Head Coach Sean McDermott
Opening Statement: I want to start off by thanking everyone that’s involved in training camp. You don’t put on an operation like this at the last minute and one man can’t get this done. So, everyone that’s been involved from St. John Fisher, President Rooney, the Bills organization, a huge thank you from myself and our staff to be able to show up basically and roll right in to camp and give us a chance to win with this type of operation is phenomenal. It goes a long way in terms of what we’re trying to get done.
Secondly, to get back to the best fans in football and this area and the Buffalo Bills fans. Its good to connect with our fans in the Rochester area and the ones that travel to come see us, we appreciate it.
And then finally, I just believe in going away. I know how important that is for training camp. It goes a long way in terms of building our football team. I addressed in the spring in terms of what we’re trying to get done and build our identity. Get to know one another the camaraderie that develops for, going away, and develop the toughness of our football team.
So, we’re happy to be here. We’re excited to get this thing going, kicking off tonight and look forward to seeing our fans out here each-and-every practice to support us.
I’ll start out with some injury updates. Colt Anderson the first one. Colt has a foot sprain. He’s listed as week-to-week. And then just an update quickly on Sammy (Watkins) and Cordy Glenn. Both are on schedule. Both I thought handled the offseason time tremendously. And credit to our strength staff, our training staff and both Sammy and Cordy in terms of being on schedule. We’re still going to manage their reps as we move forward, but it looks like they’re in a good spot and ready to go. With that I’ll take your questions.
Q: Of the 90 players that were here a year ago, there are only 30 here. With that kind of roster turnover what are your expectations knowing that there has to be a lot of gelling that still needs to take place at camp?
A: My expectations haven’t changed. My expectations are that we’re going to work hard, we’re going to compete. We’ve got a lot of work to do obviously to your point. We’re putting together a roster –Brandon (Beane) and his staff – that’s going to compete, there’s going to be competition at every position and we look forward to it. That’s what training camp is all about. That brings out the best in true competitors. Those are my expectations. We’re going to focus on the process and that’s focusing on us and that’s what we have to do right now, that’s what’s in front of us.
Q: Trading Cardale (Jones) yesterday. Was that a move that was made to give the three guys here proper reps, as opposed to spreading it over four guys? If there’s a different reason you could share that.
A: Well, you’re right. Cardale’s a good football player. We felt that that was in our best interest at this time from a reps standpoint that we could evaluate our three quarterbacks with Nate (Peterman), TJ (Yates) and Tyrod (Taylor). And then also felt like the time was right with Cardale to get him a chance to get on with a coach that he knows in a place that there’s a familiar face and possibly a familiar offense for him as well.
Q: Would you say that Nate is the biggest beneficiary from that subtraction I mean just in terms of looking at the whole thing just more opportunities for him to get snaps.
A: Yeah, that would be one definitely. I mean we’re confident in the quarterbacks we have in camp and that’s another reason for the move and – but giving Nate opportunities and really all three the right amount of opportunities. So, we feel good about it.
Q: Can you talk more about Sammy and the management of reps, recovery. To what extent is the management going to take place?
A: Yeah, you know they’ve put together – we’ve put together between Shone and our training staff, our coaching staff, a rep count that will build up and at times come down a little bit just based off of the plan. From the outset, we’ve got to be flexible with that and see how he feels and that starts tonight.
Q: How long do you think it will take – going into the season people don’t know you, they don’t know what to expect – where people can start expecting results?
A: Well you know there’s—we’re going to focus on right now this practice and that’s really where my focus is. If we do the right things that’s where the results will come and I’m confident in that. And that starts by doing the right things in the meeting room, doing the right things on the field and focusing on fundamentals, focusing on catching the football, focusing on blocking, focusing on tackling, focusing on developing the toughness of our football team, focusing in on not beating ourselves, being disciplined. That’s what I’m focused on and that’s what I want our players and coaches focused in on at this time.
Q: Where do things stand on Anquan Boldin and where do things stand on your receiver situation? Is it enough of a concern that you’ve got your eye out for adding people?
A: Well, Anquan is a good football player, certainly a well-established football player in this league. We all know that. I had a nice visit with Anquan. We’re always doing to look to add good football players, no different in this case. Whether it’s at the wide receiver position, which were confident in with what we have at the position. That doesn’t stop us from continuously looking to add to whether it’s that positon or another position. That’s how you build a competitive roster and the competition that we want to see. And quite frankly the fans want to see out here on a daily basis
Q: Are you sort of waiting on Anquan to decide on what he’s wants to do? How did the visit go to the extent of possibly signing?
