The Bills traded top WR Sammy Watkins and top CB Ronald Darby Friday. Interviews were conducted after the news broke.
General Manager Brandon Beane
Opening Statement: Well, first off, I want to thank Sammy [Watkins] and Ronald [Darby] for their contributions to this team and the organization. They gave it their all the whole time they were here, even, you know, I did my recon on these guys before I even took the job and once I got here. I can’t say I got to know these guys as deep as you would like to, but all of my interactions with them were great. Great men, good football players, obviously, and I wish them the best. This is not easy. I’m an emotional, personal guy and I want to get to know all these guys personally. That’s the hard part of it. Business is business, but when you have to call these young men and it affects their lives, that’s not easy. Sean [McDermott] and I did that earlier today as they move forward in their journeys to [Los Angeles] and to Philadelphia, respectively. Again, I wish those guys the best and appreciate what they did for the Buffalo Bills.
Q: What gave you the confidence to make this move and what prompted this move in continuing to re-shape the roster?
A: What prompted the moves, well they were two separate moves, even though fortunately the timing worked out the way I wanted it. I did get that, but I was not shopping these guys. I had calls from multiple teams about Sammy all the way back in June, shortly after I took over the job. Those things happen all the time. People, I think I mentioned it before, people ask about different players all the time around this league. You never know what’s serious or what’s just bait. Again, I was not and we were not actively shopping either of these guys. We’re not actively shopping anybody, but L.A. got very serious about Sammy and Philadelphia got very serious about Ronald and the timing worked out and as I realized the timing worked out, I was able to acquire Jordan [Matthews] to help fill in for Sammy, and E.J. Gaines to help fill in for losing Ronald.
Q: Were these deals made in concert with one another, meaning you would not have made one if you could not make both?
A: It’s hard to say if I wouldn’t have. It’s funny, both of them were getting similar traction, similar momentum the last couple of days and once I saw both of them as far down the road as they were getting, I kind of said ‘I want to do them together if I can.’ If somebody had backed out, I don’t know because the discussion I had, the first time I really sat down and laid this out for Sean and Terry [Pegula] was after the game last night. I didn’t want there to be a distraction, so I laid it out, what was potentially [happening]. Nothing had been agreed upon, but where things were very close. That’s kind of where it was. Nobody backed out at that point and we finalized them this morning.
Q: You said you sat down with Terry. What was his role in that process? Did he allow you to make the decision or how was that handled?
A: Everything’s a ‘we.’ We talk and everything is a ‘we.’ We all threw everything around. The people, the players, the men, what they’ve done, who the players that we’re acquiring [are], the draft picks, everything went in. Listen, this was not an easy decision. Again, business is business. There’s also [an] emotional [side]. These are two fine young men.
Q: How much of this has to do with next year and the currency you got in regards to draft picks. This year is this year, but how much of this was thinking about the future and what you could gain in assets from the draft?
A: I’m always, I said it [on] the day we signed Anquan [Boldin], I’m always going to try to win today and to win tomorrow. That’s the nature, that’s how I’m wired. That’s how I think you win in this league so again, if I’m coming off a 14-2 season, if someone offers me something that I think is good capital and is a worthy investment, I have to consider it and that’s what happened here.
Q: Brandon, is this team better after these moves for the current situation? Currently, is this team better after these trades?
A: For the 2017 season? You know, you can make arguments either way. I’m thrilled that, losing a guy like Sammy, we were able to acquire a guy with Jordan Matthews’ skins on the wall. E.J. has started 25 games in this league. He was on the (2014 PFWA) All-Rookie team, so he’s got some pedigree. He’s not walking in here not knowing what to expect. He’ll compete with the other corners. Not guaranteed a spot, but he’ll come in and we’ll see where it goes.
Q: You said that L.A. and Philadelphia, respectively, got serious on these deals. Does that mean that they pretty much made initial contact with you about this, even going back to May or recently?
A: Yes. They both actively asked me about these two guys. I was not shopping them.
Q: And as far as Jordan is concerned, he’s primarily played the slot. Anquan has primarily played the slot. You’ve been having Zay [Jones] in the slot. How does all that shake out at wide receiver?
A: They can all play outside, as well. That may be where they’ve been used. Jordan, on that team in Philly, the way they used him was a lot in the slot but you can see he can win outside. Again, I leave where they go and how they line up with Rick [Dennison] and Sean and those guys. He’s another great addition for us, though.
