Q: So how did the first practice go and how much had you been doing, football-wise, prior to today?
A: Today went well for a first day, but I’ve been doing this for quite some time now. You don’t put too much into that first day as far as knowing everything. Knowing you’re coming into a new system, it’s still like you’re a rookie. You have to learn everything and I’m still in that process so I’m still learning, still studying, doing extra meetings with my position coach – just trying to get caught up as much as possible.
Q: Zay Jones told us that you’re already in the huddle calling plays and stuff like that. He was impressed at how you were already well-versed in the playbook?
A: Well, it’s because I didn’t get any sleep last night. But like I said, I’m just trying to get caught up. These guys have been going through it in the spring and had about 11 or 12 practices in training camp so I’m behind so I’m just trying to catch up as much as possible.
Q: Why was this the right fit for you? Why were the Bills the right spot for you?
A: I just felt comfortable when I took my visit. I had a chance to meet my coach [and] just liked the direction that everything was headed in.
Q: At this stage, you’ve accomplished so much in, really, everything. What’s driving you for a another season in this league?
A: For me, I still have a passion to play football. Coming here to Buffalo, I’ve seen how excited the fans are and how into football they are. I love the culture that’s around here. I know some guys that are on this team. I know where their hearts are [and] how they view football so I felt like this was a good place for me to be.
Q: During the visit, between then and when you signed, can you kind of walk us through the relationship and how that all evolved between you and the Bills in your decision-making process?
A: Well, for me, it was just staying in contact with them. Letting them know where I was, the things I was trying to process. Like I said, I felt like it was a good fit so that wasn’t a question of whether I wanted to be here or not. I was just trying to get other things figured out.
Q: When practice was over, you got the receivers together and talked to a few of the guys who were encouraged by what you said to them. Can you tell us what you said to the guys?
A: That’s in-house stuff. I mean, you can’t share [that]. But, [I was] just encouraging them. Some of those guys, it is their first training camp. In training camp, some guys get tired. That’s just the process of it, but just trying to keep those guys motivated and letting them know that, in spite of how you feel, you have to come out and work every day.
Q: Anquan, I know that it’s just day 1 but is it nice to already be familiar with Tyrod Taylor?
A: Yeah. That is a sense of comfort, there. A guy who I played with for a couple of years, having him be the guy to throw the football – it does bring a sense of comfort.
Q: How do you react when a guy like Zay says ‘I was six when he first began playing – he played with my uncle’?
A: Probably the same way – I mean, I played with Emmitt Smith my rookie year and I gave him heat about having his rookie card and all that stuff so I guess it’s just me getting it back.
Q: But, to be still playing at the level that you’re playing at, how much longer do you think you can still play, given what you did in Detroit when you scored eight touchdowns and what you’ve done?
A: Only time will tell. For me, I just take it one year at a time. Especially at this point of your career, you can’t get too far ahead of yourself so I just take it a year at a time. Once I’m committed, I’m all in and I see how the season goes from there and make a decision in the offseason.
Q: One could’ve looked at your situation and easily said ‘well, he’s going to play.’ But a player in those circumstances would normally look for what looked like a team that’s closer to more of a contender in the postseason. And I’m not saying that they can’t be, but when you were sorting out opportunities, how did that weigh in your thinking? Like, how close would this team or a team be to being a contender?
A: Well, I think this team is close enough, to be honest with you. The thing you can’t do is try to figure out which team is going to win the Super Bowl. I mean, there [are] a lot of experts out there that are wrong every year and I just know that from playing football. Some of the best teams I’ve been on haven’t won a Super Bowl. There’s a lot of variables and there’s a lot of factors that go into winning a Super Bowl and you just have to have some things go right – Injuries being one of them. That’s something that nobody can predict. When you’re in the offseason and you’re trying to go through all that stuff, you can’t beat your head trying to figure out ‘what if’ or ‘if this happens.’
Q: I read that your grandfather has a connection here, he’s a pro boxer and he trained in the Syracuse area. Did you ever come up here or even know about the area before you came up here?
A: I have family in this area. I have family in Buffalo. I have family in Rochester. I’m definitely well connected in this area.
