General Manager Brandon Beane and Head Coach Sean McDermott
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Q: To get it out of the way, obviously the big question [is]: LeSean [McCoy], is he here and what’s going to be the procedure moving forward as this thing plays out with his case?
BB: Yeah, LeSean’s here and we’re letting the investigators handle all of that. We’ve done our due diligence and it’s in their hands. He’s ready to roll.
Q: At this point, are you satisfied with what you discovered in your due diligence?
Q: By investigators, do you mean the NFL or the police?
BB: The police, but we’ve talked to the NFL and we’ve done what we can do from our end. It’s in their hands. We’re just focused. LeSean’s here and it’s going to be about football.
Q: Was there a Bills investigation separate from that?
BB: Nothing; it’s a police investigation.
Q: Brandon, is there a concern that, at some point, you may not have LeSean with you for any period of time?
BB: We’re not really thinking in hypotheticals. LeSean’s here and we’re just focused on being here.
Q: Other than that, everyone’s accounted for, right?
Q: Besides Zay [Jones]. Explain Zay first and then give us an injury update on who is not ready to go tonight?
BB: So Zay’s on NFI, a non-football injury. It’s just the same thing he was dealing with with the knee that we had the procedure done, that’s just typical. He can do certain things as a designation so that we can continue to rehab him, but he can’t practice until we take him off; it’s like PUP. He’s progressing well and we just don’t want to rush it. We’ve been patient and he’s not quite ready. As soon as the doctors give him clearance [he can practice]. He’s been chomping at the bit. I know he’ll be as excited as anybody to get back out there.
Q: Sean, what’s your sense of the running back position with at least, for lack of a better term, uncertainty with your number one back and what else you have there. How do you sort of look at it going into camp?
SM: We’re very confident in that position. It’s a position for us of strength. When you look at the guys that are in the lineup, Chris Ivory’s played a lot of football, [Travaris] Cadet, you go down the line, what Taiwan [Jones] can do, what Marcus [Murphy] can do, what Keith [Ford] did [in college], so we’ve got guy’s that we believe in and so we look forward to watching them compete all through training camp.
Q: Matt Milano and Trent Murphy have had some injuries that they were dealing with during mini-camp. I know Matt missed all [of camp] and Trent was really limited. What are their situations?
SM: They’re ready to go. We’re going to be smart with a number of our players as we get started here, a number of which are coming off of injury. We’ve always done that in the past, we’ll continue to do that with some of the older players as well and wrap this thing up and try and stay out in front of some things as well.
Q: Knowing you don’t have a time table and continuing to maintain that you don’t have one on Josh [Allen], a lot of the fan focus, a lot of the media focus still is on Josh Allen. Where do you see him progressing and how fast do you see him progressing within the first two weeks before your first preseason game?
SM: We’re going to pick up where we left off in terms of how we rep our quarterbacks. Where we left off in the spring, Josh will work with the threes for the base of the work and AJ [McCarron] and Nate [Peterman] will work with the ones and twos for the most part. You’ll see Josh in with the ones just like you did at the end of the spring, so we’ll pick it up, as I said, where we left off there. Really, that’s a hypothetical question and I’m not going to get into that. I’m anxious to watch them get out here today, compete just like every position and put their best foot forward. Every day, our players try and learn; every experience, we try and learn from every situation and Josh is no different.
Q: Would it be too much or on the other hand, premature to expect or have any consideration of Josh starting that first preseason game. Would you say it’s between AJ and Nate?
SM: Right now, we’re focused on this practice that’s going to happen in about a half hour here and we’ll just take it one snap at a time.
Q: Sean, how far behind would you say Zay Jones is after missing all of the spring and now whatever he’s going to miss here at the beginning of camp?
SM: I think he’s behind and that’s a tough deal that he’s gone through and, that said, Zay’s a guy [who is] a positive young man and has tremendous mental toughness. Our trainers and Zay have worked extremely hard to get him to where he is today and then he’ll continue to work hard as we move forward., obviously, not being with the team on the field as we go through practices, but going through his rehab, so on and so forth.
Q: Brandon, you said he’s been chomping at the bit. Is that indication that his time on NFI might be short lived or do we know? Do we have an idea?
