Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott

Monday, October 22, 2018

Alright, I’ll give you an injury update here. Trent Murphy, he’ll be week-to-week with a knee… think you saw Trent go down late in the game there. LeSean [McCoy] is in concussion protocol. Josh Allen remains week-to-week, and then Taiwan Jones the same with his neck. With that, we’ll open it up to your questions.

Q: I don’t mean to be cute asking the question this way, but when you say ‘week-to-week’ on those guys, does that mean this week? Do we have a designation as far as this week?

A: As far as Josh [Allen] is concerned?

Q: Yes.

A: Yeah, he’ll be out this week.

Q: Trent [Murphy] also, while we’re there?

A: We’ll see. Some of it we know, some of it we don’t know right now because of how soon it is in the process at this point for some of those guys.

Q: With Josh out, is the plan to remain with Derek [Anderson] at quarterback?

A: Yes.

Q: How do you balance knowing that you’ve got few options with the team that you have and the results? How do you balance what your expectations are, knowing that there are young guys?

A: You keep the vision in front of you. You try to continue to communicate that. I know these guys have worked hard. We haven’t always seen the fruits of our labor, or their labor, and you’ve got to stay on it. Stay on the grind, seize the opportunities when they present themselves as we move forward. I’ve appreciated the way they’ve worked to this point.

Q: I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but what do you take away from yesterday’s performance and how the team somewhat unraveled?

A: It wasn’t the step we wanted to take. I didn’t think we won the line of scrimmage, which is key to winning football games, both offensively and defensively. From that, things didn’t go our way. We’ve got to make sure we establish the line of scrimmage moving forward, both in the run and the pass game, because things really fall from that whether it’s stopping the run, being able to run the football, affecting the quarterback, and then keeping our quarterback with a clean pocket.

Q: Can you point to anything as to why you had trouble establishing the line of scrimmage on the defensive side? You had been really good against the run and [Indianapolis] did some things that hadn’t happened before?

A:  Just trying to do too much overall. I felt like, to your point, we played some pretty solid defense. I just thought that overall, probably trying to do too much instead of just being in our gap and doing things the right way like we had done up to that point. Sometimes that happens, but either way, we’ve got to get it corrected moving forward.

Q: With LeSean, was he able to travel back with the team last night?

A: Yes.

Q: I know it’s so early in this process and concussions can have varying degrees of severity, but do you have an early feel for Monday?

A: No, I don’t. He’s in the protocol. That’s all I can say right now.

Q: What did you take away from Brian Daboll being on the field and that difference?

A: I think that’s probably a better question directly for Brian. Overall, the communication and being around the quarterbacks, I think, is key. The communication from the sideline to the quarterback on the field. And also, like I mentioned yesterday, being able to watch and look at the guys in their eyes when they came off in between each series.

Q: Is that something you have influence on – whether or not he wants to be down there [on the field] or up in the box?

A: At the end of the day, I give him the right to call it from where he feels most comfortable. Sometimes, that changes from week to week. I did that in Carolina on the defensive side a few times… whether for these reasons or for other reasons, a no-huddle offense where I wanted to get the call in right away. So different situations call for different positions, if you will.

Q: Could you elaborate on that? Because that’s an interesting thing – about what other examples would come into play, at least from your standpoint when you were in Carolina with whether or not you were one or the other?

A: If I was up and I wanted to come down, whether it was from a leadership standpoint or from a strategic standpoint if we were facing a no-huddle offense, where I wanted to get the call in myself right away, instead of putting it into – this is before you could call it right in from the booth – getting it to a coach, who would then give it to the middle linebacker. Just from a strategic standpoint, some of those things come into play.

Q: How do you get more out of an offense given the limitations you have?

A: It comes back to fundamentals and technique. We’ve got to make sure we’re dialed in on all the fundamentals and technique, and then we’re all on the same page with those fundamentals and technique. As it relates to our communications, we had some times where they had free runners in our backfield just in the run game just to start because we weren’t passing things off the way we should have been from a fundamental and technique standpoint.

Q: All that said, the offense has struggled to produce points all season long. How can you coax more out of that unit that is off to one of the worst starts in franchise history?

A: Continue to develop and build. We’ve got some players there that maybe haven’t played either in this league or in roles as big as they’re expected to now. We’ve got to continue to get the ball in the hands of our best football players.

Q: Sean, you guys averaged 6.1 yards per carry yesterday basically without LeSean. Do you look at that as encouraging or do you look at it as discouraging in that you haven’t been able to maybe produce like that all season when he’s been in the lineup?

A: Well, there’s obviously two different ways to look at it, right? I mean, you look at why we haven’t been able to do that when he’s been in the lineup. But overall, I look at it from a positive standpoint. That was growth right there. I’d like to see us do it earlier in the game at times to establish the line of scrimmage that I talked about earlier. I think that’s important for us in setting the tone offensively early.

Q: There were a few guys on defense that mentioned [Indianapolis] hit you with some schemes or looks that you guys maybe weren’t ready for. What were those, and how do you make sure that doesn’t happen moving forward?