Q: At this point, what is it that motivates you? Like Tyrod Taylor said, he comes up, he’s on the field, he plays with a chip on his shoulder. What at this point in your career do you have to prove to anyone?
A: I don’t think I have anything to prove, but for me, it’s about leaving a legacy. You want to be in control of your legacy at the end of the day. How things play out – I think that’s where I am in my career. I’m also playing to win another championship. That’s the reason I play this game. That’s the reason I’m here – to try and win a championship and nothing else.
Q: What can you do for a guy like Sammy Watkins? Talented guy, first round pick, just a few years in the league. When you look at a guy like that is there things you think you can do to help him?
A: Hopefully. Hopefully I can help him take his game to the next level. Honestly, that all depends on him. I can’t make anybody do anything, the only thing I can do is share my experiences and give him advice about different things that I’ve been through and different things that I’ve seen and experienced throughout my 15 years.
Q: What do you like about that part of the role that they brought you here for? The veteran leadership and helping some of those young guys. Obviously you came here to play, but they brought you here for veteran leadership. What do you like about that role, that part of it?
A: I think it’s a role that’s sometimes missing in this league. If you think about it, I didn’t have anybody in that position to help me out when I first came in the league. A lot of guys look at it as a younger guy is coming to take his job, he’s taking food off of his family’s table, that’s how I provide for my family so I’m not going to help this guy. But me, I see it in a different way. If I can help a guy be the best that he can be, I’m all for it because I feel like the better he is as my teammate, the better we’re going to be as a team. I’m all in as far as helping the guy get to that next level.
Q: I know you’re still getting to know Sean McDermott but what are your initial impressions with him?
A: Fiery guy, straightforward, man of his word, man of integrity – those are the things that I look for in a head coach. [Sean McDermott] says something, that’s what it is, a guy who’s going to shoot me straight, even if I don’t like it. That’s the kind of guy that he strikes me as.
Q: Does [Sean McDermott] remind you of any of the coaches that you’ve had in the past? Kind of the way he runs things.
A: I don’t to like to get in the comparison business too much because when you do that somebody gets shorted so I try and stay away from that.
Q: You said that this team is close. You’ve been on super bowl teams, but this team hasn’t been to the playoffs in 17 years. How do you know when something is right? When the team is moving in that right direction? I know it’s only been one day, but do you get any sense of that here?
A: I think when you get that sense of it, it’s not what you see on the field or in the game, I think it’s more the stuff that happens in the locker room or when you’re not on the field, when cameras aren’t around, when coaches even aren’t around. It’s the way that guys communicate, the kind of camaraderie that guys have amongst each other, the way that guys push each other – those are the things that probably the media can’t see because you’re not privy enough to those opportunities.
Q: I know it’s only one day of practice with him, but how much growth have you seen in Tyrod Taylor as a quarterback since his days in Baltimore?
A: [Tyrod Taylor]’s definitely light-years ahead of where he was when he was in Baltimore. He’s definitely more of a leader, his confidence is a lot higher. Not saying that he didn’t have it in Baltimore, but it wasn’t his show in Baltimore. This is his team and he’s taken that upon his shoulders.
Q: You’ve been so durable in your career, so available in your career, that’s one thing that this coaching staff really values. Of all the things that you’ve done, all the catches you’ve had, the yards…to do that, in this game, at that high a level, for that long, is that one of the things that you’re really proud of? That you’ve been able to be available for your team for so long?
A: Definitely. You can’t help your team if you aren’t on the field, so that’s something that you definitely have to look into. When I was younger, it’s something that I didn’t pay attention to. I just felt like I could roll out of bed and go perform, but the older you get, the more you have to pay attention to your body, the more you understand your body, what works and what doesn’t work. Hopefully that’s something I can help the younger guys with.
WR Zay Jones
Q: What does it mean to you to have a guy like Anquan [Boldin] come onto this team and the locker room?
A: It’s unbelievable, I was just talking to Anquan, and it’s funny because his rookie year in the league, I was only six years old. It just shows the level of maturity, the experience, and the veteran in him, having that with me is going to be unbelievable.
Q: How did he [Anquan Boldin] react to that knowing the age gap?
