ORCHARD PARK, NY – Sunday’s surprising release of running back Jonathan Williams, leaves just five players on the Buffalo Bills current 53-man roster – six if you include suspended tackle Seantrel Henderson – who were drafted by former general manager Doug Whaley. Despite that much too curious trend, head coach Sean McDermott insists that purging the past regime’s players is not a point of emphasis for this new one.
“It’s not so much bringing in our own guys,” McDermott explained. “We’re not in that mode of thinking. It’s about the right guys. It’s about the right guys at the right time. There are good football players that were brought on by Doug. And that’s what we’re interested in. Whether it was past regime, current regime, I’m not interested in that mode of thinking.”
Call it a coincidence then that McDermott has found a minimal number of players who are the “right players” from the previous regime. Not all the changes have been met with acceptance from fans either. Williams release on Sunday in particular left fans wondering if giving up a talented backup running back meant the Bills are indeed tanking this season. McDermott attempted to explain the move on Monday, highlighting the backs that remain on the roster.
“I thought he had a good preseason,” McDermott said. “That said we’re doing what’s right for this football team. I have a lot of confidence in the running backs behind LeSean [McCoy], in Mike Tolbert and Joe Banyard, Taiwan Jones. There’s also an element of special teams baked into this here, with those players. There’s three phases to a football team, and having a balance in all three phases is important for us.”
McDermott said the Bills will take a running back by committee approach to the backfield behind McCoy.
Despite the scepticism of these recent moves, McDermott hopes Bills fans will continue to trust the process.
“Some of those are tough, difficult decisions, and unpopular in some ways and Brandon [Beane] and I both recognize that,” McDermott said sympathetically. “But it takes some of those decisions for us to get to where we’re trying to go. It’s very easy, and I think it happens a lot, where you come in and you say ‘let’s air on the side of not rocking the boat,’ well, short-term gains sometimes doesn’t equal long-term success.”
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