Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Opening Statement: Alright. Sorry to keep everybody waiting here. Okay, just some updates roster-wise and some roster moves here. We have released Deandre Coleman. Travaris Cadet and Andre Holmes will be placed on IR. The corresponding moves haven’t happened yet, but are in process. [We are] signing from our practice squad Marcus Murphy, Rickey Hatley and Malachi Dupre. Because I know the next question will be health, E.J. [Gaines] is improving. E.J. Gaines is improving and then Shareece Wright is in the concussion protocol. We’ll open it up to questions.

Q: Terry Pegula came to the team’s defense this morning and questioned the consistency about replay reviews and how they’re being called. I know it’s been a couple of days since and I know you said you were at a loss for words for how that happened. What do you make of what Terry had to say and is there still a level of disappointment over what happened on Sunday?

A: I’ll answer those in two separate, basically, parts. The first one is I support Terry and the statements he made. The second part is what I make of that situation is I’m still at a loss. I have spoken with the league on it and I remain at a loss. That said, we must turn the page as a team and move forward and that’s getting our focus on ourselves and [on] the Miami Dolphins.

Q: Who did you speak with at the league?

A: I’m not going to go into all of that. I mean, we’ve spoken to multiple people at the league and the necessary people is probably the best way to say it.

Q: How do you kind of balance your frustration with that situation with, like you said, the fact that you don’t want your team to dwell on it?

A: Yeah, I mean that’s part of what we do. It’s part of what we do, is we control what we can control and we move forward. I’m not going to get into the what-if’s of that game and if we would’ve done this and that. That’s not helping us right now. We’ve got to be mentally disciplined and focused on what we can control and that’s ourselves and this week against the Miami Dolphins, a good football team.

Q: How much do you think that call and the fourth-and-two getting overturned impacted your team mentally at all?

A: I would hope not. I’ve got to believe – and you’ve seen our team – we’re a mentally tough football team. That’s a hypothetical a little bit so we control what we can control and that’s what we have to do [and] continue to do that going forward.

Q: Has anyone heard from the league about fines or anything like that for being critical of the Kelvin Benjamin call?

A: Not to my knowledge, no.

Q: This is a must-win game. Does your coaching change at all in regards to being more aggressive or the way you look at certain scenarios knowing that you have to win this game?

A: I mean, every situation is a little bit different in terms of different decisions and whatnot in a must-win game. This is an exciting time. It’s exciting for us in our first year as we continue to build and move towards our vision. It’s exciting, I’ve got to believe, for this city. [This organization is] in a position that we haven’t been in, this city hasn’t been in, for a number of years. To me, there’s an electricity about it this time of year to be in this type of situation. It’s a situation that our guys have earned and I’m proud of them for it. Our focus has to get right back on what we’ve got to do to put our best foot forward this weekend.

Q: How do you prevent from scoreboard watching? I mean, it’s human nature to be looking at this team or this team, whatever. How do you prevent it from happening for yourself or your team?

A: I think the easiest answer to that is, really, if we don’t win it’s not going to matter. Focus on the task at hand and what’s in front of us and that means, through all the scenarios that are out there, the one common theme is [the] Bills have to win so we’ve got to do that first.

Q: When it comes to scoreboard watching, are you glad the game got moved back to 4:25? Does it cut down on [the scoreboard watching] a little bit?

A: I don’t think it really applies too much. We’ve just got to go out and do our job.

Q: Are you going to instruct your players to not look at the scoreboard?

A: We’re going to talk about it, just in terms of like I talked about here, big picture perspective. Hey, let’s state the obvious. I’m not going to ignore it, and then we’ll move forward and talk about our fundamentals and our mindset and us growing as a football team, just like we do every week really.

Q: Coach, how comfortable do you feel Marcus [Murphy] is with the offensive scheme, knowing with [Travaris] Cadet on IR now, he’s going to have to get kind of role behind [LeSean McCoy], to some extent on Sunday?

A: Comfortable. Based on what I’ve seen [and] what we’ve seen in his time here on practice squad, he’s done a phenomenal job. Here’s a young man that’s shown up every day and put his best foot forward, gives us great effort, gives us a great look on scout team. He’s played before and gotten real, live action before. I’m anxious to take a look and see what he brings to the table. He’s done a good job. He’s earned it.

Q: For clarity on your conversation with the NFL, what was the message that they conveyed to you about the call and did they, at all, back down from the decision?

A: Yeah, with your respect to your question, I’m just not going to get into all of that [and] go that far. Those conversations will stay between us and the league right now.

Q: It seemed in the locker room that, even though guys were upset obviously when they walked up the field that, to a man they basically talked about getting over it and being mentally tough. Is that part of the culture that you really tried to bring in? I guess what I’m asking is like is it something that you addressed even in the locker room afterwards that ‘hey, you know what, this is how we have to approach this and you know you’re going to get asked about it’?

