Sean McDermott adapting to challenging times during COVID-19 pandemic


HOUSTON, TEXAS – JANUARY 04: Head coach Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills looks on prior to the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It seems like Bills head coach Sean McDermott is always prepared no matter what happens and that’s still the case during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though football is on hold right now, McDermott and his staff came up with a plan and they’ve stuck to it.

“About a week into this we got together as a staff and we tried to really anticipate where it could go and certainly I’m not a rocket scientist but you could kind of get a feel for where this was headed, at least that we probably weren’t going to be back in the building for weeks on end. So we got together as a staff and really tried to put together a plan so that we would have our act together,” McDermott said.

“We felt like the teams that came out of this the most prepared, the most unified would potentially have created a competitive advantage. That remains to be seen but we felt like when things kicked off, when given the option to kickoff really a week ago that we were ready to go and I give our staff a lot of credit for that,” McDermott explained.

McDermott and his staff went through the draft like every other team in the NFL by working from home and not being able to have face to face contact with their scouts and the rest of their staff. But McDermott says there were things both good and bad about the virtual draft.

“The environment of having the family around was certainly unique and made it special at the same time. To be able to share those moments with kids who are now getting to the point where they’re taking an invested interest and want to hang out and watch some of that go on. But on the other end of it there were certainly challenges where I couldn’t be looking at a full board in real life. I had it on my screen but that presented some challenges,” McDermott said.

Part of adapting to this “new norm” is having meetings with the team through avenues like “zoom” calls and McDermott is trying to keep a tradition they have during the season alive even during these times.

McDermott and his staff really emphasize players getting to know each other on a personal level. During the season, players will share their stories whether it’s where they grew up, something about their family, different experiences they’ve gone through, and so on. On these virtual meetings, McDermott still keeps that going.

Besides just the football side of things, there’s a human element to all of this that is nice to see from these players, coaches and team personnel that we don’t get to see that often. McDermott talked about what he’s learned during all of this, and it starts with himself:

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