A: It was a good visit. It was a good visit and we’re going through that process of-- that those decisions usually take time on both ends. And so were going through the process and we’ll just see how it plays out.
Q: What was your level of disappointment with the news about Adolphus (Washington)?
A: Well, it was high. I was disappointed. And also thankful that no one was hurt. He, in terms of Adolphus, right from the start has been great in terms of communication from the time that incident unfolded with us. Brandon And I both met with Adolphus. You want to know the full story, right? That’s the key. Every situation is a little bit different. That said this is obviously an open legal matter so to go into any more detail at this time is— I can’t do that. I was disappointed.
Q: Coach, with respect to the guys you signed earlier in the week, what should we anticipate here at the outset terms of camp. Are you just going to throw them into the fire or just kind of ramp them up steadily here in terms of reps and participation on the field?
A: Well, we’ll keep that in mind certainly. You know it training camp there’s not going to be a whole lot of babying people going on just because this is training camp. This is for real and it’s time to play football. And so players, in these situations that have been in the league long enough know that they’ve got to get caught up and caught up in a hurry. So, we’ll keep that in mind for a certain period of time, but after that it’s time to move forward and get going.
Q: From the time you were hired to now, what do you think needed to be changed the most around here?
A: Well anytime you take over a football team, it’s my belief that one of the things you look at is the culture and transforming the culture. And you do that with people and so as you know we’ve added some people at the player level, we’ve added some people in the building at the executive level, we’ve certainly added some coaches. This a people-driven business. You win with people. And then it’s a player-driven league. I think we’ve done a good job of that. We’re going to continue to look at ways to improve those areas. Part of that is changing the mindset. Confidence goes a long way when you do the right things, when you earn the right to win Monday through Saturday, when you earn the right to win on the field at practice at training camp. You give yourself a chance. And so that’s what we’re focused on right now and I’m excited to watch our football team prepare.
Q: You’ve had the OTA’s, minicamps, all that. Is this different for you? Do you allow yourself one minute, two minutes, maybe five minutes to maybe smile as the head coach when training camp starts?
A: You do. I’m human, right? So you take a couple of minutes to sit back and look around and say ‘this is what you worked for.’ This is what I worked for in my career, but then you quickly move on. I’m comfortable. I really am – I’m comfortable. We’ve prepared – Brandon and I both – for this opportunity and we’ve got great staffs around us, and that’s what makes me comfortable. With the coaching staff we’ve put together, with the personnel staff that Brandon’s put together, and then the entire Bills organization and what they’ve done to embrace us as we come in the building as a new coaching staff. There [are] a lot of good people in that building. I’m excited to get started. It’s for real. The heart, as I said to our team last night in our team meeting, if you’re heart’s not beating a bit faster today – and this was yesterday, but even tonight – my heart’s going to be going because it’s the first practice and ever since I’ve been this tall, this time of year I’ve been in football camp so this is what I know.
Q: You said that Cordy [Glenn] is on schedule, so what now is the plan for Dion Dawkins, because he was significantly at left tackle pretty much every time we saw him.
A: Yeah, we’re going to look at Dion on both sides and Cordy will play the left side – that’s obviously his natural side. Dion’s going to be playing both sides. He’s certainly got some time on the left side [and] we felt good about that in the spring in developing that foundation and flipping him over a little bit in training camp to the right side.
Q: Is Cordy out of the boot and ready to be on the field?
Q: Sean, what will make your training camp different from the 31 others in the NFL?
A: Well, when you look at what we’re focusing in on – and that’s fundamentals ‘til we’re blue in the face. I don’t know if that’s different than what other people do, all I know, really, is what we’re going to do and that’s focusing on fundamentals, focusing on developing the edge of our football team which you have a hard time doing if you don’t get it done here, and it’s also getting to know one another. The love that I have for this football team – I’m not going to let them down. I hope that – and part of our goal in coming here – is developing that love around the whole football team and the whole organization. When you have great teams over the years, even since you’ve been this tall, when you look back, great teams have that love. They have that camaraderie, and part of the goal of coming here is beginning to develop or continuing to develop that love, that foundation, and that camaraderie as a football team.
Q: Is there a timeline or a specific time you have in mind on some of these competitions where you’d like to hammer down a specific guy?