A: Yeah. It’s an every-week type of league. It’s riding the ebb and flows of a season and who can lock back in quick enough to give themselves a chance to have a great week of preparation, a great week of focus and just understanding what’s in front of us instead of what’s behind us and don’t spend too much time looking in your rearview mirror. Focusing on in front of us is the most important thing going forward.

Q: You spent a lot of time dealing with any situation preparing your team, going back to training camp when you were getting your players on and off the field, taking a snap, or whether it’s the snowstorm that happened here. How do you prepare your team for a potential playoff berth?

A: Well, number one is prepare to put our best foot forward this weekend. If that’s where you’re going, then that’s what we have to do. We’re going to treat this week accordingly. Like I said, I think there’s a great excitement this time of year to be in this type of position. Do we wish we were in a better position? Absolutely. That said, we’re in position. We’ve got to focus on what we can control and playing our best football, and that was also part of the message coming out of the locker room after the game a few days ago was, ‘hey, we’ve got to play our best football come this Sunday.’

Q: This is your third opportunity to play a divisional opponent for a second time as a head coach. The previous two games, both the Jets and the Patriots, have been losses. Have you learned anything from that experience now? Does that differ at all, preparing for the same team again as a head coach than it was as a coordinator?

A: Well, you learn from every situation. There’s valuable lessons you can take and learn and grow from in every situation. I saw us make progress in the game a few days ago than [we did in] the first game against the Patriots. That said, the game got away from us. We stopped playing complimentary football somewhere around the early part of the fourth quarter there and the game got away from us as a result, which it will against good quality opponents if you don’t so we’re always learning.

Q: It’s been an on-and-off topic of discussion and concern over the season with your inability to finish on offense. What concerns do you still carry after four red zone trips and coming away with three field goals?

A: Well, there [are] legitimate concerns in terms of being able to score points [and] finishing drives. I thought we moved the ball well at times through the better part of three quarters but didn’t finish drives and again, like I said a few minutes ago, against good opponents sooner or later that’s going to come back to get you. I thought we had opportunities. We need to finish drives better and more efficiently.

Q: When it comes to scoring points, in the past five weeks, there have not been any offensive touchdowns at all in the third or fourth quarters of those games. Is that something that worries you? Sometimes you even end up winning those games.

A: Yeah, we’re looking at that and I know Rick [Dennison] and his staff continue to look hard at that in terms of the communication from one half to the next half and the overall adjustments from one half to another half. We’ve got to continue to look at that and work to make sure that gets better as we move forward.

Q: Would it surprise you that some of your veterans, Richie Incognito for one, said a couple of weeks ago that this finish has exceeded his expectations he had. Would it surprise you that some of your players feel that this team has exceeded expectations? That they’re pleasantly surprised by it?

A: I just think, what I’m focused more on is where we’re going. Like I said, I feel confident about the work we’ve put in. I feel that there’s a direction to where we’re going and a vision. We’ve done a lot of good things this year but our work isn’t done yet. I’m excited about this week more than anything. I’m excited about the chance to play our last game of the regular season with a chance to make the playoffs. That’s something that a lot of people have waited a long time for and it’s something that we take very seriously. I’m proud of the fact that we have this chance, this opportunity. Again, do I wish we were in better position? I do. I’ve been in this position before in Philadelphia. I think it was 2008 where we needed some help. We got the help and we got in. It comes in all different forms, from one year to the next. In the first year, I feel like we’ve accomplished some things but again, the work isn’t done yet.

Q: Sean, what can you pull from that experience in Philadelphia to help you with the overall team this week?

A: Yeah, I just think the question that was asked earlier about scoreboard watching [and] those types of things, being able to stay disciplined and focus on what we can control was the big takeaway from that experience in Philadelphia, and also just putting in a great week’s worth of preparation so that you can put your best foot forward. I mean, you get too distracted on some of the other things going on and all of a sudden, you don’t take care of what we need to take care of, which is to win the football game this weekend against a good team.

Q: This is the second week in a row where you’ll play a team that you just played recently, and in this case it was just two weeks ago. Is there a danger in not adjusting enough because you did things well because you know that a team that loses is usually going to make a lot of adjustments? Maybe staying a little too complacent because things did work last time?

A: I don’t think that’s the case. Obviously, I understand where you’re coming from on that, but really we take so much out of one game in terms of the valuable lessons from which to learn and grow from that there’s just too much to be gained in the direction we’re headed. We’re too early in our process overall to have that word used based off of where we are. We’re here to continue to grow and build and also sustain success over a long course of time and the complacency word is not a word that I use too often, if ever.

Q: After a few days to kind of think about it and review the game, how do you feel about the decision to kick that field goal instead of going for it on fourth down?

