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What They Said: McDermott and Bills players on Week 17, playoffs and seeing Miami again

Bills coach Sean McDermott

Opening Statement: Alright, we’ll go ahead and open it up to questions. Good morning.

Q: Is anybody not practicing today with injuries?
A: Standard operating procedure. I should’ve known. Those not practicing will be Kelvin [Benjamin], Kyle [Williams], Shareece [Wright], and then Ryan Groy has an illness that popped up this morning. Limited will be Charles Clay and E.J. Gaines.

Q: A lot of your players, and I’m sure you’re rooting for this entire team to make the playoffs, but what Kyle [Williams] has meant to this organization. It’s only your first year, but what would it mean to have Kyle Williams have a shot at making the playoffs and getting that [checked] off his resume?
A: I think it would mean the world, really. It would mean the world to this city and I think it would mean the world to Kyle. I also know that he wants that but he also wants what comes with that at the end of it [with] the journey, the championship there, just in small talks I’ve had with Kyle about it. There’s a lot of emotion that goes into that because of all the blood, sweat and tears he’s put in [and] his family has put into this city and this team and the hours that he spends here trying to perform at a very high level for so many years. There is an emotion tied to that.

Q: Sean, how is your relationship with Kyle unique to that of others you’ve had with players throughout your career?
A: It’s hard not to be, or not to gravitate towards a guy like that because of who he is as a person more so than anything. I mean, I’ve had [what] I would call professionally close relationships with quite a few of the players I’ve been fortunate to be around, Kyle no different. He’s a special individual, plays the game a certain type of way that really endears himself to me in just the way he plays. It’s just, how could you not like the way he plays and appreciate that, right? And the way he carries himself when he’s off the field. To me, it’s a great example of how you do it.

Q: And he was like a fifth rounder? A lot of teams overlooked him and he’s part of that underdog mentality you’re looking for.
A: He is. I mean, yeah. It’s another great story just in terms of, it happens all the time in this business where people are told they’re not good enough. They’re not worthy and [Kyle is] a great story of how if you work hard and you continue to believe in yourself, that good things happen. Good things happen to good people as well, and he’s earned that.

Q: You seem to talk a lot with Kyle during stretch and stuff like that. Is that part of that bond that you’re kind of talking about?
A: It’s hard not to talk to Kyle because he’s, quite often, trying to get my attention to tell me something that basically, hold me accountable, right? I’ll say that just to keep it [politically correct] right now. He’s a fun guy to be around [and] he keeps things light. One of the great things about Kyle is he knows how to flip the switch, though, in terms of not with the lights but more so just when it’s time to get serious, he can take it to another level, which the great ones can.

Q: You and Brandon [Beane] both have talked all along about being about the future as well as the present. How could one win and getting into playoffs alter what you guys have in store in terms of this roster moving forward?
A: Well I think it would be a step, really. I know emotionally, I’ll just take that separately for a second, what it means to the people of this great city. There’s a lot that goes along with that. The part of building this team the right way, this would be a step. As we continue to build and grow, and build that solid foundation – changing the culture [and] changing the belief – we’re heading in the right direction. It would be a step as we continue to grow.

Q: There is talk that it’d be harder to cut ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’ if they make the playoffs. That would be a bad look. How much truth is there to that, the sentiment of it, if certain players got you to the playoffs that you might think you have to move on?
A: Well, we evaluate everything. You don’t evaluate things just in a vacuum [with] one thing over another thing. You have to, at the end of the day, do what’s right for the team. That’s what we’ve done since the time we’ve been here, and we’ll continue to do that responsibly moving forward.

