Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott

Monday, October 16, 2017

Opening Statement: Good morning. Just a couple updates, injury-wise. These guys will not practice: Charles Clay, he’ll be week to week at this point; Ramon Humber, he will also be week-to-week; Jordan Matthews, day-to-day; and then Marcell Dareus, excused for personal reasons. With that, I’ll open it up for questions.

Q: Sean, what’s the stance on Seantrel Henderson at this point? He’s eligible to return. What’s the plan here today?

A: Yeah, obviously we have to make a move by about 4:00 this afternoon [or] this evening so at this point, he’ll remain on the team.

Q: “At this point,” do you mean as of 4:00 or –

A: As of right now.

Q: What is the hope on Jordan [Matthews], given the fact that you’re saying that he’s day-to-day? Is there an expectation that he might be able to practice this week and possibly be ready for Sunday?

A: Yeah, we’re going to have to see. He still has that deal with the thumb going on, so it’s day-to-day. We just got to see [and] make sure things heal up the right way. We’ll know a little bit more tomorrow at this point. Just coming off the bye, he made a tremendous amount of progress. We [have] just got to see at this point how he looks going into Wednesday, really.

Q: Sean, on the offensive line, you had said last week you’re still evaluating the right five [starters]. With Cordy Glenn, if he’s able to come back and play this week, where does the puzzle look for you? Does Dion [Dawkins] stay left, Jordan [Mills] right, Cordy swing? Do you know what’s going on there?

A: [laughs] I do know what’s going on there. It is a puzzle. No, I’m going to tell you everything I know at this point. Just like I said before, Cordy hasn’t played in a number of weeks so getting him the right conditioning [and] acclimated into not only the mental part but also the physical part so right now, we’re going to take a look at that today. We’ll know more as the week progresses and that obviously does affect Dion [Dawkins].

Q: Cornerback health: [E.J.] Gaines, [Shareece] Wright, and Leonard Johnson. Will they all, do you think, be out there?

A: They’ll be limited, E.J. and Leonard both. Shareece will be [a] full [participant] today.

Q: What have you seen from Nick O’Leary, given the fact that he’s probably going to have to play a more significant role in the passing attack with Charles [Clay] out?

A: Well, you know, I think the thing that you notice very quickly about Nick is that he gets open. I mean, he finds a way to find open space in the passing game. He made some big catches the other week against Cincinnati. Tyrod [Taylor], I believe, trusts Nick in the passing game as well. Highly competitive player, has done some good things this year, and I think it remains to be seen how high he’ll go. But we have a lot of confidence in Nick.

Q: For all that buzz when he was drafted and the obvious connection with Jack Nicklaus being his grandfather, he’s always been wanting to step out of that shadow of just, not being known as Jack Nicklaus’s grandson. That’s a lot of weight on your shoulders when you’re that person, but can you see him stepping out of that shadow and see that potential in him to be his own person where he’s just not known as that?

A: Well, yeah. I mean, Nick is his own person [and] that’s what we look at when we look at Nick. He’s made a name for himself. You go back to college and the career he had in college and what he’s done so far in the NFL. We don’t look at Nick in any other way than that. That said, that’s a pretty big shadow. I mean, that’s a legend of sports. If you’re going to come from anything, that’s some pretty good lineage right there.

Q: Vlad Ducasse got the start last week [and] John Miller was inactive. Where are you at right guard right now, as far as evaluating that position?

A: Yeah. That’s an ongoing competition. John did some good things, Vlad did some good things, so we’re going to continue to look at that as well as we move forward into this week.

Q: Is there any chance Ryan Groy gets a look there?

A: There is. Ryan does some good things. The important part for Ryan is that he does back up Eric [Wood] as well at the center position so Ryan does give us some flexibility both at center and as well as at guard.

Q: Sean, as a coach on your bye week, do you even pay attention to what’s happening on Sunday? I mean, probably rooting for AFC teams to lose. What do you do on a Sunday during the bye week? Do you pay attention?