Q: You said you’ve been taking calls about Sammy since June. What was the tipping point for you? What part of that deal made it worth giving up on someone as talented as him?
A: Well, you have to consider everything. You have to consider re-signability, the draft value, a lot of things went into this. It wasn’t one single thing. You balance it all, and you make the best decision you can.
Q: How did the fact that Sammy had a few injuries since coming to Buffalo figure in and the fact that you could very well lose him for nothing?
A: You do have to consider everything. Again, what he’s done in his career over his three seasons, how much he’s played, you do consider all that. And again, he’s going into his last year of his deal. Signability, cap situation, everything, honestly, went into this decision. It was not looking at one factor or another.
Q: You said that Jordan and E.J. are both going in for Sammy and Darby. In that sense, do you mean there won’t be any push right away that you sign them for the future considering they’re both in the final year of their deals?
A: You know, I’ve been around Jordan a little bit in the draft process. I know who he is a little bit. I don’t know E.J. as well. That’ll just be getting them in here, competing, seeing how they fit. When you sign somebody for the future, that’s got to be a mutual fit. They got to want to be here. We got to see how they fit in the locker room, the culture, the coaching. All that goes into it so we got time on that. The first thing is just to, if we were going to do these moves, we wanted to do them now so that we still have three exhibition games [and] a lot of training camp left to figure out how these guys fit moving forward.
Q: When you trade the team’s best receiver and top cornerback, how do you sell that to the veterans inside the locker room that you’re still trying to win this season?
A: Well, it’s hard because these guys are talented players, but there’s the human element. You obviously, nobody wants to see a friend walk out the door, no matter what you thought of his talent. You got the human side of it as well with these guys. Hopefully, they’ll understand. They don’t necessarily know Jordan. LeSean knew him a little bit from Philly, but most of the guys don’t know Jordan or E.J. Hopefully, they’ll reserve judgment until those guys get in and strap the pads on and jump in with them and we’ll see where it goes from there.
Q: Brandon, do you have any players on this roster that you would consider untouchable at this moment?
A: I don’t like the word ‘untouchable.’ I’m not actively shopping guys, selling guys, anything like that. That’s the honest-to-God truth. It’s just, you’re always looking in this business to help yourself now, and tomorrow. That’s the facts. I can’t stand up here and say I would never trade another guy in the next three weeks but I’m not actively shopping anybody.
Q: What would you say about a team that, by my count, has fourteen players that it has selected in the draft on its roster, currently? What does that say about this team and how the assets haven’t turned out for them?
A: Well, again, I’m just walking in the door so it’s not fair for me to totally assess all that. There’s various reasons why the guys, the fourteen if that’s the exact number, that are still here and the guys that are gone. Again, it’s not an indictment, if that’s what you’re trying to get [at]. It’s just the nature of the beast. Rosters change over. It’s a new regime so to speak. We’re trying to do everything that we can to build the right team the right way. Sustained success is the word I used the day I took this job and that’s where I’m at today.
Q: Any thoughts about how Jordan fits into your receiving mix? What does he bring to your receiver corps?
A: He’s a tough kid. I think he’s one of five receivers in the first three years of his career to have 65 receptions [and] 800 yards. It’s a pretty good group he’s in. He knows how to play. He’s a tough kid. He’s kind of a self-made man. He was not recruited heavily. He played at Vanderbilt, which is in the SEC but nobody realizes they’re in the SEC all the time. He’s a tough kid. He’s going to work hard. He’s a smart kid. He knows the game. My understanding, I knew who he was in college, my understanding is he’s that same young man in Philly, that you’re not going to out-work him. He’s going to bring leadership, toughness, and [he’s] our kind of guy.
Q: I know you weren’t here during Sammy’s fifth-year option decision. But, through the process of being here, do you have any indication that he maybe steered away and said ‘I don’t want to be in Buffalo beyond this year’ and was that any part of your thought process? And I also want to ask: is this [trade] still contingent on physicals for these guys?
A: This is still contingent on physicals. There [are] four players involved in both of our transactions so yes. If someone does not pass a physical, then the players would revert back. Your first question, I had no inkling where Sammy was wanting to be and all that, to be honest with you. And to be fair to him, I never asked him that or nobody directly told me anything.
