BUFFALO BILLS HEAD COACH SEAN MCDERMOTT
Q: How do you feel?
A: I feel good. I feel good. Very thankful, very thankful. Thank God for the win. Praise God. That was a great team victory. Thank Terry and Kim [Pegula for] giving us the resources that they give us. Just like I said, it was an entire building win. Good to win as a team and extremely proud of the players the way they played. It’s never easy to win in this league and they played hard for four quarters. I certainly appreciate that. I also appreciate the fans. Four quarters, hanging in there with us. The intensity, the energy in this building was outstanding. Outstanding. To carry that for four quarters, I can’t thank them enough. It’s great to play at home, and we look forward to seeing them in a couple weeks here.
Q: Is it safe to say that [LeSean] McCoy got a game ball today?
A: We’ll divvy those up tomorrow when we look at the film, but he had a good day. He really had a good day. I thought the offensive line did some good things and then LeSean had a really good day. He was explosive. I thought he was energetic with what he was doing in between plays and gave us a big spark. It was a good balance, also, offensively. I thought the ball was spread around. I saw Jordan Matthews getting the ball. Mike Tolbert came in [and] made some good runs. It all started up front. It all started up front. Some big plays offensively. I think we had, what was it, eight big plays, something like that? That was a big factor in the game for us.
Q: You talked on Wednesday about establishing an identity, playing fundamentally sound, show the fans, take back the stadium, all that stuff. It’s only one game, but how far did you go in establishing all that today?
A: Well, it is only one game. We want to win, and we got that done today. We were fortunate to get that done. Like I said, the important part was we came out and we played good, solid football as you alluded to. Good, fundamentally sound, aggressive, tough football. That’s what we were looking to do, is to create that type of identity and I thought we put ourselves in position to do that in all three phases so it was good to see.
Q: After they scored to make it 14-12, tell me how important that next drive was for you because the game was sort of teetering right there and the next drive you guys went down to score.
A: Right, that was important. That was huge. That’s what I meant when I said ‘a team win.’ All three phases contributed [and] added value to what we were doing today. Defense gave up points, offense came back [and] got points. Special teams put us in good position. So it was a good, balanced win and [I’m] extremely proud of the guys.
Q: What else does it say when – a play where you get intercepted in the end zone can be very dispiriting. A missed field goal can also be dispiriting. Give me a sense of how you felt the way your team responded to those negatives?
A: Well, that’s a resilient football team. That’s what, good football teams are resilient. We’ve got a lot of work to do. You’re right, that could’ve been a momentum changer there and it turned out that it wasn’t. We had some opportunities in the first half. Give the Jets credit, they did some good things in the first half and the second half. We thought we had some opportunities that we didn’t come away with more points in the first half where we should have, and that’s where we’ve got to continue to grow as a team.
Q: Coach, with respect to the run defense, you guys locked it down pretty early. Were you surprised that they went away from it for a good stretch of time after the initial success your defense had?
A: We wanted to control the line of scrimmage. Again, just like the offensive side of the ball, we did that on the defensive front as well. Our run defense was outstanding and then we took the ball when we had to. That’s great to see. That’s a key part of becoming a good defense, and that was good to see when we had a chance to put the game away, we were able to put it away.
Q: I know Coach [Leslie] Frazier talked about it in the spring, but the heavy rotation up front. Just, the goal there? I’m guessing keeping your best guys fresh at the end? Can you just talk about the heavy line rotation?
A: Right. We were rotating guys in and out, trying to keep them fresh. Always want to be able to do that. Keep guys fresh so we’re throwing fastballs at the quarterback, stopping the run and you saw a lot of different guys add in there up front. We added some pressure in there, which I thought Leslie did a good job. Leslie, Rick [Dennison] and Danny [Crossman] did a phenomenal job of game planning and, really, putting the players in a position to be successful. Taking advantage of our players’ strengths and putting them in position to be successful.
Q: Tyrod [Taylor] had fifteen targets to [Charles] Clay and [LeSean] McCoy. You talked about balance. Don’t you need to be more balanced in the passing game?
A: Well, we’re going to take what the defense gives us. We’ll take what the defense gives us. Obviously, they were doing some things that they wanted to try and take away the wide receivers so we’re going to distribute the ball in other areas. That’s what balanced offenses do. It doesn’t mean it’s necessarily balanced, statistically, across the board, but taking what the defense gives us. I thought Tyrod really played a – it’s probably not going to show up in the stats tomorrow morning, but when he threw the ball away in the red zone, I think the next play was a third down. It was a second down, he threw it away [and] got some pressure. Next play, converted third down and then we scored, I think on the next play or two after that. Those types of things [are important for] playing smart football. Giving ourselves a chance to be successful, that goes a long way in terms of putting points on the board.
Q: When you see McCoy running as well as he is at 29, do you look back and say ‘how could a team consider trading him?’ It’s wild.
A: We’re fortunate to have him, yeah.
Q: There were plenty of positives to take away from this game, but what do you think needs improvement heading into Carolina?
