McDermott hopeful Bills can leave for Detroit on schedule Saturday

"Seeing what's happening around us right now, just want to make sure that all the staff and players' families are safe and dugout before we want to try and get out of here"

Orchard Park, N.Y. (WBEN/WGR 550) - As lake effect snow continues to hammer portions of the Western New York region, the Buffalo Bills were forced to cancel practice on Friday and hold a team Zoom meeting ahead of their scheduled matchup with the Cleveland Browns.

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As a result of the weather impacting the region and the forecasted conditions and snow totals in-and-around Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, the Bills and the NFL officially decided to move Sunday's game to the confines of Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday afternoon.

It will be the second time in eight years the Bills have been forced to move one of their scheduled home games to a neutral site due to inclement weather. The last time being in 2014 when the infamous "Snowvember" storm forced a regular season matchup with the New York Jets to also be moved to Detroit due to seven feet of snow dumped on the region.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott spoke with the media over a Zoom call on Friday to provide the latest update with where things stand with his team, as many of the players are currently being buried by snow totals that have exceeded three feet in some areas.

While Friday's Zoom call with his team was for a check in ahead of Sunday's game, it was also a chance for the team to be together in support of one another while they leg out the storm.

"I know a couple of the young guys, it was the first time they had seen snow, even earlier in the week here. It's kind of a cool experience to see some of the smiles and the looks on the guys faces who have never been around snow, whether they'd be from the West Coast or down South," said McDermott on Friday. "Then there is the caution side with trying to navigate life in snow and conditions like this."

At this time, the Bills are still slated to leave Western New York sometime later Saturday to be in Detroit and be ready to play the Browns. However, with the current weather conditions affecting many of the players that live close to the stadium, McDermott can only hope, at this point, his team can leave and be able to make it to Detroit on schedule.

"That's obviously TBD, at this point," McDermott said. "We want to head out tomorrow, as close to the normal time as possible. However, again, seeing what's happening around us right now, just want to make sure that all the staff and players' families are safe and dugout before we want to try and get out of here, just so everyone's mind is in the right spot, knowing that their families are all safe."

If the Bills are unable to leave Buffalo on time and are forced to arrive later than expected in Detroit, McDermott was unsure if it was possible for the team to possibly get to the "Motor City" and maybe have the game be pushed to a later time Sunday.

"I don't even really want to go down that rabbit hole right now," McDermott admitted. "I don't even know if either logistically or by NFL rules if that's even allowed. That's kind of outside of my lane right now, so we're just focused on everything going off at the normal time, Sunday at 1 o'clock there."

One of the main priorities for McDermott and the rest of the front office staff in Orchard Park at this time remains safety for everyone. That's why the team is playing a bit of a wait-and-see game right now with the weather.

"Anticipating having to move some things back in the morning if it does slow down, which that's the latest we're hearing is it's supposed to slow down early [Saturday] morning around the stadium here in Orchard Park and whatnot. [That will] give guys time to dig out, make sure their families are good, and then we'll head into the facility, probably in a moved back schedule just to allow for that," McDermott said.

Until more is known about the weather conditions heading into Saturday, McDermott preaches the importance of being able to control the controllables. In the meantime, McDermott gives a lot of credit to the Bills front office staff for the handling of Sunday's game, and ensuring the safety of everyone in the area.

"I thought our team, our operations team led by Ron Raccuia and Brandon Beane, Derek [Boyko], Andy Major, all the people inside the Bills really came together well yesterday and helped to help to get this done, in terms of the logistics going forward for us once the decision was made by the NFL," he said. "Then the team was resilient, as well, as always. We were able to get a little bit of a walk through in yesterday at the end of meetings, just to try and anticipate what we see now outside of our windows here. So I think they've done a great job so far."

Sunday's kickoff in Detroit is still slated for 1 p.m. EST at Ford Field. The Bills will also play on Thanksgiving in the "Motor City" when they get set to take on the Lions.

Hear more from McDermott's Friday Zoom call with the media available in the player below:

Featured Image Photo Credit: Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills)