Transcript of media sessions on Wednesday, June 3 with Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan, running back LeSean McCoy, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and quarterback Matt Simms. Provided by the Buffalo Bills.
Q: Talk about your decision to sign Matt Simms, you already had three guys, why add a fourth guy to the mix?
A: I think he’s got a big arm, we had him for two years, he had no chance of making our team the first year that we had him. I contributed to that by getting the quarterback hurt, but he contributed well to the team when he led the NFL in quarterback rating in the preseason, so he’s got some ability. Obviously he’s got the bloodlines, he’s smart, and anytime you can add to the competition of the football team you go out and do it.
Q: You had said that it was a three man race when (Jeff) Tuel was here, do you consider it a four man race now?
A: It is what it is right now, three guys are going to be working at it, they’re splitting the reps. But don’t kid yourself. Matt will be given opportunities. Is he going to get as many as the top three guys? Probably not, but one thing about Matt, is I know he will take advantage of the opportunities he gets, and I’m not saying he can’t make this team.
Q: Both Marcell (Dareus) and Percy (Harvin) were not here today. Is that an injury situation, or is that something else?
A: No, that’s something else, and we’ll let them address it if they want to.
Q: There is a belief that (Chip) Kelly got rid of (LeSean) McCoy because he wasn’t much of a power runner, and you want to run him in a power scheme, so what is your definition of that and how is that different from other coaches?
A: The thing we know about LeSean is he can run whether you have a fullback in front of him or a one back system, we feel great about him running in any scheme, whether its zone, gap scheme, a full back in front of him, whatever. I think he’s a dynamic runner.
Q: What’s your thought on the idea in Philadelphia that McCoy danced too much?
A: We never considered that, one thing when you’re trying to put your team together, you know what you look for, one thing we know about LeSean is he can run whether there is a fullback in front of him or not. Some guys just want in a one back set, some guys are better with a fullback in front of them, we know he’s versatile and can run in any type of system.
Q: With Marquise (Goodwin) back now you’ve talked about how well he looked earlier on in OTA’s, with Harvin gone today he was getting the ball in a lot of different ways, is that your plan for him?
A: I think first off he’s an explosive athlete. He’s got that 4.2 speed, but he’s also a route runner and if you get open, that’s the guy who get the ball thrown to them. So he’s got that type of ability. He dropped the deep one, he probably wishes he had that one over with, but I’ve been impressed with him.
Q: What are your thoughts on Ronald Darby now that he’s gone against some veterans?
A: He had a tremendous day. He seems to just get better and better, he’s confident, he had the penalty in the red zone, that’s tough, it was a one on one battle type thing, but he’s really coming along. He’s getting his hands on passes and things like that so, it’s not surprising since he’s got a great teacher in Donnie Henderson and then when you got Tim McDonald and Dennis Thurman back there he’s got a chance to get better. He’s obviously got a lot of physical gifts, and we’re pretty happy to have him.
Q: (Michael) Buchanan had his first practice today, talk about that and the decision to bring him in.
A: He’s a guy that’s got length and pass rushing ability; in our system he can be flexible. We’re looking for a guy who can compete and be the backup behind Jerry Hughes. A guy has to have you know, pass rush ability, drop ability, and length, and that is hard to find, but he has those things, and the young man will be given an opportunity here.
Q: How happy are you with how well (John) Miller and the right tackle (Cyrus) Kouandjio are doing right now?
A: I’m happy right now with the way Kouandjio is competing out there, he’s doing a nice job, but I’m ecstatic with Miller right now. He’s looking like a 10 year veteran and he doesn’t make mental mistakes, and he’s an athletic guy. When we took him, we though he’d be our starter, and we’ll see, but I feel pretty confident that’s he’s going to be a major contributor for us,
Q: Corbin Bryant was replacing Marcell today. Is he the guy that’s right there behind Marcell on the depth chart? Or is it more rotational?
A: Well, we’re trying to give everyone out there the opportunity, but if we started a game tomorrow, and Marcell wasn’t here then he would be the guy in there.
RB LeSean McCoy
Q: Chip's statements that he made last week about your statements, what is your reactions to that?
A: I have nothing to say about that. I am in Buffalo. Everything in Philadelphia is over. I have nothing more to say about it. It is what it is. Everybody can make their own thoughts and assumptions but I am done talking about it.
Q: You did raise issues about Chip when you questioned his racial motivation about his player personnel.
A: Did you just hear what I said? I am not talking any more about Chip Kelly or the Eagles. I am done with that. Ask me about the Bills. We look good. A lot of our players are stepping up. The quarterbacks look wonderful. Myself, I am playing well as well as the other guys in the back field. Just trying to get this going here. I have nothing else to say about Chip or the Eagles. Alright.