A: Oh, man. I’ve got a long list. I was making a list during the game. I’ve got a long list. This is one win. Let’s keep things in perspective. This is one win. It was a team win and I’m extremely proud of that. That said, we’ve got a lot of work to do. Fundamentally, we’ve got a lot of work to do [along with] getting some other things corrected. I’ll know more tomorrow after I maybe take a look at the film tomorrow morning.
Q: Injuries. E.J. Gaines, any update on that at all?
A: Nope. He’s still in evaluation. He’s got the shoulder [injury] at this point.
Q: Cordy Glenn was kind of in and out early. What was the plan with him?
A: Just like I said earlier in the week, continue to acclimate him. He’s coming from no reps and then you saw the Detroit game last week. Build him up, build him up, acclimate, acclimate, and just trying to put him in a position to be successful as well with coming off of the injury so I thought he did some good things.
Q: Those numbers with McCoy and Clay, how much do you think that has to do with Tyrod [Taylor] having more familiarity with those guys in comparison to the receivers?
A: Well again, I equate it to Tyrod taking what the defense was giving him. I don’t want to go any further right now without looking at the film. That’s where our balance comes in as an offense with the run game, with the tight end, with LeSean, with Mike Tolbert, and those wideouts. Again, it all starts up front. I thought the offensive line did a good job of giving Tyrod time and controlling the line of scrimmage up front.
BUFFALO BILLS RUNNING BACK LESEAN MCCOY
Q: Take us through that first injury in the fourth quarter and what happen?
A: I don’t know. I tried getting in the end zone. I jumped in there and I guess with the placement of the ball and my wrist, just kind of went numb. So I didn’t want to be selfish and try to get a touchdown with a numb right hand. You know, I’m the one who has bad ball security. So, I just came off to see what was going on. But it was fine. I’m going to ice it after this and I’ll be alright.
Q: Were you in pain? When it looked like you were on the sideline you were kind of bent over.
A: Yeah, I mean it hurt for a little bit. I couldn’t feel it, I couldn’t squeeze. It was numb. You know so, you don’t want to play a game being numb. Besides, we’ve got a 260 pound back. Let him get a touchdown.
Q: Five catches, you couldn’t get that kind of involvement in past games this year.
A: Yeah, which is kind of crazy is that I guess the pass numbers are pretty cool but we didn’t run a lot of my plays as far as me being the main target, the play designed for me in the passing game, which we had a lot listed. So, that’s pretty cool. Imagine we went through our plays and just the ball that came to me.
Q: Is it almost an insult with a linebacker on you and you’re running around?
A: Well, on the long play with Tyrod [Taylor] was a scramble. Actually, if you’ve seen it, it was doubled. The outside backer and the inside backer, so if I went out, the outside guy had me. If I went inside, No. 56 [Demario Davis], had me. You know I went in there, kind of beat them. And he No. 56 was like on my hip, so I’ve seen Tyrod step up and I reversed. The field was open and we made a play.
Q: Did you guys work on those types of propositions?
A: Well obviously I’ve worked with quarterbacks like that. You know I played with Michael Vick. I mean, he’s one of the best at that. And Tyrod is very elusive. You know, he is slippery in and out of the pocket. That’s what makes him such an outstanding quarterback. So we just worked it out. I probably should’ve had more yards on that play. I should’ve came to the ball and spun out. But, you know the way it was happening, the time, the possession of the game, I just wanted to get the first down and get the clock moving, and get a first down.
Q: It looked like they were keying on the stretch plays.
A: Yeah, they were. A lot of the times they had a lot of eight man box. You know, that’s just filling the box up. You know guys on the line of scrimmage do it to different bare fronts, kind of putting a defensive linemen on every linemen we had. But you know, that’s expected to kind of stop the running game. That’s why a lot of the boots we had were wide open. Tyrod could have ran some of them. We hit Clay [Charles Clay] for a big gain. Then we hit Nick [O’Leary] for a big play, the one he almost scored on.
Q: How did you like the way coach Rick (Dennison) kind of played off of that?
A: That was good. To be honest, they’re a good defense, but I feel like the game could’ve been on our end, as the offense, it could’ve been a bigger game for us. You know we were driving the ball left and right. We didn’t convert penalties and turnovers. Even if we had just gotten 3 points. I felt like we left nine points on the board that we should’ve got. So you know just got to focus on the details, the mistakes. Got to play mistake free and we’ll be in better shape.
Q: 12,000 total yards of scrimmage in your career and you’re starting to recognize your place in the game, not just in this league right now.
A: Just got to keep pushing man, keep pushing. Get more wins. With wins, numbers come with it. And that’s the mindset man. Just trying to lead this team in the right direction. We have all the right pieces. I think we have good teams, mostly good teams. They have a good defense and that defense over there is solid. For a while the Seahawks, in that era with the Niners and (Jim) Harbaugh. You know, they ran the ball well, had big plays here and there. And the defense was solid, you know, 10 to 14 points that’s it. I felt the same way with our team. It was built on having a solid, aggressive defense from the front end to the back. And then with the offense, you want to put points up, move the ball in the running game, make big plays here and there. You know that’s our game, we’re going to fight till the end.
Q: LeSean, you’ve been with Tyrod for quite a while now and where do you think this game, how did he do this game compared to what we’ve known from him?
