4 things we learned from Sean McDermott about Bills-Raiders week

Josh Norman. Buffalo Bills Training Camp, August 25, 2020. Photo by Bill Wippert

1. Injury updates

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown will not practice with the team Wednesday, head coach Sean McDermott announced. McDermott mentioned that cornerback Josh Norman would practice with the team but his injured reserve designation would not change at this point.

Brown left Buffalo's win over Los Angeles on Sunday with a calf injury after amassing 152 yards and two touchdowns on 10 receptions over the first two games of the season. McDermott said it had not yet been determined if the receiver will be able to play against Las Vegas this Sunday.

Norman has been sidelined since training camp with a hamstring injury but is eligible to return from injured reserve this week.

"He'll be out at practice today," McDermott said on Norman. "No change in terms of his designation at this point."

McDermott also announced that linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano – both of whom returned from one-week absences against Los Angeles – would be participating in practice.

Here are three more takeaways from McDermott's availability on Wednesday.

2. Addressing the COVID-19 situation in Tennessee

The NFL announced that the Tennessee Titans – Buffalo's Week 5 opponent – would have their game against Pittsburgh rescheduled after testing on Tuesday returned three new player positives and five new personnel positives.

Tennessee's game, originally scheduled for Sunday, will now be held either Monday or Tuesday, marking the league's first postponement as a result of COVID-19.

McDermott was asked how the Bills can seek to learn from the Titans' situation.

"I think awareness is a big key there with staying disciplined, staying diligent with what we're doing, our habits that we undertake inside the building and outside the building," McDermott said. "We try and focus on the opponent this week, which is the Raiders obviously, but also being aware of what's going around us in our world. Not just in the NFL, but in our world.

"There's things like this popping up all over the place. So, we have to be aware, I think, is the biggest thing. Sometimes we get insulated in this NFL piece and we lose sight on what's going on around us. We're going to do the best we can as I've said from the start and try to remain disciplined through the season here."

McDermott was also asked to comment on a video that showed players from the Bills' next opponent, the Raiders, attending an indoor charity event on Monday without masks.

"That news was unfortunate," he said. "What we try and do is control what we can control on our end. We've got a lot of respect for coach (Jon) Gruden and their organization and I'm sure they're on top of it."

3. Speaking of Jon Gruden …

McDermott shared a personal anecdote that displayed his respect for the Raiders coach, who is in the third year of a 10-year contract with Las Vegas.

"My respect for Coach Gruden is off the charts," McDermott said. "I remember watching him years ago in Philadelphia with the Eagles. I grew up in Philadelphia and actually worked a training camp one year and he was the new offensive coordinator and he was ahead of the curve even back then.

"You mention the (Raiders') greatest strength, I believe he is. When you hire a coach and he's on a 10-year contract and he's putting in place what he's put in place to this point, he and (general manager) Mike Mayock as well, I think they're shaping a team to play well now but also in the future."

4. Why Davis has been successful

Rookie wide receiver Gabriel Davis saw an uptick in his receiving volume against the Rams, hauling in four catches for 81 yards. This came one week after he made a diving, go-ahead grab during the third quarter of the Bills' win over the Miami Dolphins.

Yet it's the small things that came to mind when McDermott was asked about the rookie's early impact.

"You turn the tape on, you watch him, he's productive in the pass game, he blocks when his number is called on to block, and I think that mindset alone is a really good mindset for his future," McDermott said.

"In a lot of cases, these receivers that you draft aren't used to having that assignment to block and that's an adjustment on their mindset. He's wired the right way right from the start and no job is too small for him. Just as important, no job is too big. The game has not been too big for him. … He's wore a lot of different hats, if you will, on the offensive side of the ball for us to this point."

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