Head Coach Doug Marrone
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Q: Injuries?
A: Scott Berchtold : Did not participate in practice – Lee Smith with a toe, Keith Rivers with a groin. Limited Practice – [Jonathan] Meeks with the neck, Aaron Williams with the head. He’s going through the same protocol with the concussion-like symptoms. Full participation – [Stephon] Gilmore with a groin and Sammy [Watkins] with ribs.

Q: Have you ever met Terry Pegula? Do you know him at all?
A: No, I don’t.

Q: How closely did you follow that?
A: Not very close at all, but obviously it’s an exciting time for all of us. I think it gives us an opportunity to say thanks to Mr. Wilson for what he has done for the region, the organization, the fans and the league. I think the person that might get lost in this, I know her personally. I want to thank Mary Wilson. She’s been outstanding. I can only imagine what she’s going through with the emotion. She’s been great with me and great with the coaches. It’s really been outstanding. As far as the Pegula family acquiring the team, you have to be excited. They’re great advocates toward the region. It’s great for our organization and it’s great for our fans. It’s an exciting time and people should be excited, as they are.

Q: Can a Syracuse guy [Marrone] and Penn State guy [Terry Pegula] get along?
A: Absolutely.

Q: Is there any uneasiness about having a new guy come in and evaluate everything?
A: Oh, absolutely. That happens. It’s one that really, for us, is the same thing. We’ve got to go on the field and win. From the standpoint of players and coaches, which I can speak for, that’s how we feel. We need to go on that field and win for ownership and for the organization, but more importantly, for the region and the fans.

Q: What are your thoughts on the type of environment there will be at the game on Sunday?
A: I think it’ll be great. That’s going to be great, there’s no doubt about it. I would be ignorant to say I didn’t see it during training camp, you guys were all there, [the fans] with the signs and everything that was going on. It’s just a great thing. It really is.

Q: How excited are you for Sunday?
A: I’m fired up for Sunday. We’ve got a great challenge ahead of us. I don’t know how many of you all were able to look at the film from Miami’s last game. They played outstanding and they’re coming up here and they’re going to be ready to play. There are some challenges for us that we’ve got to be ready for. We came back to work today and had a good day of practice. It’s going to be a tough challenge for us.

Q: Has the sale been a topic of conversation among players.
A: No, it hasn’t. Russ [Brandon] addressed that. First, he addressed it to the organization early on and then, the other day, he addressed the team on the situation. He’s handled that. I think the players are in the right mindset, where their minds have been on the beginning of the season and going and playing Chicago. Right now it’s obviously on Miami, but I don’t want to speak for them on that situation.

Q: Do you think they’ll feed off the atmosphere on Sunday?
A: I think it’s going to be awesome.. I really do. Our fans were great for us last year. They’ve been a big difference. To get a stadium packed with our fans that are feeling good coming off of a win, we’ve got to be able to use that to our advantage. That’s on us. I’m sure they’ll come up in here and break that, like every team does. It’ll be a battle early on in this game.

Q: There seems to be a karma change with the win, the Pegula ownership and Jim Kelly being cancer free.
A: Let’s hope that extends for about 22 weeks. I’d appreciate that.

Q: What kind of challenges do the Dolphins pose offensively?
A: The running game, obviously. They’ve run the ball extremely well. They have excellent perimeter players. They can get the ball deep, as well as get the ball short in space. They make you defend the whole field, so it’s going to be a challenge for us to have all 11 guys to play good, disciplined football. That’s what they’re going to do.

Q: There was a bend but don’t break quality to your defense on Sunday. Is that an indication of what things will be like under Jim Schwartz?
A: One of the things, to go back to last week prior to the game, what we saw on tape was people that did pressure and blitz Chicago weren’t able to get there. For us, we weren’t going to do that much in the plan because we’d exposing our secondary and not really doing anything. We wouldn’t be getting to the quarterback. I think week-to-week it depends on what we see to what we do. There’s no doubt we gave up a lot of yards, but we didn’t give up the touchdowns to a team that’s one of the top scoring teams in the NFL.

