Head Coach Sean McDermott
Opening Statement: Good morning. Okay, we’ll go ahead and get started here. Fire away.
Q: Who will not practice today?
A: The following players will not participate in practice: Ramon Humber, Charles Clay, E.J. Gaines with the hamstring [injury], Richie [Incognito], Jordan Poyer with the knee [injury], and then veteran rest days will be Lorenzo [Alexander], LeSean [McCoy], Kyle Williams and then we will not have Logan [Thomas] at this point. He’s been excused to deal with personal issues right now.
Q: Hey Sean, you’ve got a safety issue if Poyer is not going to work. Have you heard anything further on what his status could be moving forward, and if not, if he’s not available, what are you looking at there?
A: Jordan’s going to be day-to-day, so we’ll just see how that goes this week, and we prepare everyone. That’s why our approach is the way it is every week and the players take great pride in preparing even though they may not have been the starter before now so that when their number’s called, they’re ready to go. That’s also a big philosophical approach on our coaching staff of developing all the players on our football team, not just the starters. You’ve heard me say this before, you need everyone and that goes all the way down and including the practice squad guys because whether they’re playing or not, they’re contributing in some way, shape or form and no different in this case.
Q: Is the reason why you have three guys on rest days, it’s usually one maybe two, that you have the bigger picture in mind? You have two games in the next eight days and you just kind of want to look at the whole picture?
A: A little bit of that, and also where we’re starting to get to in the season with those players in particular. This is just staying with our plan at this point.
Q: What’s the injury on Richie [Incognito]?
A: Just, he’s got an ankle [injury] from the game.
Q: And when do you expect Logan [Thomas] back?
A: We’ll see.
Q: Is there a possibility that [Thomas] doesn’t play on Sunday?
A: Again, we’ll see. I wish I could give you more right now [but] I don’t know.
Q: How concerned are you about Richie’s injury?
A: We feel, I know he feels pretty good. It’s just a matter of just being, at this point in the week, cautionary and kind of building up to the game at this point.
Q: What about [E.J.] Gaines’s [injury]? How is he dealing with the hamstring [injury] and is it day-to-day?
A: He’s day-to-day.
Q: Sean, offensive line-wise, you kept a surplus of tackles, as we’ve talked about, including Conor [McDermott] on the squad too. There were some injuries around the league. Big injuries. Are these conversations that take place? You’ve got extra guys [and] there are needs. Is this stuff going on?
A: Those conversations, yeah. Those conversations take place everyday regardless of surplus or not. We do have surpluses at certain positions and the good part about it is we’ve got good football players at those positions. But those are conversations that do take place everyday. I like where we’re going as a team, and that speaks to some of the depth and the way the guys have worked to this point.
Q: With another quarterback, or another team, that has a passing game that’s pretty aggressive, are you satisfied with the amount of pressure you’ve been able to get consistently? Also, how do you balance between the desire to get as much pressure as you can by rushing as less as possible and keeping as many people back in coverage as you can?
A: Right. No, this is a good offensive unit that we’re going to see this week, very similar to last week’s. A good quarterback again, one of the better quarterbacks in the league, and a ton of production and weapons. You just look at it. You look at, it is important that we can affect the quarterback. You’re going to hear me say a lot in the way of ‘could always be better’ because, in my mind, you can never affect the quarterback enough. That said, there’s complimentary football that has to be played between the front end and the back seven. There [are] times where we’ve done it, there’s times when the ball’s come out fast, so that’s kind of hidden in some of that. We just need to continue to work, continue to grow in that way.
Q: Is it more of a challenge given that this particular quarterback doesn’t get sacked a whole lot?
A: He does a good job. Yeah, he does a good job. They’re well-coached up front. Coach [Mike] Tice, the offensive line coach, does a really nice job. He’s been in the league a number of years and there’s probably not too much he hasn’t seen. They’re well-coached, like I said. They’ve been together for some time. They’re big, and the quarterback gets the ball out too so that works hand-in-hand with what they do. Again, we have our work cut out for us in that regard this week.
Q: This run defense the last six games last year was the worst in the league. The first six games this year, it’s right near the top. 3.4 [yards] per carry. What’s been the difference [despite] playing with the same guys?
A: Again, don’t really know what [happened last year]. I know what we’re doing and that’s really just guys understanding their job. A phrase of gap integrity, being gap-sound, staying in your gap, however you want to say it. There [are] a lot of different ways to say it. It’s just doing your job, knowing what the man next to you is doing whatever his job is, and playing with proper leverage; after that, it really comes down to really just fundamentals.
Q: Did you watch the tape of them and what they did last year?
A: Yeah, I did. I think, just collectively, playing team defense is what we’re doing.
Q: What makes Khalil Mack such a special, different type of player?
A: Well, you know, you look at the physical part of the game, he’s got that. The mental part of the game, he’s got that, and apparently from what I’ve heard, he’s got all the intangibles that go with being a good football player and successful at whatever you do in terms of work ethic and passion. I think you see that out there on film every Sunday. I know he played locally at UB and he’s a tremendous player.
