GM Doug Whaley and HC Rex Ryan
Q: General thoughts on the season? Disappointed? What were your expectations?
Doug Whaley: Well every year you come into a season, your only expectation is to win the championship. Disappointed? Absolutely. We didn’t deliver what our goal was and it’s to win a championship and the first way to get to winning a championship is getting into the playoffs. So yes, disappointed but it wasn’t a disastrous season in our view. There’s a lot of things we can build on, there’s a lot we can got to get better at, absolutely, but we’re excited to get to work this offseason and improve on those things that we need to improve on.
Q: There have been reports that you’re going into the last year of your contract and the team wasn’t going to discuss an extension during the year. What’s your comment on that?
DW: Just like all team policy with even players and myself, we don’t discuss contracts in the media.
Q: In your mind, do you expect that you’ll be extended?
DW: The only thing that I expect to do is every day come in here and try to get better. I mean, that stuff, I’ll leave to Russ (Brandon) and the ownership. I just know that every day I’ve come in here I’ve got positive feedback from the Pegula’s, I love working with Rex, I love working with this whole staff, I think our personnel staff has done a very good job in acquiring players. Look at the roster we put out there this last game. A lot of those guys that were playing and producing weren’t even on the team three or four weeks ago so I’m excited with what we bring to the table and just keep doing my job and the first thing I was taught in this business is keep your nose down, work hard, and do whatever it takes to help your team win. Everything else takes care of itself.
Q: Doug, what are the challenges with this roster going forward knowing there are some players you need to retain and some salaries that might be pricey?
DW: I have complete faith in Russ and Jim Overdorf to give us the flexibility to do what we need to do to keep the guys that are core and this is a system set up in the NFL that you can’t keep everybody, so there’s going to be some tough decisions. That’s what we’re here for, to make those tough decisions. But we’re going to try to make the right decisions, the right decisions for the Buffalo Bills and the right decisions for the Buffalo Bills to get to the playoffs and win a championship.
Q: Is it fair to say that after focusing a lot on free agency on offense last offseason, that defense might be the prime target when it comes to changes?
DW: I think right now with where we are, I think the focus on the offseason would probably be on retaining most of everything that we have. We have some guys coming up that we think will be core to what we need to go forward, so I think that’s going to be the focus. I’ve said before, when it comes to free agency, you guys might as well take that week off. Our free agency is going to be signing our own guys and that’s again a complement to our scouting staff. We’ve drafted well enough that these guys are coming up and we want to retain them.
Q: Is that partly because you spent more guaranteed money last offseason? You spent a lot on free agents and it’s just not possible for you to be as active this time?
Q: Do you feel like Tyrod Taylor has done enough to, you know, warrant you to giving him a long-term extension this offseason?
DW: He’s warranted enough for us to continue down the road to see if he can be the franchise guy of the future. I mean if you think about it, if I told you a former sixth-round pick in his first year starting went 8-6, and with his stats and his quarterback rating and what he’s brought to the team, I think it warrants him a chance to prove it. Absolutely. And the thing that we like the most about him is the locker room believes in him, we believe in him, and hopefully the fans believe in him.
Q: Doug do you anticipate, once the free agency period starts, you will bring in a veteran backup like you’ve tried a couple of times in the past and also, are you considering picking a quarterback in the draft, a young kid can be put in the rings?
DW: I’m not going to give you the blueprint of what we’re going to do, that’s a competitive disadvantage, but as I always say, never say never in this business and keep your options open. I’m not going to tell you we’re going to do this and this and this change. You never know what opportunities are going to present themselves in the offseason but we will keep every option open to get this team where we need it to go.
Q: What is your view, Doug, on EJ Manuel?
DW: EJ Manuel is somebody that, he’s got to play better. You ask him, he knows--he’s got to play better. But at this time, if you look at him, and if you look at, I’ll let you guys do some research on the backups that played and started in this league, he’s in the top third and maybe quarter of those guys but he knows it all comes down to winning and losing. And we need a backup quarterback that can come in and keep us .500 when he’s playing. He did not do it. So he has to get better, yes.
