Inside The Bills

Weighing risk-reward in pass game w/Panthers D

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2017 – 11:15 am

Last week Carolina LB Luke Kuechly made his 13th interception since he entered the league in 2012. No other NFL linebacker has more interceptions over that time. The linebacker tied for second in that category over the last five season is his teammate, Thomas Davis. Couple that production with Panthers S Kurt Coleman, who since 2013 leads all safeties with 14 INTs and you see the risk passing over the middle poses for opposing QBs.

So how do you balance being aggressive in the passing game against the Panthers while also mitigating the risk?

“They’re a tough group to prepare for because they’re so athletic,” said McDermott. “Luke is so aware of things, and they do a great job of communicating on their end as well. You just have to be aware of where he is, and they do a great job of taking the ball away on defense. That was a big part of their formula last week, and I’m sure one of their big goals this week against us will be to take the ball away. We have to be very aware of that and do our part in terms of respecting the football. They thrive off of taking the ball away and setting their offense up with short fields.”

The hook zones in particular are where Kuechly and Davis make most of their interceptions. Both of them can drop effectively into coverage and break on the ball.

“All those guys on that defense can run,” said Tyrod Taylor. “Of course, Luke Kuechly, he’s probably the best linebacker in the league, very smart, instinctive guy. Just going to have to go out there and play sound football. Our first challenge on the road against a very good defense, and we’re going to have to execute every play and continue to keep focus throughout the whole game.”


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Clay, Glenn among the limited in practice

Posted by Chris Brown on September 13, 2017 – 3:56 pm

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DT Jerel Worthy was the only non-participant at practice Wednesday as he remains in the concussion protocol, but there were a few unanticipated limited players in practice.

The notables were TE Charles Clay with a shoulder injury and OT Cordy Glenn with his foot.

Head coach Sean McDermott was encouraged that Glenn had come out of the Week 1 game clean with his foot no worse for the wear despite getting 56 snaps.

“At this point it seems like we took a step forward,” said McDermott of Glenn. “Cordy did some good things in the game, obviously didn’t the play the entire game but his rep count certainly increased from the week before. We want to keep trending upward in respect to Cordy.”

CB EJ Gaines and LB Tanner Vallejo were also limited. Gaines is coming back from a shoulder contusion, but is expected to start Sunday. Vallejo returned to practice for the first time since getting his knee scoped a few weeks ago.

RB LeSean McCoy (wrist) and FB Mike Tolbert (knee) were both full practice participants.

 


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Tolbert: Snitches get stitches

Posted by Chris Brown on September 13, 2017 – 3:02 pm

 

There are a couple of players and a head coach who might be viewed as mercenaries by the Carolina Panthers fans this Sunday in Charlotte. Having moved on to the Bills they’re the enemy now, but between head coach Sean McDermott, Mike Tolbert, Joe Webb and Kaelin Clay, there’s a lot of useful information they can provide. From player strengths and weaknesses, to player preferences in certain situations.

“There’s a rule out there that snitches get stitches, but I’m going to get a lot of stitches this week,” said Tolbert.

Tolbert along with Webb and Clay will offer what they can to assist their Bills teammates with their matchups, and the players who don’t know the Panthers well are eager to scoop up all the intel they can.

“Oh yeah I’m going to sit down with him this week,” said Bills return man Brandon Tate the time he intends to spend with Joe Webb on Carolina’s special teams coverage units.

Regardless of all the help it can provide, the Bills still hold an enormous amount of respect for a team as battle tested as the Panthers. It’s why players like Tolbert, Webb and Clay are doing their level best to prepare for Sunday’s game like any other. It’s something that has won the respect of their teammates.

“They’re not getting wrapped up in the rivalry or battle. We’re their teammates and we’re supporting them. It’s a regular game. Everybody looks at things differently. I kind of looked at it like a revenge type of game when I played back home,” said McCoy of his game against the Eagles in 2015. “But them guys I like their attitudes. It’s more positive. It’s more team based. It’s working out. We have one goal and that’s to go to North Carolina and get a win.”

 

 


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Glenn’s reps to be managed Sunday?

