Bills coach Sean McDermott addressed the media Wednesday as the Bills began to prepare for the Dolphins.
Opening Statement: Alright, good morning. We’ll go ahead and get started, open it up to questions.
Q: What can you tell us about the quarterback situation?
A: With respect to… Injuries?
Q: I’m sorry. Health, and do you know who your starter will be?
A: Yeah. When healthy, Tyrod [Taylor] will be our starter. He’s made some progress. He’ll get most of the work today in practice, not quite all the work though.
Q: So at this point, with Nate [Peterman] being in the concussion protocol, will Joe Webb have to be your number two guy for now?
A: At this point, correct.
Q: Is Nate still in the concussion protocol?
Q: At any point, has he made that step to be able to practice yet?
A: As part of the concussion protocol process, he’ll be out at practice, but he is not out of that protocol yet.
Q: So he’s going to test his arm and he’ll be participating in practice?
A: He’s in the concussion protocol.
Q: Will he be limited or completely out?
A: He’ll be in the concussion protocol and as part of that protocol process, then he’ll be limited through practice because of that.
Q: During all of this, have you given any thought to [signing] Colin Kaepernick?
Q: How close, Sean, was Tyrod at the end of last week? Was he able to move around enough to where if he had to have played on Sunday, he could have played?
A: We got close. Yeah, we got close. It just got to the point where, again, like I said before, he wasn’t able to function and then execute based on a lot of things. But we’re moving in the right direction.
Q: From a game plan standpoint with all this uncertainty, how difficult is it when you’re not quite sure who your guy is going to be on Sunday, especially at that position?
A: Well, it’s a little bit challenging. That said, we’ve faced challenges all year. I think the biggest thing for us is the communication around it and making sure we’re up to the minute on the updates with the health of the quarterback position. I’m confident we’ll be fine.
Q: Can you give us an update on any other players who may be limited or out today?
A: Yeah. Andre Holmes will be out today with a little bit of neck stiffness. Kyle Williams, similar to last week with his groin [injury]. Those two will not practice. Cordy Glenn is a question mark. He’s got a little bit of an illness this morning. Limited will be Nate Peterman, like I mentioned with the concussion protocol, Kelvin Benjamin, Charles Clay, and that should be about it. Seantrel Henderson, I’m sorry, he’ll be limited as well.
Q: You mentioned Kyle Williams. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you guys talked before he decided to come back way back in the offseason. Now that you’re in the last quarter of the year, has he been, intangible-wise, everything that you thought he would be?
A: Oh, yeah. I mean, he’s – you know, I knew of Kyle and his skill set on the field certainly before I got here. From an intangible, off the field standpoint, leadership-wise, [he’s] off the charts. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Kyle and his family and he’s a big part of what we do here.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the run defense [and] where it stands right now? You went through that awful period where you lost the three games in a row. It seems like it’s gotten a little bit better but there’s still some issues, and now you’ve got a team that ran the ball really well the other night with Kenyan Drake. Just kind of give us a feeling of what your run defense looks like right now.
A: I would say, similar to our team, that we’re a work in progress. When you look at the techniques, we’ve made improvement [and] we’ve made strides. We’re growing and we continue to build towards what we’re trying to become with our run defense, just like our team, with the techniques and doing it on a more consistent basis, more so than anything.
Q: It sounds as though Matt Milano has now jumped up over Ramon Humber on the depth chart. At what point did you see enough from Matt to go, ‘alright, this is his job now as the starter’?
A: Well, I’ll start with Ramon first. I think Ramon has done a lot of good things for this team. Just the way he approached last week, I thought, was all class. Matt did play well. He continues to grow, like a lot of our other players. We’ve got a lot of young guys playing, as I mentioned before, which is good for us moving forward as well. There’s still good competition there. I wouldn’t say that it’s totally a done deal because there’s a good healthy competition and those two make each other better, which is to be expected, really. But Matt is, like he went out first the other day, he’ll be the one to go out there first this week.
Q: When you were going through the process of looking at Matt Milano out of college, what did you see in him that you thought he would be a player in your defense and how has he developed over the past couple of weeks?
A: I would say his pedigree, you go back to his background and what different positions he played. He played in space quite a bit and so you saw some of the overall athleticism that we’re seeing today. Smart player, and each game he gets a little bit better, which is important. The ability to self-correct within a game [and] the ability to make a jump from one game to the next in terms of the mental part of the game was big for us.
Q: Jay Cutler was impressive on Monday night. The guy, if things went well for the Dolphins [with Ryan Tannehill] was supposed to be in the broadcast booth this year. As you watch him perform on film, what are some of the things you’re seeing from him and what challenges does he present as an experience-savvy guy?
A: I mean, he’s one of the top quarterbacks around the league, I would say. I don’t think much has changed over the years. You mentioned this year, with his transition there. Strong arm [and] extremely versatile in what he can do obviously moving with the ball in his hands in terms of his feet in the pocket and has great vision for the field and pinpoint accuracy. I mean, he’s as good as [any quarterbacks] there are out there and you saw that Monday night.
