Head Coach Sean McDermott
Opening Statement: Alright, just to get started here, injury update-wise: the following players will not practice today, starting with LeSean McCoy. He just got a bug overnight there. We’re going to continue to evaluate that and monitor his situation. No change, really, with Colt Anderson, Ian Seau and Brandon Tate. Their status – they’ll miss practice today. When you look at veterans day off – two players: Eric Wood and Lorenzo Alexander will be held out today from a veteran day off standpoint, similar to Charles Clay the other day. With that, I’ll take your questions.
Q: Is Marcell Dareus going to be practicing today?
A: He’ll be practicing, yes. We’ll monitor his reps as we work him back in with the hamstring [injury], but he will be practicing today.
Q: Have you seen any separation – it’s early, but the backup running back spot. That’s a pretty good competition to watch – one guy in particular: [Jonathan] Williams. What have you seen? What do you like so far out of him?
A: I really like his effort. He’s made a conscious effort, number one, to secure the football, and then what we’re watching is a young player, a second-year player, develop both on and off the field. He’s making strides and we have to continue to expose him to certain situations – game-time situations. But he’s done a nice job so far in camp, as have the other running backs. Mike Tolbert, I would say the same. Mike’s playing both fullback and halfback and has had a nice camp so far. [He] came into camp in shape. The other two younger running backs with Jordan [Johnson] and Cedric [O’Neal] have done a nice job. Really, it’s not just running the football, though. There’s protection that has to be a big part of what we do in terms of protecting the quarterback. Those guys have had a good camp.
Q: Zay Jones – if you could assess how you’ve been trying to work him in and it looks like he’s been in different spots. Give me a thought process on the way you’ve been using him so far.
A: Zay’s done a nice job. I like what Rick [Dennison] and Phil [McGeoghan] have done with him in terms of bringing him along. He’s working at two different positions – he’s working outside and then he’s working inside in the slot. You don’t find a lot of young receivers that can manage the mental part of the game that way. He’s had a nice camp to date. I like how he’s catching the football and you watch him get better and better each day in understanding the system and understanding what it’s going to take to play at this level. He’s done a nice job.
Q: With guys like Kevon Seymour, what stands out to you?
A: Well, another player in his second year and versatility, I would say, is probably the key. He plays inside and also plays outside. There [are] not a lot of corners in this league that bring that to the table. He’s done a nice job for us, and again, a young player that is developing and trying to build off of what he did last year and the foundation he built last year. [We’re] encouraged by that.
Q: With [Stephon] Gilmore being gone, how much is Seymour going to have to do?
A: I think he needs to do what he does best. Again, you saw some of that last year and the mental part of the game, he seems to have a pretty good handle on in terms of that inside position and the outside. I never want to compare two players in that way – he’s a different player, is Kevon. He’s got strength, he’s got speed, he does a nice job.
Q: With Adolphus [Washington] and his situation over the summer, it seems like he’s getting the reps behind Marcell. Do you see him kind of focusing on football and putting that behind him and doing what he’s supposed to do on the field and off the field?
A: The focus is important, that he can focus and flip the switch in terms of when it’s time to work, it’s time to work. He’s done a good job of that so far. Again, another second-year player that we’re trying to bring along and develop and he’s done a good job. Yet, there’s a lot of work to do and we’re not there yet as a football team. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re coming off of about four or five practices and a chance, in the last day, to hit the reset button and assess where we are as a football team. We feel good about the work we’ve put in the previous four or five days. That said, we’ve got a lot of work to do – a lot of growing to do as a football team both on and off the field. The names that have just been brought up are some young players that have done some good things and we just need to continue to grow as an overall football team.
Q: Coach, what is your agenda here in camp to maybe mix and match 3’s against 2’s, or maybe 2’s against 1’s and maybe take some of those guys further down on the depth chart and say ‘let’s see these guys against 1’s today and maybe get a better evaluation.’ Is that part of what you have lined up here over the course of camp?
A: Well, there’s a tendency not to do that, when you say ‘I want to see 1’s with 1’s, 2’s with 2’s’ so on and so forth down the line. That said, it’s to our advantage – it’s smart to do that – to blend players because, as we’ve said from the start, no one’s been named a starter from that standpoint. We want to see 2’s play with 1’s and see who can handle that because you never know until you try it and we owe that to the players to give them those chances, those opportunities. Sometimes, you’ll find players raise their game. Sometimes, players can’t go to that next level and that’s part of the evaluation process as well. That’s fun to watch. At some point down the line there will be times where we say ‘hey, lock them in’ from a practice standpoint because of the continuity and the chemistry that builds timing-wise, so on and so forth. Right now, it’s a time for us to mix-and-match and see who can handle that next level.