Q: Sean, you mentioned [Marcell] Dareus was coming off the best week of practice that he’s had, last week. You talked about the intangibles with Mack. Are you seeing any of those intangibles with [Dareus] improve, whether it’s the effort, the attitude, things that we can’t see behind the scenes that you can share?
A: Yeah, I am. I am. I felt like I said, and you mentioned with his week of practice last week, I thought that, when you develop habits during the week, more times than not you give yourself a chance to have that show up in the game and I thought I saw that as well. We’re moving in the right direction as far as that goes and I’m anxious to see how we do this week in that regard as well. I thought he played his best football last week.
Q: Where do you think he needs to be to convince you that, you know what? Now you understand all the reasons for – I know you don’t get into the contract stuff – but why he’s here. He can be a really dominant player when everything is right, and yet, he’s not that guy too often, or hasn’t been often enough at least in my opinion.
A: The biggest thing is that he does his job. That’s what I’m looking for him to do. Do his job, and I thought last week he did that. Now, it’s where we go from there. Continue to grow, continue to, just like our team, improve. That’s a mindset for our team, more than anything.
Q: Sean, did you meet with Tre’Davious [White] in the pre-draft process?
A: We did, yes.
Q: What struck you about him, his backstory, the pain, the growth that he had, the decision he made to stay at LSU for a fourth year? What struck you about him that lead you to say ‘this is the guy we might want’?
A: I don’t know really if there was one specific thing that stood out, but it was a collection of many things all coming together and saying, again, that add up to speak to his DNA. We talk a lot about that here of ‘what’s his DNA?’ You talk about character, integrity, work ethic both on and off the field, the history of production on the field, how he handled himself speaking with people that we knew down there at the school [which] certainly helped us with some inside information. All of that is what the scouts do a great job with, typically, this time of year of building that background [and] that case file.
Q: When it came to him being the first pick of your tenure, did you feel that it was important to bring in the focus on all of those intangibles and all of those characteristics in setting the tone of this team moving forward?
A: I think, just philosophically, that that had to be the approach. That’s, number one, what we believe in and then also, there was a history of maybe not having players available for whatever reason. There’s probably a lot of reasons that were baked in to that. Again, I wasn’t here. All I’m saying is, really, what, philosophically, we believe in going forward and he fit that.
Q: Sean, when you see Tre’Davious White, when he beats himself up, there are certain people that do that to keep themselves right and to keep themselves honest. Then, there are other people that are young and so they beat themselves up and they think everything’s their fault. Where is he, and you know him better than we do, what is he like when it comes to that stuff?
A: Well, you know, I think it’s probably somewhere in between. It’s a great quality to have, and he’s also young so there’s two parts of that; and also he takes a lot of pride in what he does, whether it’s on the field or off the field. When you hear the saying ‘winning is an all the time thing, not just a sometime thing,’ that’s the type of guy we’re talking about.
Q: You don’t worry about him at all combusting? Because some guys can have it work against them. When they do that, they beat themselves up too much and then they can’t function.
A: Right. You know, I thought that that was, your question is a fair question, what you saw the last two plays of defense or the last three plays of defense, but in particular two of the last three back-to-back: the touchdown and then the very next play he comes back and makes a play going the other way. When I see plays like that, I don’t worry as much about that in terms of the mental toughness part and being able to bounce back.
Q: Coach, how much does their offense change without Marshawn [Lynch] and with two guys, [Jalen] Richard and [DeAndre] Washington that are much more involved in the passing game, at least statistically. How much do you have to kind of prepare to shift gears on what you’ve seen and what you’re going to see?
A: Marshawn is a good back. That said, I think they’ve got enough weapons without him back there, with the two other backs that they’ve got and also the return game. They’ve got enough weapons to go around. Certainly, Marshawn, like I said, is a good player but we’ve got to focus right now on the guys that we’re going to see this weekend.
Q: You didn’t mention Cordy Glenn at all with the injuries. Is he fully healthy now?
A: I feel like we’re going in the right direction. Yeah, I mean, again every day as we continue to build on the foundation that’s already been established the last few weeks, so we’re heading in the right direction right there.
Q: So that said, where does Dion [Dawkins] go now? Is he still stuck taking reps at the left or will he practice more along the right side since he’s your swing?
A: Yeah, it’s a little more fluid. It’s a little more fluid in that regard. I don’t think stuck is the right word. It’s more just a fluid situation and it’s a good situation because, like I said on Monday, he’s shown he can play inside now, outside, left side, right side; very unique for a young player to be able to do that. That said, it’s important that we don’t overburden Dion either with too much. We’ve got some other guys in there that can play and backup other positions or fill in also, so.
Q: How much of a difference did you think Cordy make, especially in the run blocking game?
