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What He Said: Bills coach Sean McDermott on QB rotation, end of training camp

Head Coach Sean McDermott

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Opening Statement: First as we open up here, a few announcements. First and foremost, I want to thank everyone associated with training camp, the Saint John Fisher staff. [It was] a phenomenal training camp and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate coming up here and everyone opening up their arms and embracing us in this short period of time and really bending over backwards for us here. And that goes for our fans up here as well. It’s great to connect with our fan base and really get one on one and see them and they see us. That’s all part of the platform that we have as members of the NFL. We appreciate that. Moving forward, we did sign a new player, Sam Rogers, fullback out of Virginia Tech. He’ll be out at practice this morning. You’ll see him. We’re going to waive injured Zach Olstad with the ankle and we certainly wish him all the best. Will not practice this morning will be Brandon Reilly, Marquavius Lewis, Trent Murphy, and then Ray-Ray [McCloud]. We’ll just see how he does, but right now he will not practice. With that, we’ll open it up to your questions.

Q: Hey Sean, when you arrived here three weeks ago, you said that you would hope that the quarterback competition, something would shake out in a few weeks. In your mind, has it shaken out as you hoped or are you still waiting for that to happen?

A: Yeah, it has I guess if you use the terms shaken out the way I’d hoped and all three are playing well. Like I mentioned the other day, there’s great competition. That’s healthy for our football team, that’s healthy at that position in particular. It’s a key position for our football team.

Q: I’ll rephrase: has anybody separated as you hoped or has somebody pulled away in the competition going into the second, third [preseason] game?

A: I think all three have had their moments. You’ve been out there as much as I have, and all three have certainly had their moments, both good and bad. The great part from the one’s where it hasn’t gone their way is [that they are] continuing to grow [for our] football team and they’re continuing to grow at the quarterback position as well.

Q: The competition between Ryan [Groy] and Russell [Bodine], where do you see that right now?

A: Again, a good battle. Both have played well. I like the way that both young men have [impacted] our football team and the offensive unit in particular. Both have strengths and I’ve been impressed to this point with Adam [Redmond] as well. Watching him develop and the way that he’s worked over the last, I guess it’s been less than a year since we’ve been together, so he’s added weight and he’s playing competitive, physical and tough football.

Q: Sean, is it the groin [injury] again for Trent Murphy?

A: It is and we’re just going to take it one day at a time. It’s just something that’s a little nagging right now and we just have to take it one day at a time.

Q: Is there any thought to shut him down to the start of the regular season because those injuries tend to linger?

A: Yeah, you know we’re trying to figure it out honestly and that’s really all I know right now. I think it’s not a ‘want to’ at all with Trent as you guys have gotten to know him as we have. We’ve had a couple groins this camp; [they have been] all a little bit different, which is to be expected. We’ve just got to find the right formula right now and we’re working hard at it.

Q: Sean, understanding it’s part of the development plan with Josh [Allen], what are the benefits of getting to see him get some extended time with that second grouping?

A: Well, I think that any time you can get extended time, the reps are valuable for any player, let alone a young player. It also allows us a chance to evaluate him with some different people around him, in particular up front with our offensive line and the weapons he would have at his disposal with that group. Also, it gives us, quite honestly, a chance to evaluate whether it’s Nate [Peterman] or AJ [McCarron] going with the threes to see how they generate offense with that third group and see how they lead and make people around them better while they’re with that unit.

Q: Any decision on who will play with the one’s to begin [Cleveland]?

A: Is that the fourth question [on this topic]? [Laughs] No, it’s fair. I was expecting it [as] the first question. We’ve got a plan and we’ll just wait and see. The guys are all going to play, you guys know that. They will rotate in there, all of them, and we expect them to play well. I have addressed it with the players before this morning and they know the plan and we’ll just leave it at that.

Q: Hey Sean, in terms of the quarterback, I know you have a plan set, but with Josh, are you hoping to get him some time with the one’s in a preseason game?