A: He laughed, he just laughed; it’s funny to really think about because he played with my uncle, Jeff Blake at the Cardinals. I knew of Anquan Boldin, I watched Anquan Boldin, have a lot of respect for him, it’s just awesome having him in our room.
Q: What is it you hope to learn in particular from a guy like Anquan Boldin?
A: Phenomenal player, in my opinion going to be a Hall-of-Fame player, so having someone like that, everything. Soak up everything, he just told us you’re not always going to feel the best in training camp, you’re going to be sore sometimes, you have to press through, and truly carry yourself like a professional. This is just day one with him, so fortunate to have someone like that.
Q: I know he’s [Anquan Boldin] been here for a day, quite literally – He seems like he’s already doing leadership stuff?
A: Oh my gosh, he was in there. I think he caught a skinny post, a slant, he’s a true professional. He got the playbook yesterday, he’s already working with one’s and two’s – It just shows you the type of level of player he is.
Q: Just in terms of leadership qualities – I think he [Anquan Boldin] huddled you guys up a little bit after practice – What was his message to you?
A: Yeah he did, like I was just explaining earlier when he was talking about how you’re not always going to feel the best, he’s already taking charge. When he speaks, all eyes are on him. I think we all have a great level of respect for him, just what he’s done.
Q: You’re out here competing for a job. You see a guy like that, he’s [Anquan Boldin] going to take some reps away from all the receivers. Does that go through your head, you disappointed in any way by that?
A: No, our goal is to win.
QB Tyrod Taylor
Q: So, Anquan Boldin. What are some of your initial impressions of the guy you see now and maybe take it back to the guy you remember?
A: Just a little bit of time I had with him today in individual.[drills] and staying after practice and working with him. [He is] still a great route runner. Of course, a guy that has strong hands – [he] was able to display that in a couple one-on-one periods and in team periods. Just a natural catcher in traffic so I think [we’re] definitely excited to have him [as] a part of this team. I know what he brings leadership-wise and as far as a player. He definitely brings a lot to the table and I’m excited to have him on board.
Q: Did you remind him of the catch he made back in December 2011 – your first completion?
A: Was that against the Chargers?
A: Yeah – I actually watched that video a couple days ago. We [were] talking on the field – the last time I actually threw to Anquan was warming up for the Super Bowl, actually. I was always – warmed him up, get him ready for games, so that was actually the last time me and him connected on a pass. Like I said, it was great to get back out there and throw to him. I can’t be more excited than to have him on the field.
Q: A receiver that is pretty light on experience, really. No matter what he does on the field, do you think the impact in the room is going to make a difference here?
A: Absolutely. His personality – he has a strong personality. Like you said, he’s been around the game for a while now. He knows a lot on the field and off the field.- what it takes to be an all-time pro and he can definitely teach that room a lot, as well as just being a good leadership for that group. I’m excited to have him in the room, teaching Sammy [Watkins], teaching [Andre Holmes], teaching Zay [Jones]. There’s no better guy in this league to learn from than Anquan.
Q: Do you think the middle of the field becomes a ‘pick your poison’ thing in terms of defending you guys passing-wise between Charles [Clay] and Anquan? I mean, that’s not a combination you want to see coming at you.
A: Definitely. We definitely have a bunch of targets. I just have to go across the middle of the field now. Some strong catchers, guys that do a great job with body position and making strong catches. Just got to utilize it as much as possible.
Q: What has made him so durable and so successful over the years?
A: Just being around him – I mean, the years I was with him in Baltimore, he works hard, treats every day with the same mentality – the workhorse mentality. I remember our receiver coach back in Baltimore tried to give him days off – vet days. He would never take those. Just continued to keep working and wants to get better. He plays with an angry attitude and plays with a chip on his shoulder and I think every time he steps on the field he has something to prove and that’s the feel that you get when you watch some tape on him.
Q: What’s been the feedback from Coach [Rick] Dennison, just in terms of what he wants to get accomplished on Thursday?
A: From a quarterback’s standpoint just get the ball out of our hands, listen to our feet. Don’t want us back there holding the ball in the preseason, that’s how you get hit and you definitely don’t want to get hit during the preseason. But execute, take charge of the offense and go up and down the field with the ball.
