Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Opening statement:  Good morning. Before I get started, let Jeremy White and his family know that we’re all thinking of him, Molly as well.   We know it’s not an easy time right now and I know you guys, a lot of you guys know him and his family.  So, our thoughts and prayers go out to Jeremy, his family and just want them to know that we’re with him. I had a chance to speak with him briefly yesterday and offered him some support. So, with that, we’ll open it up to your questions.

Q: The Josh Allen update.  Has he progress where he’s moving forward?

A:  Yeah, he’s in the protocol.  Still in the protocol.

Q:  If you have to move forward now today, I am assuming that Matt Barkley is the guy that you are going to go with in terms of Josh Allen’s readiness.

A:  We’ll get them both ready.  You know, as much as we can.  But Josh being in the protocol, he’ll do some drill work out there, some individual drill work. But other than that, all I can say is, is in the protocol.

Q: Potential of having Matt [Barkley] start, how much does it have to change just given the significant differences in their skill set?  How does that impact on how you prepare?

A: I mean, you’re always going to want to put players in positions that they’re comfortable and that puts them in positions of strength. And so, we’re extremely confident in Matt Barkley.  So we’ll just see how that moves forward as we go through the week.

Q:  Can you rectify, especially the quarterback position, how important it is for that guy to get the full reps, the full first team reps of the week? And the other positions, it matters, but specifically for that.

A: Yeah, I mean, you said it well.  It’s very important in every position, very important at this position in particular, with the timing and the reads and all that type of stuff. So, it’s important that all of our players practice whether you’re a starter or a backup, in this case as a quarterback, very important.

Q:  Knowing you can give a timetable on Josh [Allen], can you at least say, like you can say he’s going to take some individual stuff today, was he in the prep meeting yesterday and today?

A: We didn’t have meetings yesterday. Yesterday was a day off. And so, he is in meetings today.

Q: Can you give us a practice status on any other injured players today?

A: We’ve got a long list so…

Q: Devin Singletary? Taron Johnson?

A: Yeah, Devin will be limited today as well Taron.

Q:  Is it strictly a concussion with Josh or was there anything else?

A: He’s in protocol for the concussion.

Q: Have you gotten more personally involved with your special teams since Sunday?  Patriots really took advantage of something with your punt coverage.

A: I would hope to believe I am involved in all three phases of our team. We certainly followed up what happened in the game and that’s an area among others that we have to continue to develop in.  I’m confident in what we’re doing there and how we’re doing it.

Q:   If Devin was close on Sunday, is today kind of a setback or just trying to play it safe?

A: No, it’s just where he is, as it relates to the designation really more than anything. So, we’ll see how he does today.

Q:  What’s been kind of made of, you know Josh’s style with you believe what happened with his running ability and that sort of thing. How Do you think that’s evolved for him and how he’s managed it from maybe the self-preservation standpoint?

A:  Well, I think he continues to learn I mean, he’s still a very young player, right. And so, every young player has to figure out how to play in this league. Number one to be effective, but also so that they play for a long time. And I think that’s what happens to young players.

Q: There was a lot of assumption that if not most of the struggles he had, Josh on Sunday, were ‘okay this is what Bill [Belichick] does to young quarterbacks’. But If feel like you, as Josh Allen’s coach, might not want to accept that as “Yeah, that’s fine.  Every other team will be fine like that.”  So where are you with, like him recognize because other teams are obviously going to try to pick up on those things?  How can you address that with him and his development?

A: Yeah, and I would say, A.) we’ve moved on beyond that game number one.  B.) it’s about Josh’s overall development, regardless of who we play, we have a very good opponent this week with Tennessee.  But, you know, in addition to that, regardless of who we play, it’s Josh’s development, and learning and growing, again, just in the early part of the second year now. You have to learn from the good learn, from the bad and then continue to develop and move forward.

Q:  Is it fair to think that Matt Barkley has just because of time and experience, a more and better understanding, especially of what he’s going to see, in particular, if it ends up being in playing Sunday, Tennessee, and a defense that’s good, offer some challenges, scheming wise, or whatever? Is it fair to say that he’s gotten a little more I mean, more advanced knowledge than a quarterback going into your to having only played four games?

