Here is what Bills coach Sean McDermott had to say Friday, a day after the Bills' loss to the New York Jets.
Q: Update on Zay Jones? How’s he doing?
A: Yeah, he’s still going through the evaluation right now, so that’s where it is right now. I know he did some, he’s walking around and everything so we’ll just see how that goes today.
Q: Taiwan Jones?
A: Yeah. Taiwan’s going to be out for the year. With the right arm, he broke his arm last night and obviously, as you saw, was in a lot of pain so he’s going to be out for the season at this point.
Q: Sean, is there a realistic chance for Charles Clay and E.J. Gaines both to return against the Saints?
A: There is, yeah. There is, absolutely, and they’ve made a tremendous amount of progress. They’ve done some good things, Charles and E.J., I know Charles, for a fact, worked out last night so they’re both heading in the right direction.
Q: Coach, was there a specific game plan in mind for LeSean [McCoy] to have limited touches and snaps? It just seemed like he wasn’t on the field as much last night, especially in the first half, and obviously didn’t have as many touches.
A: Well, he was on the field probably [for] one of the top play times that he’s had all year long. Touches was another thing. We had a hard time getting the run game going, credit to the Jets. Sometimes, with that, comes, you want to adapt and adjust to what they’re doing [and] what they’re trying to take away. That called for, and the situation as well, called for the fewer touches, especially down the stretch.
Q: Was there anything, though, [related] to last week? Because he had like thirty-something touches last week. It’s a short week, obviously. Anything that that had to do with it?
A: No. No.
Q: Coach, with respect to the extra time [after a Thursday night game], I know your players get some down time, but for the coaches, what might be on tap in addition to just getting a head start on New Orleans?
A: Right. Well, we’re going to obviously take our time going through the film today with the players and then revisit it as a coaching staff and follow up in some areas on the film, and continue to communicate with what we did well and what we need to improve on. That’s a lot of areas. From there, we will transition into the Saints. Another good opponent, home game for us, and certainly an elite quarterback. I’ve had a chance to go against them for a number of years in Carolina in the division there and know what Coach [Sean] Payton and Drew Brees bring to the table. Very, very big-time challenge and very good opponent.
Q: Is there any danger in possibly over-reacting to a dramatically bad night just as you might to a dramatically good one? Or do you take it at face value? How do you approach the film evaluation of a game like that?
A: Well, you have to start by being honest with yourself and looking at it, and that starts with me looking at what we did well and what we didn’t do well, so that we can try and copy what we did well and get more of it, and then obviously make the proper adjustments with what didn’t go well. To your question, a consistent approach is the best approach. I know what we did just five days ago. This was somewhat uncharacteristic, I would say, overall of our football team to this point in time. That said though, we have to make the proper adjustments from this game.
Q: Sean, you said it was an uncharacteristic outing for you guys. Considering when the game ended and when you got home, how much sleep did you get before you dug into the film?
A: Well, I started on the plane, on the plane ride home. Looking at the film and trying to learn because I know if I sit there and just stare off into the back of the seat in front of me, I’ll beat myself up and that’s what we do as coaches. That’s the process that goes on. Our video guys do a really good job of getting me the game on the laptop there, on the Surface, and I’m able to start into it pretty quickly there.
Q: Did it make you feel any better?
A: In some areas, it did. In some areas, it did and then in other areas, it just, you just kick yourself because there’s a lot we could’ve done better. Like I said before, that’s my responsibility.
Q: What was your response to Jerry Hughes’ penalty? The one where it was disrespecting the officials in the second half.
A: Yeah, I wasn’t happy about it. Penalties, overall, I’m not happy about and then those types of penalties are not characteristic of how we do things here. It’s hard enough to win in this league and when you do things like that, it’s, I wasn’t very happy about it.
Q: What sort of discipline have you imposed or can you impose on Jerry for that?
A: That’ll be between Jerry and I.
Q: Coach, with respect to the running back position now with Taiwan Jones out for the year, are you seeking someone with a similar skill set? I know he brought a speed element to that obviously, and special teams as well, or are you just looking for the best guy you can come up with? Maybe it’s Joe Banyard.
A: Right. Brandon [Beane] and I spoke about it a little bit this morning in terms of the overall roster [and] the running back position, certainly with Taiwan’s situation and those conversations will continue today and the next couple of days. We’ll come up with the right formula for us moving forward.
