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Bills HC Sean McDermott chats X’s & O’s, Josh Allen with “The 33rd Team”

Get to know more about newly extended Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott in his sit-down with The 33rd Team

Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK

On Friday, the Buffalo Bills announced extensions for general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott through the 2027 season. On the same day, The 33rd Team released an exclusive interview with McDermott. If you don’t already know a lot about the Bills’ head coach, you might want to check out this transcript of said interview since it seems likely he’ll be staying awhile.

The 33rd Team: “What made you want to coach?”

Sean McDermott: “Well, I grew up in a football family. My dad was a high school and college football coach for a number of years and I grew up just around the game. Probably like a lot of coaches’ kids out there, I developed a passion for the game at an early age and getting out of college, it felt like this was something that I would want to pursue and dipped my toe in a little bit and the rest is history.”

The 33rd Team: “What would you have done if you weren’t coaching?”

McDermott: “A maybe little bit unusual career path I would have taken was I had a finance degree coming out of William & Mary and probably would have gone into the financial industry in some way, shape or form.”

The 33rd Team: “Who do you wish you could have coached against?”

McDermott: “Wow, that’s an interesting question. I mean, I think I’ve coached against a lot of great coaches now, umm, guys that come to mind in particular Andy Reid, who I grew up under, Bill Belichick. I mean just two coaches that have gone on to do great things. Pete Carroll, Sean Payton, Mike Tomlin. I mean those guys...John Harbaugh...have done phenomenal things in this league. But you always hear about the coaches that came before us that helped us get to where we’re at today and the way our game is today. I think of guys like Vince Lombardi, just, you know, over the years. Tony Dungy even, you know, just coaching against Tony, even though we did, it wasn’t, you know, at the head coach level for myself, Tony had already been a head coach at that point, so, know, a lot of respect for those two gentleman and them as coaches as well. We need to mention another one. I left out Coach Parcells, who again, I was on the sideline coaching against but not in this role that I’m currently in, so another coach that I just have a ton of respect for and he has his own coaching tree, right? I’ve heard nothing but great things about Coach and the way that he taught a lot of his disciples — if you will — and the people that were coaching under him and what they’ve gone on now to become is impressive.”

The 33rd Team: “What was it like coaching under Jim Johnson?”

McDermott: “Well, you know I was a young coach, just out of college, when I started working with Coach Johnson and I didn’t realize how good I had it, right? So I was learning big-picture wise, head-coach level and offensively from Coach Reid and then defensively I had Jim Johnson to learn from. It was like being at the Harvard of football, really, for me. I thought it was like that everywhere because I was young and naive at the time. Then when I got out and about around the league, I soon understood that it wasn’t like that everywhere - that I was in such a fortunate situation to learn from those two gentleman and Coach Johnson was always coming up with new ways to affect the game, new ways to affect the offense, new ways to affect the quarterback. You know at the time, Coach LeBeau, Coach Kiffin, Coach Johnson... when I was coming up through the ladder of the NFL... those were the defensive coordinators that were really shaping the game.”

The 33rd Team: “Why the Double-A Gap Blitz is effective”

McDermott: “Well, you know I think overall it just puts pressure, tremendous pressure, on the offensive line, you know their communication, their ability to be in sync with the quarterback, the receivers, everybody on the same page. You know, they say the shortest distance between two points is a straight line so it’s why I’d stand right in front of the quarterback, right there.”

The 33rd Team: “Advice for young coaches”

McDermott: “I’ll share on thing that I learned early on from Coach Reid, and that was always have a pen and notebook paper or some form of something to write on, right? Because he just wanted me and our coaching staff to be a sponge and I was always writing stuff down. Even if it didn’t apply to the job I was currently in, I was always writing whatever interesting things he said. I’d write them down because at one point, I may need that, right? Whether I’m gonna be hiring for that position or doing that job myself, I just think the more you can do that — taking that growth-mindset approach — I think the better off you’d be, the quicker you learn, the quicker you understand how the whole thing fits together. The other thing that, I would say, is just watching people work. You watch the habits of someone like Andy Reid, Jim Johnson. They work at it, right? So if you’re gonna be good at something, you gotta work at it. Not that that was anything new for me but, in this business, it’s so competitive that you gotta work at it. You gotta spend some time beyond what the head coach asks of you to really be good at something and I think that goes beyond also coaching — it goes to every profession out there.”

The 33rd Team: “What surprises you about Josh Allen?”

McDermott: “I just think that he’s...uhh...he’s gotten better every year in terms of his awareness of how the league tries to defend him. And you know as you come in as a young quarterback, it’s hard in this league to have success early. But it’s because the league is so competitive, right? It’s such a different game, maybe than the college game, in terms of what the defenses are doing against you. So I really think it’s been interesting to watch Josh, every year, be able to process quicker and quicker in terms of how defenses are trying to defend him.”

The 33rd Team: “How Josh Allen has improved his completion percentage”

McDermott: “I think the interesting thing with Josh is the work that he’s put in to improve...umm...I think that’s been key to his development as a quarterback and when it comes to the completion percentage — I mean there’s receivers on the other end, there’s tight ends, there’s backs. You know, I just think that he has put in the time to get himself to where he is and I think that’ll continue to serve him as he moves forward.”

The 33rd Team: “Rule you would change to improve competitive balance”

McDermott: “Boy, that’s a, that’s a...tricky question just because there’s so...I feel like the NFL does a good job of evolving every year, evolving the game...umm...and there’s lots of different areas that you want to evolve in. One of them is player safety, right? So I think that’s important as we continue to move forward and move the game forward. So nothing specifically that sticks out. I do think that the more that we can, kinda, focus on the boulders — if you will — versus the rocks and the pebbles, I think that’ll just help simplify the game and make it more manageable as well from the officiating standpoint. There’s a delicate balance, there’s a sweet spot that we try and find every offseason as we move forward into the coming season.”

The 33rd Team: “More pressure: Watching Bills in a playoff game or your daughter’s softball games?”

McDermott: (Laughing) “Well we all know as dads, as parents, we try and do the best we can to stay calm and let them know that we’re calm so that they can be calm and execute. So I’m hoping I’m doing a better job every year with that.”

You can watch the entire interview here.