Buffalo Bills Quarterback Nathan Peterman
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Q: Are you surprised to be standing here today?
A:  I think you always kind of expect to have your opportunity. I knew my opportunity was going to come sometime so for this to be it, I am trying to be ready and I’ve tried to be ready since the first day I stepped here in this facility. Just trying to work hard this week and get ready for the Chargers.

Q: How much of what you went through at Tennessee and Pitt and all that stuff – you’ve been on the other side of this thing now. How did it prepare you, professionally, to handle this and knowing what Tyrod [Taylor] is going through?
A: For sure, you go through a lot in college. A lot of foundational times that I think certainly helped me to get to where I’m at now. Like you said, I’ve been through both of these situations on both sides of them. I think it’s very helpful for me and probably Tyrod, I’m sure. We have a great relationship still. I can keep pushing through and know that I have to earn it every day. That’s the mentality I’m taking and I’m going to keep working.

Q: Does the 5-4 record and knowing that you now, you are bearing part of this burden of a 17-year playoff drought and [there are] some veteran guys in there who haven’t been to the playoffs in forever, if ever. Do you accept that? Do you think about that? How do you put that in your head knowing that you are walking into a 5-4 team knowing you can keep them in the playoff hunt?
A: Yeah, I wouldn’t say I am walking into it because I feel like I’ve been part of this team the whole season. Since I walked into this facility after I got drafted, the message has been playoff caliber. We’re going to get to the playoffs. I’ve always, I’m right there with the team. We are 5-4, and I’ve tried to do everything that I can on the other side, the behind the scenes, to get us there. Now I am going to try to do the same thing now that I’m kind of in front of the scenes.

Q: What was your reaction when Coach talked to you about becoming a starter?
A: It was pretty emotional, a little bit, trying not to show it obviously. It’s a dream come true, obviously, to get this opportunity. I’ve been through a lot, I think, to get here too. It’s certainly not done, though, at all. It’s a great opportunity, but it’s still all in front of me. I’ve got to go work to earn it.

Q: How does that news rank among the best that you’ve received in your football career?
A: It’s up there for sure, but it’s only an opportunity. It’s awesome because it is kind of uncontrollable in a sense, that you can’t necessarily control when you are going to play. It’s just one step and I think I’ve got to keep working.

Q: Nate, how comfortable are you in this offense? It seems like, from the brief amount we’ve seen, it looks like it fits you well. Similar to what you did in college?
A: I think there is similarities in everything. Football is football. I’ve definitely worked hard to get familiar [and] get comfortable with things. The first day of OTA’s probably didn’t look too good and I’ve worked to kind of keep getting better every day and I think hopefully I can just keep taking steps [forward].

Q: How about just your overall readiness at this point to step in cold this late in the year? What are some of the challenges you have to overcome and what are some of the specific things you are focused on to make sure it goes as well as it can?
A: Well, the good thing is I’ve seen some live action versus starters, whether it be at a game in the preseason where I got in earlier than expected or then even this past game with the Saints. I expect, you know, I’m a rookie, so I’m sure the defensive coordinator will have something dialed up just for me, being my first game. At the end of the day, I have to step in and do my 1/11th, my part of this team. I think that’s what the guys in the huddle expect of me. Just, ‘hey do your job, we’ll do our job, and don’t worry about too much.’

Q: How much of a leash do you expect to have knowing that the guy you are replacing had a team in the playoff hunt and that wasn’t good enough for them?
A: I just expect to win every game I’m out there. I think that’s the ultimate goal and what I measure myself on as a quarterback is, do we win? It doesn’t matter about stats or anything like that. For me, it’s just about winning. My goal is to win this Sunday and that’s what we are going to work on.

Q: What do you think went wrong overall for the offense? I’m not putting it on Tyrod, but the run game and everything that made it stall, especially for, really, most of the last two games?
A: I think we had a team meeting today and Coach [Sean] McDermott kind of talked about details and fundamentals. I think maybe we were missing those a little bit in certain aspects and that comes out in big ways, when you are missing those little things. That’s something that we’re focused on this week. I’m focused on my fundamentals and my footwork, trying to do what Coach McDermott is telling us to.

