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What They Said: LB Preston Brown, WR Zay Jones, WR Rod Streater, C Eric Wood, Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman

LB Preston Brown

Q: So you’ve been running with the first team. Are you looking at it as ‘I need to seize this opportunity from the jump’?

A: Definitely. I mean, you never want to get demoted from anything. Just going out there trying to get better each and every day in a competition with myself, and trying to get the other linebackers better in line with me. As a whole defense, I think we’re progressing well each and every day.

Q: You spoke at length with Luke Kuechly about this. What did he tell you about this defense and how are you using that here at the beginning of camp?

A: Well, he just told me it was linebacker-friendly. The linebackers in this defense have played well and have gone on to have great success to help their teams win championships so that’s what I’m trying to do. Me and the other linebackers are trying to get better each and every day because we know the linebacker system has to be key and they got to play well to have a good defense.

Q: Have you changed anything about your regimen? Anything you did going into camp – different focus, I mean, has anything changed from years past?

A: Yeah. I mean, just my diet. No candy in practice no more, none of the little stuff like that. I got a chef now. I’m trying to eat healthy – a lot of green stuff. It’s been different, just trying to make sure my body can maintain through the whole season.

Q: What kind of challenges would present themselves as everybody is competing for the spot that you hold right now?

A: It’s no challenge. We’re all competing each and every day. We’re trying to get better. The best three linebackers are going to be out there so there’s no animosity between anybody on this team. We’re all friends and we’re all going out there trying to help this team win games.

Q: A lot of people assumed [Reggie Ragland] would supplant you as the starter. Do you hear or pay attention to that, and is that part of the motivation for you?

A: Not really. I mean, it is what it is. The best three are going to play. If I’m not in the best three, I’m not. I take it how it is. I go out there each and every day and try to give it my all. I don’t pay attention to all of the stuff on the Internet. I don’t even have none of those apps no more. I’m just focused – all I got is Super Mario and little games. I play games of solitaire. That’s about it.

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WR Zay Jones

Q: Are there any other guys in the wide receiving core that you reached out to and you really attach yourself to?

A: Oh my gosh, everyone really; I try to just talk to everyone because these guys have done it before. Recently it’s been Walt Powell, that’s a guy who’s been through the process, who’s been through multiple training camps, who understands the game. Dez Lewis is another guy that I’ve been talking to. Daikiel Shorts, even he’s a rookie, I’ve just been leaning on him for support and he’s just been helping me through this process letting me know that – you know you’re going to make mistakes but everything is going to be alright.

Q: Is competing for a spot this way kind of unique to you, or is there an experience you’ve had before, you look back on it, and you’re looking for past experience to help you?

A: I guess the only past experience I would say is my freshman year at ECU, I was fourth on the depth chart. I worked my way up to be a starter my freshman year. Nothing has been given to me though, I’m just working my way as if I have everything to prove, which I do – I’m competing for a spot as well, as well as these other guys. Everyone is working hard, nothing is going to be given to us, coaches have made that clear. I don’t see myself over anyone on this team.

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Q: The other day [Tre’Davious] White, and we’ve seen you the last couple of days talking after practice, the two of you, he talked a little bit about your relationship and how you guys have been able to bond a little bit – tell us about some of the stuff that you guys work on, talk about together and I guess just overall your relationship?

A: First of all Tre’s just a phenomenal player, great to have him be our first round pick; it’s well deserved, he comes out and proves it every day. His level of play is way beyond his years, I would say – he looks like a veteran out there to me. Our relationship is growing, we were roommates together throughout OTAs, and that time period of training – I lean on him for support, even though he’s a defensive player, I’m still trying to pick his brain and just ask him. We’re there for each other, Tre recently had a son, and I joke and kid with him about being his godfather and stuff like that. We’re brothers, we’re going through this process together, we’re both rookies and it’s been a fun time.