Q: Brandon, six picks in next year’s draft now in the first three rounds. How much would you say that you’re betting on yourself and your front office?
A: You know, I believe in our scouting staff. I definitely do. They just left last week, the college guys. You have to draft well in this league to win. That’s the financial model. Those players are the most affordable. That helps us to have that kind of currency in the first three rounds at the prices you pay those guys versus getting them in free agency and other avenues to bring players.
Q: I know you’re just new in the door here but after trades like today, how much more does this feel like yours and Sean’s team, because you’re accumulating assets for the future as opposed to what had been here already?
A: I’m not one that believes that ‘I didn’t draft him, so I don’t care about him.’ That is zero. If they’re a good player and they can help us win a game today, then I’ll love them and I’ll take them every time. It’s not about getting the guys only that Sean and I brought in here versus the regime before we got here. There’s a lot of guys that have jumped right on board, doing the things that Sean and his staff have asked and we look forward to continuing to work with those guys.
Q: Have you received any phone calls on the availability of Reggie Ragland and if so, what have you said?
A: I wouldn’t comment. We have lots of inquiries, so I don’t want to go into who’s asked about what players.
Q: What do these moves say about Tyrod Taylor’s future with Buffalo?
A: It doesn’t say anything. Everybody’s forgetting we signed Anquan last week. This is not a throw in the towel thing at all. Somebody mentioned that somebody said that out there and that quite honestly, that’s annoying to me because you don’t know me if you think I’m throwing in the towel. We can go out there play ping-pong and whatever we’re going to do and I’m not throwing in the towel. If we’re throwing in the towel, I wouldn’t have been trying to get a starting receiver back so to your question on Tyrod, it’s nothing. We’ve got Anquan, who we added and I told you, I honestly believe he’s a hall of famer and he still can play in this league. Jordan Matthews is a starting receiver and you look at his numbers, what he’s done and those aren’t to be laughed at, I guess to say. Tyrod will get every opportunity to lead this team and we’re all rooting for him. It’s in our best interest.
Q: Who blows the top off on offense?
A: We have different guys who can run. [Rod] Streater, Walt Powell can run. We have some different guys. Who knows, there’s other ways to add more speed. We’re always looking for talent. We play in a month, so the main thing is to have our roster set when we host the Jets [on] September 10th.
Q: How did Tyrod react to the trades?
A: I haven’t spoken to Tyrod. Sean and I spoke to the players involved and then Sean had a team meeting. He could probably better answer that if he spoke directly to Tyrod, I have not.
Q: What is the long term approach with the offense because you have Anquan locked in for a year, Tyrod for a year--are we looking at a total rebuild next season? Realistically, you’re going to have a lot of new additions.
A: Again, I’m taking this year one at a time. It doesn’t mean that we cannot extend any of these guys. If Anquan wants to keep playing and he’s a good fit here and he likes it here, we can always extend him. Tyrod is the number one quarterback on this team right now and we’ll let that play out before we decide how it goes into 2018 and beyond.
Head Coach Sean McDermott
Q: Do you think this roster you have now this season is better after the trade?
A: Well, I know this. I know we’ve got – what we’re looking at is still a quality group of receivers when you talk about bringing in a guy like Jordan Matthews. You add him to who’s already here with Anquan [Boldin], who was not even on the field last night and Zay [Jones] and then the rest of the guys that you saw last night. I know where you’re going with that and we’re bringing in a corner with this deal that has started games – started a number of games. He’s going to blend right in and compete and earn his right to be on this football team and start. I think we’re moving in the right direction.
Q: What was your guy reaction last night when Brandon [Beane] said he took these trades to you after the game, obviously. What was your guy reaction when Sammy Watkins’ name comes up in a trade like this?
A: Right, let me first say this – Sammy [Watkins] is a heck of a football player and these are tough decisions, they really are. Last night coming off of my first game, it was…trying to digest some of that and to have these conversations late into the night, not a lot of sleep last night. Difficult decision, one that we spent a lot of time discussing. These are the type of conversations that have to be had. Some conversations are easier, some are more difficult, like this one.
Q: Does it ease the loss? The fact that you have two guys that fill those spots, but also the draft picks that are coming back and what it means for the teams future looking at the 2018 draft.
