What They Said: LeSean McCoy, Nathan Peterman, Zay Jones and more - The Buffalo News

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What They Said: LeSean McCoy, Nathan Peterman, Zay Jones and more

RB LeSean McCoy

Q: I’m not sure how many times you’ve gone up against Frank Gore, opposite side of the field, obviously. What’s it like to be at least going up against him – like caliber, a guy like that in what could be your last outing?

A: Yeah, well I’m a big fan of Frank. We’re solid, first, so we’re pretty good. I’ve been watching him for a long time before the NFL and also during the NFL. He’s a heck of a player, durable, runs hard. [There was] even like sometimes he’d train in Miami [and] I’d train with him. A lot of guys, I don’t really trade my jerseys a lot, but he’s a guy, we’ve already talked, I’m going to give him my jersey; we’re going to switch. He’s one of the guys I really respect. We have the same agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and we’ve been friends over the years. I’m proud of his career. He just moved into fifth place in the all-time list, and that’s major. The NFL has been here for [a] long, long time. For him to be fifth is major, so I’m excited about that.

Q: Have you ever traded jerseys with other players?

A: A couple guys.

Q: Why Frank?

A: I respect him. There’s some guys, a couple guys, that I do respect that I’ll trade jerseys with. They’re hanging up in my basement. He’ll be one of them, for sure. Sometimes, I think in this league fans and the people in this league, they always want the new thing, what’s hot. Running backs, there’s a couple of young guys [that are] really, really good and they attach to them, hype them up and they pump them. A guy like Frank, he obviously doesn’t have the yards like he used to, but the work he’s put in, it’s hard work to put the type of yards up each year. For you to be fifth all-time, he deserves respect, and I respect him.

Q: Do you think he’ll be in the Hall of Fame?

A: I’m not sure. I’m sure he’ll get in the Hall of Fame. Frank’s a guy who, he’s quiet, he loves football. That’s what he cares about. You won’t see him [in] the cool commercials or you won’t see him with the media hyping himself up or talking a lot. He’s a guy that does everything – goes to work, does his job, and goes home. I think that’s maybe why. But I’m sure once you look at his career, what he’s done, and talk about him, I think he’ll have a chance, a big chance to get in the Hall of Fame.

Q: That longevity is what you’re striving for. How much do you look, I know your styles aren’t the same, but how much of his game and what you’ve learned from your interactions with him will help you to eventually, hopefully, play as long as he has?

A: One thing from talking to Frank is he stays hungry. There’s times where we’ve had lunch before and just talking about football. I’ve seen him this year, last year in the Super Bowl and then we were joking and talking. Just his mindset on who’s a good player [and] who’s not, who works hard, certain players that haven’t arrived that think they’ve arrived [but] they haven’t. The way he talks about them is ‘they can be so much better if they do this better, if they work harder.’ That’s a guy like Frank who’s number five all-time and he’s still trying to improve his game, he’s still working hard, he’s still the first one there, last one to leave. He’s one of them guys.

Q: It’s been a few years since you’ve made the playoffs personally. Are you getting to the point in the season now where you start really kind of gripping and going – is there a worry that maybe you grip a little too hard?

A: Well, the only thing I can do is control what I can control. Us as a team, the only thing we can do is win out, give [us] a shot, give us a chance to get into the playoffs. Every player that plays this game, they want to just have an opportunity to get to the playoffs, because anything can happen once you get there, and that’s where we’re at right now.

Q: You can’t lose to this team, can you? They’ve given up the most points in the league. If you lose to them, you’re pretty much done aren’t you?

A: Every team has a chance, it’s why you play the game. We can’t lose this game, that’s kind of right. Our mindset is [that] we can’t lose this game - we’ve got to win. We just have to play together as a team, to get a win.

Q: Is this one of those games where if it’s Nathan [Peterman], obviously he’s a rookie, if it’s Tyrod [Taylor], he’s a little banged up. Is this one of those games where you enter thinking ‘I’ll carry it, I can carry this offense, too, a bit’?