Q: And are you able to kind of give him an insight into, this is what a receiver is looking for when I come off the line, and vice versa, he gives you an idea of what a corner is looking for?

A: I try not to give him too much because I don’t want him keying in on me. He’s just a great player, fundamentally sound, he’s quick, he’s fast, he makes great plays on the ball, we can use him on special teams. It’s great just to be around that caliber of player.

Q: What’s it like having that connection, knowing that it is a transition – were you expecting to get a bond like that so quick?

A: I didn’t really quite know what to expect from players, would they be kind of closed off, not talk to rookies because of competition or whatever the case was, but that’s not how it is here. Everyone has been so genuine, so loving, so supporting. From running backs to o-line, Richie [Incognito] has been unbelievable to me, [Eric] Wood has been unbelievable to me, everyone has embraced me and embraced these rookies and it’s just been a fun time.

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WR Rod Streater

Q: We’re about a week in, this is kind of when the dead legs tend to show up. Does that mean two cold tubs a day or what does it mean to get through that, especially as a receiver who does a lot of running?

A: Yeah, cold tubs, ice packs on the knees in meetings, all the little tricks, you know, tiger balms, whatever you need to do to give you that advantage on the field, you know. That’s just what we have to do to be healthy for the next day of practice.

Q: They didn’t bring you in until late in spring. How long does it take to build the chemistry with new quarterbacks when you’re with them?

A: It takes like a training camp. Right now until the end of preseason, it really takes you to understand the playbook, get the rhythm of the quarterbacks and just to get in rhythm with the guys. So, I’m happy I’m here and have the time to get in rhythm with the guys.

Q: You’re in a situation here where it really is wide open, you’ve got a chance. A lot of guys are kid of clumped together. What’s going to separate you? What do you think you have to do to separate?

A: Continue to catch the ball. Obviously, special teams is big. Anytime you’re the three, four, fifth wide receiver you’ve got to be able to play special teams. And however you can help, you know, blocking, making down-field blocks for Shady and the running backs. And just continue to finish and make plays. You have to stand out and continue to show the coaches that you deserve to be here.

Q: How much does this training camp differ for some of the others that you’ve had—maybe, with the Raiders or other training camps you’ve been in?

A: Well it’s not as hot. It’s pretty cool here. You know, camp is hard regardless wherever you go. You know camp is hard, football is hard. But, I’m just excited to be here. The energy is different, Bills Mafia is fun and it’s just a different type of energy here.

Q: Have you been able to catch now what the coaches want you to do and just make plays quickly?

A: Yeah, just make plays like I said, special teams, and just continue to work hard and show that I deserve to be here.

'Veteran's day off' at Bills camp has multiple benefits

C Eric Wood

Q: What is it like just coming back out here, getting a day off, getting a little refreshed and everything, it’s a little hot out here – How do you think today went?

A: Well good, the offense came out, did strong, defense came back, with a balanced football team, that’s the kind of dig and take it’s going to have. We were hyper competitive as we always are out here, and guys were working their tails off.

Q: What does Vlad [Ducasse] bring – I know he started today in place for Richie [Incognito] who was given his day off – what does Vlad bring next to you?

A: He’s a vet, so he’s seen it all before; he’s able to transition into our o-line room, because he’s played with Juan [Castillo] before, so he knows a lot of the terminology and stuff. But he’s a veteran, he handles his business.

Q: Is Coach McDermott making more liberal use of the veterans day off thing, and was that something that he talked to you guys about before camp?

A: Yeah, we had talked about it. We did some of those things over the last couple of years with Rex [Ryan] as well, and throughout my career. I was joking yesterday that when you’re a rookie and you see the vets get a day off, you’re like I’ll never get to that point and it’s kind of crazy that I’ve gotten to that point; it was nice.

Q: How important was it, in the grand scheme of things, and people make fun of it, you know that – on social media like ‘why do they need the day off’ – how do you…?

