Buffalo Bills HC Rex Ryan
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Opening Statement: Guys that did not participate today: Cordy Glenn ankle, Sammy Watkins foot. Limited today: Colt Anderson foot, (Ronald) Darby hamstring, Cardale Jones right shoulder, Charles Clay knee, (Greg) Salas groin. Those guys were limited today so with that I’ll open it up for questions.

Q: With Sammy missing another day, is there more concern now than there was yesterday that he might not play?
A: I think there’s a little more concern because the fact that he, you know, another day he didn’t practice. So there’s probably a little heightened concern there a little bit.

Q: Are you expecting him to play still?
A: We’ll see how it goes but I certainly hope so.

Q: Did that Salas injury happen in practice?
A: Yeah I don’t think it’s a major injury but yeah, it did happen in practice.

Q: With Sammy out, you’d have to rely on your running backs more, no?
A: Yeah, you talk about ground and pound. And that’s—we’re back to ground and pound.

Q: So the possibility of the wishbone?
A: Well, it worked so well in the preseason. We thought last week was bad until you looked at that preseason game. But go ahead.

Q: Rex, yesterday you talked a little about Stephon Gilmore and his game last week against the Jets. Obviously, you don’t expect that from him and he’s one of the guys you count on defensively. What are your thoughts about him bouncing back this week and being a guy that you can lean on moving forward?
A: Well there’s no doubt we lean on him. We have since I got here. He’s a tremendous player, a tremendous talent, and as I mentioned, everybody has some games like that. That clearly, you know, that wasn’t one of his best games but like I said, I’m glad he’s on my team because I believe in him and I’ve seen him play great. So the challenge he has in front of him this week, as does Darby, as do all of our DB’s. You know, it’s a big challenge. There’s no doubt. But I believe in my guys.

Q: You haven’t generally matched him up with a receiver. Him and Darby just stay on their side but could you maybe alter that thinking this week with Larry Fitzgerald, especially with Darby not being 100 percent?
A: We could but I think what happens a lot of times there’s a lot more running the ball when you match guys. And so sometimes you’re better off just playing your side, especially with a guy with a hamstring, so that’s kind of how I’ve always done it.

Q: Two games in, Preston Brown leads the league in tackles, or at least he’s tied. Zach Brown is too. I know they’ve been on the field more than you wanted to as well. Can you kind of just assess their play and how they both fit into this defense now?
A: Well they’re doing a great job. There’s no doubt. Both those guys have really stepped up and, you know, I’m proud of the way both of them are playing. They’re studying. I think more is asked of them than maybe anybody on the defense but they’ve been up for the challenge and obviously doing a good job for us.

Q: Preston is a guy that was criticized a lot last year. Coming into this year they had a lot to prove. What do you see when you watch him on film? What’s been the biggest difference with him?
A: I just think he’s taken ownership of it. I think that’s the biggest thing and his commitment in the offseason of becoming really the vocal guy and everything else. I think that’s been the most impressive thing.

Q: Is it fair to say that because of the design of your defense, if everyone does everything right, that guys should be getting tackles at the linebacker spot because they’re supposed to be kept clean?
A: Well the only thing that would be better than that would be getting tackles at the d-line spots. So that’s really where you’d like them.

Q: You mentioned that you’ll be putting Anthony Lynn up in the booth. How will that be different than on the sidelines?
A: No, that’s Anthony’s decision. That’s where he prefers to call a game.

Q: Why is that?
A: I guess he can block everything out from it, take the emotion out of it and, you know, have this stuff right in front of him and try to get the plays out quicker.

Q: Were there issues with calling plays from the sidelines at all?
A: I don’t think so. I think it’s, you know, a preference that you have. So I don’t believe that was an issue.

Q: Was Darby able to do more today?
A: Yes.

Q: So he’s trending in the right direction for being available?
A: Yeah another time, we’ll see how he progresses. I hope so.