A: Well, you always want to know as soon as possible so you can get some things set and build some continuity so that’s certainly there, Josh. It’s also letting the situation play out – make sure we’re documenting all of the reps, grading every play, and not being premature in terms of our decision. Sometimes, you have to wait until the first preseason game. Sometimes, it happens in the second preseason game where the light comes on for a certain individual – in particular younger players that haven’t been through this before. Being this my 20th or so year, I’ve seen it at all different points in time so we need to respect that and the process that that involves.
Q: Sean, the previous regime brought in Logan Thomas, the tight end, kind of for a look because he was a quarterback but he’s such a great athlete. He’s still with you guys. What do you expect from that kid, again, given his background as a quarterback? What have you seen from him and what do you expect going forward?
A: Well, you look at the person that Logan is, and again, we talked about the character end of things. Just a side note, his family was over, in the spring, at the hotel in Buffalo where my family was so you get to know him off the field which is important. What he’s been able to do in terms of transitioning from the quarterback position, as you elude to, to the tight end position – he’s certainly a big body that’s got a lot of athleticism to him and some of this will be new to him. It’ll be the first time he lines up across from someone at the tight end position so that’s a part of the evaluation and you look at it and you take it one practice at a time. I’m excited to see him, I’m excited to see his development, and we’ll move forward from there.
Q: From a coaching standpoint, what does eliminating that 75-man roster cut down and going straight into 53 on September 2nd, how much does that benefit you?
A: It’s nice. It’s nice not to have to cut down. Again, we talked about the timeline earlier when it was brought up. You get a longer look at some players, you get more bodies in camp so it takes some wear and tear off some players that would still be in camp at that point in time, so I like that that got passed and that should help all teams, really.
Q: The schedule for this camp is similar to what you did in Carolina and what they still do now. Is there any reason as to why you went with something so similar for your first camp where you call the shots?
A: Well, it is similar to Carolina. There are some differences – subtle differences – in there. It’s really, as you prepare for a job, that’s certainly one of the areas that you focus in on, is how would you run training camp. It’s one of the interview questions – what would training camp look like? So the nuts and bolts of it are from Carolina in that system, but I’ve learned a lot from a lot of people around the league and spent a lot of time researching as well so we’re going to get our work in and we’re going to try to beat some weather that sometime rolls in in the afternoon and know that our work is primarily in and that’s part of the reason for the early practice times, and also the rest and recovery that’s so important for our players, putting them in position to get acclimated for the season as well.
Q: Everybody in the league is optimistic this time of year. You’re opening training camp, everybody’s upbeat. What is the level of your optimism and what is the source of your optimism?
A: Well, the source of my optimism would be a belief in the Good Lord above as we sit here. That’s where it starts. A big part of that is also confidence in the people in our organization. And then, after that, I would put myself. Confidence in myself, and so that’s important, right? Believing in our people and that we’re going to work together and put the team first. I’m also confident in the players. I’m confident in the players and the leadership in that locker room in terms of the ability to come out every day and do what’s necessary to prepare in earning the right to win, as I alluded to earlier. I’m confident that we’re going to come out and grind on this practice field and work hard in order to put ourselves in a position to win.
Q: Sean, there’s a view nationally that there aren’t particularly high expectations this season for the Bills. Are you motivated at all by the fact that the Bills might be overlooked, nationally?
A: I don’t really focus in on that. I focus in on what’s in front of us and right now that’s this practice. I certainly acknowledge that that’s been the case out there and everyone’s got their own opinions so we just have to work hard and take it one day at a time at this point.
Q: Do you at all feel the pressure from the 17-year drought?
A: The day I was hired, you’ve got to own that. When I signed my name on the dotted line and moved my family from North Carolina to Buffalo, that’s a part of us. What I’m focused in on is how we move this organization forward and how we get the fans what they’ve been looking for. I can’t wait, as we go through our process, to see this city on fire the way I remember watching it when I was growing up. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then, and that’s what we’ve got to focus on right now.
GM Brandon Beane
Q: Real quick, we got Sean [McDermott]’s take, but the Cardale [Jones] trade, just – it seems like it just frees up some time for your quarterbacks here in practice. Maybe gives him a chance to start over somewhere?