Q: It looks like if you take a lot of pride in being decisive. We talked about this in the offseason, as well, which is harder for a guy who is new to it to do. Is that fair to say? Quick delivery, three-step drop as much as possible, is that the essence of your game in your mind?
A: I don’t know if it’s three-step drop or whatever but I think I had a coach tell me in college that is in the NFL now, you know what separates quarterbacks in college from the NFL is anticipation. I think that’s what I try to do. I try to make sure I am getting the ball to guys in those windows, playmakers and letting them do their thing with it. I don’t know if it looks quick or whatever it is, but I’m just trying to get into those windows.

Q: What did you learn from your time last week in the game? Your first action, and I know you played preseason, but a little bit faster than what you were used to in preseason? Did you learn anything about yourself, about the game itself, the speed, anything like that?
A: I think Coach [David] Culley kind of talked to me way back in the season, that ‘hey, once you get out there in a real game, it is kind of, you know, it’s fast for sure but things kind of clear up a little bit because guys try to be where they are supposed to be.’ For sure, you don’t have maybe some of the preseason confusion. That was a little helpful. It’s a little faster but overall it was pretty comfortable out there. They brought pressure on me a couple times and I feel like I was able to see it coming and just got to keep working to where I can see those things coming and know where to go with the ball when they come.

Q: Nathan, in your wildest dreams I know you are thinking about so many things but I know you connected with [Nick] O’Leary for the touchdown pass. There is no way you could have any thought that you would be standing here today talking about your first start? How quick things can change. Can you reflect on that?
A: Yeah. I mean, the biggest thing is I’m just very thankful. Thankful to God, especially, just for everything I’ve been through just to get me to this point. Thankful to Coach McDermott, thankful to Tyrod for how he’s been since I walked into the facility, again, day one and then even until now. Very thankful to be here but still very hungry and very motivated to go earn it.

Q: How challenging is it for you to come in and lead this offense knowing you had guys in that huddle that were fully supporting Tyrod as the guy?
A: You always support your starter. I was so supportive of Tyrod and everything so I think we’ve got a team of a lot of professionals on the team where they were very supportive of me as well and we’re still supportive of Tyrod. It’s a team game. We’re all teammates at the end of the day and we’re working to beat the Chargers. I think that’s the biggest thing. I think we could even see it out there today.

Q: Obviously, it’s a different situation on the other end for Tyrod, you know he’s getting replaced. Have you guys had any conversations with each other? I guess what has he said to you through this whole situation?
A: Yeah not necessarily about that, but about the plays we are running. He’s been very helpful about timing and rhythm and where he’s thinking I’m going and things like that. He’s a seven-year vet, I think, so he is very helpful in the mental aspect and very helpful at motivating me along as well.

Q: Since the decision was made have you had any conversations with Brandon Beane or ownership about support or whatever, just some personal conversations?
A: Just Coach McDermott.

Q: Are there any question you are asking teammates that maybe you asked today that you haven’t asked prior to today?
A: Certain little things with the line, you know kind of how they like things run in the huddle. For sure, as a quarterback, you’ve to run things but these guys have been in the league twelve, eight years so definitely want to see how things run in there and just be, again, 1/11th and ready to plug in.

Q: I’m not sure how many family members come to watch you be the backup. Are you in line for more tickets this weekend?
A: A few more. I mean, it’s in [Los Angeles], so it’s a little farther away from my hometown, all the way across the country. I think it’s special. I think [for] any parents it would be pretty cool to see their son have his first NFL start so I wanted to make sure that was possible for my parents. I’m so excited to see them be there.

Q: What did you tell your parents? How did you break the news to them?
A: Well they were thinking about coming earlier but it’s pretty expensive to get out there. I was just like, we’re going to find a way to make it possible because I don’t want you to miss my first start. They kind of were really emotional and excited about it. It was a cool moment.

Q: The important question is, did you tell them or your wife first?
A: My wife, for sure. That’s definitely the important one.

Q: What’s your relationship with Eric Wood and will you get with him a lot more now that you’re the starting quarterback?
A: Yeah it’s great and really, I go back to that preseason game where I had to get in when Ty had the injury and I think that helped. You know, that first live run at things and being with him, Eric’s been very helpful with just ‘hey, let’s do these things, these things,’ just little things is where he can help me to be ready and be ready to go.