Q: Rex you said since making a shorter playbook, Tyrod only had one really short practice. So now two days later, how would you assess the state of the offense?
A: Well I thought we had a good practice today. Remember you guys said it, about the limited playbook, and the limited all this type of stuff more than I did. No, did I say it? But anyway, like I said, we will have it cut down. We will have—it’s going to be—you know there’s plenty there. There’s plenty of volume, it’s just cut down a little. But yeah it looked good today. We look good.

OC Anthony Lynn

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Opening Statement: I’ve been training to do this all my life. I had a couple times to do it in different places and it didn’t work out. I never wanted to do it under these circumstances. I like to build my success on top of another man’s success, or woman, but unfortunately it’s the NFL. Didn’t work out that way. Now I’m in charge and I have to get this offense going in the right direction, and I plan on getting it done.

Q: You said yesterday on the radio that your head is clearly spinning obviously right away. At least it was. How much less is it everyday spinning?

A: Well, you know, every day for offense is a different situation. We’re going out and practicing and it was spinning earlier, but things have slowed down. Looking at the whole process and how you want to do it, looking at the playbook and the terminology, you know this was obviously Greg Roman’s system, and I would implement a different system, but I can work within this one, and the coaches around me can too, so we’re doing to make this one work.

Q: You’re going to be in the booth. What’s the advantage to that? Why do you prefer to be in the booth instead of down on the field, where Greg Roman was?

A: Well I think when you’re in the booth, you know, you get to see the field. I was in the booth once in Dallas when I coached there. I kind of liked it and said if I ever called plays, I’d do it from up top, just so, take the emotions out of it. You’ve got your game plan in front of you. I just prefer to be in the booth.

Q: When was the last time you called plays?

A: You know in preseason. You know with certain teams, Jacksonville, called plays in preseason, but play calling you do every Sunday on the sidelines. Now, we all have the gameplan sheet, we all have our input, so I feel like play calling is done, really, Monday through Friday. And some of you go out, you call your plays that’s on your script and you trust you gut and your instincts.

Q: What do want the identity of this offense to be?

A: You know, I want to play smart, physical football. I want to be explosive down the field, and right now, I just want to stay on the damn field. That’s what I want to do. So, we’re going to play a little bit faster and see if we can put a little pressure on the defense and just execute.

Q: The third downs and three and outs have been real bad for this offense. What do you have to do to fix those things in particular?

A: Well you know, we’ve had a lot of great concepts in, but I think if you want better execution, you reduce the verbals. And so we cut back a little bit so the guys can go out and play fast and not think so much and make plays.

Q: When you talk about verbiage, is it more in the play call in the huddle or when you get to the line? Can you kind of explain that to us?

A: You know you never want to run a bad play as an offensive coordinator. So sometimes you get to the line of scrimmage, you want to give your offense the flexibility to get out of a play and into another play, but you’ve got to get out of the huddle. We’re going to use a wristband, so I’m going to call it in. Tyrod’s going to get it a whole lot quicker, and when we make changes at the line of scrimmage, it should happen a little quicker. And give us a chance to maybe use a cadence.

Q: Does Tyrod Taylor have the ability to get out of any play and change whatever he needs to change at any time?

A: Some. Some. And we cut back on that a little bit. You know, we’re going to have more call it and run it concepts.

Q: Like you said, if you had more time you would have had your system but you’ve got to work within the confines of what Greg Roman established. Does that handcuff you at all?

A: Look man, it’s a challenge. I accept the challenge. Think I’m the right guy for the challenge and I’m not going to make any excuses. You know, it’s my responsibility to get us going, and we’ll figure it out.

Q: You said Tyrod will get the plays quicker. How was he getting them before?

A: It was relayed in from the sideline. Through the call sheet. Sometimes we would use the wristband, sometimes we wouldn’t, you know. I’m going to use it all the time.

Q: Has it been a focus to get Sammy Watkins the ball more?

A: That’s been a focus, but it’s also been a focus with Sammy to get on the practice field. You know, he’s injured so be cautious with his injury and rest him and just get him to the game, but yeah, I mean he’s an elite receiver in this league and we want to get the ball in his hands.

