Bills practice got a little heated Monday. Here's what players had to say after the session:
DE Jerry Hughes
Q: You were noticeably [upset] when you came off the field there. I saw Tyrod [Taylor] get in your face there. Was there something exchanged there?
A: No, no. We exchanged words, but at the end of the day, we didn’t want them to score. I was just more excited that they didn’t get in the end zone – firing up our guys. Our second unit has got to go out there and match our intensity. Especially in the goal line, we don’t give up. We still claw, scratch to keep them out.
Q: How hard is it to walk the line of being an intense, passionate football player and not crossing I the point where you’re affecting your team negatively. Lorenzo was talking about it, it’s a tough line to walk sometimes.
A: Absolutely, especially being on the defensive side of things, but you have to play within the rules and just use all that bottled up frustration to play in between the whistles. You know, just be a smart player, you understand things are going to get chippy, but at the same time just play in between the whistles.
Q: Previous coaches talk about penalty issues. (Sean McDermott) mentioned right off the bat after Thursday night’s game. Is that also something in your mind that you have to kind of control?
A: Absolutely. We understand that coach wants us to be fast and aggressive, but you have play controlled, you have to be within the whistle, everybody understands that. We’re going to have fun on the practice field, try to bring out the best in each other and especially during an early morning workout. We just want everyone to put their best foot forward. I feel like we had a pretty fun day today.
Q: Were you surprised that he (Sean McDermott) stopped practice and kind of chewed [the team] out?
A: No, not at all. Some guys were asking for plays to be repeated and you know he gave us a very important life lesson that whenever you put these pads on there are no repeats in life. You have to come out fast, you have to come out ready. So, we understand that. We also picked up on how to start fast. We’re going to be playing a lot of games at one o’clock where picking up on that message [is important]. Really just start fast and play in control.
Sean McDermott and Jerry Hughes spoke for several minutes in the middle of the field after practice.McDermott did not look happy. pic.twitter.com/v7GujSeMDg
— James P McCoy (@jmccoyphoto) August 14, 2017
G Richie Incognito
Q: There was a noticeable chippiness that followed that [team meeting]. Would you say that was directly related and what was the tone of practice like in the aftermath of what Coach [Sean McDermott] said?
A: Coach [Sean McDermott] brought us up and really just kind of grabbed us by the facemasks and gave us a good butt-chewing and a lot of guys needed to hear that. A lot of guys at this level are not used to hearing that. The practice instantly changed. It got chippy, it got physical, it got violent. We had some live periods in there. You mix in a little bit of Coach McDermott’s speech and a little bit of just being hot and tired, and you kind of get a powder keg getting ready to explode.
Q: Maybe I’m drawing conclusions, but maybe still the emotional effect, a hangover, if you will of the trade. Do you think that had anything to do with coming out here and anything that happened early in practice?
A: Absolutely nothing. That’s a part of professional ball. Things like that go down and you cant get wrapped up in it, you really just have to move forward.
Q: Do you like a little grit though at a practice like this?
A: Of course I like a little grit. I like this. I like competing, I like hitting people. I like notching it up to as close to game tempo as possible. It’s tough in the NFL, you can’t do that a lot. To get out there and do it and go live periods and get after people, that’s what I’m here for.
Q: You got in front of your quarterback to make sure he didn’t kind of get involved any more. You were playing a little peacemaker there.
A: Yeah, I was playing peacemaker. I’m a peacemaker now in this part of my career. I was just making sure [Tyrod Taylor] was good. They were going back and forth and just making sure nothing happens.
Q: Obviously, you don’t carry anything over to the locker room, but kind of give a sense, what happens? Do you joke about stuff like that now? Do you go back in there and talk it out? What do you do?
A: I will definitely be joking about it. I will be pushing everybody’s buttons that got into it. That’s what we’re trying to build. We’re trying to build this brotherhood. You fight with your brothers. When you’re out here competing and trying to get better, it does get chippy. We’re just ready to hit somebody else, honestly. I’ve been hitting these guys for about two to three weeks right now and we’re just ready to cut it loose.
Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier
Opening Statement: Good morning. Another great day here at St. John Fisher. Good work and great weather. It looks like we’re going to have great weather again today so I think our guys are anxious to get on the field and get some work done today. Should be a great day.
Q: Coach, Eddie Yarbrough has obviously been a very interesting player on the field in camp. I know you and the coaches are trying to get to know the players off the field too. Can you just maybe shed some light on his personality and what he’s like off the field and is it stark in contrast to what we see on the field?