Q: Hey Doug, how risky is it to go into a season with Tyrod entering the last year of his contract? If he has another, builds on the season he had this year and is as good, is it possible that he prices himself out of what you guys can do in free agency against unrestricted free agents?
DW: I think if you ask the Pegula’s, ask Russ, ask Rex and ask myself, if he’s playing good and we’re winning, we’ll be happy to pay him.
Q: Rex, you said earlier on that there were going to be some changes obviously and when can we expect maybe some changes like that to happen? What is the process for you to determine if you’re going to retain some coaches or things like that to happen?
Rex Ryan: Well I think, first of, I think any time you, my point was any time you don’t meet expectations, that this is the National Football League; changes happen, there’s no doubt. Really right now guys, we just finished our last game, we haven’t even had a staff meeting or anything so those things, you know, we’ll definitely address from everything that we do from an organization moving forward. We just don’t have a timetable set for you right now.
Q: You mentioned salary cap limitations and those sort of things, in general terms, what’s the plan of attack on improving the defense and are you limited because of those financial restrictions? How long of a process do you anticipate that to be?
DW: I look at it this way: I have complete faith in this guy next to me. I mean, it’s been 11 years you’ve been a coordinator and a head coach and this is only the second time he’s been out of the top 10 and the other time was 11th? So I have complete faith in what him and his staff can bring to us and if you look at it, I think the biggest thing we have to improve on in defense is consistency. There are times we’ve played lights out so I think it’s just tinkering. Now are we going to continue to get talented players? Absolutely. Ronald Darby last year, everybody, “Why’d you take him?” We’re glad we have him. So that goes into something we talk about. The draft, it helps us and our scouting staff because we can set the board just off of grading the talent, and that helps us take less risk and have a better chance on hitting on players.
Q: Beyond, and Rex please chime in on this too, beyond this coaching record on defense, what we heard repeatedly from players was the sense that they just weren’t fitting right into this thing. So if that is true in any sense, is it incumbent to kind of find those right fits for scheme specific type of players and will that be part of your thinking this offseason versus last offseason?
DW: I have, tell you when coach and I decided to take on this thing, I guess relationship for lack of a better term, and why we get along so well, he always says, “Just get the best players out there. We’ll make it fit.” He’ll make it work. Now is there some comfortability factor? Change is uncomfortable for everybody. But I think with everybody buying in and everybody on the same page, we’re on the same page, on the same direction, we’ll be okay. Again, I think it’s just another year together and another year under this regime, the consistency is going to get better.
RR: And you know, one thing guys, if we started the season today, would the results be better than they were during the season? I think so. I don’t think there’s any doubt because the fact we are way more familiar now and you know, I think that’s a big part of it. Obviously, we never had near the results I anticipated. I mean I really thought we would have a tremendous defense and statistically and every other sense of it as well. I expected this team to be in the playoffs but we didn’t. For whatever reason, we came up short. I think the big thing is to really analyze what are those reasons, why did we underachieve and moving forward, what we need to do. Obviously, I think players are, you know, if a guy, we talk about player over scheme. Sometimes that was it. I think it gets lumped into well this scheme, they never fit into this scheme that we were playing something entirely different. Sometimes there might be some truth to that but other times there’s not. A lot of it’s based on availability sometimes. When you look at the fact we go into it expecting to have more of a 4-3 presence and you lose a guy like a Kyle Williams and things, it may force the issue into we’re going to play more of a 3-4 or whatever. We lose Nigel Bradham, we got to move our starting SAM linebacker to WILL linebacker. There was a lot of different things so availability sometimes dictated what we played as well. Am I confident moving forward? Yes, I’m definitely confident. We have a lot of tremendous football players and I know those players now. And I know them way more than I did and I think that’s really going to help. They know me as well and I think it’s, we expect to have a lot more results, there’s no question about that. Are we going to, you know, I can’t tell you who’s going to be here, who’s not going to be here or whatever, but I do have confidence. I have confidence in the core players that we have, I have confidence in the guys that I coach with.
