Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott sat for his annual year-end press conference with the local media on Tuesday, providing a sprawling conversation about the team’s most recent loss, the 2023 regular season, and the upcoming offseason.
Given the length of McDermott’s press conference, a few of the key points will be highlighted below, with the full video also available to digest.
Sean McDermott spoke about making the playoffs six out of the now seven years in his tenure, including four straight straight AFC East division titles. He noted the best course of action for the team being the need to start the process over again as it relates to offseason work toward the goal of a Super Bowl appearance in 2024.
“This is not a situation where you strip it down to the studs and you start all over,” McDermott said. “I mean, we’ve done a lot of good things and the players have done a lot of good things. I think you really start with understanding the success that we’ve had and how we’ve gotten it. And then you make tweaks along the way to try and get ourselves to become world champions. “And that’s why we came here, we came here to win and win is what we’ve done, quite honestly. We have not reached that ultimate goal, however, in terms of why we came here, and we will work tirelessly to do that.”
“Every year you start over and every year that fire, I can tell you and promise you, that fire burns within me as bright as it did the year before, if not more. We’re disappointed, yes, but not broken.”
McDermott also discussed the team’s free-agent situation, and those players who are set to enter the portal.
“Every year you’ve got to start over, every year you have to evaluate your roster,” McDermott said. “We’re in the process of just starting that this morning. Every year is a challenge, right, to figure out how to put it back together again to get yourself in a position to win. That’s why there’s no guarantees when you start a season that it’s going to be, well you just pick up where you left off. It’s not how this league works.”
Plus, McDermott was asked about the defensive line once again coming up short in the biggest games. He noted the injury situation last season playing a role against the Cincinnati Bengals. McDermott wouldn’t commit to the idea of adding a defensive coordinator at this point.
He spoke to the work that interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady did in stepping in at the midpoint of the season. He did note that it will come down to his decision on who’s named the team’s next OC, but that quarterback Josh Allen will play a role in it as well.
“It’s big,” McDermott said. “You got to have the buy-in from your franchise quarterback or any quarterback for that matter. And certainly, at the end of the day, it’ll be my decision. But, I respect Josh’s opinion, I respect his position on it and it does factor into the overall equation.”
McDermott believes special teams was a mixed bag of sorts, and appreciated that special teams coordinator Matt Smiley adapted to the personnel available to him on a week-to-week basis — that injuries were a factor.
McDermott remains extremely proud of what the team’s accomplished under his watch to this point, yet in no way content to continue coming up short of their goals. He stated that “we’re disappointed, but not broken.”
Without revealing much, McDermott pointed to the team doing things far better the second half of the season, stating: “What went wrong earlier in the year was executed better, I’ll say, in the back half of the season.”
Always the defensive mind, McDermott pointed out turnovers and closing out games as a key to overcoming their early season struggles.
McDermott also discussed takeaways from the Divisional Round playoff loss to the Chiefs, and aspiring to advance past the AFC Divisional Round. Regarding his and the team’s mindset during the season and pertaining to the playoffs, McDermott stated a desire to: “Prepare your tail off, mentally go for it, and coach to win, play to win.”
Additionally, McDermott also spoke about edge rusher Von Miller coming back next season, the road to recovery for cornerback Tre’Davious White, and what linebackers coach Bobby Babich means to him — this following news that the New York Giants have requested permission to interview him for their open defensive coordinator position.
There’s of course plenty more to hear from Sean McDermott, which you can do in watching his full season-ending press conference below.