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Top 5 takeaways from Sean McDermott's media availability at the Senior Bowl

Posted Jan 23, 2018

Sean McDermott spoke to reporters for the first time since he hired offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Find out why McDermott made the move and more from his presser in Mobile, Al.

Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott met the media in Mobile Tuesday on the first practice day of the 2018 Senior Bowl.  It’s McDermott’s first trip to the Senior Bowl as an NFL Head Coach—last year he has just been hired by the Bills and he stayed back in Buffalo when the NFL prospects gathered in Mobile.

Here are the top five takeaways from McDermott’s comments after the first Senior Bowl workout Tuesday afternoon:

1.   DABOLL’S VARIED EXPERIENCE AND COLLEGE BACKGROUND MADE HIM THE BEST CHOICE FOR OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Longtime NFL assistant Brian Daboll was hired a week and a half ago to take over as Buffalo’s new offensive coordinator. And Sean McDermott says Daboll’s 17 years in the NFL, and his one season as OC at the University of Alabama, made him the best choice for the job.

“I’ve known Brian for a number of years,” McDermott said in Mobile. Daboll was an assistant at William and Mary 21 years ago when McDermott was in his senior year there.

“He’s been around winning both at the NFL level and at the college level. When you look at his history, he’s known as a quality teacher, a bright offensive mind and when you look at what he’s done over the years — he’s coached different positions, he’s been a coordinator before.”

Daboll won a national title at Alabama as the offensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide last year. And McDermott says that experience is an important part of his new coordinator’s resume.

“You look at where he’s come from and some of the things they do, some of the things he’s picked up from the college game as well—our game is always evolving.  I thought his experience coming from Alabama, the experience he picked up there this past season was valuable for him and for us.”

2.   NO DECISION YET ON TYROD TAYLOR’S FUTURE WITH THE BILLS

Speaking at the Senior Bowl, McDermott said several times that he, his coaching staff, and the personnel department are still very early in the evaluation stage of last year’s Bills roster. And when asked about the future of veteran QB Tyrod Taylor, the head coach says they’re still evaluating.

“I mentioned before the work ethic and intangibles that Tyrod brings to the table are very much appreciated and a big part of how we did things this year and what we were able to do,” the head coach told reporters. “I thought he did some good things. Overall, we’ll continue to evaluate where we are and what’s right for this organization.”

3.   QUALITY FACE TIME WITH QUARTERBACKS AT THE SENIOR BOWL AND THE COMBINE

McDermott didn’t shy away from questions about the quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class—those at the Senior Bowl and the others. And he’s looking forward to the meeting time the Bills and other NFL teams get with each of the prospects.

“That’s the part of the process I enjoy,” McDermott said, “getting to know these young men more than just what’s on the field. That’s part of this process and part of what we do at the combine as well.”

“You go from A to Z and you start with just the person and try to get to know their DNA a little bit more. You look them in the eye and see how they handle questions.”

4.   NOT JUST QBS, ALL THE SENIOR BOWL INTERVIEWS ARE VALUABLE

Quarterback may be near the top of the Bills personnel needs, but they have others as well. And the informal, relaxed atmosphere of the Senior Bowl this week gives McDermott and GM Brandon Beane a chance to assess the personalities of some of the top prospects in this year’s draft.

And with the emphasis the two place on character, the interviews this week are considered crucial for the head coach.

“This is how you build your team. It’s people-capital. Brandon and his staff have done a phenomenal job of teeing us up here and we began last night talking to a few of the players.  Getting to know them a little bit more, what’s behind the helmet.”

5.   FULL RECOVERY EXPECTED FROM ZAY JONES

Last year, East Carolina WR Zay Jones opened eyes with his performance during Senior Bowl week. Buffalo’s second round draft pick finished his rookie campaign with 27 catches, two of them for touchdowns. And after the season, his father revealed that Jones needed surgery after playing through a torn labrum during the 2017 campaign.

McDermott confirmed that in Mobile and said the injury came up during his season-ending physical.

McDermott says all signs are positive for a full recovery for Jones, and he saluted the young wideout for playing through the injury for much of the season.

“I like the fact that he was mentally tough through the season and to know that this came out at the end of the year—it was something that came up at the exit physical. Just the fact that he battled through it all season long from a physical standpoint says a lot about the young man.”

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