Q: How do you know that this franchise is taking a step in the right direction? When one season is separate from another, what do you see, in that step in the right direction?
A: Probably more so than anything, and you’re right, just with the fact of – you see teams make it one year and don’t make it the next year. One of the great lessons I learned from the Super Bowl year coming out of Carolina going into the next season was that culture from one year to another year [and] teams from one year to another year are almost separate entities. Even though you’d like to be able to say that there’s carryover, you want there to be carryover, it’s not guaranteed though; that there’s carryover from a culture standpoint [and] from a performance standpoint. That’s why what we do in that offseason [with] the roster moves we make or don’t make are so important to our future success in building upon what we did in this first year. That’s kind of a science in and of itself right there.

Q: How much does that impact the goal of sustaining success?
A: Yeah, it’s huge. It’s all part of the building process. A lot of people, I think, I would say have plans for – you hear it a lot, those words, the first 90 days or what’s your plan for the first 90 days? Just as important, if not more important, really is what’s your plan between year one and year two? That’s something we spend a lot of time, Brandon and myself, talking about, researching, putting in the due diligence, and carrying forward all of the lessons we’ve learned over the years to put ourselves in a good position.

Q: This is the only game that’s 4:25pm for an east coast game. I know how meticulous you are and I know it’s like three hours. Does that change preparation in any way with body clocks and when you want to be at peak performance on Sunday?
A: [The] sports science department does a great job with that. They’ve put in the time to research it so I follow their lead. We’ll be well organized, I can guarantee you that.

Q: Where does the culture of the locker room and the team rank in the reasons you guys have been successful and on the verge of making the playoffs?
A: The culture is huge to me, in terms of – one of the first steps in trying to establish [and] the boxes you try and check. Easier said than done, though. It starts with people [with the] people in our building, and then, also, the players in the locker room. We’ve tried, as you guys have seen – I remember standing up here in free agency, one press conference after another of talking about the character of the players that we were bringing in, as well as the drafted players. You see, that’s really how it starts to get going in the right direction in terms of the culture. It’s so much driven by people – whether it’s players or other staff members, coaches, people in our marketing department, ticketing – it’s really a people-driven part of an ingredient of success, really, in terms of the culture. You got to have that, in my opinion, before you sometimes get the results on the field. The belief comes before the results at times.

Q: Do you think that can help talent overachieve?
A: I wouldn’t say it doesn’t. I would say it certainly helps. To have a talented football team is one thing, to have a team that plays well together, is another thing, whether that team is highly talented or not. I think that, in the great teams I’ve been around – the Super Bowl teams – some of those were talented, yes. But more than that, they had great chemistry and the culture leads to great chemistry.

Q: There’s a little bit of a, it seems like reflection going on today. Now you’ve reached the point in the schedule where you’re looking at the final regular season game. Has it gone fast, the first year as a head coach? Do you look back and go ‘wow, that was pretty fast’?
A: [Laughs] Yeah, I think it has. We’ve got some guys on our staff, we were talking about this the other evening that are first-year. Some of the younger coaches are first-year NFL guys. They’ve come from college or what have you. I had asked the same question, ‘has it gone fast?’ Typically, your first year doesn’t go fast because it’s a long season that way – in particular, if you’re coming from college. As a head coach, and the first year is always the first year in whatever job there is – in this case for me, the head coaching job, it’s gone fast, it really has. It’s flown by. It’s been challenging and I’ve loved it, every minute of it. It’s been fun to watch our building hang together, as you’ve heard me say before. That’s part of building our culture, is being able to sustain that through one season and another season. That’s the great part of it that tells me we’re heading in the right direction.

 

Linebacker Preston Brown

Q: Knowing what’s at stake for this week, knowing you guys have to win, how do you guys not scoreboard watch to an extent as well on Sunday?

A: We’ll play at the same time, so you can’t really check your phones, see what they’re doing. We all have to focus on what we have to do. Around the league, I know a lot of people on the Bengals, so I try to talk to them to see what they have going on. We have to handle our business and try to get a win down in Miami.

Q: What’s it like to be in a game like this, knowing that if you win, if things fall in your favor, you guys will be a part of the group that snaps this postseason drought.

