Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott

Friday, January 5, 2018

Opening Statement: Okay good morning, we’ll go ahead and get started.

Q: LeSean [McCoy] update?

A: LeSean, we’ll see him do some things today, and we’ll go from there.

Q: Meaning he’ll participate in practice on a limited basis?

A: Yeah, one movement at a time right now. We’ll just see how he does through the individual part of practice and then go from there.

Q: Kyle [Williams] said that there’s a little box of insults that you guys would tank, that you’re an underdog. He admitted that you guys use that as motivation. So being a nine-point underdog, do you think you could use that?

A: Is that what we are?

Q: Yeah, I believe it’s nine.

A: Nine?

Q: And it’s going up.

A: Going up?

Q: Yeah.

A: Well, you know what? That’s why you play the game. They have a good team, strong team. I believe in our guys. I believe we have a good team. It should make for a good game.

Q: Any other health concerns as far as guys not participating?

A: I’ll just go down the list for you guys: Shareece [Wright] will be out, he’s still in the concussion protocol. Matt Milano will not practice today. Then, from there, we’ll have some other guys that’ll be limited today, which will be Charles Clay, Joe Webb, Kelvin Benjamin, LeSean as we already discussed, then Deonte Thompson.

Q: With Milano, since he hasn’t gotten a practice in this week, what is your level of optimism heading into Sunday for him with that hamstring [injury]?

A: Yeah, we’ll see. It’s going to be a challenge. There’s still hope that he’ll be able to make it. He does a good job off the field in terms of his preparation, smart young man. He’s played before, so we’ll just see.

Q: What’s your level of confidence that the running game – even if LeSean can’t go or is limited in any way – can still operate at the level that you need it to? This team’s offensive identity has been built around running the ball.

A: Yeah, my confidence is still there. I saw it in Mike [Tolbert] and Murph [Marcus Murphy] last week in Miami, and that’s really been the approach of our team all season long – preparing 63 guys and the next man up. We’ve done a good job of that to this point.

Q: When you look at Jaylen Ramsey and what he’s able to do, he’s such a young player, with all the accolades – what stands out when you watch film of him?

A: The talent overall, length as you mentioned, No. 1 pick. You see it. Sometimes those players like that don’t work out. In this case, they’ve hit on a lot of their high picks, they’re loaded with them. He plays at a high level and does a good job, fast, very little separation in terms of the guys he covers, tight windows really, overall in the passing game.

Q: What gives you the confidence that you can at least slow down Leonard Fournette in this game?

A: I’m confident in our guys. I’m confident in our system and what we do, how we do things. The guys have put in a good week of practice, and we’ll see a little bit more today when we take the field here in a few minutes. I think fundamentally, we spend a lot of time on the proper fundamentals. Sometimes you see them come out as a result, sometimes you don’t, but we continue to work on those. That would be, overall, what I see right now.

Q: Defensively this season, the numbers maybe say one thing, but do you feel like they don’t portray or paint an accurate picture of the job that you’ve done on that side of the ball?

A: I think we’ve done some good things on all sides of the ball, really, in all three phases. We’ve shown growth and improvement in all three phases. Defensively, specifically, I’ve seen us improve. Just to start off with time on task standpoint, in terms of the reps we’ve been able to build through this season. That continuity is important as we move forward. It breeds familiarity with what we’re doing and what’s expected; not only at ‘your’ position, but what’s going on around ‘your’ position, because that’s important, in terms of playing great team defense.

Q: Is it fair to say you don’t really consider yourself, in terms of rankings, stats, that kind of thing – do you look at them, do you worry about them at all?

A: I do to a point, but there’s some that are more important than others. There’s some that I determine to be critical stats that really correlate to wins or losses. Those are the ones that I more concern myself and ourselves with. Sometimes you get too big into stats, in particular, the ones that really don’t correlate to winning and losing, and you get carried away, and given some false positives or false negatives because at the end of the day, the story is told by turning on the film and watching the tape.

Q: They know you’re busy this week preparing with your team, but have you been hearing from any former Bills players who are just as excited as the rest of the town, and appreciative of this drought ending and such. Have you gotten personal contact?

A: A little bit, yeah, here and there. Like you said, they know we’re fairly tied up right now, but it’s been great overall, I would say, to know of the support that’s out there, from ‘A’ to ‘Z’. That’s been just unbelievable to be a part of. It gives us a lot of energy knowing that we’ve got that type of support in our community, across the world, really. The different messages we get, the different mail we get, everything. I got a letter this week from a first-grade class with pictures that said let’s go Buffalo and good luck Sunday. It’s very humbling, and also encouraging at the same time.

Q: What’s it been like for you around town this week? Have you interacted with any fans, what have they said to you?

A: The ones I’ve run into in the short amount of time I’ve been out in the community this week, have been just awesome. It’s a little bit, almost awkward at times for me, just because I didn’t do this alone. Like I said earlier, the energy, the support, they love this team. That’s part of the reason why my family and I made the decision to come here, because of the passion of this fan base, and just the generally nice people in this community. You can feel that. In the short amount of time I have been out in the community this week, that’s come to the surface.

Q: You talked about coaching all 63 guys, you coach the whole roster the same way. When you get a situation like this with LeSean, that’s when something like this comes into play – obviously next man up. Fans seem to freak out when they see a guy like LeSean might not play, but can you speak to how important it is that every player– you don’t have to reinvent the wheel so to speak to accommodate a new player stepping in for someone?

A: I said it earlier in the week, you never replace a player like LeSean. I’m not going to sit up here and say that we [can] check that box, we’ve got that. But this is why we coach, this is why we build the depth – part of Brandon’s [Beane] weekly pursuit of finding the right players, maybe not as starters, but as the next group of starters. The coaches do a phenomenal job and the players have really bought into that approach of everyone has to be prepared to play. If it’s a practice squad player, he could be called up as late as Fridayinto the weekend, so he has to be prepared. That really goes back to the whole overarching philosophy of accountability. A part of it is discipline but the other part of it is making sure you’re ready to do your job when called upon.


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