A: Just today, his leadership. Naturally Tyrod is a quiet guy and today he was very vocal. Times where we needed him to speak up, “Hey, quit the turnovers, quit the penalties, let’s make plays. Tell the guys, look for me come to you on different jobs.” So his leadership has really, I think, jumped you know from when I first met him, to trying to just make the team to making this team behind him. So I think the biggest jump is his leadership.
Q: What about balancing that during the pick in the end zone coming the other way early, missed field goal. I mean you guys kind of pushed through that.
A: Yeah, like I said earlier, the game could have been out of reach, I think, if we didn’t handle them things in the right. But to show you the attitude of the guys, especially the guys up front. They kind of get it going, with Tyrod being our leader in offense. Its past us and it’s in the past, let’s move forward. Let’s get the job done. You know, and that’s what he did.
Q: What was the reaction in the locker room like with Coach Sean McDermott picking up his first win as a head coach?
A: Well, of course he deserved the game ball. Sean McDermott is a leader. A lot of coaches can be great coaches, but some of them lack leadership. I think that’s something he brings. The best thing about him I think is his leadership. You know we follow him so it’s cool to see him get his first win. It’s big for the team, its big for him. I think many more in the future.
Q: How about the physical challenge you expect to foresee, giving the wrist thing today. There’s eight guys in the box and you got 27 touches.
A: I mean I’m used to that. I don’t take a lot of real shots. You’re not going to see to many “oooh” hits with me. I mean I’m going to get tackled, I’m going to rehab and do all the things to prepare myself physically, but I’m fine with that. My tackles are more wrapped up. You know I’m not going to take that all myself. I’ve been playing this way for so long, I’ve always been undersized, but I’ve always been one of the better guys on the field, whoever is on the field with me. So you know I’m used to it, I embrace it and that’s just something I’m used to doing. So small little nicks and bruises here, that’s football. But overall, I want the challenged, I want the ball. And there’s times where I’m going to come out, but that’s football also. That’s why you build a roster, you build a team. Your back-ups have to be just as good and enough to go out there and produce, like Mike (Tolbert) did. Mike did a great job today. So I’m going to force the challenge, if it’s in the air or on the ground I’m going to make plays. And by the way, I had some good blocks today.
BUFFALO BILLS QUARTERBACK TYROD TAYLOR
Q: Tyrod, I believe the total count was 10 plays of 15 or more yards, explosive plays by the offense. What does that do for an offense when you start hitting on big plays like that time after time after time?
A: Definitely, it allows us to continue to keep building off of that momentum. We definitely have the playmakers on our side of the ball to go out there and create those big plays. We were able to give some of those today. That is something we talk about as an offensive group and as a team, creating big plays. We were able to go out there and do that today.
Q: Jordan Matthews is back, you guys hooked up for a 50 yard completion. How good was that, I know it wasn’t a ton of work for him, I think just two catches but how big was that for you guys going forward?
A: That is always good. That was our first time actually getting a chance to go out there and play. When we are able to connect and he is able to get a big run and a catch like that builds confidence for him as well as confidence in our target using him. It was great to get all those guys going, we were able to break all around, pretty much. Even today, it was definitely great to get Jordan in.
Q: It looked like they were focused or keen on the stretch game, what did you guys do to counter off that to still get over 190 yards today?
A: Backs made a bunch of great plays in the running game. We needed a lot, they were a very fast defense. Sometimes you bring an extra D on just to force you to throw the ball. We were able to be persistent in our approach and to continue to keep running the ball. Shady and Mike T, made a bunch of good plays and I think that just the thought of them having to stop me sometimes on a couple of replays, kept the backside. Honestly we were able to throw and keep some of those plays as well.
Q: So as you get your wide outs a little more involved did you get the targets for your top two for 15 were Shady and Mike?
A: It will come. We knew going into this game the backers were something that we had to take advantage of match up wise. We didn’t think that those guys could stop Shady and Charles coming out of the back field and as well just working them into the middle of the field. Those outside targets will definitely come but it is a game of match ups, and each game is going to be different. We have to be able to take advantage of those match ups.
Q: 3 for 4 start in the red zone today coming into week 1, how good does it feel to have that level of success right off the bat?
A: That is definitely a big plus for us, when in the red zone 3rd down. That was definitely key for us. Definitely liked to have that pick that I had in the end zone back especially on the first drive you have to be able to capitalize on that. It could be a better ball to Charles but definitely overall three out of four is a good number. We strive for perfection, we want to be four out of four.
Q: Tyrod, as the game went on it looked like you used your legs a little bit more to make some plays. Was that more design in the game plan that you wanted to have them comfortable with you in the pocket that you could take off or was that just something you saw as the game went on?
A: Just something we saw as the game went on. Coming back to the sideline talking with Coach Dennison looking at the book, seeing how their backside ends. We are playing to win, just thought we had a couple of opportunities to take advantage of the edge backside.
Q: You had three or four completions on the run today, is that something you are trying to do because that is something that happened today?
A: Yes, definitely something that I focus on. Whenever you move the pocket, it always the DBs to have to cover more time so we have guys like Shady that can shake loose. Those guys on the backend as well as Jordan Matthews, Clay, Zay (Jones), all of those guys are working. I tell them whenever I get a chance to move the pocket, just stay with me. Big plays can come from those type of plays and we were able to capitalize on a couple. A couple today, actually, we kept 3rd down drives and kept the drive going.