A: Well he’s really a stand-up person, a guy that has a really good personality with his teammates. He’s a good teammate. The guys like being around him. [He’s] a pretty serious-minded guy. When he comes to work, he’s really focused on his task and you don’t see him laughing and joking a whole lot but he does have that side to him. He does have a sense of humor, but he’s a pretty blue-collar guy in a lot of ways – come in with my lunch pail, try to earn a living. A guy who wasn’t drafted, signed as a free agent, battling and coming to work every single day and giving you 100 percent. A high-motor guy and did a great job in that ballgame on Thursday night, but he’s had a good camp throughout and we’ll see how he progresses as time goes on but the guys really like playing with him.
Q: After a performance like that in the first preseason game, people are like ‘well, what else does he have to do?’ Are we talking about sustaining that level of play? Or is there another rung that he can reach?
A: You don’t want to be getting ahead of yourself after one preseason game so we got to let this play out a little bit, give Eddie a chance, along with his teammates, to really progress. He’ll get another opportunity on Thursday night and we’ll see where we go from there.
Q: Other than Eddie, or in addition to Eddie, what else did you like from what looked like a pretty solid first outing from your defense?
A: I was really encouraged by our first unit. They were out there for three series, two out of the three series were three-and-out’s and the one that was a little bit extended was a five-and-out so I really liked the energy that they came out with and that’s a big deal because at the end of the day, you’re trying to get your one’s ready for the regular season. They’re going to play a little bit more in this next ballgame so we’ll get a little better feel for where they are conditioning-wise and also where they are as far as the system and so on, because we’ll throw a few more things at them. And then there were some guys on the second and third units that stood out a little bit as well. I really liked the way Matt Milano ran around and the way he competed. I liked the way Gerald Hodges competed. Reggie [Ragland], when he got in there, when you look at the fact that it’s almost been two years since he was on the field, it was good to see him run around and get some game action. That was a big deal. It was good to see Jerel Worthy. We had a bunch of guys that we needed to get a look at that played hard and really competed. There were quite a few things to be encouraged about and, as always at this time of the year, always some things you could work on and that’s why you’re in training camp, that’s why you’re in preseason. But there were enough things to be encouraged about that you get excited about the next opportunity that you have.
Q: Some guys from the 2014 team said that in the 4-3 that they really prided themselves on quarterback pressures and they feel like, in this system, they can do the same. How do you feel that you guys did in that aspect in the first game and how has that progressed as you build towards the New York Jets in week one?
A: Our quarterback pressure was pretty steady throughout that ballgame. We came away, statistically, with three sacks but we had some hurries as well, and some quarterback hits. I think we were on target when it comes to that, but every week is different and it’s still the preseason. As much as anything, this is about evaluating the players so [that] schematically, some of the things we can do to get to the quarterback. We’re pretty much a straight-rush team this time of the year and it’s good to see guys win the one-on-one’s like Eddie did and a couple [other] guys as well. I thought we were pretty good in that regard but this Thursday coming up against the Eagles, it’ll be a little bit different scheme, so we’ll see.
Q: With respect to Reggie [Ragland], you just touched on him, is it just a matter of time on the job? It seems like he needs more time between the injury and the scheme change for him. Would you agree with that?
A: Well, it’s important that [Reggie Ragland] gets more reps and the only way you can get that done is by practice and competing in ball games. So in a lot of ways, this is a rookie year for Reggie when you consider what happened last season. It’s going to be a process. We understand that as a staff and we’re going to work through it and give him every opportunity just to continue to improve. He’s shown great strides from the beginning of training camp to now, so hopefully he’ll just continue to make progress.
Q: How does losing Ronald Darby change things for you?
A: Ronald [Darby] did a good job in the short time that we had him and we had one ball game with him. Probably the biggest difference, we just have to find out who the next guy is. He was pegged as a starting right corner up until a few days ago. We’ve just got to identify who’s going to be the starting right corner and that’s another part of the preseason as well. We’ll get a chance to take a view at a few different guys and let them fight for that spot and we’ll see how it shakes out.
Q: Was part of this trade confidence is Tre’Davious [White] that he’s ready to handle that top cornerback role, even as a rookie?