BB: I mean, if you ask him, it probably would be, but we’re probably holding him back more than he’s holding himself back. We’ve tried to be patient. With those things, the last thing you want is to have a setback right now, not that you couldn’t, but we’re just trying to be smart and get him there. He’s getting a lot of mental work and he stayed here the whole summer. Most of these guys got a vacation - Zay’s vacation was rehabbing, which is not easy. He’s in a good frame of mind, I think, and super positive despite the setback of having to have that procedure.
Q: Do you think he’s being held back by the injury from March when he was in [Los Angeles]?
BB: I’m not going to get into what it is. It was an injury and so he had a rough offseason, but we’ve moved on and we’re ready to go.
Q: Sean, did you have to address the team at all in regards to the LeSean McCoy situation and what went into the decision to let him continue to be a part of this team while this whole thing plays out?
SM: Well, with respect to the first part of your question, we address a lot as a team and that’s what teams do. They’re a family. The good teams that I’ve been around, you can talk things through and move forward and that’s what we plan to do. Like Brandon mentioned earlier, LeSean is focused on this practice just like the rest of our football team. That’s really where our focus is right now.
Q: Does the nature of these accusations concern you from a character standpoint? What you hold as a standard for your players and to have a player, at least at this point, publicly accused of doing things that do not seem to be aligned with that?
SM: Any time I’ve mentioned this to you guys before we went on vacation or took the summer break, I’m always concerned about every single one of our players, and that includes my staff. It’s kind of like being a parent, you worry about things and you worry about, in this case, with my kids I worry about my kids. Really, like I said before, LeSean’s focus is on this practice. Let me also say [that this] is a situation that we take very seriously because of the nature of the situation. That said, as Brandon mentioned, we’ve done our part, looked into what we needed to look into, and, as an organization, feel that we can move forward at this point in time.
Q: Sean, are you prepared to answer [to] this McCoy issue every time we meet? It’s got to be- I mean, it’s out there and it’s not going to go away until it’s resolved. Is it going to be a distraction to go at this every day?
SM: Well, that’s part of the job, right? Things come up throughout the season. You’ve been around the NFL and professional sports like I have and we talk as a team a lot about things that come up that try and pull a team apart, pull a family apart, no different in homes, right? Some things you don’t anticipate, some things you do anticipate. You have to address them and get them out in the open and move forward. We’ll do whatever it takes to keep our team focused and that’s my job.
Q: Brandon, is Dez Bryant someone you would be interested in bringing in here?
BB: I’m not closing any doors; same as the answer back in the spring. [He is a] very talented player. We’re focused on who we’ve got here right now, but things change often in this business and I’m not closing that avenue.
Q: How does your offensive line look without Eric Wood?
SM: Well we’ll see. We’re about to hit the practice field for the first time other than this morning’s walkthrough. I’ll say this, as a team, I feel like our players handled the offseason in terms of their conditioning well to put themselves in position to get a lot of work in here, which is what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to make sure we’re focused and it appears that they are. It’s a group that loves to work hard, so I’m anxious to see this [and] get our first practice under our belt this evening.
Q: Sean, you came in here last year and no one outside of here expected this team to be a playoff team. You guys made the playoffs. Coming into this year, I think the perception is that [the team] is maybe not a playoff team again. Do you pay attention to any of those expectations? Do you address it, either of you, with the team, when it comes to coming into this season after what you did last year?
BB: No, you can’t worry. I’ve been a part of teams that have been predicted to win the Super Bowl, so it goes either way. You’ve got to just focus on what you can control. Sean does a great job of keeping the guy’s focus on [the notion that] you can’t worry what anybody else thinks or says, you control the journey, you control the destiny. To answer what he was asked earlier about adversity, every season has adversity [and] things that can be distractions. It’s how you handle it and it’s the family atmosphere that we’ve tried to create here on how we’ll handle it. Unfortunately, we got hit with something before the guys started, but in some ways, that’s good. We’re going to knock that out and be focused on camp here and getting started.
Q: Sean, can you use that at all? As extra [encouragement]? In terms of the way others perceive the team.
SM: We don’t worry too much about that. Obviously, people have their opinions. This is the time of year where you see a lot of people projecting and ‘which team, which player’. That’s your job; we respect that and we certainly appreciate the stories you right about our players and the good things that are going on, but really we’re just focused on practice.