A: Whatever it takes to win. That’s the mindset - whatever it takes to just get one win. If it’s me, if it’s [Kelvin] Benjamin, if it’s Mike Tolbert, whoever it is, we just have to get the win. Right now, all of the individual attitude, we together have to win. That’s us taking care of the ball on offense, converting on third downs, scoring, no turnovers, the defense, taking the ball away, maybe scoring on defense. Whatever it takes to win.

Q: But you give this team the best chance to win?

A: I mean, yeah, I think so. I think going through me, that’s always kind of the plan.

Q: You talked about last week the roller coaster in having a few games good, then a down game. What have you learned this season in particular to maybe apply this week to make sure you stay on that ‘up’?

A: I think the biggest thing is playing smart and not turning the ball over; that way, we can have a chance to win. We have to give ourselves a chance to win. We can’t beat ourselves. Once we get this win, then how we handle that the next week will be best for us, [and we can] stay in this playoff hunt.

 

DE Cap Capi

Q: What happened? You seemed to have found a job within a week or two. Do you get encouraged by that feeling?

A: I do, I do. Usually when I get released, a team is calling me, wanting to work me out and see what I got. That means, of course, I have some good film out there. That means I’m getting better and better; putting some good film out there and getting better and better.

Q: What about you do you think continues to keep giving you chances? What about your play?

A: I want to make the most out of those chances. I’m happy that the Bills gave me a chance. I’m going to show them what I have, go out there, give it all on the field for my team and my coaches.

Q: But what about you do you think keeps getting you back into an organization, to a team somewhere?

A: I love the game, man. I love going out there competing day in and day out. I feel like the camaraderie, the locker room is some of the best things you have going on in football. But I just really love competing, and I [have] love for the game; I’ve been playing it [ever] since I was a young, young kid. I wake up [with] a smile on my face, ready to put my helmet on, shoes on, and ready to come to work.

Q: These active roster chances, second one you’ve gotten this year, how important are they to you? At some point, you run out of practice squad time here, [so] to make an impression when you have these chances on the active roster?

A: Right, you have to take your opportunities and make the most out of them. They’re constantly looking for new and better talent, so you know you have to go out there and take the most with your chances. You’ve seen it done before, now hopefully I can step up to the plate and take advantage of this opportunity.

Q: What do you make of this chance here with the Bills?

A: Of course, first, help this team win a game, do all I can do; whether it’s running down on special teams, rushing the quarterback or setting the edge on a run, anything I can do to help the team win.

Q: How quickly do you feel you’ve gotten up to speed?

A: It really doesn’t take much to go home and study your playbook. I have nothing to do when I go home; I just hop in the playbook, study my plays, watch the film. I got Coach Bill [Teerlinck] helping me really get accumulated and stuff. As long as I stay in my playbook, any question I have, I go ask Coach Bill and he answers it; or of course, I can ask Coach [Mike] Waufle always, so those guys are really helping me get accumulated very fast.

 

WR Zay Jones

Q: I know you were supportive of [Nathan Peterman] after that tough performance in L.A. How much have you gone over film, and sat with film with him? I know he said he watched the game maybe three or four times.
A: Me with him, I don’t think we’ve sat and watched film like that. I kind of just let him do his thing. I’m sure it was a difficult time for him, there’s no time for me to try [fix it]. I let him work it out, let him go through these things. We’ve moved on from it. Actually, I only watched it one time; I buried it and moved on from it. My focus this week is just the Colts.

Q: What have you learned from Jordan [Matthews] in the short time he was obviously with you? Now that he’s on the IR, obviously he won’t be on the field.
A: There’s so many things. I can’t even narrow it down to one thing, so I’m not even going to begin to list it, there’s a lot of things I’ve learned from him.