A: I thought he did a good job just overall. When you look at the pocket, Tyrod [Taylor] had a clean pocket most of the game and then we were able to establish the line of scrimmage early in the football game. I thought he came out and did a nice job for us. Now, it’s about, again, improving and seeing how he builds off of what he did last week in order to improve.
Q: Does it help you in looking at what Oakland does, the fact that they’re coming off of a game in which they played Andy Reid?
A: Uh, in what regard? Because I’m familiar with Andy?
Q: Because you know what Andy’s thinking, to a certain degree.
A: Um, some familiarity, probably, and Andy knows them fairly well because he’s in the division and all that type of stuff, so there’s some stuff going on there.
Q: I think what he’s saying is they may look at you, and they say, ‘alright, well here’s how we went after Reid. We can go after McDermott the same way.’ Therefore, you’re playing a mind game like ‘are they going to come at me the way they came at Reid?’
A: Probably would be a good question for them, you know? I don’t know.
Q: Well, you’re the one smiling so I think you might have an answer…
Q: You may have heard most of it, but this team in recent years has history of following a very emotional win with a loss. You could say that about the Atlanta game this year. Do you worry about that at all?
A: Yes, good question. That’s, I would say, yes to your question. That’s always a concern, but when you look at [or] take a step back big picture-wise and you say that’s the parity of the league, which is it? Is it not being able to sustain success on an individual team basis or is it the parity of the league? I don’t know that I have [a] specific answer for you on that. I just know that it may be all of that, right? But, from a leadership standpoint, I’m very aware of that and I think as a team, the positive side of going back-to-back Denver and Atlanta, that’s hard to do when you win games back-to-back in this league, sustaining success. The great part about it for us is, at this point where we are and what we’ve done and what this team and what this group of players have done, and these coaches, is every week someone new is stepping up and that’s the great part about it. I’m excited to see who steps up this week and that’s why the preparation, the process is so important. That you respect what it takes every week to get yourself where you need to be in order to put yourself in a position to win the game.
Q: You mentioned parity. Do you feel like this year, maybe more than others, it’s the opportunity? You talked Monday about the whole we’re not tanking and using that as motivation, but is the terrain of the league maybe more open to the idea that everybody has a shot and the tanking thing is kind of [gone]?
A: You know, the whole tanking thing, that was a response to a question I was asked so that’s not even in my vocabulary, really. When we see the parity around the league, I think yeah, you look after a game and you look at the scores and every third score you’re like ‘wow, man, I didn’t expect that.’ You’ve got to bring your A game every week and then continue to grow, and that’s, I know I say that a lot, but every week you have to continue to grow and evolve on the individual basis and as a team so that we can continue to grow and get better and stronger as the season goes on.
Q: Matt Milano has seemed to just continue to grow in more playing time that he gets. Is he a little bit ahead of schedule than where you thought he would be even for yourself?
A: You know, didn’t know that we’d play him this early. Obviously, we did with the injury to Ramon [Humber]. I saw a huge jump from week one, or his first week of playing defense, to last week and that’s what, honestly, I expected, knowing Matt and then knowing coach [Bob] Babich and how well he prepares the players. Now, I’m waiting to see what happens another jump this week. Just continue to grow, continue to get better and that was an impressive jump. He played faster, wasn’t thinking as much.
Q: When Ramon comes back, is Ramon the starter? Or how does Matt play in?
A: Yeah, Ramon will be the starter. Ramon will be the starter and the great part is we’ve got, now, experience with a young player that when, and if used, he’ll be ready to go because he’s played. Like I said before, whether it’s the Cincinnati game last week, the great part about this week also is we got so many young guys that are getting valuable, significant experience that bodes well for the future.
Q: Sean, you guys worked out Rod Streater yesterday. When is he available to come back based on that injury settlement that you gave him?
A: Well, we were just going through our due diligence. There’s a timeframe that you have to kind of, a window of time that has to expire so we’ve just got to get through –
Q: Is he through that yet?
A: No, I don’t believe so.
Q: Sean, when a guy like Amari Cooper has such a big week like he did last week, does that change the way you prepare for him at all?
A: It wouldn’t had we faced him a week ago, if that’s what you’re asking. He’s a good player. Tough to defend, have to know where he is on the field. I know the quarterback trusts him a lot as well so we’ve got to be ready for him.
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LB Preston Brown
Q: How big of a step forward was last week’s finding a way to win that game for this group?
A: It was great, I mean we had a lot of good plays at the end to seal it, and a lot of guys just fighting. No matter if we get down or what, we’re going to keep fighting through the whistle, through the end of the game.
Q: Alright, Preston, you guys were 4-2 last year, you’re 4-2 again. Does this feel different?
A: Yeah, honestly, I didn’t even know we were 4-2 last year, I didn’t remember. It feels different, it’s a different 4-2 I feel like, but we’ve got to find ways to keep it going. We got 4-2 last year and then lost a lot, so we’ve got to find ways to keep it going, not just win seven games when you start getting into it more.
