Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott

Monday, September 11, 2017

Opening Statement: Okay good afternoon. Before we get started, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the commemoration of 9/11, and all the families affected by 9/11. Both in the past, and that continue to be affected by 9/11. Just want everyone to know, they’re in our thoughts and our prayers on this day. With that, I’ll open it up to questions.

Q: You usually forget, go beyond the first win even in a victory, how much faster do you do that knowing you’re facing a homecoming this week?

A: We treat every game like it’s its own entity, if you will. There’s a lot to be learned from yesterday’s game, so we have to make sure we celebrate what was, up to standard, and what wasn’t. There’s a lot of good things, guys played extremely hard, played a s a team, like I said yesterday after the game. There’s a lot to learn from yesterday’s game, both in terms of what we need to duplicate and what we need to get better at this week.

Q: There’s no connection to Carolina? You must have some type of feelings about looking ahead, having this date even circled maybe, Carolina’s on the schedule, here you go?

A: Yeah, I acknowledge that they’re the next opponent, they’re certainly a good opponent. We respect the heck out of every opponent, and Carolina has a talented, talented football team. I really appreciate the time that I spent there, great people around that organization, and it’ll be a huge challenge for us to go down there, it’s their home opener. But I also know the work we have to put in this week, so that’s where my focus really is right now.

Q: How much of what you and Brandon [Beane] learned from Carolina have you applied to shaping this team?

A: I don’t know, we both certainly learned a lot from our time in Carolina, Brandon was there a lot longer than I was. I learned a lot myself, having said that, from Coach [Ron] Rivera, from Marty Hurney, from Dave Gettleman, Danny Morrison, Mr. [Jerry] Richardson, the list really goes on. I learned a lot from my staff, most of whom are still there. The players, I learned a lot from the players. It’s a great organization, they do things the right way, they’ve won a ton of games, and they have a very, very talented football team. They’ve added to that through free agency, at first glance this year that I can tell, and they had a good, solid draft. A lot of respect for what they do and how they do things.

Q: Is there a certain advantage that you have because you’ve known everything that they do so well?

A: I don’t know about that, I’m not out there playing, so that’s hard to say, an advantage. We’ve got to put in our time and earn the right to win, in which we plan on doing that. Great lesson learned yesterday, the guys prepared the right way, and when they took the field they had gone through the process, earned the right to win, and I thought came out with the right mindset through all four quarters, and won a tight football game. That was good to see.

Q: You said you had a long list coming out of the game, what might be sitting at the top of that list now after reviewing film today?

A: I would start off with missed opportunities in the first half. When you looked at yardage wise, at least in the first half, offense vs. defense, we had opportunities to put points on the board in the first half, which we didn’t capitalize on, which we have to and will do going forward. Then, penalties, changing the field position on special teams. We were having a  change of possession in one particular situation, with punt return, and we had a costly penalty on us, and that changed field position. Finally, I would say at the top of my mind right now of the long list is 4-minute offense. As well as we played at times offensively, I thought we could have finished the game off in a more commanding, if you will, approach offensively, and we didn’t get that done. A long list of things to get better at.

Q: The tackling seemed to be particularly strong yesterday, I think there was a sequence where Lorenzo [Alexander] and Jordan [Poyer] on back-to-back plays made those nice open field tackles, was it as good as it looked on first glance after you reviewed the film?

A: Yeah, there were some really good fundamentals yesterday, and you’ve heard me talk at length about fundamentals. We’re big believers, philosophically, in fundamentals. The tackling did show up, I thought on the defensive side and special teams. The blocking, I thought our offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, I thought we caught the ball for the most part well, some we want to have back, some pf those opportunities. That area of the game showed up, and as it usually does throughout the year, let alone the first three or four games. That was key for us.

Q: [Ramon] Humber had I think 14 tackles, he’s been penciled into that starting lineup from day one for you guys, but we’d always known him as a special teams’ guy, maybe that was a little bit of a coming out party for him, would you agree that his performance was pretty strong?