Q: Has Corey Graham’s play warranted him more playing time, even if Stephon Gilmore is healthy?
A: We had a plan beforehand of what we wanted to do back there. He played outstanding. We need Stephon to play well and we need Leodis [McKelvin] to play well. It’s a long season. When you have three quality corners like that we can work it to our advantage and we have to be smart about that.

Q: How about Colton Schmidt’s performance on Sunday in a pressure situation?
A: Yeah, pressure situation, hostile environment. You know that you’re out there and, I don’t want to say auditioning, but it’s a tough deal. If he goes in there and doesn’t punt well, who knows what could happen. I give him a lot of credit. He worked hard all week. I said it after the game. Our rookie punter against their rookie punter would be one of the keys. Field position-wise, we won that battle and he did his part. I was happy for him. Not knowing him that well or that long, I’m sure he’s like everyone else in this league that’s put a lot of time in to becoming a good player.

Q: How much more is the players’ focused intensified because of the Dolphins performance last week?
A: I would just say that I would hope we would have that focus because it’s a division game. It’s the first division game for us and the second one for them. For us it’s a big game, it’s a division game and it’s our first game at home..

Q: What do you make of what Knowshon Moreno has done for their offense?
A: I think he’s been a catalyst for them. You see it on film. [He’s] running extremely hard, they’re blocking very well for him, he’s making the tough yards, making people miss, breaking tackles. It looks like they can feed off that.

Q: How much will this week reveal about the progress of the offensive line?
A: I think it will reveal a lot. This will be a great challenge. These guys up front can flat out play. They’ve got unbelievable pass rushers on the outside, guys that have speed and power. Inside they are strong. They toss people around, they knock people back. They can rotate a couple players in there. It’ll show a lot. We have to be ready to go on every single play or you can be embarrassed out there by this defense.

Q: Is the expectation that Stephon Gilmore should be ready for the game?
A: Yeah, he was practicing today and he was cleared. He just said he couldn’t go last week. I think it’s tough. It’s his call on how he feels. He can probably better answer that question than I can.

Q: How about Keith Rivers?
A: I think we’re going to keep it day-to-day and keep watching him to see how it progresses.

Q: If Keith can’t go, would it be Ty Powell or Preston Brown that replaces him?
A: Yeah, it would probably be. It’s one of those guys. They both played last week, so at least we don’t have the problem of being on the field for the first time. Nigel [Bradham] is also coming back, which is a big help to us.

Q: How did you feel about the way Preston Brown played today?
A: I think he played well. The first game for those young guys getting in there, I don’t think it could be much tougher. You go to Chicago and you’re playing on the road. I thought he did a nice job. Obviously, Seantrel [Henderson] overall did a nice job. We’re expecting a really big jump form those guys from the first game to now. I think that’s where you see the biggest jump, especially in the younger players.

Q: How encouraging was it for your defense to still coming away with three turnovers even though you weren’t pressuring Jay Cutler like the unit did last year?
A: We knew that we had to get around and make him move a little bit, which is what we did. We might not have had the number of sacks or the number of hit, but we made him move around. That’s what showed up when Kyle Williams had the interception. We were able to flush him out of the pocket. We were able to move him just a little bit, at times where he was able to miss the throws. In the same regard, we were able to cover those guys for an amount of time where we were able to break it up. That stuff goes hand-in-hand, but the whole thing is that we just need to get better every week and we’ve got a big challenge coming up this week.

QB EJ Manuel
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Q: EJ, do you guys as players feel the excitement that the fans have coming off the big win, the sale is complete and this team is going to stay here and everyone feels as good as they’ve felt about this team in a long time?
A: Yeah definitely, we’re very excited. We’re happy it was able to get done and we’re happy we’re going to be staying in Buffalo and we’re just excited for our fans right now.

Q: As players how much did you guys follow that story?
A: Not a lot. I think we were more focused on Week 1, especially with all of the talk that was going on during the preseason and things like that. We were focused on the opponents we were getting ready to play.

Q: Do you have a sense of what that atmosphere might be like in the stadium on Sunday and is that something you can feed off of as a quarterback?
A: Definitely, I feel like our fans, like I said earlier are extremely excited. We won; the sale is done and we’re playing against the Miami Dolphins, a division rivalry and a long-time rivalry here in Buffalo. I know they will be ready to go and so will we.