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2017 – 2:30 pm

Bills LT Cordy Glenn is fully expected to start on Sunday in the opener against the Jets, but will he play the entire game on offense? That appears to be up for debate.

Glenn missed most of training camp and almost the entire preseason until he got 15 snaps in the team’s last preseason game against Detroit. It was an effort to get Glenn re-acclimated to the speed of a live game.

Whether that plus practice over the last week is enough to get his conditioning to the level necessary for a 65 to 70-play game on offense is another question.

The biggest challenge for every NFL head coach is making sure the team is conditioned enough to get through an entire game that first week, something none of their players have done since early January.

For Glenn that task could prove even more difficult, since he’s missed a good portion of training camp and preseason action with his foot ailment.

Head coach Sean McDermott admitted that it’s something they’re going to keep close tabs through the rest of the practice week and on Sunday to determine whether or not they need to rotate another tackle in for him at times.

“We’re going to look at it,” said McDermott. “With every player we look at managing reps in getting guys acclimated to full speed and managing it.”

Rookie Dion Dawkins would be the likely offensive tackle who would rotate in for Glenn if the coaching staff deems it necessary on Sunday


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McDermott: McCoy practiced after getting ill

Posted by Chris Brown on September 7, 2017 – 2:23 pm

Bills feature back LeSean McCoy had a bit of an upset stomach at the start of Thursday’s practice that forced him to miss a bit of the session, including the media viewing portion. But according to head coach Sean McDermott, McCoy returned and got a healthy dose of team reps.

“He got a little bit ill at practice,” said McDermott. “He was here at the beginning and fell ill a little bit there and then came back.”

By the close of practice, McCoy looked back to normal and had a spring in his step.

“It looked like he was good,” McDermott said. “He had a good practice.”

While McCoy was not on the practice field, Mike Tolbert and Taiwan Jones took the majority of the reps during team segments.


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Seymour trade completes turnover at cornerback

Posted by Chris Brown on September 3, 2017 – 9:02 am

He was the last remaining hold over player from last year’s secondary. Kevon Seymour was the lone cornerback on the Bills roster who played on the team in 2016. On Saturday, like all the other former teammates, the 2016 sixth-round pick was traded for WR Kaelin Clay in a deal with Carolina.

Seymour joins Corey White, Ronald Darby, Stephon Gilmore, Nickell Robey, who were either released, not re-signed or traded in the 2017 offseason.

In fact there is only one player in Buffalo’s entire secondary that was on Buffalo’s roster in 2016. Colt Anderson, who spent most of the 2016 season on injured reserve is the only remaining safety from last year’s roster.

Change at the top often means change to the roster, and at a typically higher rate than the league average of 25-30 percent. Head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane right now are well above that average as they are determined to build the team the right way with the right player makeup for sustained success.


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McDermott on why Dareus was in pads for game

Posted by Chris Brown on August 31, 2017 – 11:31 pm

Most of Buffalo’s regular starters had their jerseys on for Thursday night’s preseason finale, but most did not have pads on as there was no intent to put them in the game against the Lions. But Marcell Dareus was one of a handful of players in full pads. After missing last week’s game for a team rules violation it was thought that Dareus might get some playing time. But it did not prove to be case. Head coach Sean McDermott explained why Dareus was suited up.

“We just wanted to see him get out and test his hip situation and warm up,” said McDermott. “I thought he looked good in warm-ups. He looked good in practice (Wednesday). So were just testing him to see what it felt like.”

 


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Why Matthews is convinced he’ll be ready Wk 1

Posted by Chris Brown on August 29, 2017 – 2:37 pm

Jordan Matthews still hasn’t been cleared for full contact in practice, but he’s been working behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transition to regular season football in Week 1.

Matthews is limited in practice due to his non-contact status, but during special teams segments of practice he works on the side. After practice he goes an extra half hour putting in work. It all has him 100 percent confident his injured sternum will be fit for play on Sept. 10th against the Jets.

“I’m doing everything. I’m in shape,” Matthews said. “I’ve been going against the defense. I even had a couple of the DBs stay after practice and we just (worked on) releases. I had guys press me to see how I can get off the line. I feel I’m ready to go in those aspects. When it comes to preseason games like last week, if they haven’t seen me go to the ground yet, why risk it? That’s the biggest thing.”

