Transcript of Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan's media session at One Bills Drive prior to Wednesday's practice. Provided by the Buffalo Bills.
Head coach Rex Ryan
Well today, we know what is in front of us. This is going to be a dog fight, there is no question about it. Both teams are hungry for the first win in the division. This is a very talented team we are going up against. When you look at them up front everyone knows about [Ndamukong] Suh, Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, they can really rush the passers. A kid named [Reshad] Jones that I really like on their defense, number 20. [Brent] Grimes is a Pro Bowl corner. So they got a lot of talent on that defense. And then offensively it is a zone read attack, so it’s a very much, what you are seeing a lot of times. Philadelphia something like that, it is similar to that attack. They got a great player in number 14 [Jarvis] Landry. He does everything for them. He is tough, he is an Anquan Bolidn type guy. And then the back [Lamar] Miller went 98 on me one time, still got burns from that dude, so we know what he can do. I think their offensive line, [Mike] Pouncey in my opinion is one of the best centers in the league. So we, it is definitely going to be a tough game. But we will see what happens, I know our guys are going to go in prepared and we know what we are going up against in a really good, talented Miami Dolphins team. With that I will open it up for questions.
Q: How do you guard against your team being deflated after this week’s loss?
A: I can get it. I think if you just look at it like it is a loss in general, how poorly we played early in that game and things like that. But we started our bounce back in the fourth quarter of that game. So I think that spoke volumes about our football team and how competitive we are. So that’s, I think that’s, our football team is all about we want to win. We know the task at hand is a tough one, but shoot we are going to give everything that we have.
Q: Can you talk about Tyrod playing on the road for the first time?
A: Always is a bigger challenge offensively in particular when you go on the road, there’s no question about it, because of the crowd noise and everything else. So the communication is obviously a heck of a lot harder on the road. The fact that it is Miami’s home opener, it is definitely going to be a big challenge there. But we got to be sharp, we got to be vocal, we got to, we’ll mix in silent counts and all that, of course you will be ready for all of that. But it is definitely a much bigger challenge on the road.
Q: Can you tell us your input on the Cassel trade, and how this doesn’t diminish you at the backup quarterback position?
A: Well I know what you are saying about the depth of our position went from three to two guys that we feel really good about. But every decision goes in, you do what you think will be the best interest of your football team and that is clearly what we did. When you look at it, it is not a shot at Matt [Cassel] at all. I mean Matt did a terrific job, but so did EJ [Manuel]. We have a clear number one quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. But EJ in my opinion did a tremendous job in the preseason and things. And really at this spot, this was more done for more how we look at EJ Manuel then it was how we looked at Matt Cassel. Clearly we appreciated Matt. He did a fine job for us, but I think when you look at it, EJ is going to develop much more if he is the two than he would be three. That is just, at the end of the day a lot of it, that is what it came down to.
Q: It still doesn’t make sense to me, your actions in the first two games made it clear that you thought EJ was inferior to Matt Cassel how does this make your team better?
A: Well that was certainly a discussion at the time when we decided to go with Matt. It was certainly a discussion, because I thought EJ played extremely well and things. But to say EJ is inferior, he is not inferior to any quarterback. So I think that is a really strong comment. But I don’t think it is warranted.
Q: Can you talk about the evolution of the defensive tackle?
A: Besides the pay grade? Yeah I think it is interesting, because really when you do look at the pay increases. It is clear that’s how people are valuing these defense tackles. But it is really rare to get somebody like a Suh, like a Marcell Dareus, two guys that play the run extremely well and they get after the quarterback. So I think those, they are hard to find those guys, they are rare guys, as my dad would always say it is hard to find an unusual guy like this. And he had Alan Page, Eric Swanson, Dan Hampton through the years and stuff like that. But I am certainly happy we have Marcell and obviously Miami is I am sure is happy they have Suh.
Q: How do you arrive at the decision to have Matt Cassel the backup and not even have EJ active?
A: Well I don’t think you are ever going to have three quarterbacks active. I mean that, I don’t think you ever go into a game with three quarterbacks being active. We did have three quarterbacks on our roster but you’re not going to go in with three guys being active. I have never done that the six, seven years I have been a coach.
Q: I mean the choice between Matt being in uniform and EJ not?