A: It was, I thought Ramon played well. There’s a number of guys that played well, Ramon being one of them. Great effort, great attitude. The thing I love about his story is he has been primarily a special teams’ player, but credit to Ramon and the defensive coaches, Coach Babich, Coach Frazier just doing a phenomenal job. That’s part of who we are, we’re going to put our players in a position to be successful, paly to their strengths, and develop our players at the same time. Love when you see a guy with Ramon’s history come out at an opener in particular, and have the game that he had, that was fun to watch.

Q: I saw him [Humber] a couple times, he had to come out wide to cover, is he a guy that you feel can handle a coverage responsibility, especially on the outside of the field too?

A: At times, it’s what the defense called for. Yeah, we believe in Ramon, he’s got that special teams-based ability, and that’s part of the reason why he’s out there. You see the movement ability, yet at the same time he’s physical. He’s a good football player, he plays the game in aware-fashion, so he was around the ball a lot yesterday, and that’s good to see.

Q: Did you have any other injuries to that game that you didn’t get a chance to report?

A: No, just some guys that got dinged during the game. [E.J.] Gaines right now, is the one with the shoulder at this point. It seems like just a contusion.

Q: What’s it feel like to be in first place?

A: It feels good to be 1-0, it really does. I’ll be human for a second, it feels good to be 1-0. Is that what you’re looking for? It feels good to be 1-0, I’m extremely proud of the guys, I really am, I’m extremely proud of the guys. Like I said yesterday, it’s good for the organization. It’s an entire organization win. I know what happened on the field yesterday, was a result of a lot of hard work around this building, in every corner of this building, and I’m very much appreciative of that.

Q: Marcell [Dareus] was held off the stat sheet, he played the fewest number of snaps between your starting defensive linemen, what went into that decision to use him the way that you guys did?

A: I’ll start off by saying I thought Marcell played a good game. Defensive tackle is probably the most unselfish, or one of the most unselfish positions on the football field. By nature of the position, usually you’re freeing someone else up to make a play. As you mentioned Ramon Humber earlier, so every time Ramon Humber is free to the ball, something is happening in front of him that’s allowing him to be free, and Marcell was doing some of that. After that, it’s really about rolling fresh defensive linemen. I really don’t know what went on in the past, I just know what our system calls for, and that’s for fresh bodies up front. That’s a healthy rotation of guys so that they’re fresh to rush the passer when we need it. I thought they did a good job of that.

Q: When you played in games before, with some you’ve coached with, now you’re going against, who kind of knows your terminology, knows your scheme, does it cause you to change too much stuff, overthink it?

A: There’s probably a tendency to make an over adjustment from time to time. I’ve been through these before, whether it’s been myself or other coaches on staff, and how you handle it is important. Again, I’m not out there playing quarterback, thank God I’m not out there playing defense. Our guys are going to be the ones that are out there. What’s most important is what they know, not what I know. At the end of the day it’s a game of football, it’s a reaction game and an anticipation game. There is a tendency, I’d say, to make an over adjustment, we just have to be smart with that.

Q: What validation do you take, I know it’s one game, but the fact that your new defensive secondary played well, and your two big free agent additions, in Micah [Hyde] and Jordan, both had interceptions in a key win?

A: Those guys work extremely hard. Gill Byrd and Bobby Babich do a really good job with those guys, and they were new. It’s not like they came from the same place and have played together before. This is the first time that they’ve played together in Micah and Jordan, and they have new guys on both corners that they’ve never played with before, Tre’s [White] a rookie. There’s still a lot to be gained from watching this film, a lot of lessons to be learned. That said, I was proud of the way that they played, we got two key takeaways in the fourth quarter, and were able to seal the game. It was fun to watch the rush and the coverage working hand in hand, and really complementing one another. Which was the case on the two interceptions.

