Sean McDermott’s opening statement: Appreciate everyone and all the support this season. Obviously we’re encouraged by our season and the success that we had as an organization this year, in particular in a Covid year, can’t thank everyone enough inside the building and those Buffalo Bills employess that are outside of our building every day doing the jobs that they’re doing out there. And then just the fans, just a tremendous outpouring of support by our fan base which was phenomenal for our team. We look forward to continuing with that momentum going forward. Obviously we’re not happy and disappointed with that last game. As we move forward we have to continue to ask the tough questions of the why’s, the what if’s and the how’s of how we can improve as a football team and look at every aspect of our operation here. Traditionally I’m not one to sit around, and I know our staff isn’t either. So I think it’ll be a productive offseason for us.
Q: It’s been a challenging year, as we all know. How challenging was it for you as a leader of this team in such an unstable time?
SM: Yeah, it’s real. Going from not knowing if we were gonna have a season and if we could pull it off, all the work that went into getting training camp up and running on the front end. Making sure we’d be safe in this environment, especially not knowing back then what we didn’t know about the virus. Could we actually work together in the same room? Simple questions like that and things we took for granted before all of a sudden became challenges and tougher than expected. That then gets magnified over the course of the season, every morning waking up, filling out a questionnaire and taking a nose swab, and all of that is for good safety reasons, but it becomes another layer on top of just trying to win games. And that’s hard enough in normal years. But we’re not unlike anybody else in the NFL in terms of the challenges we had. I thought our players and our staff did a phenomenal job of managing those challenges. On one hand you feel very grateful to have the opportunity to get tested, too. At the onset of this virus, there were a lot of people out there that didn’t have the chance to get tested. So I’m grateful for that. Realizing and waking up sometimes early in the morning to positive tests, that’s another element as a head coach.
As Nate Breske and Brandon (Beane) and I all experienced, along with Kim and Terry, that was another layer of how do we handle that because you have to juggle schedules and then come back at the end of the day with safety first. For football coaches who are evaluated on winning games, sometimes that’s hard to keep the proper perspective and continue to keep your priorities in the proper order. All of that was a great challenge, but like we said at the outset, we knew that whoever had success in this year would have an asterisk next to their name as an organization, and I mean that in a good way. We showed that we’re a winning organization and that we keep and maintain safety first and we care about our people. That starts up top with Kim and Terry. I think at the end of the day, we won some games and had a successful season on the field, albeit very disappointed in the game a couple days ago.
Q: When we heard from players, Tre’Davious White said that the Chiefs are the standard and that if you want to go where you want to go, you’re going to have to beat that team. From your perspective, how close do you think you are to being at that level where you can defeat the Chiefs?
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RUNNING BACKS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Aaron Jones, Packers 5-9 • 208 pounds • 27 years old A fifth-round steal in the 2017 draft out of UTEP, Jones is equally proficient in the running and passing games. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards the last two years, and caught 49 and 47 passes, respectively. He’s also a touchdown machine with 30 TDs the last two years (25 rushing and 5 receiving). The son of two career Army officers, he’s a tough, driven player and the kind of guy players want on their team.
THE RIGHT STUFF?
Keeping two important starters is a priority as the right side of the O-line hits free agency
QUARTERBACKS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Dak Prescott, Cowboys 6-2 • 235 pounds • 27 years old A solid starter who has a nice TD-INT ratio over his first five seasons (104-40), Prescott is an accurate thrower and very mobile. However, he’s coming off a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle, so it remains to be seen if this will impact his game moving forward.
TIGHT ENDS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Hunter Henry, Chargers 6-5 • 250 pounds • 29 years old A very talented player, Henry has had issues staying healthy, unable to complete an NFL season, including missing the entire 2018 season with a torn ACL. But when healthy, he’s a terrific all-around tight end who really connected with Justin Herbert in 2020 with 60 catches. Henry is very good at finding holes in zone coverage.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Leonard Williams, Giants 6-5 • 255 pounds • 28 years old An athletic 300-pounder with quick feet, Williams amassed a career-high 11.5 sacks last season. Add that to him being a stout run defender, very durable and possessing great character, and he should be in high demand. He won NFC Defensive Player of the Week twice last year. $$$$$
What Bills Fans Are Saying
Bills Digest scanned the Bills’ Facebook page and other fan message board sites to gauge the hot topics Bills Nation is talking about. We chose some of the better posts, edited for brevity and clarity, and present them here, along with Bills Digest editor Mark Ludwiczak’s take on what’s being discussed.
Bills Digest BUZZ Box: Five hot topics Bills fans are talking about
Bills Digest editor Mark Ludwiczak and editor-at-large Chris Brown weigh in on a handful of the hottest subjects Bills fans have been sounding off about in e-mails to our offices, radio call-in shows and Internet message boards. Have an opinion? Feel free to send an email to Chris (AskChris@bills.nfl.net) or Mark (Mark@asmpublishing.com).
WIDE RECEIVERS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Allen Robinson II, Bears 6-2 • 220 pounds • 27 years old Coming off a 102-catch season, Robinson is a big, physical receiver who can go up and get the rock. He excels at climbing the ladder to high-point the ball. Imagine what he can do with an elite QB after playing in Jacksonville and Chicago. Though he has been in the league since 2014, he’s still only 27.
GUARDS/CENTERS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Brandon Scherff, Washington 6-5 • 315 pounds • 29 years old The fifth pick of the 2015 draft, Scherff certainly lived up to the hype. He’s got everything teams want in a guard — size, grit, great technique, power and the mobility to get to the second level. His massive hands (11 inches) are a huge asset for a guard to grab and clutch. He made the Pro Bowl four of his first five NFL seasons. $$$$$
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FROM WHERE I’M SITTING