A: Well, let me address that in two separate ways, if I could. The first one is getting the players that we were able to get back. That’s important that we got those players back. Jordan Matthews is a wide receiver with a long resume already in a three-year career and he’s had great production with multiple quarterbacks. With E.J. [Gaines] and what he’s done in his career, we thought that he would give us a chance as well at the corner position and then you add him to the mix that we already have here with Kevon [Seymour] and Shareece [Wright] and the list goes on like you saw last night. In addition to that, to address the second part of your question, really with the draft picks, as we talk about short term and long term, that’s a big part of with planning for the future. We believe that you build through the draft and in order to get us into a situation where we can achieve success and sustain it, building through the draft is the way to go.
Q: We go back to May when you had to make the decision on Sammy [Watkins’] fifth year option and I know you had a statement, you had spoken, had a healthy conversation I think is what you said with Sammy. Was there any indication in that conversation that maybe he wasn’t willing to stay in Buffalo long term and could that have been a precipitous for kind of going down this road?
A: You know, not really. That was a separate entire conversation. Really what the goal of that conversation was to have a healthy Sammy [Watkins] and he worked extremely hard to get there and credit to Sammy and the training staff, medical staff. That was an entirely separate conversation. The obviously, this came up. We dealt with those situations separately.
Q: With respect to, you mentioned a few times through the course of camp, there’s a lot of work for this team still to get done. This kind of adds to the pile, you know, blending this two guys in. What’s realistic in terms of getting these guys blended in so they can contribute and get to week one?
A: Let’s take it one step at a time. They still have to get into town and take the physical, pass the physical and then we’ll take it from there. Really, the vision at this point is to get in and for us to get up to speed on terminology. That’s really where it starts and the timing of this, the timing is never exactly how you want it to be. That said, if we were going to do it, it had to happen sooner than later because of just what you mentioned with the timing and getting acclimated to what we do, the passing game as it relates to Jordan [Matthews] and the quarterback and the terminology on defense for E.J. [Gaines]. That is of utmost importance.
Q: Speaking of passing the physicals, there’s a couple reports out of Philadelphia that Jordan Matthews might have a knee ailment. What do you know about that and are you confident that he is ok physically?
A: Our docs have spoken with their docs and the present time, we are comfortable, but that said, you’ve got to go through the process of the physical examination and what not. Other than that, I’m not going to comment.
Q: How do you sell this to Tyrod [Taylor]? Because it looks like a move looking ahead to your next quarterback. Further to him, it looks like you’re taking a potential superstar receiver off the field for him on a contract year.
A: I’ll take it a step further and how do you sell it to the entire team: My stance with our football team and the leaders of our football team, as you mentioned Tyrod [Taylor] being one of them, is to be honest and up front with these guys and they know that we’re going to do everything possible and make every decision that’s in the best interest of this football team short and long term. That’s my responsibility. I believe in clear and concise communication and developing trust and that’s what I hope has developed over the course of the first six months, six and a half months on the job and we’re going to continue to work our tails off to put this football team and this organization in a position to win and sustain success.
Q: As head coach, you’re going to meet this team for the first time today as a group after this has happened. What do you say to your team? You’re watching one really good player on offense and a good player on defense walk out the door. What do you tell the guys who are still here?
A: The first thing and I’ve already addressed the team with this, the first thing we did was acknowledge the human element of this transaction. There’s relationships. I’ve got a lot of respect for those two football players that are leaving this building, as players and as people. That’s not easy and it’s not easy for the players in that room. That said, we have to continue to move forward. We are going in a direction we’ve got to continue to move forward and that’s what you do in this business. You put one step in front of the other and we move on. I ask them to continue to trust me and our decisions in terms of what we’re doing. We need to be focused on what’s in front of us and that’s a practice in about 15 minutes here.
Q: From a personal perspective with moves of this magnitude, what were the different kind of waves of emotion from last night, considering it, sleeping on it, then coming to the decision? What was that tipping point to where you thought this is what we need to do?
A: We’ve gone back and forth. We’ve looked at this situation, these two deals in a lot of different ways. Top, bottom, horizontal, vertically, I mean every way. We’ve had meeting after meeting and then circled back and have had some other follow up meetings. Like I said, not a lot of sleep last night. Ran the gamut of emotions with the game, obviously. Just a note on that, I was extremely impressed with how hard our players played last night. Like I said, not a lot of rest but that goes with the job and that’s a part of the process.
