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What They Said: Bills coach Sean McDermott on Jeremy Maclin, OTAs

Bills coach Sean McDermott met with Buffalo media today during OTAs. He spoke about free agent Jeremy Maclin and was asked about his expectations for OTAs. Defensive tackle Marcell Darues gave an interview as well.

Opening Statement: I’ll start out with injury updates: Reggie Ragland, Zay Jones will both be full participators in practice today; Sammy Watkins, individual drills only; Cordy. Glenn at this point is still week to week with the ankle; and Seantrel Henderson will be out today dealing with a cyst in a sensitive area on the backside, he’s day to day at this point; and then John Miller will be limited today.

Just a quick note on the Jeremy Maclin visit yesterday: we had a nice visit. Jeremy and I, as well as some other members of our staff, overlapped in Philadelphia for a couple of years there. Jeremy’s a very good person and a good football player and really, that’s all I’m going to say at this point. Really don’t want to get into the other parts of it, just want to keep that between us and the player at this point. With that I’ll turn over to any questions.

Report: Maclin's visit to Bills ends without deal, receiver headed to Baltimore

Q: Coach, what do you hope to accomplish by the end of OTA’s tomorrow to hit the ground running with the mandatory minicamp? Do you have a specific kind of big picture, we need to be in a certain spot by the end of tomorrow?
A: There is a big picture. There is a vision that I want it to look, that we want it to look like as we progress every practice. I would say that there’s a potential sticking point we have to be by, at this point, by the end of the day tomorrow. What I would say is we have to continue to improve. We do that through the focus of the process, the work we put in, and the work’s been phenomenal. The players, first of all, just participation alone, has been phenomenal. In terms of attendance, that’s hard to come by [at] this time, around the league, this time of year. Credit to the players, credit to the staff on that, but the vision is to continue to improve and focus on us.

Q: Sean, you noted that Sammy Watkins is going to take part in individual drills only. Has he been doing this all week? Is this a first, and is this an indication that he’s on track or maybe even ahead of schedule?
A: Tuesday. He started that Tuesday, and with the individual drills only, and he’s done a nice job. Credit to Sammy, credit to our training staff and the way he’s attacked the rehab with them. That has to continue, though. This is one step in that process of getting Sammy back to where he needs to be and where we need him to be.

Q: When is your anticipation that he [Sammy] will take that next step whether it be next week or the start of training camp, as far as full participation?
A: It’s one day at a time at this point, it really is, it’s one rep at a time, one day at a time, and we’ll just take it like that. And he’s going to – we’re going to get him in the summer, and then, we’ve got a plan in place or we’ll have a plan in place in terms of what’ll take place between now and the time he reports back to training camp, just like we’ll do with all the players.

Watkins works on limited basis during Bills' practices

Q: Sean, general question regarding free agent visits, or free agent pursuits – you said more than once, and so has Brandon [Beane], that the idea is long term vision and building. How much does that still apply when a guy like a ‘[Jeremy] Maclin’ is in the market or ‘[Eric] Decker’, these guys that are accomplished players – and then presumably from cheaply and your kicking the tires at least, what does that say in terms of how you’re approaching players?
A: I think it speaks to that, it really does. And when we talk about short and long term, this is a good person, number one, and a good football player that at any point - whether it’s a guy we’ve had experience with, in this case Jeremy, or any other player, we’re always going to look to add to this football team; Guys that have the character we’re looking for, the types of skill we’re looking for, the D.N.A. – call it what you want to call it – we’re always looking to add competition at every part of this roster. This is no different, in that situation.

Q: Is there any delicate balance or dance with the idea that you’ve got to be conscious of how you spend your money and age of these players and again, the future versus immediate?
A: There is. There’s great consideration given. We’ve given great consideration like we do. You’ve heard me use the term multiple times, methodical and thorough and it’s no different in this case. There’s no knee jerk reactions. Those are not healthy over time. Usually those put you in a bad position as an organization. In this case, it’s very methodical. It’s not emotional. It’s driven by the short and long term goals and vision of this organization.

Q: How did you feel about [LeSean McCoy] and [Tyrod Taylor] sort of publicly recruiting [Jeremy Maclin] and did that put any pressure on you and [Brandon Beane] to get him in here?
A: We don’t look at it that way. I appreciate the fact that those guys know and respect [Jeremy Maclin] in this case. [LeSean McCoy] invited me to go to the game the other night. I was waiting with my bags out front but he never showed up for the game. Anyway, that’s a healthy dynamic that we have with a lot of our players. They’ve got to know that they have a voice too and there’s ownership. I respect that and that’s healthy. That said, we’ve got to do what we feel is in the best interest of this team.

Q: Did what [LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor] had to say lead you guys to bring him in?
A: We’re always going to listen. I would like to believe the good Lord gave me two ears and one mouth, so I would like to think I’m a good listener. That said, like I said before, we’re going to do what’s in the best interest of this football team. Sometimes those decisions are going to be agreed with and sometimes they’re not. Leadership at times is lonely and I’m ok with that.

Q: Would you prefer not to hear [LeSean McCoy] tell everyone in a video the expectation that [Jeremy Maclin] is a 1,300-1,400-yard receiver with 90-100 catches? It’s still a negotiation and that doesn’t seem to help the Bills’ bargaining position very much.
A: Yeah, you know, the times have changed – 20 years in the league and times have changed. My job has changed, [the media’s] job has changed. We do what we can to bring good players on board so we will see where this goes.

