Transcript of Rex Ryan's Tuesday press conference, which was moved up from Wednesday this week because of the Saturday game.
Opening Statement: Good? Alright. Here we go. Here’s the projected participation list. These players will not participate: [Lerentee] McCray, still in the concussion protocol; Kyle Williams, back [injury]; [Lorenzo] Alexander, that’s an [non-football related], so it’s his veteran day off; Preston Brown, foot [injury]; Charles Clay, knee [injury]; Sammy Watkins, foot [injury]. Limited today: [John] Miller, hip [injury]; [Jerome] Felton, foot [injury]; [Cordy] Glenn, back [injury]; and then Tyrod [Taylor] is full, groin [injury]; and then Shaq Lawson, foot [injury] is full. Alright? So, fire away.
Q: Sammy Watkins, obviously, it has not been the kind of year you were hoping for – or him. Since he’s been back, do you think he really has been at top efficiency? Because the numbers clearly show that he’s not really been that effective. Do you sense that he really can’t be the player that he thinks he can be?
A: Well, no. I don’t think he’s 100-percent – I think that’s a given. But he still affects the game. Last week, a lot of coverage rolled to him. He had the best corner on him, so I think he’s affecting the game but is he one hundred percent? I would say no.
Q: When you look back, how much have you looked back at maybe the tape – or maybe you didn’t – but how much does what Jay Ajayi last time in this game –
A: Oh yeah, we watched plenty of it.
Q: How tough was it to watch?
A: It was real tough to watch, but you’ve got to give that kid credit. I mean, he took it to us. [Their] whole team did. It’s not like it was a Timmy Smith thing – a once in a lifetime deal. The guy did it the previous week, so the guy’s a quality back. There’s no question about it. Very physical, downhill-type runner with good vision.
Q: Rex, how much of what happened in that game with his running do you attribute to, again, poor tackling/effort and how much schematic? And looking at it this time around, what else can you – are there specific things you can do setting things up to prevent something like that?
A: Well, we think that we’ll be much more effective this game. Let’s just put it that way. Hey, I know what happened. To me, I think effort – that’s making an assumption that “oh, your guys never put the effort [in].” That’s not the case. That’s never been the case here. Were we tired? Yeah. I don’t know how many snaps they had, but it was a bunch and it was about a hundred degrees out there. But I don’t think that will be the case this week.
Q: How similar to the Pittsburgh game was [the first game against Miami], in your mind? You did cite some schematic things in the Pittsburgh game that, in hindsight, you said were wrong. Are there similarities between the two games in your mind?
A: I think there are, in some cases. Like in some situations where you play a lot more seven-man spacing and they took advantage of that – second and long, or whatever. But, you know, like I say, this is a different game. It’s the same opponent, but it’s a different time of the season. This team’s red-hot. They’ve won eight of their last nine. But honestly, they’re going to get our best effort. There’s no doubt about that, and our preparation started today. We feel good about our plan, and we know it’s going to be a very physical game. We’ll see if we’re up for it.
Q: Rex, as a defensive coach, is what happened in the Pittsburgh game and the Miami game – where there’s 200 yards by one back – is that as bad as it gets for a defensive coach? We all know a guy can pass for big yards, but to get run on like that, is that maybe the worst thing as a defensive coach?
A: For me, it is. I think so, for me. Probably not for all coaches just cause that’s happened to probably everybody, but for me it definitely feels that way because I don’t think it’s ever happened to me previously in about 20 years of coaching.
Q: I guess it would speak to how they out-physicaled you that day, and that’s probably what picked at you the most.
A: Yeah, because we built a team. We want to be physical and they took it to us. There’s no question about that.
Q: I know you just said effort has never been a problem, but after the game, LeSean [McCoy] said players weren’t always giving 100% effort in preparation. He said it needs to be more accountable. What was your reaction to him saying that?
A: Well, I disagree. I think the effort’s there. I think it’s always been there. The preparation, I guess you’d have to talk to others. But I think when guys are in the building, I see the preparation, I see the work, I see all that. I guess you’ve got to talk to each individual.
