Head coach Rex Ryan
I want to welcome everybody back. I know one thing it’s great to be back here. I mentioned that I think as I told you about us winning the offseason – that went over really well with everyone I understand. I mentioned then, that how much I was looking forward to coming back to camp and here we are. Obviously it was kind of a rough summer, but it is great to be back here. I can’t wait to see all our fans. That kind of makes it kind of special here.
I want to thank the people at St. John Fisher, doing an awesome job like they always do. All the people involved in moving us here, they never get a shout out, but they deserve it. A big shout out. This can’t be easy to move a whole football team. I understand there’s maybe only a dozen teams that are doing this now, but I like it. I think it’s important. We think we have a great situation, we know we have a great situation here and we’re taking advantage of it.
With that, I’ll take any questions.
Q: Give us a sense of what your father’s passing was like for you?
A: It was rough there’s no question about it. We’re certainly not the only people who go through that. Everyone’s had significant losses in their life or they will at some point. But, it’s never easy. There’s no question about it. I knew, obviously, he had a lot of health problems. He had eight different things of cancer, he had Parkinson’s, he had three strokes. The thing that I learned most though during that time is --I had mentioned before that the difference between me and my dad is that I’m not near as tough as my dad. He showed it, he never one time complained with all those issues that he had, not one time did he complain. And I think it was like oh my god, this dude is a historic tough guy, there was no question. Yeah, it was rough.
Q: Where were you when you learned of his death?
A: I was back when I got the news. I actually on my vacation in Scotland. I went over to play a little golf over there. Fortunately, I never played my own ball that would have been a—hey what’s the all-time record? Alright over it in futility. But I went over there, I had one of my sons with me, my nephew, Anthony Lynn came over there. We had a great time, but then came back and then it was really shortly after that, that I heard the news.
Q: Karlos (Williams) had the offseason issues, where do you stand on that with him?
A: Well, I mean you’re disappointed there’s no question. You know, I think anytime you have a player that’s suspended, that’s disappointing. There’s no doubt, there’s no ands or buts about it you’re disappointed, period. You just hope that-- he’s not the first guy to ever be suspended and I’ve faced that before, but it’s can you learn from it and get past it. So, hopefully that’s what’s going to happen. I feel great about, you know, the people we have in our building, the help, with our players and the support that we as an organization provide our players, hopefully that will make a difference. You know, I think as far as other concerns that we have with Karlos, he’s a young man, we’ll work through it. And we have to get this guy ready to go albeit week or whatever.
Q: How pleased were you with his (Karlos Williams) conditioning?
A: Well, we’re not going to do things where—we’re not going to put a player at risk. You know, through running conditioning tests or whatever it may be, if we don’t think that player is ready to take on that kind of challenge. And he might be able to get through that, but how’s he going to be after that. I’ll lean on my experts for that, Eric Ciano and guys on how we did. I’ll tell you this we never had one guy fail the conditioning test. So, I was pleased with how the majority of guys came back. That doesn’t mean we’re 100 percent as a football team where I wanted to be, but we’re close.
Q: Did he (Karlos Williams) make any progress from mini camp to now?
A: Well, I’m not going to say how much progress he made, or whatever, I’m not in those fields. But you know we’ll see as it goes on how much better he is.
Q: You said you wouldn’t put him at risk?
A: Well, we have different things for different players. You know, there’s a bunch of guys running, I can tell you that. We had a couple of medical reasons that we had to put on the bike or different things that, I think we had to hold one guy out. But other than that for a majority, a whole bunch of guys ran, but I’m not going to get into specifics on, you know, hey this player sat out because I know the way it will be. There will be some people that overreact on things. I’ll just say this, our strength and conditioning coaches have a great sense of where our players are, and we are not going to put a player at risk. So, I’ll just leave it at that.
Q: With Manny (Lawson) and Shaq (Lawson) injured what are your options? You’re kind of down to IK (Enemkpali).
A: Well, I don’t necessarily look like we’re down to IK. I get on the depth chart with the number of players and things. I’m excited about IK and I’ve mentioned that before. It may give him an opportunity to get the majority of the reps at the one. So, we’ll see you know how he responds. We’re fortunate, we have Lorenzo Alexander who is a veteran payer that’s played a number of snaps in this league. He’s a good football player. And we’ve got another couple of guys I think that are going to jump out at you, I think. I call him “Curly,” (Bryson) Albright’s a guy that you look at him and you’re like who is the guy that looks like Big Bird-- that’s him. Maybe there’s an opportunity for another guy to step up. He was impressive during our minicamps.
Q: Are guys like Lorenzo Alexander, Eric Striker and Randell Johnson going to be strictly outside or inside linebackers to start?