A: Yeah, it’d be great. The city, I’m sure, will be super excited to have this happen, especially in this matter where a lot of people aren’t sure if you can make it, what the scenario is, what can happen. If you wake up in the morning, and you’re in the playoffs, that’s a great feeling. It’s something I’ve never felt before, so I’m trying to feel that.

Q: Do you recall where you were at in life in 1999, last time the Bills made the playoffs?

A: Where I was in life?

Q: Right before Y2K?

A: Yeah, I was seven. I was born in ’92, so I was like seven years old winning Super Bowls in little league, so it’s been a long time.

Q: You rank fourth in the league in tackles, and you’re on the verge of posting a career high in that category. I know this is the final year in your rookie contract, does that play any factor in your performance on the field?

A: Not really. People don’t really care about tackles that should lead the league. It is what it is. I’m just trying to go out there and help the team win, any way I can. If it’s getting tackles, if it’s going out calling stuff out, that’s what I’ll try and do each week.

 

Safety Micah Hyde

Q: What were you doing in 1999, the last time the Bills made the playoffs?

A: 1999, I was eight years old. My birthday is December 31st, so it’s my birthday on Sunday. What grade are you in when you’re eight years old?

Q: Third grade.

A: How did you know that so fast?

Q: I’m the same age as you, that’s why.

A: Second or third grade, okay. Yeah, I was in Mrs. Green’s class, probably on Christmas break; probably just out there playing in the snow in Ohio.

Q: You’re playing a team that you’re facing again, was it two weeks ago?

A: Yeah.

Q: The challenges of playing a team that you’ve played [before], or what makes it easier?

A: I’ve learned – even back in high school, back in middle school – playing a team twice is difficult. Obviously, in the NFL, it’s very difficult. It was two weeks ago, so it’s pretty hard. They’re going to make adjustments, we’re going to make adjustments, and from there, we have to play a solid game. It’s going to come down to communication, which it always is. But this is big, just [having] played the team. This is going to be a challenge for us.

Q: What’s the key defensively in trying to figure out what [Jarvis] Landry is going to do? He’s not a guy that’s going to line up on the outside, he’s going to line up everywhere. What’s the biggest key to making sure you know, because he is their big guy, where he’s going to be at and what he’s going to do?

A: You have to have awareness of where he’s at, at all times. Like you said, he lines up everywhere. They do a good job of moving him around. He does line up outside, he lines up in the slot, he lines up in the backfield. You just have to be aware and know what type of routes, or what type of plays they might run from his position. Like I said, they do a good job of mixing it up. We just have to get that film study in. If you’re not sure, just play to your fundamentals.

Q: I doubt you know what his stat line is, but it’s really unique. He has a 100-and-something catches, but he’s only averaging 8.5 yards per catch, which is pretty strange for a wide receiver – which shows he does all of his work on those shallow routes.

A: Yeah, that is, for sure. But we know what type of player he is. He’s good with the ball in his hands, just breaking tackles and stuff like that. He’s basically a running back when he gets the ball in his hands. That’s something we have to prepare ourselves for. We saw that in the first game, he ran a jet, got upfield and basically turned into a running back in the open field. We know what type of player he is; he’s a big challenge for us; a big challenge for a lot of defenses around the league. We’re trying to prepare accordingly.

 

Guard Richie Incognito

Q: How do you handle the business of trying to either avoid watching the scoreboard or keeping an eye on things? You have to win your own game, and you know that, but you’re going to need some help too.

A: We’re definitely going to be focused, locked in in our game. The scores are pretty accessible, in the stadium you can see them. But that doesn’t take us out of our game. We still have to go out there and produce and finish. Being this close with this group, and knowing the history and all that, I know our guys will respond the right way.

Q: Not just you, but we hear a lot about the Buffalo drought. Kyle Williams has talked about it a lot. What about you, this is a chance for you to go for the first time as well?

A: Yeah, a chance for me to go the playoffs for the first time, really a chance for me to be on a 9-7 team for the first time. It’s exciting. I’m trying to pull as many young guys together as I can to get them to buy in, go out there and be physical, and have the right mindset.