A: Well we want to keep guys fresh, that’s one part of it – Another thing is we were down me and Shady [LeSean McCoy] yesterday, I hope that never happens throughout the year, but we got to practice with some younger guys; getting some snaps at one running back, [Ryan] Groy hops in at center, which he did a bunch last year for us, but then what that does is it brings the three guy up to the two, so now we can see what the guy can do at the two. There’s a lot of benefit, it helps me keep my legs fresh and that’s great, but there’s also some side benefits as well.

Q: And to those who, again, will never know this – How important is just one day where you’re healthy but not having to be out there?

A: It’s big, and it’ll be big Friday when instead of four days in a row, it’ll be my third day in a row. It’s also tough on the guys sitting out; Lorenzo [Alexander] even said the same thing – you never want to watch another guy do your job, that’s my spot, I want to own it – that’s why we have coaches and guys that are trainers and what not that kind of pull the reigns on us at times, keep us healthy.

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Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman

Q: Coach, with respect to Austin [Rehkow], in the spring I think a lot of us anticipated punting competition only, and then he’s out there taking field goals – which we knew he was capable of doing from what he did in college – is he strictly punting competition, or is he punting and place kicking competition?

A: As we said in the spring, his main purpose here is competition as the punter. With the ability he has to do all three in training camp, with as much work as we’re trying to get done especially situationally, when that stuff ties together, his ability to do everything really plays to our benefit – which is why he’s going to get work at all three, both in practice and in the games.

Q: How do you asses that competition right now? How has Colton [Schmidt] and Austin both responded?

A: I think they’re both doing well – Obviously Colton [Schmidt] had two outstanding days, Austin [Rehkow] has done a very nice job. As we all know, we have a long way to go with this process.

Q: Who are some of the guys that have emerged early in camp, sort of guys that you’re going to use as key guys on special teams?

A: I think we have a long way to go – I think the biggest thing I’ve learned over all my years, there’s a long way to go between now and September when we play that first game. Now, with that being said, some of the guys we added in the offseason – Andre Holmes has been very impressive, done a really nice job; Leonard Johnson’s done some really good things; the draft picks have been outstanding with their ability to learn. This game is played full speed, live with blocking and tackling, and we’ve been working hard in practice, as you’ve guys have seen, the reality is we’ll start finding out here in a week when we start playing games.

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Q: How tough is it knowing that a lot of the guys that might be key contributors to your units now, are on the roster bubble because of where they are in their other positions?

A: That’s part of it, that’s part of the process and the evaluation and the competition. We try and have enough guys, we try and stack them and bracket them – As things progress, you are ready hopefully for whatever scenarios come; Whether it’s a guy’s moving up, playing more offensively, defensively, you have to have somebody ready, or a guy who you may think’s possibly going to be there, and then you don’t have. That’s the chess match that goes on around the league this time of year, trying to make sure you have everybody, getting reps, learning what’s going on because whatever you end up with, we’re going to have to play a game here in a month or so.

Q: What is Coach McDermott’s feedback in with you, I know you know him from NFL circles and what not – but have you had the conversation yet where maybe coach says to you you’ll get up to five, four guys that you say ‘if you want them you’ll have them’?

A: We have a lot of conversations about where the roster is going, and the possibilities, but I’ll keep that private, and we’ll see as we go forward.

Q: Just generally though, has he said there’s a …?

A: We talk about a lot of different things.

Q: Danny, the balance for the second year in a row, you have a linebacker who is brought on this team, basically to be a special teams guy finds himself in the starting lineup, Ramon Humber, but he’s still on teams – How do you balance the use of a guy like that knowing he’s got the full-time spot?

A: Just like Lorenzo [Alexander]; You’re talking about two very special people. I am so happy for guys, whatever the opportunity guys want, I love the opportunity that they get because they worked hard to get that. We’re going to do whatever we have to do that’s best for the team, whether that’s a small role, a large role, how that compensates and works with an offensive or defensive player. All we care about is winning games, we want to win games. And if they take every special teams guy to play on offense and defense, and we win games, I am more than happy with that.