Q: LeSean said that it’s not up to you, as coaches, to hold players accountable. He said players have to hold themselves accountable.
A: I think we’re doing a good job. I think the accountability is in the building. It’s not just – it’s what we owe each other. Every individual has to take the responsibility of being accountable to his teammates, and I think that’s just following coaching. I think that’s what I try to talk to the team about. It’s on each individual, so that’s probably where that’s coming from. But I feel responsible – don’t get me wrong. I’m responsible for everything that goes on on that field and I take one hundred percent responsibility.
Q: Have you had any reassurances since Sunday from ownership or upper management that your job is safe?
Q: Coach, is Matt Moore’s skill set noticeably different from [Ryan] Tannehill’s to change their passing game in any way, shape or form? Or is it largely the same? I know you only have one game to go on here.
A: Right. But I’ve also gone against [Moore] before. He had a good day against me one time. He’s a veteran quarterback. He throws a really good deep ball. He may throw [the deep ball] better than Tannehill does. Tannehill’s probably a bit more athletic, but they’re still going to run the same system.
Q: When you look at the tape of the Miami game, does the reminder of what happened to Aaron Williams just pop out to you? Are there any lingering thoughts to the Jarvis Landry hit?
A: I think, even he’s talked about it. Obviously it was a big hit, it was an unfortunate thing. Like I said, I got a lot of respect for that guy as a player. He’s a great player, physical, all that but the fact of the matter is Aaron hasn’t been able to return. Hope it’s not his career or something but those hits are what we’re trying to take out of the game, that’s what the league’s trying to take out of the game. But for us, we want to win the game and it’s not about getting somebody back. We’re trying to win a football game.
Q: Looking at Aaron, how big of a loss has he been to your defensive secondary? The numbers seem to be dropping ever since he’s been out of the lineup.
A: I think we’ve had six safeties that have been out or something like that but obviously he’s a guy with an unusual skillset. He’s got tremendous talent but again, I’m not going to say—because it’s going to look like, ‘well I’m making excuses.’ I’m not making any excuses. So to me, it is what it is. Yes, he’s an outstanding player and it’s unfortunate we haven’t had him healthy.
Q: Granted that they are good teams for a reason; Baltimore, New England, Seattle, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Miami. These are teams that have winning records, but for whatever reason, the Bills haven’t been able to beat. It’s been close sometimes. Have you been able to put your finger on the why that is or what it’s going to take to get over that hump because you have an opportunity this weekend?
A: Right and that’s good. I’m excited about the opportunity in front of us. I don’t think there’s a hotter team than Miami right now. Winning eight of nine I think would qualify as a hot team. How they took care of us the first time we played, we’ll see if there’s a difference in their team. We’ll also see if there’s a difference in our team.
Q: Not being able to win against the teams with winning records, how would you describe that?
A: Well there’s probably a reason those teams have won all those games but we haven’t been consistent enough in some of those games. As you mentioned, there’s a lot of close ones or whatever but we haven’t been able to get over the hump.
Q: Maybe your talent’s not good enough. Would you ever admit that because there’s been leaks that they certainly think they’re giving you enough talent?
A: Again, I just coach the team. I like the talent that we have and we get a shot this week to see how our talent stacks up against their talent.
Q: After more time, what do you see on film of Mario Williams?
A: I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to get into another player. I know the angle you guys are taking and I see that their team’s won eight of nine. I can tell you that much.
Q: What have you seen from Marcell Dareus since he’s been back?
A: He’s playing fantastic. So that’s what I see. He hasn’t had the sack numbers or whatever but the guy, he’s an outstanding player. I mean, just outstanding.
Q: Where would this offense be without LeSean McCoy?
A: I don’t know, but I’m not going to waste my time thinking about it. I know he’s a huge factor in the success that we have had in some areas. He’s (a) slam-dunk Pro Bowl player. He’s having an unbelievable year.
