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What They Said: Bills coach Sean McDermott, DE Jerry Hughes, QB Nathan Peterman & QB Keith Wenning at Tuesday's practice

Head coach Sean McDermott

Q: Where does Tyrod stand?

A: Concussion protocol.

Q: And T.J. [Yates]?

A: Same.

Q: Any sense, do you get when a guy is on concussion protocol, do you get progress reports, and if so, what are they like?

A: Very little, very little information flows out of that, part of the situation. We respect what’s going on there, they’re in the protocol, and basically that’s the information I get every day.

Q: What would the plan be for quarterback play Thursday night?

A: Well we brought in Keith Wenning and we have Nate [Peterman] as well, so we’re going to monitor that. A lot of it depends on how quickly Keith gets up to speed, which it’s a short week so there’s a challenge. But Keith’s been in the system before in Baltimore and that was the main attraction with Keith. He’s a good football player, so I look forward to seeing him in action Thursday night. How much remains to be seen. The balance of Nate and Keith is what we’re driving at right now for Thursday night.

Q: How much hesitation do you have playing Nate knowing that he may need to start week one?

A: Yeah, we’re on top of that. You’re right on with that, it’s something that we need to stay on top of, and get the best feel we can with respect to Tyrod and T.J., and how that affects week one. We have to monitor that very closely.

Q: Do you quantify how difficult a task Wenning is going to happen? He has to come in off [of] one day basically of playing an NFL preseason game. Still a love bullets game with one day of figuring who’s what and who’s where?

A: It’s a challenge, it is a challenge regardless if a guy has been in the system or not, it’s a huge challenge. He’s up for it though, he’s bright-eyed, was here yesterday most of the day working with the coaches. The terminology I think is fairly familiar to him, so that’s a head start. Just off two, three days max, to go out there and play, it’s going to be a challenge, but he’s up for the challenge.

Q: What are some of the other challenges that you have in the next week and a half or so as you get ready? You have a quarterback situation, you have cuts that need to be made, you have the [Marcell] Dareus situation, there have been a lot of different moving parts with this team in a short amount of time?

A: There’s always a lot of moving parts this time of year in the NFL. In particular in the first year. The biggest one is making sure we get the right guys on this roster, that we get the right 53. Doesn’t mean it’s “X” amount at this position, it has to be “X” amount at that position. We’re looking for, and we made it clear, good football players, and guys that do things the right way.

Q: It’s an immediate thing obviously because there’s a season ahead of you, you’re also always having your eye on the bigger picture, is that also a part of your evaluation now?

A: It is, and to me it would be irresponsible for not to have our eye on the long term and the bigger picture. Certainly, we want to have short-term success, and nobody wants it more than I do, and the players in our locker room. We work extremely hard, those guys work extremely hard. That said, we have to always keep the big picture in mind, and understand what we’re trying to do. And building a football team the right way, you keep both in mind all the time.

Q: Last time we spoke you said you had yet to talk to Marcell because of the timing of the day, and the day before. What were your takeaways from that conversation and were you appeased by what he had to say?

A: I believe he spoke to you guys the other day, the other afternoon after practice. As he mentioned to you, we’re on the same page. We spoke after practice, just before he spoke with you guys, we are on the same page moving forward as he mentioned the other day.

Q: He said he’s buying in now, does it trouble you that why wasn’t he buying in then? That was one thing that stood out to me, why is he buying in now, what about before, why wasn’t that before?

A: That’s a question for him. What I’m concerned about is that we’re on the same page, whether it’s before, now, or moving forward, we’re on the same page. Alignment is a big part, being on the same page, alignment is a big part. That communication that builds alignment is what we’re focused on, it’s what I was focused on the other day after practice. That is important, the rest of it, that’s more of a question for him.

Q: Do you think you’ve been clear? We don’t get to watch your meetings or interactions with the players necessarily, do you think your kind of clear on your expectations for all of these guys, and if he failed to meet an expectation, at least in the instance that prompted you to send him home? Were you shaking your head like I made this clear however many times or do you question yourself in deliberating that message when guys don’t get it?

A: As a leader, you always want to have great clarity around any message. Communication, building alignment, that’s a big part of leadership. As we are in first year, we’re in our first “X” amount of months, that’s a big part of the job, is building alignment around what’s expected, building clarity around what’s expected. Sometimes you need to circle back and reinforce the message. That’s been a part of the process in respect to the situation, and we’ll continue to do that when and where necessary.

Q: Would you expect the need to do that with a player that’s been in the league that long? We’ve been around him for a while, longer than you have obviously, tell me one thing that we don’t understand about Marcell Dareus?

A: That’s a question for Marcell. I’ve been around the league a long time, so I know some of the things that had gone on before we got here. That said, as I mentioned the other day, we start with a clean slate, everyone starts with a clean slate. I thought we got off to a good start, and I look forward to gaining that momentum back again as we move forward.

Q: What I’m saying I guess, is there something that is misunderstood about this guy? I know it’s an awkward question, I get that. I wonder if people should expect more from him at this stage of his career to be where he’s supposed to be at the time he’s supposed to be there and all of the other things that come with him; all of the other baggage.

