Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Opening Statement: We’ll go ahead and get started [and] open it up to questions. 

Q: Can you give us an injury update? You’ve got a bunch of guys [who are hurt].

A: Yeah, here’s what I’ve got for you. The following players will not practice today: Tyrod Taylor, John Miller, Eddie Yarbrough and Travaris Cadet. The following players will be limited: Charles Clay, Cordy Glenn, Tre’Davious White, Mike Tolbert, Kelvin Benjamin and Leonard Johnson.

Q: That’s a good sign, it seems, on Tre’Davious, right?

A: He’s in the protocol, and him being limited is part of that protocol process really.

Q: But it’s encouraging, though, that he’s at least at this point?

A: It is. It is.

Q: The quarterback situation, obviously, Tyrod is not practicing today. I think we asked you last week what your philosophy is if your quarterback can’t practice on a given day or some days. Does that mean the winds are blowing towards Nathan [Peterman] or what are we looking at there?

A: There’s no timetable. I’m not going to get into a timetable on if he practices, if he doesn’t practice [or] what that means. Obviously, today he’s not going to practice. Nate will get the reps and Joe [Webb] will also work.

Q: Would you be comfortable with still starting Tyrod if he didn’t practice through the week?

A: Yeah, we’ll see. I mean, we’ll take it one day at a time.

Q: What level of encouragement is there in Cordy Glenn returning to practice today?

A: It’s a step in the right direction. I’m very encouraged by it and, similar to the other guys, we’ll take it one day at a time.

Q: Is the fact that you’re playing a bad team make you lean toward Peterman and not take a chance to play Tyrod hurt again?

A: You’ve been around this league a long time, as have I. We don’t get into records. We work on ourselves and we start every week with a healthy respect for every opponent. That’s really where we start from.

Q: Coach, just with Tyrod not in there, does Joe Webb gets backup reps and runs the scout team today? Is that how that works?

A: We’ll see how that goes. We’ll see how that goes, I mean, both guys are going to work and we’ll go from there.

Q: Can you tell us why Brandon Reilly was brought up and Cap Capi as well, considering there has been a lot of wide receiver shuffling this year? Here we are in December and Brandon finally gets his chance. What made him elevate to that spot now?

A: Great story, just a phenomenal story and he’s not the only one that’s been brought up over the course of this season. Just a great example of when you do things right, you work hard [and] you bust your tail every day. I think not only myself, but the rest of the team is excited about having Brandon up because he’s worked so hard. He’s earned it. A great reminder for all of us: when you work hard, that result may not come right away but if you stay persistent, good things happen.

Q: What happened? Did Jordan [Matthews] aggravate his injury on Sunday?

A: Yeah, it’s just, he’s been battling through it and he’s been toughing it out and we just got to the point where we just had to do something.

Q: Did you say that Eddie [Yarbrough] won’t practice today?

A: Correct.

Q: Is there a concern for him on Sunday after Shaq [Lawson] is shut down now? Eddie would be the next guy up so is there a concern for him?

A: Well, you used the word concern. There’s always a concern any time a guy doesn’t practice. We’ll just see how it goes through the rest of the week.

Q: What was the knee injury that Jordan was dealing with?

A: A knee injury.

Q: But what injury –

A: I don’t know the medical term.

Q: Will he need surgery? Is that why he was [moved to the Injured Reserve]?

A: We’ll see. I’m not going to get into any of that right now.

Q: You say ‘continue to improve’ all the time. Based on the last five weeks, how can you argue that this team has been improving during that stretch?

A: Well, when you look at it – the Kansas City game, I’ll just mention a couple of examples for you. There [were] good moments in that game and we got the result we were looking for. This past game, the two weeks of recent memory, there were good moments in the New England game. We didn’t get all the results we were looking for in that game on the scoreboard. You go back and you focus on that process and you’re seeing small victories that, just like I did in the L.A. game where you say ‘it wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard, but that led us to what we got the following week.’ Sometimes you’re putting in work – I go back to the Brandon Reilly example. You’re putting in work, putting in work, putting in work, and you may not see the immediate results but you continue to put in work. You saw the results with Brandon [and] you saw the results in the Kansas City game – on the scoreboard I’m talking about. That’s what we’ve got to continue to do, is put in the right amount of work with the right mindset and I’m confident that we’ll continue to do that.

