BUFFALO BILLS HEAD COACH SEAN MCDERMOTT
Q: Your defense, three weeks in a row now, has allowed you to do what you’ve done, [with only] two touchdowns [allowed] in three games. Just talk a little bit about how well that group is playing.
A: You know, they’ve done a great job. I mean, they’re playing well. We had a couple plays today that got away from us but they are a resilient bunch. They really are. If it’s not the front getting after the quarterbacks, somebody else is making a big play for us in the back seven. They play as a team, which that’s how you play good defense in football. You play as a team and they did a good job of feeding off of one another and really just doing their job, being 1/11th of the defense.
Q: Tre’Davious White got off to a rough start. They were going after him and they completed some balls, but he really turned it around in the second half. For a rookie to do that, [it’s] pretty impressive.
A: It is. He’s done a great job. He’s got great mentors on the team in the ways of Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Lorenzo Alexander. I mean these guys have taken Tre under their wing and then you match that with his work ethic and the time he puts into the film room during the week and the results have taken care of themselves. From a young corner, this early to do what he’s done, is good to see. Still a lot of work to do, but I know he’s working extremely hard and I’m happy for him.
Q: What was the nature of your team meeting last night? What led to the demonstration during the anthem?
A: Well, really it was us, with Terry and Kim [Pegula] and players, coaches, staff, coming together and having a conversation that was very productive. The statement, we stand by that statement and it speaks to the unity, equality and love and that’s what we came up with from that meeting.
Q: Why did you want to walk towards midfield? It’s something that isn’t normal.
A: Well, we just felt like it was the right thing to do.
Q: What was the reaction of players in that meeting and why were some of them kneeling?
A: I’d like to keep most of what went on in that meeting other than the statement [private]. Those things are team deals right there so I’d like to keep that amongst the team. But it was a productive meeting, like I said. A lot of good conversation that came from it.
Q: Tyrod Taylor, you were able to get him a little bit more space and a little bit more time. When he’s done those things, he’s far more effective than not. Are you looking for ways that you can get him a little bit more time, a little bit more space?
A: Well, I thought he played a good game today. I thought Rick [Dennison] called a good game. A good game plan and spread the ball around extremely well. We ran the ball when we needed to run it at times and that’s a good defense so give them credit too. But I liked the style of offense we played today and we possessed the ball when we needed to possess the ball. The points before half, from a two-minute [drill] standpoint were critical in the outcome of the game.
Q: There was a series there where [Taylor] rolled to his left and threw to [Nick] O’Leary. That was a good play, throwing against his body there. Then he hit Jordan Matthews in a crossing pattern and then the little flip for the touchdown [to Charles Clay]. Those three plays all kind of rolled into one of, ‘okay, he can get down in those situations and maybe he can be a much more productive guy.’ Is that what you see?
A: I saw the red zone, to your point. I saw a great red zone production [and] efficiency in terms of what we were able to do in the red zone. [We] came up short in the fourth quarter there. We were trying to obviously work the clock a little bit and then take points, which is what we were able to do. But yeah, I thought Rick did a great job with the game plan and we were able to do some things offensively that we felt like, during the week, would be open and again, spread the ball around. I think that was key as well.
Q: What does this win do for your team psychologically? That was a team over there that people expected to be better than you. They were favored in the game. You guys ended up proving otherwise.
A: Well, it’s a good team. Again, I’m going to give credit to the Denver Broncos. They were off to a 2-0 start. I like our football team. I said that last week after the game and I’ll say it again. I like this football team. These guys play together, they work hard during the week, and there’s no surprise, no mistake I should say, for the results that they got. You earn it. That’s how you win in this league, you have to earn it and those guys earned it.
Q: Sean, your team obviously likes to run the ball. You run first, but teams have done a good job the last two weeks of shutting down your running backs. Is it good for you to see that you can throw the ball downfield? Because that was a question and it looked like you guys had much more success and maybe it was part of a plan today because you know you’re going to have to move the ball with the bigger chunk play. Is that what you saw happening?
A: Some of that, and again, just us getting back to playing our style of football. We came away from the game last week wanting to re-establish who we were as an offense and how we play. Good defenses challenge that. Carolina’s defense did that, Denver’s defense [did that]. Two good, solid defenses, and they’re going to challenge that. It was important that we stick with who we are and how we play. I thought we did that effectively today.
BUFFALO BILLS QB TYROD TAYLOR
Q: Passing game found a rhythm today, what led to that achievement?
A: We were able to do a couple different things in the passing game, some crossing routes we knew it was a man team, even get on the edge. Our keepers, it was good we mixed up different protections to try to calm down 58 and rush in free. Ultimately, the guys went out, took a challenge on the outside and were able to make some plays. I’m proud of those guys.
Q: Was this kind of a testament to the open-mindedness of the coordinator? You mentioned during the week you guys were going to be talking and make some points about things you like to do?
A: Absolutely, Rick Dennison always has an open ear even from my time working with him in Baltimore. Truly, definitely, this week talked with him about the things I have seen and that I liked, the things I felt we were good at. I guess this defense, and even things that he liked with his time in Denver knowing this group we just played, ideas that he thought would work. We were on the same page and ultimately we were able to go out there and execute. It wasn’t pretty every drive, we had some drives we could have been better at but we were able to get the job done.
Q: It seems like when you are given the time and space, we have watched that here in the past where you are most effective. Would you like to see the offense making a more defined effort to get you just a little bit time to open passing lanes and giving you the option to use your legs?
A: Each week is going to call for different things but we definitely have to stay true to our identity. I think today we showed that we can be multiple in our pass and attack. Like I said, whether it is using keepers, keeping the defense honest, and the backside. Ultimately it is going to help Shady, we were not able to get the running game going like we wanted to today but it is going to help him as well too, slow play on the backside.
