QB Tyrod Taylor
Q: How do you feel after the bye physically, mentally? Just kind of where you guys are at, where you are individually?
A: Physically, I’m good. I believe the team as a whole used those couple days off to get better. Some guys that were out going into the bye week are getting back healthy and are ready to contribute to this team.
Q: It came out in Kimberley’s story in saying: you don’t really try to tune out your critics. You obviously know that they’re there, how much do they weigh on you? How much do you hear about and read from your critics, or know that you’re being criticized?
A: I don’t necessarily hear; I stay away from the media. We’re here to talk about Tampa Bay and getting ready for that, so any questions that pertain to that, I’m ready to answer. As far as the other stuff, it comes with the job. I’m a focused guy, and I know what it takes to get myself mentally prepared for a game, so I’m going to continue to keep building that each week.
Q: The one thing, and I understand that playing quarterback there’s a lot of things that come into play and you’ve had a revolving door of receivers this year, and knowing how good you’ve been, how do you reconcile the fact that you had difficulty in fourth quarter comebacks and just when this team trails by four points or more since you got here in 2015?
A: Like I said, my focus is on Tampa Bay, and what I’ve got to do to get prepared for that. Our work week is here now, and whatever we have to do mentally and physically to get prepared on this Wednesday for Tampa Bay is what I’m focused on.
Q: Tyrod, last thing on that going out, in the NFL, quarterback, it’s just the way it is. It seems like quarterback and coach get the blame or they get praise, no matter what, you know what I mean? As a quarterback, do you look at that and say ‘Man, there’s 52 other guys on the team, why does it have to be on the quarterback, win or lose?’ Does that part of the equation of being a quarterback maybe bother you or discomfort you in any way?
A: No sir, it’s been like that since I’ve been playing at 5 years old. You take the praise when it comes, but you never take too much of it, that’s why you try to deflect it to some of the guys that don’t get praise as much: the offensive line, guys who don’t get talked about. That group is fighting hard each and every play, the receivers as a whole, the running backs. Like I said, my focus is on Tampa Bay, guys.
Q: What do you want to see from yourself and your receiving group knowing that it could be an influx at times?
A: As a whole, we need to come out and execute better, better than we have, better than we’ve done in the first five games. The off week, we had a chance to scout ourselves, and looking back on it, too many negative plays, especially early on. That’s something that we can be better at, something I can be better at; not taking sacks, getting the running game going, and as well as just being efficient in the passing game, and that’s something we’ve worked on, [on] our time off, and we’re going to continue to keep working moving forward.
Q: Tyrod, Coach said Jordan Matthews may play on Sunday. If he’s out there, how does that change the dynamic for you guys on offense?
A: He’s a special player. Of course, getting Jordan back, if that’s the case, it’s definitely a plus for our offense. [He’s] someone that I’m comfortable with, someone who’s going to compete each and every play. We have guys that are going to do that regardless, but having him back, he’s a special talent. He’s played well in his time in the league, and we’re excited to get him back for sure.
Q: Tyrod, you’re bottom of the league in sacks per pass attempt, I think you were ranked near the bottom last year. Why do you get sacked so much?
A: Can’t pinpoint; there’s a lot of factors that weigh in on that. Got to clean it up for sure.
Q: When you look at their secondary, there’s been a lot of talk in Tampa about [Vernon] Hargreaves struggling a little bit, coming in as such an early rookie, but what do you see from him and Brent Grimes on the other side?
A: Two corners that are definitely going to compete, guys that have a bunch of confidence. They’ve been beat deep, but they’ve also made some plays on the ball as well too. We have to be strategic in the way we attack those guys, execute when we do, call plays and go down the field.
Q: Coach [Dirk] Koetter has been critical, as Sal mentioned, with Hargreaves, he’s called them out, their pass rush is struggling. Do you hear that, and do you evaluate it in your own right, Tyrod, on tape? Or do you buy in at all to maybe what their coach is saying?
A: I don’t hear it, first and foremost. More so just watching film and get a feel for those guys on certain routes, how they play certain things. Like I said, we have a plan going into this game, and we have to do a good job of executing when we call those plays and go down field.
Q: A couple of your teammates said this week that they were going to meet with critical leaders about social injustice. How much do you plan on doing yourself?
A: I wasn’t a part of that conversation yet. I’m pretty sure something is going to come up, I know we’ve talked about the possibility having a town hall, just getting the community together and talking about things in the community. We haven’t set a time, or haven’t set a date for that, so when that comes, we’ll discuss it.
