Bills HC Sean McDermott: “It’s return to real football” as pads come on at training camp

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FILE – In this Aug 13, 2019, file photo, Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott yells during the team’s NFL football training camp with the Carolina Panthers in Spartanburg, S.C. NFL general managers and coaches, and those who assist them, work within a highly competitive culture. Putting in extremely long hours is simply understood as part of the job. Unless, there’s a pandemic. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) -Finally the Bills can put the pads on at training camp as Monday was their first padded practice.

“It’s return to real football. When you grow up around this game whether you’re coaching or playing, the first day of pads is always kind of monumental if you will,” head coach Sean McDermott said on a zoom call before practice.

But with this challenging preseason, there is a balance of trying to get guys ready but not wanting to push it too hard that lead to injuries.

“There’s always a little bit of anxiety around that even for coaches.I shared with the guys last night that we’re not gonna go live today but we will what we call “thud up” in terms of our tempo,” McDermott said.

Even though they won’t go live in practice today, McDermott said they will more this training camp than usual given they don’t have those preseason game reps to count on.

“We don’t want to be too passive in our approach but also we don’t want to keep pounding the same nail into the ground and then eventually that player has a soft tissue injury which some are gonna happen anyway but it’s a delicate balance every year, in particular this year,” McDermott explained.

In addition to Tommy Sweeney and Jon Feliciano not practicing, McDermott also said Ed Oliver (sore hip) and Levi Wallace (sore back) will not practice today either. Isaiah Hodgins and Vosean Joseph will be in the red non-contact jerseys.

“One of our goals like it is every year is we’ve gotta come out of training camp a tough football team on both sides of the ball including special teams,” McDermott said.

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