Q: All of the talk about, what about Kyle, are you thinking a little bit, kind of laughingly, what about Richie?

A: [Laughs] No, talk about Kyle. Everybody talk about Kyle. I’m sure he’ll probably say the same thing, ‘talk about Richie’. No, it’s special, and being this close, being able to taste it, waking up, it has a different feeling, it really does, at this point in the season. It’s exciting. I hope the guys stay in the moment, I hope the guys embrace it and I hope the guys show up on Sunday and let it all hang, play our best football of the season.

 

Running Back LeSean McCoy

Q: Alright, LeSean. Week 17, this game has a lot of meaning. It’s been a few years since that’s happened here. What kind of extra juice do you get out of that?

A: We have to put everything on the line. We’ve got to work hard and prepare well. This game is very important to us. [It’s the] most important game of the year, to have a shot [for] myself and my teammates. We’re ready to put everything on the line.

Q: Is there a vibe in the locker room that makes you feel that way?

A: Yeah. Just everybody. Everybody’s dialed in. Our team meeting, we talk as a group and everybody’s dialed in and ready to go. This is a must-win situation. Everybody’s put everything on the line and everybody knows the situation. I think you’ll see a team come out playing fast [and] playing hard.

Q: LeSean, when you talk about wanting to make the playoffs and all the work you do, we had this conversation with you guys in April through the summer. Is it more real now, now that we’re down to the final game?

A: Yeah. I think it’s definitely more because it’s here. It’s right in front of our face. If we have any shot to make it, we’ve got to win this game. It’s one thing to be playing for something, but to actually have it in front of you is another thing. Like I said before, we’re dialed in. We’re ready to go. It’s a must-win.

Q: You are 119 yards from scrimmage away from having your second-best season ever. I don’t know if you realize that. When you look back at the way the season started with the struggles in the run game, does that kind of surprise you that you’ve been able to put together the numbers you have this year?

A: That doesn’t surprise me. I have a really good offensive line and we focus here on the run first. I know there will be some times where it will be tough [to run] in games because teams come in here focusing on the run and they’ll focus in on me. So it’s not a surprise, but we’ve had some good games and bad games. It’s a matter of just being in the middle. Not getting too high [and] not getting too low. Just sticking with it. Still being confident.

Q: Obviously, Miami is a divisional opponent so you know them pretty well already, but does it help just having played them two weeks ago and you guys having some success against them?

A: Yeah, because two weeks is not that far, not that long ago. I’m sure they’ll be running the same type of fronts, the same type of blitzes, and you know what you’re getting. Also, you played their guys two weeks ago so a lot hasn’t changed in two weeks. That’s a good thing.

Q: Second half scoring, LeSean. Even against Miami the first time, you guys jumped on them early but have trouble sustaining drives and scoring in the second half. Have the players and coaches talked about sustaining some of the first half success into the second half? It seems to be troublesome of late.

A: Seriously, I think it’s important that we finish a lot better than we have, and also adjusting. We’re making plays in the first half. Obviously, a team would make changes to stop it. We have to do a better job of adjusting as well, and having an attitude where, ‘hey, we’ve got to put a team away.’ Too many times where we’re letting teams linger on in the game instead of finishing and putting them away.

Q: How dangerous of a team do you think you’d be if you guys make the playoffs with matchup possibilities?

A: A lot of games we’re in, we’re in there. We’re fighting. It’s close games. It’s a matter of finishing and I think that if you give a team a chance to get in, all of the records go away, all of the stats go away, it’s just a team versus a team, a man versus a man. There have been plenty of times where the underdog gets in the playoffs and they makes some noise. I was actually part of that before in Philadelphia where Aaron Rodgers just turned it on [against us]. It’s a matter of just getting in the playoffs. It’s a whole different ballgame. It’s so late in the year, guys are hurt, guys not as fresh, you have so much game film to watch to prepare for a team, so you’ve just got to get in.