Q: Why don't you think the discussion of race in America deserves a little more elaboration?
A: For what. I don't have to explain myself to no one. I said what I said, I said how I felt at the time and I am done with that.
Q: Why didn't you take Chip's calls?
A: Are you all listening to me? I am not talking about Chip Kelly or the Eagles. I will be done with this interview if no one has anything to say about the Bills.
Q: When did you get back out on the field?
A: It was this week. I came back and felt good. I don't know what it was. My neck was really sore. I feel fine. Practiced harder today than the last couple of days and looked good.
Q: What do you think about the competition behind you at running back?
A: I feel like the guys in the back field are a good group and very talented. There is some leadership and some veterans that make it a lot easier. I think everyone in the back field can play. I look forward to having that type of competition in the back field. It makes the days go by faster. It makes everyone more aware and play harder. I think competition is always good.
Q: Did you see Freddy Jackson comment about you getting 300 carries this year? Is that your expectation for this year?
A: I didn't see that. I am not sure. I feel like every team I have been on since high school I have been the guy carrying the load. So I expect to do that here. Just being here noticing we have a lot of talent. Just from the wide receivers, tight ends, the guys in the back field—there is one ball and we have got to find a way to share it out. Sammy is still hurting. When he gets back that is another guy. When he gets back he can stretch the field and make different plays. So it is going to be a good season with so much talent in this group. Before the trade I really knew nothing about the offense, just witnessing and being here and playing with so many different players. That was the first thing to jump out at me was the talent level.
Q: Was it easy to jump back into it after missing the time with the neck injury last week?
A: I am still learning the playbook. That takes some time. I am learning fast. I am used to this. The OTAs and the preparation. It is nothing really new. It is just a matter of time for the offense we are on the same pattern, have the same heartbeat playing well together.
Q: With the talent around you, do you think it is the kind of talent to take the attention off you?
A: Sure. I play with some talented players, that can stretch the field and put up big numbers and I am around that. Even the back-ups, making a great team isn't just about starters, it's the back-ups so many players go down with injury, guys getting in trouble off the field, you name, you need a team. It starts with a great defense and then you look at the depth of the team and that is something we have here. We have the personnel to get it done.
Q: Do you think you are suited to a power running game with the notion the Eagles didn't think you were?
A: I think any system I can do well in. You can just check the numbers yourself before the spread offense and all that. I don't pay no attention to that. You are talking about the top notch backs I don't think it matters what system you are in. You are going to make plays or you’re not. The coach that Greg Roman is, has a bunch of different things. Which reminds me of Chip getting his backs some space, that genius type of thing. No matter what I feel like he is a genius. Greg is similar they find ways to trick the defense and get the backs a lot of open space. Greg has some similarities there for sure.
Q: So that is where you do respect Chip?
A: As a coach I can't say anything negative about him for X's and O's.
Q: Do you regret saying what you said?
A: I never regret anything I say. Never. Nothing I do, I never regret it.
Q: Correct me if I am wrong but I don't think you have ever played with a fullback in front of you?
A: That's not true. In High school, College, and Pro's.
Q: How much different is it not having a fullback the last couple of years?
A: I think it's a big difference. There are plays were you won't have a fullback in a fullback offense, Felton won't be in the game the whole time. So you have different formations, different plays were you have a fullback and some you don't. Like I said before it is about making plays with or without a fullback. You need your guys up front to block, your running backs to run, your wide receivers to catch, and your quarterbacks to throw its simple. That is it.
Q: Speaking of the men in front of you how important is it for you to get a feel for those guys and how to work off of them?
A: It is very important. It really is. I think that biggest thing about this game is you need your guys up front to win battles on both defense and offense. The guys here are coming together. We got some new pieces coming in and they are playing well. I think we are a young group but they are just getting it. I can tell the difference from beginning to now, they are learning and the mistakes they aren't making that they were before. It is the same with me there is stuff I still mess up today that I am getting better with. It is from the beginning to where I am at to now. So it is just a matter of time before you grasp the whole offense. It was the same way in Philadelphia you had to make mistakes to learn. That is with anything.
Q: The numbers for two years ago are the better numbers. Can we expect to see that again?
A: My last five years have been excellent. I will let my guy here do his homework and check it out. It is football man. Something I have been playing my whole life. I love to compete and battle with the best of them. I look forward to putting some numbers up here. I want to win. I think the biggest thing is you can be one of the best players stat wise but if you are not winning it still doesn't matter. That is one of the biggest things I want to accomplish here, that I haven't really accomplished in my career. I have been to the playoffs a couple times and never made it out of the first round. I want to make it to those big games where everyone is watching. That is something I haven't done at any level from high school to the pros. You want to talk about production and numbers but the biggest thing is the win. That is something I really want to do.
