their contributions and the way they’ve attacked this season.

Q: How are you trying to help Nathan with the hurdles of making a first start? It all starts somewhere, and he’s playing the most important position out there.

A: You just, you go back to your process. You go back to your routine. He’s started games before [and] he’s won games before. When you go through the scouting process, you try and get a feel for not only the player but the person. That’s all part of the evaluation with all of our players, including our draft class, and now Nathan, as you mentioned. Who are you dealing with? Who’s the patient? What are they all about? I think he’s extremely poised and he’s got good balance and a great support system with his family. He’s in a good place.

Q: What percentage of the problems against the run do you think, especially with the D-Line, is physically just getting beaten at the line of scrimmage, and what percentage is schematic as you’ve studied the issues here?

A: Well, I would say, if you break it down into 33%: a third, a third, and a third, basically. You say, a third of it is ‘hey, do we have them in the right position?’ A third of it is technique and fundamentals, and then the other third is ‘hey, at times we’re getting whipped and we’ve got to whip the other guy’. We’ve done that. We’ve shown we can do that. We did it all the way up until the Oakland game. I think we were top five, give or take, in run defense. You’ve got to go back and reestablish the standard and re-train the fundamentals. That’s what we’ve done and we’ll continue to do that. Good wake-up call for us, you know? All good teams, every good team goes through some of these type of moments.

Q: You’ve also only had four sacks in six games. Do you think you need to give that front four a little more help in that regard?

A: Well, that’s again, going back and re-teaching. Where did we get off track? When you can go back and put the tape back on with when we did get after the quarterback, how have we gotten off track? Again, you go back and re-teach the fundamentals because we have shown an ability to rush the passer and we’ve got to get back to it.

Q: Sean, you’ve got Mike Waufle, a longtime position coach working with this group. I know it’s a collective effort of the coaching staff and you don’t leave it to one guy. How do you sort of identify what your expectation is of his role in this? What do you want him to achieve in the course of this, as you say, re-training or whatever it is? It’s certainly putting a lot on all of you, but your position coach especially.

A: As a staff, you go through moments like this where you’ve got to – this is our first time as a staff. We’ve all come from some different places and at the same time this is why you have an experienced staff. They’ve been through this before. I’ve been through it before in around [my] 20 years in the NFL and it may not be the last time you go through it. You bank on that experience and sticking together, identifying the problems and attacking the problems the best way you know how, which is, again, going back and re-teaching. Going back and reestablishing the standard of what we expect.

Provided by the Buffalo Bills.

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