Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor
Q: Tyrod, some of us, when we watch you play, it seems like this year you are making more of a conscious effort to even hang in there just a little bit longer and take a few more shots too because of it. Is that something that was conscious coming into the year? I mean, your rushing yards are down but you’re also hanging in the pocket and doing some things that maybe you didn’t do last year. I’m just kind of wondering if that was something that was more conscious than you’re being coached to do and you’re thinking about?
A: I think it’s just a natural feel of the game. If you look at some of the way teams are rushing, they’re forcing me to stay in the pocket. Like I’ve said before, we have a bunch of playmakers out there that, if I can get the ball to them, they’ll probably get more yardage than me just running. Just knowing the down and distance and when I can use my feet to move the chains, to do that but in the same sentence also getting the ball down the field to the guys that can make plays.
Q: You took a lot on yourself after that Cincinnati game and the bye, so what was your focus from that point to playing as well as you have these past two [weeks]? What’s kind of changed or what did you concentrate on?
A: More so just the things that we were doing right. Just trying to correct the things that we didn’t do so well. Talking with Coach, getting a better feel for some of the schemes that we were having success with, and trying to find a way to get those called. As far as me, personally, just refocusing and doing whatever it takes to put ourselves in the best, put our team and myself in the best situation to go out there and win games.
Q: Do you feel your game is at – what level do you think it’s at? Do you think you’re playing the best, consistently, that you’ve played when you evaluate yourself?
A: It’s week to week, but I think I’ve definitely taken steps in the right direction. I think I continue to keep building each and every week and that’s my focus, [is to] be better than I was the week before. Different situations are going to come up in different games and I think that we’ve done a great job of winning those situational battles. We can be better, but that’s definitely something that I’m focusing on.
Q: Tyrod, I think you’ve always had confidence in yourself but do you feel right now maybe you’re playing your best football as a Bill just based on the offense, your confidence, how you feel in the system? Is this maybe the best you’ve played, do you think?
A: I’m comfortable in this system and just have to continue to keep taking steps forward. I think as a team, we’re finding things that we do well. Getting Shady [LeSean McCoy] going, as well as putting the receivers in the best situation to go out there and make plays. As far as the confidence level, I’ve always been confident, like you said, but as you get more and more comfortable with the offense, you find things that you can do, and you stretch yourself to be better.
Q: You mentioned Shady, how important is it to get him going again against a 27th-ranked run defense?
A: It’s very important, any time you can get Shady going in the running game, it opens up things in the passing game for me and as well as it gets his confidence going. He starts to make bigger and bigger plays in the run game and in the pass game, so it’s definitely a conscious effort to get him going each and every week.
Q: What’s it been like to, you know, one week it’s Deonte Thompson with 107 yards. The next week, Brandon Tate is making a big catch on 2nd and long. What has it been like and how have you been able to adapt to these new receivers that seem to be, I mean Brandon’s been around, but just to adapt to these guys who have been on the field and getting them the ball knowing how thin that position is?
A: First and foremost, it’s been fun to see those guys come out and make plays. They work their butts off throughout the week. My coaches preach week in and week out just compete on the field and things will carry over to the games and that’s what they’ve done. Like you said, it’s been a different guy and that’s pretty much been the story of our team this whole year, offense and defense. Guys are stepping up to the plate accepting the challenges head on and going out there and playing at a high level.
Q: Tyrod, I know you guys embrace the underdog role, but how much of an opportunity is Thursday night [in] prime time, only game on, to show the rest of the league what this team is all about?
A: It’s a great opportunity. Night games give you just a different feeling. Of course, when you know everyone’s watching you, you look forward to those moments. Even with the short week, guys are preparing hard and looking forward to this opportunity to show the other team what we can do but as well as show the people that are going to be watching, everyone’s going to be tuned into Thursday Night Football, to show that this team is real.
Q: What’s the challenge, especially, for a quarterback to do the short-week preparation? Per other coaches, quarterbacks say that maybe there’s a more simple-minded approach just because you don’t have as much time to really dive into things for a game. Is that true with what you guys are doing?