Q: Were you on board with this idea when it was presented to you or did you need to be convinced?
A: Number one, I’m always going to listen. Brandon [Beane]’s job and his staff, they go out and they find players and it’s our job to develop those players. As a football coach, it’s my job as Brandon approaches me with a potential situation to listen. I’m protective of our players, I’m very protective of our players and it’s got to be the right deal. It’s got to be the right situation for us to do something like this and I feel like we’re moving in the right direction. I honestly believe that. I will end by saying this – I have the ultimate trust in Brandon and his staff.
Q: With practice later, have you actually spoken as a group yet?
A: We have. Shortly after meeting with Sammy [Watkins] and Ronald [Darby], I addressed the leaders of the team first. I wanted them to know about it first and then shortly thereafter, about five minutes after that, at most, met with the team.
Q: What’s your message to this fan base, given that these fans aren’t exactly patient considering that it is a 17-year playoff drought and they might be sick of hearing the long-term and words like that?
A: I get it. I absolutely get it. That’s why I didn’t sleep last night, because these are tough decisions. As I said before, I’m a part of that. When I signed my name to the dotted line, I became a part of that 17-year time period. I see the RVs pulled out here every game and I heard about them, then two nights ago, I experienced it and saw it again last night. I’m invested and I feel what they feel. We’re building a football team and we’re building a football team that we want to compete in the short and the long term and to be good for a long time. Sometimes, that’s a day to day process and sometimes those are not easy things, easy decisions from a leadership standpoint and I understand where they’re coming from. That said, we’re going to compete like crazy. We’re not going out there - I think you guys know me well enough now, that’s not what we’re doing. We’re going out there to compete and win every game and we’re focused on this next practice in a few minutes here.
Q: Can you update us on injuries and whether there’s anything lingering or anything that you may have discovered after last nights game?
A: Really just what I shared with you last night. Just probably one additional at this time, with Bacarri Rambo has a little bit of a hamstring tweak at this point so at this point, he’s week to week.
WR Zay Jones
Friday, August 11, 2017
Q: Your initial reaction, Zay, when you hear that Sammy Watkins is traded?
A: Mixed feelings, you know. Happy for him. New start for him, but also sad to see him leave, one of the first people I met when I got here. So, just a lot of mixed emotions.
Q: We know the rapport you had with him and how you reach out to him to help you learn the game. With that being gone, how does that effect your development here.
A: I don’t think anyone can place some of the things that Sammy has done for me, just being a rookie. You know, my first year, like I said, he was one of the first guys that I met and he was there for me, really helped me through that process. Sad to see him leave, but got to look forward. We have a great team, still some solid vets on here. They’re going to help and lead the way, so its going to a good time.
Q: Your first taste of the reality that the NFL is a business.
A: It’s not my first taste. My dad played in it for 10 years, so I understand it, I understand how it goes. So, just got tor respect the game, respect the process. People way higher up than me make those decisions. I don’t question it. I just do my job. I’m here to play receiver, I don’t pick who comes and goes.
Q: What was the morale like in the receiver room when you heard the news?
A: Coach Phil (McGeoghan) did a good job of handling his troops, us. So, just try to stay as positive as possible, like I said. Mixed feelings, as well. I’m seeing one of my good friends go, but he’s moving on. He’s going to be happy, he’s going to be just fine. And now it’s up to us to lead this team, lead this offense and head in the right direction.
Q: How ready do you feel for what could be added responsibility for you?
A: I don’t think its added responsibility. I feel I was brought here for a reason, that’s to help this football team. So whatever my job is, that’s I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. Outside people may see it as that, but its just going out and doing my job each and everyday.
Q: You mention you had the rapport with Sammy (Watkins). Does it ease the blow that Anquan (Boldin) just got here?
A: I mean, Anquan is 15-year – what -- 16-year veteran, so I can lean on him know. I still got a lot of veterans on this team, it doesn’t have to be a receiver. Eric Wood is a great guy to lean on. Why not grab him and ask him some questions? Richie Incognito is a great guy to lean on. LeSean McCoy -- what a --9, 10-year veteran. So, this team is full guys who have played in the league for a long time, had success in this league for a long time. And that’s what I’m trying to replicate, you know, that’s what I’m trying to be.
