Head Coach Rex Ryan

Monday, April 06, 2015

Q: How much excitement do you have, having a lot of your players here and actually getting the first day in?

A: It’s fantastic. As a coach you look forward to it. The other part of it, and obviously it’s all important, you’re building a staff, you’re putting a staff together, you’re evaluating your personnel, you’re looking at tape. You’re new to the building, you see Scott (Berchtold) and PR, but it’s all new to you. As a coach, you sign up because you want to teach and you want to coach these players. That’s what you’re really excited about. So the first time you really get a chance to talk to them, and to see them face-to-face. I’ve always started the same way, all the years I’ve ever been around football, you have your guys get up and introduce themselves and things like that. It seems like, alright, now we’re into football. I think that’s the big thing and as a coach you’re really excited about it. You come in, and whether it’s Greg Roman putting in a brand new offense. Even us on defense, there’s some, obviously, familiarity with the defense that we’ve run, kind of combine the things, and all of that, having (Mike) Pettine here a couple of years ago. But, it’s still new and you treat it that way. And, it’s a special time because you get to teach and you get to mold the team and let them know your vision, and that’s certainly what I did today.

Q: Hey Rex, we talked to Richie (Incognito) out there. Clearly, everybody is motivated, but that looks like a guy that’s really motivated for obvious reasons. What’s your sense with him? He must be pretty excited to get back into it.

A: Yeah, I think so. Everybody, I’ll mention it now, it doesn’t matter how we got here. Guys get here different ways. Who’s coached in the past, who I’ve coached in the past, all those different things. But it’s what we do collectively now, it’s what we’re looking forward to. What’s in the past is in the past. You learn from it. Some things that you did wrong, maybe you wish you did differently. I know that’s how I’m looking at, moving forward. If I focus too much on what’s behind me, or in Richie’s case, or whoever’s case, forget that. We’re looking at what’s in front of us and I know we’re all excited about what’s in front of us.

Q: What sort of attendance did you have today?

A: We had a lot of people there. We had a couple players that showed up late, their flights got cancelled and things like that. We had a great turnout. Obviously, this is voluntary, so some of the guys, they called, and I knew they weren’t going to be here. They had some personal issues or family issues that I knew they were dealing with. I was really pleased with the turnout and it’s exciting when you got that many guys. I was also happy with the fact that, some guy gets stuck in between, can’t make this one and then his other flight gets cancelled. But he’s trying, and he just wants to make sure. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, hey, I get it. Things like this happen, but I am excited that we had a huge number here today.

Q: Rex, you’ve been so complimentary as an opponent of the Bills defense. When you look at that roster, and some of the skill players on offense, what goes through your mind?

A: I’m not afraid. I expect to win. I expect to win big and I expect to do that right now. There’s no reason we can’t. The thing that you have to guard from is being so overly-excited, but you have to take the proper steps. You can’t miss a step. Part of it is being physically in shape. This phase one is about getting in condition to go into phase two and to be on the field and that’s kind of where we are. You’ve had a lot of time away, But getting back in the weight room, getting the classroom for the first time. There’s many steps that we have to take before we get there. It is, I look out there and I see our weapons that we have offensively, with obviously, you mention, Percy (Harvin), with LeSean McCoy, with, as I call him, Cassius (Charles) Clay. That’s who I thought we signed with the money we gave him. I was like, “Cassius Clay, right?” No, Charles Clay, the tight end. He had a great one. But, really, we have, there really is, they are stacked. We have some talent over there. There is no doubt we have some talent. And, defensively, that’s an outstanding group. Obviously, the numbers speak for themselves. How they played last year, I think our expectation will be set a little higher than that. It’s a great group.

Q: Rex, getting back to Richie, we know that Terry and Kim (Pegua) were involved in meeting with him. How much was your involvement, and what did you need to hear from Richie, to be comfortable with him joining this roster?

A: I just needed to see the sincerity he was speaking with and where he was at. He’s got a burning desire to play this game still, I think that’s important. Obviously, we’ve all made mistakes. Every single one of us in here have made mistakes, I know I’ve made more than you guys. But, it’s what we do. And, how excited he is about getting a new opportunity and, I can’t wait to watch him. He’s a Bill now. He’s just one of us, and I’m glad he’s with us.

Q: Rex, have you had a chance to talk to Percy Harvin? He talked about the impact you had on him in your short time together in New York. What kind of impact did he have on you?