Q: With what you just said in mind though, to this point we haven’t seen Reggie Ragland work with the first team defense at all. We all assumed that was going to be a competition between him and Preston Brown. Why is that and is that maybe a plan in the future to get Reggie some first-team work?
A: There’s a plan for every player. Reggie’s, again, another second-year player coming off of the injury he came off of. Really, this is his first year. Acclimating him to practice tempo – he missed most of the spring – acclimating him to the system and putting him in position, like we try to do with all of our players, to have success; success early, and success in the long term. I like what he did the other day – the second day in pads. I saw a physical aspect of his game, an emotional aspect of his game that we need in our defense. A lot of work remains for all of us, including Reggie at this point.
Q: Is Seantrel Henderson one of those guys that you talked about there, who would be mixing in with the 1’s? We’ve seen him sort of step in for Cordy [Glenn]. What do you think about the job he’s done doing that?
A: Yeah, he’s done a nice job. He’s one of the guys that has moved in to rotate with some 1’s from time to time. It’s all part of the competition, as well. I like how he’s handled it – certainly a good athlete. The progression, the development with Seantrel continues. We know what he’s dealt with off the field at times and so that’s part of developing the overall player. I like what he’s done so far in camp.
Q: From a physical standpoint, with what he’s dealt with, he seems to be at a good weight. Are you happy with how he is, conditioning-wise?
A: Right, he came in about, I think it was about 340, and he’s done a nice job. He’s fluctuated because of some of those issues he’s had going on, but I like how he’s handled it. Eric Ciano and his staff have done a great job. Shone [Gipson] and his staff, the same. The plan and the development plan continues for Seantrel at this point.
Q: Sean, as a Philly guy, Metz – a Philly guy too – the kid went to China to keep his football dream alive. Do you kind of root for him, not because he’s a Philly guy, but the story of this kid who came from Shippensburg for crying out loud and has played arena football in China to keep the dream alive. You kind of like a story like that or root for a guy like that?
A: Yeah, I’ve got a special place in my heart for underdogs. I kind of relate to that. We were talking this morning – I was at breakfast with a couple of the staff members and players. You go through adverse times in your life and it’s how you handle those times that’ll determine how high you go, how far you go in life. Those are all good stories, and that’s not the only story that’s out there. We’ve got a bunch of those types of guys on our football team that I think this city really would embrace for all of those reasons.
Q: Coach, would you consider Jordan Johnson one of those underdog stories and what kind of impression has he made on you so far?
A: I mean, no different. Undrafted college free agent, local guy. In the way that he’s embraced this challenge so far, it speaks for itself. Those are the types of guys that we’re looking for, and it’s not just evaluation of what happens on the field, but what we value off the field in terms of the types of people that don’t shy away from the challenge and Jordan’s done a nice job so far.
Q: This offensive line is coming off two really good seasons, in particular running the ball. How are they picking up the new scheme so far?
A: They’re doing a good job, they really are. A little bit different scheme from maybe the last couple of years. The leadership of Eric Wood and Richie Incognito is very evident up front. We’ve got some good position battles that are going on, a couple of them referenced earlier here. So, I’m encouraged by the offensive line and the defensive line, you know, that’s an important part of building our football team, in terms of the units up front on both sides.
Q: Sean are you guys going to have a live scrimmage at all during camp or are you going to save that for the preseason games?
A: We’ll take some opportunities to go live, when and how much remains to be seen. We got some ideas in mind. I’ve got it scripted out. That said, I’ve got to continue to keep the day-to-day pulse of the football team in mind. In terms of where we are and what we need to get done yet. The overall health of the football team, too. So, I would like to turn it up a couple times before now and the first preseason game.
Q: Is Ron Darby a full participant today?
A: He is, yes.
Q: We saw Tanner Vallejo getting some very minor work in with the first team, but still in there nonetheless as a rookie. What have you liked from his practices so far?