A: They are versatile players. We’ll see how it progresses through this obviously Randell is a prime candidate to do that. You mentioned (Eric) Striker, he actually played more outside than he did inside at OU, so we might let it ride for a little bit, see how it goes. Obviously a guy like Randell is learning both anyway, but we may ask Striker to as well.
Q: How much do you feel some of those hard lessons are serving as motivation for your players this year?
A: Well, I think first off this a brand new year. There’s a lot of challenges out there, there’s no question about it. You know, we want to be better as a football team, certainly we know we want to be better on defense, but we want to be better on offense, defense, special teams. We need to improve, it’s not just going to be, well hey the defense needs to improve and the offense can stay the same. That’s not true. We all need to improve. Maybe the biggest learning thing is for me is there’s a proven system here, it’s worked for years and years and we’re going to play it. And we’ll see, I believe we’ll be better on defense. How much better? I don’t know, but I believe we’ll be better. But I’m excited about this team. I’m excited about the commitment they’re making to each other. Trying to take advantage of some the great coaches that we have on this staff, I think that’s been impressive to me. We’ll see how it goes out here because when you’re in training camp sometimes its long and everything else. But, I know our guys are seeing the big picture. We don’t want to let ourselves down. We don’t want to let our fan down. We know what we’re trying to get done and we’re going to in our power to be the best team we can be.
Q: Is Marquise Goodwin going to have to fight for a spot or does he have one secured?
A: I think every year you have to fight for a position on the team. I think, this is kind of a unique deal. We have a lot of guys that have played some. You know four or five receivers that have played in this league and they’re all competing. Do I want Goodwin to win a job? Absolutely, because I know that speed is tough. That’s an advantage that you have. I know when you look out there and you’re going “Hey, I’ve read the resume and this guy is a 10.2 100-meter guy.” I’m getting back. That’s an advantage for us, but again you’ve got to earn the spot nothing is going to be given because you ran a 10.2 or we just go get some track guy. But I think Goodwin is a football player. I think he has to be smart and try to protect himself some. You’re not some “Billy Whatever” bad something, that is a huge guy that can take all those hits. You have to be smart and protect yourself. Get down, you know do different things like that when you’re coming across the middle. Those are things that we have to be smart about and you have to take care of yourself too.
Q: You’ve dealt with holdouts in the past with Darrelle Revis. How much of a relief is it to see Stephon Gilmore here?
A: Oh, I never even flinched. No, I’ll tell you what, it’s good to see him. But you do try not to overreact and not to hug him in public but I’m happy to have him back.
Q: How does he compare to Revis?
A: They’re different players. Stephon is an outstanding player in his own right. Revis is a different cat, his brand was more in your face and physical. Stephon plays his own game and that’s good enough for me.
Q: What is it that you see in Tyrod that gives you confidence in him?
A: I think, first off, you look at last year and how he performed and not having the benefit of a full training camp as the leader of the team, and obviously you can go back and point at me that that was a mistake, but I’m a man of my word. I said there was going to be true competition and there was. He earned the job. I think when he came in he was listed as No. 3 by most people, right? But he did earn the job and I think as the year went on, I see the confidence that his teammates have in him and we think we’re going to get it done with Tyrod at quarterback. He can beat you with his arm, with his deep ball, his accuracy, and he can beat you with his legs, so I think those are some great things. He also is a guy that doesn’t put his team in jeopardy. He takes care of the football and I think that’s an important trait as a quarterback.
Q: What’s the advantage of going into a second training camp with Doug Whaley?
A: I mean, I think I was comfortable from day one. When I was meeting the Pegula’s, Russ Brandon, Doug Whaley. I don’t know. There’s a certain kind of synergy or whatever you will that I felt really good about them. I know his background. I think we see players the same you know. We look for the same characteristics in players and I just knew he was all on board we just want the best thing for the team. I think that’s what I see. But it’s great. I know I got a great GM. I’ve been fortunate in my life. I’ve been around a lot of good personnel people and things. One guy that comes to mind is Ozzie Newsome. I always thought I had the best. Like wow this guy. He knew when I didn’t know. And I think Doug Whaley is a guy that obviously he’s got to have longevity in the career like Ozzie but I think when it’s all said and done, he’s going to be one of those special guys as well.
Q: Do you think LeSean’s incidents have given him a new perspective on football?
I think first with LeSean, he wants to be great. There’s no question about it. He doesn’t want to put his team in the negative light. And I think he sees that. I think he is motivated, he’s driven to the fact that he did have those injuries. The injuries are part of it. I told him this: ‘man you look five years younger.’ He looks fantastic. And running and everything else. Wow. But he wants to show everybody ‘hey look man I’m ready to go.’ Let’s face it. What might have been a down year for him, we all look at as ‘this guy was awesome.’ He was a fantastic player for us. That’s the way I feel and that’s the way the fans feel. I don’t think that he feels that he was as good as maybe he should be. And I’m like this is going to be scary because if he can play better than he did last year, we’ll sign up for that.