Q: Rex, you started down that road, I want to follow up on it. You’ve been here a year now, you now know what you have. Last year, you inherited this team and you had to learn it. Does that put you in a better position now in the offseason to figure out what kind of players you want to fit into your scheme? You must have a leg up now I’m thinking. Is that going to be a factor in the draft?
RR: Well I don’t think there’s any doubt that I have familiarity, that’s a tough word, there’s no chance I can get it out any better than that, but, really when you become more familiar with the players, you know a heck of a lot more about them in what makes guys tick, what doesn’t, all those types of things, that you become aware of it. The confidence that you have in ‘this’ player, you know the positives. Maybe you recognize some of the weaknesses now that maybe you didn’t think this player has but now you see it, or vice-versa. I think that’s going to be a big help and like I say, I’m much more confident now having to go through this that we will get this thing right, I’ll get it right, and I look forward to it.
Q: You said the locker room is a reason … does it send a mixed message to perhaps send him out as the starting quarterback next year as the lowest paid quarterback in the league?
DW: I’ll let you guys debate that. I know we have confidence in Tyrod. Tyrod has not voiced any displeasure. All he’s voiced is he wants to come in here, play the best he can and help us obtain a goal of first getting to the playoffs and second, winning a championship.
Q: Don’t players like to see their teammates rewarded and backed up financially?
DW: Everybody wants to be rewarded. But everybody has to earn it. He’s on the process to earning that and I hope that he does.
Q: What else does he have to do to earn it?
DW: I’ll let you debate that.
Q: Rex, you said a couple of weeks ago, you alluded to major changes coming. Can you shed any more light on what those changes may be? Doug Whaley earlier said it might require minor tinkering so that seems to be a mixed message. Which one?
RR: I don’t think it’s a mixed message. I think at the time, you know, a lot of emotion went in it. We had just, this was three weeks ago I think when we had the discussion. Obviously we didn’t play anywhere close to what we thought we’d play against Washington I believe but that’s the NFL and there’s, changes happen, and I don’t think there’s any doubt there’s going to be some changes. Some that you don’t want to have happen. You know, as a coach, you want every single player. I can tell you this, I would love for the roster to stay 100-percent the same and then add to it, but that’s not realistic. That’s not the National Football League and that’s, you know, the business side of football as well, you know, gets in it. Any coach in the league would want to keep his entire roster. I certainly would love to keep this entire roster. What’s the possibility of that? Probably not real high. So, I recognize that changes will come and that’s what happens.
DW: And to follow up, that’s to me semantics. When he’s saying major changes, I’m saying minor tweaking, I’m thinking last year what we did on the offense that was major to me. And what we’re going to do this year, we just don’t have the flexibility to do something as major as that, so it’s minor tinkering. So it’s just to me, semantics.
Q: Rex will you make any changes to your coaching staff?
RR: Well I think first off you know I would like to meet with our coaches and then we will, like anything else, you evaluate what’s…where you are at, you know what was good what is not working, all those type of things. But that processes hasn’t even started yet, you know tomorrow I will start meeting with the coaches and we will start that process.
Q: The one player who didn’t appear to be on the page was Mario Williams. What do you see for his future here in Buffalo and the payroll structure?
DW: That is the evaluation process we are going to start tomorrow. It is one of those things where I am not going to back ourselves into a corner right now and say we are going to do this or we are going to do that. We have to evaluate everything from the payroll structure, his fit, his willingness to be here, his want to be here. So all of that goes into our evaluation process and it is not going to be something that were going to have a knee jerk reaction and make a decision tomorrow. We are going to study it and see whatever is best for the Buffalo Bills.
