Head Coach Sean McDermott
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Opening Statement: Alright, we’ll go ahead and get started. I’m going to open up with, just to get out in front of [the] LeSean [McCoy] thing a little bit here the best I can. I wasn’t obviously speaking yesterday. LeSean is one of our better players. I thought he had a good game the other day. Really, we’re just looking forward to playing the Houston Texans. We get calls all the time, incoming calls happen all the time. Brandon [Beane] and I talk a lot, and I won’t go into any more detail than that. Again, this is a big week for us. It’s another opportunity to get better, an opportunity for us to develop as a football team against a very good opponent, in particular down there in a tough place to play. With that, I’ll open it up to your questions.
Q: Coach, you mentioned that you guys get calls all the time, Brandon gets calls all the time. Does that ramp it up even more so as the trade deadline approaches?
A: Yeah, it does. Again, I’m not the one filtering most of those calls. That more falls under Brandon’s job description, if you will. I would imagine they do. That’s just kind of logical sense.
Q: So are you confirming that the Eagles did call?
A: Yeah, I’m not going to go into any more detail with that.
Q: Is LeSean McCoy available for trade?
A: I’m not going into [that]. This is why I came out and started where I started. If you just want to hear the same reply, I’ll give you the same reply. I respect where you’re coming from and the jobs you have to do, respect where I’m coming from. He’s a valuable member of our football team, and I’m going to leave it at that.
Q: One day into the Derek Anderson time here. Obviously, he’s been with Josh [Allen] for the good part of yesterday. I know it’s early, but is there going to be some good synergy there in your opinion?
A: Yeah, I would hope. That’s part of why we did what we did. I’ve been around Derek in Carolina. Obviously, I was on the other side of the ball naturally, but I really liked his personality and the way he helped the football team, both when he played and then, primarily, his role down there was serving as a backup. He helped Cam [Newton] on and off the field a little bit there and [he’s] just a smart football player that’s seen a lot of NFL football over the years. [He] brings quite a bit to the table as far as that goes.
Q: Sean, is he someone who is here to serve in that mentor role and aside from [helping] Josh, would not be your quarterback? Is that kind of the relationship?
A: Yeah, that’s right. Let’s not forget Derek last was on a team last January and for the most part was out of football since that time. He’s got work to do, just like we have work to do. But yes, his primary role at this point is to add his wisdom in on and off hours when coaches aren’t always around and share his perspective on things with some young quarterbacks in that room in Nate [Peterman] and Josh.
Q: Back to [your point about] Carolina with Derek and Cam Newton, I know you were on the other side of the ball and those things, but can you share some observations of how he was handling this mentoring role that, I assume, gave you confidence to potentially add him [to the roster]?
A: Yeah, that’s a good question and a fair question. Derek, when you get to know him, you guys will get to know him, he’s very even keeled in terms of playing in and playing out situations, game in and game out, week-to-week. Like I said, he’s a veteran player that’s been around both the good moments and the low moments. He’s just a steady hand that, as I said before, has a tremendous amount of wisdom baked into him from over the years in different roles. Now, there were times that he was our scout team quarterback [where] he drove me crazy because I was trying to get him to throw the ball to a certain guy and he would be reading the whole progression out, so we had some moments and we laugh about those moments. He’s good to have with us, and we’re happy to have him and his family.
Q: I don’t know if he was essentially retired, but what did it take for Brandon to bring him here and to coax him to continue his career?
A: Well, I mentioned, I think I was asked on Monday, Monday morning or afternoon, about the timing of it. Sometimes, you want to do things and you can’t do them because of the situation, roster wise. It was the right move we feel like and we were finally able to get it done with where we were roster wise, health of our overall roster and whatnot. That’s why and when we decided to do it here.
Q: What else besides Josh Allen being 22, 13 years younger than the guy, about Josh that leads you to believe that a mentor is good for him? Other than, again, the years and the obvious things, but his makeup, his personality [to benefit from this]. How do you see him working from that end? From Josh’s end to working with a mentor.
A: Well, Josh is a constant learner. He loves the growth mindset and embraces that. He has a whole heck of a lot of respect for people who have been around the game. I know with my own career, and I’m sure in your careers, if you’re able to sit down next to someone that has been there and done that before, there’s a lot of value in that, in particular when they’ve had success like Derek has.
Q: Can you speak to the challenges facing Houston’s passing game and the strain that will be put on the secondary, in particular Tre’Davious [White]?
A: Yeah, they’re a dynamic offense [that] makes plays all over the field, from the receiving core, the quarterback, the backs. You go and try and stop the run, they beat you in the pass, you try to stop the pass, they beat you in the run. It’ll be a big challenge for us as a defense.
Q: How do you come up with a plan and kind of navigate through the week not knowing if it’s going to be Deshaun [Watson] or Brandon Weeden? They’re different kind of guys. Do you just do what you do?
A: A little bit of that, and we’ll try and anticipate as best we can. Both are good football players and both have had success over the course of their careers thus far.
Q: Understanding that it’s a work in progress on the defensive side of the ball and both sides of the ball, actually, do you feel like the way you’ve executed defensively based on the results we’ve seen is the defense that fans can expect week to week from you?