Q: He said he still thinks he has three or four years of prime play left.
A: Well it’s hard to doubt him. I mean the type of year he’s having now, I would say the way he keeps himself in shape and all that—I told him the other day, I’m like, “golly, it’s like your second or third year in the league.” I mean the guy’s having a phenomenal year.
Q: Is it almost a helpless feeling to not control your own destiny and have to root for other teams?
A: Not a helpless feeling. We’re just going to have to do our best to win our games. That’s what we can control and that’s where the focus is and I think there’s some excitement about (it). We have two games left and this one in particular, like I say, hottest team in football, so bring it on.
Q: You’ve gone on 10 days of talking and answering questions about your job. You’ve done a good job of it. Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody else here answered a few questions or talked about it? Why does everything have to come through you?
A: I don’t know, I just answer the questions you give me or something like that. If people thought it was appropriate, I’m sure they would but right now we know we have these two games and man, I’m excited. I’m excited about playing against a team that quite honestly, they were more physical than us. They took our blueprint and outperformed us. I mean they ran the ball, they did a great job so that was at their place, we’re at our place and I’m excited to have them in our building.
Q: Wouldn’t be reassuring though if someone came out one way or the other?
A: But it doesn’t really matter to me. My job’s to coach the football team, that’s what I’m going to do and there’s no focus anywhere else. This is it. I truly believe we’re going to play a great game and we’ll see if it’s good enough but we’re going to play a great game.
Q: Did your experience with the Jets help prepare you for this?
A: Maybe so, but I think being around the NFL as long as I have—I forget how many years. I think somebody was saying maybe 45 years, a Ryan’s been on the sideline of an NFL game—that might have something to do with it. I really know the business and to me, the important thing is do the very best job you can with that’s right in front of you, and that’s what I do.
DT Marcell Dareus
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Q: When you watch Jay Ajayi on tape, what do you see from him?
A: I mean he’s a hard runner. He finds holes and he likes to punish people. He really likes to come down and play hard. I mean he enjoys the game you can clearly see and I just can’t wait to meet him.
Q: With all these questions about Rex’s future, do you hope ownership will maybe take your opinion into account when it comes to major decisions of that magnitude?
A: Really when it comes down to that, I have no result. I really don’t think my opinion matters that much. Like I said last time, shoot, we’re all on the chopping block. Nobody’s job is safe. We just go out there doing the best we can and we’re going to continue to do that.
Q: As far as the scheme, there was talk about setting the edge and forcing them inside and then getting them when they come inside. Do you sense that you can take the same approach as long as you do the job when the guy wants to cut it back in?
A: We’re just going to do the best with the game-plan we have with (what) Rex and his brother come up with and we’re going to go out there and just execute. I feel like we have something pretty good for them and we’ll just play fast and go after them.
CB Stephon Gilmore
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Q: Any thoughts on what happened with Aaron Williams the last time you guys played?
A: We’re just going to keep it in between the game. We know what happened, we know it was a dirty hit but if we win the game I think that’ll hurt them more than doing anything out of the ordinary.
Q: Did you get a chance to review tape and probably see the hit?
A: It was a dirty hit. I mean I’ve seen it, it was right in front of me. We can’t go out there and play with emotion. We know it was dirty but like I said, we go out there and get the win then that takes care of everything.
Q: Looking ahead to Saturday, this might be your last home game with the Bills. Have you given that any thought?
A: I mean yes, that’s a true statement but I try not to—if it happens it happens. I don’t really try to think about it too much. Just go out there and play my game for these last two games and whatever happens, happens.
OL Richie Incognito
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Q: Do teammates actually appreciate the fact that LeSean [McCoy] is sharing the love [letting offensive linemen spike the ball] with you guys?
A: Yeah, it’s pretty cool. When you’re having the success that we’ve had running the football and you’re getting in the end zone as often as we do running the football, it’s a fun deal. We came out with the mindset – we weren’t going to lose to the Browns. We were going to go out there and play physical, and kind of set the tone for the rest of our season. We did that. We ran the ball up and down the field and were just having a little fun in the end zone.