Q: What type of progress did you see from Seantrel Henderson and do you have any timetable on when you might expect him to return?
A: There’s really no timetable anytime you’re dealing with a medical issue it goes through the medical professionals before we’re going to put a player out there. I will say this, you know, he looks good. He ran the conditioning test today and he passed the conditioning test. So, that was encouraging. You know with those thing you have to let the medical people take care of that.
Q: Are you and Rob (Ryan) roommates?
A: No, it seems like it though because he’s on the same end as me. We forgot to touch on one medical issue Jeff Weeks was injured. He broke his foot falling down the stairs. He was just bragging about the new shoes he was wearing. No truth to the fact he was doing one of those Pokémon things, he was trying to text somebody and fell down the step and actually broke his foot. So, that’s the only injury update I know everybody is concerned with that.
GM Doug Whaley
Opening Statement: Welcome to camp ladies and gentlemen. It’s an exciting time of year. We’re definitely excited and we want to start by absolutely giving our greatest gratitude to St. John Fisher. Their hospitality is bar none, the top I’ve been around in 20-plus years of football. With that being said, I’ll start off with our designations that we’ll be turning into the league. Physically unable to perform: Marcus Easley, Shaq Lawson, Sammy Watkins, and Kyle Williams. We also have two guys that will be on Non-Football Injury: that will be Manny Lawson and Kolby Listenbee. And finally, we have Non-Football Illness and these are all medical issues: Marcell Dareus, Jonathan Dowling, Seantrel Henderson, and Karlos Williams. With that being said, I’ll open it up for questions.
Q: If you can just run down some of the injuries or ailments?
A: Well for the PUP guys, Marcus Easley’s will be his left knee, shoulder for Shaq Lawson, Sammy with the foot and Kyle with the left knee. Non-Football Injury will be Manny Lawson, he injured himself working out right before he got to camp, and Kolby Listenbee. He’s still progressing from the surgery. All those other guys will be medicals, which I can’t get into.
Q: Is it something long-term with Manny?
A: We’ll have to assess and get information from the medical staff here pretty soon and hopefully not. We don’t anticipate it, but again, you never know with these things.
Q: Is Karlos’ status a medical issue or him not being where he needs to be weight-wise?
A: Well first, he’s got to get cleared first medically and then we have to transition him to getting physically ready to play football.
Q: Did he make improvement from him off-season camp?
A: Weight-wise he has, but we have to see him not only again get medically cleared from the doctors but to be able to transition to football activities as in strength and conditioning.
Q: The weight problem was one thing and now the suspension and we all know what this is, how does this happen to a player, a guy who was just in his second year?
A: He’s a young guy. He’s got to understand, everybody, every day they come into this building or any camp, are competing for playing time and cap space. And he’s behind the ball right now. And I think that he’s more disappointed than we are.
Q: So this is not really related to the overweight, out-of-shape that happened in mini-camp or the suspension necessarily? This is something different?
A: This is a combination, especially with his physical conditioning.
Q: What did Manny hurt working out?
A: Upper body injury. We’ll have to get the specifics once I talk to the medical staff.
Q: How long do you think it will be before Kyle is really back on the field?
A: That’s one thing, we’re going to be very diligent and conscious of making sure all these guys can transition to football activities, but most importantly, be ready for Baltimore. That’s our main goal, to be smart and get them ready for Baltimore.
Q: How long are you thinking for Shaq?
A: Every option’s on the table right now. Every report (indicates) he’s progressing nicely through rehab. We’ll have a better idea closer to the end of camp of which way we’ll go once that 53-man cut day comes, but all signs are positive.
Q: Have you had any contact with the league about the Jonathan Williams situation to see if maybe something will happen?
A: Not yet. They usually contact us, so I think they’re still doing research and will see what happens in the court system.
Q: There was a report this week that there’s a lot of contact with Tyrod, his agent and an offer. Where do those talks stand?
A: The lines for communication are definitely open, it’s free flowing, and we’ll hopefully get a resolution soon. Not sure though.
Q: Have you been in contact with Stephon Gilmore and his agent?
A: Again, lines of communication have been open. All contract situations are usually a long, drawn out process and we’ll see where it goes.
Q: Were you happy at least to see Stephon is here and not holding out?
A: Absolutely. And we’re happy that everybody’s here. And the one thing that shows us is that our guys are competitors. And no matter what’s going on in the business side of it, they want to come out here and compete and show that they love football.
Q: Are you guys still confident that Sammy’s going to be good-to-go Week One?