Q: How would you describe the involvement of the tight end in the Bills’ offense? If you want to go back to minicamp or whatever, but just [how it’s] evolved, it’s something that was different from last year, and you were building something there. Now with Charles [Clay] injured, could you maybe just take us back through and how you’ve seen that part of the offense evolved and where you think it might be going?
A: Yes, starting with Charles, of course, like I’ve said plenty of times, he’s a mismatch problem. But I believe that we have a tight end group that’s very capable of going out there and making plays. And every time they’re called to do so, that’s what they do. As far as getting them more involved in the offense, definitely something that we’ve put our focus on, because like I said, they’re talented guys. The more that we can spread the ball around, the better off we are as a team.
Q: How has that felt, I can’t come up with a better word of just how it felt, but how has it, as you’ve gone through the season, getting into the flow of getting the ball to Charles, getting the ball to Nick [O’Leary], from the quarterback’s eyes, how would you describe it?
A: It’s definitely a good thing when I can get those guys the ball, and get those guys going. Like I said, that makes the defense honest and force everyone to play, to cover; linebackers and safeties included. Whenever we can take advantage of those matchups, it’s definitely a big part of our offense.
Q: With the changes in receiver, obviously, but also up front as an offensive line there’s been some interchangeable parts as well, especially with one of the guys coming back this week, does that affect you at all as a quarterback, in terms of having different guys inserted week-to-week, or is it better to have a consistent group of guys that’s in there every week?
A: I don’t think that’s affecting me. I have confidence in all of the guys that are playing receiver or offensive lineman. They’re doing they’re best to go out there and compete at a high level. Having guys come back, guys that were starters, having those guys come back definitely makes our group stronger. But whoever is out there, there’s no complaining, there’s no finger pointing, we’re going out there and trying to get a job done.
Q: Starting with Tampa Bay, how much do you relish the opportunity to control how people view you, and getting on a roll? How much do you relish that opportunity?
A: I welcome that opportunity, I’m excited for it, and I’m going to continue to keep working hard like I know how to do. To put myself and put our team in the best situation and go out there and win games moving forward.
Q: You guys have a new wide receiver in [Deonte] Thompson, you guys have a little bit of history together, will you discuss what your experiences in the past have been like with him?
A: Yes, me and Deonte we go back to high school, we actually played in the U.S. All-American game together [in high school], we were in Baltimore together for a little bit of time, and was actually here for a training camp together. Comfortable with his ability, I know his strengths, and excited to have him on board. Anytime you have a friend that you know, that you can play with, it’s definitely exciting what he can bring to this offense. We have to bring him along slowly, of course it’s a learning curve for him as well, but [we’ll] try to get him out there when we can.
Q: Tyrod, I wanted to ask you about third downs specifically, one of the stats I tracked down was how far, either in front of or behind the first down marker, the pass goes on third down. Wanted to ask you, are you aware of where you normally rank in that stat, and what is your mindset looking for a receiver at that marker or trying to throw short of it to try and get some extra yardage?
A: Where did you get that stat from?
Q: Football Outsider.
A: As far as third down, completions is what you need. You have to first find a completion to be able to get past those markers. Sometimes it’s a catch and run, sometimes it’s past the yard to get. I’m not really sure what they’re tracking on that.
Q: Through this evaluation period for what you’ve done so far at this point of the season, personally, how would you evaluate your performance so far this season?
A: Right now as a team, we sit at 3-2, and we control our destiny moving forward. It’s time for us as a team, time for me as a quarterback to separate from the pack and do whatever it takes to win.
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RB LeSean McCoy
Q: LeSean, have the two weeks kind of given you a chance, both individually and as an offense, to kind of look at some things in the run game that you can kind of fix and take advantage of going forward?
A: It did, it really did. The time off, right before we actually just left, we looked at a lot of runs that were successful that we did well, and runs that we didn’t do well. Just trying to separate them, and just get the things that we do that were more successful, you know at the lines, they’re familiar with and they’re comfortable with, also with the backs.
Q: LeSean, how much of that is maybe going back to more of what you guys have done last year scheme wise, and play calling?
A: Just a mixture. I think you want, something that’s been working for so long, I mean, stick with it. Coaches know that, but also they have their own schemes that they want to do. Everybody puts a lot of time in it; a lot of research and study and preparation. You also want to do the things [that] we’ve been doing, just kind of do it better. I feel confident this week, our game plan that we have, it’s time to get going. It’s time for myself to get rolling, get back to the normal big chunks, big plays, more one-on-one opportunities, like we’ve been doing. I look forward to this week [and] having a big game. It’s about time, you know. It’s about time.
Q: Have you ever been in a season, start of a season, five games in, and not found the end zone?