Q: Do you know Terry Pegula at all? Have you ever met him?
A: No, sir.

Q: You missed both games against the Dolphins last year?
A: Correct.

Q: How strange is it to be entering this season now preparing for the Dolphins?
A: Not really strange. I still prepared for them last year, I just wasn’t playing but I wouldn’t say it’s strange. I think it’s just we’re looking at it as another opponent, the next week. So I don’t necessarily look at it, as just because we’re playing the Dolphins I didn’t play them last year.

Q: EJ is the team walking around with a different or a more purposeful swagger?
A: I don’t think so. I think we are business as usual. Everybody came in at the same times. Nobodies doing anything different than what we did last week. I think everybody is understanding that hey this is a weekly thing, it’s not just one week, the first week, that we came out and everybody did extra and all that kind of stuff. We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. This is our job, so I don’t think it’s any true difference from last week.

Q: What did that win do for your team’s confidence?
A: Any win is going to bring confidence. It’s definitely going to help build confidence going into the season. A great win, versus a great team, in Chicago away from our home field. Obviously it’s going to give us confidence but I don’t think it’s anything secondary that we wouldn’t have had anyway.

Q: Offensively what do you guys see as the biggest thing you can build on coming off that win in Chicago?
A: Just being better on all situations. Third down, red zone, pretty much I would say that was it. Our game plan is a little different versus Miami, so just sticking to the plan as far as what Coach Hackett wants us to do.

Q: How do you get ready as an offense to face a team that you know can get to the quarterback with just there front four?
A: I know our O-line is very excited about the opportunity to go against a great front four that the have. They have a few injuries at linebacker, but their front four has added enough rush, you could see that last week versus Tom, a very establish quarterback. I think they will be up for the challenge.

Q: You said that you felt more comfortable running the zone read this year, could you just elaborate as to why you felt that way and after seeing it on film, what did you think?
A: A lot of the work that I did in the offseason. Being able to see it pre-snap and kind of having an idea that this is a 99% pull right here if this guy does what I think he’s going to do and he did it. That’s why I was able to go ahead and execute it and not make it a hard process because it’s really not. It’s an easy read but at the same time you still need to see it pre-snap because it happens so fast.

Q: How much do you think you can build on that and what type of an element can that add to the offense?
A: I think quite a bit as far as building on it. Doing it more effectively is going to be offer some defenses more things to prepare for as far as what we do especially our run game. I think it could be a huge weapon for us throughout the year.

Q: You talked last week about how your confidence came from your comfort ability with the offense. Having one game under your belt, on the road, a very significant win. How much does that solidify?
A: Well, it was a team win. I’m not looking at it like it was just me who won the game or anything like that. It was a team victory for us so I’m just excited for our team. We’re very confident right now. I don’t think it’s anything like we feel that we shouldn’t have won that game. Going in there we believed that we could win and we did so I think that’s just the added confidence knowing that if you put in the work during the week, good things will happen.

Q: A number of your teammates credited you for charging them up before the game. That’s not something we have heard before so we don’t know if it happens all the time. Was it something that you deliberately made an emphasis on?
A: I don’t really want to go too much into it; it was really for our team and our locker room. That’s what I did in college, that’s just me being me. Not necessarily like I’d been holding back last year or anything like that, it was just a matter of realizing hey I’m the quarterback maybe it is my job to get these guys ready to go. Whether that’s being up and yelling and screaming and all that kind of stuff, if that’s what they need, that’s what I’ll give them. I was very happy to see that they responded really well to it. I think a lot of guys kind of weren’t expecting it; they were kind of almost shocked. I kind of play the cool demeanor all the time but at quarterback you usually don’t expect a guy to get up and be “rah rah” and all that kind of stuff. But they could tell that it was genuine and I just wanted to guys to play free. I didn’t want guys to feel the pressure of it being the first game and people saying we weren’t going to win and all that kind of stuff, just go out there and play football.

Q: Sounds like a big step
A: I think so. It was a big step in my maturation as a quarterback and also as a leader. Knowing that these guys will feed off of that and that they will respond to it.

