Broncos Running Backs Draw High Praise from Sean McDermott

Sean McDermott

Getty Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott coaches against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football.

Like most teams in the NFL, the Denver Broncos have relied on a running back tandem this season and Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott believes their Week 15 opponent might have one of the best tandems in the league.

Melvin Gordon III and Phillip Lindsay have combined to rush for 1,217 yards and seven touchdowns on 269 carries this season. They’ve also rushed for 109.2 yards per game this season and have shown the capability to provide a thunder and lightning type concept when it comes to rushing the football.

As the Bills get prepared for the Broncos on Saturday, in another primetime matchup out west, McDermott was asked about the Broncos running backs and he offered high praise for the pair.

“They are one of the best combinations in the league, they really are,” McDermott said during a video conference call on Wednesday. “They are fast. They break tackles. So, we’ll have our hands full come Saturday.”

Early on this season, the Bills had trouble on the defensive side stopping the run and stopping opposing offenses in general, but as of late they’ve started to approve in both categories.

In four of their past five games, the Bills haven’t allowed a team to rush for over 100 yards. They set a new season-low this past Sunday when they held the Pittsburgh Steelers to just 47 rushing yards, although they only attempted 17 rushing plays compared to their 37 pass attempts.

The Bills have also held three other opponents below 100 yards this season, which came in the first four weeks against the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Las Vegas Raiders. McDermott said that his defense is in a good spot, but there’s still work to be done.

“We’re still a work in progress,” McDermott said on Wednesday. “There are some good moments and there are few things that we need to continue to get corrected and grow with. I do think that patience was important because of the short run-up and the new pieces that were in our locker room.”

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Sean McDermott is a Vic Fangio Fan

Before he took over the head coaching position in Buffalo, McDermott was a defensive coordinator for eight years. He spent two years underneath Andy Reid in Philadelphia then coached for six years in Carolina underneath Ron Rivera. Both coaches taught him a lot, but McDermott also got a little bit of help from current Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Vic,” McDermott said during his video conference call on Wednesday. “It’s a funny industry where some people share and some people don’t and Vic was a guy that really helped me early on in my career just by being open and willing to teach a young guy who was curious about his system and how he’s had so much success over the years. If you look, wherever he has gone he’s improved defenses and I have a lot of respect for that.”

As a defensive coordinator, McDermott coached one of the best defenses in the league in 2013 when they finished the season ranked second in points allowed and yards allowed. He’s brought that to Buffalo in a way as the Bills have had one of the top defenses in the league the past few seasons. Although they have struggled at times this season, they are starting to return to their form from a year ago.

Drew Lock is Another Growing Quarterback

Fangio, is now going through something that McDermott has gone through over the past few years when it comes to being patient with a young quarterback.

In the past three seasons, McDermott has watched Allen grow in front of his eyes and his patience has paid off this season as Allen has become an NFL MVP candidate. Fangio is having to show that same patience with Drew Lock and McDermott has seen that process in the past as well.

“I was not in the head coaching seat obviously, but being around Andy Reid and watching him develop young quarterbacks and then being around Ron in Carolina with Cam,” McDermott said. “I wasn’t obviously too deep into the weeds with those conversations, but just from observing, that’s what I got.”

So far this season, Lock has thrown for 2,18 yards and 13 touchdowns while also throwing 13 interceptions. He’s also averaged 229.9 passing yards per game.