Q: How key is it to have Colt [Anderson] back, when he does, for you and your units?

A: We have high expectations for Colt [Anderson]. You guys have heard me say this. When I talk about expectations, expectations for me come from performance. I don’t have expectations on young guys because they haven’t done it in the National Football League in real games. There’s a time to learn that. With a guy like Colt, who has done it, yes, you have high expectations for a guy like that. Hopefully he gets himself healthy and he’s able to do what we envision him being capable of doing.

Q: I know you felt that Reid Ferguson is ready for this job, otherwise you wouldn’t have given it to him. You had time around him obviously in the last year. How has he gone here through the first week of camp snapping the whole velocity, time, location, all that stuff?

A: All those things have been outstanding. We’re very happy with Reid [Ferguson]. We’re very happy with where he is and again, we’re just really anxious to get into the games. He’s doing a nice job with all the different looks we are giving him, but it would be nice to see him when we get into the preseason games here in a week and really see where he’s at.

Q: We talked in the spring about you bridging three staffs here, which is kind of different in the league, but you’ve also worked for other people. What makes Sean [McDermott] unique or separates him? Just from anybody, not particularly from other coaches here. What do you see from Sean [McDermott] that he brings to the table as head coach?

A: I think the biggest thing I would say about Sean [McDermott] is that he is an unquestioned leader with a fabulous, loving touch. I know that’s going to sound weird when we sit here and talk about football circles but he is in command. There’s no question who is in command. At the same time, you know he cares and how deeply he cares. His vision, just like every coach has a great vision – I don’t care if you go all the way back to my first coaching job 26 years ago at a Division III school. That vision and how they get it through and across to the staff and to the players, it’s always so important. Sean [McDermott]’s done a great job, so I’m very happy with being able to stay here with the family and really like the way things are going and the competition he’s developed and the ideas that we’re trying to get done here in Buffalo.

Q: Going back to [Ramon] Humber, are there any specific values for having an every down defensive player on your special teams unit? And if you could shed some light on a couple of those areas.

A: We’re trying to get the best players on the field on offense, defense and special teams, but at the same time, trying to get it where we are not diminishing the returns of a player on any one of those areas by overdoing it. Playing too much in the kicking game is going to affect him on defense or offense. Playing too much on offense, that’s all part of this process as a coaching staff and as an organization of trying to get the best people in the best position throughout the course of a game. Some games, it may change.

Q: Rashad Ross was kind of late to the party in the spring. Is there any catch up that he really has left in terms of the way you like to coach your returners type things, decision making, things like that?

A: No, he’s caught up. He understands what we’re doing now and it’s just a matter of getting more reps and obviously doing it against the higher competition and speed, which we’ll look at a little bit here in the next couple of days of what we have implemented. I’m very happy with where he’s at.

Q: Without Brandon Tate, who are some of the guys that have impressed you from a punt return perspective, because that’s Brandon [Tate]’s kind of cup of tea?

A: It’s hard to say that because we haven’t really returned. It’s been mostly back there catching and working drill stuff. Micah Hyde has history doing in in the National Football League, [Rashad] Ross has got some history. Obviously, [Tre’Davious] White’s done it and done an outstanding job in college. There’s several guys who we will continue to look at and work with. You know, Walt Powell who has been here for the last couple of years, has continued to get that work, so we’ve got a list of guys and they’ll get work continually through practice and most importantly, in the preseason games.

Q: How many of those guys do you think are going to actually return punts in preseason games?

A: I wish I could tell you that. The hardest thing about special teams in the preseason is you like to have an idea of how you want to work guys and when you want to work them, but then you’re at the mercy of a game.

Transcripts courtesy of the Buffalo Bills 

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