Obviously we have I guess is it three new additions to the coaching staff. Starting with, I guess for some reason you know the Rob Ryan one was big we thought for a time, but we will start with the latest hire, Kathryn Smith.
I will admit this, I hired Kathryn because I believe she is going to do a tremendous job. I have been around her for seven years professionally, actually met her at an Eric Mangini camp many years before that. But I have known her professionally for seven years and the reason that I think she is going to do a tremendous job here it starts with everything else just like any profession, you have got to have a work ethic, you got to have a passion for it, and I just like the way she is. She is really all about the team, how she can help and all that, regardless of the job we have asked her to do, she has done a tremendous job in that and exceed what we thought she would do. The reason I think she can handle the coaching deal is last year specifically doing the job, quality control-special teams, she worked a lot already with Danny Crossman, with Eric Smith doing a lot of things, doing drawings, doing things like that, organizational type things that Danny had her do and she did a tremendous job that way.
And then from a personal deal I got to give you a little story that where I thought she can really do this one day. And that is she was my assistant when Laura Young was moved up to be with the general manager and you know all different things in the organization that year, Kathryn moved into that spot. And I am having a meeting with Dennis Thurman one day and we are going over some game plan things and I remember this, I don’t remember the opponent specifically but they had three guys kind of unique pressure that I had saw and this is like two years prior, and Kathryn goes well Rex [Ryan] we can get that up, we will call it up on their sacks and all that. And I am like no it wasn’t a sack. So I left it at that, this opponent was playing somebody else. I go out to practice, I come back in off the practice field and she has this thing drawn up, already drawn up and put it on my TV screen, the play, and she goes I believe this is the play you were referring too. And I came back in and I am like oh my goodness, and it was. So you know she has picked up things along the way.
This is just another opportunity for her to move forward, you know is it an entry level position in the coaching field, it is. A lot of people break in as quality control coaches, but don’t think it is not important position, because it really is. A very important position, but I feel great about it. I truly believe she is going to do a tremendous job this way. She does not have field experience per say, I get that there is no question about it, but I know she is going to excel in the other areas of being a quality control coach and I think she is going to be successful on the field as well. So we will find out, but I truly feel great about that hire.
The other two hires, Ed Reed and you know I think with Ed, Ed is going to do, it is, I thought, we all recognize who Ed Reed is. Ed Reed is a young man who is going to be a first team Hall of Fame guy, I don’t there is any doubt about that, but what maybe we don’t know is was the most instinctive player maybe that we have seen playing that safety position. However, it wasn’t just, part of his things about being instinctive, that you know, and all that is true, his preparation. I saw it in Baltimore for all those years I had Ed. He was really, you talk about a leader, he was such a leader, it was phenomenal. And then when we picked him up his last year playing with the Jets, he even came further along that way. As he, he wasn’t the player he once was, he was still a darn good player, but it was all the other things he brought to the table, all the intangibles. I saw the way those players reacted to having Ed Reed in the building, and from day one he walked in, he was trying to make players better, and they knew it, and they followed him. I mean it was the Pied Piper and they just followed him. He took them to film after. His thing about the preparation after you leave the practice, he, we played a lot better and he started, we did a tremendous job. We had a young rookie corner that was struggling at times, ended up being the defensive player of the month his last month, playing alongside Ed Reed. That combination of Ed Reed and Tim McDonald working together will be really good for this football team and that is why I hired Ed Reed. Ed obviously knows the system inside and out, there is no question, he has played in this system for two different teams. So that is a big help, but I really think it is what he is going to add to our players and taking their preparation to a different level. I think that is what Ed is going to bring here, you know working alongside Tim McDonald.
And then my brother. Brining my brother in here, he has been a coordinator the last 12 years, or 12 season he has been a coordinator. He has been an assistant at you know coached secondary, linebackers, you name it he has coached it. And he has been successful all those years. He is as much of a grinder as you will see. He loves the idea, preparation, he knows the value of preparation, and brining that to this football team, and his expertise that is something I am really excited about. Obviously you know from a personal stand point it is my twin brother and things, and I love having him in the building with the other guys. I think it is, watching him and Dennis Thurman you know talk football together and all that, this is, I really think it is going to be a great thing to have him in our building. So those are really the new hires, and I will just open it up for questions.