A: Well everything we’re talking about right now, again, is for us to be smart with him and transition him so he will be ready to go Week One. We’re confident. Again, you never know what’s going to happen with medical issues, there could be some setbacks, but all signs are positive for him being ready for Baltimore.
Q: There’s no issues with Marcell?
A: No. There’s nothing major.
Q: Doug, with LeSean McCoy, I know that there were some thoughts of bringing him on slowly with the injuries, is that going to be the game plan going into training camp?
A: I think that’s going to be the game plan with a lot of our starters and a lot of our veteran guys. We know what they can do and they know what they can do, so we’re going to rely on our strength and conditioning staff, our medical staff and the player and say, “Hey, what number of reps and how much do you need to feel like you’ll be peaking at the right time?” And again, that’s Baltimore, so it’s going to be constant dialogue between all sides involved.
Q: Do you think this camp is mostly about depth as opposed to starting jobs and are there positions that need to be filtered out?
A: I think there’s going to be competition up and down, from starting positions to guys in the backup and the back end of the roster. We’re really excited and that’s one of the goals that we’ve always been preaching. Let’s get as much competition as possible up and down this roster at every position because it raises everybody’s level of play and it also lets you know if you do have injuries, which are part of the game, your level of expectation doesn’t dip.
Q: There’s been a lot of speculation you guys might be interested in bringing Reggie Bush in. I know you probably won’t comment on him specifically, but what about adding to that running back spot?
A: With any position, especially now, our guys, our pro personnel department with Jim Monos does a great job of just evaluating everybody that’s out there. We’re going to have a workout here in a couple of days. Again, we’re looking to add pieces and upgrade everywhere we can.
Q: A workout with Reggie?
A: No, not with Reggie.
Q: There was some talk about Nick Foles. From the Bills standpoint, where is your position?
A: From the Bills’ standpoint right now, we’re excited with the quarterback position we have right now. Again, we will always keep our ears open and monitor the guys that get cut or are on the trading block or are out as free agents now and if we deem it’s necessary to bring a guy at any position in to help us get better, we’ll do it, but at this point we’re standing pat.
Q: How much does it temper your excitement, some of the things that have gone on this offseason? Between Karlos getting suspended for four games, Shaq not being available for the start of the season, Sammy Watkins having the foot surgery, how much does that temper your enthusiasm going forward?\
A: I look at it in a different light because from the personnel side this lets us look at younger guys or guys that are on the roster and see how they step up to the challenge and can meet that challenge and can give them a chance to show what they have. So we’re excited to see the guys behind those guys and see if they can make a mark on this team.
Q: Can you give us a blueprint of what James Wilder Jr. brings to the running back position?
A: Physicality. Size and physicality. And hopefully he takes that next step on special teams. So if he can do those three things, he’s got a real good shot of trying to make this roster.
Q: Doug, I just have one follow up on Stephon Gilmore. He made it pretty clear today that he has no desire to negotiate during the course of the season but indicated there might be a window before Baltimore. How do you see that? How do you see those negotiations standing?
A: We’re going to negotiate until --if he puts a deadline on, until the deadline. And hopefully we don’t reach the deadline but like I said, the lines of communication are open and it’s going to be something that’s not going to happen overnight but we’re confident that we’re going to put our best foot forward.
Q: When it comes to Stephon, you have to like how confident of a person he is.
A: Absolutely. To play that position, you need that confidence.
Q: And yet that confidence leads to him saying he believes he’s among the top four elite cornerbacks and thus wants to be paid commensurate to them. That must make it difficult for you.
A: All negotiations are difficult but as long as we and his representatives and himself come into this negotiation process with one goal in mind, and that’s to get a deal done, at least you start on common ground and then we work from there.
Q: Doug, how much are things different this year as opposed to last year with Rex? You guys have had an entire season now together. How does that help you when you’re getting ready for a camp?
A: I think across the board, across our organization, it’s a comfortability factor. You know what’s expected. We know how he runs his camp, we know what he wants on and off the field during camp, during the season. Not only with myself but with the players, Berch (Scott Berchtold), everybody around him. It’s just we’re growing and we’re growing as a family and we’re taking another step forward and just the continuity is a big factor and that’s reaching the level we want to reach.
Q: Will there be changes in the way he does things in camp this year and the way maybe you want to see things done differently?
A: I think the one thing you’ll see off the bat, and he can answer the rest of it, is you won’t see that split squad just because we’re not looking for our number one quarterback. We already have that guy, so that will be a major change there. It will be just one, single squad going out there, not a split squad.
Q: What message have you shared with Jonathan Williams?
A: Everybody makes mistakes. It’s where you go from here.
Q: Which pass rushers are you hoping to see step up with Shaq out?