A: Yeah. I mean, those are situations in hindsight if you know the result afterwards, you’d say ‘yeah, I would’ve done something different no doubt.’ At that point in the game, it was a back-and-forth game and I felt like they had had a little bit of momentum and in order to stop the momentum, going with the field goal would get us within four in a tight game, and I honestly thought it was potentially going to come down to a, maybe, who had the ball last at times there. But you learn and grow from all those situations and it’s something I’ll use going forward to benefit us in the right way.

Q: How has your decision making in those situations evolved from thinking about it conceptually in the summer to actually having to do it and go through some of the stuff in games?

A: You guys know me enough now. Great on the job training as far as that goes. Even though you prepare for it, [none of] those situations are exactly alike [because of] score, part of the game, who you’re playing, where you’re playing, weather – there’s a lot that goes into it – how you’re moving the ball, not moving the ball, how your defense is playing, special teams no different. I take a lot of notes because I believe in learning from all of those situations and using it to make me better, just like making our football team better.

Q: Can you just speak about the penalties recently, just how much they’ve been down for your team? There was a stretch there where you had too many of them. Lately, you’ve been one of the best teams in the league as far as not committing penalties.

A: Well, that’s important. Negative plays [and] hurting your team is important to rhythm and also field position. It’s important that we can play disciplined football and when tempers sometimes flare that we can keep our composure and our poise. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that. There were some penalties in this past game that I thought could’ve gone either way and unfortunately they went against us. We’ve got to continue to refine technique, which is also a part of that as well, is body position, technique, making sure we’re in the right position to execute the assignment.

Q: How did you feel Tyrod [Taylor] and Kelvin [Benjamin] were kind of clicking at times?

A: Yeah. I thought there was a little bit of a relationship that started to build there, which is good to see. Middle of the field, also in the red zone, some in two-minute a little bit there maybe too, so that was good to see.

Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Q: Coach, why are there struggles finishing drives? You moved the ball really well against this team twice, the Patriots, but couldn’t find the end-zone.

A: Well, obviously you’ve got to give them credit. They do a good job in the red-zone. They have traditionally done well, top of the league, top ten in the league year in and year out, [of] trying to keep you out of the end-zone. We had our plays [but] we didn’t execute them. I’ll just say it that way. We put together, I thought, we had a pretty good plan of what we wanted to get done and find some matchups and we just didn’t execute. We had our chances, we had some hands on some balls and had some plays we just didn’t make the plays to get sevens. We’ve got to get sevens. Against this group, you’ve got to get sevens.

Q: How deflating was it going through halftime knowing that you had seven and you wind up with three?

A: You can’t let that bother you one way or another. Close game, it’s what we wanted. We were in a battle with them, a good football team. We go out there and put together the next drive and go try and find a touchdown the next time. That’s all we were talking about.

Q: Rick, with this being a must-win game, does anything change on your end in regards to being aggressive and changing it up knowing that everything has to be on the table?

A: I think every game has been pretty much a must [win] game for us for the last four or five weeks. After the [first] New England game, we’ve been trying to push pretty hard, make sure we’re winning every game, so I don’t think so. I think we’re trying to catch our matchups and we’re trying to move the ball the best we can, run or pass. We’re just trying to have, in the Christmas spirit and all, we’re trying to put it all together and get everything solid so we can play these guys and do a good job.

Q: How would you assess the offense so far at this point? At this point, you’re probably not going to top – well you’re going to be close to topping the 2010 total. Is it understandable given how many changes that have been made on offense?

A: I’m not even going to go there. It’s week to week for me. It’s – what are we going to do to get first downs? What are we going to do to move the ball, be successful and score touchdowns? That’s what we need to do. I’m comparing it – I’m just trying to grind away and do what we can to get the guys that need to have the ball and put it in their hands. Trying to make sure 25 [LeSean McCoy] touches it, 85 [Charles Clay] touches it. Now, Kelvin [Benjamin] did a good job yesterday, [so we’ll] try to get him as many balls as we can.

Q: In the past five weeks, you guys have failed to score a touchdown in the third and fourth quarters. Is that something you’ve thought about, something you’re worried about?

A: Well certainly, you want to score every quarter. We struggled earlier in the year scoring early. Now, we’re scoring early and not scoring late, so we’re trying to make adjustments, take a look at what we’ve got and what we’re not doing right. It’s going to come down to just being consistent and execute every play. I think that’s what we’ll find. Certainly, that’s what we found looking at yesterday. We had our chances in the second half to make some plays [and] we didn’t make them.

Q: So you don’t think it’s necessarily that the adjustments weren’t made, it’s just that the plays –

A: I think it’s a little bit of everything. Us as coaches [have] got to make sure that we put the right guys in the right spot, too. There’s no doubt about that.

Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Opening Statement: Alright, hope everybody had a Merry Christmas and looking forward to a happy New Year. Here we are in the preparation for our next ball game, final ball game of the regular season. Looking forward to going on the road against Miami, a tough football team, a divisional rival. Should be a really good game on New Year’s Eve.