Q: Do you prefer Nate or Nathan?
A: Doesn’t matter to me. Even my mom calls me both so it doesn’t matter.


Buffalo Bills Quarterback Tyrod Taylor

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Q: Tyrod can you just explain your feelings about what went down yesterday with you and Sean [McDermott]?

A: [I’m] obviously disappointed. I don’t agree with the decision but the decision was made, have to move forward.

Q: What was his reasoning?

A: You would have to ask Coach McDermott for that.

Q: Feeling a bit betrayed?

A: Just disappointed. That’s one of the feelings but definitely just disappointed. Like I said, I don’t agree with the decision but ultimately Coach McDermott has a vision for this team, what he feels is best for the team, as well as the owners and GM. I have to move forward and continue to be the teammate and leader that I am, from a different role.

Q: Were you shocked or surprised by this?

A: Yes.

Q: Would you prefer if they were going to do this and I believe they had in mind all along, that you would have gone somewhere else, where you would have a chance to play?

A: I can’t rewind back to the off season when the deal was worked out. That’s neither here nor there right now. Like I said, I have to move forward and continue to prepare. If the opportunity presents itself to go out there, [I’m going to] continue to keep doing what I am doing.

Q: Did you feel Tyrod that the offense was suited to you, not just in its structure, but in how the game plans were put together; taking best advantage of what you do best, which of course is doing a lot of things on the move, working on those edges?

A: Yes. Offense was definitely suited towards me as well as a couple other guys, Shady, as well as a couple other receivers and tight ends that we have too. That’s definitely a factor, but moving forward the focus will be around Nate [Peterman] and some of the things he does best.

Q: Did you feel though that they wanted you to be more pocketed? It just seemed like that was what we saw in the off season, what we saw in training camp.

A: It was a focus to throw from the pocket but at the same time it was more so just finding different ways to beat teams. Certain weeks are going to call for different things.

Q: Moving forward how much do you envision yourself being quarterback here next season?

A: That’s really not up to me. All I can do is control the opportunities that I get moving forward the rest of the season and deal with that when it comes.

Q: Do you feel anyway different with this decision in comparison to what happened at the end last year? Does this feel different in anyway today?

A: Whenever you take someone off the field and stop them from competing, it’s definitely a tough feeling to go through. But I think last year’s situation was a little different, some of the same feelings are still there but we still have a season ahead of us, things can happen. I have to continue to be in it mentally and prepare my body physically for when the opportunity presents itself, if it does.

Q: How difficult will it be for you to serve as a captain of this team in light of this decision?

A: Vocally, I still have to go out there and still lead the guys. I got voted captain for a reason, and those attributes, the things that come with me being the quarterback of this team don’t necessarily fade away. I am still that same person. I have to show that leadership and I think now guys are probably going to look to me even more to see how I respond in this situation.

Q: Did you have any idea Sean had been considering doing this over the last few weeks?

A: No.

Q: What is your relationship with Nathan and what will be your relationship as you switch roles here going forward?

A: Nate is a great guy, of course he is still learning, but he is very talented. Moving forward, I have to be able to help him any way, shape, and form. I want to see this team do well so I have to be there for him to support.

Q: Is there anything you could think of at this point that you may have reconsidered or done differently on the field over the past couple weeks?

A: No. You learn from playing. We are 5-4, the games didn’t go to where we liked, some of the ones that we lost, but you have to learn from it. I wouldn’t say [or] pinpoint any one thing that I did that led to this decision.

Q: Tyrod, do you feel at all like you’re being scapegoated in any way with this?

A: You have to talk to Coach McDermott.

Q: You were 5-2 two weeks ago.

A: You have to talk to Coach McDermott.

Q: How much do you think Rick Dennison and the new offensive system has played into what has happened this season?

A: Say that one more time.

Q: How much do you think Rick Dennison and the new offensive system has played into what has happened today?

A: As far as?

Q: As far as your performance and what Sean saw in benching you right now?

A: I’m really not sure. Like I said, you have to talk to Coach McDermott about that.

Q: How comfortable are you with [Rick Dennison]’s system?