A: A little bit. We got some rest and it was good to get home, re-connect with the family and spend some good time with the kids and whatnot there. But you look at, yeah. I mean, you always keep an eye on scores and I take notes on my phone when I’m watching, if I do get a chance to watch some games. There [are] always situations you can learn from. As a head coach or schematically, you look at different things. ‘Hey, look at this, what this team was doing,’ or ‘look at that, what that team was doing.’ But that said, you can only control what you can control and that’s the great part about the game. I mean, there’s great parity around the NFL. You look at teams that won yesterday that hadn’t won before, teams that were undefeated that then lost, and so that’s why every week in the NFL, you have to bring your ‘A’ game. Got to continue to build, continue to get better and that’s what we’re focused on right now.

Q: Coach, the work that you and your staff did on this bye week, do you feel like you’ve come up with some encouraging solutions, whether it’s the run game or other aspects that you’ve felt you were coming up a little short?

A: Yeah. I think it gave us a good chance to do some self-evaluation of ourselves as coaches, look at our schemes, and then look at fundamentals. All those areas were good for us to look at. Take time and we worked Monday through Wednesday and the players were in here as well and we got on the field a little bit as well just, really, to build some awareness, some self-awareness, as to what we did well, what we didn’t do well, what we need to improve moving forward.

Q: Will practice today pretty much be half some of these new solutions maybe you came up with for the players and might the other half be Tampa, or where are –

A: A mix of both. A mix of both. It’ll be a mix of both. We’ll start off with some individual period and then get into a head start on Tampa at this point.

Q: Sean, with Jameis [Winston], not quite sure what’s happening with him and [Ryan Fitzpatrick] coming in, that’s two really different quarterbacks in the way they play. If they’re going to be cryptic all week about Jameis, how difficult is the preparation for two totally different style quarterbacks?

A: It’s difficult. I mean, this is a good team coming in here. They’ve got weapons all over the field. They’re getting healthy. I think when you look at the score, the way it was yesterday, this is a team that came back from, I believe it was 31-0 at one point. Well-coached football team and Coach [Dirk] Koetter does a great job, as well as Coach [Mike] Smith on the defensive side so this is another big challenge for us. It’s at home, so we look forward to, like I said before the bye, to getting back home here and playing in front of our fans.

Q: So are there provisions for if it’s Jameis or if it’s Fitzpatrick? I know it’s early –

A: It’s early in the, yeah, it’s early at this point. We’re just, guys are in meetings right now, getting through meetings. We’ll have a plan for either, both good quarterbacks.

Q: Sean, where have you noticed Marcell [Dareus]’s game going the past few weeks? I know he’s not practicing today, but last time out, [he had the] lone sack for the team. Is that something maybe you can reflect over the bye week and he can make some positive steps to start contributing more?

A: Yeah, there were some good things. Obviously, he had the sack, which is good. The thing about playing defensive tackle is it’s the inside push. It’s the inside presence, not only in the run game but the pass game as well. We’re going to continue to harp on that, to coach that, and really, when you look at what we’ve done outside with Jerry [Hughes], we found going through the bye week, we can get even more production if we continue to get that inside push and that’s going to be a big part of Marcell’s job moving forward.

Q: Why was Jerel Worthy inactive that last game, because if you like the inside push, he’s pretty strong in that?

A: Well, when you look at the tape, there’s a lot of things our guys are strong at. We just felt like, going into the week or going into that game, that Adolphus [Washington] and Cedric [Thornton], as well as Marcell [Dareus] and Kyle [Williams] gave us the best chance to win at that point.

Q: Where are you with Andre Holmes? What have you seen from him on film? It seems like his role has gone down a little bit the last couple of weeks. Is that just something that shook out before the game?

A: Yeah, it’s just Tyrod going through his progression and going to the open receiver, really. The thing about Andre, what everyone needs to understand, is a part of Andre’s acquisition was the special teams role and so I know I addressed that last week here. That’s a big part of our football team. There’s three phases and obviously his role on special teams is a big factor for us as well.

Q: How much do you have to change what you guys do on offense because you don’t have Charles Clay?

A: You know, obviously Charles is a big weapon for us, or has been, and Tyrod trusts him. That’s never easy. That said, we have a lot of confidence in the guys behind Charles as well, with Nick [O’Leary] that was mentioned earlier. We’re going to continue to look to spread the ball around and use the weapons we have and this is a team game, and that’s the greatest part about football is that it’s never one guy. Like I said, we’ll miss Charles and we look forward to getting him back. That said, this is why you practice and you look to get the ball to different people, and that’s what makes it tough to defend, when you can do that as opposed to just one guy. It gives defenses headaches.

