Head Coach Sean McDermott
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Opening Statement: Alright, good afternoon, let’s get started. The following players will not participate in practice today: Tenny [Palepoi], Tenny has an illness, Zay Jones with the knee [injury], Trent Murphy, you guys have seen Trent out there, he’ll do some, he’ll participate some in practice, just not the team periods at this point in time, Logan Thomas, Malachi Dupre as well as Matt Milano [will not participate].
Q: Who was the first name again, Coach?
A: Tenny Palepoi; he has an illness at this point.
Q: The verbiage is different, but it’s kind of the same thing, right? You’re just moving on. OTAs, minicamp, [is it] the same thing?
A: Right, I mean [they are] pretty much the same style practice overall. Verbiage, to your point, is different and there’s obviously some things rule wise [that] change in terms of mandatory versus voluntary, but other than that, the complexion of what we do really won’t change all that much.
Q: Given that there are some teams who are having players that are not at the mandatory, are there any unexcused absences that you know of?
A: Yeah, no. I’ll go back and give the players credit; they’ve done a tremendous job this offseason being in Buffalo and working their tails off. The coaches have been teaching and it’s been a good environment around the building. We’ve got great weather outside and a lot of positive energy around this place right now.
Q: What is Matt Milano’s injury?
A: Yeah, just dealing with a little bit of a hamstring [injury] right now.
Q: You’ve been around LeSean [McCoy] when he was younger and first breaking into the league and now you’ve had him for an entire year here. The fact [of] the numbers he put up, how much does that impress you for a guy who now is about a month away from being 30 [years old].
A: Well, again, I had the chance to be around LeSean early in his career so, really from the start, I could see the skill level early on, and I’ve mentioned this before, but as now coming full circle coming back to in terms of our relationship coming full circle a year ago when I came back to Buffalo here, just to watch his habits off the field in terms of the way he takes care of his body, for a running back to acquire the number of yards and be healthy like he’s been for the most part during his career is really a testament to the way he takes care of his body. He’s become a pro on and off the field in terms of what he does with the maintenance, preservation part.
Q: You’re coming in with a new quarterback, a new offensive line, mostly a new offensive line, and a new coordinator. How much are you going to need to lean on LeSean yet again as the one fixture, not the lone fixture, but the key fixture of this offense given what he’s done?
A: Listen, LeSean is a good player. I’m not going to take anything away from him and what he’s done over the years and we’ll expect him to do this year [which is] no different, but we’ve got a number of good players. I’m a firm believer that the team is not made up of one guy; it’s 11 guys on one side of the ball all doing their respective jobs and LeSean has really subscribed to that philosophy. All good running backs usually have a good offensive line in front of them as well. We’ve got to piece this thing together the right way and play good team football.
Q: Speaking of the o-line, without contact in these sessions, how much are you able to really figure out how this is coming together when you’ve got a lot of change? How do you evaluate under these certain conditions without contact?
A: Well it’s been that way, and you’ve been around the league, it’s been that way since I’ve been around the league in terms of this time of year, no pads.
Q: I just mean, you’re looking at a lot of candidates-
A: It’s tough from a standpoint of the interior line play there’s very little contact for us. The evaluation part of it is a challenge, but we know that going into it, so it’s a little easier this time of year to evaluate some of the skill position players out at practice at least on both sides of the ball. The interior line play, you can see some of it, but really, when the pads come on [that is when you can evaluate further], and that’s true for our interior football team. Being around the league, you have to be careful not to make too early of a final evaluation of a player until you really put the pads on because that’s how our games played.
Q: Now that you’re in minicamp, will there be any changes at all to all three quarterbacks and the rotation in any way?
A: Well, you know Josh [Allen] is going to continue with the third group, like he’s done before, but what we’ll do periodically is give Josh some reps with the ones. That’s all part of his development plan. [It’s] really a chance for us to evaluate our entire roster as well from top to bottom. He’ll still work with the threes by in large and Nate [Peterman] and AJ [McCarron] will continue with the ones and twos, there. We’ll throw Josh in from time to time moving forward.
Q: Obviously with the offensive line it’s different, but with the wide receivers, you can see them obviously in these sessions as opposed to the offensive/defensive line. The wide receiver position for your team is unique in many different ways. How has it played out in these sessions and what have you seen from a wide variety guys with [different] experience level and talent level? What have you seen shaken out so far?
A: Well, with respect the wide receiver position? I mean, those guys are working hard. You’ve got a guy like Kelvin [Benjamin] who’s been around the league a little bit and a guy that I have experience with and then you take that all the way to a new player in Austin Proehl, Ray-Ray [McCloud] and some of the other players new to our team this year. They’re all working extremely hard; I think the leadership at the coach level from Coach Robiskie, Chad Hall, has been phenomenal. To be able, for our young players, to be able to learn from those two men in terms of Terry Robiskie being around some well-established receivers over the years to Chad playing the position, both outside and in the slot, really bodes well for the future of our position there. The competition level, I think, is very high. It’s interesting to watch a different player make a play about every day, so that’s healthy for us.
