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What They Said: Transcripts of Bills coaches Rex Ryan, Dennis Thurman and Anthony Lynn

HC Rex Ryan

Opening Comments: Here’s the participation list. Guys that did not participate today-(Cyrus) Kouandjio with his ankle, (Marcell) Dareus hamstring, Jerry Hughes as we mentioned yesterday is not injury related. We’re just resting a veteran player. And then these players were limited in practice. Cordy Glenn ankle, Corey White shoulder, (Corbin) Bryant ankle, (Colton) Schmidt quad—right quad it says here, (Patrick) Lewis knee, Zach Brown ankle, Aaron Williams ankle, and Charles Clay knee. You might want to add Jack Eichel, that’s an ankle. That’s a lower body for Eichel. Won’t be in the lineup tonight.
Q: What are your thoughts on Jack Eichel’s injury?
A: Oh it’s, you know, my thoughts are like every other Sabres fan. I mean you’re just like “oh man.” And we’re so bummed out because, and I speak for the entire Sabres fan base, I mean we were really looking forward to it. You think it’s going to be a good year and all that—and it still very well could be. But man it’s unfortunate because the kid’s a super player and really looking forward to him playing his sophomore year here. So with that, I still think we have enough. Find a way and get it done.
Q: What did the kid who grew up a Maple Leafs fan think about Auston Matthews scoring four goals in his NHL debut last night?
A: I’ve got no comment on Auston Matthews. (Laughs). Nah, it was pretty amazing wasn’t it? And they still lost. How do you score four goals with this kid—oh by the way, you still lost? Yeah, but it was unbelievable. He went a little too high for my liking in a fantasy hockey draft that we had. I was just getting ready to take him, but kind of wish I would’ve now.
Q: Are you less optimistic about Marcell Dareus now?
A: Yeah I would say probably because he hasn’t practiced for two days, but we’re still not going to rule him out. But yeah, I mean, I kind of wish he’d be able to practice.
Q: Any word on Colton Schmidt?
A: Nope. He was limited I guess.
Q: You didn’t seem too…
A: No, I think he’s fine. He’s practicing so should be ok.
Q: How’s Marcus Easley progressing?
A: I know he’s doing a great job in his rehab. He’s working like crazy, but I don’t know if this is like a, where Shaq (Lawson) is next week, you know is expected to be out there. But I don’t believe that’s the case with Easley.
Q: So he’s still a few weeks out?
A: Yeah we’ll see. I know he’s working hard, but I don’t believe he’s ready to go up next week.
Q: What has John Blake brought to the defensive line?
A: Oh, I love—everybody loves his enthusiasm. He’s got two Super Bowl rings. We know about his expertise as a defensive line coach but I think he brings more to this team than that. I think it’s his—he’s got a great personality, he’s always upbeat, and at the same time, he works the heck out of those guys. And they love him for it, I think, and initially you’re like “oh my god, this guy’s trying to kill us” but nah, he’s just trying to get you ready to play four quarters, and that’s what he does. But he’s been outstanding. He’s one of those guys that build your team up. You know, he gets them to circle the wagons and he’s done a great job of that here.
Q: Do you remember anything from the 1992 49ers-Bills no-punt game?
A: No, I think being a defensive minded guy that I would flush that game down. I mean, you don’t recall that game. But I think back then man both of those two teams, I mean both of those offenses were almost unstoppable, and that’s kind of the way it played out. But the 49ers back in the Bill Walsh era, I mean that was murder on people. They were such a machine, and the same with the K-gun, and not only do you have—both of those team could throw the heck out of it, which they were known for, but man they had hall of fame, obviously great running game, hall of famer here with Thurman Thomas, and with Roger Craig and whoever they had back there. And it’s crazy how good those offenses were back then.
Q: Did you have any trepidation about Anthony Lynn calling plays, having never called plays before?
A: No. Absolutely not. And I guess my point was always that when he was getting head coaching interviews, that was actually used against him as “well you’ve never called plays.” I think that’s an overrated thing to be honest with you. I mean obviously it’s great to get that experience as a play caller. But I had no doubt that Anthony would do a great job when I made the move I did.
Q: Richie and McCoy yesterday said that things were a little more crisp and the tempo is faster. What has Anthony brought here?
A: Well that’s definitely a lot of him. There’s no question about it. I think it’s more, he gets it out, he’s calm, he gets the thing out and it gives us time to process I think a little longer. And just because our tempo was faster, I know it strange, but that’s how it works. You know, I think you get out of that huddle quick, be able to process things, and then we choose the type of tempo that we go at. Whether we go no huddle, speed to the line and hold it, whether we—you know, whatever it is. You know, normal rhythm. Our guys are comfortable you know this way, and I think it shows.
Q: What steps have you taken to engage with your players when asked about your connection to Donald Trump?
A: Ha, there’s another Trump question. You know, that thing’s been a non-issue for us. I mean we talk about it from day one, you know with regards to religious beliefs, or politics, anything else. We just respect each other, and that’s the way it is. Nobody forces “hey you need to like this guy or that guy” or whatever. I don’t get into—nobody gets into reasons why. They might have healthy debates with each other but our team, we’re built on respect and we recognize the differences in our locker room and we appreciate the differences in our locker room, and I think that’s why we’re so close.
Q: There was no awkwardness about it?
A: I don’t know. You can go ask those guys. They’re going to be in that locker room, so I won’t speak for our players. Not for me, I can promise you that.
Q: Do you think Anthony Lynn will be a head coach at some point?
A: Yeah.
Q: Are you surprised he hasn’t been already? He’s had a lot of interviews.
A: He has had a lot of interviews, but I think sometimes it just takes time, and he’s just got to be the right guy for one team, and I think that’s probably right around the corner.
Q: All of the teams that interviewed him haven’t done well, which makes me wonder if they made the right decision.
A: Yeah, I mean, you can never tell. I just think Anthony is going to do a great job regardless of the position that he’s in. Whether it’s head coach, offensive coordinator, assistant head coach, running back coach, whatever it is. He’s just an outstanding football coach, and he’s got the respect of everybody he’s ever coached or coached with.
Q: What do you think of the Rooney Rule?
A: I think it’s a good rule to get guys in front of owners, because like I said, it only takes one owner to say “you know what, I’m going to give this guy an opportunity.” But it is a good rule, and like I said, I think it’s a matter of time before A-Lynn and other coaches like him that finally get that opportunity.
Q: How has Justin Hunter been acclimating himself for a bigger role?
A: Yeah maybe so, he caught a couple balls out there, maybe missed several others so we’ve got to get—somewhere along the line, you’ve got to catch everything. You know, I mean, I’d like to see him catch everything.