A: I mean all of them. And that’s why I say, yes it’s disappointing that Shaq’s out, but from our standpoint, it gives guys, Randell Johnson, Max Valles, those guys, Lorenzo Alexander, those guys get a chance now to show what they can do. So we’re excited about that because we have a good feeling of what Shaq will do when he gets back, now we’re just building depth behind him.
Q: How do you assess the receiver position?
A: Again, same type of thing. We’ve got some guys that have proven themselves in this league, like a Leonard Hankerson, Jarrett Boykin, Greg Little, (Greg) Salas. Those are the type of guys and those are the competitions that we get really excited about. We know what Sammy can do and we know what Robert Woods can do. We expect Robert to come back better than he was last year and that’s a testament to how he played last year, he didn’t open his mouth and say a word about what he was battling through, so those guys we’re not worried about. Again, we get excited about those competitions, those other guys, to see who’s going to emerge.
Q: Do you think there’s any chance Cardale (Jones) can push EJ (Manuel) for the backup job?
A: There’s always a chance, but we’re going into this with hopefully the old-school approach. Just store him for a year and see how he progresses. Let’s not put any pressure on him or a timetable and see what happens. You never know what’s going to happen, again, I never say never, but right now we just want him to try to be the best he can every day.
DT Marcell Dareus
Q: Do you feel that [losing weight] was anything consciously that they talked about just from a stamina standpoint?
A: Of course. That’s something we talk about every year. I was just more conscious about what I ate and things like that. Just put on more muscle and dropped a little fat, you know, baby fat. I’m to my grown man weight.
Q: It seems that you’ve been everywhere this offseason. Daytona, NFL Network, ESPN. You’ve kind of made the rounds. What was the idea behind it?
A: I mean I kind of just wanted to enjoy my kids and just enjoy life a little bit. I‘ve been a little tied down and kind of unhappy so I was like ‘you know what? I’m just gonna go have fun. Go have a good time.’ Went to the Monster Car Jam. Went to the Nascar Sprint Cup, the ESPY’s. You know, kind of have a good time, went to TMZ. I kind of embraced it a little bit. See what’s out there.
Q: Without giving away the secrets of the defense, Marcell, are you mostly going to be on the nose in the three (3-4 scheme)? Where are you going to be?
A: Honestly, I don’t know. Rex, he hasn’t really disclosed anything to us yet. We haven’t even started meetings, to be honest.
Q: How much do you see yourself maybe as the face of the team now that it’s your sixth season?
A: It’s not a problem with me. I don’t feel no sweat. I mean, I feel like I can pull us through, that’s just my personality. I’m not afraid. I’m not scared of anything.
Q: Marcell, going into your sixth year, now that you are a veteran, how much do you want to accept or are you willing to accept a leadership role?
A: It’s not a problem at all. I mean, I feel like a lot of the younger guys look up to me, they listen to me, I lead by example. Kyle (Williams) is more of a vocal leader, more inspirational, but at the same time, he’s a great friend of mine. I look up to him as well. And the leadership role, I’m not afraid of it. Like I was saying…they’re going to listen, they’re going to follow.
Q: What’s your level of optimism with those issues of communication? We kept hearing last year that it wasn’t right and people just didn’t feel comfortable. You’ve at least been through the offseason schedule and the meetings. As you stand here now, does any part of you say, “I feel this is going to be better,” and maybe it can’t get worse?
A: Of course. I mean whatever you did yesterday, of course you hope the next day is going to be better. So it’s starting all over again. We’re not going to think about last year, we’re not even going to talk about last year. That’s behind us, let’s just get rid of it. And now we’re starting new.
CB Stephon Gilmore
Q: Was there ever consideration of not showing up to start camp?
A: I mean, I told you I would be here. I looked at every situation, but it was smart of me to come here and be with my teammates, work on my game, and do whatever I can to improve myself individually and as a team.
Q: Did you have to soul search? Did you have to think about it a little bit to figure out what the best thing was? Because it sounded like at minicamp you weren’t 100-percent sure how you were going to go about it. Can you walk us through the decision process if there was one? Avoiding the fine?
A: Yeah, like you said, I just didn’t want to do that and it wasn’t really a long thinking process. I just sat down and just said, “This is the smart thing for me to do.”
Q: How much has the Josh Norman deal changed your perspective with respect to your market value?
A: I mean he’s a good player. He had a good year last year but I mean, like I said before, I know what I can do. You know what I’m saying? I’m the island and playing man-to-man, so he just got free and just happened to do what he did. Good for him. Like I said, I know what I’m worth, I know what I can do, so just keep doing it on the field and everything else will take care of itself.
Q: How realistic is it in your mind for a deal to get done before the season?
A: I mean, you hope but you know it’s a business so if it don’t get done, just play the season out and take my chances.
