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What They Said: McDermott, McCoy and Allen on following up off Vikings win, injuries and more

Head Coach Sean McDermott

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Opening: To update you on the injuries: Marcus Murphy, Trent Murphy, Charles Clay, LeSean McCoy, Shaq Lawson will all be limited today at practice. Lorenzo [Alexander] and Kyle [Williams] will not practice… veteran rest day.

Q: Can you reiterate how well Jerry Hughes played on Sunday? I know the whole defense played well, but Jerry in particular?

A: Yeah, he played with great energy. He created a lot of things, even when he wasn’t credited with some production. He affected the quarterback by his energy, by his rush coming outside. I thought he did a really good job in the run game also.

Q: Is he a guy that really should not be blocked one-on-one? If you’re scheming against Jerry, would you give the [offensive] tackle help generally?

A: Yeah, I mean, he’s obviously a threat. I’ll leave the rest of it up to the opponents, but I thought he had a good game, a really good game. Off to a good start. And to add to it, the biggest thing that I’ve noticed with him is the development in terms of his approach, his maturity. He’s come a long way and he continues to develop and make progress, which is great.

Q: With that in mind, overall, your pass rush was consistently strong last week. What else was in play there that you saw that your guys stepped up or responded to last Sunday?

A: I just believe that overall, we played fast as a defense. There was a lot of energy on the field. Starting there, I thought it was a good dose of energy. Just playing fast… if you can throw fastballs at the quarterback, usually good things can happen.

Q: Is one of the challenges to Aaron Rodgers his ability to get rid of the ball with the way he moves outside the pocket? How does that work into your plan to create pressure?

A: He’s as good as there is in the game today, in my opinion. From getting the ball out on time to frustrating blitzers, pass rushers from pre-snap identification of things, I think he’s playing at a level as good as any in the game right now. I’ve been around him enough, going against him, you’ve got to play for 4 quarters. I’ve watched him on TV do the same thing to other people. You’ve got to play for at least 4 quarters. It makes for a long day.

Q: Sean, as you watch the film of the [Packers] game last week, did you see Rodgers struggling with that knee? Did you notice as you watched film that he is a bit compromised?

A: No. He looks like he’s full speed to me. Like I said, he’s as good as there is in the game.

Q: Sean, what do you like about using Lorenzo [Alexander] on the defensive line with Trent [Murphy] and Kyle [Williams] and Jerry [Hughes]?

A: Another fastball to present to the offensive line Smart player, one of our leaders on defense, one of our leaders on this football team. That is part of it in just presenting different looks to the opponent and to the offensive line in particular. It’s worked well for us and he’s a big part of what we’re doing.

Q: How can a performance like you had on Sunday swing things for your team moving forward considering the drastic improvement from the first two games?

A: On the scoreboard, I understand what people see. The difference between week 2 and week 3. The biggest thing for us is that we A, move forward and B, that we embrace that growth mindset of getting better every rep, every day. And that’s where we started this morning as a team.

Q: Coach, Philip Gaines, good to go?

A: Yes.

Q: What sort of challenges will Josh [Allen] face against this Mike Pettine defense?

A: Well you guys know Mike. He coached here and actually grew up not too far from where I grew up. He is a very good football coach, and he’s going to have a good scheme. He’s had success over the years in terms of pressuring the quarterback, so it’ll be a big challenge for us as an overall football team, but also for our offense, offensive line, and our quarterback, as well.

Q: How much progress has LeSean [McCoy] made since last week?

A: He’s made considerable progress. He’ll be limited today, as I mentioned. We’re just going to take it one day at a time right now.

Q: What was Marcus Murphy’s injury?

A: Rib, also.

Q: Coach, what’s it like to go to Lambeau Field, playing in this game professionally, having been there before?

A: It’s steeped in tradition when you go onto that field and in that environment. We have a lot of respect for that organization as whole, how they do things and sustain success they’ve had for years. Coach McCarthy, all the way from the top down. They’re another team who has been to where we’re trying to get to. We’ve got a lot of respect for them.

Q: How much are you interested in seeing how Josh [Allen] bounces back from a successful game, now that he’s got a lot of notoriety around the league right now from the hurdle?

A: I think we’ve seen that enough where one week, you’re up here and the next week, you’re down here as an individual, as a team. There’s so much parity around the league, let’s just start there, in terms of wins and losses every week. You think you know a team, and then you turn on the TV the next week and it’s the opposite of what you thought. So, again, as a team and as an individual, in this case with Josh, I expect that he’ll embrace the growth mindset and not get tied too much into the short-term results, whether they were good or bad. That’s the idea as we continue to move forward and try to evolve and develop and grow this football team.

