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Coaches need to be “realistic” about expectations for rookies in 2020, says McDermott

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2020 is no ordinary offseason

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

During his zoom conference call with the Buffalo media, head coach Sean McDermott acknowledged that this COVID-19-affected offseason is changing expectations for incoming free agents and rookies who aren’t getting the benefit of a normal offseason orientation.

“I would say those are the guys, that group, that class, as well as the veteran free agents, but in particular the rookies that are new to our football team, it’s a big time uphill climb for them, because not only do they not know us, but they don’t know our systems, our schemes,” said McDermott when asked what the process had been like for his staff working with rookies. “Then on top of that, you talk about transitioning to life in the NFL. That’s a whole other program that we’ve tried to be on point with in Buffalo here with our development team, and the amount of time that they spend in helping these young men transition to life in the NFL. So it’s been a challenge, and I think just awareness to that has been the first step.”

McDermott went on to talk about having realistic expectations.

“We have to also then be realistic with potentially what could be their contribution level. We’ll see, early on in particular. So look, there could be a chance that if we don’t come back until training camp, we’ll see where that goes, but if we don’t, that there’s only basically six weeks, and we’re playing a real game that counts. What realistically and forget rookies, now I’m talking the whole team, what realistically as coaches, can we expect our players to do, and get good at during that time? There’s ongoing conversations and we’ve got to be at our at our best as a coaching staff and as an organization as we move forward.”

It is obviously a good thing that the Buffalo Bills are thinking about and accepting the fact that the team will not be as good at everything they want to be because of the changes made to how they are experiencing the offseason. It will be interesting to see what that looks like on the field come Week 1 and how vanilla things look compared to what we’ve seen at the beginning of previous seasons.