Q: How would you feel about playing next season under the franchise tag?
A: I mean, nobody wants to get tagged but if it happens, it happens. I’m not the first for it to happen to, I won’t be the last, so I’ll deal with that when the time comes.
Q: I saw some Instagram videos floating around out there, who were you working out with between mini-camp and now? Who were some of the guys?
A: Oh, like Johnathan Joseph from Houston. He’s been in the league for 11 years, we’re both from the same hometown, he plays cornerback for the Texans. Captain Munnerlyn (Minnesota Vikings cornerback), Darian Stewart, safety for the Broncos, we went to South Carolina together, playing in the league, DB, so they pushed me and we pushed each other to get better.
Q: Did you pass the physical?
Q: So you’re all set to practice tomorrow?
Q: When did you feel completely over the shoulder?
A: I’ve been over it. I mean, I played good. I mean, before I came to mini-camp, I felt great, so it’s just keeping it strong and go out there and make plays.
Q: Was this contract situation, does it provide you with more motivation to go out there and prove that you deserve a big, big contract?
A: I’m always motivated but obviously that’s more motivation. But, like I said, I’m just going to go out there and play my game. I know what I can do, so that will take care of itself.
Q: Is it at all possible that thinking about it, knowing that there’s a next thing coming, will it distract you or can you totally now put this aside and say whatever the next thing in business happens, happens?
A: I mean to me, I love the game so once I’m on the field, I’m at peace. So, when I’m playing, I don’t think about nothing else. I don’t think about nobody else. My job is to stop the guy in front of me so that’s what I do.
Q: Who do you consider the elite cornerbacks? Who are the elite guys that you think you have to chase down?
A: I mean, I include myself but like Pat P (Patrick Peterson) does it pretty good. I like Chris Harris Jr., (Aqib) Talib, they do it good. Who else? (Richard) Sherman, he’s a good player. Everybody’s got a different style, they’re not just man-to-man style. They do it different ways.
Q: Do you feel you’re in that class?
Q: Four years in the league, you’re in that class of guys?
A: I know it.
Q: Does Norman make that list?
A: I mean, he’s a good football player. He’s a good football player. Can’t take nothing from him. He’s making plays, took his team to the Super Bowl, shut down the top guys, so, he’s a good player.
Q: Do you think you’re worth a deal on par with Josh Norman’s?
A: I mean, we’ll see.
Q: Are you okay with your agent extending talks into the season? Once the season starts, have you given anything like, “Hey, don’t do that. I want to concentrate on football?”
A: I mean I don’t want to do anything during the season, so…
Q: So once the season starts, no more talks?
A: I don’t want to talk about it. I only want to focus on the season. If it doesn’t happen in the season, then we’ll go into the offseason.
Q: How about between now and the start of the season? What is your mindset? Where do talks stand and how hopeful are you to get something done before the season starts?
A: I don’t know the possibility. I’m going to let my agent do the job and whoever he talks to. And if it gets done, it gets done. I mean, I don’t know the possibility, I just know what I’m worth, so, if it’s not done then it’s not going to get done.
Q: Are you going to participate fully and play in preseason games? I know at minicamp you kind of took it easy a little bit.
A: I’m practicing Day 1, going over the same thing, work on my game.
Q: As a group, where do you feel it ranks in the NFL?
A: I think our group is at the top. I mean, I think we as a group don’t get a lot of credit but I think we play at a high level. I mean, it can be whichever reason we don’t get all the credit, but I think we play at a high level as a whole. If you look at who’s supposed to be the top secondaries in the league and you look at the plays they made and you look at the plays we made, I mean it goes hand-in-hand.
Q: What’s it going to mean for you to have Aaron (Williams) back out there in the secondary?
A: Aaron’s a great player but also smart. We’ve been playing with each other for, what, my fourth year going on five, so a long time. So we already know each other, we get each other and know what each other’s going to do, so it helps out a lot.
Q: Just to be clear, do you want to stay in Buffalo long-term? It’s more of a natural numbers meaning? It’s not about the organization, the city, or not wanting to be here, right?
RB LeSean McCoy
Q: So, health-wise compared to last year are you back to where you need to be?
A: Oh man, I’m back. I feel healthy. I’ve been working extremely hard this whole offseason. So, I’m ready to get out there and perform. You know, and come here to do what they brought me here to do. And that’s make big plays and be a playmaker. Last year is in the past, I had a lot of injuries, which I never really do. It kind of start in camp and it kind of lingered on the whole year, but I feel fine. I’m in good shape. I feel good.
Q: It sounded like Anthony (Lynn) was saying that he wouldn’t work you super hard. Your work-load wouldn’t be too hard.