Q: What is your sense of the quarterback competition, how do you watch it as a teammate?
A: I have been used to that. One week this guy is starting, next week he is not. Summer competition you just wait it out. The cool thing here is that all the quarterbacks are getting reps with the first team. So it is not like a big jump. For each quarterback to get first team reps so you can get familiar with him. Every day it changes. It would be a major change if the only person you go you with is EJ and the two's go with Cassel or wherever it goes. You never get the same feeling if they just let them flow. One day you have the first and the next day is different. I like it that way. That way whenever the quarterback is announced you have so much experience with them, it is not a big change. They all look good. I think that is another question a lot of people had. If you ask guys in the locker room, that is the position that is coming together.
Q: 312 and 314 carriers the last two years. How much different on your body is that with that many carries by the end of the year?
A: It is just football. You do get tired with just the hits. Your body gets used to it. You get a week of rest then you are back out there. The cool thing about my play is that I don't take a lot of direct blows. I am cool with taking the carries. The guys in the back field will help me out. If I need a blow I don't bite my tongue let the guys come in here and get some reps.
Q: What do you think about the running backs not catching a lot of passes under Greg Roman in San Francisco?
A: I talked to Greg and we have some different looks that we want to use in the back field for the passing game. There are a lot of different things and I think I am the back that can do all of them. I think that was just stressed to me and I like it. Hopefully that changes.
Q: What sort of relationship do you have with Greg so far and fitting in the back field?
A: Just the guys as a whole will help me out and we will help each other out. That is what a team is we carry each other, pick them up. As a whole the running backs in general will really help me out.
Q: Do you worry about your comments being a distraction or making you a distraction?
A: I don't feel like that. I don't think it was a distraction with this team. Nobody has even asked me about it. Players mention little thing and want to know what is going on. But I do not feel like it is a distraction at all. Maybe that is something you sensed that I didn't. I don't think that’s a distraction. I think Rex will say enough things this year to stir up somethings anyway. Makes is a lot of fun. But yeah I don't think it was a distraction. He would have called a team meeting, like he has so far. If there is something going on that is wrong. He needs to step in and address it he will. I think it is something small. What I said before has nothing to do with the Bills. Majority of the questions in the beginning was about Philadelphia it wasn't about the Bills so I don't see a distraction.
WR Sammy Watkins
Q: How are you feeling physically Sammy?
A: Feeling pretty good just getting back to the stance of the team and running routes, right now I am feeling pretty good.
Q: What is some of your procedures for when you can't participate in the team drills?
A: Mentally I have to get my reps. I am behind I am not there every day with the guys running routes. So mentally I got to watch the defense and the coverages watch how things move because I am going to be coming back soon and everything is going to be fast and I have to pick it up. It really is about the defense's coverages.
Q: What are you shooting for at this point in time? What is soon for coming back?
A: Just to stay healthy, and keeping coming along with the injury and taking things from the guys watching them run routes. That is for the training staff to let me know to get medically cleared and worked up on.
Q: How have you liked working with Sanjay so far?
A: He is great, he is a great coach and so far I haven't even been on the field with him that much but my game has improved with just the little things and the details. Seeing our receivers right now become true receivers. He is teaching us how to play the game.
Q: Rex traditionally runs the ball. What is your reaction to the fact you might not be getting the ball as much?
A: As long as you win the game that's the goal. You can run the ball, pass the ball, when we balance you can do anything. We can run the ball 15 or 30 times and you can throw the ball 20 times a game. Got to take the good with the bad. As long as we are winning, I am fine with that.
Q: Can you see yourself on the field for training camp or even mandatory mini-camp?
A: Whatever the coaching staff has planned for me that is when I will be back. If it's early I am fine if it's I am okay with that.
Q: Do you feel normal or pain free?
A: Everything is pain free. I am taking it easy I am taking it slow. I am not doing everything 100-percent. I am just basically just going to give it time and rest to feel comfortable with myself and get the injury out of my head. So when it comes time at training camp to play and compete, I can compete.
Q: Do you feel the individual drills that you have been able to run has given you enough of a feel for each of the quarterbacks?
A: Most definitely. Those guys have been doing great. I think we just helping them out with the routes letting us run better routes now. Last year we was okay with routes now we are getting the real details of running routes and different routes. I think the placement has been in the same place every time helping the quarterbacks out.
Q: How important is it to get to pick a guy’s brains like Stephon Gilmore?