Q: That’s something that would take some confidence on your part; you can’t pull off something like that and then not back it up on the field.
A: Correct. No doubt about it, I agree. That’s the accountability you put yourself at when you go up and do something like that. I think it’s just not being afraid to put yourself out on the line like that. This is what we need to do, and my job is to go out there and do my job as well. You can just go up there and say “Hey guys this is what we need to do” and then not do it yourself. So I think that was a huge step in me growing up as a leader.

Q: Do you think that in just one game you took a step in silencing some of your critics?
A: I don’t focus on it. That was a great team victory for us and I think at the end of the day I continue to focus on the weekly process and preparing for these teams each Sunday I think all of that will answer it itself.

Q: Do you think you’re more confident in your receiving core than you were last year?
A: I think those guys have done a great job. I think they have earned the right to have those opportunities to make catches. Obviously it’s up to me to give them the opportunity. I think the report that we have with each other is just that if I put the ball up for you guys I’m expecting you to come down with it and they expect me to give them the opportunity. They haven’t made me wrong yet and they’ve been doing a great job.

Q: How much does that help in the maturation process of a quarterback?
A: Yeah, definitely a lot of quarterbacks across the league, they just give guys opportunities to go up and make catches. I think that’s how receivers get a big name, or get a name of Megatron, or AJ Green those kinds of guys. They go up and make huge catches for their quarterbacks and I think it’s up to the quarterback to allow them to have that opportunity. I think Woody, Sammy, Mike, Marquise they can all do it, it’s just a matter of giving them the opportunity.

LB Nigel Bradham
Wednesday, September 10th 2014

Q: How tough was it for you to watch your teammates play on Sunday?
A: It was terrible man but I’m happy they got the win. I’m happy they were able to come out with the win in overtime like that. It was a great game.

Q: How’d you feel about how Preston played in place of you?
A: He played great but we knew he was playing great all of OTA’s since he got here, since we drafted him so we had confidence in him. From day one, he’s been learning the defense and came in ready and that was one of the main things. He’s one of the mature rookies, for sure. That’s one of the things we added this year even now with Keith out, we still have depth at linebacker with our young guys being able to come in and play because they’re all mature.

Q: What do you make of the ownership change?
A: It’s exciting as players to know you’re still going to be here with these fans, these great fans that we have and I feel like it’s great for the community but our main focus of course is the Dolphins this week. But we know it’ll be as loud as usual and we know that’s going to have an effect.

CB Stephon Gilmore
Wednesday, September 10th 2014

Q: Do you think the atmosphere is going to be even louder and crazier knowing that the fans are really on a high right now?
A: Oh yeah, it’s going to be crazy especially with us coming off of a win beating Chicago. It’s going to be a great game this game.

Q: Dolphins’ offense looked pretty good against the Patriots. What are you guys expecting from them?
A: They have a good offense. We just have to do our job; make plays, eliminate the big plays and stop the run. I think if we do that, we’ll come out on top.

Q: What’s the injury like? Is it sort of a day-to-day thing with you because earlier in the week it seemed like you were ready to go and then you weren’t ready on Sunday.
A: I feel a lot better this week. I came into it wanting to play, but I went out there and warmed up Sunday and I thought it was better for me to not go out, it was better for the team to not go out and play so this week I feel a lot better.

Q: Was it nice to have a guy like Corey Graham to step right in and play pretty well?
A: Yeah, it was good. Corey’s a vet. He’s been in this league a long time making plays. It was big for him to step up and make plays and that’s what he’s been doing. I think this is his seventh or eighth year in the league.

Q: What’s your thought on the Pegulas being the new owner of the team?
A: It’s big. For us, it was big but, we just have to handle Miami.

Q: For you personally, when it comes to the injury, what are you looking for? Is it pain tolerance? What is it that’s going to determine whether you’re good to go and what kept you out last week?
A: It’s not pain. It’s more of just having mentally being there and having to mentally trust it. I just thought it was better for me to not go last week for the team and me also. That was my thought.

Q: Did you feel a large improvement today?
A: Yeah, I definitely did. I was just running around and having fun. I felt a big improvement today.