Q: Is placing Charles [Clay] on the short-term IR a possibility?

A: You know, we’re looking at everything right now. Charles, it was good to see him in here this morning. Didn’t have a chance to catch up with him but I did see him in the training room and he looks to be in good spirits and so we’ll just take it one week at a time right now.

Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
Monday, October 16, 2017

Q: Aright Coach, just in terms of bye week and self-awareness, as Coach [Sean] McDermott calls it, were there any encouraging solutions that you guys feel you came up with in examining things?
A: Well, I mean, certainly guys are playing hard. We’ve made some plays, the biggest theme is we’re going backwards too much, too many negative plays, and we’re trying to get that corrected, the technique, and just awareness, like you said, self-awareness. Knowing that our situation is, we win games, we’ve just got to play a little bit better, and help us win more games.

Q: It sounds like, from what you’re describing, most of the fixes are rooted in fundamentals?
A: Uh, I mean that’s the simple term, yeah, and we can do a lot of things better, and that’s everybody, me included. We took a look at each and every aspect that we need to do, we know we make some plays, and we just have to make more, and keep our mistakes to a minimum.

Q: I guess maybe I didn’t ask it right, but I guess in your opinion, the decisions are correctable?
A: We can correct them, yes.

Q: With the offensive line, can you talk about what’s going on there? You’ve got some moving parts it looks like with Cordy [Glenn] uncertain, and all of that stuff.
A: Well, yeah, I mean, certainly him coming back, he hasn’t played a lot, so we’ll get him in shape, and Dion’s [Dawkins] done a good job and we’ll keep seeing what’s going on there. I think that’s a work in progress. We’ll see how that works out.

Q: How about replacing Charles [Clay] at tight end? What do you see at that position?
A: I think the players that we have, you know Nick’s [O’Leary] done a good job, and Logan’s [Thomas] put some time in in the spots that he’s played, he’s done well. I’m not going to change what we do, we’re just going to have to move some guys around and see. Charles is a great player, and while he’s down we’ll supplement and do what we can.

Q: You count on Charles in pretty much every situation, is it Nick now that kind of has to assume that role?
A: I think we just have to go out there and play. Certainly, they each have their strengths, nobody’s quite Charles. We’ll play off their strengths, and we’ll show up, and somebody will make those plays.

Q: Coach [McDermott] told us Jordan [Matthews] is day-to-day, no longer week-to-week. How does that impact you, if at all, with respect to your game-plan?
A: Well, we just have to wait and see how he practices day-to-day. We’ll game plan based on what we see [with] Tampa Bay, with their defense, and put our players in the right spot. Hopefully, that’ll be a part, he’ll work hard to get out on the field. He’ll get a chance to put him in the right spot and make some plays.

Q: Rick, what have you seen from Nick O’Leary specifically? I mean this guy’s been around for a few years now, and he’s been looking, waiting for this opportunity to come. What did you see of how he stepped up last week, or two weeks ago?
A: Every time we give him a chance to make a play catching the ball, he does, he catches the ball. [He] did a good job in Cincinnati, he does his part, does his role and it’s one of those things, as anything else, if you can count on a guy to make a play, then that’s a good thing. We’ll go out there, and he’ll make the plays that we ask him to make.

Q: So encouraged by what you saw, the chemistry that he showed against Cincinnati with Tyrod [Taylor]?
A: Oh yeah. Sure, I mean, from the day we’ve been here, he’s done everything that we’ve asked him and he gets in the right place and makes those plays.

Q: It seems like a lot has been made about the zone blocking at the running game. Where do you feel like the lineman are in learning that, and how do you negotiate calling plays like that and switching back to maybe some more man stuff that was successful in previous weeks?
A: Well, I think we took a look at everything we did, and not to get in what we did in the bye week, but we took a lot at every play we ran and threw, looked at our strengths and our weaknesses and we’ll build off of that. Zones or gaps or whatever we do, we’ll do what we do best, and then obviously try and tie that with what Tampa Bay does.

Q: I mean, you’ve been running balls anyway. You ran, wasn’t one dimensional against Cincinnati, you did a little bit of both?
A: We did have some negatives, we had some negatives. In any type of scheme, we just have to do what we do better.

Q: Vlad [Vladimir Ducasse] got his first chance to play in a while for him, just what did you think of what you saw from him?
A: Well, obviously he played, he did some really good things, and it’s still a competition between him and John [Miller]. We’ll just, keep going week to week.