Q: In one sense though, in going [1-4 in your last five games], are we seeing the telltale signs of a roster that’s essentially thin in talent, experience [and] depth and we’re seeing what can happen as a season progresses with a roster that’s shaped this way?

A: I’m confident in our guys. I’m confident in the roster, I’m confident in the men in the locker room. These guys play extremely hard every week. That’s a credit to them and the coaches. They’re going to continue to work and play hard and focus on our opponent this weekend as we continue to develop. That’s what we’re shooting towards, is a vision of what we established when we came in here of where we’re trying to go as an organization. There’s short-term goals, there’s long-term goals and we have to continue to focus on those.

Q: With Tyrod’s mobility being as important to him as an all-around player as it is, how much does that weigh into consideration when it’s a knee injury in trying to rush him back for a game on Sunday?

A: It’s certainly of consideration. To say that it’s not wouldn’t be accurate. At the end of the day though, it’s ‘can he execute and play the position?’ just like any other position.

Q: Sean, how important is it to have strong leadership like Lorenzo Alexander late in the year at this time [where you’re] 6-6 with four games left?

A: It’s huge. Our leadership is huge. Player-driven leadership, in particular, is huge any time you have a team. The leadership does come from the locker room because it stays connected with my message and we continue to go towards our vision and develop and grow and the great part about it is our new guys, the young guys that are playing – and we’ve got a number of them – they’re contributing big time. They’re having a chance to watch some of the older leaders, the primary crust of the leadership, because eventually they’ll rise and their roles will be elevated to those types of roles so it’s important that we continue to develop both levels of the leadership.

Q: Sean, a lot of times you talked about long-term versus short-term vision. Is your long-term vision maybe in better shape than your short-term vision at this point?

A: Well, I think both really work hand-in-hand. We’re always focused on the long-term. We continue to grow and develop and build towards what we’re trying to become. There [are] a lot of people that, back in training camp, they said we were, using that word, tanking. I don’t see that and I don’t see that in the way our guys play and what we’ve done so far this year. I expect us to continue to grow and build through the rest of this year and develop. We’ve got a number of young guys, like I said earlier, out there playing and contributing on this football team. I’m encouraged by that as well.

Q: How important has that been in getting a chance to see some of those younger guys? I mean, it’s one thing to be 6-6 and have a bunch of rookies that are standing around watching and it’s another thing, I would guess, to be 6-6 and [rookies] have got some experience.

A: Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. That’s big-picture perspective and that’s what we’re doing. To sit here and say ‘hey, come in and sit on your hands and get through the year and be at ‘X’ point’ and say ‘okay, where are we, how are we better after the season than when we came in?’ The goal of it is, or one of the many goals, is to say after this season that we are better as an organization [and] we’re further along; that this scale has moved down the line so that we can say we know where we are and what we have to address moving forward. That’s really a part of the overall plan.

Q: Sean, now that a punishment has been locked in, what’s your reaction to Rob Gronkowski getting a one-game suspension for the hit on Tre’Davious?

A: I’m not going there. Again, and I addressed it the other day, we have to focus on the Indianapolis Colts.

Q: Jacoby Brissett has done a better job than a lot of people thought he would do filling in for Andrew [Luck] this year. What do you see from him when you watch it on film?

A: Talented football player, very capable, obviously well schooled. He’s got good coaching behind him, both where he was [in New England] and now with the Colts. I know Coach [Rob] Chudzinski and had a chance to work with him. He does a phenomenal job, and Coach [Chuck] Pagano as well. He’s very capable and a good young talent.

Q: Coach, no matter who starts at quarterback, what kind of role do you anticipate for Joe Webb this week? Will he get more snaps, do you think?