A: We’ll see. I respect where you’re coming from on that. That is part of the window, one thing that we are considering, but we just want to get through this game, see how it goes and go from there.

Q: With camp coming to an end, how do you see the development coming together as a team?

A: Yeah, as I mentioned, I mentioned to them this morning [that] this is one of the more focused, hardest working groups, that I’ve been around. Does that mean we’re going to have success? There’s not guarantee. When you can check those boxes and know that we came to camp [prepared]. The player driven leadership in particular was really good and allowed us to stay focused and to put in a good day’s work each and every day. That’s all you can ask for at this point as we continue to focus on the process of what leads us up to the season.

Q: The value of getting out of Orchard Park, do you still put a high price on that? Just getting them out and getting them in a camp-like atmosphere, are you still a strong believer in that?

A: I am, and I addressed that when we kicked off camp. I am very much so, and nothing has changed to sway me from this camp. We had a little bit of rain yesterday, but for the most part in two years, the weather up here has been great. We’ve gotten our work done in the morning for the most part and then we get a pop up thunderstorm every once in a while, which all of that I have to factor in going away to camp. We have good facilities up here, like I mentioned. The fans [and] the crowds have embraced us and it’s a chance for us to connect with our fan base both young and old up here, which is phenomenal. I believe when you’re trying to build a team and ask a group of guys to come together, that getting away is important.

Q: What’s been your favorite moment of camp so far?

A: Man, I think just watching our team compete overall. I know it’s not a specific moment, but watching our team compete and watching our young men connect with our fan base after practice, sometimes before but also after practice. I certainly appreciate the time that our guys spend going over to the fence and watching them connect with the fans, like I mentioned with some young children and some older folks as well. I think that speaks well for our organization and I’m a big believer in what happens off the field carries into what happens on the field.

Q: Coach, have you noticed a different demeanor with Zay [Jones]? It seems like he’s really worked his way up quickly since coming back in. To us, he seems even more serious than he had been in the past. Have you noticed a different attitude or demeanor about him?

A: To some extent [I have]. I think part of it, too, I imagine, and it may be a more direct question for Zay himself, but in my opinion it’s a little bit that he has something to prove, but also a young man that’s maturing, you hope, in his approach, and not that he wasn’t mature last year in his approach, but sometimes you see, as we’ve all been around a team and watched these guys grow and develop and mature, that they’re growing up in front of our eyes. In Zay’s case, I would say that I’ve noticed a little bit of a more serious demeanor, not that he wasn’t before, but he seems focused, which I appreciate.

Q: Could there be a bittersweet moment seeing Tyrod Taylor on the field again, knowing that he was the quarterback that helped this team reach the playoffs in your first year?

A: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if it will happen in this game necessarily, but I can just tell you that I have a ton of respect for Tyrod. We certainly shared some moments last year together and he was instrumental in us making the playoffs. I’ve got a ton of respect for his family and how hard the young man works and the great intangibles that he holds and possess. I wish him nothing but the best. For us, certainly, we’ve moved forward and I know he has as well. We wish him nothing but the best.

Q: Coach, with respect to Corey [Coleman], has he been here long enough where it’s just [the idea of] let’s put him in and see what he can handle or a smaller diet or menu for him going into this game, knowing he is still relatively new here?

A: A little bit of that. We’re getting to the point now where it needs to be the former in terms of ‘here’s the playbook, you’ve got to know it. There will be some clarity around what his role is Friday night, so the biggest thing is that we want him to come out, play fast, and play physical.

Q: How aware were you when that deal was made of what was shown last night on [HBO’s] Hard Knocks, with him talking to [Brown’s head coach] Hue Jackson about his playing time and then asking for a trade?

A: Yeah, I mean, we gathered, and not just in this situation, but we gathered as much information as we can and Brandon [Beane] and his staff do a really good job of that. In this case, I can’t honestly [say that I] tune into that. I’m focused on our team quite honestly. We’re aware of a lot of things.

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