Q: Understanding that, how advantageous is it for him to have a game like this past Sunday’s under his belt, given where he is?

A: The confidence you get from a game like that, let alone the fact that it was on the road, certainly helps one’s confidence. It wasn’t an easy place to play, and this won’t be an easy place to play, either. Those are all experiences that our young players can take with them as we continue to build.

Q: Matt Milano is the Defensive Player of the Week. He had a great game… How have you seen him grow over the last year-plus?

A: He and Bob [Babich], our linebackers coach, have formed a nice unit together in terms of Matt’s development. Matt played some DB a little bit on his way through, and the athleticism overall is what we identified in the Draft process. He continues to get better. That’s a good thing for us, obviously. His growth, his development, whether it’s in the run game, the pass game, he plays some special teams as well. I’ve really been pleased with the way he’s played, in particular this past weekend.

Q: Circling back to Jerry [Hughes] for a second… last year, your first year here, did you ever have a heart-to-heart with him about controlling his emotions? Like, ‘look, you’ve got to stop doing that?’

A: We’ve had, not only Jerry in this case, but you have those conversations, those one-offs with guys, in terms of trying to develop. And that’s also part of the coach-player relationship that’s so important… ‘Hey, this is where we’re trying to go, and I need you to do X.’ To Jerry’s credit, he’s bought into everything that I’ve asked him to do, so I get that. I’d rather have to reign a guy in a little bit once in a while than have to kick a guy in the backside to get him fired up. Again, I appreciate the way he has developed in some of those ways, which is what you’ve mentioned.

Q: Can you assess where Micah [Hyde] is three games into the season? Where’s he at coming off last year?

A: Last year, coming off full time as a starter, I thought he had a good season last year. And now we’re back into year 2. For him, as a full time starter, he’s only going to continue to get better. I think he’s learning, continues to learn the ‘in’s and out’s’ of the defense, of where he can fudge some things and where he’s supposed to be. He and Jordan [Poyer], I know it’s been documented in their relationship, how the tandem has played at a high level. I thought they did some really good things this past weekend in particular, because they played fast and on the same page. And when you play fast, usually it comes from having a clear mind. A lot of clarity around what they were doing last week in terms of their job.

Q: Given how things ended for [Micah Hyde] in Green Bay, would you expect him to be motivated this week?

A: I think he’s motivated to win, number one. I know he respects the organization. Every time he mentions what they do and Green Bay… he has high praise for the organization. Other than that, I think that would be a question for Micah.

Q: How much of that pressure that you got last week resulted from your front, and how much was your coverage forcing Kirk Cousins to hold onto the ball?

A: They work hand-in-hand. They really do. When you go back and look at the tape, you watch, what I was most impressed with was, we were recognizing things going on before the snap. We were in position with square shoulders, with our feet underneath us… we were just in better position, which to your point, allowed us to affect the quarterback with our coverage and get to the quarterback. Those worked in tandem. Most of those sacks were on third down, and I want to continue to see us develop on first and second down in terms of pressuring the quarterback, as well.

Q: Throughout training camp, you said you would only play big nickel if you had the personnel to do it. I know you were forced to put Rafael [Bush] in that situation a few times. What does it say about a safety coming down to play that spot? How unique is a player do you have to be to actually have that role as a safety?

A: It’s certainly somewhat unique, I would say. Not totally unique. I’ve been around it before in Shaq Thompson in Carolina. We used him as a linebacker in that same big nickel role. Not everybody can do it. It takes a special type of player with a special mindset. And I think that’s the case with Rafael.


Running Back LeSean McCoy
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Q: How are you feeling?
A: I feel good. I feel good. Today was the first day I really ran hard. Cutting was a minor little setback, but other than that I felt good, I felt fast, I felt rested, so I am excited.

Q: What went into you not playing?
A: I couldn’t sprint without any pain, you know? So, imagine just getting really hit, it would be even more pain, but I just don’t want to affect the team by going out there and not being 100 percent, about 80 percent. So they sat me off, but today I was full go sprinting, I am ready to get out there. I am ready to get back going, I have to get it going, you know looking at the other running backs, so I have a lot to do.

Q: So how much grounds do you need to cover before it is a green light?
A: I am playing. Like I said, felt good today. Still some pain but I’ll be alright. I can deal with that during the game.