Q: With respect to Tyrod [Taylor] under duress pretty much from start to finish, and I know that this isn’t the only stat that you evaluate a quarterback on, but the fact that he’s got over 70% completion under the duress that he was under from start to finish, can you just maybe tell us what that says to you?
A: I think he continues to develop as a quarterback and he took a step forward in some areas last night. I thought he threw the ball, he was decisive at times, and threw the ball fairly accurate most of the night with a presence in his face. There are some things that I know he wants back and he can learn from as well. We win as a team, we lose as a team, and the great part about these group of men is they’re in this room, in the meeting room there, now and they care. I know that we didn’t get the result that we got last night that we want for ourselves [and] for our fans, but we go back to work, and that’s what we do. This is a building process and sometimes there’s pain, and we experienced a lot of that last night. That’s not fun. Sometimes you have to go through adversity to grow. That’s the most important thing that we can focus on and control right now, is what we do with it. We’ve got to get our focus on those areas where we can grow and learn. Some of those are fundamentals, some of those are technique, some of those are on me from a coaching standpoint. We have to continue to learn and grow and use this to make us into a better, stronger football team moving forward.
Q: You did a really good job, your team has, in tackling this year. Last night, obviously, [it was] a little bit different. Anything you can pinpoint about why the tackling was breaking down last night?
A: Nothing in particular. It’s going back to the fundamentals bucket. It’s one of those deals where if you don’t stay on it every week in practice every day, and I’m not saying we didn’t, it’s just, it rears its ugly head just like other fundamentals. This game is so fundamentally-based and you know, yourself, as a coach that that’s what happens. In order to play well on defense and special teams, you have to tackle well and then you have to use your hands to get off blocks. It’s a game of [what] they call hand violence and you’ve got to be able to play with your hands on both sides of the ball.
Q: What was your reaction to Richie [Incognito]’s comments after the game after Thursday night games being completely unfair? He had some other words for it as well.
A: Well, I’m just focused on, really, our football team. They had the same time to prepare that we did and that’s really what I’m focused on, is how we handled things and how we can get better. That’s in every area of our football team.
Q: With that in mind, handling the short preparation from a coaching standpoint, and this was your first go-around as a head coach there, in any way do you think that got away from you? Were there aspects of it that you now look back and say, or just maybe, prepare it differently because of how it went?
A: Yeah, that’s really the first thing I did. You know me well enough by now to know that the very first thing I did after the game was to say ‘hey, what can I do differently?’ That starts with our process of what was our schedule, do we have the right schedule, did we work out enough times, did we work out too much? Those are the things that you inventory. You go back and you do some self-check and self-analysis on my part of it, in terms of the schedule, and all of the things that happened before the game, and what we can learn from this. If we have a Thursday game, or a short week that comes up another time, how can we get better in our process of operation. I think that’s where it starts, in terms of the evaluation off the field, and then you look at on the field. So that, I think common sense wise, is the right thing to do there.
Q: I think there was a couple of times where you guys tried some screens, to kind of slow down there pass rush. Was there a reason you didn’t turn to that a little bit more in light of the consistent pressure they were giving?
A: There [are] some things we can, as we look at it, that we can do differently there. To your point, look to slow them down, I thought there were some things we could do there. I thought we had success with some of those areas, as you mentioned. That’s all part of the learning for us as a staff and as a team.
Q: The offensive line in particular, whether it was in the run blocking or pass protection, seemed to be under siege all night. After you looked at that, any particular reason that stands out to you as to why that was?
A: Well a little bit of what [Chris Brown] mentioned. You go back, and first of all, you start off by giving them credit, they played extremely well. After that, you look at what we could have done better. You talk about fundamentals, as I mentioned earlier, technique. You talk about changing the pace, changing the tempo of plays, some of that. Those are areas we can all learn from and grow. As we grow together as a team, and continue to grow, those are things that’ll make us stronger moving forward, if we take the right lessons from these situations that came up last night.
Q: Why did you decide to have Brandon Tate inactive last night?
A: Just a numbers deal, really. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Brandon, just more of a numbers deal. You can only have so many guys active. We had Ramon [Humber] come back, and trying to keep the entire linebacker group active as well.
