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What They Said: Sean McDermott, Josh Allen on injuries, progress after workouts

Head coach Sean McDermott

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Opening Statement: Good afternoon. So, these guys will not practice: Ty Nsekhe, Eli Harold, E.J. Gaines, Tyler Kroft, Cole Beasley, Zay Jones, Jason Croom. And then the following guys will be limited and in red jerseys for practice: Russell Bodine, Mitch Morse, Quinton Spain, Ed Oliver, Rafael Bush and Taron Johnson. With that we’ll open it up to your questions.

Q: Are any of those non-participants on the serious side or are they more light types of injuries? No broken ankles or anything like that?

A: Yeah, for the most part. Anytime you miss it is serious because we need you out there. There are a number of guys who aren’t practicing so it’s hard to develop the team when you’re not practicing or not available. Overall, other than Tyler [Kroft]’s situation that we talked about the other week, most of them at this point are shorter term situations.

Q: Have you established a timeline yet for Cole Beasley? When do you kind of expect to see him on the field?

A: Yeah, he’s on a similar timeline to Mitch [Morse] I would say. So, he’s a few weeks behind Mitch at this point, though. He’s making progress.

Q: Tyrel Dodson, we haven’t heard much since these charges, what’s your view on it?

A: It’s unfortunate, a serious situation and we take it very seriously. We have communicated with him. It’s an open case at this point so, we just have to let it go through the court process and we’ll do our best to stay on top of it from our end and making sure that we are gathering as much information as we can. It is a very serious situation.

Q: What’s up with Ed Oliver?

A: Shoulder soreness.

Q: With Mitch and [Russell] Bodine, Coach, are they going to participate in those red jerseys? What are they going to be able to do?

A: I’m not going to get into detail. That’s for you guys to see out there and report on. I just think it’s – they’re going to start with individual and go from there.

Q: Are you encouraged by them being back and performing in camp at this point?

A: Yeah, it’s what we projected so they’re on schedule. They’ve worked hard. You look at Russell’s offseason and, man, he’s worked his butt off, he really has. I’m extremely proud of him the way he’s worked, and it’ll be good to have him out there.

Q: How is the competition at cornerback look to you so far? Those guys are, those three guys especially, are in competition for that starting job. How is that shaking out so far?

A: Yeah, they’ve done a good job. When you look at what, starting with Tre’Davious [White] and the way that he’s worked at his craft this offseason and then Levi [Wallace] and his growth and story has been well documented for the last couple of weeks. He’s earned that. Then Kevin [Johnson] and E.J. [Gaines] and the rest of the guys have been in there battling as well. What I love about Kevin is that he’s gotten his hands on some footballs the last few weeks here and taken the ball away a few times. So, his mindset has been impressive just from his mental toughness and his focus at this point. That’s been good to see.

Q: Last year you had pretty big contributions from a pair of undrafted guys in Levi and Robert Foster. What’s the challenge for those guys in that group to not just make the 53 but also to become contributors?

A: Yeah, that’s a fair question and a good question. The second year is always different than the first and therein lies a challenge for guys like Levi and Robert that experienced success in their first season to come out and reinvent themselves this next year. The challenge will be different, there’s tape on them out there now. Much like a pitcher in baseball, they’re not going to be sneaking up on anyone this season. They have to continue to challenge themselves and remain confident but know that their role may be slightly different this year than it was last season.

Q: How much does Star [Lotulelei] do in terms of helping a young guy like Ed Oliver. What can you observe and what have you discussed with him about certain things you’d like him to do to help a rookie at that similar spot?

A: It’s a little bit ironic for me with Star because he was once a rookie with me in Carolina. Dwan Edwards, who played here years ago, great player, great person, helped shepherd Star and now Star is in a role to help mentor someone else, in this case Ed. It won’t just be Star, it will be a number of guys in that room who can help Ed. At the end of the day, though, Ed has got to do it himself. He has got to take ownership of it.

Q: Could you just expand on the types of things you value in that relationship?

A: So, just the habits, really, that come with being a professional. What time you get into the building and what time you leave. Film watching, when do I lift weights, when do I get a massage. What do I do on the weekend. Being a 24-hour professional football player as opposed to being in the building for 8 hours. Whatever it is, there’s a difference in that type of habit process. So, understanding that it’s an all-day, all-night commitment, it’s a 24-hour commitment, not just something you do during the day and then outside of the building this is what I do. It’s important that the habits that precede the winning are being built the right way and in a timely fashion for these young players.

Q: What have been your impressions for Kevin Johnson, for a highly touted guy who was a first-round pick who has had injury problems that didn’t help his career in Houston. What have you seen from him upon his arrival and just the potential? Did you scout him coming out?

A: He was at Wake [Forest] down the road from where we were with the Carolina Panthers. So, we knew of Kevin and held him in a high regard coming out. It was, to me, no surprise that he got drafted where he did, in terms of the round and the spot. He’s had a tough career in terms of his challenges with injuries. That said, what I’ve seen to this point is a young man who is extremely focused, works extremely hard, is smart, plays the game the way that we want it to be played and, as I mentioned earlier, he’s gotten his hands on some footballs this spring to this point which is important for us in terms of taking the ball away and playing good defense. We’ll see more when the pads come on, it’s still early. To this point I’ve loved his mindset.