Q: How different are the two running backs compared to if they had Marshawn [Lynch]? You’ve seen them kind of on film a little bit this week.
A: Yeah, I mean they’re both shorter, kind of quick guys, but they both run behind their pass, so they can do things well out of the backfield, catching passes, going empty, and they’ll go put 84 [Cordarrelle Patterson] in the backfield and run him, then go empty, then go five-vert, so they do a lot of different things to keep you on your toes.
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DT Marcell Dareus
Q: Speaking of Lorenzo Alexander, he said that different guys have talked to you, because they know how good you can be when you’re at your best, to try to pull you up with them? Do you recall that, is it part of being a good teammate sometimes criticizing a guy?
A: As a team, we all talk. We all have our personal relationships with one another and we’re a family. That’s just pretty much what it is. We’re a big puzzle, we’re trying to make a beautiful picture.
Q: Do you think that you bought in from the beginning of the season, or did it take you time to make the transition to [a] new – [set of coaches]?
A: From my time here, I’ve had a number of coaches, and I’ve always put my best foot forward, to work my butt off for this organization. [I] do everything that’s asked of me.
Q: Does anything feel different about this coaching staff in this start as opposed to the others?
A: No matter what job you’re doing, when you get a new manager, he’s going to run things a little different than your last manager. It’s just adjustment and execution, that’s all it is.
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RB LeSean McCoy
Q: Did you see enough from last game to really believe that the running game’s kind of back on track now and headed to where you want it to be?
A: Yeah, I think it’s headed in the right direction. I think we’re getting there. We’ll see how this game goes; I think this will be a good test for us, but it looks like the running game’s getting back. [Have] had some of our old plays in there, guys up front did pretty good, very good. We’ll see if this is the jump that we need.
Q: How much was it kind of adapting some of the old plays with the new stuff that you guys have done?
A: Just try and run everything that’s been working for us, all the plus runs, all the big gains. We even added some new stuff that we didn’t have last year. Small adjustment, but I think it was much needed and it worked out.
Q: You guys started last year 4-2, this year you guys-
A: We were 4-2 last year? I didn’t know that.
Q: So, yeah, does this year feel a little bit different, though?
A: Yeah, I think so. I think we’re winning games and we’re not playing our best ball. That’s major, if we were playing our best ball, we might be winning games by bigger margins. So, [it] feels a lot different than last year. I didn’t know we were 4-2 last year; I didn’t know that.
Q: Started 0-2 and then you won 4 straight last year, but when you look at the Raiders this week, Khalil Mack especially, what does he present for you? Obviously, somebody that jumps out at you.
A: Yeah, he’s one of those guys that jumps out immediately, He’s a very talented player, he’s really good. I mean, everything I can say about him, you’ve heard already. We’ve just got to make sure we just know where he’s at at all times, give him the attention that he deserves. Last year, we did a good job on him, until that last quarter. He must’ve just, I don’t know, he woke up and just did his thing. Just maintaining [him], he’s going to make plays, he’s a good player. I think the objective is to have the least amount of successful plays for him as possible.
Q: They do a good job, though, of scheming things up where they get him in those one-on-one situations. What does that put on your plate, pass protection wise, knowing they’re trying to do that?
A: They do. Well, just to help our guys out up front. I think the guys up front are blocking well, and then it also helps the lineup because Tyrod [Taylor] can scramble. He’s elusive, he can get out [of] the way, where some quarterbacks may be out of luck. Also, he can chip. We’ll do different things to kind of keep him from making big plays and getting disruptive. Other than that, I mean, it’s another football game. Just another player that’s really, really good that we’ll have to spend more attention to.
Q: I know last year was last year, but any sense of redemption at all knowing how crushing that loss was last year?
A: Yeah, we had them, but that’s last year. They’re a whole different team, I think, from last year. [They’re] still talented, still good. I think we’re a different team. I think it’ll be a good game, depending how the weather is, it can help in our favor too.
Q: How are you most different, do you think, this team?
A: I think we’re playing all together; we’re playing as a team. Guys want to win, guys are sticking out on the line with no excuses. You can just feel it. You know, you have different games where you feel like the moment was there, and then something bad happens. It’s like ‘Oh, the moment was gone and I feel like the other team’s about to win’, and then it flips again. I mean, last game was a prime example of that. You know, how do we get the fumble, you know what I’m saying? Those guys practice that all the time, constantly over, over, emphasizing, you know, ‘punch the ball out’. They got all times of techniques [that] they do. Then we get the fumble and we go down. I fumbled, then we scored, then we get it back, run the clock out, [and] kick the field goal. I mean, just things like that. The guys are really- in every game we’ve been in. There’s some games that we could’ve probably won if the offense could’ve played better. It’s the difference, I think, our team now from last year. I feel like the guys are more in it and putting everything to win games.
Q: To take that momentum back, almost. So when the game does shift, you guys have an answer?
A: Sure, and every game we’ve been in.
