Buffalo Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan

Wednesday June 10th, 2015

Q: Can you give us a recap of what you’ve seen thus far, and a recap?

A: Right now it’s looking at how this factors into where your team can be.  Until the pads come on a guy can be a star in OTAs, but then the pads come on and he don’t exist.  But here I’m confident with this football team, I feel good about it and where we are.  You’re putting in two brand new systems on offense and defense. Although there’s been some rough spots it seems like were on pace and ahead in training camp. It’s all competitive and were just moving forward so I’m excited about that.  I’m happy with the conditioning of our players, it seems they’re all in shape which is important when you hit minicamp. After that they’re on their own, so I think we have a pretty good start with that.

Q: Are there guys that are showing you stuff so far that you didn’t expect from them? I know they don’t have pads yet, but are there any surprises?

A:  Yeah I think (Ty) Powell jumps out to me on defense – he had four interceptions in these camps, you can ignore it if you want but he makes plays, he’s smart. I know the history and he seems to find a home at inside middle linebacker. 

Q: How about Manny Lawson?

A: I was mad at Manny (Lawson) as we talked about–he was hurt one day, and then took a lot of things off.  When we started the OTAs he came back and I thought the guys been impressive. I think his test score coming out was the second highest for any defensive player.  He is really a sharp guy and obviously has the height and length that you look for. So were really pleased with him.

Q: What’s been impressive with Manny?

A: Just coming in and knowing the defense, not just his assignments but how the defense works.  Coming in and talking it out and making sure he’s pulling defense lineman over, talking with the backers and he’s been really impressive that way.

Q: Powell is a guy who changed positions and found a home.  MarQueis Gray is also a guy who did that, what do you think about the transition he’s made to tight end?

A: He’s been great, I know he dropped the ball today but outside of that he’s been really impressive.  Big thing is going to be when we put the pads on, to block for us because he can do all the route runs and catch the football – and his speed that’s impressive. Can he have that impact as a blocker? That’ll be something were looking for.

Q:  Is that to be expected that he might be a little far behind?

A: Absolutely, but I know that Tony’s been working with him hard to hit those shields – and he’s been impressed with his body.  He lowers his body weight to strike, his technique is good, and looks pretty good that way.

Q: How much is Manny’s presence helping?

A: I think it settles the whole defense.  Guys like that who are really smart, and can think, it’s just a calming effect throughout your defense. I’ve been blessed to be around some players like that and it really is just a calming thing for your defense. 

Q: Since you brought up LeBron, who’s going to be your LeBron at quarterback?

A: Safe to say we won’t have LeBron at Quarterback.  We may have a LeBron at defensive tackle or defensive end, but we don’t have him at quarterback.

Q:  What does wisdom tell you do with the guys at quarterback?

A: Wisdom tells me to let it all play out and we will see what happens. Wisdom says just let this thing play out and it will all work out in the end. 

Q:  How would you compare what Matt Cassel did today with some of the other practices?

A:  Matt (Cassel) did some real good things, and then some other ones he’s kind of laid on the deep end. But always there’s things that you did well at, and things you can improve on.

Q:  What was the rationale to immediately give (John) Miller the chances as a rookie with the first team, versus some of the other guys who have been here?

A:  We had a pretty good idea of what he is when we drafted him. Also I wanted him to work with Eric Wood alongside him.  There is a great comfort I have with (Kraig) Urbik standing there as a backup center/guard.  In an ideal world, I don’t want him starting. Now if he has to starts that’s fine, he can, but I would much prefer the value of having him as a backup center/guard, and that’s an ideal situation for us.  We brought in Miller with that expectation, we had him in our building for the mental part which we felt good about, and the physical part we also felt good about.  That’s why we drafted him where we did, and let me tell you this: when you add Incognito on the other side, I think Richie looks outstanding.  So he’s basically the second guard and that’s pretty good for him. 

Q:  Player’s like Miller who were 4 year starters, which is part of the reason why you drafted him. Can you put a price on that experience?

A:  Well I think for an offensive lineman that is huge because that is hard to do.  That will tell you about the kind of football intelligence this young man has.  He’s been well coached and I think he is ready for this game mentally.  I think that is such a big hurtle to overcome, especially as a rookie but he has clearly done it all his life. 