Q: How much do you enjoy getting Sean a victory today?
A: It was big what Coach McDermott did for us as a team. You want to protect your home field every time you step out there, so that was definitely a proud moment in the locker room. We just have to continue to keep building, and moving forward.
Q: Charles Clay has 5 touchdowns in the last 4 games with you after going almost until almost mid-December without a touchdown in there, have you made a concerted effort to target him more in the red zone or what left of that?
A: We talked a bunch. A couple times throughout the past couple years I missed him, and he is going to win most of those battles. He is stronger, more physical that most of the guys that he is going to face down in one on one battles. So I just got to keep giving him the ball and looking for him because he is out there creating space and making plays.
Q: Are you extremely comfortable when you see Cordy Glenn go out there for a significant amount of snaps?
A: I’m comfortable with all those guys, all those guys worked hard throughout this offseason. Of course, having Cordy back is a big plus for us, but Dion (Dawkins) has played well and he played well today too. Both of those guys played well and the offensive line as a whole, run game and pass protection, did a great job today.
Q: Your passing numbers over the middle today looked good, was that an effort just on you to specifically hit the middle or was that just taking mismatches over there?
A: Just taking mismatches … Whatever it takes to win.
Q: Did you have any quarterback runs called for you today, specifically called?
A: The one in 4-minute, where I kept around the backside, the one where I slid. We had a couple more in the game plan, and we’ll utilize them as the year goes on. Today was getting the running backs going and they/we did a great job of doing that.
Q: And you are comfortable with that?
A: Yeah I am comfortable. The main thing is that I just do not take any unnecessary hits. I am learning how to get down, and I slid for the first time today.
Q: How was the communication with Rick Dennison for the first game?
A: It was good. It was kind of a decision whether he was going to be on the field or in the booth, and I requested that he be on the field, especially with Coach Skipper being hurt and not being there. Our assistant QB Coach Mark (Lubick) is helping with the running backs. So just having that communication on the sideline definitely helped. We were able to talk through some things, and of course it would have been the same over the phone but I think that person to person interaction on the sideline, and talking through things, definitely goes a long way.
Q: To be clear you say you requested that specifically?
A: He asked us. Like I said, he went to preseason he was up two games in the booth and two games on the field just to try to get a feel for what he liked. I do not know if you guys know this but we had a couple of injuries on our coaching staff this year but a couple of guys had to go up to the booth. So with the shortage of offensive coaching staff on the sideline, it was nice to have our offensive coordinator down there on the sideline just talking through things and getting everybody on the same page.
BUFFALO BILLS DEFENSIVE TACKLE KYLE WILLIAMS
Q: Speak on LeSean’s [McCoy] performance, do you think he was the reason on offense?
A: There’s a lot of guys out there that are helping him do what does, and I think he’d be the first one to tell you. As being an observer, somebody on the sideline, and somebody that’s played against him, I’m glad he’s on our football team.
Q: Is there a difference in this locker room from previous teams?
A: Yeah, I think we’ve got a really good narrow focus. We’re continuing trying to get better every day, and that’s what we’ll do. We’ll enjoy today, then tomorrow get started on a whole new opponent.
Q: What was the [Sean McDermott]’s message to the team?
A: Same exact thing, enjoy today. We’ll be moving on pretty quick. This is the NFL, everything moves kind of quickly, and we’ll be getting ready for the Panthers starting tomorrow.
Q: You gave the game ball to Coach McDermott, maybe not to get inside of his head, but what do you think it meant to him, to get a win like this and to have the team ball?
A: It’s always special, I would think, first head coaching game, to win it, to win it against a division opponent. It doesn’t really get much better than that.
Q: Defensively, how much different did it feel out there as opposed to the last few years, getting back to the 4-3, which you guys seem more comfortable with?
A: I’m not going to compare what we do now, or what we did with stuff in the past, because it’s not relevant, it doesn’t matter. We went out, we executed what we needed to do, played well. We gave up some plays that we feel like we shouldn’t have, but we’ll get that all corrected. Like I said, continue to build and hopefully get better and better as the year goes along.
Q: Why’s it so hard to run on you guys? A theme, really, going back to the preseason into this game?
A: I think that we’re fundamentally sound, we’ve got some really good players on our defense, that are physical guys. It all comes back to repetition, reps, reps, reps. How good are we going to be because we know where we’re supposed to be, when we’re supposed to be there.
BUFFALO BILLS OFFENSIVE GUARD RICHIE INCOGNITO
Q: One of the big passing plays was Tyrod [Taylor] just keeping the play alive with short quick passes and turns up the field. How much of a challenge is that for you, knowing that you have to block until the whistle is blown?
A: You know, with Tyrod, he could pop out anywhere so we’ve got to protect and let those guys become uncovered down the field and get big plays.
Q: How do you feel Tyrod responded to that? He seemed confident throughout the preseason when things weren’t going very well and today it he seemed like he found a way to let loose a little bit.