Q: How much does it impact the room and on the field not having him now?
A: I don’t think you can replace the type of person, leadership qualities, and just personality that he brings to the room. This league and this business, it just keeps going. I’ve seen it before, this guy leaves and this guy coming out. Unfortunately, he has to be placed on IR. Hopefully, it’s the best thing for him moving forward. I have a job to do, just like every other guy in this locker room, so I’m just going to focus on the guys in this locker room and trying to get them ready to go this week.

Q: You mentioned how guys reaching out to you during your struggles was very beneficial. In regards to Nathan, you already have a close relationship. I know you said you didn’t go over film and what not, let him do his thing, but what conversations have you had to help him get through his tough patch?
A: Just told him that I love him, care for him, appreciate his hard work. I know how much he puts into this organization, to this team. [It’s] the type of person and hard worker that he is, so just encouraging him in that aspect. Everyone is going through that rough patch in their career where they struggled or weren’t playing their best. These are things he’s going to work through, he’s going to be fine, he’s going to come back and he’s going to be a great player for us.

 

Wide Receiver Kelvin Benjamin

Q: How do you feel?

A: I mean, I felt good today. Like I said, we’re just taking it day by day. I think me, the coaches, the training staff, we’re just going to come to a decision at the end of the week. We’re just taking it day by day, just taking it slow.

Q: Now with Jordan [Matthews] on IR, is there a sense of, ‘man that kind of sucks. We haven’t been able to be on the field together a lot’? When you came here, maybe that was the plan?

A: Oh, definitely. I mean, Jordan is a playmaker. I hope the best for him. He’s going to get surgery and stuff and get healthy. I hope things work out for him in the offseason (0:30). It sucks, you know, but we have to keep going. We’ve got four more games left and we have to make this push.

Q: How much are you itching to get back out there?

A: I am. First game didn’t go well; went down to L.A. and I was out basically the first drive. I can’t wait, I just want to play ball, just finish out strong this season. I can’t wait though, I’m anxious.

Q: Have you played in any snow games before?

A: Never.

Q: Are you ready for this? It could be snowing and 20° on Sunday.

A: [laughs] That’ll be decided, but like I said, we’re just taking it day by day for right now. We’re just trying to finish through the week; finish strong, finish fast with the teammates and just be on top of my game.

 

WR Brandon Reilly

Q: Talk about the opportunity you’re getting, I know you waited a long time, now that you’ve got it, just give us your thoughts and feelings?
A: Big accomplishment, something I’m very proud of. They say better late than never, and I’m glad it came this season. I’m looking forward to seeing what my role is and see what I can do.

Q: You were kind of a preseason star, you were kind of going viral there for a while. Has it been tough to be laying low for 12 weeks here?
A: Yeah, it’s been tough, but it’s definitely something you can’t take for granted. There’s not many NFL receivers in the world, whether it’s practice squad or active. I got strong feelings for it. Don’t take any day for granted because you never know when it will be your last.

Q: How much did you experience in Nebraska kind of help this because you were a walk-on there, and you kind of go through this situation where you’re an undrafted guy trying to prove yourself all over again?
A: Big time; it’s kind of [like], the real ‘started from the bottom.’ When I came out of high school, no-star [recruit], no scholarship, nothing like that, so it was something I was kind of used to; things not working out the first time. You just grind through it, and eventually it all works out.

Q: What was your reaction to all of the fans support and social media support that you were getting during the preseason?
A: It meant a lot, but it’s something I couldn’t get a big head about and not come to work and feel sorry for myself or something like that. It definitely means a lot and I’ve got to prove them right now.

Q: How did you find out that you had been called up?
A: I got a phone call yesterday from the operations people, and the coaching staff. It made for a good day off.

Q: Have you figured out what your role is going to be? Have they slotted you in somewhere?
A: I have not. They just said make sure you know all three receiver positions, which I do. Special teams, whatever it is; I was working on catching punts today. I have no idea, but whatever is thrown at me I’m ready for it.

Q: You can play special teams right? Coverage units and all that stuff?
A: Yeah, yep, absolutely.