Matthews said the area of pain, which was virtually his entire upper torso right after his sternum injury has been reduced considerably. His catch radius is the same as it’s always been and protective equipment fashioned by the athletic trainers is capably keeping the sternum from being re-injured.

“They made me a special type of undershirt and it’s padded on the chest,” said Matthews. “So I’ve been able to go out there at practice pretty well with that. What’s crazy is one of my first days with it Tyrod just darted one into my chest and I catch and the point of the ball hit my chest and it didn’t shake me like I thought it would. So I’m like, ‘Okay this thing works and will be able to protect me when I go out there.’”

Head coach Sean McDermott said he’s cautiously optimistic that Matthews will be able to play against the Jets.


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Ragland’s snaps spent mainly on special teams

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2017 – 7:56 pm

In reviewing Reggie Ragland’s playing time in the preseason, it was clear what coaches wanted to evaluate Saturday night against the Ravens.

Ragland got just three snaps on defense against Baltimore, but 14 on special teams, the third-highest total of anyone on the roster.

“You saw him play extensively on special teams,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “That’s a big part of being a linebacker is playing special teams and embracing that role and I thought he did some good things there.”

At the same time when asked if Ragland is fighting for a roster spot, McDermott confirmed that he was.

“He is,” said McDermott. “That said he’s working extremely hard. He just needs to continue to work hard and show us what he can do. I think he did some of that last night on special teams. He continues to improve defensively. Just like the rest of the guys, he’s got to continue to earn the right to be on this football team. And he’s done some really nice things the last couple of days.”

It appears that the coaching staff know what he can do on defense in this scheme. Giving him as much time as they did on special teams is an indication that they needed to see more of him there to know for sure how much of an asset he can be in that phase of the game.


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CB Gaines felt good in return to field

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2017 – 3:42 pm

E.J. Gaines left practice early on Sunday, missed practice Tuesday, but was back Wednesday.

“It felt good getting back out there,” Gaines said. “It was a small, I wouldn’t even call it an injury, I just kind of tweaked something. So, getting back out there, and running routes felt good.”

Head coach Sean McDermott is expected to address Gaines’ likelihood of playing on Saturday night at Baltimore when he addresses the media on Thursday morning.

 


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McDermott sticking with Tyrod

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2017 – 1:42 am

Head coach Sean McDermott was asked about any potential quarterback depth chart changes for next week’s preseason game in Baltimore. Buffalo’s sideline boss made it clear that while he’ll evaluate everything, he’s sticking with Taylor.

“I thought Tyrod moved the ball last week and we had some penalties,” said McDermott. “(Thursday night) I don’t think we moved the ball and couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively early in the game. So you look at the big picture and you evaluate, so we’ve got a lot of work to do as an overall football team. We’ve got to do that to continue to get better. Work on our fundamentals and work on our techniques and get into a rhythm. That’s what we need to do.

“We’re always going to evaluate everything and that goes for every position including the quarterback position. We’re going to evaluate the film. I’m going to evaluate the job I did and then we evaluate the job that each of us and continue to get better as a unit.”


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McDermott links penalties to positioning

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2017 – 1:39 am

It wasn’t the reason the Bills were flagged all 15 times they had penalties enforced in Thursday night’s game against Philadelphia, but head coach Sean McDermott believes one major factor in their penalty tally was lack of proper positioning by players.

“It’s really positioning that gets you in trouble,” McDermott said. “So we need to establish better position. That means moving our feet and then playing with our hands inside. We’ll continue to work on that and sometimes you see this early in the season. That said I’m not happy about where we are.

“Good teams don’t beat themselves. Obviously we need work on technique and we’ll go hard at that this week like we’ve been attacking it, so we’ve got a lot of work to do. That’ll be one of the areas.”


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Streater has toe injury, Anderson has setback

Posted by Chris Brown on August 18, 2017 – 1:38 am

It certainly didn’t look promising for Rod Streater when he was carted off the field in the second half Thursday night. After making a catch the cornerback trying to cover him stepped on him. The result was a toe injury according to head coach Sean McDermott.