Q: Sean, when it comes to, and I hate to label it as the ‘LeSean Mccoy thing’, but you said, “we’ve done our part and as an organization feel like we can move forward at this point.” What was it that reassured you that you could move forward, that you could move comfortable? Was it speaking to the police, speaking with the NFL, speaking with McCoy or/and all of the above?
SM: I’ll just say, all of the above. Again, when things come up, our leadership team gets together and we talk. We’ve done our due diligence, at least to this point, speaking with the people that we needed to speak with, including some of the ones that you mentioned and that’s what we did as the early part of the situation unfolded.
Q: So it’s fair to say that you’ve been reassured?
SM: We’re moving forward.
Q: Sean, did you consult with Terry and Kim [Pegula] on deciding whether or not LeSean would continue to be a part of the team?
SM: We did. They’re involved in the day to day operations, just like Brandon and I are obviously. We keep them informed and they’re extremely involved in what we do, in the decisions we make, not only in this situation but in all situations.
Q: On a day to day with LeSean out, how do approach that? Do you have to be a little bit more understanding with what he’s going through? From a personal standpoint, how are you going to approach that?
SM: Really, I think part of being a coach is meeting players where they are and also knowing what they’re going through, whether it be LeSean’s situation or another one of our players. That’s my job to keep the pulse of the team and also know what’s going on in some of my player’s lives as best I can and sharing. I think we’ve done a good job of that to this point and we’ll continue to do that. We’ve got a strong group of leaders on this football team, many of whom you know already and I rely heavily on those guys to connect my message, keep the pulse of the team, communicate with me, and we’ll continue to do that moving forward.
Q: Do you see yourself treating him any differently than maybe last year because this has impacted him in a negative way? It’s understandable.
SM: Like I said, every situation’s different. I’m going to make sure our guys are focused when they take the field, when they’re in the classroom and always aware of what they’re going through off the field as well. It’s important that we’re focused as a football team when we take [to] this field in about 20 minutes.
Q: Sean, is there a date that you have in your mind that you’d like to have a starting quarterback in place or will you even make [the decision] week one against the Ravens if you have to?
SM: Every situation’s different. I don’t think there’s a perfect way out there and a perfect set date and time to name a starter. No different than a lot of positions. I get the quarterback position’s a little bit different in some ways. We’re in the middle of a competition here and we’ll see how it goes. We’re going to gather as much information as we can from what goes on on the grass and what goes on off the field. We’ll move forward when we feel the time is right. That said, I understand where you’re coming from and I mean, it would be nice to get a pretty good feel early on. We’ll take it one day at a time at this stage.
Q: Given the latitude that the NFL has, it doesn’t have to follow along with the reports or what the police have to say. In a situation like this, how much is the NFL in communication with you so that way you can plan accordingly based on what their intentions are and how they make of the situation?
SM: Yeah, I mean we’ve communicated with them and we feel comfortable that LeSean’s going to be here and ready to roll. We don’t see that changing.
Q: Injuries of Logan Thomas and [Malachi] Dupre, are they clear?
SM: They are. There’s a number of guys that were tweaked a little bit with their injuries in the spring and again, credit to our training staff, our strength and conditioning staff, and them, really for putting [in] the time and getting back to be here the first day and put some really good work in. We’ll be smart, too, with those guys as well, among others.
Q: Last year, you had a large portion of camp on that side field and some fans had trouble seeing. With the brand new grass field, is that going to change? Does that affect where practice will be located this year?
SM: We’re going to do our best to stay on that field and expose what we do practice wise to as much of our fanbase as possible. That’s part of the great part about coming to camp is [the chance to] connect with our fanbase. We’re excited to be here, it’s a great facility, great people. I’ve had a chance to be with a couple different organizations and this is one of the best training camp sites that I’ve been a part of and that starts with the people on campus here, so we appreciate everyone’s hospitality and can’t wait to get to work together here.
Q: Sean, how much more comfortable in here are you too with Brandon when he have to deal with, not just the LeSean thing, but anything that happens off the field? How much more comfortable are you sitting here today entering your second season, kind of adding some experience with this?
SM: Every situation is different, right? I would say overall, whether it’s off the field issues or anything, I think, just like anything, when you’re playing the game, the game slows down the more experience you have. No different than if you’re doing and handling due diligence, the game off the field slows down as well in terms of the job in the second year. Doesn’t mean it gets any easier, but the game slows down a little bit, so you learn from things, both good and bad, that have happened in the past in terms of in year one. Brandon and I do a lot of working together on basically trying to improve what we’re doing and evaluate one another and move this organization in the right direction.