A: I don’t know if that was the mindset. We have a role for [Tre’Davious White]. He’s our first round pick, he’s a starter for us right now in our lineup, but with all rookies, there’s a learning curve at the corner position particularly. At any position, but even more so at corner. I don’t know if you want to put that mantle on him as a rookie who has one preseason game under his belt and say “you’re the number one corner to me.” It will evolve maybe into that, but he’s going to be our best corner – it’ll be obvious to everyone. We’re not sitting in our meeting saying, “now Tre’Davious, you’ve got to be able to go shut down this guy, that guy, that guy.” We want him to just develop, grow and become the player that we all expect him to be.
Q: Kevon Seymour, you’ve sort of worked inside and outside with him. That flexibility, I know Sean McDermott talks a lot about liking but have you noticed that he’s better at either inside or outside yet and do you like working him at one spot over the other?
A: With Kevon [Seymour], he’s missed some days now, so we had a plan for him but he’s missed a few days so it’s kind of set back some things a little bit. We’re still trying to determine if he’s going to be better inside for us or better outside. We need to get him back on the field before we can make that determination, but it’s still kind of early for that right now.
Q: With respect to the secondary, so you lose Ronald Darby. He was your number two, arguably number one and he’s one of the most veteran guys on the field. In Thursday’s game, it seemed like there was some mess ups with the backups, some of the second and third string guys, there was some communication issues when it came to covering deep passes and things like that. Is there a guy that you have pegged to maybe move up and start to fill in more of those roles? I know E.J. Gaines, he’s new to the team – it’s going to take him a minute to get acclimated to the system and players around him. Is there anyone that you have pegged right now or some guys that you think are going to help out going forward to try and fill that role?
A: Well, I mean it’s open for competition. All the guys that are on our roster playing corner are going to be competing for that right corner spot. It’s open competition, as you just mentioned. E.J. [Gaines], as you mentioned, he’s a part of that competition, so is Shareece Wright, so is Greg Mabin. You can just go right down the line. We’re going to put the best guy out there and these next three preseason games, along with the practices that we have, will give us an indication of who that guy is. We’ll see what happens, we’ll see how it shakes out.
LB Lorenzo Alexander
Q: There was a noticeable uptick [after Sean McDermott’s speech]. Do you like the way the team responded to that?
A: You have to. If you don’t respond to your head coach, he probably shouldn’t be your head coach. It’s a great job by Sean [McDermott] being a great leader, then the leaders making sure that everybody else followed suit by examples as well. As you said, it definitely picked up but we’ve still got to be able to finish strong and be mentally tough, even towards the end there.
Q: Is there a balance between having a fiery response to a fiery talk by the head coach and doing thing like you said that are going to getting penalties?
A: There’s a very thin line. I’m in this game and we’re all alpha-males competing at a high level, but there’s a thin line between being tough and being a liability. You mentioned Jerry [Hughes]. I love Jerry’s passion, I love the way he plays the game, but I’ve talked to him about this. Just making sure that when one of us comes up to you, tries to calm you down because I don’t want to stop it because that’s what makes you great. Just come back to us, let’s go to the next play and be you again between the whistles.
Q: We saw Richie [Incognito] get in between to make sure that Tyrod [Taylor] didn’t get in the mix. What role do you guys have to play in that? You’ve got guys out here that obviously can’t get hurt, but you also want to toe that line of being physical.
A: Yeah, I think everybody is protecting everybody. Richie [Incognito] is the offensive line, so Tyrod [Taylor] is his guy. He has to do that. I’m running in there because Jerry [Hughes] is my guy. I’m a defensive guy. I think we have to lead and manage our own sides of the ball, but also come together as well once we compete against another team, which you’ll see. You’ll see me coming to Tyrod if I see something doing something that’s disrespectful and I know Richie would do the same thing when someone does something bad to a defensive guy. Right now, we’re out here on pseudo-different teams and competing, but you like to see that when guys run out there, step up and are protecting their guys.
Q: [Richie Incognito] also said that when it gets to the locker room, he’ll be joking with everybody and pushing buttons. Is that what happens?
A: Oh yeah, Richie [Incognito] does that. He lives up against the line all the time, so he’ll have fun with it and guys understand that. We don’t take anything that happens on this field into the locker room because we’re brothers at the end of the day and out here, we’re just competing. When we come back in, it’s stuff we can laugh about, joke about, get over and learn from at the end of the day, so you can help us win games.
Q: Is there something to be said for hitting the same guy over and over again for the next three weeks? Do you think that kind of instigates the powder keg sometimes?
