Pandemic provides perfect cover for McDermott’s ‘cloak and dagger’ training camp

Photo of Sean McDermott from

You can tell after listening to Sean McDermott for awhile he prefers to control media coverage and fan availability during training camps. This season he’s getting his wish to significantly restrict media coverage and fan attendance because of the pandemic. COVID provides McDermott with the perfect cover for shutting out what he likely considers mostly a distraction… at a time when he’s under a lot of pressure to get the team ready for opening day.

What I’ve learned so far about this fan-restricted training camp is how much we miss Dean Kindig’s AstroNotes and all the great camp observations posted by many other Bills fans on Twitter. BillsMafia is a football savvy fan base. Many of us are highly interested in what fans see and report back to us during training camp.

It’s bad enough to be cut off from fellow fan observations at Bills camp. However, Joe Buscaglia and Matthew Fairburn from The Athletic also outlined restrictions being placed on media during camp as well. Bottom line… expect little more than tiny snippets of video like we’re seeing from camp with no commentary allowed about what types of plays are being practiced, depth chart, etc.

Photo of Sean McDermott from

McDermott’s fingerprints are all over how this “lock down” is being rolled out at One Bills Drive. The pandemic protocols serve as a great ‘cloak and dagger’ for hiding as much information as possible from opponents. I believe the element of surprise will be a big part of Sean McDermott’s plan for the season opener against the Jets.

You can be sure this head coach already contemplated every possible scenario for every possible challenge they will face during what we hope will turn out to be unique season. That stated, I do believe this coronavirus will likely behave like others in same class and be around for a long time to come.

No matter how the rest of this or any pandemic unfolds, McDermott will use any unique situation to his advantage for as long as necessary to stay at least two steps ahead of opponents. It also helps that the Bills are blessed to have the same offensive and defensive coordinators returning this season.

However, the advantage of continuity can sometimes be at least somewhat offset by the disadvantage of predictability. Fortunately, Bills’ offense coordinator Brian Daboll hails from the ‘Belichickian’ coaching tree, so offense and defense alter their game plans in a big way from week to week.

Without so much as a preseason game or scrimmage to go on, good luck getting a feel for what the Bills (or any team for that matter) are going to look like during the NFL regular season. We’ll all be jumping in the deep end with both feet without a life preserver when the regular season kicks off in a few weeks.

It will be very interesting to see how BillsMafia copes with this unique football season. There are many unknown factors at this point. Maybe it will turn out to be a good thing we don’t have access to training camp… no chance to slobber all over every rep in August and then promptly come to our usual off-base conclusions about what every throw by Josh Allen means.

Editor’s babble: “C’est la vie” has never been a more important outlook on coping with challenges in life. Whatever lies ahead, we’ve got to roll with it. At least the mystery of what will happen to the Bills this season provides pleasant distraction from all the madness in the world. You can probably find me ruminating over something on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.