A: The preparation is definitely key. As far as us going out and executing a game plan, it’s definitely things that we’re comfortable with. You don’t try to mix in too many new things, you want guys to play free and play fast out there. With the short week, like you said, you don’t get a bunch of time to install a lot of things so it’s more so of us just redefining the things that we do well and going out there and executing.
Q: Does it help that you’re playing a team that you’ve already seen once because it’s a short week, but you’ve already played them one time?
A: Yes, I mean, any time that you get a chance to play a team for the second time, there’s pros and cons. I mean, this team that we played was week one, so there [were] some new faces that we haven’t seen on the back end but through a couple games, you’ve got a chance to get a feel for them on tape. This team has been playing very well and [we’re] looking forward to the matchup, to be honest.
Q: Tyrod, what do you see different in the Jets from week one to what you’re looking at now on film?
A: Just a more confident group. Like I said, there were a couple guys on the back end that were new. I know they’ve been banged up a little bit, but just more confidence. Those guys are going out there and competing at a high level. They’ve been in some close games over the past couple of weeks and they’ve played very hard. Going into their home field, they’re going to come with a different type of attitude and we have to set the tone early.
Q: It seems like forever ago, that season opener. I’m not sure if you recall it, but you’ve got Rex Ryan on ESPN going on saying ‘I’m not going to even watch this game, there’s better games on TV’ and how people were referring to it as the ‘Tank Bowl’ or something like that. What do you take from thinking back then to what was being said about this game and how validating and how is it to be at 5-2 right now for this team?
A: Honestly, that was the first time I’ve heard that. It really doesn’t matter who watches the game. If no one watches it, we still have to go out there and play. As a team, we’re excited to go out there and take a challenge and to move forward to 6-2. We definitely have to bring our ‘A’ game against a team that’s competing very hard week in and week out so it’s a challenge for us. It’s a challenge for both teams. We’re preparing and getting ready for it.
Q: Tyrod, when you talk about your growth, on the deep Andre Holmes play, you talked about it on Sunday. It looked like you wanted to go to the post and then you cocked for a minute. To be able to have the composure to sit in the pocket, recognize it’s not there, move to the next read – and it wasn’t the cleanest pocket ever – to throw that ball, and maybe I’m making too much out of one play, but that one play [where you] had the composure to see one thing wasn’t there, go to the next thing and hit it on time with a heck of a throw, for your development, how big of a play was that?
A: It’s progress, and I have to continue to keep making those steps in our offense for our team to be successful. It’s definitely one of the plays that stuck out to me last week, but it was a great catch by Andre first and foremost. For him to tap his toes in and still maintain the catch to the ground. It’s definitely progress and like I said, I’ve got to continue to keep progressing.
Q: On that play, what did you see as you were going through your progressions? Because from where we were sitting, the angle, we could barely see you with all the bodies around you and then the ball just kind of popped out, so what did you see in terms of –
A: Uh, yes. It was a two-shell defense. I wanted to hit Logan [Thomas] around the safety. At the time, there’s normally a [line]backer there, but I wanted to hit him around 39 with the free safety closed in. I knew it was Cover 2 and we [were] able to get Andre [the ball]. He kept his route alive up the sideline and the corner slow played, and we were able to go over the top.
Q: How fun is it to see this town kind of buzzing after the performances you’ve put together this season, the excitement that’s building for this team?
A: The fans do a great job of creating a fun atmosphere on Sundays to play. As far as the buzz around town, it’s always good when you win. It’s our job to continue to keep preparing and doing the things that we’re doing on game day to keep that feel going. As a team, we welcome that challenge and we look forward to going out and playing each and every week.
Q: Do you guys recognize that? In past years, do you recognize as a team that the city is buzzing and you say, ‘hey, let’s keep this city up and going and buzzing.’ I mean, you got a football game there. Do you think about the fans as you try to get wins??
