Bills’ Sean McDermott: ‘I don’t regret’ starting Nathan Peterman in five-INT game

Despite pulling Nathan Peterman after a five-interception first half in Sunday's 54-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Sean McDermott isn't ready to name the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback this week.McDermott said Monday he was still evaluating the position after cutting the fifth-round rookie's debut short and subbing in Tyrod Taylor, who had been the team's starter for two and a half years before a surprise benching was announced last week.“We are still evaluating the QB position and we’ll take it one day at a time right now," McDermott said. "I do think heavily about our team in every decision that’s made.” More: 10 sad stats from Nathan Peterman's debut More: 40 things we learned in Week 11 of the 2017 NFL season More: NFL Week 11 overreactions: Are Rams falling back to earth? Peterman's five interceptions came on just 14 passes and were tied for the most of any quarterback in a debut since 1991."I own the decision. I don't regret the decision, I regret the result. ... It's never one player. I'm confident in Nathan and his mental toughness."Taylor, who last week said he was "shocked" by the decision, completed 15 of 25 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown in relief while adding 38 yards and a score on the ground. The Bills (5-5) are tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the last wild-card spot in the AFC, but are in the middle of a three-game losing streak in which they have also given up 135 points."Sometimes there's a lag effect as you build," McDermott said. "That can be painful." Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz. PHOTOS: Best of NFL Week 11  Continue Reading

Bills report card: Sean McDermott set Nathan Peterman up for colossal failure

If I hear of anyone talking about how the Bills are still in the playoff hunt in the AFC, I may have to hunt you down and hurt you. Just kidding, I wouldn’t do that. However, even though the AFC is terrible, and the Bills’ record indicates they are still right there, is it possible for fans to even consider the possibility that this team can get to the postseason playing the way it has played for three weeks? The defense has allowed 135 points, more than any team in Bills history over a three-game stretch. The playoffs seem inconceivable right now.Overall grade: F If you can't see the report card, tap here.COMPLETE GAME COVERAGE: Maiorana: Unless Buffalo Bills are giving up, Tyrod Taylor should be the starter Report card: Sean McDermott set Nathan Peterman up for colossal failure Game story: If you thought last week was bad, debacle against Chargers was even worse More: Nathan Peterman threw 5 INTs in his first half as the Bills' starting QB Recap: Los Angeles Chargers 54, Buffalo Bills 24 Continue Reading

Bills coach Sean McDermott makes the bold move, will start Peterman vs. Chargers

ORCHARD PARK – Sorry folks, but I sure didn’t see that one coming from Sean McDermott Wednesday morning.The Bills head coach announced that Tyrod Taylor is heading to the bench and will be replaced by rookie Nathan Peterman as the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Chargers in Los Angeles, a move that certainly comes at a curious and critical time.“As I continually evaluate our roster and our goal to become better, I’ve decided to start Nate Peterman as our quarterback this week,” McDermott said as the mouths of a room full of reporters at One Bills Drive drooped ever so slightly in surprise.Give this to McDermott: This is his team, he’s calling the shots, and no matter how big or small the issue, he owns it.  Buffalo Bills quarterback carousel: From Todd Collins to Nate Peterman This wasn’t owner Terry Pegula calling him up and demanding a change the way Ralph Wilson told Wade Phillips to bench Doug Flutie in favor of Rob Johnson the week of what became the Music City Miracle, which happened to be the Bills’ last playoff game. This wasn’t a democratic process where McDermott met with his underlings and weighed the pros and cons of such a seismic decision. This was all the head coach.“First and foremost, it was a decision made by myself,” McDermott said. “The coaches were not involved with this decision, it was a decision that I made. I spoke with Brandon (Beane, the GM) like I do about every decision, but really, it’s about becoming a better team and the quarterback position is not different. I understand the headline part about it. I do.”McDermott made this bold choice even though the Bills are currently 5-4 and sitting in the sixth and final spot in the AFC playoff picture, though it certainly seems like a tenuous position given how they have played in their last two games, one-sided losses to the Jets and Saints. More: For $20 you can Continue Reading