Q: As much as the fans have been behind you, it seems like a lot of the guys in this locker room are excited to see you get a chance too, how much does that mean?
A: Yeah, it means a lot. I was saying on that radio show, when I was cut, guys like Eric Wood and Richie [Incognito] reached out to me hoping I was staying here on the practice squad. Yesterday, a lot of the guys reached out and texted me. It means a lot coming from a lot of veteran guys like that. They see the work being put in, so it really hits home.

Q: You said in college that you wanted to be kind of an inspiration, someone who overcame the odds. Like you said, no-star, no scholarships, is that still something you’re going to think about now this weekend?
A: Yeah, absolutely. Even yesterday, I had a lot of kids from Nebraska high school reach out; they’re trying to walk-on, they look up to me. That means the world to me, and I wouldn’t do it any other way.

Q: Coming to work today, did it feel a little different?
A: Yeah, it was a little different. Guys [saying] ‘big money,’ and saying all of that stuff. It was a lot of fun, I’m ready to keep stacking days.

Q: So what the hell happened with Nebraska this year?
A: I couldn’t tell you, that was rough. That was rough. I think Scott Frost, I think he’s a great guy for the job and he’s going to get it turned around very quick. I just got to hope he keeps my guy Keith Williams as a receiver coach. I know he’s slotted about every other position coach except that, so I’m hoping he does that. Regardless, I think Scott Frost, obviously you guys have seen, he turned UCF around very quickly and I think he’s the guy for the job.

Q: What’s the timing like with Nathan Peterman, after the preseason and you getting to work with him this year?
A: At the end of each practice, we do a development period; scout teams kind of go. Everyone makes it a running joke: when it’s a pass play, Peterman’s coming to me so we have pretty good unison out there.

Q: If he plays Sunday, you’ve got some familiarity with him. You probably did the buck of your work with him these past twelve weeks.
A: Yeah, I’d say most of my work out here is with Petey. We’ll see.

 

Defensive End Eddie Yarbrough

Q: What’s the level of importance placed on trying to shut down Frank [Gore] and make Jacoby Brissett and this offense kind of one dimensional, if you will?

A: That whole offense, in regards to, explosiveness is – you can pick your poison: Frank, they also have some great new weapons on the outside and it’s really going to be a tall order. At the same time, as a defense, we’re confident we can give them our best shot.

Q: Eddie, four games left in the season, and we’ve talked to you in training camp and you didn’t come from, no offense, you didn’t come from Ohio State or any big named place like that. But now, last four games of the season, this is Eddie’s time. This is Eddie’s chance. Did you imagine that it would come down to that the last – dream come true, maybe?

A: For us as players, we’re always prepared to take on more reps and really kind of tilt the load. But me, I have great leaders and great teammates to kind of be like ‘hey, you know, it’s just another game, it’s another guy’ [and] ‘the most important game on our schedule is the next game’ so that being the Indianapolis Colts. We have to go out there and give our best shot. Me personally, I’m going to go about it as I do any other game which is try and be a great teammate, have a good week of practice, and go put my best foot forward.

Q: I know the sacks haven’t necessarily been there the last couple of weeks but you guys were able to get – you know, you got a couple sacks on Alex Smith I think it was. You guys were able to get pressure on Tom Brady and that offensive line a little bit. How do you continue to build off of that and kind of make things tough on Sunday?

A: You just really have to just take things one day at a time, carry that momentum each day and rehearse your victories. One of the things a lot of time you’d think that you have a bad play here and that could stick out more to you than the seven good plays you just had before that, so you really have to rehearse your victories and do a good job of that.

 

Wide Receiver Andre Holmes

Q: This is the time of year where a lot of the time, teams have to rely on younger players and that’s what the Colts are doing right now with their secondary. They have almost no experience back there. For a veteran guy like yourself, what kind of opportunity could that present, knowing there’s inexperience back there?

A: Well, I think no matter what, whoever’s on the other side, they can make plays. We have to worry about ourselves and that we need to go out there and score points, and play better as a whole offense. It really doesn’t matter exactly who they have in the backfield. They’re going to go out there and put forth their best effort and we’ve got to do our best at executing the plays that are called and scoring points.