No word if the toe was dislocated or if X-rays were taken. Streater has been putting together a solid camp and preseason and made a couple of more plays Thursday night. He’ll be re-evaluated Friday.

Bills S Colt Anderson just came off of Active PUP this week and began practicing. He was supposed to play Thursday night, but he re-injured his foot before the game.

“Colt Anderson did not play,” said McDermott. “He had the foot in pre-game warmups. It was the same foot he had before.”

Undrafted rookie TE Jason Croom had an ankle in and S Trae Elston left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return.

All four players will be re-evaluated on Friday.


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Don’t jump to conclusions on Ragland

Posted by Chris Brown on August 11, 2017 – 12:20 am

Much has been made of Gerald Hodges apparent move ahead of Reggie Ragland on the Bills depth chart at middle linebacker. After Thursday’s preseason game, head coach Sean McDermott helped paint the picture in terms of what Ragland is working against in his return to football.

“Reggie is a young player who is coming off of an injury and is only going to continue to get better. I thought he did some good things in the game tonight,” said McDermott.

“If you think about it, I haven’t played in a football game in a year and a half, since the National Championship game of my senior year at Alabama,” said Ragland. “It was a great feeling. I’m happy to be back out there playing. It was one of the best times I had in a long time.”

When asked if Ragland could be moved to outside linebacker it sounded like McDermott didn’t want to put something else on the young linebacker’s plate, knowing he’s coming back from a major injury and in a brand new scheme that he’s never played in before.

“Right now it’s in Reggie’s best interest and our best interest that he play at that inside position,” he said.


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Why LeSean McCoy didn’t play Thursday night

Posted by Chris Brown on August 10, 2017 – 11:09 pm

LeSean McCoy was dressed, but didn’t play a single snap on Thursday night in the team’s preseason opener. Head coach Sean McDermott explained why.

“I’ve been around LeSean as you guys have heard me say for a long time. I like where he is at this point in training camp in terms of getting himself ready to play for the season,” said McDermott. “I wanted to get a good look at the other backs and I was impressed with the way some of those running backs performed.”

The decision by McDermott makes sense. McCoy has looked dynamic in camp practices and doesn’t need to be exposed to risk of injury when he’s showing well in practices. Plus getting a long look at the backs further down the depth chart will help the offensive staff make the best decision on who to keep for the 53-man roster.


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Pegula goes low key with GM/coach meetings

Posted by Chris Brown on August 2, 2017 – 7:09 pm

When you’re an owner and CEO of two major league franchises your time can be short, so one would think that Bills and Sabres owner Terry Pegula would need to have regimented schedule to have time for all the interactions that need to take place between his front office staff for the two clubs and the head coaches. But Pegula prefers to do just the opposite and meet on an impromptu basis with Bills GM Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott.

“It’s very casual,” said Pegula. “I like things low key, so I may walk into (Sean McDermott’s) office unannounced and talk for an hour. Or he may go in my office or Brandon or whomever. That’s the way I like to do things, rather than be all official and say, ‘Hey we’re going to have a meeting next Tuesday at two o’clock.’ Because I may not be there because something else has come up.”

The approach makes sense knowing Pegula, and his wife and co-owner Kim, can be pulled in any number of directions at a moment’s notice with all their companies, holding and properties that demand their attention.


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How coach McDermott looks at padded practices

Posted by Chris Brown on July 29, 2017 – 12:09 pm

Bills head coach Sean McDermott was certainly excited to see the pads on his players in practice Saturday. In his estimation it’s where some of the best player evaluation can take place.

(Saturday) the truth serum is on the table because the pads come on,” he said. “You want to be patient with the evaluation this time just because it’s been to this point two-hand touch like I mentioned.”

The line play up front in particular can be more accurately evaluated and McDermott likes what he’s seen from his starting edge rushers thus far.

