5 things Bills coach Sean McDermott had to say about the Bengals

Published: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 2:40 PM

First-year Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott spoke with members of the media who cover the Bengals on Wednesday. 

Here are five highlights from that chat: 

1. The Bengals do a great job utilizing their personnel on defense. 

McDermott, who made his name as a defensive coordinator at Carolina, said Cincinnati DC Paul Guenther maximizes the players he has and gives teams a variety of things to prepare for. 

“They certainly have a talented back end, a veteran back end, and led by Vontaze Burfict in the middle,” McDermott said. “A lot of it goes through No. 55 (Burfict) and his role in this defense is a big part of their success and I think the continuity they’ve had is key as well, in particular in the middle with Vontaze and some of the secondary positions also.

“They do a lot of really good things. This is a really, really salty defense.”

2. McDermott called communication key to his Bills defense’s hot start.  

Buffalo enters the game first in the NFL in points allowed (13.5 per game) and ninth in total defense (306.5 yards per game.) 

“I think the key has been communication and getting to know our players as well as we could have at this point. That’s been key. We still have a lot of work to do in regards to that as well.”

But he wasn’t in the mood to compare it to some of the strong units he has coached in the past, including a 2015 group that was the backbone of a Super Bowl run. 

"Each team is different. I know what we’ve got here. I’m confident in the group we have here. This is the fourth or fifth week of the season so we’ve still go a lot of room to grow and get better and that’s what we’re really focused on right now.”

3. He also wasn’t ready to hang any banners for Buffalo’s win at Atlanta in Week 4. 

The Bills are not only a surprising 3-1, they have knocked off teams expected to be contenders the past two weeks. 

Before bedeviling Matt Ryan and the defending NFC champion Falcons last week, they topped Denver 26-16 in Week 3. 

“It was a good win, but it was the next team on the schedule,” McDermott said. “That’s how you have to approach it. We’ve got to continue to get better, continue to grow and keep our boots firmly planted on the ground so we can grow and get better.”

4. Buffalo won’t take the Bengals’ struggling running game for granted. 

Cincinnati enters the game averaging 88.8 yards per game, 23rd in the league. 

Meanwhile, the passing game is on the upswing with Andy Dalton having logged passer ratings of 124.1 and 146 the past week weeks. 

The running back trio of Joe Mixon, Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill won’t get less attention because of that trend, though. 

“In a lot of ways, stopping the run is about gap integrity and doing your job, knowing where your fit is and so that’s really the biggest focus on a week-to-week basis,” McDermott said. “They’ve got a good corps of running backs and are very talented so we’ve got to be aware of what they do with the run game.”

5. Buffalo enters the game tied for second in the NFL in turnover differential, and that’s no accident. 

Not surprisingly, taking care of the ball and taking it away are two focuses of McDermott’s team. 

“Yes sir it is. That’s something we’ve worked on since the start and we continue to work on,” McDermott said. “It’s similar to the culture. We have to continue to address it daily and weekly so we continue to do it, it’s such a critical part of the game.” 

Steelers' Ryan Shazier strapped to board, taken to hospital after scary hit

Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 5:34 AM

Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, in yellow, is carted off the field after an injury in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Frank Victores/AP
Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, in yellow, is carted off the field after an injury in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)(Frank Victores/AP)

Pittsburgh Steelers star linebacker Ryan Shazier was carted off the field and taken to a hospital early in Monday night’s game after making a scary hit.

>> Watch the clip here

>> Head to WPXI.com for the latest on this developing story

Shazier went in to make a tackle, striking Cincinnati receiver Josh Malone with the crown of his helmet and immediately appearing to go limp as he fell to the ground facedown.

>> Read more trending news

According to Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert, Shazier suffered a back injury and was taken to the University Medical Center. He had a CT Scan and an MRI to evaluate his condition.

He said Shazier will not require surgery and continues to improve.

He will stay overnight and will hopefully return to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Shazier reached around to his lower back as he rolled over.

Medical personnel strapped Shazier to a backboard and placed him on a cart. He held his hands to his face as he was taken off the field.

There was no immediate word about the extent of his injury. The team said his status was "unavailable."

WPXI's Chase Williams later reported Shazier was taken from the stadium to a nearby hospital with a back injury.

Shazier was the Steelers' first overall pick in 2014 out of Ohio State University. He made his first Pro Bowl last season.

Related

WATCH: Injured Ryan Shazier celebrates Steelers' AFC North win from hospital

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 3:28 AM

The helmet of Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) sits on the field after an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens in Pittsburgh, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. Shazier suffered a spinal cord injury in last week's game and is recovering from surgery to stabilize his spine. The Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens 39-38 to capture the AFC North Championship. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/AP
The helmet of Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) sits on the field after an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens in Pittsburgh, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. Shazier suffered a spinal cord injury in last week's game and is recovering from surgery to stabilize his spine. The Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens 39-38 to capture the AFC North Championship. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)(Keith Srakocic/AP)

The Pittsburgh Steelers' Ryan Shazier has been hospitalized for nearly a week after a hit left him with a spine injury in a Monday night game against the Bengals.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Steelers' Ryan Shazier strapped to board, taken to hospital after scary hit

The team and fans have rallied around the young star linebacker, but other than a tweet and social media comments from family members, he hasn't made any public comments since he was carted off the field in Cincinnati.

That changed Sunday night.

>> Read more trending news

After the Steelers clinched an AFC North title in a thrilling 39-38 victory over the rival Baltimore Ravens, Shazier FaceTimed with his teammates congratulating them on the victory. That moment was caught on social media.

>> See the post here

Teammates said Shazier has been in good spirits despite the injury, and honored him in a number of ways before and during the game.

It looks like he was in even better spirits after it.

Kirk Herbstreit invites bullying victim Keaton Jones to College GameDay

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 9:50 PM

Say what you want about Kirk Herbstreit, but you can’t bash him for his latest gesture.

On social media — and Twitter in particular — Keaton Jones has become a fairly household name. For those who don’t know him, Jones is a boy from Tennessee who has a video that’s gone viral on Twitter.

The video is of him talking to his mom about being bullied. The video has caught traction and Herbstreit wanted to make it known that next season, Jones is invited to attend any College GameDay he would like to.

Hats off to you, Mr. Herbstreit.

If you haven’t seen the video of Jones, here it is:

Mike Gundy praises Oklahoma State WR James Washington for humility amid success

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 12:33 AM

Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington has plenty to be proud of based on how he played this season.

The senior from Stamford, Texas recorded 1,423 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 2017 en route to winning the Biletnikoff Award — handed annually to the nation’s top wide receiver.

And yet Washington doesn’t seek all of the attention that so many might want in his shoes.

According to the Tulsa World’s Mark Cooper, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy praised Washington over the weekend for his humility amid the great success the receiver has enjoyed with the Cowboys.

Gundy said Washington was back at practice and ready to go on Friday despite being in Atlanta, Ga. on Thursday to receive the Biletnikoff Award.

“It’s no big deal to him. Everybody treats him the same and that’s the way he wants to be,” Gundy told Cooper.

Washington’s loyalty to his team has been a recent storyline. Washington told reporters last week that he never had any thought of skipping Oklahoma State’s bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft and went to calling those who do “disloyal.”

Washington tallied more than a 1,000 receiving yards in each of his final three seasons at Oklahoma State.