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What He Said: Sean McDermott on Derek Anderson decision, Josh Allen prognosis

Head Coach Sean McDermott

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Opening Statement: Alright, we’ll go ahead and get started. I’ll start us off with injuries this afternoon here. Will not practice today will be Taiwan Jones, Josh Allen, and then Lorenzo [Alexander] and Kyle [Williams] with veteran rest day. These guys will be limited: Vlad Ducasse [and] Trent Murphy. Detailing Josh, Josh has an elbow sprain. We’ll list him as week to week and there is no plan at this point for surgery, but he will be out this week. With that, Derek Anderson will be our starter. Derek is a guy that I’ve been around in Carolina. He brings experience, leadership presence to the table, and he’s worked hard in the last week or two, week and a half here to get himself up to speed. With that, I’ll open it up to your questions.

Q: How does Derek’s experience, and experience with Brian Daboll, does that factor into your thinking, coach, that he can get up to speed quicker?

A: Yeah, I mean that’s a natural part of it; that’s part of what factored into the decision in terms of making sure he was able to get up to speed. If it was a guy that, and every situation is different, but if he was a quarterback who hadn’t been around the system, it would’ve been awfully hard to get him up to speed in the short amount of time.

Q: How much did Nathan’s [Peterman] previous performances play into this decision as well?

A: I mean, that’s always part of the evaluation, but [it was] one piece, not all of it. I feel like this is the right decision for our football team right now.

Q: How much of the evaluation of Derek was physically as well? He wasn’t at training camp, obviously, so how comfortable are you on where he is in that regard?

A: Yeah, I’ve spoken to our staff about that, and they’re comfortable with where he is. He’s only going to continue to get into better football shape and so on and so forth that you typically get in training camp. That was also a piece of it.

Q: Sean, what is going to be the plan to continue to develop Josh for how ever long he may be out?

A: Yeah, that’s a great question. We met yesterday on that as a staff because for however long he is or is out in this case, it’s important that we handle that the right way as a staff and that Josh handles it the right way so he continues to develop. The great part about it right now is [that] he can watch a veteran handle things the way it’s supposed to be handled in terms of the walk through that we just came from, practice. This will give Josh a front row seat to experience that.

Q: Sean, given the nature of Josh’s injury, is there going to be an extra level of caution when dealing with his recover and possible return?

A: I don’t know if extra level is the right way to say it. I understand where you’re going with that, I think just overall, what you do with every player is to just make sure he’s healthy before he plays.

Q: What’s your feeling on Derek’s grasp of what you guys are trying to do? He’s spent a very limited period, plus the familiarity with the teammates. What’s your feeling on that?

A: Yeah, I think that’s the obvious; that’s the low hanging fruit on that end of it. That’s what I had to balance a little bit as I made my decision. It’s only going to get better as we move forward and he got reps, obviously, in the walkthrough, and he’ll get reps this afternoon naturally. He’s got experience with Kelvin [Benjamin] already, just from Carolina, and experience with this system to some extent. That’ll continue to build as we move forward.

Q: Sean, just to be clear, there is a chance that Josh could play again at some point this season down the road?

A: Correct.

Q: Is it only a chance or are you fairly confident that that’ll happen?

A: I’m not going to get into crystal ball [scenarios]. It’s a medical situation right now. We’ll just take it one day at a time.

Q: Are the medical people, when they detailed how he goes about recovery, is it a rest thing? Is there much he is able to do to accelerate any healing or any of that as far as they’ve explained to you?

A: Just overall, we’re going to trust the doctors. He did get a second opinion; the diagnosis was the same as the first opinion, so everybody is on the same page with what it is and how we need to move forward. We’ll be cautious and calculated with that.

Q: Did he visit Dr. Andrews for the second opinion or was that sending x-rays?

A: Correct in that regard [of] sending the information.

Q: Sean, starting Derek this week, going into that decision, was there any fear of losing the locker room if you were to go with Nathan again this week?

A: No, I’m always going to do what I feel is right for this football team. I certainly trust and have a heck of a lot of respect for our locker room, so with that, I’m always going to do what I feel is right for this football team. That’s what we do.

Q: Knowing that Nate is still one play away from getting into the game, what do you say to him to keep his head right after everything that’s happened?

A: Yeah, that’s a valid question. He’s got to continue to grow and develop. Like I mentioned with Josh, this will give Nate a chance to watch a veteran handle it in a certain way. Like I mentioned earlier with Josh as well, the walkthrough we just came from, how he handled that walkthrough, how Derek handled that walkthrough is a good resource and example for those two young men to watch.

Q: Sean, if Josh is not hurt, do you subscribe to the idea, even though he’s been struggling, for a kid to play through the problem? Again, he’s hurt, you don’t have a choice at all, but if he wasn’t hurt, and was able to play, is it better to just get him in the game rather than have him sit on the sideline for two, three weeks?

A: Certainly, being behind the wheel gives you first-hand experience, right? Not every experience is the same, though. You’ve seen some guys do that and you’ve seen others that have sat and watched to your point. You take your situation and you do the bets you can with it and that’s what we do.

Q: It’s a very small sample size, but what has been your level of comfort in what you’ve seen of Josh Allen up to this point?

A: I think he’s growing. I thought in the game this past weekend, he showed signs of growth and development. You saw the throw over the middle to Kelvin on the play he, in fact, got hurt on. I thought that was right on the money in terms of the execution of the play and a big play for us. You watch, and I’m just pointing out a couple of plays to give you examples, but you watch the game before against the Titans, the game against the Packers, we made a costly mistake before half where we threw the ball across the middle in the red zone where we had points. In the Titans game, he made progress just in a small way. It didn’t show up on the scoreboard necessarily, but throwing the ball away in the red zone when things were taken away from him. Those are signs of growth and progress.

Q: Sean, did you have a problem when you watched the play again? The one he [Josh Allen] got hurt on. Did you have any issues with it?

A: Yes.

Q: Can you [elaborate] on that?

A: No, I’m not going to get into that. I’ve addressed that with the powers that be. I’m not going to go any further on that. I’ve learned my lesson from Mike Tomlin.

Q: Just with respect to the Colts, and I know we’re only six games in, but you hear about offenses wanting to be balanced, and they are not. They throw it 71 percent of the time, the highest number in the league. Does it make them in any way any more predictable to defend?

A: I don’t know. They’ve got a good offense with an elite quarterback. I think Coach [Frank] Reich has done a nice job, Coach [Nick] Sirianni as well, putting them in position to make big plays and move the football. I think they’re the number one overall ranked offense on third down, so it’ll be a big challenge for us defensively.

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