A: Yeah. It’s a win-win, and I think that’s what you want in a trade. Anthony Lynn is out there. He knows Cardale and has some familiarity. I think that started this, knowing they’re watching what we’re doing. Cardale’s the fourth [quarterback] as we left on vacation. With not having traditional two-a-days like we had back then, you needed four, maybe five quarterbacks. There’s not enough reps, really, to have four and give them all of the reps that they need. I think we would have been doing Cardale a disservice and so we found a win-win situation. He’s a great young man and I wish him the best of luck out there.
Q: So are you ruling out the possibility of bringing in another quarterback in camp?
A: Right now, we plan to go with these three. You never ‘rule anything out’ but anything that can help our roster, we’re looking at. But right now, we’re good with three.
Q: Do you think Colin Kaepernick could help your roster and are you surprised that he doesn’t have a job yet?
A: Honestly, Colin – he’s had great success in the past. I have not looked into him [or] anything like that. We’ve had plenty of quarterbacks here and I like the mesh of the three that we have. We liked Cardale, but our goal right now is just to have these three go and see how it goes in camp.
Q: Can you talk about the Anquan Boldin visit and where it stands now?
A: We had a great visit. [Anquan] came in Sunday night, nice dinner. He is a great young man – obviously a [Walter Payton] Man of the Year. They don’t just hand those out. He is the type of character, type of person, type of man, type of football player – he plays with a physicality – those are the types of things that we see and know about him. We had a great visit. That’s as much as I can tell you right now. He has options as well. I know he’s considering that from his end and that’s really all I can tell you at this point.
Q: Brandon, what was it like whenever it was that you arrived here at training camp to know that you’re arriving here and this is really the official start of you and Sean overseeing this team?
A: Just exciting. I love training camp. This is real football. We get to see the guys in pads – out of the shorts and helmet-only. It’s also – I love going away. It’s a bonding time. I’ve met most of these players, but I don’t know them all well. I just got here in the spring. It’s a chance for me to know not who they are on the field, but have conversations in the cafeteria, walking to a car, walking to whatever – I’m excited to be here. This is a great setup here at St. John Fisher. I love the close proximity and everything, the fields are great, and I’m excited.
Q: There are only thirty players left that were at training camp a year ago this time of year. What are the challenges that this franchise faces when you go through a two-thirds turnover of the roster?
A: Well, it’s chemistry, team-building, harmony – all of those synonyms. This is the true team-ultimate sport and we do have to build that and I think this setup is great for us to do that and get us started. It’s not an overnight thing. This will happen as – we’re not going to stand here week one and say ‘we’re totally gelled, everything’s ready to roll.’ This is a work-in-progress and we plan to build it not only now but as we head forward in the future.
Q: What was your reaction to [former Panthers GM] Dave [Gettleman]’s release in Carolina?
A: It was tough. I was surprised. Dave’s a good man, a good family man. I learned a lot from him. I felt terrible for him and his family – the timing of it. You never, as now a GM – one of 32 – you know how hard it was for him to get there, how long it took, and I thought it was tough to see and it is the business that we’re in. We understand that when we sign up for it, that you’re not the owner. You’re the GM and it’s their call when it’s time to make a change.
Q: It was a job that you thought might be yours someday. Did you find it kind of ironic that three months after you come here, the job opened up?
A: It’s an odd feeling, but at the same time, I really didn’t worry about it, other than trying to console some of the people from Carolina that called. I really had been focused on this place and I’m excited to be here.
Q: Have you talked to Dave at all and have you given it any thought about trying to bring him here?
A: No. We exchanged texts. I wanted to just let him settle down and just gather his thoughts. That’s an emotional thing to go through and we’ll circle back just to check on him as a man and all of that, but I have not thought about anything like that.
Q: Back to the idea of camp here, it’s a trend in a lot of places to go back home. But you see a real benefit in getting everyone away for a while.
A: I do. You cannot replicate the bonding that you do here. Guys are in dorms, were in cafeterias. It’s kind of a forced bonding, whatever you want to call it. I don’t have any obligation to go home to my family…I miss them and all that, but I don’t have to take care of my kids, run errands, the wives understand that they’re here. It’s kind of like a lock-in. In my history, I think huge to what you’re trying to build, especially with a new team trying to build the culture that Sean (McDermott) and I are trying to build here.
Q: Sean said that you met with Adolphus Washington. How did that meeting go?
