Transcript of media sessions following Wednesday's Buffalo Bills practice at One Bills Drive: Linebacker Preston Brown, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, safety Corey Graham, wide receiver Percy Harvin, defensive end Jerry Hughes, running back LeSean McCoy, quarterback Tyrod Taylor and running back Karlos Williams. Provided by the Buffalo Bills. Provided by the Buffalo Bills.
LB Preston Brown
Q: I guess the million dollar question is how do you stop Rob Gronkowski? Without telling us the game plan, how do you slow him down?
A: I mean you just got to be physical with him. He’s one of the best tight ends in the league so you got to bring your ‘A’ game every time. You can’t sleep on him, you can’t leave him wide open like how he was last week, you got to make sure you get a body on him and make sure you run with him and play ball when it’s in the air.
Q: What did you notice that Pittsburgh wasn’t doing? He was open the whole game.
A: Yeah, it seemed like they had poor communication. I mean that’s the biggest thing. Especially with how loud our crowd’s going to be we got to make sure we get our communication right, get our hand signals down, so we have him covered up but we shouldn’t have a problem with that.
Q: What is it like having a coach like Rex (Ryan), not afraid of anybody, especially the Patriots…how does that attitude permeate through the locker room?
A: I mean you can tell he’s excited so it excites this whole team. We’re all ready to go. It’s exciting to have a coach that really doesn’t like the team and ready to go out there and get after it so we’re all excited and ready to go.
Q: Is it easier to, not that you need motivation for this game, to get fired up and play without that fear or intimidation, if there is any, of the team that’s the defending Super Bowl champs and has dominated this division for a decade?
A: Oh yeah, but when you have a coach like Rex, he just feeds that energy into you that you want to go out there and play hard. You don’t want to let that guy down and you know he doesn’t like the team so you want to go out there and get that win for him.
CB Stephon Gilmore
Q: What about (Julian) Edelman? He’s a different type of player, certainly; what challenges does he bring?
A: He’s a quick receiver, slot receiver most of the time, running a lot of option routes. You got to be physical with him too. You can’t just let those guys know where you’re at and just run free so I think if you be physical with him you can beat him.
Q: You’ve seen (Tom) Brady for years. Is anything ever the same with him?
A: Um, sometimes. One thing with him; you make one mistake and he’ll take advantage of it. He’ll make no mistakes, you got to play physical, and go from there.
Q: Seems like a lot of us, or maybe fans, are a little surprised with maybe the depth of the secondary and how well you guys took on Andrew Luck. Were you surprised with how you played and how would you evaluate where you guys are at right now…you know with Leodis (McKelvin) being out and how you’re making due with that?
A: I’m not surprised because we’ve done it since I’ve been here. Other people may be surprised but the facts are the facts. We’re just playing together as a secondary and I mean the whole defense, our d-line helps us out, we help them out, so I think if we keep doing that and communicating, we’ll be the best in the league.
Safety Corey Graham
Q: Corey, how are you feeling?
A: I’m feeling good. Obviously, I went through the concussion protocol, still got I believe like one more step to go through before I’m finished with everything, but I’m feeling great and everything’s looking good so far so I’m just going to continue to work and just hope to be there.
Q: So you anticipate, more than likely, taking the field on Sunday?
A: Oh, I want to. Obviously it’s not up to me, it’s up to the concussion protocol. I’m going through every little thing I got to go through but it’s a big game for us obviously and I want to be out there if I can and I’m looking forward to being out there but we’ll see how everything goes.
Q: Whether you play or not, Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) obviously… huge focal point. How do you try to contain him and stop him?
A: I mean he’s a good ball player. I mean he makes a lot of plays in this league and you watched the last game and he probably had like what, three touchdowns? Obviously it’s tough trying to stop Gronk but we got a good game plan, we like what we’re going to do, and we’re going to go out there and compete and make the best out of it.
Q: How frustrating was it, you’re getting ready for that first game of the year, one play and you’re done?
A: It sucks. I mean to be honest with you, to go out there…we’ve waited for the season to start, to go through all the training camp, and all the OTAs and everything like that and to finally get a chance to go out there in a real game, to get hurt on the first play…I couldn’t write it up if I wanted to. It sucks but hopefully I’ll get a chance to go out there and redeem myself this week.