Q: How do you feel? Do you feel good – Explain your thoughts on Zay Jones, having such a nice game last night, after his early season struggles obviously? There was a lot of chatter about him, he’s seemed a lot better the last two weeks actually, [and] to have last night’s game.
A: Right, there were some bright spots in the game last night, you look at Zay, is one them, as you mentioned. Zay has been going through the process that rookies go through, and rookie wide receivers in particular. I really love the fact and the way [that] he’s stuck with it through the first eight weeks of the season now. The last two weeks, you saw a little bit of a climb last week, and then a bigger climb last night. That’s all a result of his hard work, his dedication, his mental toughness, and the way that the coaches have continued to work with him as well. I was very pleased by the way he played last night.
Q: You mentioned you’re at the midway point of the season now, eight games in, last night aside, how do you assess big picture where this team is at the halfway point?
A: I would say that we’ve certainly done some good things. We are still building, we’re not where we need to be. We’ve won five games, which I’m proud of the fact that we’ve done that. We have to continue to build; continue to do things the right way; continue to evolve as a football team, of what it takes to win on a week-to-week basis; what’s it going to take to win in order to get to the playoffs; what’s it going to take to win when you’re in the playoffs. That’s all, a coming of age of an organization; a coming of age of a football team. Yes, there’s been some darn good things that have happened; great leadership on this football team, great effort. You see, just five days ago, the Brandon Tate type of play. This team has come a long way. There’s a lot we can take from the first half of the season, and yet, there’s a lot of work to be done; as we continue to build; as Brandon [Beane] and his staff continue to build the roster; as we continue to build fundamentals, techniques; and continue to establish the standard of what it takes to sustain winning. That’s what I’m most excited about, that’s where we have to continue to grind.
Q: I know the Jets stayed in base sometimes when you guys went three-wide, Eric Wood kind of pointed to that, making it effective for them to hold those edges. Is that part of the things that you and the coaching staff will dissect over these extra couple of days to come up with solutions, knowing the copycat league that it is?
A: Right, you look at we’re at week eight in the season. There’s probably not too much we haven’t seen or too much that hasn’t been seen by us, looking at it the other way. It is a copycat league. It’s ‘hey, here’s how we’re being defended, here’s how we’re defending other people, what’s the change up, how do we adjust, how do we adapt to what’s out there?’ That’s part of that process of the communication that has to go on, and the week-to-week growth, and evolving as a football team. We’ve talked before about becoming a multi-dimensional football team, not only winning with one phase of the ball or two phases of the ball, but in all three phases, that we continue to grow and evolve.
Q: What were your emotions like leaving the stadium after going through the type of loss that you haven’t been through on a stage that you haven’t been through as a head coach?
A: Well, I’ve been through these types of situations before. [In] being around the league, these situations come. No one ever said it was going to be easy. I’m not backing down at all. I’m confident in this group of men, confident in this football team, and confident in these coaches. They know what’s in front of them, they know the opportunity that’s in front of us, and how far we’ve come, and that we’re building. We’re doing things the right way. I know we didn’t get the result that we wanted last night, and that we wanted for our fan base. I recognize that, and that’s hard, that doesn’t make me feel good. That said, I’m extremely, extremely excited about the opportunity moving forward. As we continue to build this thing the right way, the foundation [that] we’re creating right now will carry us and make us a stronger, better football team moving forward. I’ve been on some good teams, I’ve had a chance and fortunate enough to be on some really good teams over the course of my career so far. As I said to the team, I don’t think there’s been one team where you have smooth sailing for 16 games. If there is, let me know where that’s been. But you look at all the great teams, all the good teams over the years. You go back to – I’ve been on a number of them, where it’s not always going to go your way, but it’s how your respond to the adversity, it’s how you grow from these adverse times that dictates how far you go.
Q: What’s the plan to get Kelvin Benjamin up to speed in time for the Saints?
A: Yeah, he’s going to stick around this weekend here. He’s already been in the playbook, as we spoke about last night a little bit. He’s working hard, and he wants to be around for the weekend, and get up to speed as quickly as possible.
Q: So he should be in the lineup against the Saints?
A: That’s what we anticipate. If everything goes as planned, that’ what we anticipate. We’ll just take it one day at a time right now.