Q: Coach, when you lay out your plan for giving out reps, you decided amongst your staff how much you tell the quarterbacks in advance. For example, do you say, ‘this week, this is the plan” or is it more on a daily basis kind of plan?
A: We try and communicate the best we can. The players know that this time of year, there’s really not an overall set depth chart. We try and give you guys the best I can and I respect that you [motioning towards media] have jobs to do as well, but by in large, there’s really not a set depth chart this time of year. We’re looking at our roster and trying to find and evaluate players at all positions and so that’s some of the move at quarterback too. Move, that’s the wrong word, but some of what we’re doing at the quarterback position is also evaluating other players, so we can evaluate the receivers along with AJ and Nate as well. There’s a lot of different ways and reasons for doing what we’re doing, and that’s true at every position. You’ll see some twos play with the ones, some threes play with the twos, [and so forth]. Those are some of the questions you want to answer this time of year and onto the early portion of training camp. Once we get into the second, third, certainly the fourth week of training camp, then we’ll start to really try and build some continuity with the ones so that it carries forward into the season.
Q: How well is Josh Allen grasping the offense and how much offense has he been given to grasp through this? How much will he get through the end of this minicamp?
A: Yeah, I mean, Brian Daboll and David Culley have done a nice job of acclimating Josh to the system in the right dosage. Really, to Josh’s credit, we’ve not held back all that much to this point. One of the things that goes a little bit under the radar is understanding the defense as well; before you walk, you’ve got to crawl and a bit part of the learning curve for quarterbacks is understanding the opponent and the defense and the way defenses work in this case.
Q: Do you and Brian and the other coaches on the offensive side of the ball have any idea of the time frame of, ‘okay, this is when we would like to know who the quarterback [is]’? I know it’s still early in the evaluation process, but do you have a little bit of a timeframe?
A: You know, I think it’s in pencil at this point in time, and I could say somewhat for every position, really, [it is like that]. There will be a time in training camp where we need to be decisive and be reminded of that for the betterment of the team in terms of, we need to build, as I mentioned before to Sal’s question about the continuity of our football team, just in terms of getting people playing with each other at the same- you know, with the ones, with the twos, with the threes, so there is a chemistry that’s so important that goes with the communication on both sides of the ball, included special teams really.
Q: Sean, you talked about spots [on the roster] being earned. Is this something that Josh has earned?
A: He’s worked hard; he has. This is, like I said earlier, it’s part of the plan from the start, but also give Josh credit; he has earned things. That’s how we do things here. He has earned this and he’ll continue to earn things as he goes through his development as we move forward here.
Q: Coach, can you just give us an idea as to how much of the offense is in installed, whether that’ll be accomplished by the end of this week or you have it already? Where is the progress here?
A: Yeah, we’ve got a decent amount of the offense in at this point. Naturally, with where and what we’re allowed to do through NFL league rules, it’s challenging to have it all in obviously, with Vic mentioning earlier, not being in full pads with respect to that. Look, the defense is in its second year and really, so is the special teams for the most part or more, so offense is a little bit behind in that regard, but we can still function if we had a game tomorrow, for the most part. Now, it’s about building a consistent rep count, going through it again, we’ll go back through the installation schedule again in the first couple weeks of training camp. The players will have a pretty good feel of what’s coming next and what’s expected.
Q: Sean, what have you seen from Tre’Davious White in his second year coming off of a solid rookie year?
A: You know, that’s a great question. I think Tre’Davious, what you see, at least in my opinion, kind of in his sophomore year if you will, is players that have come in and had some success tend to take, I guess, the relaxation syndrome hits them a little bit in the offseason in particular between their freshman and sophomore years. In this case, Tre’Davious has been just the opposite to his credit. He’s prepared himself, the way he came back. He was in shape when he came back to camp this year. He’s just picked up, really where he left off in January/end of December. Not only what he’s done on the field, but what he’s done off the field, so I’ve been very pleased with the work he’s put into this point. Still a lot of work to do, but he’s moving in the right direction.
Q: We say Owa Odighizuwa with the starting unit last week a little bit at left defense end. Can you give us a little bit of why that is, what he brings to the table for you guys?
A: Well we’re, like I said before, there’s really not a starting unit at this point, so we’re looking at different players in those roles and seeing how they handle themselves. [We’re looking to] see if they look out of place with the ones and I thought Owa’s had a nice offseason to this point. It’s been well documented what he’s been able to do coming out of college and everything. He’s an explosive player, so he’ll be a big prospect for us moving forward.