A: You know, we just kept chugging. We just kept believing. Tyrod’s the leader and he led by example. We kind of had some ups and downs through camp and ups and downs through the preseason, but we just kept chipping away. Chipping away and believing in one another and going out and making plays and snowballing and making one play after another. Tyrod, I think the best trait about him is his consistency and his calm demeanor and Tyrod was the same guy today. We were making plays, moving up and down the play, and it was the same old Tyrod.
Q: It seems pretty business-like in the locker room right now, rather than any kind of ecstatic. It seems like you guys know where to put this first game. Can you explain to me a little bit about the mood?
A: We’re excited. It’s the first chapter of the 2017 Bills and Coach McDermott and the new staff. We’re excited, but we know we have 15 more opportunities to go out and earn as many wins as possible so it is business as usual. We’ve been preparing for this. We’ve been preparing for the win. It’s exciting, man. It was a whole new energy and it’s really just, I’m really excited just kind of taking a step back and looking at what we’re building right now.
Q: It seems like everybody understands that it only gets tougher from here. It doesn’t matter how you start. As the season goes, the harder it gets.
A: No doubt. I mean, we have to play a lot of talented teams. We have a tough schedule. You have a tough schedule every year. These guys are super talented. This is one step in the right direction. We collect our thoughts and then come back Wednesday and get grinding on Carolina.
BUFFALO BILLS TIGHT END CHARLES CLAY
Q: Is that the kind of game you’re wanted to be a part of here in Buffalo? They were looking for you today, that hasn’t always been the case in Buffalo?
A: Yeah, we had some favorable matchups, granted, a lot of those plays you have to take advantage of. I wish I could have a couple of those back, but they did a good job of punching some balls out. Like I said, Tyrod [Taylor] did a good job of spreading the ball around, it was good.
Q: You mentioned spreading the ball around, I think eight different receivers had catches today, how important is that in this offense, that multiple guys are catching passes?
A: That’s the big thing, we have a lot of weapons. We have a lot of guys who showed up and played well, bailed us out of some tough situations. That goes to show, the work we put in, in the little amount of time. We had some guys come in here late, they came out, they were ready to play, and played well.
Q: The offense had 10 plays of 15 yards or more, what does that do for an offense knowing that you guys hit on big plays like that?
A: It was big, especially when you get a team that likes to blitz a lot. You want to take advantage of those opportunities and get some of those big plays in that situation, and kind of calm them down. We were able to do a little of that today, and at the same time we have to improve on some things, but we’ll go back and watch the film and get better at that.
BUFFALO BILLS WIDE RECEIVER ANDRE HOLMES
Q: Did you sense that you were going to be open on your touchdown?
A: Yeah. When I saw there was like a surge on the opposite side of where I started, I knew that I was probably [the top option]. It’s amazing to get that [in my] first game in Buffalo. It was a lot of fun.
Q: You were lined up as a wing back on the right side, right? Did they expect you to stay on that side of the formation? You were pretty alone.
A: Yeah. I mean, when you got the flow going to one side and it’s a boot or a play action and I’m just kind of coming behind all of my big [offensive] linemen, sometimes you get lost in there. That’s what popped up for me.
Q: What did you think about your first regular season game in Buffalo?
A: Oh, it was amazing. It’s always fun to get a win and everyone made big plays out there. Offense, defense, special teams played together and that always usually turns into a win.
Q: You came out of the box so strong and then the tip interception in the end zone, but you guys had to fight through that first setback and just hang with it.
A: I’m kind of a glass half-full kind of guy. We drove the ball all the way down there and then that happened, but we knew that we could drive the ball again so it was a little bit of a setback but we had confidence that we could come back and score.
BUFFALO BILLS RUNNING BACK MIKE TOLBERT
Q: You came here, you were with Sean (McDermott) before that back down in Carolina. What does it mean to be with him for his first win?
A: I mean it’s big. He’s a guy that has always believed in me since day one. I’ve talked with him thousands of times since the first day I signed in Carolina. For him to continue to believe in me from year five to year ten now is something special.
Q: You got to dance in your first Bills game?
A: You like that? I loved it man. The fans were amazing. You really don’t have the appreciation for it until you’re in the game. Until you feel the energy. So major shout out to Bills Mafia man.
Q: How different was the vibe here? Whatever the playoff drought is you’re a part of it and as silly as it is you’re a part of a first place team.
A: Yeah I mean you look at us were trying to change the narrative. It has been a bad stigma here for a long time and you know Coach McDermott is trying to change the narrative, the way people see us and think about us. We’re just trying to do it one play at a time, one game at a time.
Q: Everybody was wondering what the dynamic would be with you, Shady, and Patrick in the backfield. You guys together, that’s a pretty good combination together isn’t it?
A: Yeah, I feel it has been working out pretty good so far. I mean it’s early. Shady is Shady. He’s the guy. I’m there just to give him a little pat on the back.
BUFFALO BILLS WIDE RECEIVER JORDAN MATTHEWS
Q: You guys had sixteen receptions I believe but eight different guys caught passes. How important is that going to be knowing that you guys don’t have what a lot people believe to be that number one. How important is it then to spread the ball around?