Q: What about for you personally also?
A: It definitely helps me get in the groove. It helps me find a rhythm. Of course completions for any quarterback helps find rhythm. You want to do what that person is comfortable doing and I think we have a good idea of what, Rick Dennison has a good idea of what I do well and what I am comfortable with.
Q: What was the nature of the discussion between your teammates that led to today’s anthem demonstration?
A: We had a conversation last night. It was a voluntary team meeting. Mrs. Pegula, Mr. Pegula were there. Our GM Brandon Beane, Coach McDermott, our captains and a couple of the players. It was an open dialogue and I think it was good. Of course you are not going to solve everything in one night. The meeting went on for about an hour. The main thing we came out with was this organization ultimately believes in love and equality for all people. Individuals felt the need to kneel, some people stood, we respect each and everyone’s decision. I think the main thing is, we were all on the same page in doing so.
Q: What was the nature of your conversation with Von Miller when he extended, you are still laughing we could see you laughing on the field?
A: Me and Von came out the same year. We are good friends and we were actually laughing on the field. I do not think he knew, I honestly did not know at the time it was going to be a flag, like I said we were laughing. It ended up working out in our favor. I guess a bad play by him at the time, pretty sure he wish he could have that back, but you have to move forward.
Q: Were you laughing because it was funny or because they threw the flag?
Q: What did he say?
A: I mean, like I said we just were laughing. I have known him for a good while, but he just was laughing. I stuck out my hand, thought he was going to help me up but that was like an old school move
Q: So you are saying, you didn’t really take it as a slight?
A: No, I didn’t. Stuff happens in a game. I do not really expect people to help me up, but at that time he extended his hand. Ultimately, I got played in the situation. It ended up working in our favor, it ended the drive. We were able to run some time on the clock and make them burn all their time outs. Ultimately it worked out for the better of us.
Q: For the touchdown for Clay, could you maybe explain where he was as an option for that play cause you saw him late. Could you maybe walk us through that?
A: Yeah he is actually third in the progression. We were trying to hide Jordan Matthews and get him to come out the backside, the corner smoke played it, they took away the corners, and Charles is the last option. Actually my option to run actually comes before Charles but he, his sale was able to close the end down, and I was approaching the line of scrimmage he popped up and I was able to give him the play.
Q: So your drive there, that is when you rolled left and you throw it across your body to O’Leary near the sideline. Do people underestimate your ability to make that play? We have watched that before, it is hard to throw against your body but you make it kind of look easy.
A: I would say the catch was probably better than the throw. For him to be able to track that ball, for a tight end going about thirty yards down the field and keeping his feet in on a diving play was definitely a great catch. I make those plays a bunch at practice, I have confidence in throwing that ball so I didn’t second guess it. It was a great play by O’Leary.
Q: In terms of respect, I mean everything this team went through last night with the discussion, are you of the opinion that what came out of that is a team that should be stronger moving forward?
A: Absolutely, there is definitely times throughout a season where with teams where things are going to happen, whether it is off the field or on the field. Teams could fragment or they could closer together. I think last night’s discussion and even us being out there on the field today definitely brought us together. Of course the win brought us together but the brotherhood of us being on the sideline on the same page, supporting one another, I think definitely brings us closer.
Q: What plans if any are there to continue protesting?
A: It is still early. I can’t really say what plans we have, nothing concrete. Of course this has to be something, in order for it to change or in order for the awareness to be beneficial it has to be something that goes on consistently. I think it is something that the league as a whole has to continue to support. I cannot say whether there are concrete plans right now to be honest.
Q: Is it fair to say that as long as the president continues to take shots, literally, at you and your fellow players in the league, that you are going to respond somehow, in the form that was today throughout the league?
A: In the best case scenario you want to be proactive. Of course today was kind of reactive because he said something that people felt he need to go out and do things, but moving forward in order for us to get the response out of it that we are looking for ultimately we need to be proactive. That just comes with everyone standing together. Thinking through it, like I said it is still early, and hopefully we can find a solution to it.
Q: In the larger picture you always hear the players, yourself included, talking about the NFL being a brotherhood. It seemed that way today because everybody across the league, not just the Bills, took a stand. What does that say about the unity not just here but throughout the entire league?
A: It is definitely a brotherhood. The comments that were made I think were definitely an attack against the shield. As players you protect that shield. Of course you protect the logo that is on the side of your helmet, you play for the name that is on the back of your jersey, but at the end of the day you play for that shield. It is a privilege to play for the shield, and we as players took that as a personal attack. Like I said, I don’t necessarily have the answers right now as to what to do to solve it but we are going to continue to keep working through it daily.
Q: What lead to your own personal decision to remain standing?
A: That is just something that I have always done. I honestly pray during the national anthem, I have been doing that since I started sports when I was a kid. I try to stay to my routine. I do not condemn or look down on anyway, I support them. They are my brothers, if that is their choice and they want to make it, then I am fine with that.
BUFFALO BILLS RUNNING BACK LESEAN MCCOY
Q: What led to you not standing during the national anthem?
A: Well, the flag and the national anthem means a lot, to me, to my teammates. We had a long meeting Saturday night and I was very bothered the comments of our president of this country. As a president you’re supposed to lead us, you’re supposed to bring us together. You know, you’re supposed to lead this country. I can’t stand and support something where our leader of this country is acting like a jerk, angry and upset about NFL players protesting in a peaceful manner. I won’t go to different areas and subjects, but in this country a lot of different things are going on, with people protesting in a violent way. If a guy wants to take a knee or wants to express himself in a different manner, he has that right. And the biggest thing is that it’s in a peaceful manner. You know, so that really bothered me. I think us as a group, as a team, we want to display that. We come together as a team and show to the world that no matter how different each other person are, we can come together. It’s as simple as that.