Q: LeSean, after the last home game, you talked about how much the city has embraced you and how much you call it home. What would it be like to be a part of the team that finally breaks the playoff drought?

A: That’ll be special. It really would. Going so long without a playoff game, to bring that here to the city would be excellent. The only thing is, we don’t want that to be the only thing to celebrate. It’s not like a championship. It’s not really an accomplishment in my eyes because it’s something you should do. We want to have that thing where we’re constantly getting into the playoffs, not be in a situation where things have to go our way or we’ve got to get a win to get in [but instead] to have a chance to actually be in and prepare for it. But it would be nice to get into the playoffs and who knows [what will happen] at that point.

Q: Does it make it easier or tougher that some of the scenarios that you guys need to happen in those games, they’re all at that 4:25 PM slot?

A: I think it makes it a lot easier because you’re just playing. You’re playing and you have one thought in mind and say ‘hey, we’ve got to win.’ Anything can happen on the other side. We’re all playing together. You’re not playing a game and then scoreboard watching. Sometimes, I get caught up in looking at scoreboards during the game or looking at rushing yards during a game. We could just focus on winning this one game and our minds think that, ‘okay, Baltimore has lost.’ From there on, you can just play the game.

Q: Do you think you’ll take a peek at the scoreboard in between series when you’re on the sideline, just to see how the other team is doing?

A: That’s natural. I probably shouldn’t. I’ll tell Coach [Sean McDermott] I won’t but I probably will just to see what’s going on. I’ve been calling [Ravens WR Jeremy] Maclin the last three days just messing with him. I know he’s hurt so I’m trying to keep him out. But hey, it’s a must-win and we know that. So I’ll be watching, seeing what’s going on with Joe [Flacco] and the Ravens.

 

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor

Q: Did you get any friendly, competitive texts between you and Joe [Flacco] this week?

A: Oh, no. I talked to Joe a couple weeks ago, but it wasn’t about the scenario that we’re in now. I pretty much focus on taking care of business throughout the week, and going out and doing whatever it takes to win this week.

Q: Your numbers against Miami have been maybe the best in your career against an opponent. What is about playing against them that seems to bring out the best in you?

A: I don’t know if I can pinpoint what exactly causes that. [They’re] definitely a team that I like to play against. They’re a talented group. Of course, they’re in our division; and any time you get a chance to play a team twice, you definitely know those guys. It’s a big rivalry game for us. Everyone gets pumped up for that game, myself included.

Q: I know Coach [Rick] Dennison was down on the sidelines again last week, was that a request by you, or how did that all work out? What was his decision making–

A: I’m not sure what weighed in on that decision. He told us the night before the game he was going to be down on the sideline, and that’s the decision that he went with. It doesn’t necessarily bother me; I’m cool with it whether he’s up in the booth or down on the field.

Q: In the offensive series, you’d think it be human nature just to maybe take a peek at the scoreboard, to see what the Ravens are doing, what the Chargers are [doing], since all the games are going on at the same time? LeSean [McCoy] said I’m telling Coach [Sean McDermott] I won’t look, but he said he probably will.

A: I probably won’t. It’s not that I probably won’t, I won’t look up. More so, just focused on the game because the scenarios that are out there, the best scenario is when we win. We have to focus on winning the game, and let everything else take care of itself.

Q: You said you won’t look at the scoreboard–

A: I won’t force myself not to look at the scoreboard, but I’m not necessarily worried about that.

Q: There’s so many other players on the field, as a quarterback, in terms of leading a team, how do you get them focused with centering on the game at hand, and not wondering what else?

A: Everybody knows what’s at stake, and everyone knows we need our best performance this Sunday. We’re preparing that way, this week. As far as on game day, if you look up, or you don’t, we still have a job to do, and that’s where your focus needs to be. I believe that’s where everyone’s focus will be.