Q: Did he play anywhere near what he was paid this year?
DW: I would statistically you can debate whatever you can debate but I would have to ask him and have you ask him what he thought. For us he…
Q: He said he didn’t fit.
DW: He said he didn’t fit, so okay. From our stand point again we have to go through that whole year and see what he did and how he did it and is there reasoning’s we can improve on his performance or are there some things that won’t be able to be improved on. But again all of this goes into the evaluation process which will start shortly.
Q: You mentioned you have had a lot of flexibility building this roster because you didn’t have to pay a franchise quarterback, does that make you hesitant to give that money to Tyrod because you might not have that flexibility?
DW: I think that would be a great problem to have and if he turns out to be that franchise quarterback you have to pay him because then we would be back spinning our wheels looking for that guy again. But I take that as a challenge to our personnel staff because when you start eating up that much of your salary cap for a franchise it is imperative that you scout well, get free agents what we call dust settle free agents and draft well. So that puts the onus on us and that is what are guys that work in the personnel department they thrive on stuff like that. Put it on our back.
Q: What is it you still need to see in Tyrod?
DW: Well I mean just keep getting better and better. I mean there is things that he can do that he needs to do better and one of the major thing is obviously the consistency. The second thing is and we tell him all the time, learn to slide. He has got to learn to slide. And thirdly it is going to come down to those last second heroics, where we have to put the team, the game and the ball in his hands and he carries us down and wins the game for us. He did it in Tennessee so it is there. We just want to see it more often.
Q: You said EJ needs to get better, but Tyrod needs to learn to slide to avoid injury, does that make it imperative for you to upgrade your back-up quarterback?
DW: It is imperative that we go into this offseason and getting any player that we think can make us better at any position. I have said since day one I am a firm believer in competition and competition brings out the best in everybody. And it raises everybody’s level a game up--and you saw that in this summer. When we had that three headed quarterback competition all three of those guys performed pretty well. So that is going to be our philosophy and we won’t change that.
Q: Rex are you confident in Tyrod as your starter going into next season?
RR: I am. Yup. Absolutely.
Q: There was a lot of talk of ground and pound and you finished number one in rushing, can you talk about that and how it fits into a more passing league?
RR: I think first off when you look at some of the guys that we added, obviously there was a great core of guys or a really good core of offensive linemen here that we really liked. You had Eric Wood, Cordy Glenn but we needed to make some changes we thought. We went into free agency and we added Richie Incognito, obviously a great pick up. It easy to say that was, you know, an easy thing to do but at the time I am not so sure. It took….not every team in the league was going to take that risk. We knew it wasn’t going to be that big of a risk, because we did what we needed to do and we decided that he was going to play well, he would fit well in our locker room and he did exactly that. The guy played, did a tremendous job for us. We draft John Miller, we go into the draft we draft a starting right guard and what happens in the end the faith we had in the system and in our process on evaluating players, free agents, and in the draft added to this team. But we ended up being the number one rushing team in the league, obviously you bring in, you make the trade that is why we say, the thing I notice about our organization is how flexible we are. Because there was nowhere at any time that Shady [LeSean] McCoy’s name ever came up. A trade opportunity came here and we did, we took advantage of it as an organization led by Doug [Whaley]. And I think that was another reason we led the league in rushing, was the talent that we had a running back. We draft Karlos Williams in the fifth round, we pick up Mike Gillislee, Touchdown Mike, not quite as much yesterday but Touchdown Mike as a free agent. He is out there on the streets, we bring him in. Why? We went through the process. Guys we have some talent, there is talent for judging talent. We have that in this organization. Then you add a Greg Roman system with tremendous coaches that we have. It is not just Greg Roman, it is the staff that we have and it just works. I’ll be…also we have a quarterback that presents a lot of problems to defenses. And I think it worked out, we are not where we want to be as a football team yet. When you look at the positives this is a real positive thing. That we were able to led the league in rushing and rushing average by the way with a stable of backs we feel really good about moving forward. A quarterback that has the ability to use his legs. I mean that is some real positive, and oh by the way we have Sammy Watkins.