Q: I know you had reacted to a question about Colin Kaepernick a couple weeks ago, you said that may not have been the best platform for him to use. How do you reconcile this?
A: You know, the good thing about this country is that you can do what you want, the freedom to express yourself. And I felt that, hey if that’s something he wants to do, it’s perfectly fine. At times I thought I wouldn’t to do something like that, and then when you hear different remarks and comments from our leader, from our President of the United States. This is a great country. You know, people strive hard to get over here, they do a lot of different things to get over here for a reason. And when that leader, your president makes different comments, it’s just hard for me to respect and try to represent some of this that I don’t believe in.
Q: There were about 10 or 12 of you that kneeled or weren’t standing, was that thought up of on an individual basis?
A: We talked about it as a team. Everybody that was bothered and felt like they wanted to kneel expressed their selves. Coach and the owners granted our wishes and that’s what we wanted to do. As you’ve seen around the NFL, a lot of the players have responded, and not only the players, a lot of the owners have responded, not in the president’s favor. So I think it just shows that around the NFL, the unity to come together. And you know, that’s really it.
Q: LeSean, the purpose of a protest is to…
A: Let’s talk about football man. You know I’m not going to sit here the whole time and go on about this. I’ve addressed those questions, let’s go on to some football questions.
Q: Can we talk about [Tyrod Taylor]?
A: We can talk about Taylor.
Q: When you give that guy a little bit of time and space, he’s a different player than when you don’t.
A: For sure. He played well today. He cares today, let’s be clear about that. You know, their defense tried to take out the running game, so a lot of the play actions, a lot of the bootlegs, get him out of the pocket. Stretching the ball, pulling the back, throwing the ball down the field, making some runs, I mean he cares. And whatever it takes to win, that’s what we’ll do. I am very confident in putting the ball in number five’s hands and letting him lead us.
Q: Sometimes you do somethings out there yourself that are freaky, you know, and you just can’t believe how quickly something runs? Are you ever in awe of him when you’re on the sideline and you see him wiggle out of trouble somewhere, and then make a play?
A: Yeah, as far as watching it, right?
Q: Yeah, you’re watching and [Taylor]’s athleticism, you know. You appreciate that.
A: Well for sure, I mean, that’s one of his skills that he’s blessed with. God has blessed him with tremendous athletic ability. Sometimes instead of risking a pass, he can take off and gain the yards that way. So I love when he uses his other talent. I think sometimes quarterbacks get bottled up in “I have to throw that ball”. Now you start to see more off the scramblers, and you know he’s one of them. I played with a few guys, in particular, Michael Vick, who was amazing at that, and you see a lot of him in Tyrod.
Q: Do you think that this offense could use, like, you know this is a newer coaching staff and they’re still, I get the sense that, trying to figure out what he’s good at and also what he’s not good at. Where you could tailor an offense to his game, then maybe you’re on to something.
A: I’ll tell you what, you couldn’t have said it any better, seriously. I think sometimes with teams you get wrapped up in what you don’t have or what you could have or what you want, instead of focusing on what you have and using it to the best of his abilities. So this game plan was all made for [Taylor], the role outs, the play actions, the throwing it deep, having him with the ability to run or throw. And that’s his game. That pass to Nick [O’Leary] on the sideline, that was tough, and I’m sure a lot of people didn’t think he could make that type of throw, on the rope, on the dime in a tight game. Five [Taylor], I mean, that’s our guy and we depend on him to make plays and he’ll do that.
Q: How much have you guys bought into the underdog mentality?
A: We don’t really, myself for sure, I don’t look at it like underdogs, it’s the NFL. The same way we’re game planning for good players, they’re doing the same thing for us. In this league it’s so hard to focus on the underdog, because anybody can win. We just go out and play the game and just play hard.
Q: I only ask because some of your teammates have mentioned that. I wasn’t sure if collectively that’s something you talk about in meetings.
A: Not in meetings. I, for sure don’t think of myself as an underdog. If a team’s heavily favored that’s different, but you know we have the same opportunity to win the game as they do.
Q: This is the second straight week that the run game was stymied a little bit. What does the offense need to do to get this back on track because it was very prolific last year?
A: Yeah, I don’t know. Just watch the tape. The last two years we have been the top running offense, but then teams come in here just to stop me. It’s something I have to deal with. I’m not going to complain or pout. I could be angry about it but, which I am, but I guess I’ve got to better. But hey, if you have to sacrifice the run game to get guys open down field and they want to stack the box, we’ve got to find the ways to win. That’s why you draw it up, that’s why you get the players for offense so when that happens, we’ve got to make plays. And if I’ve got to make plays in the air, I mean, I’ve got to do something to be valuable. Or if I had to be a decoy, I guess I’ve just got to learn how to do that better. So whatever it is, I’m down to win. I wouldn’t mind the 150.
Q: It’s probably not going to change either. I could imagine they will continue to focus on you and continue to test Taylor.
A: Yeah, I would say so but I’m fine with that. Tyrod responded in a major way today. And hey, if we’ve got to win like that, I’ll bet my last dollar, and you know I’m a betting man. So if we’ve got to win like that with Tyrod, we can do that.
BUFFALO BILLS WIDE RECEIVER JORDAN MATTHEWS
Q: The first quarter wasn’t exactly pretty because there were a lot of three-and-out’s to begin the game. Then, it did look like you guys got in a rhythm. Can you feel confidence in the huddle once you start picking up a few first downs there?