A: Well it was—Adolphus, we just wanted to hear his version. He had called us. He handled the situation after it happened the way he should, as far as calling us immediately and letting us know. But we had not spoken since then and we sat down with the three of us. I’m going to keep it private what we said, but the understands that we are disappointed the situation happened. At the same time were thankful no one was injured. He understands and we’ll move forward.
Q: Sean has preached the importance of character since he got here. Do you worry with Adolphus and how the team decides to handle it could possibly undermine that message?
A: No I think every situation is unique. Those guys are going trust and see that we’re always going to do the right thing. It’s a fine line when you’re dealing with the law and accusations to get the true facts of the story. We’re always going to do our due-diligence. Every story has its own set of facts and we’ll let the situation play out, but we feel good with where we’re at.
Q: Hey Brandon, Tyrod’s kind of on a one-year trial almost in his third season. As a personnel guy how are you going to watch the quarterbacks evolve this year, knowing that next year’s college crop is going to be one of the best ever.
A: Well, I’m focused on the now. We’re always – I mean in Carolina we had Cam Newton, we’re still scouting the quarterbacks, you still have to know them. Next year is next year. We’ve got our college scouts here and that’s their job to lay out their schedule and few’ll talk about that as we go through the fall. That won’t affect how I’m thinking about Tyrod (Taylor) or Nathan (Peterman) or TJ (Yates). Again, Tyrod’s going to come in as the starter. He’s a great young man. I’m looking forward to see how he leads the first team today and as we go forward.
Q: Is it a little bit comforting to know that you’ve got two number one picks, with the college crop?
A: It’s exciting that we’ve got two number one picks. That’s gold in this business. Draft picks are gold. We can use them in a lot of different ways, that’s what’s exiting to me to have two number ones.
Q: With Nathan (Peterman) what did you see in the spring with him that made you comfortable that made you want to trade Cardale (Jones) to get more reps?
A: Well, just A) I told you a few minutes ago that three quarterbacks is a good number for everybody to get the reps they need, so that’s question A. Nathan was an impressive kid at Pittsburgh. The intangibles, all those things, he has a lot of those. Obviously, he’s a rookie. We know what a transition it is to play in this league, from the college game to the pros. So he’s still on a big learning curve. He’s done a great job since then. Again, that was shorts and t-shirts in the spring, this is going to be a different deal. Obviously, we’ve got a game in a couple weeks. We’ll get to see some live action. That’ll be another test and you know for all of these guys, but especially for Nathan.
Q: You put a lot the culture and bonding. At what point can people expect that to become winning? When do you see the tangible results?
A: Well you have to have all the personnel. It’s a lot of things. It’s culture. It’s personnel. It’s getting in the flow of how Sean (McDermott) operates. How we operate. There’s no time table. It’s so hard to put a time table on things because there’s so many factors. You may think I’m dodging the questions, that’s really the reality of the situation. And really, I haven’t seen these guys in pads. We’re just getting started. I mean spring was nice, but football is just now beginning here in a couple days.
Q: Are you optimistic at all beyond the regular ‘it’s July’ optimism?
A: I’m always optimistic. I’m a half-glass full guy. I’m excited. I’m very optimistic. I’m not going to stand up here and make predictions, that’s not me. I just want to see us get better from practice to practice day-to-day. The goal right now is to get this team cut down to 53 ready for week one at the Jets.
Q: Brandon, how would you categorize the depth of this roster as a team? Do you think it’s a strength or something to improve upon?
A: You’re always looking to—you know, I don’t want to rate it – I’ll always, even if you’re coming from a Super Bowl team in Carolina, you’re always trying to upgrade your depth and make it better. You know, make your fourth corner a better corner, make your third running back a better running back. You’re always trying to do that, so it’s hard to put a grade on that. But were always trying to improve our roster. It’s a 12-month deal and that’ll always be my philosophy.
Q: The situation with Sammy (Watkins) coach mentioned managing his reps. From your standpoint is it more precautionary or true concern that if you so it any other way you could have a problem?
A: I think you just don’t want to overdo it. I think you just want to build him back up. We know the type of player Sammy is and he’s a great young man. I think we just want to build him up to we know he’s comfortable with a full slate like he would normally be. If that makes sense.
Q: Brandon when you said it’s so hard to put a time table on things, I understand – Bill Polian said that. But when fans hear that, they’re going its already been a while. It’s already been 17 years. How do you balance the sense of urgency and knowing that there needs to be patience to let thing develop and grow?