Q:  Along those lines – Eric Wood kind of gets forgotten because we are focusing so much on these guards and new faces, but where are you seeing him right now?

A:  Well I think (Eric) Wood is right there with the top centers in the league.  I was blessed with the Jets to be around a great one and he’s very similar to that so I think that’s been a good thing.  I know I don’t have an ideal situation at quarterback but I have an ideal situation at center, and Eric’s just that way. 

Q:  What are some of his qualities?

A:  Just everything. I think it starts with intelligence, especially with offensive line you have to be sharp and also its part of a play calling position.  He can do that and obviously from a physical stand point you have to have a guy that can handle that type of heavy lifting.  He’s really an ideal center. 

Q: Nickell Robey a couple years ago went undrafted and really surprised us, what have you seen and what do you expect from him?

A: I don’t know how big of a step back he took last year because I thought he was outstanding.  But it’s a new defense, so there is a lot things to learn.  It’s more of an audible defense which he’s been in in the past, so he picks it up well. I think he is going to have a big impact – a little man with a big impact on our team.  So I’m glad he’s here. 

Q: How do you see him fitting in?

A: I think he will make a lot of plays.  He’s a playmaker and will fit right in. 

Q:  What are you hoping to see next week from quarterbacks that might help set your mind at ease before you take that break?

A:  I don’t think will see anything during minicamp that will say ‘Hey this guy is our starter,’ that’s not going to happen.  We’re going to keep that competition going and at least give guys opportunities when it’s time for football. But as far as being here, I feel good.  I feel great about this team.  I think there is going to be some competition at that position, and I think we have confident players at that position.  But for us to say this guys the starter, that’s not going to happen. 

Q:  Do you think you’re going to have a pecking order in your mind or publicly for that position going into camp?

A:  It will probably be a way, but there’s also going to be guys with equal opportunity.  It’s not this guy’s going in or that guys, no it’s till you earn things- that’s how I see it.

WR Chris Hogan

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Q: What’s the start been like to this year with a new coaching staff again?

A: It’s been great. It’s obvious we’ve got to start fresh and we have a lot of things to learn, but obviously this offseason has been great. From every position group, we’ve really been buying into this and our position coaches have been great teaching us this offense and I think it shows out there on the field, everyone is playing fast and we’re making plays out there. I’m excited to go into this minicamp and to go into training camp.

Q: Are you mostly playing in the slot?

A: No, I’ve been moving around. This is a transition period really so they’re trying to put guys in different positions and see what they do best. So I’ve been inside and outside, same with all the other guys. So I think its right now who does what best and maybe we’ll get to that point putting guys inside or outside once we get to camp, but we’ll see.

Q: Can you speak to how fine Coach Lal is cutting the art of route running this spring and how much of a contrast is it from coaches you’ve been around in the past?

A: Coach Lal has been great. Our first couple of meetings that we had he explained to us that he’ll stay up late at night trying to find ways for us to get better, and it shows, every day he’s got something new for us to do whether it’s a cone drill or something with our routes or whatever it is he’s always trying to find ways to make us better as receivers and his technique is great and its really been helping us. Honestly in the four years that I’ve been here, this is the best that I think we’ve looked running routes wise. He’s been able to help guys like Percy (Harvin) who’ve been in the league for seven, eight years. He’s really had a chance to mold us into better receivers and I think it is showing.

LB Manny Lawson

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Q: What is your thought of playing linebacker?

A: I think it really utilizes my talents and it’s just a fun position to play.

Q: What makes it fun?

A: Really that I can just run around and create chaos. I hear pretty much anything that moves and I have different responsibilities from rushing to dropping and man coverage, you never know what position or what our responsibility is.

Q: Coach (Rex) Ryan was saying that initially he was not loving the fact that you had not been around and then when you do show up he was really impressed with how much you knew with knowledge and making the calls. Is that from spending a lot of time studying the system besides your natural intelligence or what else?

A: From a coaches point of view, he wants all of the players here and I definitely understand that because you know exactly what they know what your players know and by me not being here that was a worry or concern for him and by coming in and being away that puts extra pressure on me and an emphasis on understanding what my job responsibility is.