A: I think definitely you saw a little bit of our grit, but I think also there’s that realism. We understand that this is the NFL and games are going to be tight. I think so many coaches try and mind-trick their players like ‘hey, we’re going to go out and we’re going to score 42 every game. That’s our goal.’ That is not realistic and what happens is I’ve been around situations, you come out there and you don’t score in the first half and everyone’s like ‘aww’ and they start throwing towels and think we’re doing awful. Here, Coach [Sean] McDermott is amazing setting up a game plan. Him being a defensive-minded coach and knowing like ‘guys, even if we don’t get that first down, if we just get a little bit of yardage, we’re playing the field position game. We’re putting our defense back out there. Now they get a stop. Now we might get better field position [or] might get a turnover.’ So I think it’s that realistic mindset and then also that grit of saying ‘hey, games are going to be tight. We need plays down the stretch.’ I think that’s what puts us in the best position to win and it keeps us the most confident throughout the game. Through the first quarter, we haven’t scored [and] I don’t have a target. I’m not over here like ‘aww, throw the game plan away.’ No, we’re right where we want to be. We’ve just got to keep punching, keep grinding and that’s what we did and we came out with a win.
Q: Do you like seeing Tyrod [Taylor] on the edges rather than just in the pocket looking? It seems like he does his best work on the edges.
A: I think he does a great job even in the quick game. Like I said, and I mentioned this this past week, it’s such a short volume. I can’t make ultimatums like, ‘oh yeah, he’s great escaping the pocket so we just got to roll with that.’ It’s only been three games. The sample size is way too small. I think usually by about week eight, you start to know who teams are, what they do, and then that’s kind of when it wraps up too. For right now, we’re just continuing to grow. I like Tyrod as a quarterback, I love him as a team player and as a captain. He’s gotten the locker room so my biggest job every time I come here [is] I just have to make plays for him and I felt like I was able to do that today.
Q: The protest today. Can you just take me through your mindset, not only during it but the conversation you guys had?
A: Yeah. You know, we got together and it was awesome to see everybody from all different walks of life at that talk. It’s awesome to be a part of an organization that allows everybody to come together and speak freely about their beliefs or about their stance on this protest and everything. Obviously, the main thing that we want to highlight is this is never done to disrespect the military. Like I said, even dating back to when [Colin] Kaepernick first made his stand, he wanted that to be known. This is not to disrespect the military. He knew that that time was a platform that he would probably be able to get the conversation going. For anybody who says it didn’t mean anything, obviously it’s meant something. I heard somebody say once, they tried to bury him and he was a seed, and now it’s kind of grown. I think the biggest thing that you’ve seen now is how the public demonstrations have gone to another level.
I think obviously the President’s comments the other day struck a cord with a few people. Before, there were a bunch of guys doing the public demonstrations, but there were a lot of guys who were more working in the private sector. I knew a lot of guys who would do stuff in their hometowns to help with the battle with discrimination. Doing stuff with kids, mentoring, all those things. Making huge donations, but they just weren’t doing the public demonstrations because they felt like ‘hey, there’s a bunch of guys that have already done that. That’s their calling. I’m going to do this.’ I even felt like that’s what I was taught to do for the longest [time]. After the President’s recent comments, I think that’s where you’ve seen the growth because I wouldn’t repeat what he said, but to make that comment about people, your own citizens. Malcolm Jenkins is a good friend and Malcolm has been extremely vocal and extremely active in this whole protest from the very beginning, and so to call him that. I felt like I’d be wrong not to stand with him. I’m with you. That’s not who you are, that is not, that word does not define you, and I’m standing with you because essentially, are we ever going to cure racism completely?
I think there’s always going to be evil in the world. I truly believe that and that’s the sad part about it, but can we all stand up and say ‘look, we’re not going to stand for hate. We’re going to be the people that are the voices for love and equality.’ That’s exactly what we’re going to do, and I think that the Bills have expressed that. They said that this is a place where we stand together to promote love and equality and a free space for people to express their beliefs. That’s it. That’s the bottom line. That’s why you saw everybody on one line, where there were people kneeling, where there were people standing, and where people had their hand on their hearts. Even in the diversity, there’s still unity and that’s what I think people have realized and that’s what America is. We’re not all going to be the same and I don’t think people should expect everyone to be the same. That’s the beauty of it, is that even in the diversity, there’s still unity and I think that’s the best part about the Bills and the way they’ve been able to let us do this.
BUFFALO BILLS WR ANDRE HOLMES
Q: Can you walk us through the touchdown, what your route was, what you saw, and were you surprised the ball was there after the deflection?
A: I had a seam route, and I was kind of in a hand-to-hand combat with #29 (Bradley Roby). The ball was thrown up, I went to get ready and that’s why my eyes were back. The ball just fell into my lap.
Q: As divisive as the issue is, that happens before the game and all of that, do you think last night’s meeting brings you guys, as a team, closer together, and you’ll be stronger as a group for it?
A: I think we’ve already had a family feel here on this team. I know that people have been talking about it, I’ve heard it on TV and all that kind of stuff. I think it’s already there, it’s still a huge moment. Tough circumstances, we did grow stronger after that, just like every team.
Q: On a broader scope, you always hear NFL players talking about how it’s a brotherhood, across the entire league, it seemed that way because every single team kind of made a stand and did something, during the anthem, what does that say about how united the entire league is?
A: That’s what everyone wants, everyone to be united together and have love and equality for everybody. That’s what every team in the NFL wanted to portray, we don’t want people divided. That’s not good for us, not good for our country. That’s what we were going for.
BUFFALO BILLS LB LORENZO ALEXANDER
Q: Can you take us through the discussions before the game and even through the anthem?