A: Well, the thing about Percy is, as a player, the thing that jumps out at you is, he’s a matchup nightmare. He’s got physical talents that you can’t take away from him. The thing that I noticed is work ethic on the field. I don’t know if that’s as known about him as maybe it should be. This guy, you have got to protect him from himself, he goes that hard. He is very competitive, extremely competitive. I think that’s what everybody appreciates about him. There an award, the Ed Block Courage Award, it’s one of the most prestigious awards that any player can be given because it’s voted on by the players. And he had gotten with us for about three of four weeks, and was voted second in the Ed Block courage award voting, in just that short of time. But that ought to tell you about this guy and the kind of teammate that he is and obviously the kind of player he is. And it was a thing where, an opportunity showed up. And that will tell you about this organization, about where we’re at from an organizational standpoint. We’re ready for everything. When this opportunity presented itself, it was like we were ready. We were surprised, but there was the opportunity that we had, and we made it happen. We just want to get the best team out there that we can possibly have. And to have a guy like Percy Harvin join us, it was tremendous.

Q: Couple of injury situations. Sammy (Watkins) had surgery, where doe she stand?

A: Well, I’ll read off guys and I’ll just give you this list because, these are guys that have had a medical procedure during the offseason and they have not been cleared for full participation. So some of these guys can participate, but to what level? We’ll get to it. Dan Carpenter, Anthony Dixon, Stephon Gilmore, Chris Gragg, Chris Hogan, Fred Jackson, Leodis McKelvin, Sammy Watkins, Aaron Williams, and Chris Williams. I will say this about everyone’s injury: we expect every one of our players to be ready to roll at training camp. So, nothing that we see injury-wise, in our opinion right now, will prevent these guys from being full-go at training camp. So that’s it. I’d rather not get into the specifics of, we all know Sammy with a hip, this guy with a back. Whatever. I’m not going to get into those specifics because, quite honestly, I don’t know everything about the technical terms of them, and all that stuff. But, I will say this, these guys have not been cleared for full participation, but we anticipate them being ready for training camp on a full time basis.

Q: Rex, talking to EJ (Manuel), he knows there’s a competition. I think that’s all that he asked for from you. I’m guessing, at this time, that the attitude does matter. Do you like that he’s kind of embracing what you’re requiring, in terms of the open competition that he has to win himself?

A: It’s just what it is, whether he likes it or not. I like the fact that they understand where we’re at. We want to play the best players, and I think as a player, yeah, hey, look, you better see yourself as, “yeah I’m going to win that competition.” That’s what we want. Really, when we push each other, that’s going to build the whole team. The team is going to be the biggest benefactor of all this. The team benefits from when you have competition like that.

QB Matt Cassel

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Q: So you got in yesterday and that was the first time you’ve been back since your press conference, right?
A: Yes, I was traveling on Easter, it was great. I got in last night and it’s exciting to be here. Everyone is here and it’s fun to finally get going with football again. The anticipation and excitement always surrounding a new season and a new team, you definitely feel that. The guys came out and we worked hard and got introduced to everybody so there are a lot of new surroundings. Good first day so far.

Q: As a 10 year veteran, this is your third fresh start. Would you prefer not to have a fresh start or is that just how it is and you’re ready for it?
A: Well you just kind of roll with the punches, you know what I mean? It’s another fresh start and that’s it. It is a fresh start and that is always an exciting part. A new team, new teammates and new opportunities. I’m excited about the opportunity.

Q: Are you going to be limited by your foot at all?
A: That’s up to the trainers and medical staff on things like that. I feel great, I’m going to be full go in terms of football and everything. In terms of how they handle the work out and all that, that is totally up to the medical staff.

Q: How much more are you excited after the moves they made after trading for you?
A: I’m thrilled. Like you said, they had an active offseason. Since I even left we added Jerome Felton, Charles Clay, Percy Harvin and so anytime as a quarterback you have those weapons around you, you get excited and it makes you want to work even harder to get those guys the ball and do the right thing. You know that those guys are going to make you better.

Q: What are your friends back home thinking about the situation you landed in here?
A: They’re all sporting Buffalo hats and everyone in LA wants to know what’s the Buffalo deal? Everybody is excited. My family is, I am and we’re all excited to be a part of this organization and what is going on here.

WR Percy Harvin

Monday, April 06, 2015

Q: Why the Bills?

A: It was just so perfect from so many aspects. From playing with Sammy Watkins, from having a dominant run game…it looks like me and (Sammy) could face a lot of one-on-one coverage. Throw Big (Robert) Woods in there. (Charles) Clay. There are just going to be mismatches all over the field. When I looked at the special teams unit, facing them, those guys were in the top five last year. I look to plug in there and have a lot of success there. A dominant defense. It just became a no-brainer for me. Definitely playing for Coach Ryan over there. I fell in love with the receiver coach Sanjay (Lal). It just was a no-brainer for me.

Q: Rex was a big factor then?

A: Oh absolutely. Absolutely.

Q: What was your connection with Sanjay? What connected with you two?

A: We just connected. How he worked on my game. He is a technician. He leaves no stone unturned. We just hit it off on and off the field. We had a lot of conversations last year. When the opportunity presented itself, this was my number one visit. I pretty much knew this was where I wanted to be.