A: Well it’s really what we saw in college when we drafted Tanner. Very instinctive football player. Another player that plays – has handled more than one position, as a young player. We’re very impressed with what he has done on the field. Seems to be very business-like in his approach off the field, in terms of the time he spends in the preparation and that translates into his success on the field so far. So, he is productive, he’s around the football. Early at this point, and early returns are positive at this point, still a lot of work to get done though.
Q: You mentioned having a plan for Charles Clay back in the spring, with his knee, how do you feel he is responding early in camp and what type of shape did he come
A: Yeah, the coaches and the training staff put together a good schedule for Charles. You know, tried to identify the days where we really need to see him out there and yet making sure we keep him available to us. I like what he has done to this point. He seems like he has got a little bounce in his step and has responded to the time off, as well. So, that relationship that he has with the quarterback is an important one – that they know where he is, that they know where to find him in critical situations. And then the great part about him, is he can stretch the field vertically, as well. So, he’s done a nice job.
Q: Sean, is the management of the play snaps based on your training staff, coaching program versus him telling you the knee is a little sore today. How much of that is based on his feedback?
A: There’s a proactive approach that we lay a schedule out of basically if things go unchanged this is how we’d like it to look. That said, just like with any of our players if we’re getting feedback from the player of ‘I’m a little sore,’ and then we go into further evaluation of what that soreness means and then what it could mean in terms of practice time.
Q: Are you hearing that from him yet?
A: No not at all. He’s done a great job. That’s what I’ve said. The plan is working so far and we’re off to a good start.
Q: Sean, what have you seen from Preston Brown now that he’s the one getting the majority of the reps in the middle?
A: When we first came in, Preston was a player that we really had a chance to look at him on film the last couple of three years or so in two different system really. You watched him in the 4-3, you watched him in the 3-4. He had success in both. We really liked what we saw a couple of years ago in the 4-3 and he looks comfortable. He looks comfortable in the system. He’s a leader just by the position alone, in terms of what that brings to the table and what we need from that position. So, watching him the other day, he had a blitz, he made a nice adjustment on the fly and was able to get to the quarterback. He has done a nice job. Again, command of the defense will be important and his leadership has to be felt, not only with what’s going in front of him, but with the secondary, as well.
Q: Sean you signed Bacarri Rambo just over a week ago and he’s already getting reps with the second team. Your thoughts of just how encouraging a guy to come off the street and already pushing in there at the start of camp?
A: Right, veteran player. He obviously had skins on the wall, in terms of his experience and playing in this league and what it means, so that’s an advantage for us and for him. The system, just basically the terminology has been the biggest adjustment for Bacarri, in terms of very rarely do two places call the same thing, you know, equally. So, that’s been the biggest adjustment. He’s done a nice job with it. I know he’s been meeting with the coaches extra and that’s shown on the field.
DT Marcell Dareus
Q: How’s the hamstring feeling?
A: It’s feeling a lot better, feeling a lot better. I mean with the support of the guys, it makes practice a lot easier for me. Just going out there doing what I can, getting back into it. The trainers have done a great job, trying their best to get me out there, as soon as possible.
Q: Can you describe kind of what happened when you tweaked that made you miss the last few days of practice?
A: All I can remember was just running and, you know, coming back into football, running into the big Eric Wood and Richie Incognito—we all know what kind of powerhouse those guys are. And just, one thing led to another, and just a really hot day, and things happen. I should have drinking a little more.
Q: Just what you said, do you see this as a one-off situation or anything chronic? Because you had some hamstring issues last year, too.
A: When you tweak one, normally something else happens because you’re pulling on this, pulling on that. So, it’s just getting things all together so I can just keep moving forward. Strengthening everything, just being one—being centered altogether and just kind of focusing on my body and just what we’ve got going on here in Buffalo.
Q: Marcell, tell me about your body composition coming into camp this year. You look thinner, you look like you’re moving a little faster. You knew you were going to be playing in an up-field scheme, so let me know how you’re feeling in terms of body composition?
A: Well, I just really want to be prepared for what we’re going for, what we’ve got planned for this year. Kyle Williams coming back was a big thing for me, so I want to the best I can for him and my teammates. I just want to come in, in shape ready to go, but from there it’s just continuing to work hard, continuing to do what I need to do to fall into that roll and just be the best person and player I can possibly be for my teammates.
Q: I know you’ve always looked up to Kyle (Williams) and he’s kind of been a sounding board for you. I know when we talked to you in the spring you said, ‘I’m glad Kyle’s back.’ What is it about that relationship that makes it so special for you?