Q: You mentioned Tre White, the stage doesn’t seem to be too big for him since the moment he got here, what did you see on film from him in his first NFL game?

A: I saw poise and I saw a player that’s played in big games. Which is the case when you go to LSU, playing on a good defense with Coach [Dave] Aranda down there. Tre’s an extremely smart football player, very aware, and he puts a lot of time into his preparation, which for a young player is good. It’s good for all players, but let alone a young player to know how important that is in the process. He definitely respects that. Any success he had yesterday, again, credit to the coaches with Tre, and how they prepared.

Q: You talked about using Shady [LeSean McCoy] as much as you needed to last week, he played 70% of the snaps, what did you feel about his workload after the game? Was it where you wanted it to be?

A: Yeah, we were. The combination of LeSean and Mike Tolbert, I think that was a healthy rep-swing, if you will, and LeSean definitely made some huge plays. I thought, once again, our offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage most of the day, and LeSean made some incredible and dynamic plays, and really gave us a spark. Mike would come in and complement LeSean’s style, so that was a good combination in there working for us. I was happy with the way both of those players played.

Q: With respect to Cordy [Glenn], I know you were pacing him through the game and Dion [Dawkins] fill in, did he come through the game okay and is the plan going forward to bump up his participation level with each game?

A: It is, the acclamation process continues as far as Cordy goes. There’s constant communication with Cordy and our training room staff, in terms of how the plan adjust from day-to-day, from week-to-week. I thought Cordy did a good job, and the important part is that he came out healthy.  By all reports, from what we can tell, that’s where he is right now, and now it’s about how we handle this week moving forward. I did like Jordan [Mills] on the right side, and I thought Dion coming in, another rookie that played yesterday, significant time, did a nice job as well.

Q: On a personal level, when Kyle [Williams] stopped things in the locker room yesterday and handed you that game ball, what was that feeling like?

A: It meant a lot, just because I know, number one, how important this win was to everyone. It’s never a one-man show, I didn’t do much in the game yesterday, other than talk to the refs a couple of times really. It meant a lot coming from the guys, it really did. I think there’s a lot of love in that locker room, from player to player, coach to player, player to coach, it meant a lot. It meant a lot to me, really, to be able to lead that team out on the field before the game as well. I think when you say the name Kyle Williams, people around here know what that means, and to come from a guy like Kyle, it means a lot.

Q: Your team was introduced as a team before the game, instead of the individual introductions, was that your decision, or the team’s decision?

A: That was the team’s, that was the player’s decision.

Q: In the running game particularly, there were a lot of runs to the right side, what was your thoughts behind that, running LeSean to the right side a lot?

A: Yeah, we saw some things over there that we liked. You always want to be balanced, when you’re calling a game, it’s hard to be exactly balanced. We felt like we had some decent balance in there, and tried to get some things popped, some of them popped, some didn’t. It’s always something that we’re going to look at, study and try and exploit as much as we can offensively. We had some good openings in there, LeSean popped through a couple times in there, so it was good.

Q: Did you find a spot for that game ball?

A: Well I was fortunate enough to have two at the end of the day, which was good. I gave one to my parents, and I kept the other one.

Q: Where’d you put the other one?

A: It’s in my office.

Q: Micah said after the game he had never seen a head coach in his first game as calm and collected as you were, did you want to make sure you didn’t show anything to your players, as far as nervous anticipation?

A: I just want to be myself. Hopefully my players know I give them space to be their selves, and I just want to be myself. I know there’s a lot of different styles out there. One of the head coaching interviews, when you do the circuit is, what’re you going to be like on the sideline, and my answer has always been I’m going to be myself. I’m going to be Sean McDermott. I may have looked a certain way, but I think I was pretty vocal down there, and just trying to do my part, do my one-eleventh as we say here, in terms of doing my job. I was proud of the way the players handled things.

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