Buffalo Bills: Sean McDermott ready to take on 2019 with his demons behind him

Buffalo Bills. Sean McDermott (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Buffalo Bills. Sean McDermott (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

Earlier this offseason marked the two-year anniversary in which the Buffalo Bills hired Sean McDermott to be their head coach. The hire is proving to be a great one, but it’s about to get even better as McDermott’s demons are gone.

Sean McDermott has already done for the Buffalo Bills what countless others before him could not do. In 2017, Sean McDermott, in his first year as an NFL head coach, took the Bills to the playoffs.

However, everyone was excited because it had been so long. But, deep down everyone knew it was only a start and not a finish. What proceeded to follow that magical playoff run would be the same demon that haunted McDermott during his entire short tenure.

A quarterback dilemma.

Must Read. Breaking down how the NFL has become a system league and how the Bills are keeping up with the times. light

From the second McDermott blew his first whistle as the head coach, he did not like his then QB Tyrod Taylor.  Taylor, although limited, had proven he was a solid starter in the NFL. Eventually, McDermott would be proven right about Tyrod, but if only the journey were that simple.

The issue with McDermott benching Tyrod Taylor is not that he benched Tyrod Taylor outright, it was who it was for. It was for Nathan Peterman. Yes, the same Nathan Peterman who has three touchdown and 12 interceptions in his career. The move to bench Tyrod in the middle of a playoff push was one thing, but to miss that badly on his replacement is another.

If only this story were to end there, but again it is not that simple because McDermott always shot himself in the foot. After a five-INT disaster in Los Angeles vs the Rams, that is five in just a half, how could we ever forget, McDermott went right back to Taylor.

However, I don’t even know what he should have done at this point in the 2017 season. The Bills were 5-5 after the Chargers game and still in the playoff mix. McDermott had done the unthinkable. Allowed a QB dilemma to arrive in the middle of a playoff push. But, instead of sticking to his guns and seeing how the Peterman thing worked out, five picks and all, he went back to Tyrod.

It was an interesting move to know just how wrong he was and admit it and move an. Again, this all happened over the course of about seven days.

But now, we can fast forward to the interesting part of this story. After the Bills went back to Tyrod, he got hurt during a game. Then Peterman had to start again when he got hurt. McDermott’s only option beyond him was to start ex-Panther and I’ll get into that, Joe Webb III in the middle of a blizzard.

The person who had caught a touchdown in that same game was Kelvin Benjamin. Another ex-Panther. McDermott loves nothing more than taking guys who were once on the Panthers and putting them on his team.

Webb actually lit it up and the Bills had their defining win of a playoff season but I’ll attribute that to 100% luck and nothing to do with McDermott’s horrible evaluation of the QB position. McDermott had the defense and the luck to get the playoffs, but boy did he try to screw it up.

McDermott’s demons would follow him into the offseason going into the 2018 season. This is after Nathan Peterman took snaps in an NFL playoff game after Tyrod once again got hurt trying to lead the Bills to come back vs the Jaguars. Peterman taking reps in an NFL game should have been a fireable offense, but I digress.

In 2018 the Bills signed AJ McCarron. Yeah, that was their plan after trading Tyrod for draft capital. Draft capital they would use wisely, but no one knew that at the time. In the midst of that all, the Bills ended up drafting Josh Allen.

But, you can probably guess what happens here, they still had Nathan Peterman. The Bills entered 2018 in a three-way QB battle with McCarron, Peterman, and Allen. Goodness, how bad is McDermott at coaching QBs?

Well, as considering this story is about a specific coaches demon, Peterman was named the starter for the 2018 season. He would get redemption from his historically awful start in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, in the offseason the Bills had moved on from Mike Tolbert an ex-Panther, kept on churning with Kelvin Benjamin, then paid an exuberant amount of money for, you guessed it, an ex-Panther, Star Lotulelei. The Bills got another ex-Panther and this time it wasn’t a trade, they gave him 5-years and $50M. Lotulelei makes that money. While he isn’t awful, wow.

“All of the demons of his past are behind him. He is all-in for an offseason that should be drama free. Draft well, spend smart, play Josh Allen, stay sharp on defense.”

Anyway, as the 2018 season started the Bills got embarrassed in Baltimore. Karma for the 2017 playoff miracle combined with Nathan Peterman all resulted in a blow out loss. Once again, McDermott regretted starting Peterman.

Then Josh Allen took over and won over the fan base. I know going from Nathan Peterman to a rookie QB with a lot of buzz is like going from drinking bleach to a refreshing glass of water, but Peterman had still failed in every possible way in his only two starts.

Then, as the ex-Panthers on the coaching staff, oh, I forgot to mention, Bills GM Brandon Beane comes from the Panthers too, continued to disappoint and the Bills continues to lose, Josh Allen, who McDermott finally had the sense to start, got hurt.

That led us to seeing Peterman again, and as you would imagine, he failed. A game-clinching pick-six, eventually sealed his fate early in the year vs the Texans, so the Bills needed a QB. So, they got the less than ideal filler in Derek Anderson. Anderson also spent time with the Panthers.

When he inevitably underwhelmed in his tenure, the Bills settled for Matt Barkley who at the time, I was too scared to check if he spent time with the Panthers (he didn’t). Barkley actually dazzled, which was also luck, but Allen was ready after that.

The entire rest of 2018, from about December on was like an exorcism for McDermott. Josh Allen left no questions as to whether or not he was the QB of the future, Kelvin was released and finally rendered useless, Peterman was cut, albeit a year too late, and Star helped the Bills defense finish second in the NFL in yards allowed, perhaps the best standard.

Please note, I am definitely forgetting about more ex-Panther personnel…..

Finally, after all of that, it seems as if McDermott’s demons are in his past and behind him. The Bills rallied for their coach late in the year and he has proven he is the guy, just like in 2017 when he sparked a playoff run.

It is such a nice feeling having optimism about this team for 2019 and McDermott. McDermott has no QB dilemma, it’s Allen. There are no useless players on this team that came from the Panthers, they are gone. I even looked it up, if the Bills can’t help themselves a Panther they could sign this offseason is Devin Funchess, he could be useful.

Sean McDermott is a coach who has finally learned how to not play Nathan Peterman and can coach a gnarly defense. All of the demons of his past are behind him. He is all-in for an offseason that should be drama free. Draft well, spend smart, play Josh Allen, stay sharp on defense.

It is literally that simple. McDermott is the guy and all the worst things that could possibly have happened, what he could and could not control, have happened already. Things can only get better from here.

2019 could be the year the year of Sean McDermott and the Buffalo Bills nothing, not even what has become a terrible Panthers roster, no one to pick from, and a Nathan Peterman who is signed elsewhere can stop them.

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The Bills make me wanna shout but in a happy way this time.