A: I mean, this is our seventh year playing together. I haven’t played a game-- I haven’t been in too many seasons without him. I mean, we’ve doing pretty well together, we have a lot of fun out there. I would say that he would be my work wife and we have good communication, so – we don’t fight, we don’t argue, we just kind of go with the flow.
Q: You might fight if Kyle finds out that you called him his work wife.
A: I want him to know that.
Q: Hey Marcell, I know you can play 3-4/4-3, you’re comfortable, but do you feel the defense with the guys you have this is a better fit overall for everybody? Shaq (Lawson) said the other day that he never felt comfortable in the 3-4, that he likes this defense. So, you think overall that your parts fit better in this defense?
A: I mean, if everybody knows what they’re doing, there’s no problem with any game plan we’re going to be doing. So, whatever game plan we’re in, we’re just going to do the best we could and just focus in on know exactly knowing what we’re doing and knowing how to do it. With this defense, McDermott, he did a great job with that. He teaches me, he clarifies every position for everybody. So, do your job and everything else takes care of itself.
Q: It’s been spelled out so specifically that ‘Marcell, this is what we need from you.’ I mean, is this as clear a head as you can go into a season with, as far as knowing responsibilities and stuff?
A: It is the beginning of camp and [Coach Sean] McDermott has a lot more plays he wants to throw into the playbook for us and give our tools so at the same time we’re still dissecting everything, getting the patterns and the timing down, among other things. We still have a little bit more gelling to do and getting to know each other a little bit, but for the most part everything’s been clear-cut for us.
Q: Marcell, with everything that happened last year, obviously it wasn’t your best season. Do you feel you have something to prove this year?
A: If anything, I have something to prove to myself and to my teammates and the fans. I just want to do my best. Me doing my best I know is good enough.
Q: Marcell, what kind of influence has Mike [Waufle] been as a position coach?
A: He’s a motivator. He’s a motivator. He’s very strategic and he’s a no-nonsense guy. At the same time, he’s a Marine so do it the right way and don’t waste your time. Don’t waste movements, and just do it the right way. Do it the best way you can, possible.
Q: Has he come as advertised – Mike Waufle – in the sense of – I don’t know if you watched HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ last year with the Rams and getting in guys’ faces. Is that happening with you or anyone else in the meeting rooms or –
A: Waufle’s a big kid. He’s funny, he cracks jokes all day, but when it comes to football and things that we’re doing, he just wants things done the right way. He’s just a happy guy. He just wants to act a fool and have fun.
Q: Did you watch ‘Hard Knocks’?
A: I mean, not really. Everybody talked about it. I watch cartoons all day, man.
Q: You’ve had success in the league, you’ve gotten paid in the league, you’ve done well – Is there another gear, do you have more? I mean, this team is crying out for that, especially from somebody like you – Do you think there’s more than you’ve already shown?
A: You will see…next question?
Q: It seems like you guys are getting more pressure into the backfield this year than you have the last couple years – Do you think, well at least in practice, do you think that’s true and if so why do you think you guys are able to generate it more this year than you have in the last couple years?
A: It’s just practice ‘big dog,’ it’s just practice. We’re all working things out, the coaches are putting the game plan and things together when we get out there. It’s looking the way they want it to look, and we’re just playing our role the best way we can. Once we get live bullets, we get a couple preseason games in, we’ll have a better understanding of our pressure.
Q: How motivating is it for you to know that there are people that doubt whether you can stay healthy, whether you can stay on the field for suspension-related reasons – Knowing that there’s that doubt out there, how motivating is that?
A: I don’t even think about them; I have no time, I have no space in my mind. I have a season, I have to get prepared for my teammates, and I know they’re doing the best for me. I’m just going to continue to put one foot in front of the other, and just stay focused.
Q: So who’s your favorite cartoon character?
A: The Marvelous Adventures of Gumball
Q: You came in to the league seven years ago, and nutrition has changed – You hear about guys, I’ve talked to Seantrel Henderson, about how pilates – I’ve gotten into yoga myself recently – Have you incorporated any of that? Like for mind, especially yoga, mind, body, flexibility?
A: I’m more of a cyclist, I like to ride bikes – Road ride, get out there, give me 10 miles, get my riders high, and I just kind of just cruise out, get back on. That’s kind of my thing; And hiking, I like to hike trails, be in the woods.