A: Well our job is to obviously always win now, but you can’t just win now and not worry about next year or the following year. My goal is to help put this roster together to give Sean and coaches and players the best chance to win this year, but also make decisions to help us in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Q: We asked Sean about eliminating the 75-man roster cut-down from a coaching perspective how does that benefit him. Getting rid of that and going straight to 53 before week one, does that make it a little harder, a little easier what did you think?
A: I actually like it. I was a proponent of doing it. We had talked about it a little bit in Carolina. I think it just helps us to guys that are banged up sometimes they can’t play in those last games, sometimes you’re trying to cut your roster down. It gives another week to get guys healthy, another week to maybe see a guy that hasn’t played as much – let’s give him one more chance in that fourth game. I think it’s a great move by the league to do that. Now, it makes it—that last cut is going to be a little harder. We’re going to have to more work not only on our own roster, but also evaluating the other teams’ rosters a week later. You know there’s 15 additional guys per team that we have to look at.
Q: Going back to Sammy (Watkins), by not picking that fifth-year option it looks you’re putting the pressure on him to show that he can stay healthy. Was that sort of the intended message there?
A: Well, I wasn’t here for that decision. So that happened before I got here. But with that said, Sammy’s been great, he’s doing everything that he can. I’m excited where he’s at and I’m looking forward to watching him. We’ll let it play out. My saying is contracts will get done when they’re supposed to get done.
Q: First training camp outside of Carolina in a while. First camp as a head GM. Is this camp a little special or a little different this year coming into this year?
A: It’s very special. I’m in a position where I dreamed to be in and this is the first day. The weather is awesome. It’s a little cooler than it is Spartanburg, South Carolina right now so I’m not missing that, but I got a chill on my spine just talking about pads a while ago whenever I answer one those questions.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor
Q: Talk about Sammy being back full and getting ready for the first day with him?
A: It was fun to get out there and work on the field as a group. Of course, having Sammy out there from day one, and being able to get up some reps early on and actually get him some touches, was definitely a good thing. Confidence booster for me, confidence booster for him – just got to continue to keep getting him going, as well as the rest of us here.
Q: How much does the entire outlook on offense change knowing that, it seems like – finally he’s at least on the right track to being fully healthy for you guys?
A: Of course he’s an explosive playmaker, one of the best in this league, and having us on the same page definitely brings a lot of positive to our offense. Like I said, the more important thing is that we’re able to get the work that we need early on in training camp. He’s fired up. I spent some time with him over the summer; physically, mentally he’s ready to go, so I’m excited to see what type of year he’s going to have.
Q: I know it’s disappointing to see a friend go, but from a team perspective, is it better for the three of you – in terms of practice reps and things like that – is it easier to work with three instead of four?
A: I mean, we would’ve made it work however we had to, but of course having three guys out there – it allows myself, as well as Nate [Peterman] and T.J. [Yates] to get more reps so I’m never going to turn that down. But like I said, it worked out for both parties. Cardale is obviously a good friend of mine so I wish him the best.
Q: How much easier is it this year coming into an offense where you at least have some familiarity with the coordinator and the system?
A: Some things have changed since the last time me and Coach [Rick] Dennison worked together but some things have definitely stayed the same. It’s easier for me to pick up on some of those things. I’m putting more of my focus on just getting the ball out of my hands and playing from the pocket. This offense allows you to do that. We have the playmakers out on the edge to go out there and make plays and throughout this camp and throughout this spring, I’ve put all of my focus on just getting the ball to them as quickly as possible.
Q: Was there anything that you noticed may have been different with Sean McDermott’s first day of a training camp as opposed to Rex [Ryan] over the past two years?
A: No. We’re here to work. Everyone has the positive attitude. I know guys are ready to get on the field. We ran our conditioning tests over 24 hours ago, so guys felt like they were waiting around, getting antsy to get on the field. Guys have got the first days on the field but as a team, we’re just eager to go out here and show each other what we can do. Compete at a high level each and every day and make ourselves better.
Defensive Tackle Adolphus Washington
Q: What can you tell us about everything that happened earlier in the month?
A: I mean, I can’t really say much on it. It’s still ongoing, but I can tell you that I’ve learned from my mistakes.
Q: Sean [McDermott] told us that he had a chance to speak with you and Brandon [Beane]. Give us some insight to that.
A: I’m not really going to speak on that. Like I said, I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m going to keep trying my best to keep doing the right thing.