A: You know it’s huge. I don’t think that the New England Patriots quote un-quote people say that they have a defined number one. I say you should always go into the game with the mindset of being the number one receiver. That’s getting open. Catching the ball. Making big plays. Also you could be unselfish like a guy trying to make the practice squad. You could be out there blocking the run game. Not having the ego of saying oh well if not making the big plays then I’m not going to come in here and help the team win. All the guys on are receiver core committed to the run game. Helping Shady, helping the running backs. Like Tolbert getting loose and also knowing we got to be the toughest guys out on the field.
Q: You say helping in the run game and you guys made some big blocks. The receiving group made some good blocks down the field. How nice is it to help Shady over a hundred yards?
A: It’s huge and at the same time you know it’s not like other places. If you’re backside on the run, you better be ready to still block because twenty-five will cut it back in a second. You don’t want to be caught on film not doing your job so. However at the same time he makes it hard on the defense but hard on us too. It’s just always about making sure where you’re supposed to be.
Q: You know what Shady can do. Obviously score but how does he set at this table what this offense can do collectively?
A: He’s multidimensional. There’s a lot of running backs that are bruisers and then if teams are loading the box then their really ineffective because he is able to make plays in the pass game. He’s great in screen game. He fits in the whole. He can be shifty, he can do all that but that dude is very versatile but that helps not just the run game but that pass game for us actually too.
BUFFALO BILLS SAFETY JORDAN POYER
Q: Walk us through that interception?
A: We were in a cover 2 defense, and all 11 guys are just doing their job. The play was there to be made, and I was just fortunate enough to make the play and come down with it.
Q: A sack, an interception and a team win, can you envision a much better start to your Bills’ career?
A: You know, it was a great team win, all 11 guys on defense, all three phases really. It was fun, it was fun to play in front of that crowd, [the atmosphere] was fun. We have a lot of work to do though, it’s week one. Yeah, we’re excited to get that first win out, under our belt, but we have a lot of work to do.
Q: Did you have a good idea coming into the week that they’d use you as a blitzer, as much as they did?
A: Everybody blitzes, everyone’s going to blitz, everybody has to be able to blitz. I was at the right position at the right time. Like I said, it was a fun atmosphere, great team win, and I couldn’t ask for more from the guys that I played with.
Q: Coach [Sean McDermott] talks about the process a lot, this really started back when you joined the club, and he was new, you were new, to see the fruits of that labor week one after all that work you put in, how gratifying is that for you guys?
A: It’s huge, you work so hard in the offseason, in training camp and OTAs, and just come out here and perform in front of our fans, give them something to watch and get that first win under our belt. It’s huge, and like I said, you put in so much work, you want to come out here and want to perform well, and you want to win. We did that, but like I said, we have a lot of work to do.
Q: Given how your season last year ended, how special was it for you to take the field today, and not only that, but perform as well as you did?
A: Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about last year, I put that part of my life behind me. Today was just another time to go out there and step out on the football field, and showcase our talent as a team. I think we did that, we still have a lot of work to do, and we’re excited for the future.
BUFFALO BILLS SAFETY MICAH HYDE
Q: Tell me about the interception?
A: To be honest, I didn’t believe it at first. I was like there was no way (Josh McCown) was throwing this ball. I thought it was a double move, and that was going to be on me, but he ended up throwing it and I had a break on it. He did a good job of elevating the throw and making him get some air underneath it, but from there I just made the catch.
Q: Sean McDermott seemed to deflect everything about himself, but how nice is it to get him a win in his first game in the NFL?
A: After the game, everybody loved it. Everyone was happy for him, obviously, his whole coaching staff, but just him in general. He’s a first-time head coach, first game. But I will say this, there was no worry, there was none of that. We were out there playing loose, that’s the first time I’ve seen a head coach in his very first game be that loose. The guy was just focused, he had confidence in us, he knew we were going to go out there and get the win. I think that’s what gives us the confidence in him.
Q: You’re in first place?
A: We are. It’s early, it’s week one, we have a lot to build off. Like I said, nobody was perfect today, we gave us some big plays. But like I said, we’re going to watch film and correct the mistakes.
Q: What do you think of the job Jordan [Poyer] did next to you?
A: Poyer showed out today, he did a great job. Especially on that sack, add him on that, made a play, had a pass breakup, had that pick. He has to get in the weight room because the guy took it from him. I was telling the ref he obviously caught the ball, he was laying on his back, I was like that’s our ball. The ref was like chill out, chill out, I know, I know, it’s your guys’ ball. I’m excited for Poyer, a lot of hard work he’s put in throughout this offseason. A lot of people have counted him out, counted myself out, so we made a promise to each other, to this whole secondary and to this team, we’re going to give it our all this whole season, and that guy is doing it for sure.
Q: You guys came in together, and you’ve been starters since the moment you got here, it’s got to feel pretty good that you both contributed like that in a season opening win?
A: The whole started thing since we’ve been here, it is what it is. Nothing was set and stone, so obviously he went out there today and made plays, and I think we did that [as well]. Like you said, came in together, we’re pushing each other, and that’s all that we ask of each other.
Q: How tough was it to communicate with that crowd noise when you guys were on defense?