A: Well I think sometimes it is, you know, those decisions were, like I said leaving training camp there are some really hard decisions. You know to make. Then as we got here in the season it became clear that trying to develop a quarterback obviously you, and it just goes without saying, maybe we should have known this earlier or something like this. You are going to develop a lot more as the two than you would being the three. And that just the truth of it. You know so that is the decision. We feel really good about EJ Manuel. And how he has come along and that is why we made this move.
Q: David Lee said Matt Cassel is one of the best quarterbacks he has ever had in the meeting room. What do you lose there?
A: Well we definitely lose a guy with NFL experience. I think that’s, he had a great deal of experience there is no question about that. But we have a lot of expertise, I think especially when you look at the offense side of the ball. You know obviously starting with Greg Roman as the coordinator, but Chris Palmer as an offensive assistant, David Lee who in my opinion is as fundamentally as good as it gets as a quarterback coach. So I think we have got a lot of talented guys around him. And if we didn’t think this was in the best interest of our team this deal wouldn’t have been done.
Q: You mention Matt’s experience, if Tyrod goes down how much do you lose not being able to go to that level of experience, as team that plans to contend?
A: Well yeah we definitely plan on contending there is no question. But I believe we can do that with EJ Manuel if the need arises as well. Or this deal wouldn’t have been done.
Q: Did you call them or did they call you?
A: Well nobody called me I can tell you that much. Well we were clearly not shopping Matt. We were not. But then as with any player, whatever, when somebody contacts you that is when the dialogue starts.
Q: Ultimately a Doug Whaley decision though?
A: You know decisions are made for the betterment of the team and the organization is involved and one man doesn’t just you know all of a sudden make a decision. Does he have the final say over personnel moves and things like that? Yeah that would be it. He is not acting out like a rouge guy as was reported in another case.
Q: How does a future draft pick make you guys better now?
A: Well it doesn’t make you better now. But it doesn’t make you better by picking up a fifth round pick that you are not going to get whatever for a couple years whatever, but that part doesn’t make you better. What makes you better as a team is having vision past the immediate right now, the present or whatever, how it makes you better today, maybe it doesn’t. But maybe down the road and right down the road it is going to help our football team because we feel that we have our quarterbacks of the present and the future in Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel. So that is why the decision was made.
Q: When in this process did you get pulled into the loop of the trade?
A: Well when it became apparent that there was some interest in Dallas’ case and that’s how it worked. You know and basically it was how I feel about EJ Manuel, how we feel about EJ Manuel was why a move like this would be made. It wasn’t about that we felt bad about Matt Cassel. I wanna make sure that we’re clear on that. Matt did a tremendous job here but as we went through the process, and you guys saw it just like I saw it, I think EJ Manuel really raised his game. I think he did a tremendous job when given an opportunity. I thought he did extremely well, he’s a big guy that’s got physical gifts and he’s…you know I think he’s got a chance to be a good quarterback in this league. With that being said, we feel really good about our starting quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. So this was something done about, you know what this is gonna be the best thing for our football team moving forward because we think that EJ’s gonna keep ascending. He has a better chance of doing that as a number two, than a number three quarterback.
Q: Have you had any additional conversations with Richie Incognito as he prepares to go back to Miami this week?
A: No, I mean all of us are going back to Miami. I think that’s a song but…Should I break into it? No, I’ll save us that. But no I think Richie’s past that. Richie’s moved on past that. I think it’ll be more emotional because he’ll play with some of his friends and his teammates, you know ex-teammates, I think that part. But all the other stuff, that’s behind Richie and I think you guys have seen that as well. So we’re going down to play an opponent, I don’t believe I have to talk to Richie about it because I think he’s moved on in his life.
Q: How good has he been?
A: He’s been tremendous guys. He has been absolutely tremendous and you know as a player, but then everything else too. So I’ve been really proud of him.
Q: How will teams respond to your defense after watching this past game against the Patriots?
A: No, I think you know we’re gonna get a lot of that stuff and things like that and gosh I don’t know if we’ll have an answer. The thing is I’ll bet on, I know historically where I’ve been and all that stuff. Let’s see if we have this conversation at the end of the year. Cause I know the conversation we’ll have at the end of the year and it’s gonna be far different than it is now. So I’m confident of that and I believe it’ll start this week.
