Opening Statement: Good morning, we’ll go ahead and get started this morning.
Q: You got any injury updates for us Sean?
A: Yeah, injury-wise, all these guys, for the most part are day-to-day. Starting with Kelvin; Cordy, really no timetable on Cordy, he’s the one exception at this point, really no timetable, he continues to work through it. Having said that, Mike Tolbert, Nick O’Leary, Eddie Yarbrough and John Miller, all day-to-day and will not practice today. Limited will be Jordan Matthews and Charles Clay.
Q: Alright so Sean, you took this job and you knew who the standard is in this division. Now, you’re going to get your first crack at them. If you could, share some thoughts about trying to slay the beast for the first time as the Bills’ coach.
A: Well listen, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what they do and what they’ve done. We respect every opponent. Them being the world champs, defending world champs, what they’ve been able to accomplish is just incredible. We have to focus on ourselves and we have to focus on our process and our vision for what we’re trying to become as an organization and as a team; that’s just to continue to grow and continue to get better every week.
Q: How much this summer did you look at the Patriots knowing you had to play them twice and knowing that they were the biggest road block – in the season, you probably don’t have time – but in the summer, were you?
A: Yeah you always look at division opponents the best you can. First year it’s always tough because everyone’s figuring out where to live, all these types of things. Then you go into now building the playbook, offense, defense, special teams, making sure we’re right first. Then also, trying to keep, to your point, an eye on division opponents. There’s a little bit of both in that.
Q: You mentioned at the owner’s meeting they’re the reason you get up at four, five in the morning.
Q: How much have you watched of Tom [Brady] before you got here and now, in trying to catch up on what he does?
A: We get up as coaches the same every week. That’s the Groundhog Day part of this league, just like it is for you guys, every week, you stick with your routine. Then, you obviously have a chance to watch over the years what they’ve done. Again, as I said earlier, there’s a lot of respect for what they’ve done over the years, not only on the playing field, [but] how they coach, how they do things. I tip my hat to them for what they’ve been able to do.
Q: You’re 42, 43, I think, he’s 40, Tom Brady. Can you imagine yourself doing what he does? You were a great athlete
A: [Laughs] You mind if we just stop right there [joking].
Q: Could you imagine him playing at 40 the way he’s playing right now?
A: It’s incredible. It’s incredible what he’s been able to do throughout his career. I know not only what he does on the field, [but] what he does off the field, I’m sure, in terms of what I’ve heard, with his preparation, [and] their entire team. There’s a difference between winning and doing the things that lead you to winning. It’s clear the habits that they do on a daily basis, weekly basis, set themselves up for success.
Q: Considering that you came out of a recent stretch of allowing 45 points a game over three games, how can you be optimistic about stopping these guys?
A: Well it’s a weekly approach. Like I said, a lot of respect for our opponent, [but it] doesn’t change how we approach every week, the standard that we set for ourselves, remains the same every week. We focus on what we do, how we can improve our vision, our process, how we’re building, and that’s really what we focus on. There’s only so many things you can control, so that’s what we focus on.
Q: Much like the drought, and how people want to talk about it, but yet there’s guys that haven’t been here and you have to balance that out – it’s not on them, you want to focus on what you’re doing – it’s the same thing with the Patriots. It’s this week where they’re going to be hammered all week with the dominance of this team over the Bills over the last ‘whatever’ years, [some of] these guys weren’t here for that. how do you balance that out, ‘it’s not you,’ but at the same time you have to recognize that this has been the team that has dominated the Bills for so long?
A: I understand that that’s been a part of the past, and I respect the past. That said, we’re focused on right now and where we’re going as an organization; the vision for this organization the vision for our football team, our entire building. It’s one day at a time, it’s building towards what we’re trying to become. They’ve been to where we’re trying to get to, and they’ve been there for a long time. That goes without say. We just have to focus on our process and continue to grow each and every day, learn from what we didn’t do well yesterday, and help use that to make us better in the future and tomorrow; continue to grow. I’m confident in these guys, I’m confident they’ll put in the work this week, just like they do every week.
Q: The beginning of this season, the Patriots defense was not good at all. After the first couple week, though, they really turned it around and [now], they’re one of the best in the league. How impressive has that turnaround been?
A: You go through, like you’ve heard me say before, you go through things that challenge you in a duration of a season, whether it’s offense, defense, special teams, or as a team. They went through a little deal early in the year where they had some things defensively, and it appears they’ve gotten them corrected. That’s what you’re there for, to adjust and make your team better. For us, no different. We have to continue to grow, continue to focus on the fundamentals, the techniques; continue to focus on our day-to-day growth, and how we’re learning and becoming a better, stronger football team. Which, and I’ll say, one of them is, is our young players have played a lot and that’s a good thing. When you look at their snap counts and the percentage of the time our young guys have played, that again, is a good thing for our future in terms of where we’re going, how we’re building and our vision.
Q: When it comes to picking your poison versus a quarterback like Tom Brady, some folks like to drop back, some folks like to pressure him. The Dolphins pressured him a lot, hit him a lot, yet, still lost 35-17. How do you balance your approach in knowing what Tom Brady can do?
A: Well there lies the problem, the challenge. You see some people pressure, and they put up 35. You see some people stay back, and they put up 35, or 40, or 50. I don’t think there’s exact formula out there, and that’s why they’ve gotten to where they’ve gotten to over the years.
Q: How impressed are you with the fact that he’s held seven straight teams to 17 points or less after giving up the most points in the league for the first month?
A: It’s a credit to all the people in their building; the coaches, the players. That’s impressive.
Q: Defensively, they seem to do a good job of taking away a major strength of their opponent, which I know is the goal every week. Does that effect how you guys prepare offensively, in terms of having solutions in the event that they are successful in doing that, knowing they’ve done that successfully in the past?
