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What They Said: Buffalo Bills training camp transcripts of Rex Ryan, Preston Brown & Reggie Ragland

Head coach Rex Ryan

Q: So there were a lot of offsides, a lot of jumping. What were your thoughts on that?

A: I wasn’t real happy about that. That’s something when you look back on last year, obviously some of the things that we’ve got to get a heck of a lot. That is obviously the penalties. And those self-inflicted ones which is jumping offsides, false starts, late hits. You know those are things that we know we can clean up and we have to clean up. So, talked about it again today. You’re going to see us start to do some things to remind it. You know we just do the pushups and all that, but I think it’s best that, you know, we’re going to start running laps. That was the old, my old coach used to have you do that and it seemed to work then so we’re going to go back to it.

Q: More the offense that were jumping offsides?

A: We shared in it. We had a couple offsides on both sides so we had a couple of defensive guys. You know, the old nose tackle jumping off. That’s the one that always gets you. We had a couple of those today and then we had a couple of false starts also.

Q: Are you gonna have them running laps?

A: Yeah, I mean I hope we don’t major in it. Obviously though, it’s something we need to get a lot better at.

Q: What would you say led to the high number of catches against Ronald Darby today? There were seven or eight of them.

A: You know what, I think you gotta give credit to some of the guys that went up. I know there’s some good competition for some balls and things. That’s one of those things when you got that other end, it’s coming your way now. But that’s good. I know the competitor that he is so he probably can’t wait to get to practice tomorrow.

Q: Hey Rex, size was something that was noticeably absent on the receiving end. You’ve made a point to try to add some of that. And you know, Greg Little flashed today. Size is the only reason he came up with that ball on Darby. Can you address how that might help you in the red zone, when space is tight and maybe some areas on the field?

A: I think you’re exactly right. That’s where the size is the biggest advantage. It’s in the red zone where you are getting the one-on-ones. It’s tough. Sometimes you got to force the ball in there. In to tight coverage, tighter windows. And that’s where those big competitive receivers have an advantage. And he did. You saw him. He made a nice one. You know, a little contact or whatever, to get a little separation. But those are those big bodies and that’s what you’ve got to learn to stop on defense, and we’ve got to use those big bodies on offense. Dez, he’s got size. Those two jump out at you. So we’ll see. I think we got, like I said, a combination. You know? Different skill sets from guys. And we’ll see how it shakes out.

Q: When Reggie was drafted, a lot of questions maybe about his coverage ability, fair or unfair, but how do you think that part of his game has come along from what you’ve seen so far.

A: I really like the way he is. I think he’s a complete player. That’s what you saw in tape and that’s what he is here. He can blitz, he can hit, he can stuff the run, and I think he’s good pass defense. He understands it. I think everybody’s question is when you see a guy’s 40 time. But there’s players in this league that…they just know how to play. It might not be the fastest guy, but somebody with speed that doesn’t have the instincts and awareness of others. Sometime doesn’t play as fast as maybe a guy that can’t run a 40 but I said before, I think that was a negative about Reggie, his cover skills.

Q: What gives you reason for optimism that this season will be better than last?

A: Well first off, I feel great about it. I feel great about the coaching staff we have. I feel great about the fact that we’ve been around these players. This isn’t our first year. So I know that I’m very familiar with the players that we have on the roster and I think the same thing with the coaches. And then some of the new coaches we brought in have a ton of experience in this system or you know, my brother. I think that works out well.

Q: Are we still in the waiting mode on Aaron Williams? Obviously no contact yet. He seems perfectly confident but is there still that in the back of your mind that you’ve got to see him do it?

A: It’s not in my mind, but it may be in his. I’m not sure. You know, I think any time a player comes off an injury, first off, you’ve got to get on the field, and you’ve got to be running around doing your athletic drills and things but there’s nothing like that first contact either and obviously, we don’t intend for him to get in until you put the pads on and get in and we’re in a scrimmage situation. But I know that I’m confident. The way the doctors feel about Aaron and they’re confident that he’s going to be just fine and better than he was.

Q: Last year, this place was jumping during training camp. There was a lot of atmosphere, a lot of buzz. It seemed, you know. I wasn’t here yesterday but I’ve been told today was a lot like yesterday, much more subdued. Do you agree with that?

A: Yeah, I guess. You know, I think it was so new and you’re coming in and I think there was some of that type of feel but you look at our circumstances. You had competition at a quarterback position. I think that was a lot of the focus and nobody including coaches, players, fans, really knew who the quarterback was going to be. So as a coach you’re trying to get to know the players and all that so that was exciting. But now it’s more…I guess it is more business-like. I think that would be maybe how I would look at it. But I love it. I love how the fans come out here and support this team like really nobody else. But there might not be quite the same kind of buzz that it was last year. I would agree with you on that.

Q: Rex, another rookie on defense, Adolphus Washington, do you expect big things out of him? Can you tell us what you’re seeing in him?