A: I’m very comfortable with it, but like anyone in their first season in that system, quarterback, wide receiver, running back, it takes time. I think where we are as a team right now with a full season ahead of us, we’ve handled this situation well. Like I said, could we have been better in some games? Yes, but that’s everyone across the league. We’re in a great place at 5-4 right now. Not a goal that we wanted to be 5-4; of course, we wanted to have a better record, but we still have everything in front of us. We’re not out of the playoffs or anything.

Q: Speaking of that, have you in the last 24 hours, whatever’s it’s been since you were told this, what kind of reaction have you gotten from veteran teammates like Shady [LeSean McCoy], like others who, just what you said, you’re 5-4, you’re still in the playoff hunt and the veteran quarterback is being put aside for a rookie?

A: Some guys didn’t find out until this morning. I didn’t really see too many people yesterday after I was told the news, so some people just heard the news for the first time today. We haven’t really had a chance to talk; it’s been meetings after meetings, [we] just had a walkthrough. I’m pretty sure over the next 24 hours, we’ll get a chance to talk.

Q: Do you anticipate any sense of that?

A: I really don’t know.

Q: Tyrod, how tough is it that, for you as a competitor, that this decision comes when you are the playoff hunt? You’re holding a playoff spot.

A: It’s definitely tough. Like I said, I don’t agree with it at all, but I don’t make that call. I have to continue to prepare.

Q: As someone who has sat for four years to wait for a starting job, do you think they might be underestimating how difficult it would be for a guy like Nathan to just walk in there and play well?

A: Coach has tremendous confidence in Nate. As a team, we’ve gotten to know Nate over the past couple of months, and like I said, he’s talented. The opportunity that he has in front of him will present itself and I wish him the best with it. Like I said, it’s a great group of guys that he’s going out there and playing with and hopefully we get to the playoffs.

Q: Tyrod, do you think you’ve gotten a fair chance in Buffalo?

A: I don’t really look at life as fair or unfair. There’s going to be plenty of circumstances that you go through that’s not very fair. Just have to deal with it to be honest.

Q: When you say [that] you don’t agree with the decision, how do you keep in your head not to allow your emotions, frustrations and disappointment to run away from you and remain composed?

A: At the end of the day, I’m asked to do a job. When I come into the facility, whether I’m a starter, backup, I have to continue to prepare. You never know when that opportunity will present itself. Stuff happens in this league, and you have to be ready for when opportunity presents itself. I will be ready; I continue to prepare the way I normally do, and if and when that opportunity presents, I’ll be ready to go out there and play.

Q: Tyrod, Coach said that this decision is not an indictment on Tyrod, it’s an effort to become a better team, what is your interpretation of that statement?

A: Ask Coach McDermott about that, honestly.

Q: Is this a circumstance where when a team is going really well maybe the quarterback gets too much credit, and when a team struggles maybe the quarterback gets too much blame?

A: Not sure. You guys have to answer that. That comes with the quarterback position sometimes, praise as far as when it’s not deserved, sometimes the criticism when it’s not deserved too. I don’t know if this situation falls under that category or not.

Q: How about when it comes after the worst defensive performance in 10 years?

A: As a team, we’ve got some things to clean up. We didn’t play well the last two games and we’re working hard to fix that.

Q: How confident are you that you can still be a franchise quarterback in this league whether it is here or somewhere else?

A: Very confident. I am very confident in my ability. I think I have grown as a player over the past three years and I am going to continue to keep growing, whether I’m playing on Sunday’s or whether I’m learning right now. I am going to continue keep growing and I have full confidence that I could be a franchise quarterback. Just when the opportunity presents itself I will continue to keep doing things that I know how to do.

Q: How much does this add to that? It’s not the first time that somebody’s told you, you weren’t good enough?

A: Just adds more fuel to the fire. I am going to continue to keep working hard and harder, preparing harder and harder, so that when that opportunity does present, whether it’s here or whenever it happens, I can go out there [and perform].

Q: Do you feel like there has been pressure from inside this building for you to fit into a box of what they think a franchise quarterback should be.

A: Excuse me, one more time?

Q: Do you feel like there has been an undue amount of pressure to fit into the box of what someone feels like a franchise quarterback should be?