Q: Pretty scary incident. How have you dealt with re-living it in your mind and things like that since the incident?
A: I mean, I just forget about it. I try not to think about it. I’m trying to focus on my team and try to help us move in the right direction as a football team.
Q: Adolphus, did you fear that you would be out of a job?
A: I’m not going to lie and say that didn’t cross my mind, but when the incident happened, I got in contact with my coaches and they backed me 100%.
Q: Did any of your teammates reach out to you and how have they supported you through this?
A: Yes, I had a couple of teammates reach out to me. Actually, the whole [defensive] line did, and a couple of other position groups. They told me stay strong and they got my back 100%, just like the coaching staff.
WR Sammy Watkins
Q: You got some great time with the first team back in mini camp. How did today feel for you to be back on the field?
A: It feels great. You know, just going out there and competing and having fun and getting back in the works of the things. Just being out there with the team.
Q: Coach [Sean McDermott] was saying that they are going to manage your reps. Are you working with any sort of pitch count with how much you’re out there, or are you, in your mind, full go?
A: I’m just going. Whatever they do, I’m going with the plan. They’ve got the plan. They’re the coaches and the staff. They’ve got a plan for me and I’m just following it.
Q: Is there still any lingering pain in your foot? Can you describe that? How do you feel physically?
A: I’m just getting in shape. I think that’s the most part. Just getting back out there and playing football with the guys and competing. Other than that, I’m fine.
Q: You made a nice contested catch going to the ground – is that one of those test moments would you say for you coming back from a situation like this?
A: That was when I was like “Oh, I’m healthy.” I can go out here and compete and let things go. I can run routes and just be confident in my routes and just go out there and catch balls.
Q: What was your reaction when the Bills decided not to pick up your option next season?
A: I’m not concerned about that. That’s the coaches and the owner. My job is to go out there and earn it and play and stay healthy and that’s my goal this year.
Q: How much will that impact how you feel when you do get the free agency? Obviously, there’s going to be other suitors.
A: I haven’t even put in thought about it. My job is to go out there and try to catch as many touchdowns and balls and help this team win. Everything else will play out and I have got to earn it.
Q: How much do you view that as a chip on your shoulder?
A: No chip, it’s just me. I’ve just got to stay healthy and just go out there and play. I’ve got to go out there and make the plays I need to make to help the team win.
Q: Do you think that maybe last year you rushed it back too quickly in some ways? What gives you the confidence that you’re not rushing back this year?
A: You can never look at if you’re rushing it. You don’t know if its 100% or not. My job is to trust the training staff and I’m glad I did my surgery. Now I just feel like I have to go out there and have the confidence in myself and the staff and go out there and play. That’s about it.
Q: Do you see your future long-term with the Buffalo Bills?
A: I love Buffalo. They drafted me first round, fourth pick. My job is to stay here for a while. That’s the goal. You don’t want to change teams. My job is to stay around here forever. That’s the goal.
Q: Is there a burden on you to prove that you can be that guy? That you can stay on the field, catch 100 balls, be that – I know its unfortunate – but number four overall draft pick and live up to that status. Do you feel a burden on yourself to do that?
A: I have nothing to prove. I know what I’m capable of doing. I’ve made many plays in this league and so on. My job is to go out there and earn it this year and if I’m healthy on the field and I’m out there playing with the guys, I’m going to be alright.
Q: Ho do you like this offense? How do you see yourself fitting in it and if it’s different and for you, how is it?
A: It’s not different. Every offense is the same. Same combinations, same routes, just different names. My job is just to learn the offense, learn the ins and outs, learn the x, y, and z’s. Once I master that, I’ll be ok.
Q: When they didn’t exercise your fifth year option, Coach McDermott, there was a statement said that he had a healthy and productive conversation with you about it. Did you feel the same way about that?
A: Yeah, like he said, I’ve got to go out there and earn it. I want to earn it – I don’t want anything to be handed to me. My job is to go out there and earn it like I did all my life. I feel better about that – earning it.
Q: From that meeting, is the relationship with the team – has it been tarnished? Is there any kind of disappointment that comes with them not picking up the option or do you still feel on good terms with them?
A: It’s a business. At the end of the day, that’s happening all over the league. My job is to just go out there and literally just make plays and bump my team and be a professional.
Q: I don’t know if it was last off-season or the off-season before that, but you reacted strongly when somebody suggested that maybe you’ve got that injury prone label. How much do you feel that – is that there, given what you’ve gone through and do you think that’s unfair or fair enough?