RB LeSean McCoy
Friday, August 11, 2017
Q: Were you shocked when you heard the news about Sammy [Watkins] today? I know it’s the NFL, but –
A: Yeah, I’m sure everybody was shocked. But I’ve been in that situation. You get traded kind of unexpected so I’m sure everybody was shocked like I was.
Q: What do you think it says about the plan for the organization this season?
A: I don’t know. The good thing about that is that’s past my pay grade. Some guys make the decisions for our team and as players and coaches, they coach and we play and that’s how that works.
Q: What about blending the guys in, both [Anquan] Boldin and [Jordan] Matthews here on offense? You have three preseason games to do it, but what is the challenge there?
A: Well, I guess the good thing about it is [they get] here with three games to play. Learn the offense and get some real, live snaps with the quarterbacks in a live game. I think that helps them out.
Q: Did you call Sammy? Did you text him or anything?
A: Yeah, I texted him. I’m going to talk to him. Sammy’s one of those guys where he’s been like a superstar his whole life and he hasn’t had a real older mentor that has done more than him that can really give him advice. It’s one thing to take advice from an older guy that he’s probably better than or have done more than, with a guy that can really talk about success on the field and off the field and listen to him, and that’s something that we’ve been developing over the short period of time here. He looked good. He looked mentally ready and physically healthy, but I’m sure he’s hurt. I’ve been there and you kind of get traded. It’s a business. It’s a business and he has to understand that. But I can understand that type of way he feels, being traded for a guy that he’s probably better than. I understand him. But, he’ll be alright. It’s a business. He’ll go over and have a pretty good year and then in a year or two, you won’t even talk about it. That’s how it works.
Q: What’s your sense of the morale of the team right now after this deal?
A: Well, it’s such an early process for this season. Guys are still trying to learn the playbook and guys are trying to make the team. We’re trying to figure out who’s going to start. We have injuries and we’re trying to figure out who’s going to be the guy. The good thing is, right now, even though it’s a major situation with the trade, we have so [many] more things that we’re trying to worry about. We have a long season and the thing is, we can’t do anything about it now. We’ve just got to move on with what we have and get it going.
QB Tyrod Taylor
Friday, August 11, 2017
Q: Were you surprised? We were all surprised, I imagine you guys were too by the trades today.
A: Definitely surprised. Being in this league seven years, every day that you step into a building, it could be your last day. Things happen around the league. Like I said, just surprised but I wish Sammy [Watkins] the best. I haven’t had the chance to talk to him. I will call him tonight. It’s been a fast day but I’m definitely surprised.
Q: As the quarterback, he is your primary receiver. How disappointed personally are you? That’s your weapon, that’s your guy.
A: I have faith in our management and I have faith in Coach McDermott that they made a decision based on the betterment of this team. Like I said, definitely just surprised that everything happened. It just happened so fast. He was with a guy yesterday, seeing him this morning and then everything is sprung on you. Like I said, it’s the nature of this business and you’ve got to continue moving forward. Our focus as a team is still the same thing – to go out and win games. We have to continue to keep focusing on that each day.
Q: At a time where this is a win now league, you want to win now. Are you able to put a positive silver lining on something, knowing that you lost a player the caliber of Sammy Watkins? No matter how good Jordan Matthews might be, it will take time for you and him to build a chemistry.
A: We have to put a positive lining. Like you said, it’s a win now league and as a team, we have to refocus and do whatever it takes to win games. I’ve actually gotten a chance to workout with Jordan [Matthews] a couple years ago, so I know him personally. He’s a great guy, great talent. It’s tough to lose a guy like Sammy [Watkins] but as a team we have to refocus and continue to keep working hard to get better each day.
Q: How frustrating is it that you guys played just yesterday and had a seemingly very good rapport on the field?
A: Like I said, it’s just the nature of this business. You can never predict things. I just wish [Sammy Watkins] the best.
Q: With Anquan [Boldin] and Jordan [Matthews], how tough is it to get these two receivers up to speed and on page with you? It seems like it might be tough to get going right out of the gate.
A: Anquan [Boldin] has picked up the offense very fast. Like I said, I haven’t had a chance to be around Jordan [Matthews] as far as in the classroom, but I’m going to do my best along with the coaches to bring him up to speed. We know what type of talent he is just watching him on the field. He definitely can make plays, he’s a very athletic guy. I’m excited to see him once he gets in, just to talk to him and bring him up to speed. I’ve got to spend more time with him after practice watching film with him and just getting him on the same page. It’s going to be a work in progress but I’m excited to work with him. This team is going to welcome him in.