A: You know look, experienced players have seen more football, I think of just like experienced players that see more football NFL than not experienced players. And other than that, I mean, we’ve got a lot of confidence in Josh, got a lot of confidence in Matt so other than that its…

Q: What is the strength of this Tennessee defense?

Yeah, appreciate the question. It’s a very good football team. This close from being three and one, it really should have probably won that the game over there that they had down there last time. So you know, a good football team, they’re physical, they’re strong. They’ve got veteran players and, you know, we look at their defense one of the best defenses in the league. Well coached by Coach Vrable and Coach Pees, and you know, extremely smart. Then special teams, they’ve got a good kicking game with, their guys there in terms of the punter and good return game. And then offensively, you know, they create a lot of big plays. So, you know, it’ll be a big challenge for us.

Q: In that first series in the Giants game, Saquon tore you up, then you shut him down. How much of a challenge is Derick Henry? This is a big, bruising guy who has speed and will be a challenge for this defense.

A: Well, you’ve seen to this point what he’s been able to do to other defenses, and you watch what he did at Cleveland against that defense. And that’s a good defense. You watch what they’ve been able to do. You know, they had 24 points last week, and they’re moving the football, they’re playing good ball. I think their coordinator does a really good job at putting them in good positions, with the play calls. So, it’ll be a big challenge for us in particular going down there.

Q: What is the plan right now at right tackle with Ty Nsekhe and Cody Ford going into this game?

A: Yeah, I mean, we’ll continue to monitor as we go forward. To say right now what it will be, I’m not really sure certain to this point, but we’ll continue to work those two in a rotation potentially. Usually, whether it’s 60/40, 50/50 it kind of works itself out.

Q: What do you think of what Quinton Spain has been able to do for you so far?

A: He’s done some good things. You know, we appreciate his leadership. Obviously, he played for Tennessee last year. So, I think he’s made an impact on our locker room. He’s made an impact on our on our offensive line. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Q.

Q: You’ve had some really good defenses that you’ve coordinated before, what’s been the common threads that make defenses really special in this league? Is there something that stands out that you have to have certain things to make it work?

A: Yeah, I would have to say unselfish team defense. I think this team does a good job of playing team defense and I think our unit, I’m probably biased, but I think our unit does a good job and playing team defense also.

Q: How important was it, you focused on Matt Barkley getting a lot of time in training camp to work with the new group of receivers in the game because of the offensive line, how important in retrospect was that for you, in the event that this unfortunate thing might happen?

A: Yeah, that’s important. I mean, you try and simulate what could happen in a season best you can, no crystal ball. You try and simulate what could happen within a game, just one game. You’ve seen we’ve put Matt in there at practice and training camp, just to try and simulate some of that. So that’s important that we can do that and also that Matt’s been in there before. So, that’s where some of that confidence comes from.

Q: To this point in the season, you only have seven sacks, are you satisfied with the pressure that you’re getting gout of your defensive line?

A: You know, it’s my normal answer is never enough, it’s never enough. Look, this is a line of scrimmage league. We believe in winning at the line of scrimmage and, you know, it’s, whether you have eight sacks you’re always wanting nine, and that’s the way I look at it, I felt like we did some good things, we’re doing some good things with a lot of room for improvement, and I’m confident in those guys. I like how fast we’re playing, and how physical we’re playing. So, it’s never enough.

Q: Is anybody else not going to practice today due to injury? Like Tyler Kroft?

A: Yeah, it’ll be Pat DiMarco who’s in the concussion protocol. Tyler Kroft, as you mentioned, Corey Thompson, and the rest we’ll just have to see.

Q: What about Dean Marlowe?

A: (Concussion) protocol, as well, so we’ll just see.

Q: Where is Tyler Kroft at in his progression?

A: Well, he’s moving forward, he’s moving the right direction towards the goal of returning. I just don’t know when that’s going to be at this point.

Q: It probably helped Josh Allen to watch when he was hurt last year, is he beyond the point where if he doesn’t play then he can still learn by watching?

A: Oh, no. You know you’ve been around, I mean experience just being able to, I mean the more experience that – there’s a question asked earlier about experience – there’s no substitute for experience I’m sure in your job you’re better near, whatever, and so then we were in the first year, right? So there’s something, there’s a lot to be said for experience and if you watch and you learn as you go through experiencing, and you absorb and you’re a sponge, it usually works to your benefit.

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