A: I think first and foremost they want someone that wins consistently. I think that’s more so where the franchise quarterback starts. You can’t necessarily say what a guy looks like height, size, or anything like that. Someone that’s winning consistently and I think we are off to a good start this year.

Q: Do you feel schematically they could have done more to utilize your skill set?

A: You would have to ask Coach McDermott.

Q: Do you feel that way?

A: You would have to ask Coach McDermott. 

RB LeSean McCoy

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Q: LeSean, what’s your reaction to the change in quarterback?

A: Yeah, it’s tough. You know, coming in with Tyrod [Taylor] [and] playing with him. I guess it’s up to the coaches to make the move. Tyrod’s a solid teammate, so I’m sure he’ll help Nate [Peterman] out and help him out with the reads and preparing for this week. I’ll do the same.

Q: As a veteran guy on a team that’s, right now, in the playoff mix, are you a little surprised by this move?

A: Yeah, I think everybody was kind of surprised. Nobody really knew until today. We’ve been struggling, I think; everybody has been struggling [the] last two weeks. I guess we were a little surprised.

Q: LeSean, is it fair to pinpoint the struggles of the offense on Tyrod Taylor? A move like this kind of shows that.

A: Yeah, well we’re all together not playing well. From him, to me, to guys up front, other playmakers, just not playing well together on offense. Simple as that.

Q: You mentioned that you’re going to try to help out Nathan. What will you do, what does that consist of trying to help him?

A: I just let him know, man, that ‘Hey, I’m sure we’ll see something different from that defense considering that you’re a rookie starting quarterback on the road’, so I’m sure that will bring maybe different blitzes or [they’ll] show different coverages. I just told him to prepare well, prepare hard; any questions, ask them now. Make sure everybody’s familiar with you, and just be confident. That’s the biggest thing.

Q: From what you’ve seen of him, which I know isn’t a whole lot, does he look like he’s a guy who can handle this job this week?

A: Well, I don’t know. I don’t think nobody knows that answer. We’ll see this week how he handles himself. Our thing is like – it’s tough for him, because if he does good, then it’s all amazing, and then if he doesn’t do well, it’s like ‘ahhh’. One of the things I just told him is ‘hey, just go out there and try to be confident, know what everybody has to do on the offense, study hard and prepare’, because at the end of the day, people want to write what they want to write, or view you how they want to view you. Like I said, if he does good, it’s like ‘oh, he’s the answer’, but if he doesn’t do good, it’s like ‘ah, what happens to the Bill’s offense now?’. We’ll just wait and see. We’ll see how he does, but a lot of the veteran guys on offense have got to help him out.

Q: He is a Pitt guy.

A: He is a Pitt guy, that’s a good thing. That’s the biggest positive thing about it, in my eyes; he’s a Pitt guy.

Q: LeSean, this team has gone through several shocks already: Sammy [Watkins], Anquan [Boldin], Ronald Darby, just injuries and things like that. At some point does – how do you stay resilient and how do you keep up with just one shock after another that comes through this and does it wear on you?

A: We’ve just got to stick at it. It’s a different team, but the same mindset every week: prepare hard, study hard, go out there and give 110%. That’s all you really can do.

Q: When Sean [McDermott] told you guys the news, was there any sort of pushback from the players that this was not the right move?

A: Guys really didn’t voice their opinions about it; it happened so fast. We’ve got to prepare for our next opponent, which is a must win type of situation for us sitting at 5-4. A lot of guys haven’t really showed too much, I guess, reaction about it. It really just happened.

Q: You’re one of Tyrod’s biggest backers, this must have hit you personally in some ways?

A: I mean, yeah, we’re good friends, for sure, and I think he’s a heck of a player. Anytime when one of your teammates gets benched, it’s tough. I’m sure if I got benched, he would feel the same for me. At the end of the day, it’s next guy up. Myself and Tyrod will support Nate, and we’ll get him ready to play. Same with the coaches and all the guys on offense.

Q: Is there any part of you, LeSean, that wonders or worries, or whatever, concerned that this is a rookie? As you said, you don’t know how this is going to go for the obvious reasons: he’s a rookie and you have this playoff thing still very much in sight. Does it concern you that a move like this could tilt that balance in the wrong direction?