Q: High School?
A: Never. Even little league, I mean. It’s something that I kind of just, you know, kind of going through weeks and days, I want to get going. It’s something that I’ve really put my mindset on, getting going and getting back to just playing my ball, finding the end zone, first downs, big runs, big chunks, making guys miss, you know, highlight plays. All that, even it’s good for me, but it’s good for our team. It keeps the offense on the field, and score and make big plays. Just got to get going, man, get back to just playing our football. Buffalo, running the ball, and doing things we do best.
Q: Did the bye week then come at a good time for you to maybe refocus? It seemed like it was weighing on you, how things were struggling. Now you had a week off to kind of rerack and refocus.
A: Yeah, even myself, just looking at tape, trying to focus on just doing the basics, doing the beginning things, the fundamentals, just being patient, and finding myself and getting going. It’s as simple as that. I can’t say it in different ways, the simple [thing] is, we have to get this thing going. We run the ball, that’s what we do. Myself, I make big plays, that’s what I do. It’s been long enough, this is week eight, seven. Seven? I got to get it back, we got to get this thing rolling. [If] I finish the game for us, they’re talented group up front, they play well together, they got a McCoy [Gerald McCoy] on the side, so of course he’s probably good. They’re a fast group, but teams [have] been running on them and I think this is a time for us to get it going.
Q: I know you don’t want to assume anything, LeSean, but how encouraging is it when you watch the film, you know even last week, you see A.P. [Adrian Peterson] ripping off big chunk runs, like you’re talking about against this team?
A: I mean, you can’t focus too much on that because we’ve watched different opponents run the ball successfully, and then we have our opportunity and we don’t do as well. Just got to look at the matchups, our guys against their guys, our line against their defensive line, our running backs against their safeties and linebackers. We should win our battles, and have a big day.
Q: LeSean, you talked about the scheme changes, your left tackle hasn’t really been playing most of the year, new right guard for the last game. Is it fair for you guys to have expected this run game to pick up right where it left off last year?
A: I think it’s fair, just because of the type of guys we have, expectation level that’s set and that’s our identity, it really is. Kind of throw on the tape, you see that we want to run the ball, that’s what we want to do. We’ve just got to stick with it. Stick with it, and then make the mistakes, the penalties, that’s killed us a lot too running the ball. Just being more disciplined, I think, and the schemes and executing better. That’s probably the biggest issues I’ve seen.
Q: How much would that help the pass game, because Tyrod [Taylor] is limited in only being able to do so much and given the fact that you have a revolving door at the receiver position, how much do you need to relieve that pressure too?
A: That’s tough, I mean most of the guys are hurt; from Jordan [Matthews] and then [Charles] Clay, who’s having a monster year so far. The good thing with Tyrod [is] he never complains; he stays at it, and that’s the mindset you have to have. Guy down, next guy up, how can we win with him. That’s the mindset we all have to have to get the job done.
Q: When you went back and reviewed your running plays this season, did you find any common theme in runs that were not successful?
A: Yeah, we did. I don’t want to say, but we found some ones that weren’t too good. You just look at the yards per carry, negative yards, and then the big plays, just to kind of divide it up.
Q: LeSean, speaking of the other McCoy, I’m curious, from a running back standpoint, do you also kind of have to be aware of where he is at every play, because, even if a play is designed to go somewhere, do you have to know: maybe he’s lined up in this three technique or a shade, and kind of how you have to be able to adjust that run?
A: Yeah, I do. I don’t know about other backs, but I think it’s the guys that, the guy’s caught circling, he’s circling that guy and where’s he at? What alignment is he in? Because it can change the play, especially for me. He’s one of the guys that can wreck a game, disruptive and kind of just being a nagging pain; just keep nagging, nagging. Have to know where he’s at, at all times, and I’ll be paying attention to know where he’s at. I expect a big game tomorrow, or not tomorrow, but Sunday.
Q: LeSean, what kind of impact does having so many of the interchangeable parts on the offensive line this year with [Cordy] Glenn being out and guys kind of switching off, and you’re going to get some of that this week? What kind of impact does that have on you guys as an offense, and the difficulty to adjust to that?
A: Eh, it can be tough, because you get so used to how a certain guy blocks compared to another guy. Just like a runner, there’s different running styles, there’s different blockers. I mean, it could make a difference, but that’s an excuse. We’re all talking the same technique, we might do it differently, but it’s the same thing; you can’t let it be a distraction. Just got to man up, find a way. That’s my mentality.
Q: You stand up there and criticize yourself when you have 150 yards plays missed. How tough have you been on yourself lately, privately, after some of these games?