DT Kyle Williams
Friday, August 11, 2017
Q: What was your reaction to hearing about the trades today?
A: I mean, it’s like everyone else’s; surprised. That being said, I’ve been around long enough to know that the only constant thing is change. Nothing totally shocks me anymore, but I was a little bit surprised this morning.
Q: You were talking at the end of last season that you’re going to check things out; you’re going to see where this team is, what it wants to do. What does this indicate for you in terms of 2017?
A: I was actually just talking to somebody about it. You could view it one way from my perspective, if we got a pick this year, two two years from now for both picks. We’re actually getting guys that are coming back to play those positions so I don’t scout and evaluate guys, so we’re actually getting people back and some picks. I know more than anything that my attitude and my leadership and the way that I work cant change because of it changes, guys change and above all that, I trust Sean [McDermott]. I’m going to do what I’ve always done and I’m going to go out there and get ready to win.
Q: Do you have to, as a leader, are you extra vigilant in checking with guys? Maybe not today, it’s too soon but tomorrow, next week. That everybody else is not letting things slide or getting down.
A: Sure. I think the main thing is you want to check in with maybe those first, second, third year guys. Maybe that aren’t accustomed to big change like that or sudden change like that. I talked to a few guys today and said “listen, the only way that our team is going to be any good is how we respond in high and low times or how we respond in sudden change, on the field and off.” It’s an opportunity for us to see how we would react and I thought we had a good practice today.
Q: Do the leaders hold a team meeting when something like this happens?
A: Sean [McDermott] addressed it with everybody as a team, and then we break out individually and I think everybody in their individual groups took it upon themselves to say, “Hey, this is kind of the deal.” We’re going to miss those guys. They were great teammates and I love both of them. They’re moving on and unfortunately, we have to move on without them and we’re going to get ready and embrace our new teammates.
Q: Sean [McDermott] said that he met with the leaders, a few leaders beforehand. I’m assuming you were one of them. If you can, what was the general message of how we should treat this or react?
A: There’s everything that I just said. They’re looking to make our team better now and in the future. It’s kind of everything that I just covered.
C Eric Wood
Friday, August 11, 2017
Q: Shocking. I mean, what was your response when you heard about the trade – especially with Sammy [Watkins]?
A: Pretty shocking. [He’s] a guy that I’ve gotten close to over the years. It stinks, but it’s part of the business and I trust the direction of the team.
Q: You trust the direction of the team. Brandon Beane says they’re not throwing in the towel but a move where you trade your top, maybe arguably, offensive weapon and top cornerback. How difficult is it to trust that process?
A: Well, you just have to. We’re sad to see Sammy go, but we were pretty effective on offense without him last year at times. We’re adding a player in Jordan Matthews and hopefully he can come in and fill that void.
Q: Coach said he addressed the leaders of the team before he addressed the whole team. What was the general – did he just kind of give it to you straight? Or how did he kind of lay it out for you?
A: He just said we’re not throwing in the towel. [We] need your leadership in this decision and that he felt it was the right one. I trust that he made the right decision.
Q: You’ve been in this league long enough to see a lot of change happen. Guys come in, guys go. Some of the guys on the roster are pretty young. How do you approach this with them, because I’m sure their heads are spinning today?
A: Yeah, I’m sure some guys are. When you see a guy of that caliber get traded, it kind of makes you think about your job security, especially younger guys that are new to this business. That’s the reality. There’s a lot of turnover in this business. They’re making decisions that they feel is best for this team. I’m not in charge. I stay in my lane. I’m supportive, I’m going to work my tail off, and I’m still confident in our ability as an offense.
Q: It’s a bit of an earth-shaking move. Do you worry what affect this might have on the team’s morale, at least in the short term?
A: Yeah, I mean, in the extreme short term, it was sad. You say goodbye to a buddy in Sammy and [Ronald] Darby. That’s sad, but it’s your job to play football [and] be the best player you can be. Help this team win, and we went out and had an awesome practice and I don’t think anybody was dragging around out there. In that regard, yeah. It stinks. Sammy lives right behind me. I’m going to offer him some assistance and whatever I can do for him. But, there’s been a lot of guys in our neighborhood that have needed help too. It stinks.