Q: On Sunday, you had a tablet, was talking to position coaches, you were talking to all different positions, I called you Coach McCoy at one point, what was your role on Sunday, and what did you think about it?
A: Just me being the captain. Just trying to motivate and get my troops going, as an offense we’re playing very well. Capitalize on a lot of the turnovers and mistakes of the other team and what they did. We were rolling, just trying to give them some extra energy and some extra juice. Try to stay in our superstar rookie’s ear and try to get him going. I guess I’m just trying to be a help.

Q: How frustrating has this season been with two bad games, and then having to sit out of this past game?
A: Not really frustrating, I guess because of our record, but hey that’s the NFL. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. The mistakes and errors, as far as our offense, we can kind of easily fix them. For myself, I just have to get going. I have to find a way to run the ball, get out into open space, make some guys miss, break some tackles, and just get going like normal football. I think its urgency, I would say that, not frustration. Just urgency to get out there, and get going and get the running game going, get the yards up, and let’s roll. Other than that, we just have to win games. Each game at a time, and we’ll be fine.

Q: I saw your tweet, ‘Josh Allen is my favorite player ever’, what did his performance do for you and the team to understand what you now have at quarterback?
A: Well, like I said before, I’m not big on rookies, but certain guys you can see it. You can tell he’s one of them. He’s smart, he has a dog in him. He wants to compete at a high level, he wants to win, he lays his body out on the line. I’m sure a lot of franchise quarterbacks wouldn’t do that, and it’s no secret that he’s our franchise guy. I love him. I love his talent, and he’s out there just playing. Everything is like a learning experience for him, but for the most part he’s just got the natural feel for the game. He’s a gamer, so I love that.

Q: What did Sunday’s performance do for him in terms of establishing himself in that role as a starting quarterback and maybe as a young leader on the team?
A: Well just confidence, you know? Every game you do well, every play you do well is confidence. I told him before the game, I said ‘Josh, this is the first time you’ve been, and played in the Minnesota Vikings stadium.’ I said ‘there’s so many fans out there that may have heard of you, but don’t know you, and when you leave this game today, have the fans leaving saying that kid wearing 17 can play.’ So each game to have that same attitude where someone hasn’t seen me play. I don’t want to leave any impression on their mind that ‘woah, this kid can get after it.’ I said that to say this, each game take that same approach. You gain more confidence, you gain more experience.

Q: LeSean you’ve played in Lambeau a couple times, is there something different  about that building and that stadium?
A: Not to me. I think with respect to the game, and all that history there, but it’s like every stadium. The offense on the home team, they do well, the crowd yells. On defense, they’ll be yelling for their team. So it’s all the same thing. If you make a good play their fans quite down, I mean that’s really it, for me. I think the cool thing is that you go to different stadiums, and it looks nice. Like, the Vikings’ is really nice, playing in Dallas was cool. Playing in Philadelphia was like playing at home, but other than that for myself, I don’t think it’s a big deal.

Q: You’re a guy who appreciates watching stars on your team, how about Aaron Rogers? Is he a guy that you’ve watched throughout your career?
A: So to bring Aaron Rogers up, I was joking with Josh [Allen] that every time in practice, sometimes he throws a flick like Aaron or kicks out his leg, so I was joking with him like ‘you’re about to play against your favorite player, you ready to go?’  Aaron is one of the best, for sure. I enjoy watching him, it’ll be a good matchup. We have to win the game, but players like him, AP [Adrian Peterson], Calvin Johnson, I always watched those guys play.

Q: What are your thoughts on the new helmet tackling rule with all of the controversy going on?
A: I loved it. I loved it. Everybody was making a big deal about it. I think it’s keeping the game safe, especially for the offense.

Q: What about the fact that player on the Dolphins who injured himself trying not to fall on the quarterback and is now out for the rest of the year?
A: Yeah I didn’t know that, wow. I hate for a guy to get hurt in this game. I mean the rules are the rules for everybody. It’s hard because we’ve been taught and trained to play a certain way our entire lives. When you get to this level, it’s obviously a money thing. Who makes the most money in the league, the quarterback, so you want to protect them, so I understand both sides. I don’t really play defense so I don’t have that care for it like that, but when guys get hurt, I kind of do care.

Q: Would you like to see a roughing the running back rule?
A: Well they have one, you can’t lower the head, right? So, it makes it better for me.

Q: We saw the Falcons game last year kind of spring boarded this team last year. Do you think that Sunday’s performance against the Vikings could have a similar effect to this years team?
A: I think so. After a big win, it could either go good or bad. You could be overly confident or you come in there and do the opposite. I think we can definitely make some noise, just capitalizing off of that win, and I have to get going, because I’m ready to roll.