Q: Vlad’s big, strong, I mean that’s his asset, big [and] strong.
A: Big and strong, he’s got long arms, long levers, it does some good things. Juan’s [Castillo] worked with him for a year, but John has had some good years here with the rest of the guys, so they both have their strengths, and we’ll just keep working off of them.

Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier
Monday, October 16, 2017

Opening statement: Good morning, enjoyed our break off. Had a chance to talk with some of our players this morning and all those guys are excited about getting started with the second quarter this season. We have one game down, and now we’ll get ready to play a very, very good offense; an explosive offense with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I think our guys are excited about getting on with the game plan once we come back on Wednesday. We have a practice this morning, an abbreviated practice, where we’ll get a chance to go through a few things that are more related to our defense and what we saw in the first five weeks of the season, and then we’ll move on from there to the Buccaneers.

Q: Coach, is there enough, I know his status is up in the air for Sunday, but is there still enough recall on your mind from being around Jameis [Winston] day to day to kind of have a good handle on him and his skillset?
A: Well back then, he was a rookie in the National Football League and he’s come so far since, like most really good players will do after their rookie season. I’ll have to take a look at some tape and get a better feel for him, and just see how far he’s come along. Now he’s got more weapons around him, both in the back field, as well as at receiver, so he’s a different player than he was his rookie year.

Q: What, from a skillset standpoint, what stands out about him? What do you like from his skillset?
A: Well, his ability to put the ball in tight spots. He can really throw the football and he has a lot of confidence in his arm, and confidence in his receivers as well. His mobility combined with his toughness and his accuracy as well, those were things that I remember, things that I’ve seen on tape in the little bit that we’ve watched over the last few days. He has the tools you look for in a quarterback who’s going to be really good in our league.

Q: How difficult is the challenge if, you know Fitz [Ryan Fitzpatrick] and Jameis are two totally different guys, I know their offense, but two different styles. They’re probably going to play games all week with you. How difficult is that to prepare for those two types of guys?
A: It’s definitely a challenge; you like to know for sure which quarterback you’re going to be facing so you can spend your time studying that quarterback, but, as you said, they’re probably [going to] play the game, make us watch both throughout the week. That’s alright; we’ll definitely have to put together a plan for both, and just be prepared for whichever one ends up starting. Maybe we’ll find out sooner than later who’s going to be the starter, but either way, we’ll have to have a plan either way.

Q: Where do things stand with Marcell [Dareus], not only what you’re seeing from him behind the scenes, but also what his role might be going forward?
A: You know, he did a really good job in our last ballgame against Cincinnati, he really came along and played well for us, and we’d just like to build on that performance, and just see him continue to get better as the season goes on and we’re going to need him against this team we’re facing this coming Sunday. Just more of what we saw last week as we go forward.

Q: Is it weird to be talking about a guy like Marcell struggling given what he’s accomplished that you’re still looking to build upon what he’s done? At this point, the fact that he is not performing, or hasn’t performed yet, up to what people view this guy brings?
A: Yeah, you know, I think for us, being a new staff and all, he just, everyone has a new slate. That’s how we’ve kind of approached every player on our defense, and the slate was wiped clean from day one and that’s the way we approached it. All we want Marcell to do is just build on what we saw last week. He did some really good things in the run game, had a good sack when the quarterback tried to step up. If we can build on that and just keep progressing, our defense will get better as he gets better as well, and that’s a good thing for us. Really encouraged in what we saw last week against Cincinnati.

Q: Given the fact that it was a clean slate, does that suggest, given his limited playing time, that other players have passed him as far as in the coaching staff’s eyes?
A: Well, one of the things that you saw when you looked at the reps in the ballgame, I mean his reps were not out of whack. He got as many opportunities as the others guys at the position. We still have confidence in Marcell for sure, as evidenced by the fact that he’s getting playing time. As I mentioned, we’d like to see him just continue to get better, like we will with all of our players and our entire defense. We want to get better as a group, we want to get better as individuals, and that will be good for us if we, as a group, can continue to get better and as individuals.