Q: Will Dennis Thurman keep the title of defensive coordinator?
A: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely and I understand where it is coming from because my brother 12 years he has been a coordinator, but we brought my brother in to just add to what we have. And to have other eyes in it. I think it is going to allow me to be more involved in the team, even if it just for supporting my coordinators and things and I am going to be right there for them. Because this is my football team, that is how I am approaching it. It is not that I am just a defensive guy, no this is my team. Offensive players, every offensive player, every special team player, every offensive coach, every special teams coach, this is it. This is all about who I am, I think this will help me to really tie in more to this football team, and that’s, because we got to be like this. And for us to be at our best we got to be like this. And I think some of the moves that I made, I think will allow me to even bring them even closer.
Q: Will Dennis role change anyway, as with being more involved with defensive backs as has been reported?
A: Well I think first off, you know Tim McDonald is our secondary coach, and Tim McDonald is an outstanding coach. He has had experience, you have Ed Reed and things. They have worked extremely well together albeit Ed being more of a mentor player role, I think that will be up. You have D’Anton Lynn who I think is a young rising coach as well. Dennis I think this will allow Dennis freedom to go if he wants to spend more time with the secondary, with whatever that is fine, but Tim McDonald is our secondary coach. And I feel great about that.
Q: There are still two former defensive coordinators and one current defensive coordinator are there any concern of the ideology to many cooks in the kitchen?
A: No, not at all. I don’t think that is, the great thing is that there is discussion, like that opens it up. But when the plan comes in and the call comes in, it is a Buffalo Bill thing and we are all in it together. But I love having opinions, having voices I think, look all three guys, two of them are really smart, my brother and Dennis Thurman are really smart, I know it is debatable and well written that I am not that sharp, okay I get it, but I think that is great, that is encouraged. You know we can all be good individually, guys can be really good individually, but you know one of us isn’t as smart as all of us and I think when you get a lot of guys that have been around it. That can throw an idea here or there, that is to be encouraged, more so than looked down, I love that thing. You know if Greg Roman is just relying on Greg Roman that is fine he is going to be really good, he will never be as good as he can be unless he relies on Anthony Lynn, unless he relies on Sanjay Lal, unless he relies on other coaches and that together when we are all like this and we are bringing it in, yeah is there going to be one guy making the call absolutely. But to me it’s you know take advantage of the expertise of other guys and the experiences I think can only help us and only make us stronger.
Q: Who will be that guy making that call, is it you still?
A: Yeah it will be me.
Q: You said recently on ESPN radio you tried to merge two different defenses and this year you will be all in, can you expand on that?
A: Well sure, I think you know we play New England for instance we ran nothing but the defense that was played the year before and you know I knew better, I thought going in…
Q: The first game?
A: Yeah the first game and I was like that is not how you play this guy you know but I get it we are this way and lit us up to the tune of 550 some yards. And I was like that is not the best thing for us, we got to move forward and we are going to be all in. I want to be a team that’s miserable to prepare for and take advantage of our players and things like that. I realize that we never played a nine technique every snap and rush the passer a 100% of the time, I get it. There is a lot of things that go into it, you know are you really the same defense that you were the year before, or whatever when you are missing a Kyle Williams, when you are missing Aaron Williams, different things, I don’t know. But I will say this I am excited where this defense, moving forward and how we are going to implement it and taking, I think I have a huge advantage know being around our players. I think they finally realized at the end of the year that when I ask for opinions, when I ask for you know because this isn’t just me, I am not just this is the way, I am ram-roading this system. I have always had a system that relies on the players. The best, putting our players in the best position to be successful for all 11, not one. It is not just built for one man it is built for all 11 men and I think that is what they got to understand. But when I ask specifically what do you not like, what are you uncomfortable with I finally at the end of the year started getting some answers. Like oh yeah hey some feedback, yeah this, this, I don’t know what it was. So you know making adjustments on the sideline I felt a little more trust as the season went on. So I feel great about that and now moving forward I can’t wait. Like I can’t wait to see Jerry Hughes, now that I really know who Jerry Hughes is. Jerry Hughes is a multi-talented player, I get it now, I see it more. He is not just a hand in the dirt rush the passer guy, he can do so much, there is some many things that our guys can do. And I look at it as, I mean I am so excited to be you know to be come back in and take the, let’s make this thing go, and hey we don’t know at the end of the day what it is going to look like personnel wise, there is a lot of decisions that have to be made on different guys. But I am excited about moving forward, not just with this defense but how much our offense can improve. Now that they, Greg Roman and company have been with these guys a whole year. I think we saw as the season went on how Tyrod [Taylor], Sammy Watkins, all those types of things, hey we can do a lot of different types of things here. I think it is exciting, I think our football team, I am excited about this team.