Q: You’ve had Gerald Hodges here for a little bit. What are your initial impressions and how many positions is he being asked to learn?
A: [Gerald Hodges] has done a great job, he really has. He’s a veteran player that has skins on the wall in terms of the amount of time he’s played in the league. He’s got a number of starts. He’s done a nice job. We are really impressed with the way he’s adjusted schematically in just a couple of practices. Last week, he took it upon himself to learn the system and came in this week and showed us that he studied last week when he wasn’t in the building. That’s been a good start.

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Q: What was the reason to release Kolby Listenbee at this point in time?
A: We just felt for us, we are looking to build this roster. You know [Kolby Listenbee] is a good player and a good person. You’ve heard me say this before, it’s a tough part of the job. For us, it was just about us going in a different direction at this point.

Q: Sean, did you have any conversations with Andy Reid about Jeremy Maclin? Because it’s a little surprising that he kind of –
A: We’ve had some communication with Andy – with Coach Reid – and those conversations will stay between he and I at this point.

Q: You didn’t want to drive to Chicago to pick up Shareece [Wright]?
A: [laughs] Yeah, what a story. That, to me, speaks to the beginning signs of building a football team – building a team. When you’ve got an individual, in this case, that takes it upon himself to go through any means necessary to be here for meetings and practice. That’s – I love that. I don’t love the fact that whatever amount was paid for that [was paid], but that’s between him and Uber at this point. I know that Uber – we’ve got that partnership moving forward which I’m sure everyone’s excited about, but I just love the story. We all should. That’s what building a team is all about, is what guys do because they love one another, right? At the end of the day, he knows that he’s accountable to his teammates and he knows he needs to be here and, to me, that action spoke volumes about who he is and who we are.

Q: How did he look in practice that day?
A: He looked fine, yeah.

Q: When did Zay Jones return and how has he looked since he’s been back?
A: Yeah, Zay has gotten back on the field this week for us and each day he’s done a little bit more and so today, it’ll be full participation. He’s done a nice job and again, for a young player to go through what he went through in his first couple of days, the way he handled it mentally I thought was phenomenal. Yes, he was disappointed, more so disappointed in letting – he felt, from an accountability standpoint – his teammates [down]. That was hard on him, but credit to him. He got himself right mentally and then got himself right, now, physically with the work he put in.

Q: Though you’d prefer to have Zay and Sammy on the field at this point together through OTA’s, are you encouraged at the fact that you should be able to see them at least by the start of training camp and you’ll get a feel for what your offense will look like as a whole as you project it?
A: I think I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d love to see them now, together. That said, things takes time and so this is not the time to rush that process so I want to make sure that they’re both in a good place – mentally, physically and spiritually – then we get them on the field at the same time and we go from there.

Q: How do you envision the linebackers lining up now that Reggie Ragland is healthy?
A: Are you saying specific to names? Or -

Q: Yeah, like how will things shake out with Reggie [Ragland], Gerald [Hodges] and Preston [Brown]?
A: Right now, Reggie, Gerald and Preston are all working inside. Gerald is working a little bit outside as well, so over time, we’ll know. That’ll work itself out. Competition is good and healthy for all of us.

Q: How much do you envision Preston and Reggie getting time outside as well?
A: Not as much right now. They’re our middle linebacker position – our Mike linebacker position. At the end of the day, we’re going to play the best players. The best eleven will play and if that means that one of them moves, then that’ll work itself out over time.

DT Marcell Dareus

Q: What’s life been like with Mike Waufle?
A: It’s been challenging. Dealing with an ex-marine, he’s not playing any games or cutting any corners. But it’s well-deserved; we need it, we are trying to be the best we can possibly be. He’s a hell of a coach and we are excited to have him.

Q: Overall, with a changing coach, give us your take on Sean McDermott’s program and how different it is from maybe anything else you’ve been a part of.
A: I mean, the structure alone is pretty detailed. I don’t want to say that he’s a micro-manager but he makes sure that we are very sharp on what we are doing. They are really on us and they are paying a lot of attention to a lot of small details and making sure we are doing the right things. I’m happy for him to be in and just really excited to see what we can do.

Q: Does it fit you? In some ways, you seem like a guy who wants to do things more your way. Do you feel like this is uncomfortable?
A: Honestly, I wouldn’t know until we get some toys on to go play. Until we get some pads, the helmet, then once the ball gets turned over….This is all fun, we are getting the fundamentals down. That’s cool with me. Once we start making some noise out there, that’s when we will figure out what we are doing.

Q: How happy or excited are you to have [Kyle Williams] back? I know there were some questions about whether or not he was going to be back.
A: That is a great weight lifted off my shoulders. To play with a guy like that, words can’t express how I feel for him just coming back and playing with us again. He doesn’t have to do it but he loves the Buffalo Bills, he’s doing it for the team and he wants to see us get across that threshold. I’m just happy for him to come back and I’m just excited.

Q: How about the system itself? That’s a change from the defensive system from what you were in. If you could talk specifically about your role and what you were in and how you feel about it, one way or the other.
A: Realistically, I really can’t say until we get to camp and get some pads on. Right now, we are just going over a real basic, vanilla form of our playbook, so we can get communication down. I’m just really excited for camp so we can really see what we’ve got going on. It’ll be a better understanding of what I will be doing.

Transcripts courtesy of the Buffalo Bills

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