A: Of course because stuff builds up. We’ve been here for what, our 15th or 16th practice, and you see the same guys. One’s see the ones, two’s see the twos and you’re going against the same guy. That same guy has some of the same tendencies, maybe he likes to punch you in the face or he blocks you late or holds you or whatever it may be, throws you to the ground, grabs jerseys, and it’s the same dude doing it over and over. So everybody’s fuse is only so long. You’re going to see stuff blow up and you kind of saw that today.
WR Zay Jones
Q: Is this a time where you can have guys, if you have enough opportunity, you can make jumps up the depth chart? If Jordan [Matthews] is out a couple of weeks, what opportunity do you have or other guys have?
A: My mentality doesn’t change, Jordan [Matthews] being here or not. He’s a phenomenal player. I’m glad to have him on our squad – really humble and great guy. My mindset is to go dominate and be the best that I can, whether or not he’s here or whoever’s here.
Q: What are you looking forward to Thursday night? You got your first taste of an NFL game the other night, but Thursday, anything in particular that you’re looking forward to?
A: Yeah, a win. A catch under my belt. A little bit more playing time, hopefully, so I can truly experience more of the game. I got a few reps, but I’m still a rookie. I’m still going through growing pains, with a lot of things I still need to work on. I’m not where I want to be, I’m not perfect, but I know this team is helping bring me along.
Q: This is your first NFL training camp, it’s starting to wrap up. Has it been made easier with the fact that you have a former coach on the staff? Someone you’re familiar with. Does that make it a little bit easier to kind of acclimate to the NFL game?
A: In some aspects it does. Some of the terminology that he’s coached me over the years of just learning different route combinations and things of that sort. Coach Phil [McGeoghan] is still a hard coach on me. He reminds me I’m a rookie every single day. He’s on me 24/7, so this is just something that I need to go through personally. All the vets have gone through it before. You have guys that have done this for nine, 10, 11 years and this is my first time. It’s difficult. It’s not easy. I’ve heard it’s the hardest part of NFL seasons, especially for a rookie.
Q: You’ve been through your fair share of camps in college and high school and everything. What do you think causes days like today, where it seems like just the lightest of things could set people off?
A: I think it’s that monotonous grind. Everyday, over and over, you see the same guys, same coaches. Hearing the same coaching points over and over. We’re good competitors - that’s how it’s supposed to be. It gets a little chippy when things don’t go your way. The ball didn’t really bounce my way today. I was frustrated with some things, other guys were frustrated, but you just keep pounding and pounding and pounding and sometimes tempers flare.
Q: Richie Incognito was saying, he’s looking forward to hitting someone else on the defensive line. Are you looking forward to running against a different corner on Thursday?
A: We’re looking forward to just someone else. Not a Bills player, but someone else that we can finally just go against and kind of let all this frustration out on.
DE Shaq Lawson
Q: Coach was upset with the team. What was his message when he stopped practice to talk to you guys?
A: [He] just told us to get right and come out here and practice better. That’s pretty much what he said.
Q: When he pulled you out there, what was that experience like?
A: He did the right thing. It’s something I can’t do in practice. So it’s just my mistake. Better I did it practice not the game.
Q: There’s a lot of intensity on the goal line. Both sides want to do well and it’s really a big competition when you guys get into that goal line, isn’t it?
A: Oh yeah, yes sir. It’s the like trenches, man. We want to win the outside or we don’t want to get knocked back on the goal line and the offense wants to punch it in. So, when that goal line comes, it’s very competitive out there and both sides of the ball want to win. That’s what winners want to do they want to win. We’re out here competing against each other.
Q: What do you think elevated things today? It just seemed a little more fiery today.
A: It’s just training camp. Every training camp you’ll be around that stuff kind of happens. So, eventually it was going to happen. That’s part of football.
Q: What did you make of Tyrod [Taylor] being in the mix?
A: I didn’t see that part. I really didn’t see that part.
QB Nathan Peterman
Q: Over the last few days, getting some second team reps – Is that something they’ve been talking to you about leading into this?
A: Not really, they just tell me to go in, so I go in. That’s about all I know.
Q: Why do you think that’s happening? What would you suspect is the reason why you’re getting more chances?
A: I don’t know, I try to do my best every time I’m in there. I just try to help the team as much as I can, and just trying to do that with the opportunity that they’re giving me.
Q: When the game got finished Thursday night – How were you thinking as your first opportunity, and then if you looked back at the tape, what did you think about what you saw?