A: Well, as a member of this football team, everyone’s held accountable. Myself included and that’s where it starts. I have expectations for this football team and that goes to everyone on this football team and it starts with me. I think consistency is important. Consistency of message, consistency of performance on the field and off the field, and that’s really what we’re looking for and the rest should take care of itself.

Q: Coach, can we get an update on Jordan Matthews? Not watching the full practice like we were at training camp, is there any consideration for him on Thursday?
A: He’s still on a limited basis. He’s out there. He’s getting some work. We’re still cautiously optimistic and in saying that, he’s not full-go yet. He’s not full contact yet. That said, we like the direction he’s going and I think Jordan has had the right mindset, the right approach. I love his energy and he’s developing good rapport with the quarterbacks at this point.

Q: Cautiously optimistic for Thursday or for week one?

A: Week one.

Q: There are kind of two philosophies when it comes to nurturing a quarterback. Put him out there and see what he can do and let him learn in a game, or put him in when he’s ready. Which one of those do you tend to subscribe to, or do you think it’s a case-by-case scenario?

A: I do. I think it’s on a case-by-case basis. In this case, you always want to make sure, in my opinion, you always want to make sure that you have an offensive line to protect him. I’ve seen that enough around the league, where you put a quarterback out there, a young quarterback, and it’s hard to evaluate the quarterback [and] the player because he’s not given a line in front of him to protect him so that, to me, is step one. From there, it’s how the quarterback develops. We’re fortunate right now that we have a veteran quarterback in Tyrod that is our starter. Nate, we continue to bring along in his development process at this time. I’ve been happy with Nate. I think he’d be the first one to tell you that there would be plays from the other night that he would want back, and that’s all part of the learning process. As you’ve heard me say before, the respect for that process is, in this case, is important.

Q: Where are you right now as far as the competition between [John] Miller and [Vladimir] Ducasse? With this fourth preseason game coming up, we’re assuming not a lot of starters, if any, are going to play. Have you made up your mind or where does that stand?

A: Those two are still working extremely hard. That is still an open competition. Both of those individuals, both of those players will play Thursday night.

Q: When you talk about Peterman, do you see anything poise-wise and maturity-wise that makes you think he plays a little bit older than he is? Some of that could even come from, yeah, he’s married. He doesn’t seem like a kid. Does any of that factor into it?

A: I don’t know [about] the marriage of it, but yeah. I did like his poise. As we went through the draft evaluation, you get a chance to interact with some of these players and that was a positive in terms of Nate’s – what he’s been through in his life and where he is at the present moment. We are talking about a mature rookie that’s been through things through his collegiate career and he won some big games coming off of that big situation where he transferred from Tennessee to Pitt. He is poised, he’s intelligent, I like his command and how he displayed himself the other night running with the 1’s. Again, all the information I was getting from the huddle was that he wasn’t flinching. To me, that’s the first step. It’s one thing to go out there, it’s another thing to go out there and carry yourself with that type of poise [and] composure to where the team is drawn to you and you can move the offense.

Q: Can you talk to us a little bit about the Reggie Ragland trade? A timeline on that and how that evolved?

A: Reggie’s a good person and he’s a good football player. That’s the hard part about this business. Talking with a young man yesterday and really appreciate everything that he gave us. He was working extremely hard and those are tough decisions. I think he’ll do well and for us, it was a good situation because it was a good situation for Reggie also. We wish him the best and we expect big things from him.

Q: Was it just a matter that, you know, having very little experience in a 4-3 defense, it was the wrong fit for him?

A: Yeah, I don’t necessarily think it’s the wrong fit. We’re into good football players and Reggie’s a good football player. It was the right fit for us in terms of the trade. It worked out, I think, for both sides, Kansas City and ourselves. That’s why we pulled the trigger. We feel like we got a good draft pick and we know how important those are for building this football team for many years to come.

Q: I remember you talking to us in Phoenix and raving about his leadership. What happened where he fell behind? It felt like he was going to be challenge for the first team, and he ended up with the third team. What happened with Reggie?

A: I think it was more, in this case, what Preston Brown did. Preston Brown has had a great camp. He has proven himself as a starting middle linebacker for us. I like the way the defense is playing and so it’s more of what Preston did, rather than what Reggie didn’t do in this case.

Q: Was there any reluctance to give up somebody that can actually help Kansas City, the team that you traded with and you have their first round pick? If you help them in any way, their pick is a little worse for you.

A: No, you’re right. That’s a fair question. That’s always the, as you evaluate a trade and where you come out on a positive or negative side, that’s always part of the computation, so to speak. You look at that [and] you have to look at it from every different angle. We did that. We just, again, felt like it was right for us at this time and right for Reggie at the same time.

DE Jerry Hughes

Q: Jerry how tough is it for you to see all the devastation down in Houston while being up here?