Q: Is there a mindset, given the fact that LeSean wasn’t healthy for that game at Miami, that you guys have some offense on the table and maybe this might be a chance to get them back?
A: Yeah. I think last time we went down to Miami, the offensive line didn’t play well enough for us to win that ballgame. I think it’s on us up front. We’re a talented group up front. They’re doing really good on third down. They’re leading the league on third down and that’s on us. We’ve got to run the football, find rhythm and protect Tyrod [Taylor] and give him the opportunity to throw the ball down the field.
Q: Only ten teams have scored thirty touchdowns rushing in one season. You guys are three [touchdowns] away. I’m not sure if you’re aware of that, but how much pride would this team and your offensive line take in getting to that?
A: Yeah, it would be pretty cool. I’d take two more wins over thirty rushing touchdowns any day of the week. That’s our focus right now, just getting two wins. We’ve got Miami coming in here. They’re rolling – they’ve won eight of their last nine, and they’re playing good football. They’ve kind of turned things around and it’ll be big for us to get a big win.
RB LeSean McCoy
December 20, 2016
Q: Under the assumption that you’re a Pro Bowl select, last year you said you didn’t think it was deserving. How do you feel about yourself this year?
A: Probably this year I probably deserve it more than last year. It’s a collective type of achievement. I think the guys up front blocking away for me week-in-week-out. Tight ends and wide receivers and Jerome Felton, so it’s all together type of achievement.
Q: You have had a couple of these games where you have been pretty dominant types of rushing games. What’s all working together from your stand point? It looks like you’re at the top of your game, how do you see it?
A: I think it’s the guys up front. They’re really playing well. Giving me some opportunities, a lot of one-on-one opportunities. I think Coach (Anthony) Lynn the way he’s calling, his play calling since he took over has been a lot different. More or less though, I think that when you first think of me you think of the guy that wants to go outside, but he kinda knows how I play. I’d rather get in the middle and dance a little bit and then try to get a run, but it’s this offense. I think it fits me. A quarterback that can scramble, that can run helps out. Those defensive guys have to take that into account. Overall just the schemes and the way that Coach (Anthony) Lynn calls his plays, it’s the guys up front really.
Q: Has it become a tradition for you to hand the ball off to Richie (Incognito) for a spike?
A: No. It was just a big game, the way that they were blocking and they never get any credit. You know, if I don’t do a good job then it’s always, “oh they didn’t block well”. If I did a great job, “oh it’s Shady”. So it was something to just have some fun. Let him know that I appreciate him and not just him all of the guys. The only thing that Richie (Incognito) has is a personality. So, it worked out.
Q: The other thing about this front that you talk about hasn’t helped, to lose your center, to lose Eric Wood the way you did. Then Ryan (Groy) steps in there it seems like, I don’t want to say it, but you haven’t lost a beat, but that’s part of the story.
A: Yeah, well when you kind of push a team together you always want to have depth. That’s the difference between a good team and a great team. You know, one thing that I think that we have here is depth. Like you said, Ryan (Groy) stepped in, he’s played excellent. (Cyrus) Kouandjio has stepped up, he’s played excellent. Even Jordan (Mills), at one time he wasn’t the starter, he’s now “the guy”, so I think that’s what makes a team good, when you get some depth. When guys can step in there and not miss a beat.
Q: The owners seem to talk to the players a lot here at the end of the year. Are you hoping that before there is any decision made on the coaching and the coaching staff that maybe you’re a part of a voice that maybe could be heard?
A: I think that the first thing, is just the task at hand. Just going out here and getting this win Sunday and the next week after that. I think that the big stuff will happen as far as what we are going to do. The hardest part of this game is the unknown. Not knowing what will happen. The only thing that you can control is just to win games. But just knowing the type of staff that we have here and the ownership, I’m sure that they’ll look for advice, but at the end of the day they have the last opinion. That’s what really matters.