A: Yeah obviously it was in a response to our Presidents comments as far as calling people that were peacefully protesting SOB’s. For me the backdrop being Charlottesville and calling Neo-Nazi’s and KKK members fine people. Then making that comparison and drawing a hard line versus NFL players doing something peaceful. That really touched me because the guys that are taking the knee are trying to bring social awareness to the injustice and inequalities in this country. That doesn’t meant that they’re not patriots or they don’t love their country because we do. We have great privileges here but as members of a U.S. citizen I want to call or bring attention to things that need change. With that, today I kneeled but I won’t continue to kneel. I kneeled to show those guys that I got their back. That I am with them. However I am also with our military, our country, but I don’t think you can just all go put us in a box and draw a line. Whether you have to be all for my country or all for social justice. I can be for everything and that is the point we want to get across.
Q: How concerned are you that some people out there don’t understand what this protest is exactly about?
A: You can’t please everybody. You can explain where you’re at and they can either hear you or not hear you. I think if you have talked to people that have kneeled, Michael Bennett has done a great job on explaining on why what he is doing. If you don’t understand it, then that’s just where you’re at. You can’t change everybody’s minds. There’s some guys on this team who won’t kneel. We have several guys that say I don’t want to do it, but it’s all about respecting people’s opinions and perspectives but we still love each other and that’s what this country is all about. With that, I think that’s what those guys are trying to do.
Q: What was that discussion like as far as those teammates that some guys would do it and some who didn’t? When all of this came to the head?
A: It was great. It was open dialogue. What I really appreciated was the owners being in that room. The GM being there and supporting us. Terry Pegula--he grew up poor and he hasn’t forgotten where he has come from. He did a great job as far as to relating with us and allowing us to use our platform and really his organization to stand on and make a statement. A lot of respect for him. A lot of owners didn’t have to do that or didn’t do that. Everybody felt like something needed to be done and whether some guys would kneel, we would all be together. That was the key. We had different opinions that come from different backgrounds. However at the end of the day respect one another.
Q: Those SOB’s almost sounded racist in a way?
A: Yes, the closest you could walk up to saying it without actually saying it. I mean the majority of this league is African American. Then to make it personal, like I took a knee today does that mean I’m an SOB now? Is my mom a B? Everybody that knows my mom knows no. I think people that have a platform and are making a lot of money need to stand up and use your platform. That’s what it is all about. I have a huge voice and if I see something going on that’s what it is all about. Stepping up for those guys that don’t have a voice and that’s what guys are doing around the league. Either you understand or you don’t. I’m not here to change everybody’s mind. I’m going to do what I think is right and I think today was a perfect example of that.
BUFFALO BILLS CB TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE
Q: They were picking on you a little bit in the first half, what did you notice and how were you able to bounce back?
A: I wouldn’t say they were picking on me. Every pass, I was pretty much there. I tried to have a good day, and just tried to win at the end of the day.
Q: What does a game like this do for your development, early on in your career, going up against that caliber, and rebounding like you did throughout the game?
A: It just showed. Like I said before, you’re going to have your ups and downs but it’s all about how you respond. At defensive back, you have to have a short-term memory. If you have that, never let your confidence down.
Q: How much fun is it when you’re out there and they make a play, then you make a play, then they make a play, then you make a play? As a competitor, how much fun is that?
A: That’s what I play for. That’s what I play [professional] football for. I’m a 100% competitor, that’s what I love to do. I want to go against the best, on one of the highest stages I can do it on, just having fun. If you’re not having fun I don’t know why you doing it.
Q: The veterans weren’t taking any comfort in giving up nine points last week, can you talk about some of the high standard with that? Do they have you going along with that?
A: Absolutely, that’s what we live by. We want to be the best defense in the NFL. I feel that if we get takeaways and continue to play team defense, we can.
BUFFALO BILLS DEFENSIVE END JERRY HUGHES
Q: Given what our President said and given that you’re an NFL player, can you tell us how you feel?
A: 45 [President Trump] is going to say those things and as disturbing as that is, that’s not what our leader is supposed to do. Our leader, especially of American, our leader of our country, is supposed to be bringing everybody together, no matter race, no matter nationality, no matter religion. We’re here in this country as free people and we’re all here to be Americans. It doesn’t really matter. That’s how our country was brought up, so for 45 to divide the nation like that, it’s sad but you know, at the end of the day, you kind of expect it from our President.
Q: But at the end of the day today, you’ve now got owners publicly expressing support of players where many had not yet. Is what President Trump said actually what brought this to a rightful awareness where now, the message has been put across?
A: Our owners supported us. They support the team, they support the community, that’s what we embody here in Buffalo and that’s what our message was today.
Q: A win like this, how does it help the community as a whole?
A: A win like this is huge. These guys just came off of a two-game hot streak. They got a prolific offense and the number one rushing attack in the NFL so something like this, for us to protect our home turf [and] to protect our home field, it’s tremendous momentum for us so we can carry that into next week.
BUFFALO BILLS S MICAH HYDE
Q: Home field was just dominant. How important is it for you guys to establish that here and beat a good team like Denver?
A: It’s huge. Obviously we play half the games at home and you have to have that mentality to defend your dirt. You have to get the crowd into it and make this place a tough place to play. Not only when it’s cold but days like today when it was hot. We understand that and coach has been stressing that since OTA’s and that’s our number one goal to play at home and defend our dirt.
Q: How’s it been talking to the younger guys? Last week you had a tough loss and this week you had a win. You’ve been through the highs and lows that come through a sixteen game season.
A: You know, it’s a long sixteen game season. You’ll have highs and lows. Guys are going to complete passes on you. Guys are going to get touchdowns on you. You’ve got to be able to flush it and move on, especially in that game and in the following week. So I think the young guys have been playing well and doing an awesome job. I’m going to say it again, we made some mistakes today. We gave up some big plays but at the same time, we will correct those when we watch the film and bounce back next week.
BUFFALO BILLS K STEPHEN HAUSCHKA
Q: Was it rather fitting that you guys had a total team effort today, offense, defense, special teams, to get the win?