Q: From the times that you’ve game planned against him before to what you see now, how big of a difference is it?
A: I really don’t see much of a difference. I think he’s playing at a high level, much like their team. This is a team that was in the playoffs a year ago [and] is where we’re trying to – they’ve been where we’re trying to go as an organization and [they’re] a good football team, a team that was 2-0 against this club last year so we’re going to have our work cut out for us. It should make for an exciting environment and that 12th Man, we look forward to seeing them this weekend.
Q: How handcuffed has this team been with the inconsistencies on offense?
A: You’re talking about?
Q: Just the inconsistencies on offense. How much has that affected the team 13 games into the season and how much is it reflected upon the record, just the simple inconsistencies and difficulties you’ve had in scoring more than two touchdowns a game and getting 300 yards a game?
A: Yeah, there’s been times where we’ve been consistent and to your point, and there have been times, really, where we’ve been inconsistent, where we’ve needed to move the ball more, convert some third downs [and] score more points. Those lead to things where we can open things up a little bit more, and really it comes down to us hurting ourselves with negative plays, penalties, [and] to your point, just some of the inconsistencies overall. But I know these guys are hard at work. We’re hard at work getting it corrected and I saw some things the other day, even in the snow game, where we opened it up and were able to execute at a high level, which was encouraging.
Q: Coach, LeSean McCoy is 39 yards away from 10,000. I know you’re about the team, but that’s pretty rarified air. How aware is the team of it and pride they would take in getting them there this week?
A: I think they’re aware, No. 1, of our challenge as a team this weekend, as you mentioned overall. But more specifically, kind of as a sidebar, they’re aware of where LeSean stands and that’s part of us moving forward as a team, too, is when you have individual success, that leads to team success. Those types of performances like he had last week obviously helped our team and that’s what we expect of more of him in the future.
Q: Is the passing attack maybe the one thing that’s really been factoring into those inconsistencies on offense and in some ways held this team back?
A: I think it’s been the passing attack at times [and] it’s been the running attack at times. It’s a shared type of deal there. You can probably say it’s been a different thing from time to time but we just have to continue to grow with what we’re doing as a football team, with what we’re doing on offense, defense and special teams. We’ve been here ‘X’ amount of months. We’ve got to continue to build on our foundation and what we’re trying to get established here.
Q: When you go back to your decision to start Nate [Peterman] against the Chargers, was that any indication of your concerns in regards to the passing attack and the inconsistencies overall on offense?
A: Well, really, and I’ve addressed this before, it’s what I felt like our team needed at that time. That’s the decision I made ‘X’ amount of weeks ago.
Q: Miami’s been uncommonly effective on third down defense the last couple of games. Is there anything that you’ve been able to take from the tape that convinces you they’re doing something different that is making them this effective? What do you see there?
A: Well, when you put the skill level of their receivers, tight ends and backs, and I know they lost [Jay] Ajayi a few weeks ago and whatnot, but the backs that they still have are operating at a high level with a veteran, elite quarterback that’s playing well. I think that they become very tough to stop, in particular, on third down.
Q: Sorry, if I wasn’t clear coach. I was looking at the other side of the ball there. Their defense has been getting off the field on third down. They’re like 1-for-24 at giving up third downs to their opponents.
A: Again, personnel; you start up front with the tackle position, in [Ndamukong] Suh, and coming off the edge with [Cameron] Wake, and their other parts to the equation there. It’s a formidable group, and then their linebackers and DB’s are skilled. They do a good job of affecting the quarterback, which has a trickle-down effect to the rest of the team.
Q: With where you guys stand currently, where the playoffs are, and the fact that you guys have all divisional opponents up ahead to end out your season, what has been your message to the team?
A: Really, continue to do what we’ve done; in terms of staying focused on us, staying focused on our process, continue to grow, build and work towards the vision and where we’re trying to go as an organization. I know we recognize there’s noise, and that’s good. It’s a credit to the players and how hard they’ve played, and the coaches and how hard they’ve coached. We’ve made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. That said though, we have to stay true to who we are and focus on what we do. That means, right now, coming off the high from the game and hitting the reset button and getting back down to business so we can earn the right to win come this weekend.
Q: You knew Kyle Williams’ standing among this organization when you got here. How has that compared to actually seeing it play out, especially as a first-year head coach?
A: Like I mentioned earlier, he’s an outstanding player and I think a lot of people know that. What sometimes does not get enough recognition is what he does off the field and the type of man that he is. I’ve said it before, before you win on the field you have to win off the field. I think he embodies that for us, along with a lot of the other players in our locker room. The good part is, it just doesn’t stop there with Kyle. He’s been very valuable for me in terms of the leadership in that locker room.
Q: Did you happen to see that video your staff put together of him mic’d up the other day? You didn’t catch a glimpse of that? It was fun to watch, it embodied what you’re talking about. I don’t know if maybe you laughed about that when you saw it?
A: No, I’ll have to take a look when I get a second.