Q: When you go and look at your notes from last training camp, in your second year, how much did you change? How much did you say, “I have to tweak this or tweak that?” Was there a lot of a little?
SM: There was a menu of things that we wrote down, not only myself, but the staff, Brandon and his staff, our operations staff, Brendan Rowe, Kevin Meganck do a really good job running camp. There’s always things that you want to improve. By in large, like I said before, this facility, this campus, the people here make it very easy to transition up to camp and get right to work.
Q: I know [in regards to LeSean McCoy] your investigation is over, but [with the league] where does that all stand [eligibility wise]?
BB: We don’t control that, but we have a good understanding that it’s a police investigation and until they complete that, and there’s no timeline with that, those things can be weeks, months, whatever, but we feel comfortable where it’s at. You’ll see LeSean here.
Q: Have you guys have had any conversations with the team about how you’re going to handle the national anthem policy?
SM: Yeah, I mean we basically acknowledge that we’re aware of the conversations going on between the league and the NFLPA and we appreciate the fact that both sides can come together and hopefully come to a good solution here and work together on it.
Q: Brandon, Terry Pegula described you guys as being joined at the hip and the head, when you heard that, did he get it right? That’s a pretty good compliment. You’ve got a year under your belt now in your second camp. How joined are you?
SM: I could use some of the hair that he has [laughs]. Is that what you were about to say [motioning to Brandon Beane].
BB: Something like that. It’s great that Terry sees that. Fortunately for Sean and I, we had six years in different roles, so we didn’t have to have that ‘getting to know you’ courting period so to speak. It’s been great. We have honest conversations and we’re not afraid to say sometimes things that are direct and maybe I don’t like to hear what Sean says to me about something, but we both know it’s for the right reasons for this team and it helps us get to the right answer. I’m glad that Terry sees it that way and I totally agree.
Q: With the transition with new quarterbacks, is there one quarterback that is standing out more than any of the others, particularly AJ McCarron?
SM: Again, it’s early. We’re coming off the spring and the summer break here and we get to take the field here with our first practice. We’ll get a better feel for that in the next couple days and can better answer that questions perhaps. I like all three quarterbacks; they all bring something a little bit similar yet a little bit different to the table. That’s why they’re at camp with us and we’re going to move forward with that.
Q: Sean, in regards to the battles as a whole, are the first few days are kind of acclimating with the system and there’s not a lot of movement in those battles or is it ‘hit the ground running’ and movement could be season within practice to practice?
SM: Yeah, I mean every case is a little different, right? Every player on our roster has got to earn the right to be here. They know that, they understand that and I first learned that being around Brian Dawkins years ago, he’s about to go into the Hall of Fame in a week or two. If he has to earn his job, then we’ve all got to earn our job. With that being said, there’s some movement that happens sometimes in the first couple of days, but you also want to be patient and let the pads come on and they’ll come on in a couple days here, so that’s really how the game’s played, right? We need to be careful not to make major adjustments too early and I’ve learned that from playing with Sal in the golf tournament there. I waited for Sal to get his game back.
BB: Still waiting [laughs]. There’s going to be a bad article on you tomorrow, buddy [laughs].
Running Back LeSean McCoy
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Q: What can you tell us in regards to what happened, about this case about the allegations? We know you denied all those allegations about you, but what can you talk about this case and where it’s at?
A: It’s an open investigation, so I’ll leave it at that. That’s going on right now, but my main focus is here and my teammates, my team, trying to build [us] together at camp, to reach a goal together, and that’s a championship. I’ll let that take care of itself and right now I’m being supportive of my teammates. I’m going to focus this interview more on football questions.
Q: How has this altered your preparation, obviously a little hiccup there?
A: Right now, I’m maintaining focus. I want to be that leader for my teammates. I want to get us in the best shape possible for this upcoming season and that’s it. I’m trying to stay focused.
Q: Did it interrupt any of your training, your focus?
A: The focus, I’m going to focus and grind into it. I want to say 225 [pounds] in the spring and now I’m about 212, 211, so I’ve been training hard, working hard. I’ve been training with Frank Gore, a crafty veteran and trying to learn from him, get different tips, staying in shape, being effective and productive. I want to prolong my career, so still on top of things.