A: I was really thankful, it was a fun time to get out there; Thankful to God for the opportunity, to go out there, have fun, compete. To play some live football again was really fun, and to get out there with your teammates too, I had a good time. I definitely think that there could have been things that I could have done better, especially after watching the film. For me, it was a good starting point, and ok starting point, but I think I just have to keep rising from here.
Q: The way you felt in the locker room after the game, and the way you’re feeling after watching the tape – Was there anything that stood out good or bad after you watched the tape that you thought I didn’t think it was that way during the game?
A: I think there was a couple things, I thought I kind of missed some throws, possibly missed some reads and we talked about it on the sideline right after. You get to see those pictures real quick on the sideline, it’s a little different in the NFL. I had kind of a good idea, but then to go watch the film and see the exact things was good.
Q: Anything about Thursday, they say anything about playing time or what you’re going to do for Thursday night?
A: No sir, I’m just taking it one day at a time. I have meetings this afternoon, going to install the game plan, and have practice tomorrow at two, so just one day at a time.
C Eric Wood
Q: Earlier in practice Coach [McDermott] huddled you guys all up when the execution wasn’t as tight as anybody wanted it to be – What was the message there – Does it have to be better, was it as simple as that?
A: Yeah, and I think that’s a great approach. Let’s not wait until the end, and complain about it in a team meeting afterwards; Let’s stop it right in its tracks. The message was well received, and practice got a lot better from there.
Q: And then just with respect to the jaw-jacking that you have after plays – I understand guys get heated and stuff – It looked like there were players out there trying to be the cooler heads to remind everybody ‘hey were all on the same team here?”
A: Right, those little skirmishes are fun in the moment. We’re all competing, we trash talk; You’re talking a group of 90 alpha males on a football field, and there’s a lot of jobs on the line. There’s going to be some disagreements, but then you leave it on the field, it is what it is, and we all joke about it later.
Q: And then just with respect to the offensive execution today – Early on, it seemed like it was hard for the offense to string plays together – How do you rally the group, do guys just go out and execute or is there something to be said in the huddle between plays?
A: The lack of execution early for the offense was kind of the same old – we had a couple offsides, a dropped ball on third down – it’s just little stuff that keeps drives going that takes points off the board. That stuff obviously needs to be eliminated; We have a long way to go before the regular season, we’re not going to quit working now.
DE Eddie Yarbrough
Q: Now as a young guy getting snaps with the one’s – From where you started with the third string, now you’re going up against the one’s – What’s it like going up against guys with that kind of talent, your Richie Incognito’s, your Eric Wood’s, your Jordan Mills’, what’s that like?
A: It’s awesome; Again, it makes you elevate your game, and that’s what it’s about. The competitive nature of offense and defense really elevates everybody’s game; We want everybody to elevate, as he’s making me better, I’m making him better in ways, and that’s how you get a playoff caliber team.
Q: You’re clearly improving every day, Thursday, what did you think of your performance overall because everybody on the outside looking in thought you did a very good job?
A: On Thursday I thought I could have done a little bit better, I could have gator-rolled on that second QB hit; There’s a laundry list of things I could do better. You can’t really hang your hat, you can’t ever be like well I’m officially made or anything like that. I think [there’s] a laundry list of things I could have done better, and that’s why I’m out here in practice, trying to get better at those things.
Q: What are you looking at specifically going into the second game coming up on Thursday that you’re saying ‘These are things I’m zoning in to fix this time around’?
A: I always feel I can run to the ball better, give more effort, bringing more intensity and taking it one play at a time. If I have one sack, get two sacks, if I have two tackles, get three tackles. Like Coach Wauffle says, raise that bar little bit by little bit and keep trying to hit that mark every time.
Q: Give us some insight on what was going on in that skirmish there at the end during the goal line – you guys were getting a bit chippy?
A: That’s just good old fall camp; It’s good effort, both teams, offense and defense. It’s actually a good thing because you don’t want a soft team by any means, you want somebody that can hold their own. That’s one of the things that’s cool about offense and defense. We’re all good, and buddy-buddy now, but definitely good to see we still have that intensity and that chippiness to us.
Q: Is it easy now to go the cafeteria, sit down next to those guys and leave that out on the field – Does it take a day to let it go?
A: 100 percent, everything that happens between the lines stays between the lines. That’s one thing a lot of people don’t understand, but every day coming out here, you’re banging, you’re banging against the same guys; Eventually it’s going to get chippy, but at the same time we all know that it’s a collective unit, a collective group, we have to make a run at this thing, and that’s what it’s all about.