A: That’s something that I really can’t give you my honest opinion about. I’m not sure. Like I said, if it ended today, we’d be in. I guess they made the decision based on if it’s a good shot for us to win games. Whatever that reason may be, I don’t know that answer. The only thing I could do is support my teammates, go out there and give 110% and try to win games. Play better, and just try to win.

Q: LeSean, can you tell us about Nathan, what’s he like in the huddle, what’s he like in your personal interaction with him away from the field?

A: Well, he’s been a surprise to a lot of the players when he got here. His ball placement, each week the growth, making plays against the defense. He looks good; I think he has a lot of talent and I’m anxious to see how he does this week.

Q: What about this offense as a whole? At a time when you’re going to face your former offensive coordinator with Anthony Lynn. What, in retrospect, what has been going wrong with this offense that has just not been running at the pace that it was under Anthony Lynn? How weird will it be to see him on the other sideline?

A: I guess playing Coach Lynn, it won’t be weird because we have bigger things to worry about, like winning games, converting on third downs, running the ball, putting numbers up, putting stats up, putting drives together. We have all those things to kind of worry about, some things we’re not doing we’ve got to find a way to do it.

Q: You’re almost working under Lynn and maybe not right now.

A: His whole philosophy and the way he wanted to run the ball and schemes is a lot different. It’s hard to think like right now in week 11, 10, so it’s hard to really compare them. We’ve just got to get it done.

Q: LeSean, what’s the challenge in shifting from a guy that you believe is the guy, and believe in and strongly supported and being able to shift and believe and support another guy in a move right here midseason?

A: Just, with even the shifts, I think it’s important to stay positive. I don’t want to – if everybody’s feeling a certain way and they’re trying to be positive, get the offense together no matter who the quarterback is, I don’t want to be the oddball. There shouldn’t be guys in the offense feeling like that. Hey, the coaches made that move, we don’t call them shots. Those are the shots, we roll with it. Those are the cards we have, we got to play them. Simple as that. At the end of the day, we still all have one goal. Tyrod, too. We want to win; we want to have a chance to get into the playoffs. That’s one goal that we all have in common.

Q: Sean was kind of saying that the goal was bigger than that. [He was] kind of saying it wasn’t just making the playoffs here in Buffalo like what people have always said. Almost like, we’re willing to take a chance at not making the playoffs this year. How does that make you feel?

A: Well, I mean, I’d have to actually hear him with his words and his comments and all that. I’ve been in the media, and things can kind of be said a certain way and you read it [as something] different. [What] I take out of it is, myself and the players and the coaches, the goal is to get to the playoffs. That’s really my [goal].

Q: He outright said [that] it’s a calculated risk.

A: Like I said, you never know. He’s a guy that’s never played in the NFL in a real game, so you never know. It can be good or bad, you just never know. That’s why I really can’t give you an honest answer. Like, he’s going to go out there and he’s going to dominant, he’s going to throw for four or five touchdowns or is he going to go for five picks? I don’t know. We’ll see how it works and we’re going to support him; we want him to do well. We want him to do good, so we’ll see if the switch was right.

C Eric Wood

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Q: Speaking on the quarterback transition, knowing that Tyrod [Taylor] was a leader, how close you guys are, and just what he’s done for this franchise for over two and a half years?

A: Yeah, nothing like this is ever easy. Fortunately, and unfortunately, there’s no time to really reflect on it, or spend too much time thinking about it right now. You have to get comfortable with Nate [Peterman] moving forward.

Q: Considering that this team is still in the middle of the playoff race, you guys have the last wild card spot right now, did it shock you guys at all? Was there any talk about that at all, in terms of the decision to change the quarterback with where you guys are in the standings right now?

A: No, not really, not yet. Like I said, we just found out about this this morning, went right to meetings, [and] went right to practice. Not a ton of time to reflect on it yet. Like I said, it’s a great opportunity for Nate. We need to produce on offense.

Q: What gives you the confidence that Nate can be the guy?

A: Nate put in a strong body of work through the preseason, and played well at the end of last game. It’s a little bit different playing at the end of a game, and he understands that. He’s done a good job in practice this year, and obviously that gave coach the confidence to make this decision.