Q: You ran for 130 yards last year, with 7 yards a carry, or something. Are you able to take success against a team from one season to the next, or is it a whole-?
A: It’s a different year, you know. You kind of do. You know, like you guys know what I did last year, one of those things, and I played a defense that did really, really good against me. When I play them, they have the attitude like ‘We shut him down before, we can do it again’. Kind of a little bit of both. They won the game, so I think it’s more on our end as far as this time around, you know, we’ve got to stick it to them.
Q: LeSean, you don’t put the ball on the ground very much, so when that happened to you in the 4th quarter, how much was that weighing on you until, obviously the end? And how much does it even, today, that you think about that?
A: Yeah, I’m just kind of getting over it today. I mean, that’s tough. The timing of the game, and people are so critical on how I carry the ball. The thing is, I never really fumble (knocks on wooden podium).
Q: You actually had it secured on that play.
A: Yeah, see if I had it loose, maybe it wouldn’t have- nah it’s tough because you never want that; to lose a game and it actually be your fault. Then it was the time of the game; I’m an older vet, I should know that. [I’ve] just got to do better with it.
Q: You had 23 carries on Sunday, which is the most you’ve had with the Bills-
A: That’s the most?
Q: In a non-overtime game.
A: Oh, okay.
Q: But where do you feel physically now? Last year you had hamstring things crop up, where do you feel physically right now, compared to this point last season?
A: Some of those carries don’t really count. Trying to run the clock out, so it’s like ‘get the ball, hold it and go down’. But I feel good, I feel fine. I had a day off today, you know, I feel good.
Q: I know it’s early in the season, a lot of the talk was about your work load and how much you were getting, and obviously that changed a little bit the last couple of weeks, but do you still expect that to stay pretty high going forward?
A: I mean, that’s their job to do, the coaches. You know, they sit up in the office and they draw it up; playing time, and they keep record of how many snaps you play. So, if they let me know something otherwise, I’ll change, but if not, you know. Also, I come out, haven’t came out the last two games I don’t think, but normally, I do come out depending on how I feel. I want to be fresh for the next play, but I think I need to do a better job of doing that. Maybe a play or two I should’ve came out and I kind of went in there kind of tired. You’re not really effective like that.
Q: You mentioned feeling like this year that guys are more all-together, or all in as you said there. Why do you think that is? What do you think the reasoning is for that buy-in this year?
A: I think a couple reasons. I think, [number] one, is [Coach Sean] McDermott, man. He’s solid, you know, I think he’s honest. What you see is what you get. He preaches and coaches this team thing, so everything we do here is like team based. Off the field too; he approaches that way, more off the field, knowing your teammates [and] knowing about them. I think another reason is [that] you know, people doubted us so much, from the players we might have here, or how many games we should win. We’re the only team together, more outside looking in. Seeing that, it’s like, we feel it, we hear it. It makes us more together, I think.
Q: Did you hear the world tanking before the season? Because that word was thrown around.
A: Yeah, I guess because [of] the moves maybe. Like ‘Aw, they’re trying to tank’ you know, and getting more [draft] picks. I mean, that’s how you look at it. As players, we come here every day for hours, trying to win. You kind of hear the tanking word, so it can rub you the wrong way if you let it. You know how much hard work you put into it training, off-season working out, during the season, the hits, all the maintenance you have to do on your body. The tanking word can kind of, you can take it in a negative way. Players like us, we just want to win. We do a lot to be here; we’ve got families to take care of, so we put a lot of hard work and effort into this game.
Q: How much did the trade of Sammy [Watkins] affect you? How has that changed over the last couple of months?
A: Well, I mean, obviously Sammy’s a player you have to worry about. You have to know where he’s at. He can take the top off, and he can make plays. I think any team he’s on is going to be effective.
Q: Did you ever worry about yourself? I mean, if they were tanking, they would’ve traded you, right?
A: I mean, I never put that much thought into it, you know, like the whole tanking thing. But just, from the outside, he asked ‘why are we feeling more together’? You know, everybody, [it’s a] small group of guys and everybody’s pointing out that we’re not going to be that good, only going to win four games. You know, you hear that. So I think it makes us rally more together.
Q: I mean, did it ever cross your mind that, ‘if Sammy’s gone, why not me’?
A: I never actually put that much thought into it. It’s a good question, though. Real good question, actually.
Q: I guess the point is, has it been the performance of the team through the first six games changed how you thought about the trade from where you initially thought about it?
A: Well, we had a conversation about it. From every move they make, they let the guys know. They told us that, ‘hey, we’re trying to win games. Maybe you guys can’t see it now, but in the future. We win games now, [with] the add-on pieces’. At the end of the day, man, these guys they have plans. You know, they have plans and we have one goal: that’s to win and get us to a championship. We want to build a dynasty, that’s how it works.
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S Jordan Poyer
Q: What’s the plan this week to progress you to the point where hopefully you’re good to go on Sunday?