A: Well, I think first off when your talents are alongside Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Corbin Bryant--hey, you know, some real players--I would think that you’d able to make some big plays because the focus is not going to be on you. The focus is going to be on others. He’s going to be in more one-on-one type situations and I think he’s got that type of ability where he’s going to show up, he’s going to make plays. I like his mentality. You could tell he really likes to play and he’s athletic. Another guy who never ran a great 40 (yard-dash) but on film he can show pass-rush ability, change of direction skills. I think he was, if I’m not mistaken, the player of the year in basketball in Ohio, so I think he’s got some unusual athleticism.

Q: Yesterday you talked about what the timeframe is to turn this around. You joked it was five years, then you said two years. This is the second year. Are you feeling that right now? That this has to happen for you in particular?

A: I’ve always said it’s never been about me because it really isn’t. I never approached it, ever in my life, worried about my job. All I’m going to do is the best job I possibly can do and we’ll see what happens. But I’m confident in this football team. I’m not a guy that needs to say those types of things, although it worked for that Cubs GM. I remember he was saying, “Oh, 10-year plan.” I meant 10 years, not five years. But I also know how the game is and things like that and I certainly understand that from a Bills fan perspective and I know how much they’ve longed and lived through their team and like we talk about, 16-year playoff drought and all that. I understand all that stuff, but all I can do is do the best job I possibly can do. For me, I’m not dwelling on anything. This is what my job is and that’s what I’m going to do.

Q: Where does Charles Clay stand physically? It looked like he sat out most of practice.

A: He’s doing fantastic, we’re just being smart with him. Some position coaches now know we’re backing off on guys. We’re not rolling them in and getting those types of reps that they really got last year. We kind of learned from that. We want to be at our very best come that opening night and if that means we gotta cut back on a few guys, then that’s what we’re going to do.

Q: Is it a back (injury) with him like it was at the end of last season?

A: Well really, he’s fine right now. But it’s just more of being smart and not putting undue stress on him.

Q: Have these past two days been a big eye-opener for Cardale Jones? Is his head spinning a little bit with what’s going on out there?

A: I’m not sure. I guess. Obviously you’re going to have to ask him. I think coming into this league, if you’re a rookie quarterback, it’s probably is big for anybody that comes in. I’ve seen him do a lot of good things and then there’s times where it’s like the traditional rookie quarterback hold-the-ball, hold-the-ball. No, no. You’ve got to let it go, and I think those are things where you have to adapt to the speed of the game and the skill of the National Football League and we’ll see how he does.

Q: But when he lets it go, he lets it go.

A: Yeesh, I agree with you. He can let it fly now. He’s got a big-time arm, so he’s got the NFL skillset.

Q: I know it’s only been two practices, but what do you see there so far with the running backs? With Karlos having to miss the first four games, what did you see from the players behind him?

A: Well first off, we drafted the (Jonathan) Williams kid from Arkansas. He’s flashed some things, he looks good. He’s getting better and better as we go. And really with Boom (Daniel) Herron, who was with us a little bit, he’s come in and understands the playbook. A smart kid. And I’ve been impressed with James Wilder. So, we’ll see. It’s hard to say, “I don’t feel great about the running back situation.” We’ve got Shady McCoy as the bell-cow and he’s proven in this league that he can be ‘the’ guy, but it’s also the other depth. We talk about TD Mike (Gillislee), we haven’t even mentioned him. He’s a guy last year that showed some of the skills that he has, so I don’t think its dire strait. Would we have liked to have Karlos out here and have him for the first four games? Certainly.

Q: Thoughts on defensive communication?

A: I think like I said before, when it’s working, it’s simple for the defensive players and it’s difficult for the offensive players. That’s when you know you got it going pretty good. I think we’re getting closer to that. I don’t think we’re all the way there but we’re definitely working at it. There’s a much better feel from guys in this system, what we want, and the communication. Like last year, it wasn’t very noisy. I thought we were getting better but right now, a good defense is a noisy defense. I think you could hear them. I think when you start mic’ing up players you’ll know what we’re talking about. Guys are constantly communicating, talking, and we understand what we’re saying now.

Q: Defensively, do you think you’re communicating it to them or has the scheme itself actually gotten through?

A: I mean, I think, we have our guys – they feel comfortable in the positions that their in and I think that’s a big thing. You know we have a lot of defenses in. But, I think the work, the preparation, that the players have put have been key also. I think that shouldn’t be understated. It’s the players that, I mean they want to be great. And we want to be, and like I said I’m confident we’ll be much better than we were last year.

Q: Rex, tomorrow are you going to go pads and contact?

A: Yes, Monday. They’re running together, but yes.

Q: And with regard to that, just as you were stating, about taking care of players that you don’t – you pull out of drills, just to preserve them more and you’re conscience of that. How does that apply when the pads are on and the hitting begins? And will the tone and tempo be super intense, dialed down? How do you look at all that?