Q: What changes for you as an offensive lineman blocking a guy like that compared to Tyrod, who’s more mobile?

A: Nothing really, ultimately, it’ll be a lot of the same plays. The good thing about our offense was, it wasn’t necessarily tailored to a specific person. This is Rico’s [Rick Dennison] scheme that we’re running. It’ll likely be similar.

Defensive End Jerry Hughes

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Q: I know Sean [McDermott] had said it’s about going back and re-teaching so that guys understand the gaps where they’re supposed to be, how they’re supposed to attack. Is it as simple as that in terms of getting this defense back on track?

A: Yeah, I feel like it is. I think for us, just being more physical, understanding the situations up front and then just playing for four quarters. Just taking it quarter by quarter, play by play, I feel like our play will get better, because you have to continue to keep working on our individual craft.

Q: Given how tough the last couple weeks have been, is it easy though to say ‘we’re still in a wildcard spot, we’re still 5-4, when we’ve got all of this still in front of us’?

A: When you look at all the standings, it certainly helps that, for us, we still control our destiny. We keep that in the back of our minds on this. We understand that we still control our destiny, but we still have to play better. For us as a defense, that’s just not how we play Buffalo Bills football, [for] the past two weeks. We understand that we’ve got to get that bad taste out of our mouth and just come back on this great road test and get ready to play just physical football for four quarters, because we know it’s going to be quite a test.

Q: If it’s [Philip] Rivers, how tough of a matchup is that?

A: I mean, he’s a gunslinger. He’s been in the league for quite a while. He understands, he’s seen just about every defensive front, defensive formation you can give. We understand with him it’s going to be quite a battle. Last week, they went into overtime with the Jacksonville Jaguars, so we understand that they’re going to battle us for all four, maybe even five quarters. We’ve got to get ready to come and bring that toughness and that fight and that grit to their home field.

Wide Receiver Zay Jones
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Q: What have you seen from Tyrod [Taylor] since they announced the switch was made? He is a captain.
A:  Just still a positive on our team. A great teammate and leader. He was having fun today, just being lively with us, still just being the same person that he is, and just still helping with watching film and things of those sorts. His attitude and his demeanor hasn’t changed. I can’t speak for him but the things that I’ve seen from afar and up-close, he looks like the same Tyrod to me.

Q: Are you worried about Nate’s [Peterman] readiness for this role?
A: Nate’s a great player and we all know that. He prepares like he’s a starter and now he actually gets that opportunity. Looking forward to seeing the things that he does. I have faith in him. I have faith in anyone that our coaches put behind center and now it’s Nathan. Just trusting and getting that timing down with him and look forward to this upcoming Sunday.

Q: Were you guys on the same squad at Senior Bowl?
A: Yeah.

Q: Maybe just take us back to even then, what were some of the initial impressions you got from him even on the practice field of what he can bring to this offense here, knowing him as long as you have?
A: Sure, Nathan’s a very instinctual player. I think he doesn’t get a lot of credit for his ability, the way that he moves and he moves phenomenally well. He is great out of the pocket as well, he’s great in the pocket, throws an accurate ball, a good leader. We were on the same team so it’s crazy just how this all has really progressed. I have a lot of confidence in Nate. I know he does in this football team as well so it’s just time for us to draw together and come together because like I said earlier our goal is still in sight.

Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Q: What was the initial reaction, not only of yourself but this locker room as a whole?

A: I really don’t know. I really wasn’t surprised. It’s something that’s always been talked about, always kind of been in back of people’s minds because whether it’s the media, whether we play a bad game or not, it’s kind of been brought up. I think Coach [Sean McDermott] did a great job as far as letting guys know, the leadership group, and not allowing us to kind of find out being interviewed after practice or looking on ESPN. It happens in this league. I mean, guys have been benched before. But what I know about Tyrod [Taylor is] that he’ll continue to work, continue to be a professional, whether he’s helping out Nate [Peterman or] helping out the defense prepare. Like with anything, you have to worry about our job as a defense first. We have to get better, because what we’ve put out the last two weeks haven’t been good enough, and put Nate in the best advantageous spots as far as being able to win games for us [by] giving him short fields, and that includes special teams as well. We wanted to do that for Tyrod, too. Just got to rally around Nate.