A: It was loud, but that’s how we like it. It’s harder for their offense to communicate. We practice that kind of stuff, especially being at home and how loud it’s going to be. It’s awesome. It’s my first regular season game playing in Buffalo, I’ve played here before in the past, and I remember it being just as loud. It’s an amazing place to play and we definitely cherish that.
NEW YORK JETS HEAD COACH TODD BOWLES
Q: On 4th and 8, your decision not to go for it, not to pick it up, but rather to punt it late in the 4th quarter?
A: We thought we could get field position and we had three timeouts, and we thought we could stop them and get the ball back.
Q: Is it hard to win in this league when you can’t run the ball, and you can’t stop the run?
A: Definitely. If we can’t run the ball and can’t stop the run, we’re going to have a problem.
Q: Why do you think they were able to hit you guys with so many big jump plays?
A: Missed assignments. Missed assignments.
Q: What gave you confidence, regardless of the fact that you had three timeouts, what gave you confidence that you’d be better off putting the game, at that point with four minutes to go, in the defense’s hands instead of at the 44, at least giving your offense an opportunity to get a first down there?
A: We stopped on the 4th, and we would’ve had the field position. Had we went on the 4th and not gotten it, and they got the ball back, by the time they’ve would’ve punted with the three timeouts, we would’ve been backed up and it would’ve been hard to go above 90 yards.
Q: How surprising are those missed assignments on defense?
A: You know, they’re surprising because it’s the guys that’ve been here.
Q: What about the run defense against [LeSean] McCoy? It looked like there were a lot of creases.
A: Missed assignments - there were a lot of missed assignments.
Q: Is that coaching? Or is that the--
A: Both, they’ve go to coach it better, they’ve got to play it better.
Q: What did you think about how [Josh] McCown did today?
A: He did ok. We help him out more, we’ve got get some more help. We couldn’t run it consistently and we didn’t throw the ball consistently. Had a lot of missed assignments over there that went unknown and we’ve got to clean that up too.
Q: What do you see coming with [Christian] Hackenberg as the senior position?
A: It’s a coaching decision.
Q: Is [Bryce] Petty fully healthy?
A: He had a full week of practice.
Q: You said you’d like to see more from your offensive line, did you feel like Josh [McCown] is at fault at times?
A: Well, I’ve got to watch the film. I’m not going to say it was their fault. I’ve got to see what happened, if they loaded it or came in, I’ll watch the tape and we’ll go accordingly, but the key is to win.
Q: Todd, why did you guys come out throwing the first half? You threw it three times as much as you ran it.
A: Came in with a game plan, some of the things we tried to exploit and attack, and it didn’t work out for us as well, but we were in the game. We made some plays in the end or in the second half that cost us on both sides.
Q: What was your thought on waiting so long to get Bilal [Powell] involved? He didn’t touch the ball until the end of the second quarter.
A: Just the production of plays that we had. We had it mixed up, doesn’t matter, he had more carries, if Matt [Forte] ended up with more carries, but we go by fields, not when he gets in the game and when he doesn’t get in the game.
Q: Muhammad Wilkerson had just one tackle - do you need more from him as a defensive leader?
A: I’ll watch the tape, those tackles don’t tell the whole story, but I’ll watch the tapes. I want him to have more than one tackle, but I don’t know what happened during the game or whether he felt it. I’ve got to watch the tape.
Q: What gives you confidence that these mistakes that happened today can be rectified within a week before you go to Oakland?
A: Well that’s simple, we came out so hyper that we played hard but we didn’t play smart. We’ll go back to the drawing board, settle everybody down, and we’ll go from there.
Q: What did you think of [Jermaine] Kearse today? After coming in 9 days ago and getting incorporated into the offense?
A: Again, I’ll watch the tape. I know he had some catches, but that doesn’t tell the story of the whole game. You’ve got to watch the tape back and evaluate the whole performance, just doesn’t go off of big plays.
Q: How do you evaluate Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye’s play today?
A: I’ve got to watch the tape again. I wasn’t concentrating on those two.
Q: Why was Jeremy [Kerley] not good?
A: He didn’t have enough plays to get down.
Q: What was your message to the team just there?
A: 0-1 doesn’t define us. I mean if we lost the game, I’ve got to give the guys credit, they made the plays we didn’t. We’re not going to hang our heads. We’re going to get ready and make our corrections on our mistakes that the game really showed us.
Q: Do you chalk some of the mistakes up to your youth with this team?
A: We, it wasn’t all youth. There were coaching mistakes, and there were playing mistakes, so we’re all involved.
Q: You guys seem to have a lot of issues today with missed direction where the play would look like it might be going one way and then they would pull it back the other way and the guys were riding on it, like the Andre Holmes touchdown. What leads to that sort of problem?
A: Missed assignments.
Q: You mentioned that it was a coaching decision, which is why you went with Christian [Hackenberg] as the backup quarterback. Is this going to be something that changes week to week, or is Christian the backup for the year?
A: It could change, it’ll probably change all the time.
Q: Did it have anything to do with Bryce’s [Petty] health?
A: Bryce had a full week of practice.
Q: How serious is Bruce Carter’s ankle injury?
A: I don’t know yet, he’s got to get tests run.
Q: How about [Eric] Tomlinson?