A: The goal is to just get me healthy to the season, that’s the main thing. I can be the player that I was brought here to be. This whole team, man, everybody’s focused. We had a great start today with the conditioning test. A lot of guys came here in good shape. And we have a goal, man. We’ve got to get it done. I think the coaches, the personnel, the players – it’s a matter of just a matter of being healthy. I think if we can just do that, the sky’s the limits for this offense and for this team. I think what (strength and conditioning coach Eric Ciano) Coach Ciano is trying to explain is just that he wants me to go out there and work hard, but also be smart and kind of get me ready for the regular season.
Q: Did you train a little differently this offseason?
A: Oh man. I’ll tell you what, I went back to that old “Rocky” mentality. All the train in Arizona, going here, going there, I went back to my home town Harrisburg. Put all the Bentleys and Rolls Royces away and got to work. I’m probably 211, 210 (pounds). That’s probably the last I’ve been since my second year in the league. You know, so I’ve got a lot to prove this year. A lot of people doubt on me, doubt on this team, and this offense. I big into answering a lot of doubters. So, I’m happy to be here to get it done. I mean that what all the hard training took place this year. So, I’m ready to go.
Q: Do you have a chip on your shoulder?
A: Ah man, big chip. I mean we’ll see. We’ll figure it out. We’ll find out.
Q: After what happened in the offseason, with the incident, how much anxiety did you have about what could happen?
A: For sure. Curious to see what would happen. It was a bad situation, I think, just to be in at that particular time. I mean you know I’m not going to do the…At the end of the day, like I said before when I called my owners and my coaches and let them know exactly what happened. I’m an honest person, I’ve never been in trouble a day in my life. I’ve been from nothing, a hard working family. So, I told everybody. I was honest. And I was right, it was obvious. I mean you all read it, you all saw what happened. And I mean nothing came out of it. You know, it just sucks that your name gets dragged into so much negative press for just being in a situation that you had nothing to do with. I mean, but that’s life. I’m not going to sit here and complain about it. It is what it is.
Q: Not to say that you were lacking focus last year, but you ended last season with wanting to take a leadership role. How much did what happened with all that stuff refocus your attention as to what you want to do?
A: I mean, you’re actually right. I just had a long talk with Mr. (Roger) Goodell about the incident. As a leader, the guy that I want to be for this team things like that just can’t happen. There’s no excuses for it. You don’t hear of other guys like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady getting into incidents like that. I think some times you get so lackadaisical with being successful as a football player and you let all the minor things go. In a situation like that you have security or even off-duty officers working for me at the time and this thing never gets out of hand. So, there’s always ways to kind of resolve and hopefully not even take it to that level where it’s a big situation. Where, now looked at as doing something negative or wrong. I mean, but to settle that, that’s over with. I’m not going to talk about that, no more. I mean, it came off as I was this terrible cop-beater. And now, I’m off because I didn’t do anything wrong and they whisper it. They yell about how I’m so wrong when I did this and that. And then, now, they whisper “Oh, well he didn’t do anything wrong and that was it.” I’m over the past. It is what it is.
Q: What was Kim and Terry (Pegula)’s message to you after everything had cleared?
A: They were actually really positive. I think, for me, just being honest and telling them right away before it got out told them a lot about myself. I kind of talked to Mr. Pegula, I didn’t know how to talk to Mrs. Pegula about that, that’s kind of tough. But, I mean, he was real positive. He asked exactly what happened. I told him and that was really it. He’s been around so he understands things do happen. And I was happy that he was understanding about it. It was fine. I’m blessed to be a situation like this where my owners are understanding. Sometimes things get out of hand and you can get blamed just for being there.
Q: This team led the league in rushing last year…
A: Football question? Ok, alright.
Q: I had to get it out of the way. What can you do this year as an offense to be better?
A: So much. I’m the lead guy in the backfield and we led the NFL in rushing and I just had an average year. So I tell myself I can get going more. We have the plays to get it done. I look at last year as being up-and-down as far as health. That matters. And also, a lot of my one-on-one battles, I didn’t win. I’m more known for that, so I got to do a lot better job of making plays. And then you got the whole offensive line healthy, they play together for the second year, and that’s why I feel like the sky’s the limit because in any offense, you need the guys up front to believe and then they have to be in tune with everything. The audibles, the blocking assignments, it starts with them. And we got Tyrod in his second year as the starting quarterback and if you see the things he did in his first year, just imagine the things he’ll do in his second year. I mean, we kind of got the passing game going and when you got the deep threat going like that, it’s so much easier to run the ball and that’s why I think the biggest thing with the offense this year, everyone’s on the same page. You know what side the best sides runs on, you know what type of lineman blocks this certain way because it was a learning experience. For our lineman, I’m probably a different back than what they’re used to blocking for. So all those things in one can make a difference. Last year, we led the league, but we can really do some real damage by controlling the games. We play some of those offenses like the Patriots, you know how their strength is throwing the ball and driving on the field? Well if we run the ball and handle success, it changes the game tremendously. So that’s something that we have to get better at as an offense where we’re asking the questions, “How can we get better?” Things like that.
