Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Opening Statement: Good to see everyone this morning, updates injury-wise – Three players will not practice: Ryan Davis and Jeremy Butler both with concussions, and then Kevon Seymour with foot soreness, listed as day-to-day at this time. So with that I’ll take your questions.

Q: Do you kind of have a plan in place for Thursday night yet as far as how much we can expect starters to play or anything like that?

A: What we talked about the other day was starters will go about a quarter, give or take. You’ll see some blending in there, but for the most part a quarter. Then it’ll fall from there.

Q: First time we’ve had a chance to talk to you about Anquan Boldin – what kind of addition do you foresee him making to that receiver group?

A: Right, a good addition for our football team, good addition for our organization. Anquan is a good football player, first-and-foremost, and then we all know what type of person he is. There’s a reason he won the Walter Payton Man of the Year. I’ve been around a lot of good players in my career fortunately, I’ve also been around some good teams; and I know on those good teams, one of the common denominators, if you will, are high character individuals and leadership. That’s also a part of the acquisition of Anquan – feel really good about what he’ll bring to the table on the field, but also feel strongly that he’ll add value off the field, inside the meeting rooms, inside the locker room, I’ve seen the benefit of that over the course of my career.

Q: He [Anquan Boldin] worked primarily in the slot for the Lions last year – do you envision that’s probably going to be where you’re going to slot him in?

A: Yes, but I don’t want to put any type of parameters on it at this time. That is where he’s done a lot of his work, and had success. At the same time, we’ll move him around and put him in position, just like the other players, to be successful as you’ve heard me say before, Sal. It’s where he can help us – and if it’s outside, it’s outside, and certainly if it’s in the slot, it’s in the slot.

Q: How important is it to have a guy [Anquan Boldin] like that to be around some of the younger receivers on this team too?

A: Right, when you look at the receiving room, the wide receiving room – Not only with Zay [Jones] but with Sammy [Watkins] – it’s a positive influence in that room; that dynamic is important. Anquan’s been there and done that in this league, and he’s done it at a high level on some good football teams. That is a big part of this acquisition, and I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that; That’s important. I was around that in Carolina, we had a player – we had Jerricho Cotchery – that had a similar impact on our roster, similar impact on our football team. This is a short-term win, but it’s also a long-term vision of how this could help our football team moving forward for years to come.

Q: Given the short-term element of it – Can you explain how it fits what has been a consistent plan you’ve put forth, and Brandon [Beane], that this is going to be the methodical build? This one clearly looks like it’s gone off that script – Could you explain how it does fit your thinking?

A: As we’ve spoken from the outset, there’s a short-term vision and a long-term vision; everything we do has hopefully both things in mind. I understand where you’re coming from, Vic, on that, like I’ve said I’ve been around this type of acquisition before. I’ll mention another name in Carolina with Peanut [Charles] Tillman – Similar person, similar player – and the value was there in the short-term and long-term, as he helped develop our football team, not only on the field but off the field; and then added value himself with his skill set. There’s a lot of reasons for doing things, we’re always going to try and do things that are in the best interest of this football team, both short and long-term.

Q: How much were you involved in recruiting him [Anquan Boldin] and convincing him that Buffalo was a good fit, and what did you do to convince him that Buffalo was a good fit for him at this point in his career?

A: I wouldn’t say “convince him” – It was a process that you normally go through when you obtain a player of this caliber and at this time during training camp. Give a lot of credit to Anquan and his family, give a lot of credit to all the parties involved on our end. We went through a process that took some time, and typically when you take time to make decisions, usually those end up being good decisions. We respected all the time that Anquan needed, and we had good conversations the whole way through; I think it was nice to see this come together.

Q: Can you speak to Ryan Groy and his value? Last year, stepped in for [Eric] Wood and started seven games, played really well – Seems like he’s a swiss-army knife kind of guy upfront – How valuable is he given what he can do for you guys?

A: Ryan’s a big part of our football team. I watched what he did last year on the field, and when Eric went down how he stepped in and did a nice job. He has the versatility of playing the center position and also the guard position; extremely intelligent individual, adds value in that regard, makes a lot of the calls for us, I feel real good about our depth at that position. It’s such a key position – it used to be the tackle position was the most important position upfront, and there’s probably some people that’d still say that – that center position is very, very valuable to an offensive line and an offensive unit.

Q: He [Ryan Groy] got the offer from the Rams – clearly you prioritized that you wanted him back, they gave him a nice offer sheet – You didn’t want to lose him clearly, I don’t know if there was a ceiling for that, he was a guy you wanted back right?

A: He was, he absolutely was; and again, it’s hard to find depth at that position, it’s hard to find players that can get the offense into the right protection, get the offense in the right blocking scheme. When you have a chance to watch a young player do it at a high level last year, we just felt like in order to give us the depth we needed at that position, going back a year ago in Carolina, or two years ago whenever it was. I watched Ryan Kalil go through a situation where he was out for a number of games – I know the importance of that position and we wanted our depth to be good and we’re fortunate to have Ryan.

Q: What was it like yesterday having Jordan Burroughs at practice for you? Had you met him before?