Q: A week ago Terry Pegula issues a statement essentially giving you both a vote of confidence, did either of you feel you needed it?
DW: I think that for me, I did not need that. I did daily dealings with him, that was something that I did not need.
RR: I guess we were confident in that you know we think we are going to be the long-term solution here, we want to be that. You know did it feel good when he said it, yeah there is no question. But we are pretty confident that we have a group led by Russ [Brandon] our president, the Pegula’s, and Doug [Whaley], and I we think we form an outstanding team, that we want to be. We have a vision for what we want this organization to be and perennial winners. That is what we want to build here. Obviously it didn’t work the way we wanted to this year but we are confident we can get it done.
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Q: With what Rex said about the offensive line how crucial is it Doug to get deals done for Glenn and Incognito and how confident are you that you can get it done?
DW: It is a major point of emphasis this offseason because you love to have those big uglies up there for continuity sakes and the longer you can them together the better they are going to be. And again Jim Overdorf and Russ Brandon have done wonders with always having cap space and money available for us to get the most important people done and again we are going to try our hardest. Am I guaranteeing anything? I am not in that business anymore. But we are going to try our hardest and it of high importance to us because the longer you have those five guys together the better they are going to play and the better we are going to be as a team, especially offensively.
Q: Have either of you spoken to Percy Harvin and talked to him about his future and where he could fit in with this team?
DW: We saw him today. He is going through the medical procedures and the post-season physicals. So we are going to wait till we get all that information before can go down that road and see where he is and where he can be with us.
Q: What about Seantrel Henderson and Aaron Williams--are those long term issues?
DW: Again all these guys are going through these postseason physicals as we speak. We plan to meet with our medical staff shortly, but I know since Aaron [Williams] has been out longer. We have been getting periodic updates on him and all signs are positive.
Q: What kind of confidence do you have that you led the league in rushing but missed the playoffs that it will be a winning model in today’s NFL?
RR: Well I definitely think it is a winning model. We also have to have an efficient passing attack. Which I think we have the ability to have that. Sometimes when you look at it, you know I don’t know how many times Sammy [Watkins] was targeted yesterday and things. But you know I like those numbers, we will take those numbers any day of the week. But we have talent at that position, we will be able to throw the football. One of the reasons we are going to be successful running the football is because we have the ability to throw it. I think when you have a [Sammy] Watkins on the outside, who let’s face it guys if he was healthy the whole season we would be talking about another guy possibly being in Hawaii. So he wasn’t, he really only got healthy the last probably 10 games of the season where he really became healthy. So I would think we would see that happen, obviously have an elite receiver there. You have a tight end that we feel really good about. And I just think we are going to get better and better as an offense and have the ability to throw the football when we want to. There are times though, that I think it is a great thing we had a day like we had yesterday here, with 70,000 fans out there. My hats off to our fans. But when you look at it with that kind of wind you have got to be able to run the football in those conditions and we are able to do that. So I think it is a great thing. I think it speaks volumes about our football team, where you go in your first year you implement a system and be number one in the league in rushing. I think that is a great thing moving forward. And I think it is only going to help our passing attack.
Q: Players took their displeasure to the media this season, you say you don’t muzzle players do you think that needs to change going into next season? Sammy said the team needs to keep more stuff in the locker room.
RR: Well I am not going to sit back and say you know, whatever you do don’t say this or you don’t say thing or things like that. I don’t think we need to do that, I really don’t. You know do I like the fact that, that gets out there, no. But I think a lot of it is driven through frustration we didn’t have the season that we wanted. And because I don’t think it was the overriding theme of the locker room. It might have been for an individual here or there, but I don’t think it was the overriding sense of the locker room.
Q: Do you think it hurt you guys this season?