Q: On that topic, they always say [that] quarterbacks get too much of the blame, too much of the credit. Is this a situation that maybe it’s a notice or a way of calling everybody else, that Tyrod got replaced but this doesn’t happen if everybody is doing their job also?

A: Of course, I mean, it’s never one man’s fault. But anytime that you’re in a leadership position and that’s the nature of playing quarterback or head coach, you know, when other guys don’t necessarily do their job well, you take the blame for it. I think Tyrod understands that. Anybody that plays that position understands that. The same thing is when you do really well, you get all the credit, as you just mentioned. It’s just the nature of one of those spots. I know Tyrod probably wanted to play better, but I know through this that he’ll continue to work, be a professional, help Nate out, and help make sure that our team is prepared on Sunday so we can get out there and have a great performance offensively.

Q: Defensively, is it about going back to basics? Is it about scheme? Is it a combination of things?

A: Nope. It’s about fundamentals. Scheme wise, we’ve been in the perfect place. Guys are in position, we just haven’t tackled well and used our hands well. Some of those little nuances that lead to big plays, and anytime you face a great back like we did last week in [Mark] Ingram and [Alvin] Kamara, when you’re making arm tackles instead of bodying up somebody, they’re able to break loose and create big plays. That’s not something [that] we’ve been accustomed to, but these last two weeks, we’ve kind of been lackluster on our technique and fundamentals, and it hasn’t been good enough. That’s why we’re 5-4, but this week we’re going to put an emphasis on getting back to the basics, getting back to our fundamentals and making sure we’re ready to wrap up, tackle, fit our gaps, get off blocks, and gain tackle. That’s ultimately what you have to do in this league, because the guys that are playing running back from week to week, they’re just too good for one guy to be able to bring down.

Defensive Tackle Kyle Williams
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Q: When the starting quarterback’s job is unsafe, it certainly seems to send everybody a message that Sean’s [McDermott] not goofing around.
A: Yeah, I’m not sure that that hadn’t been received already with a lot of different things that we’ve seen and moves that we’ve seen. Obviously, [I’m] surprised like everybody else this morning and also perspective for everybody, too.

Q: When this happens, a lot of time the locker room can go two ways: guys can rally around it, and guys can also be split. You’ve been through these things before; what do you think the sense is in this locker room?
A: Well, it’s about three hours old. I think we had a good day of practice. I think we’ve got guys that can roll with the punches and address the sudden change and things that are going on. I think [that] we’ll be okay.

Q: He called it a calculated risk. And I would say, rookie against a guy who’s won 20 games the last two years is a risk. He’s suggesting that the future is more important than you guys making the playoffs this year.
A: Well, I think any kind of risk, you’re talking about, definitely, especially at that position, you make a change with a rookie guy going in there. Nate’s shown pretty well when he’s gone in and played and he seems to have a good command on what we’re doing. We have a lot of guys that are going to rally around him and play hard for him. 

Safety Jordan Poyer

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Q: What do you see with them on film in particular, you know, their run game, which you guys have struggled to stop the run game?

A: They’re a solid football team. They’ve started to incorporate a lot, been trying to run the ball, being physical. Obviously with Philip Rivers back there, they’ve got a really good quarterback we’re facing, and he’s got some looks on the outside.

Q: You played for the Browns [so] you’re very aware of what a quarterback change looks like. What’s the mentality in this locker room right now?

A: Everybody’s got a job to do. We understand that, and so, for me as a player, my job is to go out there and perform no matter what the circumstance is, no matter who’s out there playing. [It’s] something that, you know, everybody’s got a job to do, so you can’t really worry too much about it. Always taking in mind Tyrod [Taylor]; he’s a great teammate, couldn’t ask for a better teammate than he is. Out there at practice, he showed a lot of leadership helping Nate [Peterman] and helping us get to the win.

Q: Is this kind of a case where Tyrod takes the fall when the whole team hasn’t been playing well?

A: That’s a hard question to be asking. I really want to kind of stay away from that question right there. Like I said, everybody’s got a job to do and our focus, especially on the defensive side of the football, we got to go out there and stop the run.

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