A: I had never met Jordan [Burroughs] before. It was a great honor that he took time to come over and see us. He’s got family in the area and we were just blessed to have Jordan share with us a little bit. I’ve been an admirer of his career, certainly with a wrestling background, for years. I just really appreciated that, our players appreciated it and he just had a tremendous message for all of us.

Q: So you didn’t set that up? How did that come together?

A: It was set up from Jeremy [Kelley] in our organization, who knows him and works in our alumni department. He did a great job of getting Jordan [Burroughs] over here. He’s leaving, if I’m not mistaken, today for the Word Championships overseas so what an honor. All that that embodies – the toughness, the dedication, the mental toughness part of it, greatness. Any time we can be around that, it’s a good thing.

Q: What is the plan in place (for Thursday’s game) for three guys; Cordy Glenn, Shaq Lawson and Sammy Watkins?

A: I’ll start with Cordy [Glenn]. We’re still on a day-to-day. The status at this point with Cordy….just working with the soreness, so that remains up in the air at this point in time. Sammy [Watkins] will be about a quarter. Shaq [Lawson] is day-to-day at this point so we’ll just see.

Q: How much did you know about Eddie Yarbrough before you guys brought him in?

A: I personally didn’t know as much as I do now, obviously. Coach [Mike] Waufle had some experience or awareness of Eddie [Yarbrough] from college. I’ll just tell you, he’s one of the nice surprises, not a surprise, but he continues to trend upwards. We’re looking for depth along our defensive line and he’s done a nice job. He plays extremely hard, he’s intelligent, one of the first ones in the team meeting room in the morning, working on his craft, there’s a reason he’s been successful. 

Q: He’s gone from third team at the start of camp to seeing some first team reps, it seems like a pretty good rise.

A: [Eddie Yarbrough]’s done a pretty nice job. He really has. Credit to Eddie and to the defensive line coaches.

Q: You mentioned [Mike] Waufle. I was going to ask you, he was about to sign with the Jaguars when you kind of swooped in and got him. What was the tie, the connection, that you literally swooped him out of Jacksonville, what was behind all that?

A: It helps to have a coach have roots in the area, in terms of the Western New York area and coach [Mike] Waufle does. He’s a family man and that helped. Also, I knew coach Waufle just being around the league for a number of years. I knew what he did in New York with that defensive line when they won a couple Super Bowls there. I know what type of intensity he brings to the table and a lot of times, both offensive line and defensive line, and then some of your special teams, that helps create the identity of the football team and I wanted to make sure that we had the right coaches in those three areas.

Q: [Mike Waufle] is a guy that seems like he must be fun to talk to. I enjoyed my talk and he seems like a really fun guy to be talking to.

A: He is. He absolutely is. I’m hoping more of you get a chance to know Mike [Waufle]. He’s been around the league for a long time and he’s won at a high level. Like I said, the intensity – he gets the most out of the players on all different levels in terms of when you look at over the course of his career. All different types of players. I’ve learned a lot being around him in the short amount of time we’ve been together now in Buffalo and I look forward to working together as we move forward, so it’s been a good deal for us.

Q: To go back to Anquan [Boldin] real quick, as you said, he’s been there, done that, but these guys have been in this locker room together for a while. It’s easy to go well, “oh, he’s a veteran, he can bring leadership,” but isn’t that kind of a fine line to walk into a locker room of guys who have been together thinking that he’s just going to walk in and be a leader? How does a guy do that?

A: That’s a good question and a good point, it’s a fine line. The leaders, true leaders, have that “it,” where they know how to navigate that. Respect is earned and when you look at Anquan [Boldin]’s resume, there should be some respect already when he walks in the door. That said, Anquan’s been through this before and he’s got that “it” where he knows you kind of integrate, you know, embed a little bit, and then over time, we’ll start to see his influence. I just know that from other players that have already come up to me in this situation, that they’re happy to have him on board. Our approach will be with Anquan, just like it is with the rest of the team, we’re all earning our spot. I just believe in that.

Q: How much more do you gain in the evaluation of players in the live action of a preseason game as opposed to out here in practice?

A: When the lights come on, it’s a little bit different, which is part of the reason why we went down to Buffalo last week, so we could get a dry run and also so the players could get a dry run. We’ve got quite a number of young players on this roster who have never played in a game before, so this will be their first time. We wanted to get them into a routine, wanted to get them acclimated to the locker room and to the routine, so that it’s not, “hey this is the first time,” and then bang, they’re up against an opponent. We do get a lot off of the evaluation in games. You come to find out things that you never knew before. Just like when you go from the spring, where it’s just helmets, to full pads. There’s a difference, some things come out. That’ll be part of the evaluation and what we’re anxious to see come Thursday night.

Q: What has been…I’ve heard it because I’m here. Fans have been a little upset, what has been the issue with the main field? You’ve moved over and I’ve heard through the grapevine that you’re not real happy with that filed. What has been the problem?

A: It’s just natural wear and tear on the field, that’s all. We’re trying to keep the practice in front of the fans, the grandstand if you will, as much as we can. I want the fans to have a great view and sightlines of our football team, that’s what they’re here for and we want to give them that. Just with the wear and tear on field one, if you will, over the course of time, it wears down a little bit and we just have to offset. It’s like crop rotation; you’ve got to move it around a little bit. We’ll be back on the other field in due time here, we just need to give it some rest so it can heal up.

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