A: Well, I think the tone always picks up when the pads come on. I think that’s just a natural thing. And it’s a very violent, physical sport, but we’re not taking guys to the ground. So, until we have a legitimate scrimmage, which will be a blue-white scrimmage out here we will not have a -- or I take that back. Until, we will have a goal line, you know, type thing which will be before the scrimmage. That’ll be really the first live contact we have so to speak, where we’re literally taking the ball-carrier down. But we’re going to be physical you have to learn to carry your pads and you know. But, it will be physical there’s no doubt. It’s just we’re going to make sure we’re protecting each other. We’re not at that stage where we’re going to take guys to the ground, yet.

Q: Is that Saturday, the scrimmage?

A: I think so. I believe it is.

Q: Maybe scaling off the guys, has that been a philosophical change for you in the past? Have you done that in the past when you were with the Jets or anything like that?

A: I think it’s a combination of the two. I think last year the schedule in itself and the reps that we were getting were so much more, that it really taxed everybody. When you go back and look at it, it really taxed everybody. You’ll notice today we had, we split up a red zone period. Well, that’s a lot less running than it is in the middle of the field, for instance. So, yeah definitely went back and learned from it and you know I think it’s good.

Q: And previously—

A: Yeah, I had never done the split thing. Where I was bragging about it. And quite honestly it did help us in making our decision on who the quarterback was, but at the same time it might have hurt us in the long run with the type of injuries that we had.

Q: How would you characterize Tyrod (Taylor)’s first couple of days? From our perspective it doesn’t seem like he was as good the past two days, as he was at minicamp.

A: I think the coverages are a little tighter right now. And some of those things during those minicamps there’s sometimes when you can’t—you know you’re playing more off coverage than you are press coverage and I think sometimes that might affect things, as well—you have to make throws in tighter windows. There were some that he made great throws but guys just weren’t open. And, you know, I’m looking at the red zone down here. On the defense, I think we gave up one score in two periods there and it was like the last play in a cover-zero, you know, all out blitz and a guy made a nice move and competed for the football. But other than that there were some-- you want to protect our team, first and foremost you don’t want to force the issue. And especially in that red zone, but you have to be able to throw it in tight windows. So, it’s kind of tough right there, but quite honestly I think the defense won that today just for the simple fact their coverage was so good.

Q: Rex, what do you make of Blake Annen at the tight end position?

A: The one kid I always know about him—that kid can really run. And there’s a guy that he might have been a 4.4 something, 40 type guy. So, it’s unusual for that position to have a tight end that can really run like that. Similar to like a (Charles) Clay a guy that has that type of ability that kind, that kind of speed. So, that kind of sets him apart a little bit. We’ll see when the pads come on what kind of blocker he is. And, you know he’s definitely going to get an opportunity to make this football team, so we’ll see how it goes. But I love that the fact that he has that kind of speed.

LB Preston Brown

Q: How do you see (Reggie) Ragland improving from even the last time you guys last lined up in mini-camp?

A: I think he improves every day. Just learning the NFL game and learning our defense and learning route concepts and runs that he’s going to get, he’s starting to fly around and it’s good to see.

Q: From your perspective, what are you looking to accomplish over this training camp period?

A: Just to get better as a whole. Just try to lead the defense in the right direction to make sure we know what we’re doing, when to do it, and go out there and make plays.

Q: Has there been a big difference between year one and year two in Rex’s defense?

A: Definitely. We’re more invested because we know we have to be. We can’t take things for granted, say, “Ah, you know what?” We have to put in the time and make sure we study our plays, know we’re doing the right things, so everybody’s going out this year ready to go.

Q: You’re invested and you’re adjusting. Did Rex adjust his defense?

A: He did. He adjusted to things that we do well. He sees the players that we have now and he’s making plays to make us make plays in games. So it’s great to see him adjusting the defense to fit us.

LB Reggie Ragland

Q: You came from a top program in Alabama. What’s the difference been like?

A: The difference is I’m not in 100 degree-plus heat. But I’m coming out here with this team, it’s great. I love this team and everyone has welcomed me with open arms and has helped me become a better play on and off the field, so all the vets are teaching me. I’m asking the questions I need to ask to be a successful player on and off the field and for the most part, I love this team so far and I love being around these guys.

Q: Some questioned your ability to maybe cover at this level but so far, so good it looks like out there. How do you think you’ve acclimated that part of your game?

A: I’ve acclimated pretty well. Covering a guy like O.J. Howard at Alabama and Amari Cooper and all those guys has helped me a lot coming out here. For the most part, I think I’m doing a good job.

Q: How smooth has this process been for you?

A: It’s been good. Coach Saban prepared me the right way and coming into this program, it’s just like that, and some. So, coming over from Coach Saban, it’s helped me a lot.

Q: Has the biggest adjustment been off the field with meetings and times and things like that, or on the field?

A: The biggest adjustments have probably been on the field because I’m learning a new playbook. Off the field, it’s about the same. But on the field, it’s really about learning the new playbook and trying to implement it on the field.

Provided by the Buffalo Bills. 

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