A: I think overall, there was probably… I can think of one or two that are unique-type situations schematically. But overall, there really wasn’t all that much of things that we hadn’t seen before. But again, give them credit, like I said after the game. They did a good job. But overall, we could’ve done a better job of playing more physical at the line of scrimmage, more disciplined in our gaps, which, when you’re talking about run defense, gap integrity, as you’ve heard me use that word before, that not only speaks to the front seven, but the [defensive backs] as well. We expect our corners to be a big part of that.

Q: In some ways, is it going from out of the frying pan into the fire playing five games on the road to now hosting Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on a primetime game? It doesn’t get any easier for you.

A: Well, we’ve been on the road. You take the way the schedule comes to you. It will be nice to get home. Being on the road five out of the first seven is not what is comfortable maybe as playing at home. We like playing at home, we like playing in front of our fans. This’ll be a big week for us in terms of the energy around the city and creating an environment in our stadium where it’s hard to play, especially for visiting teams and offenses to do their thing.

Q: How important is it for this young group of guys to go out and perform on Monday Night Football and show that this is a different team than what they saw on Sunday?

A: It’s that, but it’s also balancing for some of our young guys. First time on Monday Night Football and then you add the equation of the opponent and some of the personnel, with respect to the quarterback, and Tom, that they go out and execute. It’s really an opportunity for us to continue to grow, and execute.

Q: What does Monday Night Football mean to these generations of players?

A: I remember growing up, I couldn’t wait to get home from school on Monday’s because of Monday Night Football. The theme song of it was pretty cool. They still have the same song right? I used to try to sneak the fact that I was really supposed to be sleeping, and I was keeping one eye on the TV for as long as I could, as a young guy you know? To me, it’s part of an American tradition, Monday Night Football. It brings a lot of energy and excitement to a town.

Q: Do you find yourself trying to soak in an event like Monday Night Football?

A: I think there is a fine line there, a balance. I’ve got a young football team on my hands, on our hands, the biggest thing is that we treat it as a normal game, with all due respect to the opponent and having it home. It’s great that we’re going to have a home game, number one, playing in front of our fans. We have to continue to grow and be able to execute in a situation like this. I’ve found that if you get too high than you lose yourself in the moment, and we can’t do that. This will be a little bit of a challenge for us and some of our young players, but it’s got to be one that they’re looking forward to.

Q: Is there something about the Patriots and them playing more primetime games than the Bills that would give them an edge?

A: Just myself being around it before, with the two different teams that I was with before I came here, the better team you have the more primetime games you get, and that’s the draw. Those become a common place. One week after another, or every other week you’re playing a primetime game, and I’ll tell you it’s hard on coaches, because the late hours that are involved with those primetime games and having to turnaround the next morning and come right back and get it going again is sometimes exhausting. Overall, yeah you can say give them the advantage because they’ve been there before.

Q: What is the status with Ray-Ray McCloud?

A: Yeah, we’re right back where we were a week ago, and looking to get going and have a good week here. Last week like a mentioned after the game, was a football decision and we’ll leave it at that.

Q: Why didn’t he make the trip?

A: Yeah that was a football decision.

Q: How does it feel that on a Monday when most teams will be working their rosters on a Monday and you’ll be preparing your team for a football game?

A: Yeah that’s where Brandon [Beane] and his staff come in, and Brandon and I talk quite a bit, but I know that Brandon’s on top of that.

Q: How do you proceed with the trade deadline approaching?

A: The bulk of the work is done by Brandon and his staff, just because I can’t be in two places at once. To your point, Brandon communicates on those things, and if there’s something out there he’ll let me know and we can talk about it and then move forward from there.

Q: Do you talk to your players about that business side of football at all?

A: No, they understand. I shouldn’t say understand, they’re aware of that. We’ve got some young players that may not totally understand how that works, but they’re aware of that I’m sure. It’s part of locker room talk, or locker room awareness. They watch their own social media like you guys are, and they see different players from different teams moving, and so they’re aware of that.

Q: Where do you see this team’s confidence?

A: I think naturally their confidence is a little shaken. I thought we came off of a game at Minnesota where we beat a team that is currently in first place, so confidence is high after a game like that. You come off of the Houston game, I think confidence was still fairly high coming off of the game. Again, you look at Houston and now they’re in first place, so that was a game where you don’t like to play the could’ve, would’ve, should’ve game, but we’d like to be able to say that we can close that game out. Last week we obviously didn’t take that step that I wanted to, but every week in the NFL is a new week, so you have to come back. Get back on the horse and grow from the areas, and make adjust from the areas where we weren’t up to par last week and continue to develop this football team.

Q: Does it concern you the wide margins in these losses?

A: Yeah there’s been a couple of those. I think when you go back and look at those games, in particular you don’t take care of the football, that usually leads to those types of margins, if you will. Take care of the football, and you give yourself a chance by the way you play to win based off of who you are and who your opponent is. I think we’d all like to be out there posting 50 points. I’m sure there are a lot of head coaches that are out there that would sleep a lot easier if they knew that they were going to get 50 points a night. That’s just not where we are right now, so we just have to understand who we are, where we are of this process and trying to get this thing going in the right direction. I do believe that there’s been wins, it just hasn’t been like this last week on the scoreboard. We’re developing some young players who are also learning how to play in this league and continue to grow every week.

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