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What is Derek Anderson’s role with the Buffalo Bills?

Transcripts from Josh Allen, Sean McDermott, and Anderson himself.

There were some interesting tidbits from Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott, rookie quarterback Josh Allen, and newly-signed mentor Derek Anderson on Wednesday. We learned Nathan Peterman would be the number 2, why the Bills brought in the vet, and what Anderson himself thinks he can bring to the table.

We also got some news from Mike Rodak of ESPN, who reports Anderson signed a 1-year contract with a $1.015 million salary for the season and a $58,530 signing bonus. Because qualifies for the veteran minimum salary benefit, his cap hit is just $503,236 after his salary is pro-rated for 12 weeks instead of 17.

Below are the transcripts from the media sessions on Wednesday:

Head coach Sean McDermott

Q: One day into the Derek Anderson time here. Obviously, he’s been with Josh [Allen] for the good part of yesterday. I know it’s early, but is there going to be some good synergy there in your opinion?

A: Yeah, I would hope. That’s part of why we did what we did. I’ve been around Derek in Carolina. Obviously, I was on the other side of the ball naturally, but I really liked his personality and the way he helped the football team, both when he played and then, primarily, his role down there was serving as a backup. He helped Cam [Newton] on and off the field a little bit there and [he’s] just a smart football player that’s seen a lot of NFL football over the years. [He] brings quite a bit to the table as far as that goes.

Q: Sean, is he someone who is here to serve in that mentor role and aside from [helping] Josh, would not be your quarterback? Is that kind of the relationship?

A: Yeah, that’s right. Let’s not forget Derek last was on a team last January and for the most part was out of football since that time. He’s got work to do, just like we have work to do. But yes, his primary role at this point is to add his wisdom in on and off hours when coaches aren’t always around and share his perspective on things with some young quarterbacks in that room in Nate [Peterman] and Josh.

Q: Back to [your point about] Carolina with Derek and Cam Newton, I know you were on the other side of the ball and those things, but can you share some observations of how he was handling this mentoring role that, I assume, gave you confidence to potentially add him [to the roster]?

A: Yeah, that’s a good question and a fair question. Derek, when you get to know him, you guys will get to know him, he’s very even keeled in terms of playing in and playing out situations, game in and game out, week-to-week. Like I said, he’s a veteran player that’s been around both the good moments and the low moments. He’s just a steady hand that, as I said before, has a tremendous amount of wisdom baked into him from over the years in different roles. Now, there were times that he was our scout team quarterback [where] he drove me crazy because I was trying to get him to throw the ball to a certain guy and he would be reading the whole progression out, so we had some moments and we laugh about those moments. He’s good to have with us, and we’re happy to have him and his family.

Q: I don’t know if he was essentially retired, but what did it take for Brandon to bring him here and to coax him to continue his career?

A: Well, I mentioned, I think I was asked on Monday, Monday morning or afternoon, about the timing of it. Sometimes, you want to do things and you can’t do them because of the situation, roster wise. It was the right move we feel like and we were finally able to get it done with where we were roster wise, health of our overall roster and whatnot. That’s why and when we decided to do it here.

Q: What else besides Josh Allen being 22, 13 years younger than the guy, about Josh that leads you to believe that a mentor is good for him? Other than, again, the years and the obvious things, but his makeup, his personality [to benefit from this]. How do you see him working from that end? From Josh’s end to working with a mentor.

A: Well, Josh is a constant learner. He loves the growth mindset and embraces that. He has a whole heck of a lot of respect for people who have been around the game. I know with my own career, and I’m sure in your careers, if you’re able to sit down next to someone that has been there and done that before, there’s a lot of value in that, in particular when they’ve had success like Derek has.

Q: Sean, understanding the numbers looking at the roster each week, what’s the thought of keeping Nathan around now that you have three quarterbacks on the roster?

A: Yeah, [I’m] very comfortable keeping three quarterbacks; very comfortable. That’s an important position, as we all know and again, the key is that they’re both young and we were able to bring in a quarterback with a lot of wisdom that can help in their development.

Q: So does that have anything to do with, though, Derek Anderson still kind of feeling his way, even though he has some history with Brian Daboll, but the offense has changed in, whatever, ten years since [they’ve worked together]. Is it a matter of wanting to see Anderson more up to speed before you would make a decision on whether to go with two [quarterbacks] or are you locked into three quarterbacks?

A: [Laughs] Crystal ball question, right? I’m locked into today [with] three quarterbacks for the rest of the day today.


Again, going back to [a previous] question [in regards to] Nate, this doesn’t change Nate’s, if that’s where you’re going with this, Nate’s status on our football team.

Q: So is he the number two quarterback?

A: Correct, yes.

Quarterback Derek Anderson

Q: Derek, he said your role, [Sean] McDermott did, was primarily as a mentor, that’s how this is designed. What can you bring to a guy like Josh Allen or even Nate [Peterman] will all your years of experience?

A: I’ve seen a lot of football, I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in my career and just be a guy that he can lean on. [He can] ask me any question. I said, “Bud, I’m here for you, if you need me to watch a guy or find something special or something you’re unsure of” and things like that. Obviously, in the last seven years I was with Cam [Newton]; I watched him grow. I got real happy when I watched something during the week and point something out and he would execute it. It’s fun for me.