Q: I know you’re focused and I get that, but this has got to be in the back of your mind as a worry.
A: I just told you that. We’re talking about just football. Like I said, I’ve been focused, training hard, the same routines I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing the same thing.
Q: LeSean, we all read your denial on social media when it came up, but what can you say when you’re sitting in front of cameras…
A: One second, I told you, everything is geared [towards] football. I’m only talking about anything football-related.
Q: LeSean, what do you think of the new offensive line, the new players?
A: I think we have a good offensive line. Obviously, Richie [Incognito] leaving, Eric Wood, those guys are big time players, so we’re definitely going to miss them. John Miller is a guy who started and played well. He didn’t play a lot last year, but there years he has played, he’s been very productive. I’m happy to have him back in the lineup. I think it’s an opportunity for guys to step up and make plays. I’ve been there where [I’m] waiting to get my shot, my chance. It’s an opportunity; that’s what it comes down to. We’ll see how those guys do.
Q: Do you get some confidence from the fact that we just heard Brandon Beane and Sean [McDermott] saying that they’re satisfied and they kept using the phrase ‘ready to roll’ with you? It just seems like the move forward with the higher ups in this organization seems very supportive.
A: They’ve been very supportive through everything since I’ve gotten here, [they’ve been] helping me out. They’re backing me up 110 percent. We had a long talk yesterday and we’re moving forward. We’re ready to roll as they were saying. Everything is just geared on making this team better. I want to be there for my teammates, my guys, my coaches. That’s my mindset.
Q: Were you told not to talk about the case? Because we would understand that from a legal standpoint.
A: I just said it like three times, we’re just talking about football right here. That’s what this is about.
Q: You said you had a long talk with Brandon and Sean. This was part of your message, I’m sure, to them, but how assured were you after that discussion?
A: Just to be honest, it was the regular program. [They] just wanted to see how I was doing as a person and how I was feeling. Just wanted to see where my mind was at and basically just keep it about football. It was more about the offense, the team we have, the young guys, how can I be a better leader, a better player. All of those types of things leading up to camp.
Q: LeSean, you said you were at 212 [pounds] I believe. What’s been your playing weight normally? What were you last year?
A: I was a little heavy last year, 213, 214. I think I’m probably untouchable at about 210, 209. In camp I’ll probably lose about three pounds. Hopefully not too much.
Q: You’ve been through a lot in life and in your career, have you been able to pull on some of that during this time right now?
A: Yeah, I’ve been through a lot, but I’m still here. The only thing I can talk about [is that] I’ve been training hard. Training hard for this time. I don’t want to let things distract me or get in the way of that, because I’d be cheating my teammates. I came here with my focus for camp and [I’m] ready to play. Ready to roll.
Q: LeSean, how confident are you that you’ll be available and be able to play week one?
A: I’m here right now. I feel very confident.
Q: Was there any ever doubt that you wouldn’t return?
Q: Is there any other running back that you talked to other than Frank Gore?
A: We’re all kind of friends. [Todd] Gurley, excited about his contract. Well deserved, heck of a player. Even Le’Veon [Bell]. He was in Miami also, he’s been training there. We’re kind of the committee of running backs. Especially the top guys, we’re all a tight group. I’m like the old guy in the room so.
Q: LeSean, I know you’re very aware of where your place is in history and things like that. When something happens whether it’s an injury or an investigation that can take it away from the game, how much does that make you recommit and refocus on what you’re doing going forward?
A: I’m extremely blessed to even be here, to play this game for as long as I’ve played it for. I think as ball players, sometimes we take things for granted. That’s a great example that you just mentioned Every day, you go out there and practice, play with my teammates in the locker room, talk to the guys, lace the cleats up, interact with the fans; all of that’s a blessing. I never took any of those things for granted.
Q: How focused will you be over the course of these practices and the preseason on the quarterback battle and what were some of your takeaways on the offseason?
A: Well, I think all three quarterbacks were pretty good. They’re all smart; I think that’s the biggest key. They’re all intelligent. They’ve been battling, competing. Competition always brings the best out of you as a player. I’m excited to see how everything breaks down. I’ve been in those situations before where I’m watching the quarterbacks battle it out. The good thing is [that] each quarterback gets a shot with the ones. They all get a shot to kind of learn and play with the ones, so whoever starts, there won’t be like a big difference or big jump for them.