Q: When you talk about running the same defense as the year before was that the Jets or the Bills?
A: No, no that was with the Bills. Like running a one, or whatever, but it was just that particular game. But you know what it really wasn’t, it was you know the way they were attacking us we couldn’t get to the quarterback that particular day, they were throwing it in two seconds. You know hey if he is going to sit back there a little longer, we would, it’s great. It became clear to me then people are attacking us differently then what they had attacked the Bills the previous season.
Q: When is come to Kathryn how much do you believe this will open the door for more women assistants, and how does she prove herself to move beyond the quality control position?
A: Well I think first off, I mean I recognize the significance of the hiring and things like that. But for me I was just concerned getting somebody that can be successful in that role and having the experience that I have had with Kathryn, I really think she is going to do a great job in this role. So that was really all my concern was. I think her moving forward, you elevate in this business based on your performance and with Kathryn or anybody else that is how you move along in this business. I can tell you this from you know personally speaking I think this is what you want, some of the characteristics that she has, the kind of work ethic, the kind of she is a real positive person, a real positive energy every single day, high energy every single day, those are the things you really look for. But she is a team, she works extremely well with everybody, and I think that is a key thing in coaching. And then how she grows from this point professionally that is going to be up to her. I will tell you this, I have left out of here and she has been the last one here. So every day since she got the promotion I see her in there already working on her drawings, and things like that. Working on next seasons opponents already. So I think you know the work ethic, dedication, and all that I know is going to be there. I think she is really excited about this opportunity.
Q: To clarify before you said you met her at an Eric Mangini camp, was that a Jets training camp?
A: No, no this literally, this was he has a football camp, my brother and there are several coaches, a lot of people were out there. I think that is when I first met her, but I wasn’t, professionally it was with the Jets. And she was already there and she had been there already I think six years, I believe in other capacity. So I really never knew her but I saw how she worked. She did a great job in our personnel department. Always working, typing reports, doing all these types of things, and then it just progressed from there. And it is something, someone that I knew that I wanted in our building. That is why I was able to bring her, that is why I was able to bring Laura Young. And you talk about, there is a lot of women in are organization that you know are doing jobs that maybe are seen in the public, but are crucial to the success of this organization. I look from a football standpoint, I look at Laura Young who is my assistant. I mean I always say put your name ahead of mine, because she is really the boss. Because it is unbelievable from an organizing practice things, and all this, we will go back from the day I took the job you know from my experience with the Jets, I go back the Ravens, whatever I will pull from, I will call it up and she is just like this. She is on top of everything and so it is like, I have been really, really, fortunate to be around some of the people I have but those are two big hires. When I came here bringing in Kathryn Smith, bringing in Laura Young, I thought was moves I really wanted to make. And when we had the opportunity to do it we absolutely did.
Q: With Kathryn a radio host called the move absurd and that women have no place coaching men in football, what are your thoughts on that?
A: Well obviously I totally disagree with that. I don’t even know that a comment like that deserves a comment.
Q: Was there any pause at all here knowing you were breaking a barrier here?