Q: All that being said, how badly does this receiving core want to have that breakout type of performance where you guys really carry things for the offense?

A: Badly. That’s the goal as a receiver. You want to go out there and catch for 100 yards and get two touchdowns, and those types of things. That’s all you envision before the game. All you envision is yourself making a catch and splitting two [defenders] and taking it all the way for 80 yards on third down - those types of things. Nothing changes as far as that goes. That’s what we’re focusing on, is having a productive game.

 

Linebacker Preston Brown

Q: What do you take – solid bounce back against Kansas City. I know the end result against New England wasn’t, but how do you keep riding that momentum into this Colts game? It seems like you guys are more so back on track.

A: We have to find a way to keep getting better each and every week. It’s a new season, a good Colts team. They don’t have the best record, but they still have talent all over the field. They’ve got a quarterback who can throw the ball deep to T.Y. [Hilton], got a tight end that makes great catches underneath, they got No.10, [Donte] Moncrief makes a lot of good plays, and they have two – a Hall of Fame running back and then a rookie running back getting help by a Hall of Fame running back, so it’s definitely a tough challenge but we’re ready for it.

Q: The running game, stopping it was trouble again against New England. Was it falling back in old habits like you had during that three-game stretch or was it something that they were doing?

A: I think it’s all us. We all have to be better in our gaps and it’s starts with us at linebacker. I’ve got to be better filling over top of anybody is out of their gap - have to make it look better. It was those splash plays, it wasn’t every play that was 15 yards, it was those 40-yard run, that 30-yard run, and that stuff adds up. We have to find a way to limit it at three yards a pop at least and go out and get stops.

Q: Any cause for concern that maybe sliding back into those old habits?

A: No. We know we have to get better or we’re not going to play. That’s how it is. We’ve got to go out there and find a way to be better in this league or you’re not going to be out there much longer.

QB Nathan Peterman

Q: How did it go in practice today?
A: Went well.

Q: Taking in full reps, I mean, you know. So, is it a different mindset because you’ve been through this before where you’ve prepared possibly for a start?  Last time you knew you were going to be the starter. What about a day like today?
A: It’s really the same even last week, even the week before that, even week one of the season. Obviously, you get a little bit more reps today than I have been, but [I’m] just kind of approaching it the same way.

Q: Do you feel more confident just because, again, you went through game action and then additionally, this past game, even though it was shorter- or maybe the same period, fourth quarter? What’s your sense of your level of confidence, then?
A: Yeah, I think it’s always stayed high, that’s the thing. You get a lot of advice as a quarterback that that’s the most valuable thing you have is your confidence. It definitely helped to get out there again and kind of be able to complete some balls and things like that on this past game, but my confidence has always stayed high.

Q: Coach [McDermott] was saying that, we were asking him about Joe [Webb] and scout team and so forth, he said two of you would be taking reps. Was it about even in practice or did you get most of them? How did it go in terms of the division of reps?
A: We both took reps. Yeah, we both took reps and he did a good job.

Q: Nate, just with respect to the Colts specifically, I know you never want to go into any game assuming anything because every game’s different. Do you see opportunities there in the pass game for your guys this week?
A: Definitely. Kind of see that every week; hopefully. They’re a great team, very talented DBs, going to have some young DBs, too, which is good. I got to train against some of them in this offseason, so I know they’re very talented and going to be a tough challenge for us.

Q: What about stringing positive plays together, series to series outside of maybe the first drive last week has been a bit of fits and starts for you guys. How do you kind of string together one positive play after another as a unit, we’re not talking about any one guy, but just getting the group all on the same page play after play after play?
A: Yeah, I think it just goes back to getting fundamentals and doing the little things right. That’s really when I think offenses really execute is all the little things – there’s a lot of attention to that detail and a lot of work in practice, and then you go out there and you execute.