A: It's important. He is a great cornerback. He is up there with the elite cornerbacks and to get with him and compete and learn from him is great. Like I said, he is not a guy you will just get over on. He is a guy that will be in your face every time. He is going to press you, he is going to be there every play. I just got to get that confidence with going with him. I think if I beat him a couple times I am alright.
Q: Were you a 100-percent healthy at any point last season?
A: It is the injuries that come within the season. It is football. I finished the season well. Had a great season because that is what I like to end on.
QB Matt Simms
Q: It looks like you kind of went to the Jets, and said, “Look, it doesn’t look like its going to work here, can you let me go spread my wings a little bit?” Is this right?
A: Yeah, that was basically the gist of the conversation, but yeah I went to them early in the morning on Thursday and just talked about the situation with them, about how I was feeling and I thought it would be best if I just asked for my release. Obviously they didn’t have to, but they granted my wish and here I am, a Buffalo Bill.
Q: Being here with a coaching staff that you know so well, how important is that to you, and what are some of the benefits of that?
A: Really it’s being in a place where I feel welcomed, and a place where I feel the coaches want to see me grow and continue to do well, those were the main things. So even though I’m playing for a different New York team, it still feels like home to me.
Q: Did your agent make the call? Or did the Bills call you as soon as your name hit the wire?
A: One of the first phone calls I got was from Rex Ryan so to get a call from your ex-head coach was pretty uplifting just knowing that he thought that highly of me to call me personally.
Q: Walk us through your Jets experience. Did you ever sense that you would have an opportunity come your way, or did you give up hope?
A: Well, I never gave up hope. Just like in life, there is always going to be obstacles that you have to continue to fight through, and this is a game that’s obviously somewhat of a family business for me, so I’m just going to do whatever it takes to continue to work and to get on the field. Obviously the career with the Jets didn’t exactly go as planned, but at the same time, I’m just looking forward to the next opportunity. The people that I met there and the experiences I had truly just helped me become more of a man, and molded me into the person I am today and I’m extremely thankful for all those moments.
Q: How do you feel your crash course went, in terms of turning it into your head and then trying to execute some plays out on the field today?
A: I’m trying to absorb as much information as possible right now, but the coaching staff has done a great job of teaching me and giving me a little bit of a grace period so that I can catch up and lean, so I feel like I’m moving along pretty confidently.
Q: You said that you’re very comfortable with the coaching staff here, but does it feel like deja vu? There was a three way battle for quarterback over there, and there’s the same thing over here, Rex has been very clear about it. You’re kind of in the same situation over here in the sense of the depth chart, can you talk about that?
A: Really, the mindset doesn’t change. How I felt with the situation with the Jets is different than the situation here with the Bills. I feel like here I have more opportunity to get more experience to get more reps on the field and to give myself a fair shot to actually succeed, whereas I feel like I didn’t quite get that same respect there with the Jets.
Q: You got your first career touchdown here in Buffalo in 2013, what do you remember about that?
A: I was just extremely happy to go into the game and the score was what it was, but when you’re just dying to get out there and get experience, I play every down like it’s the Super Bowl. As the backup quarterback with the Jets I prepared as if I was a starter every week, and my teammates from the Jets know that about me. They know I’m ready to play at a moments notice and I felt like I held my own.
Q: Your dad is obviously a huge influence with you and your brother in your careers, explain how that’s still working with you and what kind of advise does he give you?
A: They are a great support system. Since my father is a Super Bowl MVP quarterback, at the same time he is my father, and he still gives me that fatherly wisdom that I need and my brother obviously gives me that older brother, teasing type of role, but yeah, two great quarterbacks in my family that have plenty of experience in the business and the supported me with my decision and were proud of me and the way I handled it the past few weeks.
Q: David Lee and your experience with him just how does that translate here knowing what he brings, what is your perspective of his coaching?
A: He is one of the few coaches that has seen the potential in me, and every time that I was given an opportunity with the Jets I took it and ran with it and continued to grow and show people that I do have more of a ceiling to offer. He really did push for me to get on the field and I’ll never forget that. For that, he’ll always have my respect.
Q: Was there any concern that you might not get picked up? Wasn’t it a bit of a risky move?
A: Yeah, absolutely. You never want to quit a job when you don’t really know whether there is a job waiting for you, but at the same time, I wasn’t happy, and you have to do what makes you happy, so I was willing to take that chance to be happy, and I felt like I wasn’t getting my fair share of the reps and work, you know, today even though it was my first day I got more work today than I did my last week with the Jets. Yeah, it was risky, but in the end it paid off and I’m happy to be here now.