Transcript: Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott Sept. 3

Monday, September 3, 2018

Q: So, you got a new punter. Can you tell us about this punter? A: Hes got a strong leg. Obviously, you know he came from New England. He had an interesting preseason, but we look forward to getting him out on the field, getting him to work today, and building that relationship thats so important with [Stephen] Hauschka and Reid [Ferguson]. Credit to our scouting staff doing their work and finding Corey [Bojorquez]. Q: What was interesting about his preseason? A: [There was] just not a whole lot of work, so not a whole lot of work. Again, I give credit to our scouting staff doing their due diligence to be able to locate and target a guy that didnt do a lot on film in the preseason, but we were aware of what he could do coming out of college and what not. Q: Could you tell us about Nate [Peterman] starting and what ultimately took [the quarterback competition] in his favor? A: Nate has earned the right. I thought his total body of work, all the way back from the spring and through the summer and fall camp up to this point [has shown that] he has certainly earned the right. Q: How close was the competition and at the end of the day, how hard of [a decision] was it to make? A: Well, its always a tough decision, and thats a good thing because [it means that] those guys were competing at a high level. I would say that weve had a lot of tough decisions, which is a good thing for our roster. Again, credit our scouting staff, Brandon [Beane] and his staff for making, certainly, our roster better than it has been in terms of the competition level through camp, and you guys were out there. There was high levels of competition at many levels. Q: Weve talked about this a lot, but a lot has been made about Nathans resiliency and how hes bounced back from adversity. Here he is going from what happened last year as a rookie and becoming the opening day starter. What does that say about him? A: Well, just what you said. I believe hes a resilient young man. He has certainly come through sometimes of adversity throughout his career. Look, hes still a young player, so Ive been impressed with his mental toughness, his command of the offense, the way hes generated yards and points in the preseason as well and the way hes developed to this point. Lets keep in mind [that] hes a young player. Overall, you go back to the question of [when] you watch him at Tennessee, you watch him at Pitt. Right now, hes a Buffalo Bill in terms of his journey, like all of us, and that character trait is a great character trait to have in terms of being a resilient young man. Q: Sean, given the inexperience that both Nate and Josh [Allen] have coming into the season and trading AJ [McCarron], is it a concern to have two kids who havent spent a lot [of time] in the NFL and what went into the decision to trade AJ at this time? A: Ill start with AJ: I really appreciate the effort he gave us all the way up to the last second of that fourth preseason game; you dont find that often. I certainly appreciate that. [Hes a] great young man, great family and I know hes going to do well in Oakland. With respect to our situation with the young quarterbacks, theres no substitute for experience. That said, weve got two young quarterbacks that we believe in and theyre going to continue to grow. Theres going to be learning along the way and some good moments, hopefully, and theres going to be growing pains as well, and we understand that. Q: Can you take us inside the room and how you explained it to these guys individually or together and what that was like? A: I get where youre coming from and I explained it to Nate and then Josh and our football team. Ive got a heck of a lot of respect for those guys and I just felt that that was the right way to do it in terms of announcing it to them before it became public and thats because of the love and respect I have for those guys. Q: What was it like to be able to tell Nate that he won the job after what was alluded to before with him going through a lot of dark times, especially, I imagine, after that game in Los Angeles, and being able to say, you won this job? A: When you earn things, it makes it certainly gratifying as a coach to be able to reward a young man who has earned it. To your point, he went through some adversity, as mentioned, not only last season, but also in his college career. Look, weve all been through that and to me, its a sign of our football team to some extent in terms of [the fact that] usually when you go through adversity in life, youre that much more prepared for it when it comes later in life. That to me becomes a personality character trait, and thats good to have. Q: While theyre both young, Nathan obviously has been able to be in the system with the team for a year. Did the instability of changes in the [offensive] line and at wide receiver play into your factoring whos maybe more ready to take over this team right now? A: Im not going to get into why I made the decision I made, with respect to your question. I get where youre coming from. Right now, were focused on the opponent, and thats Baltimore this week. Q: Sean, with just the two guys on the roster at quarterback, last year you had Joe Webb just in case, and it turns out you needed him. Who this year, if something were to happen, who this year would be the third guy who would have to go in at this point? A: Well, you look across the roster, and Logan Thomas has played quarterback; he played it in college. After that, weve probably got a couple things that we would need to work through if it got that far. Well have another guy ready. Q: So at this point, there are no plans to sign a third guy? A: Brandon is always looking at different options, so I dont want to rule anything out at this point. Q: When it comes to Joshs development, how do you continue him on a track of developing while hes the backup? Will he get time to continue to grow and continue maturing at that level? A: Well Josh is on schedule, let me just start there. Hes on schedule; Ive been pleased with the way hes developed to this point in time. Listen, you learn a lot from the first game of the regular season, whether youre playing or not playing when its your first time. I can just go back to my first time and being a part of the first game in my career. You learn an awful lot. That being said, I expect that Josh will be ready to go when his number is called, whenever its called. Thats his focus right now. Q: Coach, can you tell us what allowed Robert Foster to make the final roster? A: [Hes] another one of our young players. [Weve] got a number of young players that have showed up and made plays. Is he where he needs to be? No. Is our team where we need to be? No. We all have a lot of work to do, including Robert. [Were just] taking it one day at a time, so right now were focused on our Monday practice and the Baltimore Ravens are a very good opponent and its going to be a hostile environment. We understand that, we respect them, respect our opponent. We certainly have a lot of respect for Coach Harbaugh and his staff as well. Were going to have a big test this week. Q: Is there anyone who might be limited or held out of practice today? A: Ray-Ray [McCloud] will not practice, nor will Julian Stanford. Q: What about the decision on whos going to start on the opposite side of TreDavious White? A: Were still working through that. Q: Sean, as a coach, how do you guard Nathan kind of looking over his shoulder knowing that the number seven overall pick is sitting there behind him and you guys have a lot invested in him? Is there anything you can do as a coach to help Nathan know he has your full confidence? A: Nate and I have certainly spoken and Ill keep that conversation between, for the most part, Nate and myself. That being said, we all have a big test this week, so theres no time to look over ones shoulder. Right now, weve got to put all of our effort into the Baltimore Ravens. Q: Sean, during the last several weeks, was there anytime that you noticed Nate take a step forward, not just to be the starting quarterback, but just in his development to where you could think about him being the starter? A: Im not sure if there was one moment. There was a series of moments. When you go back and watch the journey to this point, you start in the spring. Like I mentioned, [you look at] the full body of work. You look in the spring and the way he handled himself. You go through the early part of summer camp and the preseason games and his full body of work and the way he handled himself. Hes a steady young man and a lot can be said for that. Q: Coach, have you made a decision on your starting center? A: Yes, Ryan Groy will start at center. Russell [Bodine] has had a good preseason as well, so [I] feel good about both of those young men. Q: Sean, as far as the tight ends, you went with [Jason] Croom, [Logan] Thomas over Nick [OLeary]. What went into that decision and what tipped the scales that way? A: Well, let me first start out with Nick. Nick, what more could I say about Nick. His play stood out and spoke for himself. Hes very consistent and dependable. Hes a tough football player, which I have a lot of respect for Nick and his family. That being said, weve taken a step in a different direction here and we feel confident with the guys we have kept in Charles [Clay] and Jason and Khari [Lee] and Logan. They all bring a little bit of a different skillset to the team and the table. Its been nice to watch a guy like Jason develop. [Hes a] young man thats busted his tail being injured a little bit last year and then on our practice squad in a developmental role for the most part all of last season, or the better part of last season. To see him work over the course of the summer- I came in a few times over the summer and hes in the indoor work environment by himself. Thats the great part of a lot of our guys- what happens behind closed doors in terms of their work ethic when nobody is watching, the cameras arent on, you guys arent there. These guys work, and a lot can be said for that. Q: So your new punter Corey will be your holder going forward? A: Yes. Q: In your experience, just getting that down and having six days to work [that out] here? Is there extra work required there or anything? A: Yeah, its certainly something Im aware of. Look, its part of the relationship between the punter and the kicker thats got to come along fairly fast at this point in time. Brandon and I are aware of that and well just continue to monitor how that flows through this week, and well go from there. Q: You said Josh is on schedule with his development for when his number is called. What are the next steps in his development that youre looking to see at this point in the regular season? A: Yeah, Im not going to get into what Josh has to do next, with all due respect to your question. Right now, again, were focused on the Buffalo Bills versus the Baltimore Ravens, a very good football team. Thats where our focus needs to be. Q: Coach, Siran Neal looks like hes made a couple of nice jumps over the last few weeks. Can you kind of just walk us through his development and where his game is at and how hes going to contribute on defense and special teams as well? A: Yeah, Sirans made some jumps. In terms of his development, hes certainly a talented young man. Hes gaining his feel for the defense and special teams and how an NFL game works. Its been fun to watch Coach Babich and Siran work and he puts in a ton of work on and off the field. Its been fun to watch him reap the benefits of that work. Q: With two quarterbacks on your roster, who will run the scout team offense? A: Josh will run the scout team offense. Q: What do you think the benefit of that will be for him in your experience? A: Hell learn just from doing that because as you guys know, the pace, the tempo picks up during the regular season, including practice. Hell get a bunch of reps in scout team and hell learn and grow. The reps hell get with the other part of practice. Hell continue to develop. Q: So, he still will get some reps? A: Well see. Well see from time to time. Weve got the development part at the end of practice where hell get some reps as well.

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