Q: Explain how the communication works. You and Preston (Brown) are both out there making calls, how does that process all work?

A: The way that we look at it is a loud defense is a good defense. If you talk about your assignment if you know your checks if you know what to expect what might come through a motion or shift that helps everybody on a defensive front. It’s not just Preston or myself it’s the guys on the back end to the guys on the front end just all communicating and everybody playing once on defense.

DT Kyle Williams

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Q: Talk about the complexity of this scheme and the differences in movement and such compared to what you’ve been used to.

A: Well two years ago we basically played in this defense, there’s going to be some changes, and some guys are going to be doing different things. As compared to last years, it’s totally different, but two years ago it’s not so much different. I think we’re going to be able to have a good mix of being able to say, “Ok, we’ve got talented guys we’re going to put them out there and just let them know what to do and say hey, you’re going to have to block our talented guys.” Then we’re going to have defenses and looks where you can disguise and confuse. I think it’s a really good combination for the type of players that we have.

Q: Do you feel that there were some lessons learned last year that can apply to this year, even though the scheme is different?

A: Well, I think so. I think that what we saw last year is if we can eliminate mental errors we can stop the run, and we can do just about anything that we want to. Two years ago our big problem was the big play. Somebody’s in the wrong position or somebody doesn’t know exactly what they are doing, so we gave up the big play on the ground. Until the last game against New England none of it was really a slow death, it was kind of a grind it out. So we’re hoping to eliminate those, everybody knows where they are going, because like I said, we have good enough players where we can line up and we can stop players.

Q: Coach (Rex) Ryan and Coach (Dennis) Thurman have a pretty good track record against the run, so what has their approach been with you guys in the meeting rooms to this point?

A: Well you have a lot of things, especially this time of year because it’s not an out and out full on physical football right now so really technique, hands and feet for us up front, communicating so we know where we are lining up and know where we are going down in and down out and that’s really all that you can do right now. You work on hands and feet, and then as we progress and get into training camp that’s when we’ll get into the grinder a little bit and have some physicality to practice.

C Eric Wood
Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Q: Coach Ryan was talking about how in his mind he has had two great centers to work with, Nick (Mangold) in New York, and now you. Hearing that from your new coach, just thoughts on that and how things have been going this offseason?
A: That is a great compliment and I appreciate that. Things are going well, I am enjoying learning this offense. There is a lot of nuances and it is challenging me daily to identify Rex’s complex defense and Dennis (Thurman)’s complex defense. It is refreshing, it is fresh, it is fun and we are working each day.

Q: What are the challenges for a center?
A: There are a lot of moving parts. We have talked about this in preparation for the Jets each year. The past however many years we have gone against Rex’s defenses. There is multiple looks, with our defense there are tremendous players across the board. Were you would like to maybe slide our protection away from Mario Williams so now we have to go the other way. Jerry Hughes is over there now what do we do. It has created a lot of turmoil at times, but has been fun trying to prepare for them each day.

Q: How does guard play in simple terms affect you?
A: Well, it affects me a lot because I am in combination with them a lot. Them knowing exactly what to do on each play and me vice versa for them helps.The more reps you can get with the guys and the more in sync you can be the better we will be up front.

CB Nickell Robey
Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Q: How have things changed for you from the schematic standpoint this year as compared to last year?
A: Scheme wise just doing a lot more blitzing. Playing a lot more aggressive coverage. Most of all doing a lot of blitzing, doing a lot of that now.

Q: That is a similarity to a couple years ago under (Mike) Pettine, you did that a lot right?
A: Yes, very similar. The scheme is Pettine’s but a lot more aggressive. I feel like the coverage is a lot more aggressive on the back end. The D-line they are able to rush more aggressively so it helps out everybody.

Q: Do you see with the talent, even though not everyone is out there, this receiving core being good to just help your game because of who you are facing?
A: We are definitely loaded at receiver area, you know having some new additions to the team. When Sammy [Watkins] comes back it is even gonna make us a lot more better. Because Sammy is a great receiver, you got Percy [Harvin] and [Robert] Woods. At practice doing one on one’s they really work us a lot.

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