A: I personally don’t. I appreciate the fans and I love their support, but I don’t necessarily get tied emotionally into their feelings. We have a job to do and it’s our job to go out and compete at a high level. Things are going to go your way sometimes and things aren’t, but you aim to win every game of course. Like I said, that feeling just makes everyone feel good, so who doesn’t love the feeling of winning?
Q: The offense didn’t flinch when Sammy [Watkins] was traded or Anquan [Boldin] retired. What do you make of how the defense responded to losing a guy like Marcell Dareus?
A: I think the same approach. Guys continue to keep their mind focused. Yes, it was right before a game but like you said, we didn’t let it phase us as a team and defensively, the defensive guys didn’t let it phase them as well. They went out and played a heck of a game this past Sunday and I just think that the leadership on that side of the ball definitely speaks [volumes]. It says a lot about those guys as far as just keeping everyone focused.
Running Back LeSean McCoy
Q: You hear about players, maybe don’t like Thursdays, but you love Thursdays, you’ve had some of your best games on Thursdays, why is that?
A: It’s a normal game. The cool thing about it is everybody’s watching. Any time you get to have a chance to perform on that stage, [and] do your best. We look forward for that matchup, [it’s] going to be a good game.
Q: At this point, maybe Thursday, you know that everybody else is watching, including the other players?
A: I think so. I think we actually wear our best uniforms, when you try and put different tape on, or different colors to stand out. It’s something that you get up for.
Q: From a team standpoint, you guys relish the role of the underdog. You’re in the spotlight this week, how big of an opportunity is it to show the rest of the league what this team is all about?
A: I think what’s more important is [this is] a divisional game that we must-win. We beat them already at the beginning of the year. They’re playing a lot better as a group. We have to get this win, it’ll be big for us, to go up 6-2 in our division. That’s more important than, [or] bigger than just everybody in the world seeing what we do. The whole underdog [persona], I guess, each week is ‘aw man, is this team for real? They won another one, are they for real.’ We don’t play to answer that question. Each week we just want to play hard and get a win.
Q: Kind of along the same lines is that, what’s it like to think about the fact that last time you guys played them in week one, some people were deeming this as like, the ‘Tank Bowl’ almost, and now look at where you guys are?
A: Yeah, I forgot about all about that. Those are opinions, and I could care less about people’s opinions. But we do know that they’re a solid team. A lot of the losses they’ve had, in the fourth quarter they had the lead. [I can] assure you that they’re not a tank or cupcake team at all, especially on defense, their defense is booming.
Q: They are 27th against the run, you guys had 190 [yards] on them in the opener, how important is it to keep that going, what you’ve been doing lately?
A: Yeah, last couple of weeks we’ve been rolling in the run game, we need to keep that going. [I think if] we get on them early, put the pressure on them, and the defense plays the way they’ve been playing, getting turnovers. Hopefully they get turnovers, don’t score, get down to the one [or] two, and let us finish it. But no, we just have to play hard the whole game. It’s going to be Thursday night, they’ll be up for it, a division game. I guess to beat us, they’ll kind of have a better chance [because they’re] in the division, so we have to make sure we take care of business.
Q: Week-to-week, there’s somebody different on the roster offensively that seems to step up. Almost guys taking and cherishing that ‘no-name guys [role]’, you’re obviously not one of the no-name guys, but how fun is it to watch the Brandon Tate’s, the Nick O’Leary’s, Logan [Thomas], guys like that perform?
A: Just guys get opportunity. I remember trying to get my chance, and get out there and showcase what I can do. These are great examples, of guys coming in here each week, putting the preparation in. Nick has to step in, Logan has to step in, they do a great job at it. Tate, he’s a veteran, [he’s] an older guy, [who] had a chance to play, and made a big play for us in a key moment of the game. Just shows you the heart that everybody has on this team. When a guy [is] down, the next [man] has an opportunity.
Q: [What’s your take on] Thursdays, two days rest after 33 touches. Wouldn’t you rather have a full week?
A: Yeah, I’d love to have a full week, but, it is what it is. We have to go out there and get it done. I’ll be fine, I’m sore but I’ll be OK Thursday.