A: Staying on top of the treatment, staying on top of everything at home. Like I said, it’s gotten a lot better since Sunday, a lot more motion in it. Like I said, I was able to jog today which is really positive. Take it day-by-day, that’s really all I can say about it.
Q: It seems Sean [McDermott] is pretty precautious with injuries, with everyone. Would it be something where you’d have to be 100% to go, or is it one of those other – it may be a pain tolerance issue?
A: I want to play, I want to be out there. We’ll see, it’s really hard to tell right now. I want to play really bad, I want to be out there for my teammates because I was in a similar situation last year, [and] I actually wasn’t able to be with my teammates for the rest of the year. But knowing that I’ll be able to be back out there on the field is really positive for myself, because I want to be out there for my teammates. Like I said, we’ll just see, take it day-by-day, and see where we go.
Q: How important is it to get back, considering the struggles you guys have had in the passing game the last couple of games?
A: I just want to be back out there on the field with my teammates. I want to be out there going to battle with them. An injury like this, just have to take it day-by-day. Like I was telling the other guys, it’s gotten a lot better over the last 48 hours, then I expected. We’ll see, we’ll see how far we can go.
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QB Tyrod Taylor
Q: What do you see from Khalil Mack when you watch him specifically on that Raiders defense?
A: An elite player, first and foremost; a guy that can definitely wreck a game plan. We have to be cautious of him at times and have a specific plan for him, but he’s definitely one of the elite pass rushers and just one of the elite defenders in today’s game.
Q: They varied some stuff Tyrod, it looks like; I mean they blitzed Washington like crazy and then backed off against Kansas City, but they still seem to get Khalil in one-on-ones. Can you just maybe explain some of what you’ve seen from them?
A: Yes, it’s definitely been a mix. They definitely have a plan for each team, I don’t know if it’s scheme wise or if it’s quarterback wise what they want to give that specific quarterback, but getting their guys one-on-ones up front is definitely something that they want to be able to do. Like I said, we have to have a specific plan for Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin as well, too, he’s a great pass rusher as well.
Q: You only have one game of [NaVorro] Bowman on tape in that defense. How do you kind of try to get up to speed on that with so little to go on? You know, he’s an elite player.
A: I mean, he’s a great player. [He’s a] veteran who’s been around this league, very smart player. He’s been playing at a high level for a long time in his career. Regardless of him just being there for one game, just looking over the course of his career, he’s been a very, very good backer, so [we] have to plan accordingly.
Q: Tyrod, we saw how emotional Kyle Williams and the entire team was after that win. What does that type of performance, and the fact that the offense did play its part the way it did, what does that do for your and the offense’s confidence?
A: I think it just builds more confidence on our end as a team. Gives us more confidence as well, too. The different type of games that you go through throughout a year, the different circumstances that a team may see, but to see us never blink and to continue to believe in one another, to pull out that game was definitely big for us as an offense and big for us as a team.
Q: How important was it for you, not only performance wise, but to see the running game come back to life? Does that go beyond- I know technically football, it opens things up for the pass, but how about also emotionally?
A: I mean, it’s always good to see Shady [LeSean McCoy] get out there and make some plays, as well as Mike Tolbert and Taiwan [Jones] as well. The guys up front, offensive lineman have been blocking their butts off all season, so to get a game where we can finally get those running backs some space out there for them to make plays, it’s definitely special. It’s part of our offense and we have to continue to keep building on that.
Q: Do you think it’s sustainable? Do you see it-
A: Absolutely, with the type of guys we have up front blocking, and, I mean, of course the type of skill level that we have in the back field, it’s definitely something we can continue to keep doing.
Q: Tyrod, your performance Sunday was really, probably one of your best ones you’ve had as a Bill, I mean everything went well for you. What kind of step do you feel you took in that particular game, just as a whole, not just running, but everything? Just the way you played that game, it looked like you were very in charge of what was happening out there.
A: Obviously, just taking what the defense gave us. Some stuff that we didn’t see on film that they showed us, some things that we prepared and they came true in the game. Just taking what the defense gave me. I think one of the most important ones was finishing the game. We’ve been in situations where those games haven’t been particularly a win, and some of that’s on me. I take blame for that. I think I took a step, I think we took a step as an offense to be able to go out there and finish those games. [There’s] definitely some things that we can clean up, some things that, maybe if we clean up, the game isn’t close, but it was close and we were able to focus and pull out a win.
Q: Sean [McDermott] said that any team worries about not being able to maintain an emotional high the next week, but this team, because of the character of this team, he doesn’t worry. Do you agree that so many guys try to prove themselves, and this team is more, is less susceptible to let downs?
A: Yes, I mean, but that’s a natural feeling across the league, but I think you hit it right on the nose. This team the way it’s made up, the leaders, I think we have a great core to push over our message that ‘Yes, that was a great win, but there’s also some things that can be corrected’ and moving forward, we have to be better at those things for us to continue to keep winning.
Q: Do you even draw back upon last year, when you were 4-2 and know that there are reminders out there that this team [has] not made it anywhere yet?
