Bills’ McDermott on backup QB spot: ‘I’m very confident in Matt(Barkley)’

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the physicality of the NFL, teams in the league must have as much depth as possible.

In reality, at any point, and at any time, players could contract the virus. 

So, when you look at the Buffalo Bills, they have their quarterback in Josh Allen, who led the team to 10 wins and a berth in the playoffs last season. At this point, if something were to happen to Allen, Buffalo’s backup QB would be Matt Barkley. 

In two appearances last season, the eight-year veteran threw for 359 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions, so some believe Buffalo needs to upgrade the backup quarterback position. However, Bills head coach Sean McDermott has a lot of confidence in Barkley.

“Very confident. I’m very confident in Matt for a lot of reasons,” McDermott said last week. “All that being said, you know competition is good to have. A competition at that position and competition across our roster. And I think Brandon and his staff have done a good job of providing that. So we’ll just see how it plays out. Right. Obviously, you look at Josh and the growth that Josh and the time that he’s put in. The growth that he’s shown to this point and what we expect to get from him moving forward, and then you’ve got to have depth in this league; you guys know that depth is important. At every position. In this case, the quarterback position in particular.

“So, you know, I think the reality of this year in particular is what happens if said player comes down with the virus and so even more important that that you have depth and quality depth. In this case, as you mentioned at the quarterback position and any position for that matter, so it’s something that we take seriously, making sure that our depth is what we need it to be.”

Behind Allen and Barkley, is rookie Jake Fromm and third-year quarterback Davis Webb III. The 29-year-old Barkley is not a bad backup, and in 2018, he started one game for the Bills, which he performed well and led Buffalo to victory over the Jets. Could the Bills find a better backup? Probably, but Allen did play all 16 games last season, so maybe it won’t even be an issue.

If they decide to upgrade the backup QB position, Colin Kaepernick is out there, but he has not played in three seasons, so who knows what the 32-year-old Kaepernick would be, but if the Bills lose confidence in Barkley, Kaepernick might be worth a look. 

McDermott on Allen: ‘Let’s recognize the work this young man has put in, and the growth that he has shown’

In the third quarter of the Bills’ 22-19 loss in OT to the Texans on Saturday, Buffalo was up 16-0, and at that point, many expected that the Bills would be moving onto the Divisional Round. However, mistakes happened, and Deshaun Watson started to make plays, including spinning away from a sack in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal.

Now, the Bills go into the offseason knowing they had a very good shot at winning a playoff game. Fortunately, for the Bills, their quarterback Josh Allen is still young and getting better. Therefore, they seemed to be set at the quarterback position, but Allen, who threw for 264 yards and rushed 92 yards and caught a touchdown pass against Houston, still has some work to do in the offseason.

“He’s made a tremendous amount of progress,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said about Allen on Tuesday. “Let’s start there. Let’s recognize the work this young man has put in and the growth that he has shown. Is there still work to do? Yes, and he’d be the first to tell you that is, in fact, the case. The game did not end the way we wanted it to end, and the reason is because we didn’t play well enough in the second half in particular. We scored field goals; we needed touchdowns.

“You look back and say hey, we were up 13 I believe it was after the half there, we have a takeaway and we had the chance to go up 20 to nothing at that point. Maybe the game changes at that point, or maybe it doesn’t. There are so many things that he can do better, and there are certainly things that I can do better and our entire football team. I think if you take the right approach, that’s being accountable and taking ownership and I know Josh did that, that’s really where it starts. With that, he’ll put the work in, and you know he will be better next season. I think you’ll see another step this offseason into next season.”

At times on Saturday, Allen tried to do too much. Whether it’s taking a bad sack late in the fourth quarter or trying to lateral the football in the open field, the second-year quarterback was just doing too much, something McDermott acknowledged on Tuesday.

“I think it all comes back to, for Josh, just trying to do too much,” McDermott said. “That’s been something we’ve talked about, and that’s something he has to continue to handle as he moves forward and continues to grow in his career, and I’m confident that he will do that. I think that’s the next step for Josh, is that awareness, maturity; however, you want to phrase it.

“It’s the understanding that I don’t have to do it all myself. I’m a tremendous generator and playmaker, but I have pieces around me. As we continue in all honesty, to build the roster, that’s what we have to do. We have to continue to give him pieces that he trusts in addition to the ones he already has.”