A: We’ll see. Joe is a multi-talented player for us. He does a variety of things and plays special teams extremely well. We’ll just see. His role kind of changes every week so we’ll just see.

Q: Looking forward to your first potential snow game?

A: [laughs] you know, I think there’s excitement around a lot of things right now and one of them is where we are as a team. I know we’re not where we need to be but we continue to grow and build towards our future and the other part is the potential for snow in the next couple of days here. I know there [are] a lot of young guys on our team that haven’t been around snow before and they’re excited about it as well.

Q: Having coached in Carolina – well, you coached in Philly. Is there any adjustment and what preparation do you make now for the fact that you’re going to be facing Buffalo weather?

A: Yeah, that’s a part of where we are [and] who we are. To me, it’s a mindset of embracing that mindset. This is where we are, this is who we are and we take pride in where we live and the elements that come with that. Embracing that goes a long way towards our success and what happens out here on Sundays when we get a chance to play in front of our fans and then with that comes proper game-planning because of the type of conditions we could face this time of year.

Q: How much do you plan on practicing outside, then, this week?

A: We’ll just see. We’ll see what the elements bring. We want to be able to have a clean practice and be able to execute so we’ll just see how that goes.

Q: Sean, as you’ve watched Brandon Reilly – obviously he was on the practice squad so you don’t focus on him all that much but still, what have you seen him do over these twelve weeks of being inactive and he gets a shot now? What have you seen him do and grow as a player?

A: I would start off the field first, as a person. This happens, fortunately, a lot of times for young players. They come in, you guys have been around it before, they’re young, they’re a little bit wet behind the ears and then they grow and mature as men which is good to see off the field – not that Brandon, in this case, wasn’t. To watch these young players acclimate themselves to life in the NFL on and off the field and the approach you have to have and the habits you have to adopt to put yourself in position to compete week in and week out and then to have success and win, that’s a little bit of a transition as we’ve all seen from different players that come in every year. I’ve seen him execute that, as well as many of our other young players that you’ve already seen play this year and that’s been fun to watch.

Q: Similar question, but about Cap Capi. Again, with Eddie Yarbrough not practicing and you’re going down that depth chart pretty quickly at defensive end, what are some of the traits that you’ve seen in him that motivated you to bring him up?

A: Right. He hasn’t been with us as long, obviously, as Brandon so I don’t have quite as familiar of a background with Cap as I do [with] Brandon, but similar. He’s been to a couple different teams, a couple different stops. He’s got some traits that we look for on the field, obviously. Love his energy. You could tell from day one, the first meeting in fact, that he had the right type of energy [and a] bright smile and so he’s going to get an opportunity.

Q: Sean, you’ve struggled a little bit against the run this year. Going against a guy like Frank Gore, what challenges do you guys face?

A: Frank is, you know, I think he’s top-five [or] top-ten, I believe it’s top-five [on the] all-time rush list there [and a] future Hall of Famer. He’s tough to stop. I went up against him a couple of times when he was with San Francisco. If you’re not in your gaps and you don’t play physical, he’ll exploit it. We’ve got a big week ahead of us in terms of our fundamentals.

Q: There’s a trend in college football right now, the last two years or so where players are skipping bowl games in order to stay healthy and enter the NFL Draft. How do you feel about college guys deciding not to compete in order to stay healthy?

A: Yeah, I mean, one part of me I would say overall, I get some of that. I know it’s somewhat new also so each one’s a little bit of a different case, really. I’ll probably have more for you once we get around to that time of month as we move forward throughout the rest of the year here.

Q: How good for Nathan [Peterman] was it to get some short time in game action to start getting that taste out of his mouth after what happened in the Chargers game?

A: Yeah. You’ve got to have a short memory in this business and I thought Nate came out and made a great throw on the first throw to Andre [Holmes] there and went through his progression at times and did some good things so it’s good that he continues to work, continues to play through and continues to grow and build on what he’s done in the past.

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