Q: Just take us through some of the specifics of how you arrived at this decision.
A: Well, really, I go back to the process and the methodical approach that we have been taking since day one back in January. We’ve looked, really, at every option and explored every opportunity, at this time, available to us and we just feel like this was the best move for the Bills at this time.
Q: Why do you think this is the best option? What about Tyrod [Taylor] appealed to you to the point of trying to find a way to keep him here?
A: Yeah…You know, you start with the character of the individual we’re talking about here. I had a chance to get to know Tyrod a little bit and I’ve done my research. So, the character and then secondly, the work ethic. I’ve had a chance to observe him and his rehab a little bit, and the process he’s gone through to get himself healthy, and that’s been very admirable on all ends – and then, the toughness component. When I look at the quarterback position and the toughness that he embodies is very – [they] are great qualities. You start there, and you get into his skill set, the number of games that they’ve had a chance to win in the last two years since Tyrod’s been here. That’s really how it progressed and, really, the things that I looked at were the intangibles. That’s where I started.
Q: How did you reconcile with Tyrod – and that was before you got here – how things ended last season with Tyrod being benched and expressing concern as to what it was in Buffalo, as opposed to where you got to today in the team and you wanting Tyrod here in Buffalo?
A: Well, first and foremost, it’s a credit to Tyrod. We’ve been in touch, really, since the first day on the job and he’s made himself very available in that regard and so I really appreciate that on his end of it. We’ve had some very good, productive, healthy conversations and he’s been first-class the whole way. It shaped up the right way and I feel like this is a good move in the best interests of the organization at this time.
Q: How much of a concern is the inconsistency that [Tyrod] has shown in the passing game?
A: When you look at all of our players, that’s what we’ve got to do, is we’ve got to put the players in a position to be successful in the systems that we’re going to implore and then after that is developing the players to be the best players that they can possibly be – putting pieces around people as we build this team to give us the best chance to win on Sunday afternoons.Q: How insistent was Tyrod, to you, in terms of his want to stay in Buffalo?
A: Well, it was clear early on in the process for Tyrod and our relationship that – that was one of the first things that we discussed, was that. We want guys who want to be here and so we got that out of the way very early on in the process. He made it very clear that he was definitely interested in being a Buffalo Bill.
Q: Does this preclude you pursuing a quarterback in the NFL Draft?
A: We’re going to look at every position, quarterback no different. We’re always looking to do what’s best for this football team and that’s what we’re doing. We’re building a team. As I mentioned before – last week – we’re going to look to create competition and depth at every position and this [position] is no different.
Q: You’re familiar with athletic quarterbacks. Are you excited to work with a player of Tyrod’s immense running ability and how do you see that factoring into something that’s consistent and can keep him healthy while also developing him as a passer?
A: Yeah, I’ve been fortunate enough to be around two mobile quarterbacks in my career, one with Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia and then Cam Newton in Carolina. That skill set is a familiar one to me and there is certainly a fine line to using one’s mobility to make plays and escape situations that are not favorable so I’m very familiar with that. … Again, it comes down to really our system and the system that Rick’s going to use on offense and there’s certainly some movement in that system that’s based in and then Tyrod’s going to be able to do some things in that system. I think it’s a good fit and I feel strongly about that.
Q: Just wondering, when was the final decision made for when you knew Tyrod was going to be the guy and what was maybe the thing that kind of put you over that way to make you think that Tyrod was maybe that guy this upcoming season?
A: I mean really, when you go through that process, it’s probably difficult to pinpoint one moment in time where you say, “Hey, yeah, this is it or that was it.” It’s really gathering information the entire time and in that methodical approach I had mentioned before and then just after that, watching it come together and again, giving credit to Jim Overdorf (Sr. VP of Football Administration) and Kevin Meganck (Director of Football Operations) in terms on the negotiation side of things and then Adisa (Bakari), Tyrod’s agent just did a great job in making this the right fit for both sides.
