Sean McDermott is in his first season as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, but he’s been around the NFL for close to two decades, first with the Philadelphia Eagles and then with the Carolina Panthers.
Throughout most of McDermott’s pro coaching tenure, which began in 2001, the New England Patriots have been a dominant force in the NFL. He even was an assistant on the Eagles team that lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.
As he prepares to face the Patriots for the first time as a head coach, however, he was asked Wednesday during a conference call how this current Pats team compares to the one he’s seen in the past.
“I think they’re better, honestly,” McDermott responded, giving high praise to the franchise that has won 13 of the last 14 AFC East titles.
The Patriots stumbled to a 2-2 start this season, immediately spoiling the earnest 19-0 predictions that circulated this past summer. The reigning Super Bowl champs since have returned to form, however, withstanding injuries to several key players to reel off seven consecutive victories.
Now at 9-2, New England holds a three-game lead in the division over second-place Buffalo entering Sunday’s matchup at New Era Field.
“This is an outstanding football team,” McDermott said. “Not that the other ones weren’t, it just seems like now with the addition of some other players that they’ve added on the roster, with the addition of (wide receiver Brandin) Cooks and some of the other players they’ve been able to add the last X amount of months, I think this is a dynamite football team.”
The Bills are seeking their first win over the Patriots in Buffalo since 2011 and just their second since 2003. New England is 29-5 in the rivalry since 2000.
One of those losses came last season with third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett under center, and another came in a meaningless Week 17 game in 2014 in which Tom Brady played just one half.