Q: With how much you love your coach, how do you feel with him being left to twist in the wind here? I mean, management hasn’t said anything.
A: Yeah, right. Like I said I can’t control that. Just that I’m stating it out that I support him and just to ask question about it. We all hear the same things floating around, rumors. But you can’t control the rumors and I support him. You know, we have a good management, we really do. A lot of places don’t have this, they really don’t. They’re very hands-on. They’re involved with the community and involved with this team. They know what’s going on in the locker room and that’s a good thing, so they communicate with their players. They know exactly what to think, instead of trying to figure it out. That’s one thing that I like about them that they go to the source where most people just go by hearsay.
Q: LeSean, if you were asked your opinion at the end of the year, is that something that you would be willing to talk about?
A: Yeah, I’ve always felt that players and coaches, the assigned coaches, unless they do something crazy like trade their best player, but in all seriousness, I believe that coaches should get some years to establish their culture, their players and kind change things. I think it takes time. I mean it’s hard the next year or the year after that to just flip it. But, I’m not a coach and I can only imagine how hard it is to control a group of guys and do what you want to do. It’s a tough job, but I think it takes time. And just to speak on that, knowing the type of locker room we have and the type of players, the commitment, the talent we have, we get it done.
Q: How disappointing are the memories from Miami in the second half?
A: Yeah it was tough. That was a game that we actually had, we let that game slip away. So we’re definitely going to pay them back because I didn’t really get the chance to play, I’m not going to lie, due to injuries. So now I’m healthy. I can’t wait to get out there and play.
Q: How do you feel now that you’re going to be giving that defense something that it hasn’t seen?
A: Yeah, since I’ve been here we’ve had good success against Miami. This year they got us. I didn’t play the first game against them really, so I can’t wait to get out there and perform.
Q: You guys were 4-2 going into that game and they were 2-4. Is that the game that tipped the scales for both of the teams?
A: I’m not sure for us, but for them they kind of went on a winning streak after that game. But they’re a good team for a defense and the guys up front get to the quarterback I mean, they have a talented defense for sure. That always puzzled me about them because you look at their team and their roster, you would think they would be a winning, winning team year in and year out. So, this year I think they are actually playing to their potential. So it’s not really a surprise. I mean, they’re a good team, we’re a good team so we’ll figure it out on Sunday.
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Q: Looking over the tape of what happened last time and seeing the hit Jarvis Landry had on Aaron Williams, do you have any thoughts on what happened?
A: Yeah, I mean I have my own reaction to it, specifically about that hit, but I’m going to keep it to myself. As far as the game, they just out-physicaled us that first go-round, so we got to come in with the mind-frame of coming out with fire, a lot of fire and just not getting out-physicaled this go-round.
Q: How important is it to remain composed against Jarvis Landry so you don’t get into any disciplinary problems?
A: Right, we definitely can’t let him get us out of our game. We have to play our game. He’s just one guy that made a move that real professionals wouldn’t make at that time, but as far as the game, we got to come out and stay focused on trying to get a win.
Q: How big of a loss has it been not having Aaron out there?
A: You can feel it. It’s definitely been something we’ve been trying to adjust with ever since he’s been out for the rest of the season and it’s tough. Aaron is a great player and he brings a lot to the table and he brings a lot for our defense.
QB Tyrod Taylor
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Q: You entered this matchup the first time around, you guys were 4-2 and they were 2-4. Since that game and the outcome of that game, both seasons seem to have gone in opposite directions. Was that a little bit of the tipping point of the season?
A: For our season or theirs?
Q: Both I guess.
A: Yeah, I guess if you look at the two storylines, like you said, both of them are flipped. They went on a run kind of after they played us. And we lost two more games after that going into the bye. But a very good team, was a good team then, bunch of talented players on both offense and defense. We definitely have to bring our A game going into this game. Definitely a very important game for us, as well as them, but I’m looking forward to getting out there. It’s always fun to play against these guys so definitely looking forward to the challenge that we have coming on Sunday.