A: I mean, I’ve been tough on myself. I feel like, maybe with less opportunities, maybe the few opportunities I get, I’ll make the best of that. I might have been playing a game where I missed a one-on-one, matter of fact, the Bengals game, the long one I broke out, like I want to say the drive before that, the same play to the left, I didn’t make the guy miss, [he] tackled me for like 2 yards, then I came back and I got him. There’s little stuff like that, I mean, if I’m not getting the normal five, six, big opportunities, now it might be two, got to make the best of them. Maybe a negative yards [game], maybe a negative 4 yard game, maybe we take the negative 2. You know, small things. I’m always going to be critical of myself, because I expect a lot. I think with the bigger yard gains, you have more opportunities to really criticize yourself. It’s kind of different.
Q: LeSean, you talked about going to the different things in terms of scheme, things you guys have done more successfully in the past. When you do that at this point in the year, when you’ve been working on something else all summer long, how much does it slow down the progress of what you’re doing?
A: I don’t know, I have to get 100 yards, man. Simple as that. That’s it, have to get 100 yards somewhere.
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WR Jordan Matthews
Q: How did it feel getting back out there?
A: It felt good to get back out there, catch some balls during individual, get some rhythm going with Tyrod [Taylor], even got to stay after practice a little bit, get some extra routes in with him. It felt good to just honestly be back out there with the guys.
Q: I know Coach [McDermott] said he hasn’t officially ruled you out yet for Sunday, what do you think your chances are of playing this week?
A: I know at this point [the] coaches don’t want me to talk too much about it, as far as Sunday. Just day-to-day, I can talk about that, I felt great today. I felt good about what I was able to do, and they gave me a lot of opportunities just to go out there and actually get acclimated to playing ball with the guys. I think everybody’s proud of what happened today, just have to continue to progress.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge, is there a spot that [it] hits, that’s a little more tender than others?
A: I don’t want to say that on camera because I don’t want DB’s to figure that out, and okay, I’m going to jam right here. Like I said, it’s just pain management, but at the same time, it’s football. When you go out there, people are going to treat you like your 100%, so you have to have that same mindset. I’m not really into talking too much about what hurts or what feels great, I’m just trying to go out there and play.
Q: Did you feel it when you caught your first few passes though?
A: I didn’t feel anything after a couple of weeks of having a broken thumb, I didn’t feel one thing. It’s good to be back. I can block a little bit of that out just because it’s the sport I love, it’s what I love to do. But to say I don’t feel anything, it is a little bit different trying to catch, but at the same time it’s still ball.
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WR Zay Jones
Q: We saw Jordan [Matthews] out there making some progress. If he is out there on Sunday, how does that benefit you, and the receivers as a whole?
A: It benefits the football team. Jordan’s presence is missed, he’s a phenomenal player, he’s a productive athlete, so it’s great to have him back. I’m glad he’s back out there.
Q: With matchups, though, maybe more attention shifted evenly, or whatnot. How does that maybe benefit, maybe open things up for you and the rest of the receivers?
A: Sure, I mean Jordan has the ability to play inside and outside. Predominantly, he’s played inside, so he creates mismatches for defenders trying to cover him inside. Now, it’s just another weapon that we have to throw to, so excited to have him back.
Q: The bye week [is] a time to evaluate both as a team and individually. How did you use the time to maybe reflect on the first five games of the season?
A: Just took a step back from everything, kind of caught my breath. Got a way from football for a little bit, but was able to come back and be refreshed. Now just, knowing that we have to go back to work again, just trying to clean up all the details and go back to the fundamentals of being a wide receiver for myself.
Q: Because you haven’t performed, I’m sure, how you’d like to, was it a good time early in the season to kind of get that step back and kind of refresh yourself for the long haul?
A: Sure, yeah. I think everyone needed the bye week. Feels good to just get away and just enjoy friends, family, loved ones. For guys who are rehabbing, they’re rehabbing, so it’s just good to take a step back, but it’s great to see everybody’s face, everyone’s smiling. I think everyone’s really happy and we have a great game plan in and I’m really excited for it.
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G Richie Incognito
Q: You haven’t really had your starting left tackle all year, you add a new guy at right guard last game, a new scheme, is it fair to expect this offensive line and this run game to pick up exactly where it left off last year?
A: I think this offensive line, and especially this run game, we’re all growing, the coaches are learning us, we’re learning the coaches, they’re trying to figure out what we do well; there’s an open line of communication. We’re trying to get this thing going, we’re not far off, we’re right there. We know we have it in us because we’ve done it so well the last two years. [We’re] trying to dial it up, we’re all pressing, we’re all working hard to get it going.