A: Yeah, what an awesome effort from our team. This team is gritty, and I think you’ve seen it, all three games. This team is poised, strong mentally, and this team is going to keep fighting every single game. It doesn’t mean we’re going to win every single game, but we’re going to be in it, we’re going to stay strong, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.
Q: And your swing today, it looked just like a golf swing, just looked free and easy, despite the distance today. How did you feel out there?
A: It felt great, the ball was flying well. It was about 80 degrees, which it’s like this a lot in Buffalo, right? It’s like this in December, right (joking)? The ball was flying well, I was feeling good mentally, physically, just nice for things to come together.
Q: What distance did you give coach as your limit before the game?
A: Depending on the game situation we could have stretched it pretty long today. The ball was flying good and I was hitting the ball well. That one direction, where we made most of the field goals was probably 58, and then the other direction, I could probably hit up to 63, 64.
Q: Does he look over to you in those situations, and say ‘are you good, can you make it,’ or does he make the call because you’ve already talked about that pregame?
A: I think it depends on the situation, depends on how I’m feeling. Yeah, he looks over to me, that’s something we’re kind of working on.
Q: What did it mean to have the owners participate in the meeting last night, about what you guys would do today?
A: I think it speaks volumes that the owners were involved in our conversations as a team last night. They support their players, they support their coach. What’s going on in our facilities is really special. There’s a lot of positive energy there, there’s a lot of love, caring and respect, regardless of what people’s opinions are, on the matter.
Q: Do you think, even though it’s been such a divisive issue, that ironically, last night brought you, as a team, together and that you’re going to be better for this?
A: I think we will be better from this. Coach [McDermott] eluded to this, there’s times throughout the season where teams are challenged, and the challenges might be different every year, but there’s times when teams are able to respond in a positive way, and come together closer, or they can separate and pull apart. I think this is a great example of Coach McDermott keeping guys together, and keeping guys unified, regardless of our opinions. I think we have a really tight-knit group here in this locker room, and I’m proud to be a Buffalo Bill.
DENVER BRONCOS HEAD COACH VANCE JOSEPH
Q: Vance, first of all, a number of players kneeled for the national anthem. What was your reaction to that?
A: I didn’t have one. I spoke to the team last night about what was going on in the league and it’s their right. That wasn’t the reason that we didn’t win the football game.
Q: What didn’t you do today? What were you most frustrated [about]?
A: Well, we talked about, to win a road game, you’ve got to be great in the red-zone, great with the turnovers, and great on 3rd down, and those things we didn’t do. Their last drive, they converted I think three or four great 3rd downs; we had two turnovers on offense. We didn’t play the critical parts of the game well today, so we didn’t win the football game, bottom line.
Q: It felt like Trevor [Siemian] tried to make plays that weren’t there a couple times, what did you see from your perspective?
A: It was a bend-don’t-break defense today, a lot of shell coverage. He’s trying to make plays, I can’t fault him on that. We want him to be smart with the ball, he has been smart with the ball, and he’s made those plays before, so I’m not down on that part. We can’t do it, but I get why he took some chances.
Q: What did you think of the call that they got Von [Miller] on for the quarterback?
A: I didn’t see it, but how he explained it to me, I guess Von gave him a hand to help the guy up, he pulled the hand away. He called it, so that’s what he thought it was. It’s pro football, he called it.
Q: What went into the decision on the fake punt? Was that a read, or was that called from the sideline?
A: It’s a call from the sideline, and if we have the look we want, we run it. A look was there, we had a late sub on the field so we kind of gave them time to adjust. It didn’t work, but in my opinion, it was the perfect timing, it was a good call, and the look was there. We had our offensive line versus their punt return team, which is big skilled players and it was 4th and 2 so we took a chance.
Q: Vance, the player coming on the field late, that’s not part of the diversion or anything else?
A: No, that’s on the coaches. That’s on us.
Q: Did Buffalo show you anything? Did they surprise you with anything?
A: No, it’s what we knew coming into this game. It was a stout defense on the front seven with a resilient secondary. Offensively, we knew LeSean McCoy was going to be a problem, and obviously Tyrod Taylor with his legs. He did a good job today offensively with the play action boots, keeping them on the move so they can run a pass. That really hurt us today, as far as the play action pass on defense for us.
Q: Did you guys considering running more in between the tackles, considering Marcell Dareus wasn’t in it today?
A: We ran the ball fine in my opinion. Again, 3rd downs, red-zone and two turnovers kind of killed our ride.
Q: Seemed like you had a little more success with [Jamaal] Charles over [C.J.] Anderson today.
A: Today? I couldn’t tell, I’ll watch the film in the morning and tell you that tomorrow.
Q: Was there a fatigue factor with your team you think with the heat?
A: Could’ve been, I’m not sure. It was warm today. It was a warm day, but guys are hydrated. We didn’t have a problem with cramps. Could’ve been that, I’m not sure.
DENVER BRONCOS QUARTERBACK TREVOR SIEMIAN
Q: What did the Bills do that gave the offense trouble?
A: They’re just a really good group. We knew coming in that we’d have our hands full. Obviously they have a very talented front. The safeties are really good players and the corners can play a little bit, too. They played really well.
Q: Did you kind of feel out of sync?
A: Yeah, it just felt like every pick got blocked today trying to get to the line throughout the game. We just never really got it.
Q: What is it about the red zone that makes finishing drives difficult?
A: Everything is just tighter down there. They were kind of playing a little softer and wanted to make us earn it down there. Credit to them. Their front end can run, and their back end is athletic and they’re smart. They did some really good things.
Q: What did you think about the players kneeling? I didn’t see what you did, what did you do on that?
A: I support those guys 110-percent. They know that I have their back. They have every right to do what they’re doing. I support those guys. I’ve said before, it’s a special group and so many of those guys are positive agents of change in the community and you see them everywhere. It is an honor to be their teammate.