Week 8 NFL Power Rankings: Sean McDermott guides the surprising Bills into the Top 10

The Bourbon Street edition of the power rankings features a surging surprise in the NFC South, a Buffalo rising and a team with a horrible quarterback that keeps on winning. Week 8 Power Rankings: 1. Eagles (7-1); Last week: 1 Here's how you know you're good: You can sleepwalk through a game and still win by more than three touchdowns. Playing without left tackle Jason Peters and linebacker Jordan Hicks - arguably two of Philly's top 3 indispensable players -- didn't matter against the lowly 49ers. The Broncos pass rush will provide a much bigger challenge for Carson Wentz's offensive line this week. 2. Steelers (6-2); Last Week: 2 Hop on the JuJu Train. Big Ben has a new toy. The best part of Pittsburgh's three-game winning streak? The creative touchdown celebrations. 3. Patriots (6-2); Last Week 3 Remember when we mocked Bill Belichick's defense? I don't either. The Hoodie has course corrected on that side of the ball to help his squad win four in a row entering their bye. 4. Chiefs (6-2); Last Week 4 Andy Reid's club snapped a two-game funk by forcing a boat load of turnovers and kicking a boat load of field goals. A showdown in Dallas awaits. 5. Cowboys (4-3); Last Week: 6 The good news: Zeke Elliott looks like his unstoppable self again. The (very) bad news: It looks like the Cowboys’ best player will be suspended for the next six games after all. Can Jerrah’s boys survive without the dynamic playmaker? 6. Seahawks (5-2); Last Week: 7 Pete Carroll's team has won four in a row to move into a first-place tie with the Rams in the NFC West. Russell Wilson is on pace to attempt 10,000 passes. Or something like that. Seattle's invisible run game might come back to bite them on the derriere. 7. Saints (5-2); Last Week: 8 Wasn't Sean Payton's defense supposed to be some sort of joke? Talk about an about-face. New Orleans is on a five-game high with Continue Reading

Buffalo Bills agree to hire Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott as head coach

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills are putting their faith in Sean McDermott to fix their under-performing defense and restore relevance to a franchise that hasn’t reached the playoffs since the Music City Miracle loss in January 2000. The Bills announced on Wednesday they agreed to hire the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator to be their next head coach. The deal was reached shortly after McDermott conducted his second interview with the team in eight days. The 42-year-old has no previous head-coaching experience and spent the past six seasons overseeing the Panthers defense. McDermott replaces Rex Ryan, who was fired two weeks ago for failing to deliver on his bold promises to build the Bills into a bully. McDermott becomes the team’s ninth head coach since the 1999 season, when Buffalo last made the playoffs under Wade Phillips. The Bills season ended with 22-16 loss in an AFC wild card playoff game at Tennessee, where Frank Wycheck’s lateral to Kevin Dyson set up a 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the final seconds. The Bills have managed just two winning records since — 9-7 in both 2004 and 2014 — and extended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 years following a 7-9 finish this season . McDermott has 18 seasons of NFL experience, spending his first 12 years with the Philadelphia Eagles. He started as a scouting coordinator for two years, then mentored under late defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. He eventually succeeded Johnson in 2009. In college, McDermott played safety at William and Mary, where he spent two years playing with current Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. He takes over a team in Buffalo that featured the NFL’s top running attack but an underperforming defense in two seasons under Ryan. The defense finished 19th in yards allowed two years straight, and was particularly porous against the run. Buffalo allowed 200-plus yards Continue Reading