OC Anthony Lynn

Q: A lot of quick starts, getting out in front, but the production in the second half became tougher. What do you attribute to the offense not being quite as productive in the second half?
A: That’s a good question. I think sometimes they make adjustments that catch up to you a little bit and what you’re doing, and maybe I can change my tempo and make some adjustments myself and do a better job. But we definitely stalled out in the second and third quarter the last couple weeks. We feel like four drops didn’t help. And execution can be a little better, but I think I can do a better job at putting us in situations to make plays too.
Q: So do you feel motivated to have a counter punch before one is needed?
A: Oh, that’s my job. Absolutely. You know, I try to stay ahead of the play caller on the other side of the field. You know, and sometimes he’s a pro too. And sometimes he’s ahead of me. But that’s what I’m figuring out.
Q: How have you seen Justin Hunter improve in practice, and what are your expectations on Sunday?
A: Justin is playing faster. He’s played faster all week because he’s been here. He understands the terminology and the system and what we’re doing now. So we’re definitely going to get him more involved, and he’ll have an opportunity to make some plays this week. More plays, let’s just say.
Q: Rex talked about that he dropped passes. That’s something that’s followed him in his career. From that perspective, does he need to improve a little bit?
A: I don’t know much about his past, other than he’s been with two teams and been released. I evaluate him from here going forward. He’s done a heck of a job with us so far, and we’d like to get him involved.
Q: Do you feel like the league might be shifting back to where a team like yours that runs the ball and plays strong defense can have sustained success on offense? I know everyone says it’s a quarterback league, but you’ve had success even without the production of a passer.
A: Well I think every team has its own formula for winning. Some teams can throw it around the field for 400-500 yards a game and win. And you have a lot of teams that are passing for 400-500 yards and losing. Right now, that’s not our formula. I can tell you that right now. But Tyrod Taylor’s quarterback rating has been above average. I mean last week it was 97. The week before that, he was over 100. And that’s what we look for. We look for passing efficiency, not necessarily passing yards.

DC Dennis Thurman

Q: What are the challenges of not having video of Colin Kaepernick in Chip Kelly’s offense, if any?
A: I mean, we’ve got to play. It doesn’t matter. I mean, we’ve seen Kaepernick play. We’ve played against him before. We’ve played against this offense before and we have to prepare. They’ll be some in game adjustments for sure. So we have to get ready, and I think we will be.
Q: Do you change anything knowing that their tempo is a big thing with Chip?
A: No, we’re going at snail’s pace. We are. We’re going really slow. I mean about 48 seconds in between each play, and I mean, we’ve just got to be prepared mentally to face whatever we have to face. But no.
Q: Do you go back to what Kelly did at Oregon and the Eagles and mold that with what Kaepernick used to do? He was very effective and they used him a lot of different ways when he first got in the league.
A: Yeah, he’s an excellent athlete. I mean he can run with the football, he can throw the football. I mean he’s led a team to the Super Bowl, came within a few seconds of winning it. So he’s a talented individual, we know that. Their scheme, the system that Coach Kelly runs is tried and true. He believes in it. The players believe in it. So we have to go out, like I said, and be prepared for it.

Courtesy of the Buffalo Bills

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