Q: When you observed Tyrod Taylor during the offseason, what were some of the things you saw with him?
A: Tyrod looked good, man. He’s a hard worker. I think the best thing about him is he wants to strive to be the best. He’s not relaxed, he has that attitude of he always wants to get better. You need that in this game for sure because so many players are up-and-down for years. So that’s one of the things he wants to get better at. He wants to get better at play-calling, maybe help out a little bit more with that. So, I’m confident in Tyrod, for sure. A lot of people are still asking, “Is he good?” He’s real good. He’s real good, he throws the ball well, he controls the offense. Tyrod, he’s not really a vocal guy and that’s something I’ve picked up on, I’ve seen it; he’s actually been very vocal with the leadership. Demanding respect in the huddle, demanding respect as the offensive main guy. He’s the main guy. He’s the quarterback. He’s taking that approach now where before, it was like, “Alright, I’m just here.” Now he’s actually arrived and he’s our main guy so it makes a difference in confidence.
Q: How much is that the next step for a quarterback, to show that kind of assertiveness?
A: Oh man, for sure. It’s kind of like you’re sure of yourself. I think he came in here as one of the guys trying to be on the team and showcase that he’s a good player, but now he’s the main guy. So knowing that, it’s a whole new, different dimension when you talk about the leaders of the team, talk about the main guys of the offense. It goes through Tyrod. And he knows that. So that makes a difference.
Q: Where are you at mentally one year after being traded here? Do you feel like you’re in a better place mentally than you were last year?
A: For sure. I mean, I remember just coming here into camp, just the small things that you just take for granted like the atmosphere, the fans, it’s a whole different place than I’m used to. So that takes some time, to be honest. That takes some time to get used to, the difference. Being somewhere for so long and like running the show. Yeah, to be honest, that took some time mentally. But now, I’m totally past that. One thing I want to do more, I want to get more to the community as far as a Buffalo Bill. I want to be that guy that was there, here. So that’s something I’ve really been striving to do. Even training, I’m thinking about it. I want to be the guy that leads the Buffalo Bills to where we need to go.
Q: LeSean, going into your eighth season, what would you say is your best feature?
A: You’re going to find out. I ain’t talking about that. You’ll see.
WR Robert Woods
Q: How are you in regards to your health? After going through what you did last year? Where are you at right now?
A: Feel pretty great. Back in stride. You know last year was kind of hard just being able to run and getting through things. Ever since the surgery and by the time March came, you know OTA’s and minicamp, it was pretty much a breeze. So right now, just feeling back in stride. Feeling good.
Q: Given the fact that a year ago you had Percy [Harvin] and Chris Hogan and just the fact that you want to take the number two, you’re the number two guy. How much after last year do you want to reestablish yourself as that guy?
A: Yeah, just get back to playing my game. I was injured last year. Battled a lot of injuries, so it’s hard really to be at my A game throughout that. But it’s just competition. We had Hogan, had Percy come in and pushing us. That’s what we do. We compete here. And at the same time, we have guys still competing for the number two spot and even for the number one spot. Sammy is injured right now so we’re just pushing to be better as a unit. We push all to be number ones like I’ve been saying. We make this team so much better.
Q: How much does this being your contract year weigh into your vibe?
A: Not at all really. It’s just playing my game. You know, be healthy. Finish the year strong. Greg Roman gives this offense many, many chances. So really just be a viable option, be healthy, and the game will come and will just take over from there.
Q: What do you think in the passing game you guys have to do better than you did last year? You ran the ball great last year but the passing game, outside of the deep ball, was a little bit spotty. What do you guys have to do to make that passing game better than it was last year?
A: I think just work on it more. I think Tyrod, you know he has a beautiful ball, beautiful deep ball. Just working on the middle game. I think just coming across the middle a lot faster for him. And just being an open target. When we’re getting open, it may just work a little bit faster for him to see it and be able to make those short passes and mid range passes and take it for a distance.
Q: What do you see as the difference now that Tyrod is entering this camp as the number one guy? What differences do you see in him?
A: I mean, he always was confident, I feel like coming in second year knowing he’s the starting quarterback, knowing Greg Roman’s offense, I feel that adds a whole lot more to Tyrod’s confidence, to our team’s confidence. It’s just made us more comfortable. And understanding our coaches and our coaches understanding us. I think that’ll expand our team and our offense by a lot.
Provided by the Buffalo Bills.