A: Yes, I don’t necessarily look back at last year or years before. All we can do from those years is learn from them. It’s definitely a different team, new coaches, [a] different feel in the locker room. Like I said, you just got to take it one game at a time and that’s more so our focus this year.
Q: To follow up on that, a year ago this team did change offensive coordinator after two games. Maybe other reasons went into this, but – or at least there was some disconnect between what was going on with the coach and what you guys as an offense wanted to do. How would you say it’s working out with Rick Dennison to the extent that, it looks like through the bye and such, he made some adjustments, tweaks, listened to you guys?
A: I think, more importantly, we were honest with ourselves; players, coaches, what we were doing well, what we weren’t doing so well, and we attacked those areas over those couple practices that we had on the bye week and leading up to last week’s game. We focused on some areas that we thought we could be better at, and just try to build our strengths and the communication between the coaches and the players has been open. They listen to us, we’re listening to them, and we’re just trying to do whatever it takes to win.
Q: In line with Vic’s question, do you think that there’s been more of a concerted effort to work to your specific strengths, in other words, get you in open spaces? You’re a lot better when you don’t have people around you basically, when you’re in the open field, when you have options to run or not, the style that you play with is rather unique.
A: Yeah, that’s part of offenses. If you look across the league, different guys, 32 quarterbacks, all 32 do things differently. The offenses are going to fit them and fit their playmakers, allow them to be their best and go out there and make plays in the space that they’re comfortable doing [it in]. Whatever that means as far as things are comfortable for me, but also things that are comfortable for Shady [LeSean McCoy], schemes that the offensive line are comfortable blocking, as well as the receivers, concepts that they’re comfortable of getting open with. I think it’s a collective thing, it’s not just me.
Q: But it fits, is what I’m truly asking?
A: Absolutely, absolutely.
Q: You were asked about Deonte [Thompson], you mentioned that you and D.T. go back to high school, I think both times you guys have had some stops sprinkled in throughout there up until now, could you compare or elaborate on how you’ve seen him develop as a player and as a person, to run up all those stops until last week where [he had] a pretty big first game?
A: Yes, six years in, of course we learned a lot along the way. I know in Baltimore, he was fortunate to learn under a guy like Anquan [Boldin], Steve Smith as well too. He’s learned a lot through his time in Chicago as well. I think as a player, he’s always been a confident guy, he’s always had speed, great hands as well too. I think his time in the league, him seeing different things, being in different situations has allowed him to progress as a player. We have to continue to keep progressing as a team, and he’s going to continue to keep progressing as well.
Q: As a person, [has] he stayed the same kind of guy, in a sense?
A: Yeah, he’s the same, he’s the same guy since I met in high school.
Q: On the note though, weren’t you even surprised maybe that a guy, regardless of who it is, could come in right away, within only just a very limited amount of time with you on the field, have that much of an impact in a game? He’s only had one other 100-yard game his entire career, to do that in that situation, were you even surprised that could happen?
A: I wouldn’t say, surprised. Like I said, I know he’s confident player, he played against Tampa Bay, and had a pretty decent game when he was with Chicago. His confident level as far as what would work against those DB’s ended up coming true, and he felt that he could win some of his matchups, as he was able to go out there, and we were able to give him opportunities to do so.
Q: In a more general way of thinking, you’re next man up a lot and injuries happen, but this team seems to have been able to integrate guys after injuries or other circumstances and still play very well, how have you guys been able to do that?
A: I think it’s a standard the coach talks about. Of course, ‘Playoff Caliber’ is our slogan, or our mission statement as a team, but it’s something we take day in and day out. The way we handle ourselves in meeting rooms, the way we handle ourselves on the practice field, just competing and trying to learn at the highest level possible, and I think that allows guys to go out and play free on Sundays or on gamedays, because they know that they put in the work
Q: How unique is it from your experience around the league to see those backups, and those guys maybe most don’t expect to see the field, be so prepared when their number is called?
A: It’s awesome, we believe as a team that whoever’s in is going to definitely get the job done. This league is about opportunities, and guys across the team have definitely had the opportunity to go out there and show what they can do, and they’ve stepped up to that challenge.
Q: When you look around the league and see what is why perceived as a pretty good parity, the balance, if you agree with that, how does it strike you and what does it mean to you, as far as this team’s fortunes go?
A: Not sure where that question is going?
Q: I’m saying parity, in the NFL, your head coach was up here a short while ago saying every other score, you kind of say ‘wow, there’s things that aren’t going to form.’ If you don’t agree with that then fine, but if you see the same thing, and you’ve said it’s kind of interesting how wide open it is, the opportunity [that is presented to] this team?
A: Yeah, the opportunity is definitely in front of us, as a team. All we can focus on is one game at a time, and I think that’s what’s helped us get to this point that we’re at now, not just for me but across the board. If you talk to guys, they’re not worried about down the line, it’s more so what can we do this week and handle that business. The opportunity will present itself in the future, but right now just continue to keep working day in and day out.