WR Percy Harvin
Q: Knowing that you guys didn’t have a ton of time with Tyrod (Taylor) in the preseason, how much more excited are you now for the rest of the season after seeing what he was able to do Sunday.
A: Man, it’s just nothing but excitement in this locker room, definitely in that offensive room. Just like I said, knowing the talent that we have, just that everything is starting to come together these last couple of weeks as far as actually seeing the vision of what we all can be. Like I said, we all just come in here, work hard, we have fun in our meeting rooms and we have fun out on the field so I think that’s going to pay dividends for us down the line.
Q: You’ve been around Rex in New York and now here in Buffalo. Is there anything different about him during Patriots week?
A: He gets a little kick to his step as you can tell by his interviews. He’s just a confident coach that doesn’t back down from any challenge, he accepts it, so these types of games he’s just like a player. Like we look forward to playing against the best guys, I’m pretty sure he looks forward to measuring himself against Coach Belichick.
Q: Percy, how does that attitude affect guys in the locker room? The lack of fear that Rex has for the Patriots and Belichick, how does that affect the guys in the locker room?
A: A great deal. You listen to your commander so any time your commander has his chest back, his head up, and is full of confidence… it helps to have a pretty good track record as a coach. It has no choice but to trickle down to the teammates and I think we have all bough into the Rex Ryan attitude and kind of what he’s bringing to the table so we’re all just having fun with it and we’re looking forward to any challenge from any team.
LB Jerry Hughes
Q: Is it important to disrupt a guy like (Rob) Gronkowski off the line…
A: Absolutely, I mean you don’t want him and (Tom) Brady to get too comfortable throughout the game so any way that we can to kind of disrupt the timing, kind of make it unsettling for them, we’re going to do it.
Q: Jerry, it didn’t look the Steelers did that with Gronkowski on the touchdown…he really almost had a free release.
A: Yeah, I mean it was just tough finding out where he lines up at. We see that he likes to line up across the line. I mean he’s either at tight end, he’s split out at wide-out or he could be back in the backfield so I mean it’s just a matter of us trying to find him and locate him and running whatever the coaches call.
Q: You want to disrupt timing but he can run a little bit too.
A: Yeah I mean he’s a big, strong, athletic guy. He’s probably the best tight end in the game right now so we know how talented he is, we know how talented 12 (Tom Brady) is. It’s just a matter of us coming together for all four quarters and just playing good football.
Q: With (Tom) Brady, like the guy you had last week, he’ll get rid of the ball. You may not get sacks but like you saw last week, the pressure means even more than the sack.
A: Absolutely. I mean we just have to find ways to constantly get bodies in his face so that way he can’t have a clean easy pocket….make it difficult for him because we know the back seven will cover.
RB LeSean McCoy
Q: Patriots are the standard, so you got to love this week.
A: Yeah, they’re a good team driven by an outstanding quarterback with Tom (Brady). So as an offense we got to keep them off the field, less as possible, make plays. You know, put points up whatever chance we get. You know and our defense, they gonna play lights out like they always do. It’s similar to last game.
Q: What’re the steps that you and the group as a whole can do to improve the running game?
A: Uh, just small things. Certain blocking schemes, fine-tune it a little bit better on the running backs, on myself, on the courses. You know finish the plays a little better. So we’re close. First game it didn’t go so well, the running game, made some different plays. But I feel like we’ll feed off it and we’ll get it going.
Q: I’m sure you’re familiar with rivalries that the Eagles used to have. Have you become aware of how big this rivalry is?
A: Just being here, just can tell. Everybody’s fired up. I mean obviously every game you’re fired up but this is a whole other level. Playing for Philadelphia we have that same type of rivalries. So I think with new players they sense it a little bit then they get out there for the game and see how the fans react the whole week and the day of the game. So I’m sure I’ll get used to it but my focus is winning the game. I’m not really getting involved in the rivalry. Just come out here and play hard as a team. You know, get a W.
Q: You said after the game you weren’t feeling 100 percent physically. How do you feel today?