Q: Sean, Chris Ivory is a guy that you guys targeted even before free agency officially started when he was on the open market. In your mind, what type of role do you envision for him and is he the type of guy that can, if LeSean needs a break, or even if LeSean was out for a game or two, can handle a work load?
A: Right, Chris definitely has the experience, if you will. He’s done that before over the course of his career, in terms of carrying the workload of the starting running back. That said, ideally, we have LeSean for the season and he’s able to stay healthy and Chris provides us [with] a nice complement at the running back position. What he’s able to do, not only with the ball in his hands, but also without the ball in his hands is important. I’ve been very impressed to this point with Chris’s habits and the ways he’s added a veteran leader at the position in addition to the leadership we already have at that position. He’s been a nice addition for us.
Q: Sean, you mentioned the defense being an important part of the quarterback play. Expanding on that, the entire pre-snap package if you will of getting the line blocking set with the backs as well, is that whole pre-snap responsibility of a quarterback, is that a bigger learning curve than after the snap, when they’re in the pocket just going through progressions? At the NFL level, is that more important for a guy like Josh Rosen, excuse me [I meant] Josh Allen to grasp?
A: You’re going to have to ask Steve Wilks [laughs]. Yeah, you know, I think it’s all important, really. It’s a position that, you’ve got to earn your way onto the field and then you’ve got to really pay attention to detail. You’re the leader when you’re out there and, certainly what happens before the snap is just as important or sets you up for what happens after the ball is snapped. From there, it’s, hey, down in and down out, how are you going to handle yourself and how consistent can you remain through the course of an entire game. There is a lot that goes on pre-snap, to your question, and that’s a part of the learning curve as well and understanding tells or indicators out there from the defensive side of the ball.
Q: How has Josh been with that?
A: He’s doing well. He’s a student of the game and he continues to work hard and that’s part of his progression mentally in terms of developing in that regard both off the field and then, of course, on the field as well.
Quarterback Josh Allen
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Q: Josh, [when] LeSean McCoy [was] up here, he said in the huddle or whatever, he just kind of told you [to] slow down, it’s not a math test, you can say ‘yo’ to him. Is that true?
A: Nah, he likes to joke around. He says I’m all football, so there’s nothing wrong with that, but he wants me to loosen up a little bit, so I’ll loosen up for him.
Q: What is that like when a guy who’s been in the league and done so much saying ‘loosen up just a bit’? It must resonate with you from a guy of that stature.
A: For sure, he’s seen it all. To come up and have that relationship with me where he can tell me something [about] how he’s feeling, obviously he’s been in this league for a long time now. He’s a really great football player, so for him to say that, I’m going to take that to the heart and come out and be more relaxed and be myself.
Q: He says he sees a guy who can be a special player when he watches you. When you hear that from a guy who is potentially a hall of famer, how does that make you feel?
A: It makes me feel good, I guess. I’m just here to do my job and be the best quarterback that I can be. For him to say that, that was pretty special because that’s a special guy right there.
Q: For you to earn some reps with the first team this early on in the process, what does that do for your confidence?
A: I’m just trying to take advantage of every opportunity. It doesn’t mean anything in my opinion. I’m out there and throwing with guys like LeSean McCoy and throwing against guys like Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer and it felt good to throw with those guys, but also, [I’m] just learning. [I’m] taking those reps and taking the knowledge that comes with it. Micah Hyde came down and broke one of my passes up and I came up to him after practice and just asked what he saw. He saw my eyes, so just being able to talk with the defense like that and pick up on cues that they’re looking at in order to make plays on the football, because they get payed to play this game, too. [I’m] just learning from all the reps that I take.
Q: Is that the biggest benefit more so going against the first team defense as opposed to working with the first team offensive guys?
A: I guess you can say that. Those guys are flying around. I guess they know what they’re doing a little bit more than some of the other guys. I’m not taking anything away from the other guys, [but] it’s Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer; they’re those players for a reason. They’re special players. To be out there throwing against them is pretty cool.
Q: There were a couple plays there were you said ‘look, I’m going to look for the next play and just throw this one away’. Just being the competitor you are and the situation you’re in, how are you fighting that balance of wanting to make something happen but also trying to be disciplined enough to say, ‘you know what, let’s just make a play on the next snap’?
A: It’s really about taking the smart play. Sometimes the smart play is throwing it away or holding on to it. Just trying to consistently develop great habits. Coach Daboll continues to tell us ‘don’t pass one to take one’. If we see a guy open, it might not be the long one or the home-run ball, [but] if he’s open now, get it to him now. Let our guys make plays.
Q: How nice is it to have a weapon like Kelvin Benjamin? You made a throw where only he could get, but he made a pretty good grab to go up and get it. [What is it like] knowing you can have a guy out there wide like that?