Q: What disappointed you the most about this loss?
A: The turnovers. Yeah, I can’t do that, at home or on the road. The two turnovers, obviously, they hurt you. You never know what happens. The defense bailed us out one time. I felt good about getting points there if I don’t turn it over. Gotta clean that up.
Q: Did they kind of bait you into throwing the ball or force you into throws where you may have had to take a little more chances than you’d like?
A: I always say it doesn’t really matter what coverage you play when you have a good front, but they (the Bills) did a great job mixing up looks, a lot of different things. They played sound, they played it the right way. That front comes and gets you, so they’re tough to deal with.
Q: It seemed like you guys were the better team in the first half. You went into the locker room tied. Do you feel like you left some opportunities out there, especially in the first half?
A: I think so. Credit to them (the Bills) because I feel like on their side of the ball, on offense they strung together some big time drives when they needed them. Obviously, again the turnovers hurt. You kind of screwed your defense there so I’d like to do those back. Our defense bailed us out plenty of times. We just didn’t get it done.
Q: The scramble play on the pick intended for Bennie (Fowler III), did you think he was going in?
A: Yeah, I thought he was going in and he ended up going out. I’m responsible… Every ball that goes in the air, I’m responsible for. Can’t do that back there. Can’t turn it over anywhere back there.
Q: Did you feel that fatigue was at all a factor? It was hot out there today.
A: It was hot, but we knew that going in. Everybody was ready to go. I didn’t think so. I mean, they played better than us. They beat us.
DENVER BRONCOS RUNNING BACK JAMAAL CHARLES
Q: You think you got away from the running game a bit today?
A: No, I think we probably got panicked a little bit and we didn’t execute on some of the plays we had a chance to execute on. Missed opportunities, offside(s) hurt us, all the penalties.
Q: Jamaal, it’s tough to win on the road and you just mentioned it, some mistakes, some turnovers, penalties and next thing you know, you’re trailing a team that you probably think you should be beating.
A: Yeah, it’s the NFL … it’s not like Alabama vs. a Division III team. It’s the NFL, everybody has talent on both sides of the ball and we knew they were going to come to play. I’ve been playing up here three years, so I know if you give them a chance, they’re going to continue to battle.
Q: When you’re in a game like that and you know some little things are going against you, what do you have to do next time to battle through something like that?
A: We just have to keep on fighting, keep on matching the intensity and find a way to win the game. It’s the NFL, everybody comes out and play every week, and you have to give your best no matter what the record is.
Q: What was the conversation like last night or this morning as you guys decided to kneel together as a team?
A: It was just all of us getting together and me supporting my teammates and that’s what we did. Some people wanted to do it and some people didn’t, and at the end of the day, people have their own rights to do what they want to do.
Q: Why did you want to do it?
A: I did it because I support my teammates. I know we live in an America where you have free rights to believe what you believe and I try to support my teammates and that’s why I did it.
DENVER BRONCOS LINEBACKER VON MILLER
Q: Von, it looked like you were being Von, kind of goofing around with the quarterback [Tyrod Taylor] and the ref didn’t see the humor. Would you say that was accurate? What did you think of the call?
A: I can’t put my team in situations like that. I brought us home field many times, I’ve closed games fifty million times. I’ve got to be smarter than that. I’m always on the rookies and all the young guys [about] ‘being smart and doing this and doing that’. Then I go out there and do something like that, in a crucial situation in the game, I’ve just got to be better than that. It hits you in the stomach. I haven’t been in situations [like that] since my rookie season. One thing about it, I’m always, regardless, I always learn from my mistakes, I just can’t kill us. I killed the game today with that penalty. I’ve just got to be better than that, and I will be better than that.
Q: Had that been building up during the game or did it just happen in the moment?
A: I just wasn’t thinking. I know Tyrod, he was talking, smiling. I don’t even talk to quarterbacks, I don’t even do anything with quarterbacks. But I know Tyrod, we were kind of laughing and joking through the whole game. On that play, I just made a very, very crucial mistake at a vital point in the game.
Q: How shocked are you when you see the referee just go for the flag there?
A: I mean, I already knew he was. I was shocked, but that’s just where we are. I can’t do stuff like that, especially after a hit on the quarterback, I just can’t. I’ve got to be a better sportsman, and I just can’t put our team in a situation like that.
Q: Von, what went into the decision for you to kneel during the national anthem?
A: Just a list of current events that has been happening over the last couple of days. Me and my teammates, we felt like President Trump’s speech was an assault on our most cherished right, freedom of speech. Collectively, we felt like we had to do something for this game, if not any other game, if not in the past, in the future. At this moment in time, we felt like, as a team, we had to do something. We couldn’t just let things go. I have a huge respect for the military, our protective services and everything. I’ve been to Afghanistan, I’ve met real-life superheroes. It wasn’t any disrespect to them, it was for our brothers that have been attacked for things that they do during the game, and I felt like I had to join them on it.
Q: What bothered you most about what President Trump said on Friday?
A: Just choice of words. I felt like he was just pointing out a few guys. I felt like it was an attack on the National Football League as well. You know, he went on and talked about ratings. This is my life, and I love everything about the National Football League. From the commissioner, all the way down to the field tech guys and the chefs in the kitchen. I really love playing in the National Football League. I try to keep out any politics or social issues and just try to play ball. But I feel like it was an attack on us. If I’m not going to do anything in the future, if I haven’t done anything in the past, I feel like this was the time to do something.
Q: Did it set up a strange vibe before the game?