RB Fred Jackson
Wednesday, September 10th 2014

Q: What was your reaction when you found out the Pegulas were going to be the new owner of the Bills?
A: You really don’t have too much to do with it, as a player. I’m sure everybody’s happy to get the process over and we’re happy that it’s a couple that’s very familiar with this area and all things that they do but it’s on us right now to just focus on the season. To just focus on these football games that we have going on right now and that’s what we’re trying to do but I’ve heard nothing but good things from them being good friends with Pat Kaleta. I talk to him and he’s told me nothing but good things about the Pegulas. It’s a good thing to have the process done but for the most part, what we’re focused on as players is winning football games.

Q: Did you follow the story throughout the summer?
A: Not at all. It’s one of those things, like I said, we don’t have any say in it. We don’t have any leverage or any decision in what’s being done so all we can focus on is football.

Q: The fact that it solidifies the future of this franchise here in Western New York when at some point it was maybe a question, does that mean something to solidify that the Bills are going to stay in Western New York?
A: Yeah, obviously we want to be in Buffalo. We want to be in Western New York. There’s a tremendous fan base here and we’re happy for those guys. To have it all put to rest and knowing that the team’s going to be here, that’s something that everyone in this locker room is happy about.

Q: On that note, what are you expecting on Sunday?
A: It’s going to be crazy. Our fans are tremendous fans. They’re going to come here. They’re going to be riled up, ready to go. We have Miami coming to town: our rival. We’ll have a lot of fans out there ready to make a lot of noise for us and hopefully we can play well and get a win.

Q: It’s a pretty good challenge for your offensive line against that front four of Miami. Just talk about the challenge for the offense going against that defense.
A: It’s one of the best fronts we’ll probably see all year. They did a tremendous job getting after Brady last week and we saw that on film. It’s going to be one of those things where we’ll all have to be on the same page. We can’t make mistakes. We’ll have to know where we need to be and know the blocking assignments that we have to get done.

WR Sammy Watkins
Monday, September 8, 2014

Q: Was it tough to get out there and get into a rhythm?
A: Not really. I felt like I shot off pretty well. Coach called a great game; they managed the game. I was kind of held back from the ribs injury, but still overcame and had two or three big catches that moved the drive and played well.

Q: Do you think it was a big step forward in improving chemistry with EJ [Manuel]?
A: Of course. That starts with him trusting us and being in the right place and us making plays. I think we made the plays that he expected us to make and the plays that we need to make. We did well as a group.

Q: Does the win and solid performance build some confidence for the offense?
A: Yeah, I think overall we played well and managed the situations. We had a pick, a couple of bonehead plays. We jumped offsides and had holding penalties, but overall, I think we got over the hump and kept playing.

DT Kyle Williams
Monday, September 8, 2014

Q: How do you feel about the road win?
A: Good. Go to Chicago and beat a good football team, a good offensive football team. We haven’t gotten together and watched the film yet so we still have all our corrections to make, but to go over there and win on the road against that type of team is good.

Q: What does it say to be able to respond on the road?
A: I think you can look at it as an improved makeup of the team. Guys that have been around awhile and guys that have had success like [Brandon] Spikes and Corey Graham. You can do it on all three levels for us defensively. We’ve got guys that have been around and can kind of rub off on guys.

Q: The defensive backs said they’re going to invite you into their meetings?
A: They should, they should. I’ve been telling the safeties that it’s like lying in wait and then you just pounce. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. That was a one in a million deal. I don’t expect that to happen again anytime soon.

WR Mike Williams
Monday, September 8, 2014

Q: How long can you guys enjoy that big win?
A: We’ve got to enjoy this today. That’s why Tuesdays are off. I always say, ‘That’s what Tuesdays are for.’ Enjoy it, get over it and we’ve got to get on to Miami right away. We want to be 2-0. That’s a good win we just had, a big win for our team, but that’s not our goal to just get that win. We’ve got to enjoy it now and get it over with.

Q: Is it difficult to go through five games with a vanilla offense during the preseason?
A: Definitely. It’s kind of hard. We don’t want to put our best foot forward and then teams get that on film and things like that. We actually scored in the red zone yesterday too. That’s a good thing for you guys.

Q: Was it a good thing for you guys?
A: Yeah, we know it’s good for us. We know what we can do in the red zone and we know what’s our goal by the end of the year. We’re just going out and using all of you guys as motivation.

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