A: I think the big thing, first off I got to say I never realized that I, we were doing it, that we were really breaking a barrier. I knew it was a significant hire that it would be the first full time. But I reached out to Bruce Arians and Bruce Arians had a young women (Jen Welter) that albeit just coached during the summer but I wanted to ask him about specific things and you know only was I comfortable with what he said, I thought wow he spoke really highly the experience they had, and said that without question this would be somebody that he would hire in the future, possibly hire in the future. Then you look at the success of other sports. You look at [Greg] Popovich with the Spurs and having an assistant coach on his staff, and this guy has far exceeded anything that I will ever do coaching and when he talks about how this young women will lead a NBA team as a head coach in the near future and the success she had, I believe I am not all familiar with in the D-League, or something I am not real sure the development league or something. So I think it’s just a matter of time but it was our time now because I think she will do a great job here. And that is really more the thing, I wanted to understand it, talked to him about and specific questions I had for him and then say you know what this is the move I am going to make.
Q: Was one of those questions will these guys respect a women in this position?
A: There were other things, there were other questions I had.
Q: Was that one of them?
A: I am not really going to get into all of them, but I truly believe this and this is something that whether that was or not I think the big thing is this. I think in my opinion anybody, look I wasn’t a great player by any stretch of the imagination.
Q: Me neither.
A: I figured both of us had that in common but no if, when you look at it if you can help, if there is some way of helping, and I have always compared it to you know Charley Lau one of the greatest hitting coaches in the history of baseball, he batted .200, okay all some of these great ones aren’t great coaches but if you can help regardless of what it is, if you can help a player that is all they are interested in. Also that you care about them and you want them to do well, I think those are traits players will look up too and respect regardless of how the person looks.
Q: Do you think this opens the door for more women coaches in the NFL specifically?
A: You know I am not sure if it does or not. I am just excited about Kathryn because I truly believe that she is going to do a tremendous job here and I think it is interesting when you look at some of the tweets from some of our players that have, you know from Richie Incognito, from different guys that have tweeted that have met Kathryn and spent any kind of time with her they think she is going to do a good job as well.
Q: Is there is a sense of pride this organization that they have had the first opening day starting African-American quarterback, first female scout on staff and now has the first female assistant coach?
A: You know I am not sure. I don’t necessarily, I never got into it. I wasn’t, that wasn’t something we went out and purposely did I was just trying to, I just felt good about hiring Kathryn. But it wasn’t something that you know hey we want to do something that is ground breaking, that wasn’t it at all, I will be honest with you. In fact it is, I had no idea it would bring up, get this much attention, I can promise you that. But if it brings other opportunities, on the high school level, the college level, the professional level, I think that’s great.
Q: You mentioned other women, but what made you want to put Kathryn on this track to be a coach?
A: I think really seeing how she was in particular this past season, working with Eric Smith, with Danny Crossman, with a lot guys, coaches. I just thought it was a natural thing that she, number one I think she can do the job, because the first things about quality control work this is one of the most thankless jobs. That when you look at it, is one of the most important. It is a, but there is, there is no you just get through it, you have got to put the hours in, you have got to put the time in, and taking things the painfully taking off. I started that way, we all do and where you are drawing things up and you do all that, but I have seen her do it over and over. I saw her on the personnel side when she had to enter in every single scouts report that she would type into the deals, the organization that part of it. So I think well maybe she never knew it at the time, and maybe I never knew it at the time but I think it was giving her training to get to this level as a coach. I believe she is going to be successful.
Q: Have there been other women you have come across that have expressed desire to do that?
A: No, and she never really expressed that desire until I asked her if she would like this opportunity. But I don’t know even knew if it existed. I can tell you this, I have been around some impressive women that I think are going to be moving up in this league in different roles, in different capacities. I know a young Jacki [Jacqueline] Davidson who is one stop away from being a general manager. She was unbelievable, I mean tremendous. There was things were we couldn’t get a deal done, they put her on it the deal gets done. So I think there is, and we don’t see it necessarily it is been kind of behind the camera, you don’t see it. But there is a lot of women I think in league that are doing significant roles.
Q: I was wondering if she has said anything to you about some of the sexist comments made through social media?
A: No I haven’t heard anything from her.
Q: She hasn’t talked to you about it at all.