Q: You mentioned how Richie Incognito has emerged as a leader. What has he shown you in the six months that he’s been here?
A: Well I never…I don’t think I really mentioned him you know necessarily, as well a leader or whatever. What I’m saying is this, about Richie: There isn’t one player, or one person, in this organization that doesn’t respect Richie, and I think that speaks volumes about it. So maybe that is a leader and things like that. But everybody respects him, he’s been an outstanding teammate, he’s been one heck of a football player. But he’s all business on the field. There’s no question about it. Does he have a fun personality about him? He does, an engaging personality. But I’ll tell you what, he’s been terrific. And I think having a young guard, like John Miller who will also being go back to Miami, he’s from there, I think is interesting. You know having a veteran, like a Richie, alongside Eric Wood. But he’s been everything we hoped for.
Q: I know you don’t like the word inferior, maybe that’s too strong of a word. Then what did EJ Manuel lack that made you believe in the first two weeks that Matt Cassel was a better guy to be the backup against the Colts and Patriots?
A: Jerry I don’t think he…It was something that…I don’t think it was…
There was no reason at all?
Well no there’s, I mean obviously at that time.
That’s what I’m asking.
But obviously at the time it was more about, you know we really like the three quarterbacks. You guys saw it. All three of the guys played extremely well and that’s still the case, I mean we felt good about them. But I think when you look at the bigger picture about how, not just being narrow minded for one week, but how this could affect us as a football team moving forward. I like having EJ Manuel as the number two quarterback and not the number three quarterback because: number one, he’s gonna get a lot more reps, he’s way more involved in the game plan, and I think that’s what, what I’m saying that’s what he needs. He’s got the physical tools. I think his techniques have improved greatly since David Lee’s got here working with him. I think he has the physical gifts that he’s always had. But now it’s about trying to get in the game plan, specific things is what you really need now and as a two, you can see it as three, but you’re not getting the reps. You’re not getting anything close to the amount of work that you would as a two. So in my opinion I think he has a much better chance developing and have future success being in the number two position then he does the three and that’s really, ultimately why this deal was done.
Q: Any update on Aaron Williams?
A: Yeah, he’s stiff and sore right now. I think that was what we said before but if you see him you’ll see what I’m talking about. So he won’t practice today. We’re gonna hold Percy (Harvin) and we’re gonna kinda put LeSean (McCoy) on the same kind of deal we do Percy. He’ll be out there but we’re gonna be conditioning, but we’re not gonna be football wising him today. But we’re trying to get those two ready to go on Sunday.
Q: In your opinion how does this trade make your team better today?
A: Well I think without question in the future it’s gonna make us better because I think it elevates EJ and I think it gives him an opportunity. Is it for one game will it make us better? Maybe not, but I think where we want to be? Absolutely as a team. I think EJ will get better being a two then he would be as the three and I think ultimately that helps our football team.
Q: Did the Cowboys call about EJ Manuel at all? Or just Matt Cassel?
A: Again, I wasn’t privy to the conversation.
Q: What’s the strongest point in your football team?
A: I just think the way the team is. I think the chemistry of our team is probably the number one thing we have here. We feel good about each other, guys work hard, they compete with each other and ultimately it’s for one reason – we want to help each other win. It’s not a one side versus the other side or anything else. We try to be a complimentary football. As I gave them the example of we were complimentary bad last week at some points in that game. But that’s not how we’re gonna play. We’re gonna play where the special teams picks up the defense, picks up the offense or vice versa. Some unit might have to carry us that week and that’s okay with this team. But it’s all about this football team and we’re all in it together.
Q: How have you tailored your message as you address the team after talking about controlling emotions?
A: Well I put it on myself first. I think if I have to be…do a better job of staying in control too and this team’s very much like me. But I think I’ve gotta be… I have to hold myself accountable just like I hold the team accountable and so it starts with me. I’m gonna be not as animated or whatever if you will. You know I gotta control my language I think a little bit sometimes on the sideline. I think that’ll help, that’s gonna be the first thing and then our team as well. We want to be the least penalized team in the league and that’s kind of a goal we’re shooting for moving forward. Probably dead last in the league right now but we want to be the least penalized team.