Bills preview: Sean McDermott’s arrival gives Buffalo needed reboot

Training camps are still in the distance, but USA TODAY Sports is providing five things you need to know about every team in the NFL to catch you up on the offseason. Today, the Buffalo Bills ... 1. Buffalo is starting from scratch againHead coach Rex Ryan and general manager Doug Whaley were fired, as was the entire scouting and personnel staff. Sean McDermott is the new coach; his former colleague with the Carolina Panthers, Brandon Beane, is the new GM, and together they will chart the course for a Bills team that has failed to make the playoffs for 17 years in a row. That’s the longest drought for any team in the four major North American sports. The first step, now that Beane has been hired, is to build the scouting staff so they can begin to prepare for the upcoming college football season. 2. Despite doubts, Taylor is back and entrenched as the starterNo one should think otherwise. Whaley was ready to move on from Tyrod Taylor after 2016, but when McDermott was hired and began to get to know Taylor, he wanted to retain him, provided Taylor and the team could work out a more favorable, team-friendly contract. That happened, and Taylor is back for at least 2017, though the Bills hedged their bets by signing veteran free agent T.J. Yates and drafting Nathan Peterman in the fifth round. They will join Cardale Jones in a competition to be the backup. 3. The passing attack is still a work in progressThe Bills have been the best running team in the NFL in each of the past two seasons, but they also have been one of the least-efficient passing teams. Beane says he recognizes the Bills have to be better at throwing the ball. The hope is that Taylor can improve his accuracy in what will be his third year as a starter, but he needs help, and that has to come from three sources. Top wide receiver Sammy Watkins has to stay healthy; second-round draft pick Zay Jones must come in and not only replace departed Robert Woods as the No.2 wideout but also be Continue Reading

Bills’ new GM hire reflects Sean McDermott’s substantial clout

It was Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula’s call to hire Brandon Beane as general manager on Tuesday. But the decision reinforces what’s been obvious since January: New Bills coach Sean McDermott has a lot of juice.Beane was McDermott’s guy, and that made him the favorite from the start. The two worked together for six years with the Carolina Panthers, where McDermott was defensive coordinator and Beane rose from the communications department to football operations to assistant GM since 1998, adding scouting duties to his résumé the past six years.Beane doesn’t have the track record as an evaluator possessed by the other three executives the Bills interviewed – the Houston Texans’ Brian Gaine, the Green Bay Packers’ Brian Gutekunst and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Trey Brown – plus at least one other candidate the team contacted since firing GM Doug Whaley and his entire scouting staff April 30. MORE COVERAGE:But the Pegulas talk a lot about collaboration. By pairing Beane with McDermott, they get a duo with a preexisting relationship and, presumably, founded confidence it can work together.Beane’s contract is believed to be for five years, same as McDermott’s. Both coach and GM will report directly to ownership. The rest of the structure lies in contractual details that weren’t immediately available Tuesday, but it’s safe to say McDermott has plenty of clout regardless.Now comes the next challenge: filling all the pro and college scouting jobs vacated by the mass firing the day after the draft. Given Beane’s background, finding the right scouts to fill out his staff takes on added importance. Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero. PHOTOS: Rookie minicamps Continue Reading

Butler basketball looks for Sean McDermott to fill void

INDIANAPOLIS – Every time coach LaVall Jordan walked into the gym, Sean McDermott was there.When Jordan was at Hinkle Fieldhouse interviewing for the Butler basketball job, so was McDermott, putting up shots. McDermott was kicked out of the gym because rules prevented the coach from watching him.After Jordan was hired, the first two times he was in the gym, same thing. McDermott was there.“He works like crazy. He’s in the gym all the time,” Jordan said.This is a season in which McDermott’s labors should pay off. Patience and perseverance don’t begin to describe what he has endured.Before his junior season at Pendleton Heights, he developed a staph infection that could have threatened his life. He returned for that season but had not completely recovered. He redshirted during his first year at Butler, and a wrist injury would have prevented him from playing anyway.He logged major minutes off the bench last season until mid-January. Meanwhile, his mother, Kim, was fighting a rare cancer affecting her thymus, an organ of the immune system. Surgery removed 90 percent of her thymus gland.McDermott was recently idled for two weeks because of a severe ankle sprain that left him wearing a protective boot. He said he was “full go” when practice opened this week ahead of the Nov. 10 opener against Kennesaw State.To honor his mother, he has a new tattoo on his left arm with the words “Kim Strong” and a tiger. He has a new role for the Bulldogs, emerging as a starter during August’s 4-0 trip to Spain. He averaged 9.5 points in those games.“I thought he deserved to have some success, and he had some success on the trip,” Jordan said. “It’s really encouraging, the steps he’s made. He’s got an opportunity to contribute. He was preparing himself for it, even before I arrived.”With four seniors gone, McDermott intensified preparation.The 6-6 sophomore has added Continue Reading