A: No, unfortunately things like this happen, you know in it. All I see her doing is, she is working. That is what I see her, I think she is excited, I know she is excited about the opportunity in front of her and I know she is going to do a great job.
Q: Does Ed Reed’s age help him relate to players in the locker room?
A: Yeah, possibly does. I am not sure. He is close to them. Obviously everybody knows him, so the fact, Tim McDonald was a pretty good player in his own right, you know I think he went to six or seven Pro Bowls. But is he a little older than Ed yeah he is.
Q: But Ed is a Hall of Famer.
A: Right, but I think T-Mac [Tim McDonald] was close to it. But you are right Ed is a first ballot hall of famer, there is no question and they all see it. I think it is going to be a great asset to him that yes he is very recognizable and people know him but they are going to see this guy is going to try and help you. That he is trying to give you part of the magic that he had as a player. So any player that wouldn’t want to take advantage of that, I don’t get it. The one thing I know about professional football players they want to get better and that is why they are going to gravitate to Ed.
Q: You and your brother seemed to be part of a naturalization ceremony for a friend yesterday, was that Jeff Weeks wife?
Q: How cool was it to be a part of that?
A: No it was cool, it was great there is no question about it and it was a proud moment for her there is no doubt. And so we were just able to be there so that was great.
Q: This morning you seemed kind of defensive by the criticisms of you are your brother defense, is that a motivating factor for you?
A: Yes, no. You know what I think anytime, I am a competitor, above everything else I am a competitor and I believe in myself but I believe in this team, I believe in the coaches I have, I believe in the players I have. To put you know hey I am linked with something that underachieved, that bothers me. So I, I am ready to go I can tell you that much. I don’t know what the results will be but I know what the effort is going and I can’t wait to play, I don’t even know who is going to be on the team but I can’t wait, I can’t wait till it is, till we are ready to roll and we are coming out of here on Sunday. I can’t wait for that and you know maybe it is just the competitor in me and whatever. But I know one thing I believe in myself, and I believe in the people that are with me.
Q: You mentioned Rob turned down coordinator jobs was that college or professional?
A: Well both, he had one in both. But he never wanted it, he never considered it. When he, he wanted to be here. I think part of that was he was here for that week, I think he really connected with just being around, it wasn’t like he was coaching but he connected with some of the guys. I think he connected with the staff, I think he was excited about the opportunity to come here, he wanted to be here.
Q: You didn’t bring Kathryn out here today, she has made one public appearance and it was on Bills radio?
A: You guys know how I like the attention. So but no that’s no, I just do what he (Scott Berchtold) tells me to do.
Q: You mentioned earlier in the season you and Rob set out different paths in coaching, what changed?
A: Well there is an old saying that one bullet gets both of you, okay. And in that business that is what happens, but you set your own path and that was something we never wanted to just be, as much as we are proud of being the son of Buddy Ryan and things for us to make it. I wouldn’t be standing here in front you today if all I did was follow my dad and the same thing with my brother. We had to go like this but the fact that we have been through it now for years, 16 years, 18 years, something like that and were coming back in here, I think is going to be a great thing for us. And I want to enjoy my time. My brother has never been given the opportunity to be a head coach, you know there is no promises or anything else, but I would love to see him get that opportunity based on how we play, how we perform, that would be terrific for me. Not just him but an Anthony Lynn, a Greg Roman, a Dennis Thurman, I would love to see that happen based on our performance.
Q: Are you interested in doing Hard Knocks again?
A: Not really but.
Q: Who do you think will win this weekend?
A: Oh, god. You know I get in trouble, if I answer the question I am going to get ripped. Here is how I look at it if I pick this one team, then if they don’t win the fans will blame me for picking them. Then if I pick the other you know, whatever is I can’t win in that situation. So you know unless somebody pays me then I’ll give them that.
Q: No Clemson talk?
A: Clemson talk, disappointed man that was a heck of a game, there is no question about it. I just…
Q: Are you still trying to get over it?
A: I don’t know if you can ever get over that one, you know. I will say this that team, it was a heck of a game, there is no question. I think for me if my son would have played more they would have won that game, I am going to put it to you that way.
Provided by the Buffalo Bills.