Bills build love by sharing life stories
Pittsford, NY - While Sean McDermott preaches 4-3 defense and zone run blocking to the Bills, he's also preaching love.
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Two or three times a week, McDermott has one http://www.authenticpatriotsstore.com/shop-by-players-dion-sims-jersey-c-1_17.html of the Bills stand up before a team meeting and talk about their background or their life story.
"It's been inspirational, emotional. I know I've cried at a couple of them," Lorenzo Alexander said.
"It’s very intimate in nature and private, as you can imagine," McDermott said. "You watch the look on the players faces and the staff’s faces that are in there and it’s a pretty dialed-in moment."
It's also something players from 12 year vets like Kyle Williams to rookies like Dion Dawkins say they've never seen before.
McDermott hasn't seen a head coach try it either, thought he admits experimenting with something similar as a defensive coordinator.
"When you build any type of team, as far as we're concerned, you need to know your teammates," McDermott said. "What better way to know your teammate than for individuals to share their personal stories."
"You got the opportunity to see, to pull back the curtain and see where guys come from," Williams said.
"I know more about some of my teammates that just got here than some of my buddies that I've been friends with on the team for five years," said center Eric Wood.
Jerry Hughes is one of the players who has done the speaking. He talked about his parents. "i have a fantastic mom and dad."
He also has a new friend.
"I'm actually building a relationship with an offensive guard. We're hanging out, talking. Getting to know him a lot better. I love it," Hughes said.
While his players get to know each other, McDermott is also making a point to know them. Eric Wood says McDermott will ask about players' wives by their first name. He's doesn't talk only to superstars or veterans. It's rookies, too.
"He sat down with us the other day just to talk with us while we were eating. Just me and another rookie," quarterback Nate Peteman said. "Never been in the NFL, but I don't know many other coaches that do that. It really meant a lot."
Dawkins says he feels more comfortable going to McDermott with questions after getting to know him better. If he doesn't understand instructions from his position coach, Dawkins can get clarification from McDermott "not from a coach to http://www.billsjerseysale.com/shop-by-players-tyrod-taylor-jersey-c-1_51.html a player, but from a man to a man."
Dawkins adds that McDermott is nothing like the "stuck-up" reputation expected from NFL coaches.
"He eats with us. He raps it up with us. He's just a cool coach. He's a genuine guy," Dawkins said. "He's normal."
Developing that relationship with players, especially rookies, can be valuable in ways beyond learning a playbook or team bonding. It Jerry Hughes Authentic Jersey can head off possible serious problems before they start--football related or otherwise.
"Every year in camp, you hear about a player walking away from the game or having an absence or just leaving because you don't know what they're going through," Alexander said. "When your head coach takes the time--somebody that we put on a pedestal--comes down, wants to talk to you and really get to know you as a man, it's that much better."
The impromptu soul-spilling at meetings is also easing the NFL transition for rookies. Not to mention the speed at which new guys get to know their teammates.
"I've gotten to talking with a few of these guys just in person," Peterman said. "Somehow, they seem to share more in front of everybody else."
"You walk around and guys are always joking, smiling, just being like regular dudes," Dawkins said. "Then, they get up in front of the team room and they tell a story and it's like, 'Wow. I never thought that was something that you were going through'."
Alexander thinks all this will help the Bills because it's not a psychological game. It's McDermott being himself.
"The good (coaches) have done a good job of playing to their character and what they believe in and not trying to be somebody that they're not," Alexander said. "Sean has done a great job of doing that."
Danny Crossman, now on his third head coach as the man in charge of special teams, tried to sum up McDermott's coaching personality.
"He is an unquestioned leader with a fabulous, loving touch. I know that’s going to sound weird when we sit here and talk about football circles," Crossman said. "There’s no question who is in command. At the same time, you know he cares and how deeply he cares."
Kyle Williams thought the assessment was spot on.
"He's a coach that holds guys accountable," Williams said. "Has a very clear line of where you need to stand and what you need to be doing, but he also wants us to come together as a team to love each other, love your teammate, love everybody around you."
That love can certainly lead to wins or, at the very least, effort.
"We're from all different walks of life," Richie Incognito O.J. Simpson Kids Jersey said. "We're a big family and to hear from these guys and hear what they've been through, it makes me want to work that much harder for them."
Which should make that 4-3 and zone blocking stuff come together a bit quicker.