Q: You mainly just ride in the streets?
A: Yeah, right on the street
Q: What kind of bike?
A: I got a Cannondale and a Tred, I got about 20 bikes – I like to have one everywhere I’m at so I don’t have to haul them around.
LB Reggie Ragland
Q: I know they’ve got you at mike with the second group, some nickel, they’re moving you around a little bit, they’re moving Gerald (Hodges) around a little bit. Maybe just talk to me about the different angles and subs there that you’re trying to master.
A: I do whatever coach wants me to do. If he wants me to sub, he wants me to sub. If not, I’m going to still play hard and come back there when I do my reps and stuff. But for the most part, I’m doing whatever coach wants me to do.
Q: Do you feel like your legs are totally under you. I know you got a lot of work in the spring. Now that the pads are on, I’m just wondering how it feels now with the pads back on just carrying your weight and moving around. You feel good.
A: Yeah, the more and more I keep getting out here, the more and more I keep feeling better. I’m taking it day-by-day. Today if felt good with the pads on and I keep getting better.
Q: Do you feel like all those reads, those instincts are back 100 percent, you’re reading things as fast as you ever have?
A: Oh yeah. Day-by-day, I’m starting to see everything faster. I mean, I didn’t get much reps during OTAs, but now I’m getting more and more reps and I’m starting to see everything – it’s helping me see everything faster the more and more I’m out here.
Q: You got guys mixing in around you on either side of you. How is that for you? You have to communicate is one thing, but playing off of them is another. So how is that going? You know once that snap happens, it’s live how are you working off new guys?
A: It’s going good the more and more I play with each and everybody that I’m with, I’m getting a feel for them. So, I’m starting to get better. When Gerald (Hodges) is out there with me, I know how he’s playing/. With Tanner (Vallejo) and Matt (Milano) – so, I’m starting to get better with how they’re playing. So, it’s just really getting a feel for everybody the more and more I’m with them. So, it’s going to take time, but I feel like we’re getting better and better out there as a whole.
Q: Reggie, how close are you to feeling like your total self again?
A: It all depends on the more and more reps and the more and more I can come out here how I’m feeling. And just really, they said it’s going to take a whole year and whole year is going to be this Saturday on the field. So, we’ll see. But, the more and more I come out here, the more and more comfortable I’m getting.
TE Logan Thomas
Q: First and foremost, just talk about the way this camp is going for you so far. I know that it seems like you’re getting more and more work out there every passing day, even some reps with the first team when Charles [Clay] gets rest. Where do you think that you stand at this point?
A: I’m not sure at what point I stand. All that I know is that I come out every day trying to learn, trying to get better. I try not to make the same mistake twice and that’s what this camp is really all about for me, just [to] keep getting better and better and give myself an opportunity to make the team and play.
Q: You have a lot to learn because this is still a brand new position for you, right? I mean, what has this transition been like from quarterback, where you’re drafted and expected to make an NFL career out of that, and now moving over to tight end?
A: Yeah, it’s been up and down. Just kind of like anything – you start something new, you’re going to have the ups, you’re going to have the downs but when you have those downs, you learn from them and you keep on moving forward. I got a lot of good guys in my room to help me learn and Coach Rob [Boras] is a great coach as well. It’s making the transition better than I could even ask.
Q: You’ve held footballs your whole life, whether it’s quarterback, catching the ball, and now you have to actually block people too. Is that the toughest part of the transition?
A: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, who blocks when they’re a quarterback? I’ve played it since my sophomore year in high school, and before that I played receiver. Those positions don’t block a whole lot, so for me, it’s just learning the techniques, the fundamentals, the basics, really. Then I try to build on them every time I come out here.
Q: You talked about learning the basics and the blocking schemes and things like that. How much, as a quarterback, knowing the route tree already – kind of knowing where guys need to be – how much has that helped learning those basics because maybe you haven’t had to learn as much of the route running and things like that?
A: Right, and I haven’t had to focus as much on the pass game, which makes me focus on the run game. I’m putting my complete focus on the run game, so yeah – to answer your question, yes it helps a lot.
Q: How much has being around former Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor helped in the transition?
A: I mean, it makes you comfortable. I came into a new place, obviously, but coming to a new place with people you know, people you trust, people you understand – it makes it easy.