Q: How did the process play out after you were released by the Jets?

A: It happened so quick, it was instant. It was my number one visit. I came out here and I already knew most of the coaching staff. I was in love with all of the defensive coaches. Coach Dunbar, he was with me at Minnesota. We had a connection there. All of the dots just connected from the offense, defense and special teams standpoint. I am loving it right now.

Q: Is it time for you to have a really dominant, dynamic season?

A: Definitely. The best has yet to come. The world has not seen my best ball yet. That is why coming here was so important to me. When I looked at the running game, then I looked at Sammy Watkins on the other side and me on the other side with Robert Woods—it spelled nothing but success for me.

G Richie Incognito

Monday, April 06, 2015

Q: Welcome back. Your first stay was brief here.

A: It was quick. It was a quick trip up here the first time.I’m really excited to be back. I’m excited to get back to work. It’s great to be back in the building and getting to know guys’ names, learning the new system, and getting acclimated as soon as possible.

Q: It’s been almost two years since you have been around a facility, what physical condition are you in right now?

A: I’m in great shape. That’s really what’s been keeping me sane, is staying in shape down in Arizona. I’ve been training five days a week down there. I’ve been hiking, playing a lot of golf, so, that is something that’s always been important to me, it’s something that I clung to in all the downtime.

Q: Has it been a bit humbling, this last year or so?

A: Incredibly humbling. Taking a step back, taking a year off. It was a learning process, it was frustrating. But, I think at the end of the day, humbling is the best way to describe it.

Q: Richie, what do you think you got out of the year-and-a-half, you called it a learning process, what did you get?

A: It was definitely difficult sitting out. Knowing I could still play, knowing I had talent to contribute. Like I said, it was a learning process. At first, there was a lot of frustration, you know, “why am I not signing, why am I not on a team?” Then, it was a time for inner reflection, kind of a time for growth. Then, it was an acceptance. Accepting the fact that I’m not going to play this year and that I’m going to have to chalk it up and wait for another opportunity.

Q: Did you ever get close to an opportunity last year? Were there chances where it was on the precipice and it fell through? Or did you just not get much looks?

A: It was close with a couple teams. I felt it was really close with a couple teams. Things didn’t work out. I went on a couple visits, I met with a couple people. The timing wasn’t right and there were no deals that worked out.

Q: This opportunity here, I mean they clearly got an offensive line where there’s some spots open. I know you were just dying to get back in the league, but was this a particularly interesting proposition coming here?

A: Definitely. We had pinpointed a few teams, once the offseason had started, that we were going to kind of go after and attack to try to get me on a spot on the roster. I had a great experience meeting with the Pegula’s. I’ve known Rex (Ryan) a little bit from competing against him. I’ve had a lot of friends in the league that have told me great things about him. Greg Roman, I have a lot of respect for him, I spent some time with him at a golf tournament once and I really, really respect what he’s doing with the offense and what he wants to do.
DT Kyle Williams

Monday, April 06, 2015

Q: How’s it feel to be back, Kyle?

A: It’s good. It’s good to come in and meet new teammates and get acquainted with coaches that you know, but haven’t worked with personally and get back with the guys, it’s always good.

Q: We just had Richie (Incognito) here and you were one of the few guys that was here the first time he was here. Have you connected with him yet?

A: Yeah I saw him. And one thing, when we signed him, I was happy. He was a great teammate. Obviously a good player and when he was here he was a fantastic teammate and I wasn’t down when all that junk went down in Miami. So, I tend to base my opinions on my firsthand experiences with people and I had a great time with him as a teammate and I’m glad he’s here.

Q: Kyle, you restructured your contract to help yourself out, but to also help out some of the moves that were made this off-season. What do you make of the high-profile, eyebrow-raising moves that have took place?

A: I think all of the guys that we added are guys that we’ve broken down in our game plans. Every time we’ve played against those guys, those are guys that we earmarked and said that we have to have an eye on them, that we have to account for them on every play. So, I’m excited about, you can’t ever have too many good players, especially on our team. And I’m excited I get to play with them and not prepare for them.

Q: Counting extensions and things like that, you’ve now signed four contracts to stay in Buffalo. That’s pretty rare. Why have you decided to do that and what does it mean to maybe finish your career in Buffalo?

A: It means everything to me. I’ve had the opportunity to be here, to start my family here. I’ve got five kids now. It’s really a place that has a special place in my heart with me and my wife. And, no matter what happens, if they run me out the door in a year, or two, or three, or I’m done, this will be my last stop. So, I’m excited about that and to be where I belong. I started here and to end here is going to be a special thing. I’m not going to put a cap on it. I’ve got three years left, and maybe it’s more than that, but, either way, I’ll be a Buffalo Bill only.