A: I feel a little better. I mean I’m day to day getting back to 100 percent you know but just the small things. Getting better just on my land marks and on different reads. So get back situated.
Q: Based on what they told you in the spring, was that a full work load for you carry wise?
A: Naw, nope. They kind of took out a little bit, they didn’t want to just give me everything. I haven’t been practicing every week, I missed the preseason, so they didn’t want to just throw me out there. But as you get going you know I’ll get way more touches, more plays. I played quite a bit though.
Q: Coach Rex Ryan stated today that stamina and conditioning could have also been an issue?
A: Yeah, to be honest I was definitely tired. More tired than the norm but I kind of figured that. It’s one thing to just come out here and condition and not go at full pace because of injury. It’s another thing to have the preseason games being the flow of it. That’s why you have them, get the flow of the game, the speed of it, the conditioning part. But like I said as we get going I’ll be fine.
Q: You can probably imagine the frustration some of these veteran Bills players feel towards the Patriots who have dominated them for years. Have you ever had similar feeling towards a team?
A: I’ve never had that feeling but man those are in the past. I mean this a brand new team, a lot of people counted us out the first game and that worked out well for us. That’s how this league works man, it’s funny. You know you beat a team like that and now you’re considered a better team, a good team. I mean every week, man, any team can be beat, that’s just how it works. So we’re going out here, they have a great team over there, a great coach, a great franchise. They’ve been winning, the past is the past with the records between us are. It’s a new coach, new ownership, so we’re looking to get this win.
Q: How important is it to establish a run game to keep Tom Brady off the field?
A: It’s major. If you look at the last game against the Steelers there was a lot of running room, a lot of holes, they kind of dominate on the ground and it kind of brought them back into the game. I mean if you kind of get the ground game started there’s so many different options for offense. So I mean with this team that’s critical. You gotta get a run established because with Brady anything’s possible and we know that. So when you’re on the field man, put points up, run the ball hard, let Tyrod (Taylor), I’m sorry let Willie (Beamon) do his thing, take some shots down field and we should be fine. I feel actually really confident with the group we have, the game plan, you know Greg (Roman) has drawn up a nice scheme. You know but he has to, it’s the Patriots, so you gotta come with your A game.
Q: There has been times in the past where the Bills defense has played lights out against the Patriots but the offense didn’t hold up on their end. Do you feel this offense is different?
A: Then again I don’t know how the past worked out. This last game we put some points up. We could have probably put some more up, put what 27 or 26? What was it? 27. So that was good. We’ll look to kind of do the same, maybe even more. I mean having more points actually helps us out so…
Q: What was it about you working out more with the offensive line?
A: Just the type of adjustments to the defense that we’re making. You know asking the line how they seen the play. I mean they made some plays. Their defense did a lot of stunts, they’re a smaller group so they did a lot of movements. You just wanna be on the same page as the offensive lineman so it’s all positive. All positive, you know I wanna get better with it.
QB Tyrod Taylor
Q: You know the Patriots can put up a lot of points offensively. How important is it for you guys to take advantage of every opportunity?
A: Definitely still boils down to executing every time we get our hands on the football. On the offensive side we have to maximize every possession and it’s gonna come down to us going out there and like I said executing very well each and every play.
Q: Did playing in the rain affect you at all this past Sunday?
A: It didn’t affect me. It’s football and at the end of the day you have to be ready for whatever weather is out there so it didn’t affect me, and I don’t think it had an effect on the team either.
Q: You watched Joe Flacco face a Bill Belichick defense. What challenge do you think you’ll be facing with that and being a young quarterback?
A: We know the personnel. There’s always gonna be a few new wrinkles every game that you come out, but like I told him it’s gonna boil down to us going out there and executing our plays against the looks that they give us. Each week is going to be a challenge and I’m confident in my guys to go out there and take the challenge head on, and we’re confident as a team and we’re just gonna go out there and play ball.
Q: How much will it help you this week having that week one win under your belt?
A: It felt good but last week is behind us. It’s totally on to New England right now. The fans are gonna be loud again, we appreciate that. But just looking forward to going out there and playing each and every week and showing what our team can do.
Q: But does it boost your confidence?