RR: Well I don’t think it helps.
Q: Do you think Mario was a divisive force in that locker room?
RR: I wouldn’t say that. I think you know again I think most of it, I think we understand things happen through frustration more than anything else. Nobody was happy that we had the record we had. But I am not going to say that, you know that this player or this player was you know was a distraction.
DW: To answer that question from my eyes. If this was a locker room that was that divided or that divisive they wouldn’t have come out and gave that effort like they did on Sunday. So I think I have full faith in our players and what they believe in this coaching staff and in this organization and it was proved positive yesterday.
Q: Just to ask a follow up – your record wasn’t that bad when Mario Williams first started speaking up in October. Was that personal frustration and if you do interpret it that way, how do you view a player that takes personal stats so strongly?
RR: Well I think you have to ask Mario more than I can get into some players head or something. I think you just gotta ask him.
Q: A big topic this season was how this defense was fourth in league last year and finished around 19th this year. How quickly can you get that turned around? Whether it be through new additions or just a better understanding.
RR: Well I’m hoping real quick. Obviously those numbers aren’t what we wanted in the beginning. Not even close. So we’ll see. I know one thing that this group will work. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. I think the continuity, being together for another year, I think’s gonna help. I don’t think there’s any doubt. Getting some players back off injury, some key players off injuries, will also help and I know it’s not an excuse by any stretch because guys gotta step up and play. You saw that the last two weeks when we had I think about 10 starters out and we were able to win two games. So it’s not an excuse. But when you just assume oh you lose Kyle Williams, a player like Kyle Williams and what he means to this team and you lose an Aaron Williams, and that’s not gonna hurt. Of course it hurts, there’s no question. But having those two players back healthy, fitting in, the continuity of being together and how familiar we are with each other. I think is gonna help and I expect to be much, much better this coming season.
Q: Yesterday it was alluded that there was an improved give and take between what fits defensively and what might not fit. Can you shed some light on if you feel you found the right formula on making this defense better?
RR: Well I think sometimes…this is exactly what you want as a coach. You want to have that thing because we gotta be like, this is what we want to be. But it’s, the communication has to be a two way. It doesn’t just flow one direction. It has to be both. It has to be back and forth communication and I think they realize that look, it’s not…if I’m asking your opinion about something, I want it. It’s not like I’m gonna ask your opinion and tell you what your answer is. Sometimes I think it takes a while to get, maybe what was done in the past might have been different than how I like to see. There’s times when you go in and say okay guys, games on the line here’s what I’m thinking – you got two calls here. What do you wanna play? Here’s the options. The positives are this, here’s the positives of that. But a lot of times its ownership. When you build in and say you know what, let’s play this one Rex. I’m like okay, let’s go get it. There’s ownership there and it also understands that this is how I’ve always operated. That I want players input. Not my defense I want it to be, I want it to be our defense and that’s the way it works best. I think we started seeing that a little bit more as the season went on.
Q: How much personnel change do you think you need defensively or is the core in place?
RR: Well I think number one the core is definitely in place here. We have a lot of good players here, I don’t think here’s any doubt about that. So there doesn’t need to be five changes or something on defense. I don’t believe that’s necessary.
Q: You said you’d be happy to pay Tyrod Taylor if his play warrants it. Would that include during the season because you know we’ve been down that road before.
DW: It’s a case-by-case basis. Again I mean, I know you like to lock me into something.
Q: Would you rule it out?
DW: Would not rule it out. Not saying we’re gonna do it but again it’s a case by case basis and we’re gonna do what’s right for the Bills, at the right time. So again I don’t like to back myself in a corner, and I say no, and next year we do it and then you’re sour on me and don’t want to ever talk to me again. That would really hurt my feelings.
Q: What about you having alluded the Ryan Fitzpatrick deal being kind of a mistake…
DW: No we said it’s something that you put in the back of your head and you got a catalog of things that you go through when you’re in this business and you say, okay did that work? It didn’t work but that doesn’t preclude to say different situation, would you do it again? It makes you pause and do some more research. So again you know me, my favorite saying – never say never.