A: Very tough, because I grew up from that area, new territory there that’s really getting affected by the flood water. I understand what the people of Houston are going through at this time--just to see them struggling, people are actually writing social security numbers on their ID’s. They’re trying to wait out the water, might not have boat access, some people might not be able to swim. It’s great to see people actually helping out, so I wanted to contribute and do my part, help out a fellow American, a fellow Texan at this time right now.

Q: How much contact have you had with people down there that are going through this?

A: Every day I’ve been texting my family and friends, asking them to give me an hourly update. I know power may be cutting on and off, I know cell phone batteries might be low, but trying to get everyone to check in to get an update on their status, seeing how they’re doing. I know with the storms like this it’s hard to get an update on what roads are drivable in these conditions. With sinkholes being the number one emergency. I’m trying to give them updates, [with] what I’m getting off the internet, just passing it around so that way can find safe ways to evacuate and get to higher and dryer land.

Q: Talk about your contribution and what you’d like to see from other people?

A: Every little bit can help. Like I said, there are people who are waiting to be rescued, kids who are sleeping on countertops, people who can’t swim. The water is up to people’s homes now, you are in fact getting evacuated boats and jet skis. Whatever you can contribute can certainly help to go a long way towards the Red Cross, to the men and women who are down there in Houston, sacrificing their lives to help whoever’s in need.

Q: Your family is okay Jerry?

A: Yes, my family is okay. My in-laws are doing fine, they’re in a hotel safe and dry. My mom and dad, they’re actually doing fine, they’re in a white-zoned area. They’re hanging tight, and waiting out this whole storm.

Q: Have you talked to any of your fellow teammates at all about possibly matching your donation, or even the money that’s going to be donated for every sack?

A: Yes, I was going to address that with them today after practice. I wanted to let everybody come into work and get focused on the task at hand first. Then, address them after practice once we have time to unwind after we get done with our film session.

QB Nathan Peterman

Q: I know Jordan [Matthews] is trying to work his way back, I know he’s not full contact yet, it’s been a couple of weeks now that he’s gotten himself back in the flow, how has he acclimated himself with the rest of the group and the timing game and the passing game?

A: Great, he’s a really talented guy. Even from day one, back in camp, he was out there making plays. He’s out there now trying to get back in shape, every day after practice [for] 30 minutes. When to throw it, and catch every route, basically in the book just trying to get in shape. He’s going to be a good one when he comes back.

Q: How’s your arm holding up here with the extra work because not only now but as you were saying, you have guys throw and catch afterward, you have to be like, don’t forget there’s just two of us right now?

A: Right, it’s good. I love throwing so that’s good, and we have a great training staff that gets me ready to.

Q: Have they given you any indication about how much playing time you will see, not really knowing whether or not Tyrod’s [Taylor] going to be available for week one, and wanting to keep you healthy in case you do have to start week one?

A: A little bit, but I think it’s based on that. A lot of things will change, I’m sure. But for me, it’s kind of the same thing as every week. I’m going to be ready to play whenever that comes and try to do the best I can.

QB Keith Wenning

Q: What is the challenge of being in this situation, having such little chemistry with this team?

A: It’s tough, I know a couple people here, that’s about it, some guys I’ve been on other teams with. Coach Dennison, his offense, I’m pretty familiar with. That’s been the biggest thing, as long as I know the plays, I know how to run the offense, I’m comfortable. But as far as knowing the tendencies of the receivers and lineman, and the lineman hearing my cadence and stuff like that, that’s the tough part. Today was a big step in practice, I felt like I had a good practice, was able to throw it around a little bit and get a feel for some of the receivers and the running backs. I know tomorrow will be another day. Thursday I’ll have to do my best. I’m confident in these guys, seeing them one day they’re going to be fine, I’m going to be fine. We’ll be fine and I’m excited for it.

Q: It’s probably not the fairest way to prove yourself, but it’s the only shot you have right now.

A: Right, and I’m going to take every opportunity and run with it. That’s the big thing, knowing the offense and being able to move and run the offense successfully. I’m just going to take it one play at a time, one series at a time, trust the guys around me, know that they’ll do their job, and try to do my best.

Q: Have they given you any indication how much you’ll be playing on Thursday?

A: They really haven’t said anything yet. I think they said it’ll be a decent amount of time, they haven’t given me any particular time or anything like that. Whether they tell us tomorrow, or come Thursday, we’ll have to find out.

Q: What was your first impression of fellow quarterback Nate Peterman?

A: He’s a good guy, I met him this morning. Talking with him throughout the day, throughout meetings, and out at practice. I think he’s really bright, he’s ahead of you when it comes to the game of football and everything like that. I’m excited to work with him and the rest of the quarterbacks in the room, and Coach Culley and Coach Dennison. It’s been good so far.

Q: Where have you been and what have you been doing?

A: Earlier this year I was in New York with the Giants. Once I got released I was back in my hometown of Coldwater, Ohio, I was training, throwing, going back to Ball State and throwing with receivers, working a little bit on the side. But I work out twice a day, and stay[ing] ready. I’ve had a couple workouts with the Colts and other teams. I’ve been throwing and been ready, waiting for an opportunity, and finally an opportunity has come.

Provided by the Buffalo Bills.

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