A: Oh yeah, from a confidence standpoint you just take the things that you did well last week and you build off that. The things you didn’t do so well you try to correct throughout practice and go out there and run the show again.
Q: Have you got a sense of what the Patriots vs. Bills rivalry really is yet?
A: Of course. Watching football over the years you definitely get a feel of what this rivalry means. Of course it’s my first time playing in the game but I know the hatred I guess you could say between the two teams. You play them twice a year and I know this a big game and I’m looking forward to being a part of that game.
Q: What are some of the veterans in the locker room saying who have played in this type of game before?
A: Of course they’re pumped up for it. Haven’t really got a chance to talk to the veterans as far as individually about this game but everyone’s pumped up for it and we’re looking forward to going out there and playing this week.
Q: You saw how Indy shut off certain players like Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy, but you were able to execute with other players. How long does it take for other teams to respect everybody on the roster?
A: Week in and week out it’s gonna be different. Some guys have different strengths in certain places. Some guys have corners that they want to travel with different players. It’s our job to go out there, as an offense to go out there and find the one on one match ups that we do have and get the ball into those play makers hands so they can go out there and be the players that we know they can be.
Q: Do you get a sense of that before the game?
A: We had an idea but it was a couple different formations that we had. It showed us that early on in the game and it stayed true throughout the game.
Q: What was your experience like as an opposing player coming to the Ralph a few years ago?
A: Definitely loud, definitely loud. The fans created a great atmosphere and we’re gonna need that for every home game and we’re looking forward to playing in front of those fans each and every week.
Q: Do you stay away from comparing yourself to Tom Brady?
A: Yeah I don’t try to compare myself to anyone. Tom Brady is a great quarterback, he’s been one for a while and I don’t try and compare myself to him. I just focus on the things I have to do to be successful.
Q: You both are 6th round picks, and share a birthday. Any other comparisons we should know about?
A: No I’m not sure.
Q: How important is it to get Sammy Watkins involved in this game?
A: It’s definitely important to get a play maker like that the ball. We know what he can do once the ball is in his hands so we have to find ways to get him the football.
RB Karlos Williams
Q: Obviously playing the Patriots first time around, how excited are you for the chance to go up against the World Champions?
A: Oh, very excited. You dream about this as a little kid I remember watching Tom Brady come into the NFL, not many people knew who he was or knew much about him, but the way he played on the football field, he proved that he can be an NFL quarterback and also he’s now an NFL great so having the opportunity to step on the same field as him is going to be exciting, it’s going to be great, but we have to go out there and play football and I have to do my job so having to go out there and get a win is what’s on my mind.
Q: That said, how important is it for you guys to get the ground game going and keep Tom Brady off the field?
A: Very. With the backs that we have, me, Boobie (Anthony Dixon) and LeSean (McCoy)….we didn’t do our job last week as well as we wanted to and that’s why we’re working today, working tomorrow and Thursday, Friday, Saturday to get the job done. It’s going to be the little details that get the job done this week and I think we started that today.
Q: Pittsburgh had some yards against them last week. You look at that and you’re encouraged but you also know that New England’s good at fixing their problems and plugging holes so how do you take that film for what it’s worth and apply it to your plan this week?
A: Work. Pittsburgh runs a different scheme than we run, they have different coaches, they have a different mindset. We’re going to go out there and establish what we have to establish with the run and we have to do that early and often. We’ll go out there with attitude, Pittsburgh did that early but they didn’t do it often, my brother plays for Pittsburgh so I talked to him after the game, they did it early but didn’t do it often so we have to go out with a different mindset that we know they can stop the run. They’re missing (Vince) Wilfork in the middle so we have to take advantage of that. They’re very active upfront, they are very athletic up front, the linebackers are very experienced and have been there awhile, they know the system, they know what they’re doing, so we just have to take advantage of where the mistakes fall on their part. We do that in the film-room too. We watch games, watch very closely, learn the linebackers, learn the d-line, learn the DB’s, just small details. Big plays are going to be made, because big time players make big time plays, but the details are where the hidden yards come in, where the run game comes in, where the play-action and getting the ball over the linebackers come in….the small things like that.