Q: Having been there and done that yourself, how much perspective [do you bring] coming from a different playing having done that on the field and in the game as opposed to a coach?

A: It’s definitely a bonus, It’s definitely a bonus. I was fortunate enough to learn from older guys as well. My first couple of years in Cleveland, I had Trent Dilfer, and he was awesome to me. After he left us, I’d call him during the week [saying] “hey bud I’ve been seeing this and blah blah” and he was in San Francisco but we stayed friends over the course of it. It’s always good to have a guy that’s been there and done it as a sounding board.

Q: Derek can you speak to, and you went through this with Cam, but the delicate balance between wanting to win games with a rookie quarterback and developing the rookie quarterback. What’s the balance like?

A: I think as much as he can handle and as we progress as a team and an offense, just keep adding things. You don’t want to overload him so he can’t go out there and play fast. You’ve got to be able to go out there and execute. Know what you know is different than writing it or seeing it, being able to execute it and know it as good as you do, and that’s up to us and helping Josh and Nathan out and how we all progress together.

Q: Derek, how for you individually did you get to a point where you flipped the switch from a guy that’s always competing, and you didn’t last 14 years in this league by not doing that, but maybe after Arizona did you come to a point where you thought [you] could be more valuable in this kind of teaching [and] mentoring role?

A: Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a competitor. I’m going to push them once my old body starts feeling right. I’m going to go out and practice like I always have. There definitely was a point after Arizona where I had a point with Rob Chudzinski and he helped me to go to Carolina and I said, “hey bud, I know I have gone through a lot of the things I have, but there is something I can give back to him. Give me a chance to come in there with Cam.” I didn’t know Cam, I didn’t know anyone there and I was lucky to have that opportunity. It was a blast. Seeing Cam his rookie year, at times we didn’t know what we were doing. Then to eventually get to the Super Bowl and to where he’s at now and he wins the league MVP, it’s something that I’m very proud to be a part of. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one to help him along the way, but helping the coaches, they bounced things off of me. It [was] a good working relationship.

Q: What do you know about Josh personally and professionally and what have you learned about him?

A: We’re getting there. I told him last night, or this morning when we were eating breakfast, “Bud, I didn’t even realize until last night I read an article about him and his story on ESPN or something maybe before the draft or something and that’s you!” So I had a little bit of background on him. [He’s a] great kid, great kid. Obviously, we’ve had three days together, but we have a good room and the back and forth in there is good.

Quarterback Josh Allen

Q: How was day one with the Derek Anderson experience?

A: It was awesome. Seeing him get here early, lifting earlier than us and just getting to talk with him out in practice [and] after practice, just the things that he’s kind of been through, the things that he sees. He’s got a lot of experience in this league; he’s a guy that is going to help me and Nate [Peterman] out, and I’m lucky to have him.

Q: I was just going to say, how beneficial is that for your development to have a guy who’s been there and has been in this league for so long to come in a mentor you a little bit?

A: I definitely think it’s very beneficial, just the experience that he brings to our room, he’s been in the league for, I think it’s his 14th season now. He’s seen a lot, he’s been through a lot. Any tidbits that he has, I’m going to take them and I’m going to run with them and try to apply them to my game.

Q: Josh, what are the specific differences from, say, David Culley or Brian Daboll versus a guy at your position who has those coach-like years of experience?

A: Yeah, I mean, he’s seen it. He knows how it feels in the pocket. He knows what it feels like to let the ball go early; that’s what we were doing after practice right now, just trying to get the ball out earlier and trusting the receivers. He’s a big, strong arm guy, kind of like myself, that maybe struggled a little bit at the beginning of his career with the touch. From that aspect, I think he’s the perfect guy to help me out and, like I said, I’m extremely lucky to have him.

Q: To follow up on that a little bit, is there one thing, maybe, already on the first day that you’ve already taken from?

A: Yeah, for sure. I’m going to keep those cards under the table right now. Just trying to apply that to my game and allow me to go out there and play freely and complete the ball and help this offense move.

Q: Josh, what moments and experiences have you had in these first five games of your career where you feel like having a veteran, if they were there in that point in time, would’ve been beneficial for you?

A: That’s hard to tell. It’s going to help moving forward, just the things he sees on the sideline and the things he sees on tape and in the film room, it’s going to help. Sitting down and watching film with him, just the process that he’s had his entire career and just trying to establish that into my routine [by] listening to what he has to say and what he looks for. It’s definitely very beneficial for Nate and myself, but I can’t tell you if it would’ve helped us or hurt us previously.

Q: How much was AJ [McCarron] like that during training camp?

A: Yeah, I mean, obviously we weren’t watching tape on very many people other than ourselves in camp, but AJ was awesome. He’s a guy that I still keep in touch with and one of the good dudes. He was very cool in that aspect as well.

Q: Do you appreciate that it does take a certain guy and maybe a certain stage of his career, like Derek is, to willingly be in a situation like this versus knowing every day, pass to pass, he wants to the job that you’ve got? Do you appreciate a guy coming in with that understanding that he’s here to be something other than your competitor?

A: Absolutely. It definitely doesn’t add a whole lot of pressure, but knowing that somebody just wants the actual best for you, that’s a really good feeling. To have, obviously, coaches in this building, our executives and higher ups, understand that for me, so they wanted to get somebody that can help Nate and myself out. He’s going to be awesome for us, he is.