Here are seven takeaways from Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott press conference at the 2023 NFL Draft:
Thoughts on Leslie
Bills offensive coordinator Leslie Frazier Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
General Manager Brandon Beane did most stories on the defensive coordinator The departure of Leslie Frazier. McDermott confirmed he also found out last week and said the team wants to support Frazier’s decision.
“It’s been a long, tough season so he’s decided to take a year off,” McDermott said. “He wants what’s best for him.”
McDermott added that “assessments” are still being made about what the Bills will do without Frazier. One option, McDermott acknowledged, is to call the game.
Notes on receivers
Buffalo Bills #10 Khalil Shakir (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Similar to the Bills’ GM, the coach backed Gabe Davis as Buffalo’s No. 2 receiver. McDermott, in particular, said he was impressed with the way Davis bounced back after suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 2.
“The thing I thought he handled really well was that adversity,” McDermott said. “I thought he really finished the year, had moments, in a good way.”
More importantly, McDermott was positive about Khalil Shakir. McDermott believes he’ll take a step forward in Year 2 after Shakir wasn’t often trusted as a rookie.
He seemed to waver a bit…
(AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
From day one of McDermott’s arrival, the mantra from him and Beane has been to put their team in a position where they can take the “best player” whenever they’re on the draft clock. However, McDermott seemed to waver – At least a little.
“Ideally, we’re in a position come draft time where you can take the best player available. Sometimes it works out that way, sometimes it doesn’t,” McDermott said.
Perhaps the coach understands the dire situation the Bills are in regarding the salary cap. Buffalo is close to $20 million more than next year.
They have work to do, in more ways than one.
Let the chef cook?
James Cook number 28 in the Buffalo Bills (photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
McDermott was delighted with the second half of running back James Cook’s second season.
“We’re looking forward to getting him back and seeing what he can do in year two,” McDermott said.
Nothing is guaranteed, but it sounds like Cook will have a spot going into Year 2 because of Buffalo’s offense. Exactly how much will depend on Devin Singletary’s future and how the 2023 NFL Draft plays out.
Mom on two topics
Christian Benford #47 Buffalo Bills (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Two subjects McDermott has turned big-time: Chad Hall and defensive back Christian Benford.
On the latter, Benford is sure to be a big topic of discussion this spring. McDermott was completely silent on the subject. He said that “the plan” from now on is to keep him in the corner, however, McDermott was thinking more of a world where Jordan Poyer returns. He’s one of the best on the Bills pending free agents.
As for Hall, the former Bills coach, McDermott has completely chosen … not to answer what happened. Has Hall left? Did the Bills want him gone? We’ll never know.
Bernard to replace Edmunds? Could be
(Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
Tremaine Edmunds is another one of Buffalo’s key free agents. Make no mistake, McDermott sounds like he wants him back.
“It’s been fun watching (Edmunds) grow. He was such a young player when we drafted him, and he’s still a young player,” McDermott said.
But… could his replacement already be on the cards? McDermott didn’t rule out 2022 third-round pick Terrell Bernard as the guy, though he didn’t quite look like a rookie, in terms of size and skill set, to be Edmunds’ replacement.
“We need Bernard to go into his sophomore year and have a good offseason.” McDermott said. “He played in the middle [linebacker] in college – it’s on the table.”
Big for two defenders
Buffalo Bills #91 Ed Oliver (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
McDermott has full confidence in two defensive players that most would think the jury is still out on: Ed Oliver and Greg Rousseau.
“I’ve seen (Oliver) develop, I really have. On the field, off the field,” McDermott said. “I thought he impacted the quarterback maybe more than his sack production would show.”
As for Rousseau, McDermott gave him credit for his improvement in the second year. The coach also noted how impressed he was considering Rousseau sat out his final college season due to COVID-19 before coming to Buffalo in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“He came to us and had a good year 1 and he had a better year 2,” McDermott said. “The sky’s the limit with him.”
With the limitations the Bills’ defense could face if both Poyer and Edmunds leave in free agency…Oliver and Rousseau may have to have big years in 2023.