Q: We haven’t seen Kyle Williams much since he’s been hurt. The logical question in his career at this point is do you continue to keep playing? Has he communicated to you that he wants to keep playing?
DW: Absolutely. 100-percent. Yes.
Q: Do you think he can return 100-percent?
DW: As long as the medical checks out, again we’re still waiting for all that information. But mentally, I saw him today and he’s ready to go. It was a frustrating season for him because he wasn’t out there and he’s a competitor. So, yes.
Q: So you don’t know whether he will be ready at the start of next season?
DW: We’ll get all that information when we meet with the medical staff.
Q: Do you expect Aaron Williams to play next year?
DW: Again, his has been a longer process and we’ve been getting periodic updates, and everything’s been positive. But again we’ll get the final update when we meet with the medical staff.
Q: You don’t think its career-ending?
DW: From what we’ve heard, no.
Q: Doug Marrone has been tied to a lot of head coach openings. Do you think he deserves it?
DW: That’s for you guys to…I know this much, this guy’s (Rex Ryan) our head coach and all I worry about is the Buffalo Bills.
Q: One year ago at this time, your starting quarterback retired, Doug Marrone quit and you were still getting used to new ownership. How important is it for you to not face all that this off season?
DW: And that’s one of things that I mean I want to impart to the fans. I mean we had a lot of change last year and this is the first year of an organization from basically top to bottom, and there’s some positive things to build on. We were 8-8. Is that acceptable? Absolutely not. But for us up here and in this organization, we’re gonna focus on the positives and build on those positives, and correct the weaknesses. So it’s absolutely a good thing that we’re gonna be here, continuity, and I think that’s one of the things that the Pegula’s totally believe in. And to answer your question Vic, that’s what he’s always communicated to us. That the teams and the organizations that can consistently compete have continuity from top to bottom. So with that and his belief system, their belief system in that, I didn’t need the vote of confidence. But like Coach (Rex Ryan) says it’s great and it helps us moving forward.
Q: How does it feel that once again the Pegula’s have talked about possibly bringing in an outside person?
DW: Look at it, he owns the team he can do whatever he wants and for me…But for the faith that I think Russ (Brandon), Coach (Rex Ryan) and myself have in the Pegula’s – all they want to do is win and if they think this decision will help us win a championship, it’s not about us. It’s about rings.
Q: Rex, is there a chance Mike Pettine could come back to your staff?
RR: You know, I’ll say this because you can put my brother in that, there’s gonna be a lot of really good coaches out there. Unfortunately that’s the nature of the business. But I don’t think it’s…you know I recognize they’re – you know Mike Pettine, my brother – they’re great coaches. But you know, we’re just now going through the process of talking and evaluating our coaches and how we move forward. So I don’t think it’s fair to comment on other coaches.
Q: Can you say for certain Dennis Thurman will be your defensive coordinator next season?
RR: I’m not…I don’t wanna say anything, you know until we talk to our coaches. Some coaches may want to be here, may not want to be here--whatever it is. I will say this, you have Anthony Lynn I know is apply…you know is gonna get some opportunities to be a head coach. Is there a chance Greg Roman, somebody else may get opportunities? I hope so. That would be fantastic.
Q: Rex, last year the guy sitting in your chair opted for a clause allowing him out of his contract and you are represented by the same agent. Do you have any kind of clause like that in your deal?