A: No, I mean, we’re all pros. We were going to do what we did, and get in the game. We had talked about it, everyone was comfortable with it, and then it was back to football. I felt like we played well. The Bills prepared for us like we prepared for them. They came out until the end of the game. I just… I killed us. That mistake, it really put us over the top. There was really no coming back from that. I’m always on the plus side, I’m always thinking ahead on how to put my teammates and my team when they have possession in great situations. I just made a crucial mistake. I’ve got be better than that. I really wasn’t thinking.
Q: Tyrod Taylor – you got him a couple of times, but he is tough when he’s off script.
A: Yeah, he is. He’s definitely one of the hardest quarterbacks to take out. Obviously I knew this going into the game. He’s a great quarterback, he’s one that lifts up his other teammates. If they’re eighties, when Tyrod jukes the ball they’re nineties, they’re ninety-fives. He really knows how to boost his teammates. He’s a great quarterback. He went out and he played great today.
DENVER BRONCOS LINEBACKER BRANDON MARSHALL
Q: What’s the key to building on a game like this?
A: We’ve just got to get back to work and do what we do best. Start tomorrow with film study, getting our bodies right, and getting back for Wednesday. It’s a tough loss. Things happen in this league and it is what it is. We have to just learn from our mistakes from this game. Watch the film and pull up all the mistakes. We can’t have that many penalties.
Q: You’re a leader on this team, how quick or easy is it for you to help these guys turn the page so quickly?
A: it’s going to be quick. We’ve been here before and this is not the end. Of course we would have liked to win this game. We thought we would win this game, but it just didn’t fall that way so all the leaders are going to get the guys in their specific position groups back on track and get ready for Oakland.
Q: It seemed like before the game you guys were all on the same page in regards to the anthem. Talk to me about the decision and what went into that.
A: I think everybody just wanted to be together and obviously everybody didn’t do it but the guys that did it, we talked about it. We felt like if any week it would be this week that we should do it and that’s all I’ve got to say.
Q: What was the discussion like last night? You’ve seen the president’s comments and his tweets. Were you talking about that much?
A: Yeah, we talked about it. We talked about the fact that while he called the people of Charlottesville very fine people, but we are “sons of bitches”. I think that he has to know that what he said is not going to make people go that way, it’s going to provoke people to bail so to speak. So we all did it and I told Vance (Joseph) before the game. Right before the game I said, “I don’t want to blindside you but some guys are going to go ahead and take a knee.” He said he respects my decision. I just didn’t want to blindside him.
Q: Personally, how did you feel when you heard the president say those words?
A: My first reaction was what I tweeted which was “wow” just wow. The fact that he would say that someone should be fired for exercising their first amendment right. It’s part of the constitution so why should someone be fired or taken off the field because of it? It’s utterly ridiculous and obviously we all focused on the game, but we decided to just do a demonstration. We came up short in the game, but that had nothing to do with it.
DENVER BRONCOS WIDE RECEIVER EMMANUEL SANDERS
Q: You guys had more yards than them, defense held them to less yards and it seemed like the mistakes just started to pile up today … At the end, the score didn’t go your way.
A: Yeah, that’s exactly what happened. We were on a roll and we knew it. No excuses, obviously they just played better than us. You can’t do that on the road … Mistakes after mistakes, they’ll cost you ballgames.
Q: You said, “No excuses” I mean, I could make some for you guys. You were on the road, it was hot, and there were some bad calls from the refs.
A: No, we just got beat.
Q: Before the game, obviously that’s a big conversation around the country. What went into the decision to do that as a team?
A: I mean, turn on your television, you’ll see what’s going on. We decided to take a knee, it didn’t have anything to do with what the flag meant to me, it had absolutely nothing to do with that. It’s the fact that our President is sitting up there saying words that he shouldn’t be using and calling guys’ words that he shouldn’t be using because you’re the leader of the United States, that’s just not right. I decided to take a knee on that … He shouldn’t be treating guys like that if you’re standing up for a cause that they believe in.
Q: You posted something, it seems like it hit you or you took offense to it.
A: I wouldn’t call it, “taking offense” it was just unbelievable how he went about addressing people. It’s pretty sad … I stood up for him, I’ve given him a chance and every single thing they say, he’s proven right so far. Like I said, at the end of that, I just said I’m highly disappointed. It’s pretty sad that we have a President like that.
Q: How do you bounce back from this one?
A: Shoot, we don’t have a choice. The goal is try to win a Super Bowl. If we don’t do that, we got a division opponent coming into Mile High Stadium, on Sports Authority Field, so we got to have a mood.
DENVER BRONCOS WIDE RECIEVER DEMARYIUS THOMAS
Q: Offensively you out gained them. Defensively you held them to less yards, but I guess you turn the ball over and have some bad calls against you and the mistakes just start to pile up. The next thing you know you play a game you feel like you should have won.
A: Yeah we should have won, but the stats say we should won. Like you said, turnovers, you’ve got turnovers on the road it’s hard to win. The crowd was loud, that doesn’t help as well, like you said with those turnovers it’s hard to beat anyone in this league.
Q: On the road you have to be at your best because when you let a team hang around they have the crowd, some calls don’t go your way, and I guess this is what can happen.
A: Yeah we come in here it’s our first away game and you’ve to treat it like it’s the first game. You’ve got to treat every game like it’s your first game and come out like you were at home. We average two turnovers and that’s what we come do on the road. As you see we turn the ball over. We say we are hunters coming out off last week after that win, we had a couple of turnovers and same with the first game of the season. We just can’t have those turnovers because it’s hard to win in this league.
Q: Last night or this morning what was the discussion about what you guys were going to do pregame?
A: We didn’t even have a discussion. It was basically just, we Broncos we are going to play for our brother to the left and right and try to get a win. We really didn’t say much about it.
Q: In terms of taking a knee before the game what was the decision process to do that?
A: It was just something we did as a group because these guys are my brothers.
Provided by the Buffalo Bills.