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What He Said: Bills' defensive coordinator on Edmunds, Williams, Phillips

Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Opening Statement: It was a good, spirited practice today. Guys were getting after it. [We] went through the whole spectrum: red-zone, third down, first down, second down. It was good; it was good work for us today at practice.

Q: What do you need to see from Tremaine [Edmunds] in order to see that progression from him?

A: Probably the same thing that you want to see in all of the guys this time of the year. Each week [they should] get a little bit better at something and try to build on that, and he’s really no different from others in that way. Each week [he needs to] just get a little bit better as we work towards our season opener, our regular season opener. If that’s the case, just keep getting better and we’ll be alright come September 9th.

Q: It seemed like to us a couple of times watching the first drive especially that maybe he was diagnosing something a little bit differently than he should’ve been. Will that help him when you’re actually game planning, coach, to have different reads that he can count on there?

A: Oh yeah. That’s the beauty of this time of the year where you get a chance to go out and do some things in the preseason, learn from them, especially as a rookie, he’ll learn from some of those things that happened in that ballgame. [I’m] looking forward to, when we get ready to play Baltimore, some of those things [to be put] behind him. As I mentioned, that’s the beauty of this time of the year. The more he sees things, the better he’s going to get.

Q: What did Keenan Robinson express to you in terms of why he decided to retire at this point?

A: It was kind of personal. I’m sure at some point, he’ll speak to the media if he already hasn’t and share what those reasons were. I have a lot of respect for him as a player and as a person. He did a great job for us in the time that he was with us and we wish him nothing but the best.

Q: What does that retirement mean for the linebacker room?

A: There are some other guys that are vying for spots and that means that they’ll get more opportunities come Sunday afternoon, which is good for them. We’ll get a chance to go through it and figure out what guy is going to be best to make our 53 [man roster].

Q: Did it take you by surprise?

A: I can’t say that I saw it coming; it’s no different than probably any of our players. As I mentioned, we just wish him the best.

Q: How do you approach the third preseason game? Do you look at it like a true dress rehearsal as far as preseason games go for week one?

A: What you’re looking for is progression [which is just] guys progressing at their position. Some of the mistakes that they maybe have made in the first game or the second game [we have to make sure that] that’s behind them and they’re making progress in some of the things that they’re doing. Most of all, you can just stay healthy [and] keep your best players healthy and through the ball game and get ready for that first game of the season. [We want to] see some progress and stay healthy.

Q: Leslie, I know your focus is certainly on defense, but from your perspective going against Josh Allen, how have you seen his development from the first time he stepped out here to now heading into his first start?

A: Well, as you can expect, going back to OTAs, rookie minicamp, and all of the steps that he’s taken, we all seen just a steady growth which is good to see. That’s part of being a rookie and maturing as a player, but we’ve all seen steady growth. He’ll have another opportunity to grow some more this Sunday.

Q: Micah [Hyde] said something about how Josh is starting to see your defense is doing and pulling it out at the line of scrimmage. Is that something you see on a regular basis and how advanced is that for a rookie at this stage of preseason?

A: Well, I think he’s doing some good things. You like to see him progressing. To be honest, I don’t study him that much. As you mentioned, I’m more concentrated on what we’re trying to do on defense, but I know he’s grown from the time we started back in rookie minicamp to where we are today. For all of us, we hope he continues to grow.

Q: Coach, the run defense, the first drive against Cleveland, I know it’s just preseason, but how concerning was that to you?

A: It’s a concern anytime they run the ball successfully, whether it’s preseason or the regular season. You want to really hone that up and get it taken care of, and that’s something we’ll work on this weekend. You like to find out what some of the issues are during the preseason, so you can work on some of those things the following week and throughout the regular season. I think there are some things that are certainly correctable, and we’ll be able to get those questions answered hopefully on Sunday.

Q: There was an effort on the team’s part to shore that up this offseason with some of the moves that you made, would you agree with that?