Q: He talked yesterday about an internal clock for the quarterbacks and his approach is your feet tell you when the ball should be out and that was a unique perspective that I don’t think any of us had heard. Can you just shed some light on what he means by that?
A: Whenever you get to hitching twice on a route, most of the time it’s because you’re waiting. He wants the ball out on the first hitch and if you get into your second hitch find the outlet. This offense is about timing and like he said you have to listen to your feet while in the pocket. Like you said, normally your feet tell you where to go with the ball, that’s pretty much it. Once you get to hitching too much, three hitches and you’re going to the number one in progression, you’re wrong. I don’t care if it’s a completion or not. Certain circumstances you may have to get out of the pocket, but for the most part if you’re hitching more than twice, you should be off your first progression.
Q: How much do you feel you’ve taken that out of your game? I don’t know how often it shows up for you. You review the practice film obviously, we don’t. Do you feel like you’ve ironed that out of your game?
A: Definitely I have. I remember it from being back at Baltimore. It wasn’t necessarily enforced throughout my whole career but definitely getting back in the rhythm and getting back in the timing with the receivers. It syncs up better and the ball is out of your hands, you’re not back there holding and putting stress on the mind. Even if you have to get into a check down. [LeSean McCoy] is a check down that you would want to get the ball to.
Q: When you get to this point in camp and you add a guy like Anquan Boldin, does it give you a little more pep in your step? It looked like there was a little bit more energy out there, especially on offense.
A: Of course. I mean, [Anquan Boldin]’s a playmaker. You add a playmaker to this offense, to your team, you’re definitely excited to see what he can do. I’ve been around him, some of the guys have seen him or know about him, but to see his attitude once he came in from day one and wanted to work, wants to show guys what he’s here for, it definitely brings a different level or a different mentality to the team. I think from the offensive standpoint, we’re just excited to have him on board. We know that he brings another aspect to our game that can make us even more dangerous. From a team standpoint, just the leadership that we can use, that we need on this team to help us get where we want to.
Q: Did you know that [Anquan Boldin] was going to sign or did you find out kind of like the rest of us?
A: You don’t know. Just glad to have him here.
CB Tre’Davious White
Q: Now that you’ve been here for a little while, has anything surprised you?
A: Not really, because I’ve been fortunate enough to go to a place where a lot of guys have been to the league, and those guys continue to come back and tell us how it’s going to be, so we can kind of get ready for it. It’s been everything those guys said it would be.
Q: What is your mindset, though, going into Thursday? The intensity is going to get ratcheted up a little more, you don’t have to worry about protecting those guys on the other side like you have to in practice – What’s your mindset going into Thursday?
A: To win, to dominate, and to do the techniques and the fundamentals that my coaches have been teaching me. Just try to go out and compete well, and try to play together as a team, and communicate well in the back end.
Q: Anquan Boldin obviously signing – What’s it like lining up on the other side of a veteran like Boldin?
A: I grew up watching him, when he was with the Raiders, and then when he was with the Cardinals. That’s definitely the receiver, I watched him and Larry Fitzgerald together; those were a dynamic due. I introduced myself, and I’m fortunate enough to have his locker right next to mine, I’m definitely going to be picking his brain. I hope game day his locker will be by mine too. It’s definitely something that I do not take lightly, whenever I can get some tid-bits, anything about what a receiver is thinking. It’s great to have a future Hall-of-Famer right next to me.
Q: Have you started to pick his [Anquan Boldin] brain at all a little bit, or are you waiting a couple days?
A: I’m going to wait, I’m going to let him settle in a little bit, but then I have to go at him.
Q: Do you watch players like that, just to watch the way they prepare, and see how they handle themselves, what their preparations are like?
A: Most definitely, this is 15 years, so he’s [Anquan Boldin] obviously doing something right. Anything that I can pick up on, and try to learn from I’m going to do it. I want to stay around as long as I can, and he’s one of those guys, this is 15 years, you don’t see that every day, so any time you have a guy like that you have to try and take advantage of it.
Transcripts courtesy of the Buffalo Bills.