Q: Kyle, with Rex, bringing in a guy like Richie, someone like Percy (Harvin), these guys that have had issues in locker rooms in the past, does that make it even more important for leaders like you, Mario (Williams), and Fred (Jackson) to have control of the locker room?

A: We have a really good locker room. We have a great mix of guys. Guys that are important to one another. Guys that the game is important to them. Those guys coming in, they’ll see that. Richie was already here, I was just telling Sal, he was a great teammate here. I haven’t been around Percy, but you talk to guys on the Jets last year, he was a great teammate there. So, you don’t go in expecting bad things of people. You expect them to be great teammates and to play hard and to care about what’s going on. They’ll get a vibe from the locker room and they’ll see that’s what’s in the in the locker room, so I’m excited to have them. They’re both great players and they’re going to help us win.

QB EJ Manuel

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Q: As you come in here today, where is your mind at after what happened last year?
A: No doubt, I’m excited. I think it’s a clean slate for myself. I think we have a great team around me and around this offense. I think we put a lot of pieces in the skill positions. Obviously we didn’t want to lose C.J. (Spiller), but we added a LeSean McCoy who is an excellent back. He can do multiple things, he can run, and he can catch. For me and my opportunity, I just see it as a great thing.

Q: When Rex (Ryan) said it will be an open competition from day one, you have to think it’s a fresh start for you.

A: That’s why I was so excited once Rex got the job. Obviously he made it known to the public, and he had already mentioned that to me, that it would be an open competition. In my eyes, that’s all I want. That’s all I can ask for in my current situation. With that being said, I just have to do my part and just continue to work hard and get better and learn this offense.

Q: You kept your mouth shut last year. Were you really disenchanted with the way it went down and the way you fell off the map after four games?
A: That’s neither here nor there, so I think that’s how I look at it now. I do think looking back on it, I learned a lot from it. I learned about the business of the NFL. I definitely learned a lot about my manhood and about myself and what I can handle and what I can take. Just being resilient and be strong and still be a great teammate to my fellow teammates.

Q: Where have you been working the past few months?
A: I’ve been in Tampa with Steve DeBerg, working out with him a bunch. I’ve also been in New York City and been catching up with Chris Hogan quite often in the past two months.

Q: Would it be fair to say that how things went down when Doug Marrone stepped down might have been the best thing to happen for your career?
A: I don’t know because he’s not here with us anymore. I think God works in mysterious ways and I’m excited with the coach we have now. I think he’s built a great staff around him. Offensively, I know we have some great guys. I’m very excited to work with Coach (David) Lee. I met with him during the pre-draft and all that kind of stuff and I loved him. I’m very happy that he’s here with us now.

RB LeSean McCoy

Monday, April 06, 2015

Q: You must be excited to get a fresh start with a new team.

A: Yeah, I am. I really am. I am happy to be here. Happy to feel wanted. Feel appreciated with this team. You do not really notice it until you get here—just the atmosphere. Just the people and coaches. The talent level—that is the biggest thing I have noticed. From being on winning teams to this team, this is a talented group. You look around at the guys they brought in and the guys that were already here, especially on the defensive side. Lights out. There are going to be tons of opportunities to get the ball on the offensive side.

Q: Is this going to be one of those things where you kind of have to keep your ego in check?

A: I do not think ego has a big play in this. I think everybody is here to win games. We need each other. I want the ball, but I might need Percy or Sammy to get those guys off the box. We have to run the ball well. Protect so those guys can get a chance to get the ball. I think as a team you work together. Going into my seventh year, I just look forward to winning games. I have been to the playoffs, but I have never actually won.

Q: This cannot be too different from coming from Philadelphia with so many good skill guys.

A: Yeah. I played with (Mike) Vick, Desean (Jackson) and (Jeremy) Maclin. I am used to having to share the load a little bit. With Andy (Reid) it was a pass happy offense. The times I got my share I tried to do the best with it.

Q: What were your impressions when the Bills made the free agent signings that they did?

A: I was excited. The more players the better. This team, the quarterbacks will battle it out to win the right to be the quarterback. That is a plus. The guys that they have here, with (Charles) Clay—he is a playmaker…Percy (Harvin) is just a talented player. If we keep him healthy, the sky is the limit. That is one of the most exciting players I have seen while I am playing. Him and Desean Jackson. Two exciting guys that bring a lot to the table. Tons of speed and talent. Then Sammy. He is a young kid who has had success on every level so far. Looking forward to a big year. So I am excited. Excited to be a part of that type of team. You want to be the guy, do not get me wrong, but you want to be the guy on a team that has other weapons. When teams come here to try and stack the box or take me out of the game, there are other guys making plays. Even the backfield—Fred has been a true leader. A true veteran on this team. I am not going to get every carry with Bryce Brown and (Boobie) Dixon. I think having four backs as a rotation everybody can get their pieces of the pie.

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