Q: Can you kind of tell us the roll assistant coaches had here, Dennison and also David Culley (QBs Coach), maybe even other coaches that had to go back and watch film and what their role was in this entire process?
A: Yeah, they did a phenomenal job and this thing’s been a team effort from the start with Doug and his staff and the coaches as well and the evaluation and David Culley and Rick Dennison did a phenomenal job along with the other coaches. I mean, whenever you talk about the quarterback position, it not only isolates to that position alone – the quarterback affects all positions. So, this was an entire team decision and it wasn’t just those two. Those two did a phenomenal job, that’s where it certainly originated from though.
Q: Even with Tyrod having two years under his belt, there’s been some inconsistencies with his game. What would you and Rick and the team like to see as far as on-field improvement from Tyrod and what would you like to stress when it comes to his play?
A: Well I go back to the system. I want to see him execute the system just like every other player, whether you’re talking about offensive football, the quarterback position or defensive football and playing middle linebacker. I want to see the players execute the system and then use their natural abilities to make plays and if we’re doing our jobs as coaches, that means putting them in position and shaping the system around their skillset. So that’s that marriage between athlete and system. So, that’s really how I see it.
Q: What does this decision say about the organization’s feeling within, that this team is ready to compete for a playoff spot and potentially, and hopefully from your perspective, a championship?
A: Well I mentioned this the other week about being competitive. And we’re going to compete in everything we do. That’s how this thing’s going to look and I expect that from myself, I expect the same from our players and coaches and we’re going to earn the right. And that means doing things the right way and the decisions we make on a daily basis and when we prepare to play games, starting when we get in here and starting with Phase One in early April, I mean we’re going to earn the right to win games, and you do that by being methodical and being process-oriented this time of year. I mean, you’re putting yourself in position by doing things the right way on a day-to-day basis.
Q: Not necessarily on Tyrod, this is your first chance as a head coach to go through this process of the contact period and things like that. What has that been like for you over the last 48 hours and heading into tomorrow, especially?
A: It’s been really rewarding when you look at things in terms of how we were able to get this deal done and things that came together the right way. Again, it’s a result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people at One Bills Drive. This is a team game and this was a team effort. Everyone in that building should feel a of accomplishment because it came together the right way and feel good about it going forward and excited to get Tyrod – all these conversations about this and that and which direction they’re going? Well, this is where we are, so it’s a good day for the Buffalo Bills organization.
Q: How would you characterize the way the team’s approach to free agency from here on out now that you have that deal restructured?
A: We’re looking at every option, we really are, in terms of trying to improve our football team and that’s really what we’re doing. We’re building a team and we’re going to do what’s best not only in this situation, but every situation going forward for this team, both in the short and long-term.
Q: Building off the last question, do you think you need to build onto the offense? A lot of last year, it seemed like Tyrod was dealing with a very depleted wide receiver core and just in the last 10 minutes it looks like you guys are losing another wide receiver. How big of a priority is that?
A: Referring specially to the wide receiver position?
A: Yeah, again, we’re going to look at every position. Sammy (Watkins) is a dynamic receiver for us and we’ve got other guys on the roster who we feel very confident about. Having said that, that doesn’t mean we stop here. We got to continue to work. There’s no “relaxation syndrome” at this point in time. We can’t do that. We’ve got to continue to work and explore every opportunity to improve this football team.
Q: How difficult would it have been to keep Tyrod Taylor had he not agreed to restructure his deal?
A: Well we just really felt like for us, at this time, doing it this way was best for us and this organization and it was a good fit for Tyrod. I’ll never know that because we didn’t go down that road, so to speak. So this is what we came to and we feel good about it obviously in order to get this deal done like we did.
Before I finish here, I just wanted to let you know that we have agreed to terms with our punter Colton Schmidt at this time. I wanted to make sure that I got this to you guys on time here.
Q: There’s a report out there that Patrick DiMarco – you guys have expressed interest in him?
A: Yeah, I can’t comment on those players at this time and we just need to leave it at that for right now.
Courtesy of the Buffalo Bills