Q: Two years ago, you guys were the spoilers with the Jets who were in the situation you’re in now. Can you take anything from what worked with you guys that day, and [do you] know to do in the other direction to prevent Miami from spoiling your shot this weekend?

A: Execution, that’s what it boils down to. Play in and play out, everyone laying it out on the line for one another; for the community; for their families. Then, just going out there and playing our style of football. We understand how big of a game this is, and we’re excited for the opportunity.

Q: How much thought have you given your future beyond this game here in Buffalo?

A: I haven’t thought much about it. I’m focused on a great lunch today after practice, and focused on great meetings after that.

Q: Is there more juice just because of the fact that this is a meaningful game here in week 17? That hasn’t happened here in a long time. Can you sense the vibe in the locker room that there’s more juice for this thing with what’s on the line?

A: Absolutely. As a competitor, it’s a great opportunity for us to rise to the occasion as a team [and] individually. Meaningful football – I’ve said this a couple of times this year – meaningful football in December, and especially the last weekend of games, basically takes us into the playoffs. It boils down, like I said, to us executing and us going out there and playing our best game. I’m excited for the opportunity as well as all the guys in the locker room are excited; as well as the coaches and we’re taking it day by day until we get there and play it out on the field.

Q: That last game against Miami, you guys punched them in the mouth early and then you had a little struggle in the second half. Have you guys talked the last couple of weeks about trying to sustain that or maybe try to make better adjustments? I don’t know what it is. I mean, you tell me.

A: Absolutely. We’ve talked about it. Just have to have that killer instinct, is what it boils down to; to be able to finish teams and put teams away. We had an opportunity to do that in the first game against them and we didn’t close it out the way that we want to. We’ve had a couple of times throughout this year where we have closed out in a fashion that we like, and we haven’t. This game is definitely key for one of those points to be able to start fast and finish strong.

Q: You guys need some other things to happen to get in [to the playoffs]. Do you go into this with the mindset of this is a playoff game, essentially? You know if you lose, you’re out. If you win, there’s a chance you advance. It’s a little different, but is that the mindset going in?

A: Definitely a mindset. Like you said, it’s a playoff game for us. We have to win in order for us to set ourselves up to get a chance to go into the playoffs and that’s where our focus is at.

Q: What steps forward do you feel like this team has taken, whether it be on the field or in the locker room, regardless of whether you make the playoffs or don’t, under Sean McDermott?

A: I think we’ve progressed in a lot of different ways. Of course, our goal first and foremost is to get to the playoffs and go far into the playoffs. I just think that over this past year, this team has been through a bunch transaction-wise. Emotionally, we’ve been put to the test and I think this team has definitely stayed strong and been able to continue to fight for each other and continue to play well and put ourselves in a position where we’ve taken another step from years past.

Q: Are you looking forward to 70° weather to throw the ball in, instead of what you’ve had the past few weeks?

A: Football is football. Can’t control the conditions. Of course, it’s always nice to play in that weather but I enjoy playing in the cold as well, too. I embrace the weather that we have here. It’s cold, but everywhere can’t be eighty degrees and sunny and shiny. We embrace home games, as well as we love going and playing away as well.

 

Defensive Tackle Kyle Williams

Q: Yet, you called B.S. on a lot of us back in August, when we said this team is rebuilding, this team is tanking, this team is not going anywhere – and you never wavered in saying that this team has the chance to be a playoff contender because I believe it?

A: Yeah, and I believe that just because [I had] the opportunity to view all of these guys work. We talk about it a lot. Everybody wants to win. Everybody is going to talk about winning, but not everybody is willing to do what it takes - they’re not willing to prepare. Talent aside, no matter if you’re talking about a high-talent level, a low-talent level, there’s that equalizer in there that’s called preparation, hard work, will, and those kinds of things. I saw that a lot in these guys. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Can we be better at a lot of things? Yep, all the time. But, because of their character, their hard work, their preparation, they’re willing to compete all the time, we’re at this point where we are.