Q: From a preparation standpoint, does it make it easier being a divisional opponent, one that you already played this year?
A: I guess, kind of, [but] not really, because they’re still a good team, I think so, especially on defense. They’re going to play hard, they’re at home, so many different factors in this game. But I think [as] long as we play Buffalo football, no turnovers, keep the chains moving, play physical, run the ball well and convert on third downs we should be fine.
Q: You’re 2-2 against the Jets in your Bills’ career. In those two wins, you rushed for 100 yards both times, in the two losses your rushed for 59 yards and 10 yards. How important is it that you have a big game in order to move to 6-2 on the season?
A: You said 10?
Q: Yeah, five carries for 10 yards.
A: Oh, that’s not as bad. I’d love to get another 100 yards, that’ll be good for me. As long as we get the ‘W’ man. I think not just the yards, but establishing the run in the manageable downs, like 2nd and 5, 2nd and 4, [those] types of yardage, makes the game a lot easier for us. That makes a lot of sense. [We need to] try and control the line of scrimmage.
Q: As much as the run game has been better the last couple of weeks, have you noticed Tyrod [Taylor] growing a little better, maybe getting a little more composed since the bye?
A: I told him the other day that a big reason why we’re winning games, obviously is because of the defense for sure, but, is his play. He’s making plays. People struggle to give him credit, I don’t know why. He’s running the ball, throwing the ball, extending the drive, extending plays, being sacked, getting out of a sack, throwing the deep ball. He’s doing it, he’s playing at a high, high level. Recently, I’ve been telling him I have to match his intensity. I have to get going like him, I have to make the plays because that’s what he’s doing, I told him that, and I believe it.
Defensive Tackle Kyle Williams
Q: Isn’t it unfortunate where you are now, that you have to play a game in three days?
A: If you would just like to repeat my comments over the last 12 years, when you and I have talked about this, feel welcomed to (joking). Yes, yes it’s terrible. I don’t like it, nobody likes it. It’s tough on players, it’s tough on coaches. I don’t think the quality of the game is up to snuff. There’s a whole laundry list of negatives about it.
Q: Does it make it a little bit easier though, that it’s someone you’ve already seen before, maybe a little less hectic on the preparation standpoint?
A: Well, there’s not a whole lot when you’re going to play somebody else, where they can put in this extravagant game plan [in] a couple of days. I think teams when you see these Thursday night games, for lack of a better term, maybe vanilla and stick to what they’ve done or what they feel like they’ve been successful with. There’s not a ton of new wrinkles, I don’t think.
Q: You have two defensive backs and linebackers that are kind of close to coming back from injury, and if you had a full week, you might have them?
A: Yeah, you might have them, or if you have a guy that gets dinged up on Sunday, that would be [a] day-to-day guy that maybe is an important player for you, maybe you can get him back if it’s on Sunday, where [as] you lose him on Thursday. With the parity in the league, and the way things really come down to the wire, every game or every season, every game matters and every game count, and it puts you at a disadvantage.
Safety Jordan Poyer
Q: Today was really a positive step?
A: Yeah, [even] yesterday was a huge step for me. I was able to finally get back on the field, and do everything that I wanted myself to be able to do in order to play on Thursday. I’ve been positive, I’m just going to continue treatments and continue to set myself up in order to play on Thursday.
Q: In the past, how do you guys handle a short week when it’s like this, not a ton of time to prepare?
A: It’s a lot more mentally than it is physically. Obviously, I wasn’t able to play last week, so I know some of these guys going through it with their bodies and what not. Just taking care of your bodies, staying in the tape, and being prepared that way. The short week, it’s always hard to sprinkle in some new things. We believe we understand what the offense is going to try and do. We’re just going to go out there, play sound football, and do what we can.
Q: How do the Jets look this time compared as opposed to going into the first game?