Q: What was your impression of Matt Milano and what he was able to do last week, or two weeks ago?
A: You know I was, I think all of us were really pleased with his play. It’s not an easy task to go on the road and get your first start. He had gotten some snaps in the Atlanta ballgame because of the injury to Ramon [Humber], but to go out and find yourself to have to play as many snaps as he did in that ballgame last week, we’re really proud of the way he played, and the way he competed. The game wasn’t too big for him, he really settled down as the game went on. Sure enough, there are some things that he can get better at, but based on what we saw, he has a bright future in our league as a linebacker, he did some really good things.

Q: What are the chances that he can hold onto that job if he keeps playing this way?
A: Well, hopefully we’ll get Ramon back soon. He has a pretty serious injury, when you do the damage that he did to his thumb, but Matt did a good job, but we’d like to have Ramon back. Hopefully, as I mentioned, he’ll be back soon. He’s not going to lose his job because of injury. He was playing well for us prior to his injury, and we look forward to having him back.

Q: Two weeks ago, Tampa plays New England tough and then yesterday, first four drives of the game, they you know. After all your time in the league, when a team, I’m not saying necessarily they laid an egg, but you see, hard to believe weeks where, where was the team this week? When your team lays an egg on a given, do you sit there and say ‘Oh, I saw this coming’ or do you usually say ‘I didn’t see this coming’?
A: Well, I mean you’ve been around it a long time, the NFL is a lot less predictable than people would really like to say. It’s week to week. Every week, it can be a little bit different, and you’ve got to come ready to play whether you’re at home or on the road. What I look at, when I looked at their numbers from the ballgame yesterday, I looked at 27 points in the 4th quarter, that’s what sticks out in my mind. That is hard to do, and they were able to get it done somehow. They have got an explosive offense that’s capable of scoring a lot of points with a lot of weapons, and that’s what sticks out in my mind. This league can be very unpredictable at times, and we sometimes want to put teams in a capsule and say ‘this is who they are’, but it can change from week to week.

Q: Obviously, they made it respectable at the end, or had a good finish. You know, the week before, Arizona was just completely embarrassed in Philadelphia. When you look at the scores, do you hope the team you’re playing just doesn’t completely get embarrassed, or do you say ‘Oh, great’ and then have them, what do you think?
A: You don’t just look at it independently, and you try to prepare for that team because of what you’re describing right now, you just don’t know from week to week. It happens, for whatever reason teams are on fire, they get on the road, and they’re going, and sometimes they’ll hit a slump, and maybe you catch them at the time when they hit a slump, and you take advantage. You can’t count on that, you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game every week. That’s what we’re going to try to do this week at home in front of our fans, and play our best football. That’s what we’ve got to try to prepare to get done, and can’t get too overly concerned [with] what’s going on somewhere else. We’ve really got our hands full in trying to get our guys ready to play their best football at home this coming Sunday.

Q: Tre’Davious White, is there any possibility of him shadowing receivers going forward? Is that something you would want to try to either do or avoid or is that more dependent on personnel you have available to you?
A: Yeah, you know, it’s not necessarily what we’re looking to do week in and week out. Just the circumstances in the last ballgame kind of dictated that, and it’s something we felt like we almost had to do with the injuries that we had. Tre’Davious did a good job for us under the circumstances, and he’ll get better as we go forward in some of those situations, but you know, it’s week to week based on the situation we’re facing and how we’re dealing with certain things. I can’t really say one way or another if this is how we’re going to do it or if we won’t do it going forward, probably depends on the situation.

Q: Did he voice any opinion to you on doing anything like that?
A: He was good with it. You know, we approached him during the week and talked to him about it, just wanted to make sure he was comfortable if it got to that point where we needed to do it. He was, I mean, maybe you [guys] have gotten to know him a little bit, but he’s one of those guys who doesn’t back down from a challenge, he looks forward to a challenge, and he saw that as an opportunity to really match up with one of the best receivers in our league. I thought, on occasions, he did a really good job for us. That guy’s going to catch some balls, but I thought Tre’Davious did a really good job for the most part.

Q: How do you feel he matches up with Mike Evans this week?
A: Mike Evans is a tremendous receiver, a Pro Bowl caliber receiver, and we feel real good about Tre’Davious in most matchups. You’ve got to give credit to Mike and what’s he’s accomplished. You don’t see a lot of people just ignoring him, he’s such a focal point of the offense. We’ll see, as we get ready to start game-planning as the week goes on, we’ll see what’s the best approach, and we’ll try to do the right thing.



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