Q:  Can you describe a little bit of the synergy that’s going on between Josh [Allen] and Ken Dorsey, what you’re seeing in the room and on the field, how are those two meshing?

A: It’s never easy when you are a new staff member coming into a situation where the staff was pretty much already in place. I would say the same for Bobby [Johnson] and all of our new coaches including Ken [Dorsey], Terry Heffernan, Ryan Wendell, all these guys, Heath [Farwell], no different.  They’ve done really a fantastic job integrating themselves in what we do and how we do it. They are really working long hours when their families haven’t been here in particular to get themselves up to speed. They learn our systems, learn how we do things and then that relationship specifically with Ken and Josh, again, he is coming into a room where Brian [Daboll] does a lot of work with the quarterback’s already. So, finding that niche, role and position and then having a voice, a trusted voice, and earning that with Brian and that has been fun to watch. Josh has had a solid spring. He continues to grow and evolve which is what’s to be expected for a young player, a young quarterback and Ken has had a big role in that.

Q: You had a lot of first and second year players who had a lot of snaps last year.  Do you feel like you have gotten to the point where your not too young? And then can you speak to the value you make sure you put on them with the strong veteran presence in every position room?

A:  The strong veteran presence is important and I would say we are not there yet.  We looked at some opportunities this off season and there’s still some room to improve in that area.  In terms of a leader in every room, that said I think we have improved our roster in that regard.  I would say with young players and time on task, you know I read the list of injuries. How do you develop and it’s tough to develop that continuity when you got this number of guys that aren’t practicing or who are missing significant time right now.  But that’s the hand we are dealt, we work with it, we control what we can control and we can go out there and accomplish the objectives we need to accomplish today.

Q:  I know we don’t take official attendance but it seems like there are a lot of guys out there.  How pleased have you been with the turn out during these OTA’s?

A:  It’s been outstanding, it really has.  Even the guys that are hurt, they are going through and maximizing their treatment opportunities and our trainers have done a fantastic job and our strength staff is making sure what they can do they get done.  It’s not been from a lack of effort or want to, including the participation has been outstanding all season.

Q:  What is Tyler Kroft’s injury in particular to that tight end group outside at least that it’s a pretty young group there?

A:  It is young but it’s what is afforded us really is a chance for our young guys to get out there and get a ton of reps. We’ve been able to see more of Tommy [Sweeney] and Dawson [Knox] and their rep counts have been higher naturally so they are exposed to more football for us to evaluate and for them to get the feedback off of the film, so that’s been a good thing.  I hate to say it but with Tyler not in there, we do need Tyler back to develop a rapport with Josh and to get comfortable for his own well being as well.

Q:  What do you think Tremaine Edmunds will be able to accomplish his second year? Leslie [Frazier] talked about it last week, you know the first or second year thing but for you specifically how excited are you to see what he could do?

A: I’m excited about it. Like I am for, honestly, Josh and the rest of the second year players, it’s an opportunity for them.  It’s an opportunity for them to be able to slow things down. In this case Tremaine, to watch him come into his own. We are talking about a 20 year old who was 19, now he’s 20 and you’re saying he’s a pretty young guy. Guys that are coming out this year are older than Tremaine in the draft so that’s a little bit of a unique situation, but to watch him just physically mature from the time he left to the time we saw him a few months ago, you know he’s been working and that’s been nice to see.  It doesn’t surprise me knowing him.  He works at things, it’s important to him. I’ve watched him take leadership steps this off season since he’s been back and some of that means Lorenzo [Alexander] has to give up some of that in the linebacker room. That’s a very unselfish approach by probably our biggest leader on our football team is to pass that torch in some ways to Tremaine. That’s a sign of a good football team, when you’re an unselfish team and you have a bunch of unselfish guys, that’s a good quality to have.

Q: There was a big report yesterday regarding Jim Kelly joining your staff.  What’s his role going to be?

A:  On our staff?

Q:  He said he was approaching a bigger role with your staff?

A:  I didn’t hear that. I can elaborate on our growth mindset, that we find every way possible to improve our football team.  As far as that other report goes, I didn’t see that and I didn’t hear that.

Q: What Jim said is that he was meeting with [Ken] Dorsey, [Brian] Daboll and with Josh [Allen]. Also that they had downloaded plays from the Super Bowl era and said any plays that Josh liked were to be implemented. So it’s pretty specific areas of discussion, he sat in meetings.

A:  It really boils down to, like I said before, us trying to find every way possible to improve our football team.  I’ve stood up here before and told you guys we look at every way to improve our football team and this is no different.  Jim is a Hall of Famer, and to me it would ignorant of us not to have a relationship with Jim. Sometimes asking him “hey what do you think”, we’ve got a younger quarterback, so all of that’s healthy, all of that’s good.  At the end of the day, Brian will be the one calling the plays and we’ll move forward with that. You guys can work out that much yourselves.