Allen got his first taste of playoff action, which should help him moving forward. While he contributed to the lost, Allen had his moments against the Texans, and in 2019, Allen set career-highs in passing yards, touchdown passes, completion percentage, and passer rating, so to McDermott’s point, Allen has made progress in 2019.

Bills’ McDermott on Josh Allen: ‘Got a lot of confidence in that young man’

Coming into their game against the Miami Dolphins, many were questioning second-year quarterback Josh Allen. However, on Sunday, Allen answered some of those questions. Allen completed 21 of 33 passes for 256 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdowns passes, and he ran for 56 yards and another score, as the Bills defeated the Dolphins 37-20.

“I think he showed his personality, honestly,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said on Monday. “He’s a highly competitive young man. Got a lot of confidence in that young man. He competes at a high level, whether he’s having a one of his best days or he’s not.

“And, yesterday I thought was one of his better days and he’s only going to get better. Much like Tremaine [Edmunds], just in the middle part of his second year with a lot of reps under his belt but also, still young and still learning the game. I just thought overall, great team effort and all the guys I thought really just they showed their true personality yesterday.”

The 37 points the Bills scored against the Dolphins was a season-high for the team, and while Allen has had some issues in 2019, especially with the deep ball, Bills OC Brian Daboll sees a player that competes week in and week out.

“I think Josh is a good football player,” Daboll said. “He’s a good leader. He’s a good leader for our offense. He’s a good leader for our team, puts in a ton of work, has respect of his teammates, and goes out there every week and competes his tail off.”

This was a game the Bills were supposed to win, and they have done that all season long. At 7-3, Buffalo is off to its best start after ten games since 1999, so whether it’s against a good team or bad team, a win is a win, which is good news for the Buffalo Bills. Next up? The 3-7 Denver Broncos, who the Bills should beat. 

Bills’ McDermott discusses the signing of Captain Munnerlyn

On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills announced that they signed CB Captain Munnerlyn. The 10-year veteran spent last season with the Carolina Panthers, and in 16 games, Munnerlyn had one interception, and nine passes defended.

McDermott and Munnerlyn have a little history as they were together in Carolina when McDermott was the DC for the Panthers.

One of the reasons the Bills signed Munnerlyn, was due to the groin injury suffered by E.J. Gaines, who the team put on injured reserve today.

Here is what McDermott had to say about the signing of Munnerlyn:

Q: What does Captain Munnerlyn bring to the defensive end?

Sean McDermott: It’s been a few years now since the last time we worked together but what I remember is the competitiveness, the toughness, he’s obviously played in the system before so he has some familiarity with our system both inside the slot and out at corner. We will see how he does and how he progresses here, he’s been out of it for a little bit so he has to be put back in shape.

Q: Do you think he is going to be your nickelback in the outside corner?

Sean McDermott: We’ll see, that’s where he played probably more so in the course of the past four of five years. Again, we just want to get him acclimated to what we do and his new surroundings, new teammates and we will take it one day at a time.

Q: What do you see when you see film of Captain and how similar is your defense here as to what he has been accustomed to in Carolina?

Sean McDermott: With defense, I like to believe it evolves every year and stays current with the trends and what not. That said, there’s a core that is probably about the same as to what he knew back when we worked together in Carolina. Like I said before, in respect to Captain, the things that jump out even when we watched him play on TV last year maybe was the competitiveness and all that hasn’t changed. I think that’s in his DNA.

Q: Captain posted a picture of you two together saying “let’s get it coach.” Are you excited about your relationship going back to how it was in Carolina?

Sean McDermott: Hopefully that was a good picture. We’ve stayed in touch and in this job players come and go, coaches come and go and that’s the hard part of the job. The satisfying parts of the job are moments like that where you can stay in touch with players. It’s gratifying as a coach. In this case where I moved on to here from some of the players that I coached at Carolina and Philadelphia, my two previous stops and that’s the neat part about it, the relationships that you are able to form over the year. It’s neat that now we are with Kurt [Coleman] and some of the other players. It doesn’t always happen for it to come back full circle to where we can work together again but it’s satisfying.