A: Yeah, I mean his catch radius is unbelievable. I just throw it up there and let him go make a play, and that’s our job as quarterbacks to allow our guys to make a play on the ball. He’s a special player; I’ve never played with anybody like him. Just the things that he can do, the matchups that you can have with him. It’s just pretty phenomenal, the things he can do on the football field.
Q: We probably won’t talk to you before you guys break before training camp, but what are your plans from here up until you come back for training camp?
A: Probably go see Jordan Palmer again and continue to throw throughout the whole process. I’m going to be a groomsman in my buddy Tanner Gentry’s wedding, he’s with the Chicago Bears, so that’s pretty cool. Do some cool things with my family, just kind of hang out relax, [and] get ready for a long season ahead. Just talking with AJ [McCarron] and Nate [Peterman] and just understanding how long the NFL season is and just trying to get my body prepared for what we’re going to endure.
Q: What about studying-wise? Have they given you pointers on the best approach to taking time off while still continuing to work on the playbook?
A: Yeah, I mean, it’s just about picking your fights wisely, I guess, and just trying to take time to relax but at the same time, you’ve got to stay in tune and focused on the task at hand. Obviously, you still want to be in your playbook and going over things in your mind, mental situations and things like that. It’s definitely about staying on top of the game, [and] staying ready so you don’t have to get ready.
Q: Any plans on meeting with any of the guys on the offense?
A: We’ve talked about it, but there’s nothing set in stone, yet. I would definitely like to; I think the quarterbacks would also say the same thing. We’re trying to figure something out. As of now, AJ and Nate are the veterans, so wherever they want to meet, I’ll meet them there.
Q: Will this be the last chance in a while you have a chance to breathe? It’s been pretty whirlwind-ish since you got drafted and now it’s like a three, four week break before training camp starts?
A: This is breathing for me, playing football. This is what I want to do for a long time, and to get out here and be with this organization, be in this facility as much as I can, it’s just been awesome because it’s been everything I’ve always wanted and more, being a professional football player. Being around these guys have been awesome.
Q: How do you deal with that, if this is that high of an objective, how do you deal with wanting more come training camp, wanting to start with the ones, wanting to be with the ones knowing you’re in this process right now?
A: You know, it goes back to taking advantage of every rep that I get. I’m just here to try and get better every day and try to be the best teammate possible. Getting better every day is learning behind Nate and AJ. It’s talking with the vets like Micah Hyde and Jordan. Getting in and watching film with the rookie guys and making sure that we’re doing the right thing, it’s just an accumulation of a bunch of different things that you’ve got to continue to do.
Q: Josh, not only here with the team, but outside of football, how much do you already feel part of the city? We saw you talking wedding pictures with people outside of the stadium over the weekend, things like that. It seems like fans have really embraced you in this city.
A: Yeah, it’s a special feeling. I don’t think a lot of places are like this where the fans are as welcoming and family like as possible. That’s the feel that I get from the community surrounding Buffalo. It’s been awesome; it’s something I’m kind of used to, coming from a small school in Firebaugh, the small community kind of supports everything that you do and [it was] the same thing in Laramie at the University of Wyoming. I just get that same feeling here, so it’s just that at-home feeling.
Q: A lot of rookie quarterbacks talk about the speed of the game; it takes a while for it to slow down. Have you been here long enough to assess the speed of the NFL game?
A: The thing is, these guys aren’t getting much faster from college, but they are smarter. They do recognize routes a lot faster. They’ve been taught better fundamentals and better techniques, so that’s where the game gets faster; the window is just closed a little bit smaller. If you’re on time, throwing accurately, and you know what you’re doing before the snap is happening, I don’t think it’s been too bad, but obviously I got some reps with the ones today and those windows did close fast. Like I said, Micah Hyde and when you’re playing against those types of players day in and day out, you’ve got to find ways to beat them.
Quarterback AJ McCarron
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Q: Looks like the timing’s kind of coming together AJ with your receiving targets. Is this about the time of year where you expect that to tighten up here? Because it’s looking sharp.
A: Yeah, for sure, just because you’re spending more time with them. It’s still tough on certain stuff, but [it’s] gradually just getting better. Each day, [I’m] trying to take a step forward in that process. Today was a good day, though.
Q: A lot of third down [drills] today? I saw there was a whole team segment [where] there were third downs.
A: I don’t even know, to be honest with you. I don’t think we had third down, I think we just had blitz. I mean, there might’ve been a bunch of third downs, that’s usually when you get blitz.
Q: Where do you feel you guys are or maybe tell us you guys are in the offensive install? Is it all in yet, are you still getting stuff in?
A: I have no clue [laughs]. We just kind of go into the meeting room with an open mind and just get ready for the day, really. There’s no telling. I haven’t seen the whole playbook like as in ‘this is it from the front to the end’, but I have no clue.