“With respect to Shaq, I think he’s done a phenomenal job, you know,” McDermott said. “You wish he had all of last season under his belt. He has the injury there and the challenge, but the way he’s attacked that, the way he’s attacked the offseason and I like what he and Jerry [Hughes] are doing on the opposite sides of each other. They’re coming off the ball well, they’re aggressive. With the system, he’s getting a feel for the system and those two are fun to watch. Those guys are coming off the ball with a lot of twitch and when you can do that up front, that sets the tone for everything else behind it.”


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Absence of cut down to 75 is fine w/Bills brass

Posted by Chris Brown on July 28, 2017 – 1:13 pm

This summer there will be no roster reduction from 90 to 75 a week prior to the cut down to 53. The NFL vanquished the roster cut down to 75 after coaches and clubs voiced a desire to hold on to as many players on their roster as possible, for as long as possible, knowing injuries can happen at any time with two preseason games still on the schedule historically after the cut to 75. Bills head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane were both glad to see the cut down to 75 disappear.

“It’s nice not to have to cut down,” McDermott said. “Again, we talked about the timeline earlier when it was brought up. You get a longer look at some players, you get more bodies in camp so it takes some wear and tear off some players that would still be in camp at that point in time, so I like that that got passed and that should help all teams, really.”

While Beane is glad to see the cutdown to 75 go too, he does have the foresight to realize it will translate to more work for his personnel department on the back end when the cut to 53 is made.

“I actually like it. I was a proponent of doing that in Carolina,” Beane said. “I think it just helps us. Sometimes guys are banged up, so the last two preseason games, it gives us another week to get guys healthy and another week to maybe see a guy that hasn’t played as much, and give him one more chance in the fourth game. I think it’s a great move by the league to do that. Now, it makes it, that last cut harder and we’re going to have to do a little more work not only on our own roster, but evaluating the other teams rosters a week later. There’s 15 additional guys per team that we have to look at.”


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McDermott bros. worked for Eagles at same time

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2017 – 12:18 pm

Sean McDermott’s coaching career with the Philadelphia Eagles is well documented, but what most don’t know is his older brother Tim McDermott came to work for their hometown Eagles as well as their Chief Marketing Officer.

What’s ironic is that even though they worked in the same building the two brothers rarely saw each other, let alone had lunch together during the time they both worked for the Eagles.

“We really didn’t see much of each other,” Tim McDermott told Buffalobills.com. “It wasn’t more than a handful of times that we saw each other or had lunch or something like that. I think it was just the nature of him being on the coaching side and me being on the business side. I think at the same time we wanted to make sure that we respected that we were on different sides of the house and were always respectful in not overstepping boundaries or anything.”

Tim McDermott provided some valuable insight on to just who is brother is and what makes him tick in an exclusive on the Bills head coach on Buffalobills.com today.

 


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McDermott’s dad, a coach ahead of the curve

Posted by Chris Brown on July 27, 2017 – 11:45 am

It’s well known by now that Sean McDermott’s father, Rich McDermott, was a college head football coach himself. Coaching and training his two sons may have been his most enjoyable coaching job. And to say he was on the cutting edge of training would be an understatement.

Sean’s older brother Tim McDermott recalled many times where their dad would come home with some form of new training equipment that they had never seen before as he spoke with Buffalobills.com for a story about Buffalo’s new head coach.

“My dad from a very early age… 30-plus years ago in today’s day in age we have all this technology and sports performance equipment, parachutes, resistance trainers or sleds. Thirty years ago my dad would have us in the backyard with a handmade sled,” said Tim. “Something he put together. It was like a wood block sled, with a dowel in the middle of it where he would put metal weights on it. There would be a chain hooked to one side and it would wrap up to a weightlifting belt and then back to the other side with another chain and we’d put it around our waist. And there was a hill in the backyard and my dad would say, ‘Go!’ And we would just run with it up the hill.

“Whether it was that or one day he came home with a parachute, that today’s day in age it’s more normal to see that kind of resistance training. But he comes home with this parachute that he had somebody make for him. He was ahead of his time when it came to all that stuff. I think as we were growing up, working out, training, having discipline, it was part of who we were and definitely part of who Sean was. That meant you don’t always go out on a Friday night or a Saturday night because you’re at a gym. That was very much the norm.”


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