Sean McDermott was right, Buffalo Bills haven’t earned anything yet

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Richie Incognito’s words hit harder than perhaps any block he threw on what was a long, frustrating night in the Jersey swamp. “It wasn’t anything different they did, nothing that surprised us,’’ said the Buffalo Bills veteran guard who grew up just seven miles from MetLife Stadium in Bogota, New Jersey. “They just outplayed us, outcoached us. Hats off to the Jets. They whipped our butts. It wasn’t our night.’’ Yup, coach Sean McDermott was right. They don’t hand out trophies when a team is 5-2. In fact, after Thursday night’s embarrassing 34-21 loss to the New York Jets took a pin to the Bills’ bubble, the only thing being handed out was humble pie. Large slices of it. The Bills did sense the moment, right? A big, bright stage. The media capital of the world. A national television audience on NFL Network.An opportunity to hit the NFL’s halfway mark with six wins for the first time since 1993, their last Super Bowl team when they were 7-1. A chance to tie the idle New England Patriots atop the AFC East. A golden chance for quarterback Tyrod Taylor to step out from under those labels of “underrated’’ and “underappreciated.’’ A night for the team’s vaunted running offense and run-stuffing defense to toy with the Jets, just as Buffalo did in the season opener. If the Jets hadn’t had bad luck, they’d have no luck at all, losing their last three games by margins of 7, 3 and 5 points. They could keep the game close and make it interesting, but win it? Get outta here. Really, it’s not that the Bills (5-3) lost to the Jets (4-5) by a score made somewhat respectable by some garbage time heroics by Taylor, it’s how they lost that is most disappointing after the way they had conducted themselves in impressive home wins over Tampa Bay and Continue Reading

Upon Further Review: Sean McDermott, Bills setting the standard for rebuilding in NFL

Someone forgot to tell Sean McDermott and the Buffalo Bills that rebuilding projects are supposed to feature hard-to-watch defeats, apparent steps backward and more questions than answers.The first-year coach led his team to a 35-14 blowout victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, improving his record to 5-2 on the season and 4-0 at home. It’s the Bills’ best start since 2011 and their first 4-0 opening at home since 1995.Up in Western New York, the long-suffering fan base is holding its collective breath, unsure if this success is for real. Every week, McDermott’s postgame news conferences feature questions from local reporters asking why they should believe this team is different from years past, as the franchise holds the longest active postseason drought at 17 years.As he repeated on Sunday, McDermott won't compare his squad with its predecessors. He is concerned only with building this team and laying a foundation for success in years to come.And he appears to well on his way toward doing just that.The foremost priority has involved changing the culture. The former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator has convinced players to buy into his “One-11th” mantra, which means each member of a unit has to focus on doing his respective job while remembering that he is part of a group, and his contribution leads to the greater good. More: Seven NFL trades that would make sense before deadline More: 40 things we learned in Week 8 of the 2017 NFL season Working alongside another former Panthers figure in first-year general manager Brandon Beane, McDermott hasn’t been afraid to make unpopular decisions. He opted against re-signing cornerback Stephen Gilmore and linebacker Zach Brown. He traded wide receiver Sammy Watkins, defensive back Ronald Darby and, most recently, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.Leaning heavily on defensive coordinator Continue Reading