Q: When did you find out that Josh [Allen] would be taking first team reps and how has all of that affected you?
A: Well, I mean, probably part of it is [the fact that] he is the 7th overall pick, so I think he would at some point. I just go play my game; I don’t worry about it.
Q: AJ, how familiar were you with LeSean McCoy [and] just what he was capable of doing before you got here in Buffalo?
A: Character, that’s him [laughs]. Watching him play in the league while I was in college even, shoot, when he was at Pitt playing and I was, what, probably in high school. You know what type of player he is, the type of athlete he is, the dynamic player he is and the things he can do on the field is one of a kind, so [I’ll] definitely try and get him the ball when I can.
Q: [LeSean McCoy asking the question] I have a question, during the season, I have to go after you [for the post-practice podium]?
A: I don’t know, you have to talk to somebody.
Q: AJ, you pumped your fist when you hit [Nick] O’Leary in the red zone. Is that just a combination of: we’re working so dang hard here and it’s nice to have a play pay off like that?
A: Yeah, I mean, it’s just part of football. You show emotion; that’s the way I’ve always been. It was a tough play just because the d-line had a little push; they did a good job. I had to throw really early, and it was just overall a good play. Good route by Nick, a good catch, and [he] scored a touchdown.
Running Back LeSean McCoy
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Q: [AJ McCarron] was saying that he remembers you playing when he was in high school…
A: Yeah, he was trying to rub it in [laughs].
Q: I hate to [bring it up] but [you’re turning] 30 in a couple of weeks, July something…
A: 12th. Remember that party I had.
A: Well, I was supposed to have [laughs]. What can I say, it’s been a great ride. I look forward to having a big year again. We have some special pieces here. [Coach] McDermott is really putting together, him and [Brandon] Beane, they’re putting a group together here that’s going to be tough on [opposing] defense and offense is going to run the ball, put some points up. Talk about [Brian] Daboll, having him here, the impact that he’s having with the players. He’s [a] very intelligent offensive coordinator, a smart person. He’s always trying to find ways to get the backs open space. The playmakers, he’s always trying to get them the ball. I’m excited. I’m excited about this year. I’m excited to be back in that offense where it’s hitting on all cylinders, from throwing the ball to actually finding a way to get the guys some space, which I do best.
Q: Last year, [at] training camp, you made the comment that you probably had five good years left. Do you have four now, or do you still think ‘I can still play another five’?
A: We’ll see. I think it has a lot to do with winning. Winning and other achievements that I want to make and accomplish. Every year, I try and jot down some goals to achieve. It’s weird, because every year, not that I didn’t expect to get this far, it’s just I look at backs like Frank Gore [and] there’s not a lot of them. There’s not a lot of guys out there. I want to chase that and be one of those guys. I hang out with them in the offseason, a lot of the running backs like the [Todd] Gurleys, and the [Le’Veon] Bells, the way they view me is like the ‘old head baller’. It drives me. It does, because I remember being 25, 24 looking at the older guys, saying ‘I’m going to catch him, I want to be better than him’. Now, it’s like reversed. Now it’s like, okay, I’m still an elite player, but the young guys are creeping on me, so I’ve got to continue to do better and do better. Stack my numbers up, stack my wins up. Just make that portfolio of just a baller. A solid career.
Q: So just not letting them catch you?
A: So far, yeah, that’s it. We’re chasing 12,000 [yards], right [Derek] Boyko? 12,000, we’re chasing that. Also, last year was our first time in the playoffs in 17 years, so [we’re going to try] to capitalize on that moving forward. A lot of exciting things happening in Buffalo right now. I just want to be part of it.
Q: Do you remember when your mindset changed from I’m chasing these guys to I’ve got to be the guy to these younger guys? Do you recall when that kind of hit home for you?
A: My second year in Buffalo. My first year, it was rough to transition from Philadelphia to Buffalo [and] get myself together. It was more than just competing. I had to find myself. The next year, it was like ‘I’m back’. [It was] time to go out there, produce, get my name back where it’s supposed to be, my mind clear, then I kind of took off again. Last year, I had a solid year. Probably my second year in Buffalo, it kind of hit me again.
Q: LeSean, losing Eric Wood and Richie [Incognito], a couple of moves maybe that no one expected. How do you feel about the o-line? How do you feel about losing those guys?