Q: What’s the story behind your Sabres hat the last two weeks? Anything special?
A: Chris Jenkins picks out my hats. (Laughs)
Q: Are you a hockey fan at all?
A: No. I started watching hockey when I got up here. I’ve been to four games so far.
Q: You guys were kind of able to manipulate some matchups last week against Cleveland. I know you guys try to do that every week, but it seemed to be inordinately successful last week. Do you guys feel that you’ve come upon something that you feel you can find those answers maybe better here in the second meeting with Miami rather than the how things unfolded the first time?
A: It’s definitely a lot to learn from in the first game. Like you said, matchup-wise they’ve had a couple of shakeups in the secondary. But definitely, getting Charles Clay going, getting our guys going and winning those individual matchups definitely comes down to us putting a plan together, and I think we’ve done a good job with our first and second down plans so far. We’ll continue to keep building on the third down and red zone but it’s our job to get our players in the best situation as possible to go out there and be successful, and I think we’re doing that. We’ve just got to continue to keep doing better at it.
Q: I know sometimes players are going to be missing from your lineup. You guys didn’t have Marcell Dareus, Sammy Watkins, and LeSean McCoy only played half of the game and wasn’t 100 percent. When you think about the fact that you’re going to have all those guys, what kind of feeling does that give the whole team when you have all of your horses?
A: I think (Robert) Woods was out that game too. But yeah, just having those guys back, I mean those are big time playmakers, and guys that make plays on both sides of the ball. Guys that can create plays, and like I said, make plays happen. So having those guys back in our lineup definitely makes our team a better team. It’s just about us going out there and executing. And playing four quarters, the way we know how to play.
Q: The ownership has seemed to lean on the opinions of some of the players throughout the year. I know that the players talk a lot about how they’ve talked to the Pegula’s throughout the year. No matter how the coaching thing ends up at the end of the season, do you hope that the voices are heard from the players again?
A: Absolutely. We have a head coach that stands by his players, as well as a locker room that stands by the head coach, and hopefully the voices are definitely heard. Ultimately that’s not my decision. Like you said that comes from a decision that’s higher than us. But guys love playing for Rex (Ryan). He’s done a good job in the time that he’s been here. We just haven’t finished games, as players, the way we wanted to. I mea, we’ve got to deal with whatever comes but like I said, guys love playing for Rex. I love playing for Rex and love having him here.
WR Sammy Watkins
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Q: You had one catch for 10 yards last game. That can’t be what you’re looking for.
A: That’s not what any receiver is looking for. Every receiver is looking to have six, seven, eight catches, 100 yards but for me, I just put it on film. I used to get mad when coaches tell me that, like just leave it on film, but I think that everybody who watches film will see that certain times I’m getting open. It’s not just, ‘he’s not getting the ball.’ Most of the time I was about to get the ball, it was kind of pressure situations and I’m wide open. I’d be thinking about just flipping out, showing bad body language but you can’t do that. It’s on to the next play.
Q: So you feel like you are winning your battles?
A: I think all the wide-outs, all the receivers and tight ends are. Like I said, it’s certain situations where a guy’s right in his face getting pressure. It’s like, ‘Ah!’ Like you want to be mad, but at the same time you’ve got to look at the whole play. When you go watch film, you’re like, “Ah, man, dang. He’s got somebody in his face, he couldn’t throw it to me.” So those are things you kind of have to weigh in. You can’t control the line or what goes on back there.
Q: You talked about not being angry. Is that just kind of the maturity of being around and knowing that your body language affects the team as a leader?
A: Yes, you got to grow up. I can flip out and say I’m not getting the ball, but is that going to help the team? Is it going to help the quarterback and myself, saying I need the ball? If you say that then he’ll force you the ball then other guys are open so it’s a lose-lose situation when you ask for the ball because sometimes you get double-coverage and they throw the ball in double coverage. I don’t want the ball then, so you can’t really get involved in saying I want the ball on every play or I need ‘this’ certain amount of passes.
Courtesy of the Buffalo Bills