Sean McDermott: Still deciding who will call defense for Buffalo Bills


Staff member

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott is not in a rush for the team to determine who will call the defense next season.

While the Bills promoted Bobby Babich to defensive coordinator earlier this offseason, McDermott said Monday in Indianapolis at the NFL scouting combine that the decision is still pending.

“We'll make that decision when we need to,” McDermott said. “Right now, we're just one step at a time.”

McDermott called the plays for the Bills' defense last season. Babich has not previously been a coordinator, but McDermott still feels he has a good grasp on what the 40-year-old coach can do.

“I've had a chance to be around Bobby for a number of years, and that interview has taken place over a number of years, not just one sit-down,” McDermott said. “So, Bobby's always been a highly energetic young coach, comes from a coaching family and coaching background, and just always impressed with Bobby's curiosity about the game – offensively, defensively as well, obviously.

“And then he's got a vision for what and how he sees the defense, not only now but also moving forward.”

Here are four other notes from McDermott’s news conference.

1. No major updates on defensive players. McDermott said “no,” safety Micah Hyde has not made a decision on playing next season yet. Hyde, 33, was mulling retirement at the end of the season. McDermott reiterated Monday all that Hyde has meant to the franchise.

“Just say the word Micah around Buffalo and people smile, right?” McDermott said. “He's had a huge impact on our organization, a huge impact on the community. He's a class act around not only Buffalo, but the NFL. I can't say enough good things about Micah Hyde.”

McDermott also did not have a timeline on cornerback Tre’Davious White or linebacker Matt Milano as the two return from their respective injuries, but he has seen both frequently around the Orchard Park facility.

“Yeah, both doing well,” McDermott said on the pair. “Both working extremely hard. I see those guys almost every day, sometimes more than others, just based on their rehab schedule or their doctor's appointments. Sometimes they fly off for a doctor's appointment elsewhere. But those two have both been working really hard."

2. Competition committee kicks off. Newly added to the league’s competition committee, McDermott is getting a full taste of how the group runs.

“It was good,” he said Monday. “It was about seven hours of meetings (Monday), Tuesday about five hours probably.”

McDermott said it’s been “very interesting, very educational at the same time,” as he finds how he works with the committee of coaches, owners and front office executives.

“I'm learning the cadence, right?” he said. “Learning where I fit in and when to speak and when to listen. And so I think that's just part of the first kind of rookie campaign at this point.”

3. Brady readies for full season at helm. McDermott knows the Bills have yet to feel the full Joe Brady experience. Brady was officially promoted to offensive coordinator this offseason after serving as the interim OC starting midway through last season.

“It's like anything else – when you take over, and you take over was it seven or eight games, the number count of our games whatever it was – you're able to do some things, but you're not really able to do everything you want to do,” McDermott said. “And so, I think you probably saw some of what Joe wants to do, but not all of it, naturally.”

The matchups between Brady and Babich are sure to be a highlight of training camp based off what McDermott calls their “fiery” personalities.

“Right when Joe took over, it was like he was in my office, bang, he was out and he was going to work,” McDermott said. “And Bobby's the same.”

4. Other coaching changes. McDermott said there is “not yet” a plan to have an assistant head coach, the role that former Bills coach Eric Washington held last year, in addition to overseeing the defensive line. Washington took a defensive coordinator position with the Chicago Bears in January.

McDermott also expressed his confidence in special teams coordinator Matthew Smiley by noting that he evaluates Smiley’s first two years when taking special teams into consideration.

“Through two seasons, we've had one that I thought was pretty good, and one where I thought that we could have done some better things, some things better there,” McDermott said. “And then he (Smiley) embraces that and so I know he's committed to get us back to where we were and so we've got to build it to help him right.”