BILLS HEAD COACH SEAN McDERMOTT
CONFERENCE CALL WITH NEW ENGLAND MEDIA
December 19, 2018
Q: How do you feel Brian Daboll has done this year given all the turnover you've had with your offensive personnel?
SM: Yeah, he's done a good job. He's done a good job of developing an identity with our offense. We've had, as you mentioned, some turnover – a number of turnover situations there just in terms of personnel-wise, trying to continue to build our football team. I think he's done a nice job of staying positive and finding roles for as many guys as possible.
Q: What would you say the identity of the offense has become now?
SM: Well, I think it evolves around the quarterback much like the offense in New England, right? What he brings to the table and then to me, an offense identity goes up front after that. We've got a lot of work to do but at least we've got it started at this point.
Q: What does Josh Allen bring to the table?
SM: Young quarterback, naturally as you know, and with some of that there's some good and there's some bad and some areas for growth. I think what you see on probably TV the most is the competitiveness, the ability to make throws and a guy that – he's taken some lumps but at the same time, he's been resilient in terms of his approach every week to try and better himself.
Q: Could you talk about his ability to scramble and extend plays with his feet?
SM: Yeah, that's certainly there. I think a little bit of that at times overshadows his ability as a quarterback in terms of in the pocket. But that's certainly an element of his game.
Q: Did that surprise you? When he was coming out of the draft, all anyone could talk about was his arm, and now his legs seem to be doing a lot of the damage.
SM: Yeah, that's a good question. Honestly, that did surprise us. When we went through the film, as you kind of stack up the different qualities that all the quarterbacks that went through the draft this year that they had, that was one of the areas that Josh did bring to the table.
Q: What's he still going to get better at? What's he still in the infancy of his development of?
SM: Yeah, I mean, you named it. Listen, he's a young quarterback in his – what start? He's not even in double-digit starts yet. For any player, let alone a quarterback, there's a lot of room for improvement.
Q: Is it important to have the right coaching staff around Josh Allen at the beginning so he's learning the right habits?
SM: Absolutely. Yeah, that's a key part in a player's development is having the right people, whether it's teammates, or in this case, a coach.
Q: The Patriots have been far better at home than on the road this season. Have you seen any trends as to why that might be the case?
SM: I don't. There's probably a lot written and a lot said over the years as to why they're better at home. That's a good aspect – a good, I guess, character trait. When you play well at home, it usually leads to winning in the playoffs, and they've been able to do that for a number of years.
Q: Do you have any update on the status of your running backs for this week? I know you're getting kind of thin there.
SM: Yeah, we're just going to take it one day at a time. They'll practice today a little bit as we go out there in a couple minutes here and see how they look.
Q: This year Tom Brady's behind pace to where he was statistically last year. In a league where stats seem to be going up for quarterbacks, is there anything you've noticed? Is he declining? Where is he at compared to last year?
SM: No, to me, he looks even better than he has in years past, believe it or not. I know that the numbers may not support that, but I think his game is strong, he doesn't turn the ball over. I think he's as good as ever.
Q: Can you give me a sense in what ways he looks better?
SM: Well, the way he's allocating the ball to different receivers, how he's getting them in and out of plays, how they use the no-huddle offense strategically. I think all of that really showcases his ability, not only with his arm physically but also his mental capability.
Q: What's changed about the Patriots offense since you saw them in Week 8?
SM: Again, I think just more variety in terms of what they do, how they play the different weapons they have. They've got a ton of weapons. You go right down through the list starting with the guys that have been there a long time with Tom [Brady] and then the line, the continuity that they've had over the years and they play as good as any line out there, they're well-coached. So a lot of respect for what they do up there.
Q: What have you seen from J.C. Jackson?
SM: Good player, just a young player but with young players comes a lot of good things and then some things – a natural learning curve which is similar to what we go through with our young players. But, a lot of respect for the start that he's off to at this point in his career.
Q: What have you seen on film from Rob Gronkowski and does he look like the same guy to you?
SM: Certainly does. I know he had a couple games where he didn't play and that's been the case I think for most years, recently at least. But yeah, he's as good as he's been, presents a matchup challenge and a guy that we certainly have to know how we want to handle him.