Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott

Monday, September 16, 2019

Opening Statement: Good Afternoon. We will go ahead and get started. I will just give you a quick injury update here.  Still gathering information on Devin [Singletary], right now we will list him as day to day. Taron [Johnson] and Andre [Roberts] are both progressing and we will see where that goes with this week. So, with that we will open it up to your questions.

Q:  Is day to day considered a good thing at this point or is it still too early to even make that decision?

A: Yeah, day to day more so for just some questions marks yet in terms of the evaluation.

Q: Devin pulled up mid run. Usually when guys do that, they cramp up or something. Is it more advanced than that?

A: Again, still do not know definitively at this point what’s going on there.

Q: Coach, how close was Tyler [Kroft] this week? He has done a little bit more each successive week. Was he even close on Sunday? Curious to where he was at.

A: Yeah, he has put in a couple good weeks. We just want to see how he does this week and same situation, will take his case day to day. I know he is anxious to get out there. I thought he had a good week last week and looking for him to build on that this week in practice.

Q: Batted passing coach, defensively the first two weeks, you really kind of held your pass defense down. Is that a point now that it is an added weapon for your defense that you will utilize each week?

A: No, we’d like to get there, to the quarterback, but when we can’t get there, we try to affect the quarterback anyway we can and our defensive line coaches do a really good job – Bill [Teerlink] and Aaron [Whitecotton] kind of coaching it. There is a timing element on that as well. We’ve been productive the first two weeks with it then you saw Trent [Murphy] with the hustle play.  Just phenomenal effort and a big change in momentum before half there. 

Q: Going off of that, how do you and [Leslie Frazier] measure successful pass rush? 

A: There are a lot of variables in that with timing again, and whether or not we can affect the quarterback, and there’s different things we look for. Sometimes numbers, in terms of sacks, don’t always tell an accurate story. Sometimes they do. Most of the time there’s more to it then just sacks. 

Q: In this case, with Ed [Oliver] he has been so close to the quarterback so frequently in his first two games, is that one of those situations where you have to look beyond sacks to really measure how well he’s rushing the passer?

A: No, I think Ed is playing with really good effort. He’s got a lot of work to do just in terms of the overall down in and down out execution, coordination with the rush plan. He’s a young player that is only going to continue to get better as he continues to get more and more time in and continue to understand the opponent and life in the NFL, which is naturally the case for most young players.  

Q: Harrison Phillips seemed to have a pretty nice game, what did you see when looked back and you watched the film and how he played?

A: Really good to see. Harrison, just from the minute he’s walked in from the door, has taken his job and maxed his job out. Whatever his job has been, this week he got a little more volume in his job, rushed the passer better than he has rushed before, and he’s worked on that. He was in his gap in the run defense and was very active yesterday. I thought to your point, he played a really good game.

Q: You move your front four in and out a lot. You substitute guys in and out a lot, you’ve done that since you’ve gotten here. How do you decide, is it a feel thing, as the game is going? How do you decide? Do you go in with a snap count in mind? How do you come up with those numbers?

A: Our defensive line coaches do it, along with Leslie, in terms of their plan during the week.  We just believe overall and trying to throw multiple fast balls at an offense, different looks, different rep count depending on maybe weather, it was warm yesterday so we wanted to have fresh bodies in particular down the stretch. Thought we did a pretty good job with that in the rep count. Spread across the board yesterday amongst a number of guys, and you saw the results of that. They were productive down to the end of the game which was important for us.

Q: Your impressions of what you’ve seen from the offense after really two tough quarters, well two sloppy quarters in the first game, to how it’s been able to get off as it did from the start and put together those three touchdown drives?

A: I think the execution was at an all-time high yesterday. Really going back to the last couple of drives against the Jets, those 80-something yard drives or whatever they were, you have to be able to execute at a high level to string together those type of drives. To have the discipline, to have the mental toughness, to have the fundamentals to go along with it, that takes a lot to string those type of drives together and come up with seven points. Then you have to cap it off with good red zone offense as well. 

Q: How much does that speak to Josh [Allen] and his maturation and how he’s taking control of the huddle and such?

A: Yeah, Josh is in his second year and as he would tell you, there’s a lot of work yet to be done. I think he is understanding the game a little bit better within the game and what he can and can’t do, and how to respect, just in terms of how effective the check downs can be at times. You look at a great example was in the game the other day, yesterday we had the third down close to the goal line at the end of the game and he threw the ball away. Then the next play was a penalty on special teams on them and we get a first down. I think that in and of itself is a step. We just have to continue to play smart football in all three phases. Way too many penalties. Yesterday in particular, pre-snap and post-whistle penalties. The guys know how I feel about those. 

Q: What, if anything, changes in preparing for a home game as opposed to road games to start the season especially for the younger guys?

A: Yeah, we talked a little bit about that this morning. First of all, we’re excited to play at home.  It’s good to be home in front of our fans. Yet the preparation still has to be the same in terms of our process. Within that, they have to understand sometimes there are some things we have to handle, tickets you know all of that process is a little bit different. So, we want to get that squared away as early as we can and get focused on our preparation. This is a good football team coming in here. It’s early in the season and we have a lot work to do and I think how we work this week and how we prepare will be key to our success. 

Q: Can you comment on the job that both Siran [Neal] and Dean [Marlowe] did in nickel, especially against containing Evan [Engram]. Just with those guys it seemed like the communication when each was supposed to be on the field, was pretty flawless.