Q: Is it different for the first time in your career preparing for a finale with the playoffs still on the line?

A: I don’t think about it in those terms, like all of that is going on. I think about it the same way I thought about the game last week. What can I do to best prepare myself and my teammates to go win one football game, against a division team - against a team in Miami that obviously plays well at home. There’s a lot to worry about, just in that, without adding all the extra in there.

Q: How does it feel though when you hear these guys talk about, not just coaches, but players wanting to get you to the playoffs?

A: Well I think, number one, what we’re trying to accomplish and what we’re trying to do is much larger and bigger than I am. It’s not about me, it’s about our football team, our organization and or city. I appreciate the compliments, and I’m glad that you guys ask them questions about me, and they have to answer it nicely, because if they don’t, I’ll bust their balls about it. [Laughs] Oh, he has his camera on. This is about our football team and our organization. It’s much bigger than me, it’s not about me.

Q: At what point can you be selfish though? You’ve been here going on 12 years, can you not be selfish for just one moment, and try to figure out [that] making the playoffs means just as much to you as maybe this entire team?

A: I think it means a lot to all of us. If I ever become selfish, I need somebody to call me out on it and I need them to tell me. I’m sure that if my mother, or my grandfather or grandmother, somebody like that, they’ll be willing to call me out on being selfish and everything like that. It’s not about me, it’s really not. It’s about our football team. It’s about the whole group that I talked about, the way that they work, the way that they prepare, being paid off for what they’ve paid in, all the things that they’ve done. Like I said, there’s a collective here, and nobody’s in front of the team, and nobody’s bigger than the football team.

 

Center Eric Wood

Q: This week, you guys know what’s ahead of you, what’s in front of you. What’s the mindset heading into Miami knowing what’s at stake in week 17?

A: We’re fired up, this is a playoff game for us, essentially. We have to win it. It’s exciting; first week 17 that I’ve been a part of here, that we’ve had something on the line. But, we have to go down to Miami, a tough place to play, and go get a win first.

Q: What’s it like for you, as one of the veterans in this locker room, to be in a situation like this for the first time in your career with, essentially, a playoff game in week 17?

A: It’s fun, definitely makes it more meaningful. To play a full season of meaningful games, it’s a step in the right direction. I like where this franchise is heading. But, huge game this week, can’t get too far sided here. We have a lot to focus on this week.

Q: Knowing that all of the games were pushed to 4:25, how do you kind of avoid being on the bench on Sunday, and peeking up at the scoreboard to see where everybody else is?

A: Yeah, you have to stay focused and avoid it. I’d be naïve to say that I probably won’t glance up there at some point. In every NFL stadium, they’re projecting those scores pretty good. Mentally, you can’t let it affect you one way or the other. Games can swing one way or the other. Like I said, we have to focus on beating a good Miami football team; super talented team.

Q: In the second half, I think the last five games, you guys don’t have an offensive touchdown. How do you guys fix that in a week, in week 17?

A: We have to make proper adjustments when they’re there. Last time we played, Miami had a lead, and we weren’t able to capitalize on that in the second half. Then, obviously, the snow game, not going to be an incredible amount of touchdowns there. Just progressing week-to-week as an offense; locking in. This will be the second time we’ve played them, so we’re both pretty familiar with each other. It’ll be on us, making adjustments from the first game and capitalizing on those.

Q: Rico [Rick Dennison] says it’s a lot about execution, and that’s kind of where the [offensive] issues have come. Is it even more frustrating knowing you’re this deep into the season, and it’s an execution issue above all?

A: Yeah, and that can happen in the second or third year of an offense. On offense, you need, essentially, 11 guys making plays every play to execute down the field. On defense, you could have one guy make a spectacular play and kind of salvage the play. On offense, you need most guys to operate at a high level. Especially in the second half [over] the last few weeks; too many breakdowns to really be efficient on offense.

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