5 takeaways from Sean McDermott’s press conference at the NFL combine
While the 2018 league year doesn’t officially start until free agency does in March, the NFL is turning to 2018 and the future as the NFL combine gets underway this week.
Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott spoke to the media on Wednesday morning and updated multiple issues concerning the team. With that, here are five takeaways from McDermott’s press conference at the NFL combine:
Vontae signing: McDermott did not outright say pending free agent EJ Gaines is gone, but it sure did sound like that. The Bills signed cornerback Vontae Davis right before the combine on Monday. Many believed that means Gaines is gone. McDermott did not mention Gaines, but said Davis, a 10-year vet, will start in Gaines’ position at outside corner, opposite of Tre’Davious White. The coach added his usual coach-speak, saying: “[Davis] has a number of starts and ball production. That said, every spot has to be earned.” Sounds already earned, pending an awful training camp.
Also on Davis, per his Instagram account, it looks like he wants to wear number-22 with the Bills:
Who’s your QB?: Needs no intro. Tyrod Taylor or no? First, McDermott dropped an interesting line. He credited Taylor for breaking the drought: “Tyrod can add breaking a 17-year playoff drought to his resume.” Then says: “We’re still going through that process with some option out there, it’ll work itself out.” As his press conference continued, McDermott complimented Nathan Peterman as well: “I’m confident [Peterman] is wired the right way,” McDermott said. “I know his second year will be better than his first year.” But the biggest nugget dropped by McDermott came right before he walked off the stage when he said that the team, at the present time, has “no plans” to cut Taylor, which matches up with NFL Network’s report of the team not planning to cut him before March 16, when he’s due a $6 million roster bonus. If the team were to move or cut Taylor after that date, he’d probably simply say their situation changed.
Status quo on Kyle & Preston: Nothing to update on Kyle Williams. The 34-year-old defensive tackle is mulling retirement but still has yet to make a decision. “You know how I feel about Kyle,” McDermott said. “These things will work themselves out over time. The fit has to be right and the fit is there obviously, but it has to be right for Kyle and his family and us. Brandon [Beane] has been in touch.” It sounds like the part about the “fit” has to do with dollars and cents too, but whether or not Williams wants to put himself through another NFL campaign is also a factor.
While Bills fans might not be too happy with Preston Brown right now after he told the Boston Herald that he’d be open to joining the Patriots. McDermott did not mention that when asked about Brown, but he was highly complimentary of the linebacker: “Preston controlled our defense this past season.” But, like with many of his responses, McDermott said the Brown contract negotiations ahead of free agency will “work itself out.” No update. However… McDermott was asked if Matt Milano could move to Brown’s spot and he shot that idea down by saying he prefers Milano as an outside linebacker. Then McDermott brought up linebacker Tanner Vallejo in regard to a potential hole at inside linebacker. Vallejo mainly played on special teams last year, only playing a handful of snaps on defense. Interesting.
Injury updates: The three main nicks and bruises to monitor as the season ended involved left tackle Cordy Glenn (foot/ ankle), wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (knee) and wide receiver Zay Jones. All have taken positive steps, per McDermott: “All three of those look like they’re on schedule at this point and time.” Of the three, McDermott only went into detail on Jones later in his presser. Like Peterman, McDermott believes Jones will have a bounce-back year in his second season: “[Jones] did a good job (last season), he had some highs and lows like some of our other rookies,” McDermott said. “The way that Zay is wired, I’m confident he’ll learn from those situations.” McDermott also described Jones’ shoulder injury which he played through last season as something that was “flying under the radar.”
Loving LeSean: No one questions whether or not LeSean McCoy was the best player on the Bills’ offense last year. With 1,138 rushing yards, surpassing his 10K chase, and another 448 receiving yards… c’mon, he balled out. But, McCoy will hit that 30-year-old wall for running backs prior to the start of next season. Additionally, reports around the time of the Super Bowl indicated that the Philadelphia Eagles looked to trade back for McCoy. With those in mind, plus a nearly $9 million cap hit for 2018 to consider, maybe the Bills will look to move on from Shady? Doesn’t sound like McDermott is on board with that: “Salary aside, I don’t look at that. I look at production. He has not slowed down,” McDermott said. “The toughness and leadership is there.”