McDermott more critical than usual in addressing offensive woes

October 1, 2018

“Not good enough.”

In some way, shape, or form, Buffalo Bills’ head coach Sean McDermott used those words nine different times with the media Monday to describe his team’s performance Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. While doing so, the coach was far more critical and pointed in his comments than he had been all season.

The Bills were shut out for the first time in 10 years in Green Bay, falling 22-0, and McDermott’s comments were mostly directed at the performance of the offense, including both players and coaches.

“Overall, offense wasn’t good enough at all, bottom line” he said at his weekly Monday press conference. “Not good enough. Running game, passing game, hits on the quarterback… There’s a lot of hands in that jar, though, as it goes to hits on the quarterback. It’s just not good enough. Not solid football. We’ve got to get better.

“You look back at the Minnesota game, when you say, ‘look for signs.’ There’s been moments. The bottom line is that we’re not good enough right now. We didn’t get the job done yesterday, in particular on offense. We’ve got to go and come up with a better plan than what we had yesterday, putting the players in a position to be successful. That’s where it starts. [It] goes right down through fundamentals and techniques, winning one-on-one’s, guys doing their job, establishing a line of scrimmage. We had an opportunity early in the game to establish a line of scrimmage two plays in a row. I believe it was 2nd-and-3 into a 3rd down and short, and we didn’t get the job done. So we’ll just start there, and you’ve got to establish the line of scrimmage if you want to be a good offense.”

The Bills went three-and-out in four of their first five drives and seven of their twelve total drives. Rookie quarterback Josh Allen had a rough day, starting out only 5-for-19 through the first half, and as a unit their wideouts are averaging just 82.5 yards receiving per-game.

“I’ve got a lot of concerns with that type of number,” McDermott said about the receivers. “It’s not good enough, not good enough at all. We’ve got to move the ball, move the chains. Can’t go three and out. Where do you want to start, right? We’ve got a lot of work to do.

“I just know that when we don’t play smart football, when we don’t play tough football, when we don’t execute, it’s hard to win games. Even as we develop and grow as a football team and get this thing right in this build, there are steps along the way that I’m looking to see. And I saw some of those yesterday, I don’t want to overlook those. Whether it’s offense, defense, or special teams, there were moments. As far as the offensive side of the ball, I’m looking for certain things as we build this thing. Number one, it’s intelligence, it’s smarts, it’s toughs. When you have an opportunity to establish the line of scrimmage early in a football game, we’ve got to get that done. When we throw the football, we have to make sure everything is on time, in the right spot. It’s just the execution as it relates to the passing game. My patience hasn’t worn thin. I’m not a very patient guy to begin with. When I see things that are up to our standard, we celebrate those, and that’s what I’m all about. But when it’s not up to our standard, my tolerance is not very high.”

Adding to the offensive woes was Allen being sacked seven times. The Bills lead the entire NFL with 21 sacks given up as a team. If those numbers continue, their young quarterback will take a beating every week. Something McDermott doesn’t want, of course, but recognizes.

“I think one of the goals out of this year, No. 1 is to win games, but is also to develop these players, and Josh being a big part of that,” the head coach said. “We get to the end of the season, we can say that he is exponentially better because of the reps that he has gotten, and the only way to get reps is when you’re healthy, so we have to start every game plan with that in mind. How do we protect the quarterback first and foremost, and then where we go after that falls in line, because this is a quarterback driven league as you’ve heard me say before, so in order for the young man to play, he needs to be healthy, and in order for him to be healthy you can’t stand back there and take hits. Some of that falls on him as well, so it’s timing in the offense and continuity in the offense and so on and so forth. We go back to work today, and we were back to work last night so that we can try to get this thing back in the right direction here.”

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