Q: On the flip side of the changing scheme thing, how much do you appreciate the fact that you have a coordinator and a coaching staff, that off the bats, you see something that’s maybe not working as well, they’re willing [to], five weeks in, go with something else?
A: Yeah, you know it’s great. It shows that they have a ton of experience, they’re adaptable, that they can kind of go with the flow, and change things mid-stream to suit us better. It’s up to us to execute on the field, the coaches call plays, it’s up to the offensive line to get it blocked up and give Shady [LeSean McCoy] enough room to make some plays. We’re working hard and we’re right there.
Q: Does the bye week give you a little extra time to make all of that stuff work?
A: I think the bye week just gives you time to evaluate, evaluate what you did good, what you didn’t do [so good at] in the first part of the season, evaluate where this offense is growing and going [to] in the future.
Q: Speaking of evaluating things in the bye week, when you’re looking at some of the plays in this film, when runs maybe don’t go the way that you guys want them to do, it’s for a loss [or] whatever, what specifically do you guys see that isn’t happening that you’d like to happen?
A: With the run game it appears that it’s one guy here, one guy there; one guy losing a one-on-one block, one guy letting a guy go free, one guy not really understanding what’s going on. It’s not like a total systemic failure where everybody’s getting beat. It’s like, okay if we get this cleaned up, there’s another five yards, or if we get this cleaned up, there’s another 10 yards. We’re just working to clean up all those little things so that we can get this thing going.
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DE Jerry Hughes
Q: The last two years, Preston Brown got a lot of heat for the miscommunications and stuff like that. When the defense struggled, he stood there and answered the questions and now the defense is turning it around, and nobody’s talking about Preston. Is he maybe a little underappreciated?
A: Absolutely, he’s our leader out there, he’s our signal caller. He communicates to everybody, and certainly being underappreciated just because of the way the defense is flowing and we credit that to him. For him to get the calls in and be able to communicate to the to the front four and then turn around and talk to the back seven, and everything like that, that’s perfect, to get everybody in perfect unison. This is our first year working together, and for him to kind of put that all on his shoulders and he’s doing that. Coming into the building early, working with Coach [Bob] Babich for the first time, really doing everything he can to kind of build that relationship so that way we can nip that all in the butt. We understood that last year it wasn’t Bills football, it wasn’t anything up to our caliber. He made that personal, and we certainly can see it.
Q: What kind of weapon is Doug Martin? He’s a guy that obviously missed the first couple games of the season, he looks pretty fresh. What kind of weapon is he for their offense?
A: He’s a very explosive one, very quick downhill runner, doesn’t really go down on the first set of contact. His feet are steady turning and steady moving, so we understand, for us, it’s going to take 11 hats flying around to the football just to corral him, to bring him down, because he doesn’t stop. Just cut on the tape, we saw him in the New England game; the first guy hit him and his feet just kept turning, kept turning. We understand that he’s going to bring that physicality to the game that we like, we just have to be smart and rally around him. Team tag him, team effort, teamwork.
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DT Kyle Williams
Q: Did [Ryan Fitzpatrick] acknowledge that he actually contemplated retiring after last season?
A: Yeah, we actually talked about it after the final game. I knew it was on his mind. Like I said, I’m glad to see he’s back playing.
Q: What is it about Fitz, that people are just drawn to him, even though you’re opponents, I mean you still talk to him, you’re still close to him?
A: Well let me say, as a teammate, he’s one of my favorites because the guy, he’s charismatic, all of his teammates care about him and love him, he’s tough, he competes. There’s so many things to like about him, and as a teammate, that’s all you can ask for. A guy that you know that every time when you go out, he’s going to give you all he’s got, he’s going to play hurt, he’s going to play bloody to knocked up, and he’s still going to go out there and give you everything he’s got. That’s all you ask for in a teammate.
Q: How much did he remind you of, of what he can do when you watched the tape of what he did over the last three quarters of last week?
A: He makes things happen, he makes things happen on the run, he can throw from the pocket. Everything that you’ve always seen him do, he can still do. He still loves playing the game, you can see it in him. Anytime he’s out there, you have to account for him.
Q: That being said, you might still face Jameis [Winston], so what are the challenges of trying to prepare for two different quarterbacks?
A: All the things that typically come with it, you’re going to have to prepare for both. There could be different packages for both depending on what’s going on. We’ll prepare the best way we can, we’ve got a big challenge with whichever one of those guys play there. They’re really a talented offensive football team, so we’ll be ready to play on Sunday, but we have our work cut out for us.