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WR Deonte Thompson
Q: For you, four days, and then to come in and contribute, I know your history with Tyrod [Taylor], but what is the challenge and what were the steps you needed to take to make sure that you were ready to go?
A: Really just the coaching staff. The offensive coaches and my receiving counterparts, those guys really helped me out a lot. I was leaving [out of the building] at nine o’clock some days last week, so just trying to pound it in. I’m still learning, even today I’m still learning. Each week is a different game plan. [There’s] a lot of stuff I don’t know, so have to do the same thing this week. Have to pound, have to be in the building late, and keep getting caught up as fast as I can.
Q: Now there’s guys, things you could do individually certainly, but a lot of guys have come in, in similar situations like you and contributed, what does this team do to help you guys best be prepared when maybe your thrust into things on short notice?
A: It’s a great team. One thing I can say about these guys is no has been selfish. When I came in, the guys in the receiver [room], they could have been selfish, ‘we don’t have to help this guy, I don’t know this guy,’ but everyone was helpful. From lining up, if I have something, I could just check with J-Matt [Jordan Matthews], and he’ll be like ‘hey, you have this D.T.’ The teammates really, they make it go. They’ve been encouraging, staying with me after practice, going over stuff with me, signs, signals and stuff. I couldn’t be more thankful.
Q: How unique is that in your experience, whether it was earlier times with this team or other teams in the league?
A: What do you mean?
Q: In regards to the willingness of others to help, and them setting the rest of the guys up to succeed on short order?
A: I’ll tell you [man], this team is special, a lot of teams don’t do that, this team right here is special. They play with their heart, they live by their heart in the locker room. Everyone loves each other, it’s love that’s going on around in here, so I’m just happy to be a part of it.
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CB Tre’Davious White
Q: Alright Tre, they got two more pretty elite receivers over there this week. Do you ever stop and say ‘can I catch a breath out here’? It seems like every week it’s top of the pecking order out there.
A: It’s the NFL, man. Week in and week out, you’re going to go against the best in the world. This is what we signed up for, and we’re going to get ready for it. We’re going to watch the film, continue to get better and just come out trying to have a good outing on Sunday.
Q: Some teams have been able to throw the ball on you the past few weeks, not you specifically, just overall. What are you going to try and get back to, to get the results more so how they were the first few weeks?
A: I don’t know about that, but if you know anything about our defense, you throw a lot of zones, so there’s going to be open holes. It’s not necessarily what guys are doing, you know, but guys are good in this league. Quarterbacks are good and receivers are good. They’re going to catch some passes, but, you know, you can’t shut a route down [every time].
Q: [Derek] Carr isn’t shy about getting the ball out quickly. He doesn’t like throwing under pressure, he likes to neutralize taking sacks by getting it out fast. How does that change your approach, if at all, knowing he likes to: ‘three steps, out’ ‘five steps, out’?
A: Our defensive line is going to do a good job of getting their hands up, so at least he’s trying to get it out fast, so we can get some batted balls, get some balls in the air. It doesn’t change what we do because they’ve got some great offensive linemen, so he’s going to have time to play-action pass or do some drive backs and go deep.
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DT Jerel Worthy
Q: Jerel, do you remember being 4-2 last year?
A: Yeah, 4-2 and I remember going down to Miami, letting it slip. At the end of the day, we’ve just got to learn from our mistakes in the past and we’ve just got to come out on fire. What’s great is we’ll be in front of our hometown, our crowd; they get excited, they get real rowdy and that benefits our defense out there on the field. We’re just going to try to continue to apply pressure.
Q: You talked about a different feel, a lot of guys have mentioned [that] this feels like a different 4-2 and I suppose maybe you touched upon that a little bit about being able to win those close games. Is there a different feeling?
A: Yeah, I mean this year, we expect to be 4-2. We expect to have these adverse situations and understand that we can overcome them. We went down to Miami, had a chance to win in the 4th quarter, went out to Oakland, had a chance to win in the 4th quarter, Seattle the same, and we want to come out on the top of those games this year. At the end of the day, we want to overcome being 8-8, 7-9. [We want] to be 10-6, 11-5, and getting into the playoffs, so those types of games, like how we were able to come out on top last week, is definitely important for our success.
Q: Some of these fumbles, some of these guys talk about the ‘Peanut punch’ when Peanut [Charles] Tillman came to talk to you guys and show some techniques. For D-lineman, can you really afford to do that? Because your hands are in different spots, you’re not in the open field, do you even try to use those techniques to get the ball out?
A: Absolutely, you know, in piles, when they’re running between the tackles, you’ve got to understand that all running backs are trying to get to the second level. You know, once they pass the defensive line, they’re not turning back to look at us, so most running backs carry the ball loosely. You rarely get guys that kind of come in with the two hands over the ball, so you know, punching out has definitely been our point of emphasis this year, and it’s worked in our favor.