Q: How do you balance - you’re known as a quarterback that gets the ball out fast, on rhythm, in time, all of that. How do you guard against DBs maybe banking on that, and squatting a little or, do you know what I mean? Have you balanced it out where you’re not giving them the same look, maybe so to speak, every time you drop back?
A: Every time you drop back and throw, it’s not always a perfect three steps and you get the ball out. That kind of helps, and it’s really about taking what the defense gives you. If they’re going to squat and I’m going to go throw over. If they’re going to play off, you’ll throw under. It’s just about what the defense gives you, every week; you like to be in rhythm with everything you do, but it’s football. You get a lot of off rhythm throws, too.

Q: What part of your game would you say is improved the most, maybe, that you see even when you watch on film since maybe the beginning of the year, maybe even the middle of the year to now?
A: I think just a comfortability with the offense. I think every rep, you get more comfortable and I feel like I’m getting a better rhythm, I think, with it, with my feet, not having to rush things or anything like that, but just really feeling comfortable in this offense.

Q: Is there any awkwardness to not knowing for sure what your status is other than the fact that – okay, Tyrod’s not practicing, so you were out there practicing [and] getting more reps today. Do you want to know more? Do you want more of a commitment on Wednesday before a game?
A: Not really, because it’s always the same. I’m always ready to play. This is maybe a little bit more helpful because I’m getting more reps, but at the same time, I’m always ready to play, and it’s the same week in and week out.

Q: How much would having Kelvin Benjamin back in the lineup help? I’m assuming tremendously.
A: Yeah, for sure. He’s a big target out there, wants to go up and make some plays, so we’re trying to get the timing back in things, but we’ve got a lot of talented receivers out there. I’m excited. All of us are working hard in practice, and I’m excited to see what we do [on] Sunday.

Q: Nathan, how much of the film of that Chargers game did you watch and when in the week, when in the process since, have you pushed it aside?
A: A lot. [I] probably watched it three or four times over the course of that week and [I] just try to learn things from it. I mean, obviously there’s some things that go wrong, but there’s a lot of things that I could’ve done better to minimize what goes wrong and not make it a huge deal. It’s always learning, and I’ve learned a lot even from this past Sunday and even from today at practice, too.

Q: How challenging is it, since it’s probably the worst game you’ve ever played, how challenging is it to go over and over and look so meticulously at a performance like that?
A: I don’t know, it’s just kind of the same thing, you know? Like I said earlier, my confidence has always stayed the same, so when I criticize myself, I criticize myself if it’s a great game, a bad game, or whatever. Yeah, it’s kind of the same approach.

Q: Could be a weather game this weekend. Playing at Pitt, I know you’ve played in weather like this before. Just how do you feel about [a] potential snow game in terms of affecting your game, if at all?
A: I’m excited. I saw the snow out there already. If there’s snow on the ground, I’ve never played with snow on the ground, so I’ll be excited to get that opportunity. That’s Buffalo, that’s part of it here, that’s our home field advantage.

Q: Whenever that chance may come to start again, how eager are you to show people who you are?
A: Very eager every time I get on the field. Every opportunity in the NFL when you’re behind the center is a great opportunity. [I’m] always just extremely thankful to be here and to have those opportunities like I had this past Sunday, two weeks ago, whenever I am. So just staying ready, staying thankful, and yeah, just ready to play.

Q: You sound like you’re unaccustomed to adversity.
A: It’s not like I’m unaccustomed to –

Q: It’s not as if you’re not unaccustomed to adversity.
A:  A lot of negatives in there. Exactly though, that’s how I feel. For sure, and I count those things as strengths, though. I think it’s just the reality of life that you go through tough things. Everything’s not perfect. To always learn how to battle through those things and get better from them, too, is what I’m focused on.

Q: Are you maybe more hungry then you were before? I mean, when you’re a rookie, you want to play. Now there’s something you want to erase, something want to change.
A: Yeah, I mean, sure. I guess I always use everything I go through to add to my fire, fuel to my fire. Yeah, I got a few things I guess. The fire’s burning for sure.

 

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