A: Nah, I mean, losing Richie and Eric, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t matter. Some people might say that to kind of nip it in the butt and get it out the way, but those guys are great players. Eric is very smart, intelligent, plays hard. He’s a veteran; he’s been in different scenarios and situations, so having that, that leadership is big. We don’t have that because he’s gone. Let’s talk about Richie. People can say what they want about Richie, but he’s one of the best blockers I’ve played with; he aggressive, which we all know, he’s tough. I’ll miss him also. A lot of my best runs were behind him. You calculate 400 yards, I would say, behind Richie. That’s one thing; another part of that is: guys have got to step up. I’ve been in a place with Brian Westbrook [and] he’s a heck of a player. I remember my first year with him and then the next year, one of the big stories was ‘what are we going to do without Westbrook?’ That kind of drove me. It’s the same with these guys. It’s kind of a sign of opportunity and what you do with it. We’ll see. We have some good backups and guys competing for starting jobs. It’s what the NFL is all about. I mean, who was Tom Brady before Tom Brady? He got an opportunity, [and] he made the best of it. Everybody has an opportunity, and, [and they’ve got to] make the best of it.
Q: What’s it been like having Chris Ivory in the running back group?
A: I’ve always been a fan of Ivory. He’s one of those guys that runs extremely hard. I make jokes with him now that, this year for sure, I’m going to run a guy over, and he’s inspired me to do that. We’ll see. It’ll be fun working with him. I’m sure he’ll do a lot of the short yardage on top of downs, keep me fresh. Hopefully, [he doesn’t] take too many touchdowns from me. I’m happy to work side to side with him.
Q: AJ [McCarron], Nate [Peterman] and Josh [Allen] aren’t as mobile as Tyrod [Taylor] was. In fact, few quarterbacks are as mobile as he was. Do you think it’s going to make it more difficult with teams keying on you in that sense, knowing you don’t have the one, two punch of having Tyrod being able to take off?
A: We’ll see. It’ll be tough without Tyrod. I thought Tyrod was special when he was here. He was productive in my eyes. Made a lot of plays for us. Some games that he won are games that we won because of him and the defense. We’ll see. I’m sure it’ll be different. I’m sure we’ll kind of change up the pays a little bit, maybe not as much read options which are very helpful and productive. We’ll see how it works out. The good thing is [Brian] Daboll is a hell of a coach, so he’ll find ways to get it done in different situations. [I have] a lot of confidence in that department. I think that might help us out with not really having Tyrod. All the quarterbacks, I will say this, they all have something special and you see it each day. Even like Nate; outside these doors, people might think, ‘Aw, Nate threw five interceptions and etcetera, but he’s a heck of a player. That’s beside him going to Pittsburgh and actually just watching him play since he’s been a rookie. He’s smart and he’s growing each day. They all have something good about them, even AJ. I’m good friends with AJ Green and we talked over the offseason when the deal went down, I reached out to him first. I called him [and said], ‘hey man, what are we getting?’, which everybody does that. I remember when we traded [Kevin] Kolb in Philly, Larry Fitzgerald called me right away, like, ‘hey, who are we getting over here?’ But AJ [Green], he was honest with me [and said that] AJ [McCarron] is a heck of a player, he plays hard, he’s going to make the right reads, and as long as guys help him out, he’ll be fine. It’s different from actually being a starting quarterback. He hasn’t had that many opportunities to start and play. I think the best thing with a young quarterback or a young player is getting reps. Repetition is major. He’s going to have the chance here; he’s getting a full opportunity to start, so we’ll see. The weirdest thing is not knowing who the starter [is] but kind of like applauding and supporting each quarterback. The good thing is, I’ve been there for a while and it’s been like that. Since I’ve been here, my first year, it was like four quarterbacks were starting, so I played that role at practice.
Q: Everybody talks so much about Josh Allen’s arm strength. Have you had a chance to really look at it and see it and how he’s excelled in that?
A: I have to be honest, he’s pretty good. I’m not a big fan of rookies. The best rookie I’ve probably liked in my career has been Tre [White]. Tre’s really good. A lot of guys as rookies, they’re not like him. The quarterback is on that level: he’s good, he’s smart, [but] he has to learn of course. He’s thrown some passes that probably shouldn’t have been thrown, but other than that he has a strong arm, [he is] very intelligent. He’s too smart. Sometimes, we have conversations, and I’m like, “Easy, this is not like an exam. Just talk to me. You can say ‘yo, what’s up’”. As a talent level, he’s going to be good for a lot of years and I want to be a part of that when he takes over eventually. [We] took him early in the draft, so that’s common sense. He’s special, that’s for sure. Only thing is, those dudes like that, they get carried away. We’ve got to give Shady the ball 25 times and then you can throw it here and there.
Q: From what you’ve seen early from Josh, what could he bring, what different dynamic could he bring to this team?