Quarterback Josh Allen
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Q: Does it give you some added confidence to win this week on the road after beating Minnesota on the road?

A: There’s some stuff that leads in practice that we’re going to have to go through. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the environment in Lambeau, just the tradition that’s been there, and the team that they have there is really good. You know they have a quarterback over there that, you put him on any team and he’s going to win football games, so we’re going in there, just trying to prepare and have a good week.

Q: Was Aaron Rogers ever a guy that you watched coming up, maybe trying to imitate in any way?

A: For sure, he was one of the best quarterbacks growing up that I was watching, and still is, so it’s kind of cool to be able to go up against him.

Q: Josh have you been following the roughing the passer controversy, it’s getting a lot of attention, what’s your thoughts on how quarterbacks should be protected?

A: I mean, we should be protected, don’t get me wrong. I don’t know how many roughing the passer calls we’ve had as a Bills football team, I don’t think its been that much. We’re practicing the right ways to go about it. There’s the rules now, and I’m not saying that they are right, I’m just saying that those are the rules, and we need to follow them and be taught the right way. There have been some calls that are tough to take, but fortunate enough, I’m playing the quarterback position. I try not to look at it as just a quarterback, I try to look at it as a football player, and if it needs to be changed then it needs to be changed, but that is not up to me.

Q: In the brief time that you’ve played, have you noticed any defenders trying to pull off or tackle from the side? They want defenders to pull themselves off the quarterback during the tackle.

A: No that hasn’t happened to me. I’m going to try to get away from anybody trying to tackle me, so that hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t plan on it happening.

Q: Josh, what are the challenges in calling plays or audibles with a silent count? Is it any tougher?

A: It is. The verbal communication that we have is very limited. I can’t yell at a receiver and tell him what I want. It needs to be a hand signal or this and that. On the other side, it is hard for them too. On film, when they are at home, they show some hand signals and that’s prevalent with any team that has a loud home stadium, they have to deal with the loud aspect too, so it’s things that both teams pick up on from each other, and it’s going to be a feeling out process early on in Green Bay.

Q: To what extent did Minnesota utilize the spy on you, if not so much, how much are you anticipating it moving forward, knowing the success you’ve had with your legs?

A: I don’t think they did it until late in the game. I think they played it on a couple of snaps. I’m not sure what their coach is going to do, I don’t know if they’re going to tell them to come after me or have one guy sit back. All I know is that if there’s one guy sitting back, its better for our offensive line and protection, and it’s better for our guys getting open. We just have more time. I’m not calling defenses, but I just have no idea.

Q: In regards to your hurdle that made national highlights, what have the coaches said to you in regard to protecting yourself, looking ahead?

A: Just continue to protect yourself. I wouldn’t say that I was reckless in that game. That’s one play that I probably could’ve protected myself a little bit better, but that was last week and we’re moving on to Green Bay and moving forward here.

Q: At one point in practice Coach raised his voice at you and Kelvin [Benjamin], how did that drive you forward through the rest of practice?

A: It’s just a little bit of a wakeup call. By no means are we where we want to be. We have a lot of work. We’re the type of team that’s not going to put everything into the basket on our last game. We’re looking forward to Green Bay. We’re preparing for them as hard as we can be and going about it the same way we did last week and so on. It’s one week at a time, we’re counting it as a one week season right now. Our attention is completely on Green Bay, but Coach wants the best from us, and wants us working as hard as we can, so that’s what we’re going to try to do.

Q: The Packers defensive coordinator has been known for unique creative stuff against young quarterbacks, how much of that can you prepare for that you haven’t seen on film, but you know that something is coming?

A: Yeah, I mean it’s going to be every weekend I think. That’s just going to be something different whether it’s going to be on a third down or a trickle here or there. For the most part, defenses don’t vary too much. They might show it here one or two snaps, but good defenses are good defenses because they know what they’re doing and they do it well, and that’s what we’re looking at with a good Green Bay Packer team. They know what they do well. They’ve got a couple good players over there, so we’re just going to find ways to give our playmakers the ball.

Q: After this week, all five quarterbacks will have started or at least played in games, what does that say about your rookie quarterback class? Do you pay attention to those?

A: Not really. We were drafted to play football, and whether it happened now or later, it’s happening now. I keep in touch with the guys, but I don’t really follow too many other teams, and I’m focused on our season right now.


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