Q: Is it all that common for an NFL team to go back and talk to old players who have had a lot of success and possibly have a gold jacket?

A:  I think that varies out there. I think those relationships vary.  In this case, Jim obviously had a ton of success years ago here. He’s a big part of our community and we are very grateful to have him around the organization and our community especially with what he’s going through over the past years with the health issue. We just continue to pray for his health and well-being. We stand on the foundation that those guys built years ago in the early 90s and we hope to carry that tradition moving forward of Buffalo Bills football.

QB Josh Allen

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Q: A little bit of musical chairs at center again today. Just the shuffling in and out of guys, it’s great to have Mitch [Morse] back for walkthrough and individual but then you’ve got [Jeremiah] Sirles in there, he’s got to step out, then you’ve got another guy in there. The shuffling, how are you guys just plowing through it and not make it a big deal?

A: I mean, that’s going to happen in games this year. Something is going to happen and someone is going to have to step in and fill a role. It’s good that we get some changes like that in practice so that we can get used to it and adapt to it. In football, nothing is perfect and we know that. Like I said, anything can happen in any given game so somebody has got to be ready to step up and that’s what we did today. Like I said, guys just have to fill roles.

Q: How has it been having Mitch, at least taking snaps from him now, you’re not just having meetings trying to get on the same page, you’re physically doing something now?

A: Yeah, no, getting the feel for how he is on the field, even if it is just walkthrough. Just seeing where he snaps it and where he prefers the hands. Just him being out there talking and communicating with the guys on every given play. So, it’s good for the whole team, especially the offense, when he’s out there. He’s getting used to things and being able to see things from that perspective. We’re going to continue to work on that.

Q: Is it Mitch who brought the guys up there to give them what for after a couple false starts?

A: Mitch and Pat [DiMarco] were up there just trying to get back on page and get everybody pulling in the same direction.

Q: Is it good when you have other guys that can step in? That it doesn’t always have to be you?

A: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a team for a reason. We have guys in different positions that step up and fill roles and not one person can say anything. We want this to be a family-like atmosphere where somebody can step up, doesn’t matter who it is, and say something meaningful for the team if it’s going to help us.

Q: We heard Jim Kelly tell us yesterday that there’s been times where he’s sat down with you, Brian [Daboll], Coach [Ken] Dorsey and gone over film and had conversations. Can you dive a little bit more into what those have been like and how frequent those have been?

A: I wouldn’t say that they’ve been frequent but it’s always good to get new ideas, especially from a guy like Jim who is a Hall of Famer and played at the highest level for a very long time. For myself, just kind of picking his brain and talking and seeing what he did on film and actually being able to ask him what his thought process was on a certain concept. You see it nowadays too, football has not changed that much. They ran the same concepts that we still run to this day so in order to pick his brain has been really good for me. Obviously he’s been there with me with Dorsey and Daboll a couple of times. So, I don’t think it’s been much more than that, I don’t know if everybody has been making it a big deal but to have a guy like Jim around the building is special because he means a lot to this city and a lot to this organization so I’m just thankful that he is fortunate enough to come over here and talk to us.

Q:  Has he tried to impress one particular message on you? If there’s one message he’s trying to deliver, what is it, if there is one?

A: Embracing Buffalo, especially outside of football. He liked to take what the defense gave him so he’s been trying to preach that with me.

Q: You mentioned Ken Dorsey, what’s that relationship been like throughout OTA’s?

A:  It’s been awesome. Dorsey is a great quarterback coach. He did some really good things at Carolina so we are thankful to have him here.  The type of relationship we have where we can bounce ideas off of each other and he’s been back there, he’s played the position, he’s seen it from a quarterback’s perspective. I think when you have a guy like that in a room, you really respect him. You really can understand what he’s saying and what he’s thinking because he has gone through all that stuff. There is no hesitation or doubt in his mind what he sees and that we can relate it and try to match up our ideas together.

Q: Is it important to you because he knows what you’re going through and because he has been there?

A: Absolutely. That experience is very big and that’s why I think he is such a good coach.  Being able to take what he learned from the game and apply it to his teachings and try to apply it to us.

Q:  As a young quarterback, you’re obviously willing to reach out to everyone for help. How do you sort through all the different voices whether it’s Jordan Palmer, Brian Daboll, Ken Dorsey, Jim Kelly, D.A. [Derek Anderson], all these guys who are giving you all this information. How do you sort through and process it and not get overwhelmed?

A:  Well, you have to have your own DNA. You have to know who you are, and I think that’s one of the most important things about being quarterback, knowing yourself and knowing how certain things feel. If you’re reading a concept a certain way and you just don’t like it, being able to communicate that with your offensive coordinator or the quarterback coach and trying to switch something or get rid of that concept in total. That’s where Dabs [Brian Daboll] has been really good and helpful with me. We spend a lot of time going over concepts that we like, concepts that we are just okay on and concepts that we don’t like and getting rid of the concepts we don’t like. Moving on, seeing some film, adapting our ideas and trying out new things in practice and that’s what OTA’s are really for. Trying new things and seeing what works and seeing what won’t.

 

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