A: Absolutely. Bringing in a guy like Star [Lotulelei] was a tremendous addition, and then having Tremaine [Edmunds] as a part of our defense as well. What I like is the fact that we did such a great job on third down and you don’t allow points, that’s a big deal. We for sure don’t want to give up a bunch of yards rushing; that’s a big deal.

Q: Vontae [Davis] has come in as the new guy in the secondary [as an addition to] the other three guys. Where is he in terms of the blend in the secondary just knowing how he’ll play off the other guys back there? Where is he on that spectrum?

A: I think he’s growing in that area, he’s fitting in really well with our current group of guys in the secondary. It’s not easy coming in and jumping in as a starter with a group that had so much success a year ago. I think he’s handled it well. There’s still some things that he has to do from a growing standpoint, and this is why you go through training camp, you go through the offseason program, you go through what we’re going through now in the preseason to get him ready for the regular season. I think he’s just about where we need him to be.

Q: As far as a playing perspective, just getting all that motor memory back after that time that he missed. Is that all put to bed now? Playing wise, he’s fine now with motor memory and stuff?

A: I think just watching how he competed this week in practice, I’ve seen a jump in his play. I’d like to see that carry over to Sunday afternoon as well. He missed a lot of football last season for sure and so he’s steadily going in this direction [pointing upwards], which is good.

Q: If Trent [Murphy] can’t be available, can Eddie [Yarbrough] play left side as well if you need him? He’s been, I think, strictly on the right this preseason.

A: Yeah, I’m sure he could. We’re all hoping that Trent’s going to be ready when the right time comes. Yeah, that would be an option for sure.

Q: How frustrating must it be for Trent not to be out there and on the sideline now for several weeks?

A: Oh, it’s extremely frustrating. I was just talking with him before coming here to the podium. He’s handling it well, but it’s hard for him because he’s a competitive guy who has missed a lot of time and wants to get out and get a feel for where he is. Hopefully, next week we’ll be able to get him on the field and he’ll be able to run around a little bit and we can get a gage of where he is at this point.

Q: How tough is it for you knowing what he’s going to bring to the defense because you haven’t really had him out there?

A: We’re all hoping that next week we’ll get a chance to fit him in with the rest of our guys, much like what we talked about with Vontae, and he’ll work with his teammates and they can get a feel for him. We’ll just keep getting a feel from there. In the meantime, we’ll just have to be patient and wait until the time that he’s out there.

Q: Siran [Neal], he’s got to learn on the job [because] he played a bunch of different positions in college. Are you trying to narrow his focus right now so he can maybe get one thing down first and then worry about expanding him role wide defensively?

A: That’s exactly right. He played a bunch of different positions in college: he played nickel, he played safety, he played corner, so we have [tried to narrow it down]. We’ve tried to narrow it down to one position, let him learn that, try to get him as much time as we can and let him develop. It’s a process and he’s making good progress. We just have to keep putting him out there and putting him in situations. That sack that he had in that ballgame, that displays some of his athletic ability. That was pretty impressive.

Q: Leslie, Kyle [Williams]’s status is uncertain at least in the early portion here. How comfortable are you that Harrison [Phillips] can, not be Kyle Williams, but [play] that role in the middle? What are your thoughts with the rotation with Adolphus [Washington]?

A: Well, this ballgame, with Kyle not being able to play, this means Harrison is going to get more snaps for sure and we’ll get a chance after the ballgame to assess where he is and how he played and then make a determination going forward [on] how we want to use him in that first ballgame depending on Kyle’s health. We’ll have a better gage after this ballgame as to how we want to approach it going forward.

Q: How has he progressed and developed to this point? We’ve certainly heard rave reviews in the couple preseason games [he’s played in].

A: Yeah, I think at this point, he’s right where he needs to be. There’s still a lot more growth to be done and this ballgame will be another step towards that. Right now, we’re really pleased with the progress he’s made and [I’m] looking forward to seeing how he plays on Sunday.


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