A: They do a good job of that; identifying strengths, trying to make other teams beat them in other ways. I think that’s a big part of what they do [and] how they prepare. That’s fairly clear and that’s smart; it’s logical, makes a lot of sense. We have to make sure that’s where the focus gets back [to], on ourselves and what we do, strengthening our strengths and making sure we improve our weaknesses. That again, goes back to, focusing on the process, learn from valuable mistakes we’ve made and what wasn’t up to our standard, as we get those areas up to our standard. That’s a daily, weekly thing in terms of improving what we’ve done.
Q: You talked about defending Brady a little bit, but one of his best options is Rob Gronkowski. Is there a formula to best defend him and slow him down to the best of your ability?
A: Obviously the matchups are important. You do the best you can. I don’t know if anybody has ever stopped him. I don’t know if anybody has ever stopped their offense. They’ve got weapons, they’ve got matchup weapons all over the board, and so they’re a talented group.
Q: Is there a benefit going from Travis Kelce to Rob Gronkowski, just having seen back-to-back tight ends? Benefit’s probably not the right word.
A: Yeah, when you find the benefit, let me know [laughs]. I don’t know, and I’m not being disrespectful, I just, I mean these are talented football players. I know Gronk is a local guy here so, [he’s] talented, [brings] matchup concerns, opens up the running game, all that.
Q: Coach, I think this is the week Colt Anderson might be eligible to return from IR designation. Can you just kind of give us an update on that being a possibility going forward?
A: We’ll see. He’s still working through the rehab process at this time.
Q: Having been through scenarios this season in which the team has faced a run of points or a run of adversity on the field and at times responded and at times not responded, do you feel your team is more prepared should that happen on Sunday when you’re facing a Patriots team that can put up points and how do you guard against not panicking at those critical moments?
A: Right. Fair question. I mean, there [are] a lot of teams that have been in that situation against the Patriots. We’ve just got to focus on, again, what we do [and] the mental toughness part of every game. There’s moments in every game where the game hangs in the balance or things don’t go your way, and that’s part of also establishing, like I said earlier, our mental toughness as a football team, as a building. That’s one of the parts that I think you have to do, is ‘hey, there’s going to be moments in a game, there’s going to be moments in a season where things ebb and flow’ and how you handle those moments sometimes determines how far you go and how high you fly at the end of the day. Again, you come back to the team focus and making sure we hang together as a team. I think, to this point, we’ve done a good job of that.
Q: [Bill] Belichick said today that he thinks your team plays with a lot of passion. What does that mean to you based on what you’re trying to build here? I know you mentioned back in the spring that you want teams to feel a certain way when they play you. What does that mean to you when he says that your team plays with a lot of passion?
A: I take it as a compliment. I appreciate it. I think it’s more of a compliment for the guys in the locker room and the coaches and the way they coach and what they’re able to establish every week. The guys go out and play hard and that – when you go to, sometimes we have clinics where you get together with other coaches [like at] the Combine, and to me, one of the greatest compliments that another coach can share with me or another coach is that your players play hard because that doesn’t always happen everywhere. We take that as a compliment. That said, we have to continue to grow and get better.
Q: Sean, today is the first day that you’ve really gone outside the realm of saying day-to-day with Cordy [Glenn]. Is there some fear that you could lose him for the season?
A: I don’t know. I’m not going to go there. It’s still up in the air at this point. I do think he’s getting better. It’s really more so kind of status quo at the present time until we know more today and tomorrow.
Q: You wouldn’t commit to Tyrod [Taylor] beyond this game after the last one. Does that mean if he plays poorly in a loss, you might consider going back to [Nate] Peterman?
A: I mean, we look at everything every week. I’m confident in Tyrod and the question you asked me the other day talked about, in the scheme of, in the context of playoffs, and that’s why I answered it the way I did. I’m confident in Tyrod Taylor and we all have to play better. We all have to coach better every week. If we play like we did last week, if I coach like I did last week, we won’t be good enough to win this week. That’s the growth mindset too, is where we’re trying to go and that’s all of us improving on a daily basis [and] weekly basis as we build, as we develop our foundation and that’s really the growth mindset that we embrace.
Q: Sean, I know it’s an old storyline, but Brady is the all-time poster child for the randomness of the draft. Can you just discuss that process of how a guy like that could fall all the way down? It happens in other drafts but not to that extent.
A: Yeah, I mean, look I wasn’t in their building so I don’t know the processes that they went through to draft Tom Brady. Obviously, there’s only a few of those guys out there [and] maybe there’s just one. There’s other stories of guys falling and becoming very good players, excellent players. I think the hardest thing, and you can ask Brandon [Beane] about this in the spring for more detail, but the hardest thing from my standpoint really, is these players are so young when they come out of college. There’s a big-time projection for a lot of these guys. You try and gather as much data, as much information and some of it is accurate and some of it, unfortunately, isn’t always accurate. The great part, to me, about what he’s been able to do is you see the drive. You see the passion. You see the heart and just the commitment to excellence, which I have a great amount of respect for.
Q: You talked about Zay Jones and his mental toughness and persevering through a rough start for him. How have you seen him develop and persevere through what was a really a rough start to the season for him?
A: That’s one of the great parts about our team is you’ve seen that. You’ve seen young players go through some of it. You guys were asking me about Zay, as you mentioned, earlier in the year. Well, you know, he persevered. He showed that he’s got grit and mental toughness and he worked himself through it. We kept coming back to him in terms of that. I’m really proud of the way he’s persevered, the way Coach [Phil] McGeoghan and he have developed a nice relationship and they’ve worked through it together, as well as Rick Dennison. I think that really speaks volumes about some of the men in our locker room.