A: Everybody has their opinion. We play a dangerous game in the NFL. Injuries are going to happen. I had a foot injury. I’m a wide receiver, I mean your feet and your toes get beat up. Things are going to happen – things outside of my control. My job is to stay healthy and go out there and play full speed and have fun.
Q: When you say that you can’t think about the contract stuff, I’m sure that’s easier to say than it is to actually do but have you talked to anybody else that’s been in the game that maybe has gone through that to kind of ask for their advice on how to handle it?
A: Not really. When you’re looking at contracts, you’re looking at the money. I’m not looking at the money. I’m looking at professional, just going out there and having fun – what I’ve been doing all my life. I’m not worried about the contract extension or anything like that. I’ve just got to go out there and play.
Q: Did you do anything different to stay healthy this year? Is it a different diet, different workout regimen or anything at all?
A: Different everything. Just my mindset, my off the field eating habits, taking care of my body, doing extra things, really just standing in the training room and trying to stay injury free.
Q: Is there a specific with the trainers or the medical staff, specific program that you’re also involved with in regards to the foot? Specifically, do you have to spend any x amount of time off the field working on that?
A: Not at all. My job is really just to get back in shape and be out there with the guys. I don’t want to hear no more about the foot. The foot is fine, it’s healed and I’m trying to get past that.
Q: So this is cardio you’re talking about, right?
A: Just getting in shape and getting back on the same page as [Tyrod Taylor] is my objective.
Q: Do you think that the wide receiver room could use another veteran to get you through the off-season? [Anquan Boldin] was just in here, [Jeremy Maclin] earlier. Do you think that you could benefit from that yourself and do you think that the wide receivers could use another guy like that?
A: Of course. Both of those guys have been in the league, caught a bunch of balls, Pro Bowl guys. If we get someone like that, that would definitely be someone I could learn from and the room could learn from.
Q: How tiresome has it been – left foot, left foot, how’s your foot?
A: Like I said, everything is a process. You grow from it, you learn how to take care of your body, you learn the ups and the downs of just injuries and being in the NFL and you’ve got to love the good and the bad.
Q: Is the lack of the option being picked up any sort of motivational factor for you?
A: I’m motivating myself. I’m not really looking at the contract or the money. That’s not what drives me. Being on the field, being healthy, catching balls, touchdowns, winning, playoffs, trying to make it to the playoffs and earn it – that’s the objective.
Q: You mentioned, or you tweeted rather, that you’re draft class has a chance to reset the market. How excited are you to see that unfold and maybe be a part of that yourself?
A: I wasn’t really talking about that. I just wish I had a crossover play like James Harden and play a little bit of basketball. But it was all a joke and you’ve got to have fun on Twitter and Instagram just to get a buzz and just have fun with it.
Q: Did Harden deserve the MVP?
A: He’s a baller. All of those guys deserved it. They play at a high level.
Q: You talked about having fun on social media. There was a comment that you had on Instagram that I think maybe Bills fans misconstrued or I guess interpreted a certain way that you’re ‘going out with a bang’ type thing. Do you want to clarify that at all or was that also you just kind of having fun?
A: Oh just having fun. It’s just basically saying this year I’m going to put everything on the line and I’m going to go out there and have fun and be an entertainer. Scoring touchdowns, laughing – just having fun with the team.
Q: At what point this offseason did the foot finally stop hurting you?
A: As soon as I came out of surgery. I was just like “I’m going to block it out.” Whatever happens, I’m going to listen to the trainers, attack the offseason and just take care of it. I’m just going to go out there with the mindset that if I’m healthy, I can move past it.
DT Kyle Williams
Q: You’ve had a couple of head coaches throughout the years, what makes Coach McDermott different?
A: I like the way we attack the day, I enjoy the way he can relate to players; organize, hold guys accountable. I mean, it’s really kind of a total package deal.
Q: How have you been able to exhibit your leadership even though only 30 guys are still the same, the majority of the players have not been on this team before?
A: I do what I’ve always done and what I’m going to do. I work hard every day, I play hard, and I can be kind of a pillar for guys to lean on if they need it.
Q: Only one night practice in Rochester, how do you kind of sense the fans throughout this practice?
A: They were great today, they always are when they’re out. I’m sure they’ll be here at 8:45 in the morning because that’s the type of fans we have, and we’re excited to be here with them