A: Well, it’s still early. I don’t want to make him a Jim Kelly already, but he’s got to learn different things. He’s a rookie. Quarterback is such an important role. He’s like a coach on the field as far as making the right reads, being confident. He has so much he has to learn from his position to the wide receivers to the lineman, protections. He has a lot on his plate. Other than that, just talent wise and intelligence, he has it to be a starting quarterback and also a franchise quarterback. He’s impressive, you’ve seen him. He’s confident. One of the practices, he threw a pick, he came back, it was a two minute drill, came down and scored. He does things like puts the ball in the right places, jump balls, back shoulders, all the things that you have to remind [and] emphasize to a player. He [already] kind of has it. I’m not sure anything about Wyoming, what they taught him there or the players he was around, but give him players at the NFL level, give him a player in the backfield like me, good matchups, it makes it a lot easier for him. You’ll see, he’s pretty good. You’ll see in a couple of years or this year, next year. He’ll have a good career.
Q: LeSean, is LeBron [James] going to your Sixers?
A: We’ll see. It’s tough because, I think, Ben Simmons is really, really good and is emerging as a superstar and him and Lebron are like the same person. Obviously, LeBron is better and more polished, but I think that could stunt Ben’s growth. Like two guys that dominate the ball, but hey, I’ll tell you what, the whole town will be going crazy with LeBron there. He’ll do well and have that shot. As long as we get the ball to [Joel] Embiid a lot of times, we should be fine.
Q: Speaking of the NBA finals, you got to see Tyrod a little bit. How was that? Are you guys still close even though he isn’t here anymore?
A: We’re close enough, he bought me tickets. I was his date for the game. He’s happy where he’s at, he’s with a team that wants him and I’ve told him that. I remember [when] we first talked about the trade, I was like, ‘hey man, the biggest thing is you’re going to a place that wants you’. They were asking, ‘can we have Tyrod?’ I’ve been in that situation, so I can really speak on it. It’s tough. A team is trying to trade you away [and you think], ‘you’re trying to trade me away?’ You get that feeling and I think with him, he understands that. He’s leading that team and they have a lot of weapons. I know Josh Gordon really well and Josh is one of those guys [that] he’s the top 10, top 15 type of talent. By the way, [being ranked] 30 [in the league for the 2017 season] is way too high. 30, the NFL, that’s bull-. But no, and then you get the kid from Miami, Jarvis [Landry] is really good, too. And then you have Carlos Hyde, so they’ve got some players, and he’ll be happy. He texts me all the time, he’s making plays and joking with me, so he’s happy. He’s in a good space; a positive place. That’s what matters as a quarterback.
Q: Coach Daboll is your fourth offensive coordinator here in four years. You’ve touched on this already, but without spilling too many beans, what kind of offense can people expect out of the Bills this year?
A: He’s had success with the Patriots; he’s had a lot of success with Alabama. We’re going to run the ball, for sure. You’ll see a lot of similarities with us and the Patriots because that’s where he comes from. One of the things [he does] is he’s always trying to get a matchup. When you watch the Patriots when they play, you’ve got the guys like the Gronks [Rob Gronkowski] where he’s going to make plays, but he’s always looking for a matchup. If you get a running back on a linebacker, you’re going to take it. IF we get Clay on a particular linebacker, we’re going to take it. Even with [Kelvin] Benjamin, he’s a big target, we want to get him the ball. He’s always trying to confuse the defense and find the mix-match. The most offenses that are successful, that’s what they do. We’re going to run the ball in different formations, keep guys off balance, be on the attack and that’s more just [a] high tempo offense. We’re going to be similar. We’ll see. I’m excited to be here, I’ll tell you that. The offense is crazy, a lot of plays. A lot of studying for a great cause and a great outcome.
Q: You went from [rank] 27 to 30.
A: That’s crazy, I think it’s my age. Turning 30, but there’s a lot of great players on there, so I’m happy to make the list.
Q: You’re ahead of Matt Stafford and he makes 27 million [dollars] a year, so that’s got to be good.
A: Damn, yeah, we’ll I’m better than him. Nah, I’m cool with Matt, so don’t say that. Me and Matt are definitely cool, but that’s a lot of good players on that list. I’m excited to be on that list. Personally, I think I should never go past 25. 25 dudes better than me? I don’t see it. 30 years old, 21 years old, I don’t see that; but that’s my opinion, and I’ve been known to have an opinion. And you can quote that, for sure. 25, damn, always.
Quarterback Nathan Peterman
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Q: How much more comfortable do you feel this spring compared to last year as a rookie?
A: A lot more comfortable, especially just knowing our guys, knowing everybody’s names out there, [and] having a pretty good feel. There’s a lot of new faces, obviously, but I have a pretty good feel for just who’s here, especially after going through phase one and phase two; that’s something you don’t get as a rookie. Going through all that and then with a new offense, having a little bit more time with it, with phase one and phase two, I think it’s been really helpful. I’m trying to improve upon it every day.
Q: How does being out there with the first team affect your confidence at all?