A: It was a good plan overall the defense staff put together. It was by committee there and I though both of them handled themselves well. I mean in the run game, the pass game and then Kevin [Johnson] coming in on top of that in some situations there was good for us. Just different looks. Both, well really all three of those guys took ownership of their role and that’s what I love about them. They are team first guys and whatever they are asked to do, special teams, defense, inside, outside, safety, they’ve done and done well. 

Q: T.J. [Yeldon] hasn’t played a lot the first couple of weeks, does that change with Devin [Singletary] status? How has T.J. practiced? Is he ready for that expanded role if it comes up?

A: Yeah, T.J. has done a nice job to this point. He’s embraced his role as well. He hasn’t gotten as many touches or lined up in the backfield quite as much as the other two have to this point, but really appreciate the way he’s just gritted his teeth and gone to work everyday all the way back from training camp up until now. So, whatever his role is this week, I expect he’ll do the same and be mentally tough and give us all he’s got. 

Q: He [Yeldon] had a fumble the first preseason game, and it was probably a little low moment for him, it seemed like the rest of the preseason he kind of turned it on a bit.  Did you notice that too, that he kind of wrapped it up after that?

A: Listen that was a great opportunity for T.J. and for us to learn as a team that you have to take care of the football. I think it was in the first game against the Colts in the preseason, he handled it in an extremely mature way and I appreciate that. Again, I think he’s just put his head down and he’s worked. He doesn’t say much. He’s just worked. You’ve got to work and sometimes you’ve got to work while you wait and I think he’s done that.

Q:  What’s the first and foremost thing that keeps you grounded after 2-0?

A: You’ve been around this league long enough to know that we’ve got to continue to grow. We’re not where we need to be and we’ve got a lot of work to do and the penalties, I thought we lost our edge a little bit in yesterday’s game. In particular in the early part of the third quarter and the way we finished the game. I didn’t think we finished the game the right way, so I was not happy with that. 

Q: When you look around the league and all the quarterback injuries – Ben [Roethlisberger] done for the season, Drew [Brees] gets banged up, how much confidence do you have in Matt [Barkley] and how happy are you to know that you have him in you back pocket, in case anything ever happens tp Josh [Allen]?

A:  Yeah, that’s a fair question because of what you mentioned. I mean you’ve got to have two and that was one of the questions we needed to answer for this offseason, this spring, this training camp, knowing what we knew about Matt but also giving him another opportunity to show, and he got a pretty good amount of playing time in training camp and the reps in practice and then also in the preseason games there, which was intentional. We thought collectively he handled himself extremely well. He is a great young man with a great smile and a great joy about him, brings a great energy to our football team.

Q: That hit Micah [Hyde] had to jar the ball out, just such technique, it was a textbook hit.  No penalty obviously, officials might be looking for that. How satisfying was that to know that everybody was on the same page as far as the technique used, how he was able to approach that?

A:  Yeah, he did a great job. I mean that’s probably how you’d coach it. Lowered the strike zone, kept his head out of it, didn’t put the opponent in danger at all. Big time play on third down to get off the field because they were inside the red zone there. 

Q: Cody [Ford] flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, I think it was for where he said, for having Josh’s back.  Where is the line between having your quarterback’s back and what’s pushing it?

A:  Yeah, I mean I think we’ve established that our guys play hard for one another and defend one another, but we’ve got to be smart. Two consecutive weeks that we took potential field position, or potential points off the board, and that’s not smart.

Q: In reference to Micah’s hit, Jordan [Poyer]’s hit, both textbook types of hits that are legal. Some of that nastiness that you were talking about way back in training camp that you want you defense to emobdy, does that kind of fall under that category? (Poyer’s hit, deep in the secondary late in the game).

A: Yeah it does. I’d like to see Jordan wrap up.

Q: What about Quinton [Spain], speaking of nasty. He had a couple blocks where he just engulfed the guy. 

A:  Yeah, I mean, I thought we did some really good things up front. Quinton, I thought rebounded and played a better game this week than he did last week and that’s a credit to his preparation as well. You can just tell the difference in the way he was preparing. I thought a lot of guys did some good things. Again, we are just not where we need to be. This is going to be an important week for us, just in terms of an opportunity for us to grow as a football team again and bring the energy to our stadium and draw the energy from our fan base.  

Q: I counted at least four times in third down, and a few other times where Josh [Allen] delivered some pretty significant plays in the passing game. How significant is that in terms of his development?

A: Yeah, it is significant. I mean, third down is one of the hardest downs. You have to be able to throw it when they know your going to throw it. We talk a lot about that on offense with Coach Daboll and so they know we’re throwing, we know we’re throwing and Josh coverted. I give credit to the offensive line. I thought they gave him time in certain situations there and some of those third downs were key for us and Josh bought some time in other ones and then his conversion to Cole [Beasley] in the early part of the game, I thought was big, as well as John [Brown] in the forth quarter, as well as some others.

Q: Ty [Nsekhe] slightly edging Cody [Ford], after watching the film do you anticipate that continuing to be the rotation that we’ve seen at right tackle?

A: Yeah, will see. Again, it’s going to be game to game at this point. It’s just the season’s too young to really put a finite number at this point, or to commit at this point, especially early in the week.

Q: You had some long drives, how important is it to be able to move down the field that way and sustain those type of long drives, distance wise?

A: Yeah, I think that’s the mark as you look at some of the really good offenses over the years, that you can sustain those drives. And when you need a drive, like we needed a drive yesterday when momentum was starting to swing a little bit when they pulled within seven, I thought our offense answered and put a heck of a drive together, both run and pass game mixed in there.  Thought our offensive line did a real nice job in there.

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