A: Same thing – got to get tests run.
NEW YORK JETS QUARTERBACK JOSH MCCOWN
Q: How do you think the Jets offense played today?
A: Well, not good enough, obviously. I’m disappointed. I think, given the circumstances and what we’re trying to build, there’s some things in there that we can build on. We’ve got to be better on the third down, got to keep ourselves in manageable situations. We’ve got to do a better job of protecting the football. We’ll look at the tapes and get a better assessment. Usually we’ll come out of these things with some good, some bad. Obviously if we don’t come out with some good that’s the most disappointing thing.
Q: Would you have preferred to have gone for it (a touchdown)? You guys were down two scores with about four minutes to go near midfield.
A: That’s just the coach’s decision. Anytime, as a player, you’re on the field and they say go for it, you go. The coach understands how to manage the game, and you trust that you’ll get the chance to pin ‘em and maybe back ‘em up and stuff like that. It makes sense to always in those situations defer to coaching.
Q: Considering the issues you guys had on offense today, how much does this offense have to work on to become more competitive?
A: We just gotta stay on the field. We gotta convert third downs, and in order to do that you’ve got to be in manageable situations. We just gotta look at the whole thing – our good runs, how we run the ball, what we could do better in that aspect. Then in the passing game, how we can do better. I thought we had some big plays here and there, but not enough. As we get to know one another, continue to grow together, and get some of these guys back, too, I think that will help us. I think that ultimately, the things that we can control… You know, starting with myself, speaking on myself… It’s just protecting the football and such. I think it’s something that we can make immediate improvement on.
Q: Obviously you have a high completion percentage and you guys are focusing on the short stuff. Do you think you guys can operate that way and run a productive offense?
A: Yeah, I do. I think that’s part of it and it gives way to the big stuff. What was obvious and what we saw was that they weren’t going to give it up. We had a couple of things that we thought we could get behind them on, but they were committed. They got young corners in their corners and they were committed and when that’s the case, you just gotta be efficient like we were. But, again, in our efficiency we gotta make sure we’re burning through downs. I think that’s something that as we look at it we’ll definitely approach it some more.
Q: How discouraging was it that the run game never got on track?
A: It’s got to be a part of what we do, there’s no doubt about it. Like I said, we’ll look at it and see where we can improve, what areas we can improve. That’s a part of keeping manageable downs, like running the ball, being smart with the football in first and second down passing. We will obviously look at that again, but it’s the first week. There’s a ton of things that we’ll learn from and I look forward to the improvement that can take place in the coming weeks.
Q: You obviously got this job because of your experience and leadership. Do you have to take it upon yourself to kind of not let these guys get down and keep that optimism that something will work here?
A: Absolutely. I know from y’all’s perspective when you look from the outside in, there’s a narrative that you feel about this team. But when you’re in it, and when you’re competing, you don’t feel that. That’s not how we approach it. So we’re disappointed, absolutely, but we plan on responding. They know that when we show up Monday, we’ll get in the weight room and we’ll throw weights around. We’ll work, and we’ll do everything we can to bounce back. We expect to, and then we’ll look forward to Wednesday’s practice and get the game plan and move on. From my part, I can’t wait to start working on Oakland, to teach these young guys as we continue to grow together. It’s fun. Jermaine (Kearse) has been here five days or six days. Will Tye catches a big catch and he’s been here just a little while. It will be fun to grow with these guys, and that’s one thing we won’t to do is put our head down. No way. I know that. We’ll move forward and just seek improvement every week no matter the outcome. That’s the thing, if we would have won this game we’d be sitting here talking about how we got to improve on offense, so that’s the key for us.
Q: Did you feel the effects of all the new faces at all today with Jermaine being here just a week, with Tye being here just a week?
A: I thought he (Tye) was effective, I mean, how many balls did he catch? He had a ton of balls. I think hopefully that’s just the baseline of where we can maybe go with those guys. Will was breaking huddles sometimes. Those things are dumb, but you got to expect it. It’s unfortunate that E.T. (Eric Tomlinson) got banged up a little bit, so it pushed Will into a different role. That’s what we talked about early this week when you guys asked for the keys, it just was managing that. I look at that and go man, we didn’t have any delay of games. We didn’t have any problems with that. That’s a tough thing to do, from a coaching standpoint, to the players and all the moving parts that we have. So that’s a hats off to how these young guys… I mean, there’s a cool moment in the locker room when you come in before the game and these guys are in their books. They’re looking, they’re studying. Ardarius Stewart was over there studying. They handle all of this well considering all of the moving parts we have because of personnel, so I’m proud of them for that. Hopefully those are habits and things that we can build on.
Q: Did Buffalo do much that you weren’t expecting defensively?
A: No, they got in a couple looks here and there, but for the most part… That’s the interesting thing, when you go against a group like this is that you have Sean’s (McDermott) background from Carolina, so you’re looking at that tape. You’re looking at Buffalo’s preseason tape. You’re trying to blend what you think it might be, and I think for the most part it stayed pretty true and they played sound a lot in the front. It will be fun getting to play these guys again. It will be good to get them on another go after having seen kind of who they are.
Provided by the Buffalo Bills.