A: They’re a lot better, they have a couple more players out on the field that we didn’t see the first time. They’re a good football team. They have, obviously, a veteran quarterback that can manage a game, that can win football games, and that’s very smart. He’s got guys around him that he’s able to get the ball to, and make plays. Like I said, just play sound football, technique sound, and fundamentally sound, we’ll be alright.
Center Eric Wood
Q: Looks like LeSean [McCoy] and the run game is really starting to establish itself the last two weeks; he had over 100 yards against the Jets in week one. How important is it to get him going immediately on Thursday night?
A: You know, every week we want to be balanced, run and pass, so being balanced – a big part of that is getting Shady going [in] the run game. Hopefully, we can get him going early, but [they’re a] really good defense, really talented. They’re playing their tails off right now and it’s a tough matchup.
Q: Because you, I know it’s a short week, but because you’ve played them once already, is it a little easier to prepare for a team you’ve seen once this season?
A: Definitely, yeah. You’ve already game planned for them once, you’re familiar with their looks, you know, you’ve got to learn what we’re going to do against them this time, game plan obviously has to change a little bit. They’ve done some subtle things differently with their defense that we have to lock in on, but [it] definitely helps on a short week.
Q: Do you have to kind of think about some different things they might do if [Muhammad] Wilkerson cant’s go? Because he obviously might not play in this one.
A: Yeah, you know, I expect them to run a lot of their base fronts. A lot of those guys are interchangeable. He’s an extremely talented player, not taking anything away from him, but, they have a lot of like DE’s that also play inside at three technique, that allows them a lot of versatility within the front.
Wide Receiver Zay Jones
Q: Your first opportunity to play in primetime in the NFL. Is it going to be a little extra special, getting a chance to play [with] everybody watching around the league?
A: I won’t try to make it a bigger deal than, really, what it is. You know, more eyes, but same job. Just another game of football, so it’s going to be a fun time, but I’m not taking it for granted, if that makes sense.
Q: Coming off [of] your best game as a pro, do you have maybe a little confidence, a little momentum going into the next game?
A: Yeah. I think I’m always building confidence each and every day, especially in practice today, it was another opportunity to go out there and catch and have great timing with my quarterback and just feel that groove of playing. So yeah, I’m definitely building confidence and enjoying it along the way.
Q: Was that game against Oakland a milestone, milestone’s a bad word, but in terms of a noticeable game of improvement for you coming out there feeling a little different?
A: I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but it’s three catches, I mean, it’s just me doing my job. That’s what I’m supposed to do. This isn’t some like Hall of Fame game for me or anything like that. I’m not treating it as that. You know, in the past, I told people I’m just going to start treating the ups and downs all the same. Just enjoy the process and then big games are going to happen, and hopefully bad games stay away.
Wide Receiver Andre Holmes
Q: I know that it’s a little difficult to prepare and have that quick turnaround for a Thursday game, but does it help, does it make it a little easier that it’s an opponent you’ve already seen this season?
A: Yeah, I think so. I think it helps the coaches out a lot as far as coming up with [the] game plan and, you know, that’s always how it works whenever you’re playing teams within the division. We’re excited for this game; I know I’m excited. I love playing the games, I don’t like the stuff in between. Short week, so I get to go out there and play a game, which I love to do.
Q: Andre, you’re coming off of your biggest game this season. How much momentum do you have going into Thursday night’s game?
A: You know, I feel like I have a lot of momentum. I feel like in the past few weeks, I’ve been ready to be called upon if, I got the chances. It’s nice to be able to go out there and make plays on both special teams and offense, and have an impact. I’m really excited to go out there, whether I have a chance to make plays or not, I’m going to go out there and put in my best effort and play my best game.
Q: Flashback to week one, you scored a touchdown against the Jets at home. Have you reviewed that film, maybe to find some more success [like that] on Thursday?
A: Yeah, I mean there’s some clips we’re looking at all throughout the year that the games the Jets played. Yes, we’ve seen some of the clips where we went up against them, but that was week one. There’s a lot of changes, there’s possible injuries, or whatever, so you really want to look at all the games, so we’re looking at all of it.