A: It’s just a great opportunity, so I’m going to take that opportunity and run with it, play the best to my ability, and move the team down the field. That’s just the focus when you’re out there, but [it’s] the same focus if you’re with the twos, the threes, the fours. It’s just [about] trying to do your best out there.
Q: The timing looks tighter, Nathan. Would you say you’ve noticed an increased level of consistency with the timing with the guys that you’re throwing to out here of late?
A: Yeah, it’s been great. Like I said, to be in the third phase now and, really, the fourth phase of minicamp, mandatory minicamp, I think the work that we have down to improve our chemistry, improve our timing has been great and I think it’s something that we can build on even more here. In this off time, we’re all going to get together and camp obviously, too.
Q: What does it help in your familiarity with Kelvin [Benjamin], Rod [Streater], Andre [Holmes] and those guys where the other two quarterbacks don’t seem to have?
A: I don’t know about comparison; we’ve all worked with them. Well me and AJ [McCarron] have since phase one, and then obviously Josh [Allen] getting here [and] working with them. It’s been great. Like I said, I think we’ve taken a lot of strides with our chemistry, with knowing what we’re looking for, what they’re seeing and reading body language of guys. I mean, the guys have been great and I think it’s just going to get better.
Q: With this period, what’s usually the feedback from Coach Daboll? I know it’s not pads yet, but they were kind of coming today. What’s the general give and take in between series for you when you’re coming off with Coach Daboll when he’s got a second?
A: It’s just talking about that play, what you can do better, what you did good, either or, and then just how we can improve, what we’ve got coming up next. That’s been a great thing, though; communication with Coach Daboll has been unbelievable this past, whatever it’s been, months. I enjoy him a lot.
Q: The guys say [that] he’s serious, you better know your stuff, but he makes it fun. How does he make it fun for you guys?
A: Yeah, I think I’ve been trying to say that, too, with just his passion for the game. He’s got that undeniable passion that ‘this is football, this is definitely a job, but it’s fun’. We get to play this great game as our job, so just taking both with some balance. This is serious and stuff, but we can have some fun around here. The game is fun, we have success [and] it’s fun. Just to keep doing that.
Q: You had [Cam] Phillips on that one in the red zone, that really tight throw. Was that your second read or what was really good about that play?
A: Yeah, it was kind of a double move. [I’ve] kind of been setting it up all camp and I thought Cam went up and made a great play. Often, I can step up, offensive line did a great job having width in the pocket and Cam went up and made a great play. That’s great to see as a rookie, going up and making a play like that. I was happy for him.
Q: We noticed that Josh came out with the first team reps, the first group that he took for six, seven, eight snaps, he came out right over to you and you guys immediately started going over the plays that he ran. Can you kind of give us an idea of what you guys were talking about there and how hard is it to have that competitive edge and still make sure you’re working with each other?
A: Yeah, we do that every series, really. I bounce stuff off of him or AJ or whoever it is back there. He does the same with me. I think that’s helpful; that’s what you need in the quarterback room. That’s what all three of us are there for, especially during a game. Even in practice, [it’s] ‘what did you see there’ and just bouncing off each other. That’s really how it should be.
Q: You mentioned you guys all get together, like the quarterbacks with some receivers in between camp and-
A: Yeah, we’ve still got to set some things up, but that’s the plan right now.
Q: How helpful is it that all three of you guys have that same mindset, you, AJ, and Josh, and not one of you [thinks] ‘I’m going to keep some information to myself?’
A: I know, it’s great. Like I said, that’s what you want in a quarterback room. I think it’s really important, just to have that good atmosphere for whoever it is. We’re trying to win as a team. All of us have got to do our job to get that done.
Q: You might’ve heard that there’s been a lot of discussion about Josh Allen’s arm strength and of course, when you came here last year as a rookie, people said ‘he can do everything, but he doesn’t have a strong arm.’ First of all, have you worked on your arm, because you were really ripping some passes today, in the offseason? Is it stronger now and generally, what are your thoughts on [the notion that] you need a ‘gun’ to succeed in the NFL? What are your thoughts on that?
A: Yeah, I have been working. Like I said, I’ve been working in California with those guys, Tom House, [I’ll] probably do that over the summer a little, get that set up. I’m always working [and] trying to get better at whatever anybody says the weakness is because you make your weaknesses your strength and that’s when you’re dangerous. As far as the NFL, I’m not necessarily a master of the NFL yet. I think I’ve been able to play well all throughout my career. I’m working hard to earn the right to start for this team and to go out there and prove myself in the NFL.
Q: Do you weight lift?
A: [Laughs] I do lift weights, yes. I lift weights, all different exercises, because it’s all about arm speed and your torque and, more than your arm, even, your body as well. I’m just working on those mechanics, and yeah, definitely getting stronger.