A: Just like the rest of our football team, I believe we’ve a work in progress in developing this football team. The defense is no different. We’ve got some young players that are two games more experienced than they were two games ago. You’re seeing some of that on this past Sunday, for example, compared to the last two Sundays, with Taron [Johnson] and Tremaine [Edmunds] and then Tre’Davious, still a second year player, Matt Milano making big time contributions. We have to continue to work hard and I know they’ll do that. These guys are a group of hard workers that take a lot of pride in their work and want continue to improve, no different than Josh in terms of embracing the growth mindset and approaching the game with a lot of energy.
Q: Coach, are you optimistic about how Micah [Hyde] and Rafael [Bush] are coming along here, a couple of weeks removed from their injuries?
A: Yeah, they’ve made progress, both have made progress. They’ll be out there on a limited basis today, and we’ll just see how they do here.
Q: When it comes to Tre’Davious, when he established himself as one of the up and coming cornerbacks in the league, and as a coach and as a person, when do you become comfortable, confident, maybe comfortable is the wrong word, but confident that Tre’Davious can step up and meet whatever challenge he is presented, whether it’s one week going up against Devonte Adams, maybe this week up against [DeAndre] Hopkins? When do you go, “okay, we’ve got a very good security blanket here.”
A: Well, just being around that in my past with corners you’re able to do that with, it’s a little bit unique with a player, a young player like Tre’Davious to be able to do it this early. He’s still very young. The great part about it is [that] he respects every opponent and then he goes to work on his preparation. To be able to get a player like Tre’Davious when we got him in the bottom of the first round and you think of all the players that passed up on him, it was a big move for us as far as that goes in getting a good football player. He’s off to a good start; there’s still room for improvement, and he knows that. That’s the best part about it.
Q: How much do you think it helped him going against Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr. in his first season at LSU?
A: I’m sure that helped immensely and that’s probably a better question for him, but when you’re around talented players, the good players are able to take their play to another level. He obviously did that.
Q: With Josh’s development here, I know you had him handing off the ball last week, but does that stunt his growth if you’re not putting him in situations to throw the ball downfield, to do more in the progression, maybe? Is that slowing his development by constantly running the ball, keeping things, maybe, too easy for him?
A: Not necessarily. I understand why you would say that or ask that. I think it’s all part of the development of a young quarterback. I don’t know many young quarterbacks out there that all they do is throw the football just to develop. I think that would be irresponsible of a coach to bring along a young quarterback and just sit back there and throw it 70 times a game. I think there has to be a healthy balance, and you also work to improve in every area of our football, offense no different and Josh, no different.
Q: On that note Coach, how does a situation like what he was put in with four and a half minutes to go, what does that do for a young quarterback’s development? He was handing it off mostly, but that whole situation for him.
A: Listen, there’s quarterbacks that are out there that have a nice resume already, but haven’t led a team on a winning drive to win a football game at the end, and Josh can say that he’s done that. To your point, it was mostly runs, but positioning the ball, let’s just go to that play. Positioning the football as the clock is winding down, that’s harder than it looks, trust me on that. He made a couple of key throws on that drive in particular, the third down conversion early in the drive, and then another conversion, I believe it was second down to Ray-Ray [McCloud] to get us in better field goal position. We all understand that it’s part of his development and he’ll continue to evolve and grow and that’s honestly what I look forward to for practice today and the rest of this week for our football team, Josh no different, with how we’ve going to improve this week.
Q: Sean, understanding the numbers looking at the roster each week, what’s the thought of keeping Nathan around now that you have three quarterbacks on the roster?
A: Yeah, [I’m] very comfortable keeping three quarterbacks; very comfortable. That’s an important position, as we all know and again, the key is that they’re both young and we were able to bring in a quarterback with a lot of wisdom that can help in their development.
Q: So does that have anything to do with, though, Derek Anderson still kind of feeling his way, even though he has some history with Brian Daboll, but the offense has changed in, whatever, ten years since [they’ve worked together]. Is it a matter of wanting to see Anderson more up to speed before you would make a decision on whether to go with two [quarterbacks] or are you locked into three quarterbacks?
A: [Laughs] Crystal ball question, right? I’m locked into today [with] three quarterbacks for the rest of the day today.
Q: When it comes to LeSean and all of that that surrounds him, how do you handle that with a player who is one of your leaders? Did you talk with him [about it] personally? You guys have not been shy about making trades, so I’m sure that leads him a little bit unsettled.
A: With LeSean? Again, I believe with communicating with our players. LeSean and I have not communicated on this front. In my opinion, we’re on to the Houston Texans. The players know that if there’s something that was needed to be communicated, that I communicate it. That’s how I’ve been since day one and I have a whole lot of respect for him and he does the same for me. Again, the biggest opponent in front of us right now is Houston. Again, going back to [a previous] question [in regards to] Nate, this doesn’t change Nate’s, if that’s where you’re going with this, Nate’s status on our football team.
Q: So is he the number two quarterback?
A: Correct, yes.