RR: I wouldn’t care about that because I definitely wouldn’t exercise it. I’m happy as heck to be here. I’m proud to be a Buffalo Bill and I’m gonna do whatever I can in my power to make this team, get this team to be successful and the first thing is it starts…I look at it as what can I do better and I’m gonna look hard and deep to do that. I can promise you and that’s the thing about this community, like I wanna win. I wanna win in the absolute worst way and yeah, I wanna win for myself but I wanna win for this community. I know and I know the history. The recent history and all that, and I see those fans out there. 70,000-plus in a snow storm and it’s like, if this is not the best fan base in the league it’s certainly right there with them. They’re loyal, passionate and that’s why it’s like you know, don’t think for a second that didn’t have an effect on us yesterday in winning and losing that game. Because we knew our fans were behind us and that things huge. But I don’t…and I said it, I don’t want to disappoint and I did. I let our fan base down because I take it personally. But you can bet anything that I wanna be here as long as I can. But I wanna be here because we’re winning, and we’re building, and the fan base. I want the fan base to be as happy that I’m their coach as I am that these fans are in my fan base. That’s what I’d like.
Q: Can you give an update on yesterdays injured players? Especially Marcell Dareus’ broken foot?
DW: Again they’re with the medical staff. We’ll have an update shortly. Soon I hope.
Q: Can you speak to the progress that Cyrus Kouandjio made this season? Is he any closer to being a legit starting option at all?
DW: I think if you look at the Jacksonville game he performed admirably. Lately he’s been in the heavy packages and we’ll see Seantrel (Henderson). What happens with his illness and if he’s not around that will open up the completion. And I think that it goes to the fact that he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do when he’s been asked. He’s been called on to play, he’s performed at a high-level, but at the time Seantrel was ahead of him.
Q: Are there any concerns lingering with Cyrus Kouandjio’s knee and the potential of chronic injury?
DW: He’s been available for us. So it’s a maintenance thing that we don’t feel will preclude him for competing for a job if it’s open.
Q: That maintenance thing being his knee?
Q: Have you granted Anthony Lynn permission to speak?
RR: Yes, we did.
Q: Any other assistants?
RR: Not at this point.
Q: How surprising was it to have a poor pass rush and low sacks?
RR: Yeah, I mean there’s probably a lot of factors. You know I think anytime you put up the numbers that were put up the year before, there’s probably gonna be…that team’s gonna go in and understand, it’s not by surprise. We got a lot of plus-ones as I look at it. This team is a six man protection team, but it’s almost plus-one against us. Like we play Dallas for instance – who by the way that little lefty (Kellen Moore) threw for 450 yards yesterday – anyway, just throwing it out there. But Jason Witten was left into protection over and over in that game against us. So it was like, that’s a pretty good receiving tight end but he’s now out of the equation. Why? Somebody had to be rushing the passer decent or they wouldn’t have done that. And the ball comes out quick. But I’m not making excuses. We have to do a better job of getting to the quarterback, there’s no question about it. I know that. It was a season low year. I know it had to be…all the years I coached, I’m sure that’s a season low as well. And it is frustrating. Especially when you’ve had the success that you’ve had in the past. Especially recently. I’m sure that was one of the frustrating things.
Q: Both of you guys say you get along--why do you think stuff gets out that you have a bad relationship?
DW: I think that is tabloid reporting when things don’t go well. People are out there just to take create some friction and just throw darts at the board and if it is right then I was first to report it. I mean I understand your guys business. Controversy sells but we have been unified from day one. We have no problems, I haven’t had any problems with anybody on the staff. I think our offensive staff has done a wonderful job. I got complete confidence in the defensive staff, our head coach and I know the Pegula’s do as well, and I know Russ [Brandon] does. So that to us it is one of those where you just tune out the noise and know it is part of the business.
Q: Has Sammy Watkins started to pay the dividends on that trade?
DW: Again I will let you guys debate that. That is what you do for a living but I am glad we have him
Q: Your brother was here for some practices, would he have any objections to having you has his boss?
RR: He probably would. No, I have no idea. I know it was great. I will say this he was around for several days and you know he really, really liked the players that we have, and you know and sees what we are building. And he has been around a lot of teams and things like that. So I think he was impressed with this organization.
Provided by the Buffalo Bills.