Q: Is there be more of a role for Reggie Bush in this offense going forward?

A: It could be. We’ll have to wait and see how things work at the return position on special teams and all that but we’ll see.

Q: LeSean McCoy said he wants more shots to carry the ball between the tackles. Is that going to be something that’s focused on a little bit more going forward?

A: You know, we’re going to attack the defense wherever we feel the weaknesses are. If it’s on the perimeter, it’s on the perimeter. If it’s between the tackles, yeah, we’re going to take whatever they give us so LeSean is going to run whatever we call.

Q: With Sammy Watkins unable to practice much at all this week, how difficult is that to gauge how much he’ll be able to handle on Sunday, if he’s even able to play.

A: Well, you know, I think the best way to get better and develop skills is to practice and when he doesn’t practice that is a concern. But like I said, he is an elite guy so we feel like he can go out on Sundays with limited reps and get it done.

Q: Getting Tyrod to throw over the middle of the field was a major talking point with the coaching staff throughout the entire offseason. A couple of games in, it seems like he’s missed a few things. How do you help him progress in that area?

A: Well, you know just simplifying pass reads. Coach (David) Lee does a hell of a job working with his mechanics as far as throwing the football. He’s a smaller guy so sometimes we might have to move the pocket for him and if they want to give us those throws outside the hash, we’ll take them. If they want to give them down the field, we’ll take them. I’m not going to focus on just trying to get the football in one area of the field but that does open things up outside if we can get that done, don’t get me wrong.

Q: It may not be ideal circumstances, but how long have you personally been waiting for this opportunity to call plays and do this in the NFL?

A: I’ve been waiting for a few years. I just didn’t know it was going to happen last week.

Q: How much of it was a goal? How much of it was what you wanted to do? For how long?

A: Ever since, like I said, a few years ago I decided I wanted to be an OC and I had an opportunity to do it and my organization denied me and ever since then I’ve been preparing and hoping to get another opportunity and it just so happened last week.

Q: What was your reaction when the decision was made?

A: It was bittersweet, I’ll say that. I was surprised and then, you know, once you get over the initial shock, then you’ve got a job to do. Hell of a challenge.

Q: Your son is on staff correct?

A: Yes.

Q: What’s that like?

A: Well, he’s on the defensive side of the ball so I don’t even see him. (Laughs)

Q: Can he kind of help you out though? Maybe look at the opponents?

A: We do a lot of that in the offseason on vacation. You know he goes through coverages, I go through pass concepts and we go back and forth. I’m surrounded by a lot of great defensive minds, and I use Rex (Ryan) and Rob (Ryan) and Dennis Thurman, and all those guys all the time.

Q: We keep hearing about scaling back the playbook and making things simpler. What plays do you chose to cut out? We’ve heard that you guys were running 80-90 plays before hand and that seems like quite a lot.

A: Well, your numbers are off. It’s a lot more than that.

Q: LeSean McCoy used 80 to 90 plays yesterday.

A: Well, you know, we didn’t just shrink it until we don’t have enough bullets. We have plenty of bullets and ammo. We just took a little off the guys’ plate.

Q: How do you balance letting Tyrod get some designed runs while keeping him healthy?

A: We talk to him all the time about being smart and getting down and sliding and not taking unnecessary hits.

Q: Do you think there’ll be more designed runs from him than there were?

A: Well we had quite a few in for him before, so probably about the same.

Q: What’s it like having Rex in your offensive meetings?

A: I love it. Like I said, I told him we should cross-train more often. I like defensive guys and their input and their perspective on things.

Q: You’re a running backs coach. Rex has said ground-and-pound before. Is that one of your top priorities? Take us into your offensive philosophy. Balanced, multi, ground and pound?

A: No, I only know ground-and-pound. To me, if they give you ground-and-pound you ground-and-pound. If they give you pass, you pass. You know? I just want to coach an explosive offense, doing multiple things, balance multiple personnel groupings and just take what they give us. I’m a personnel driven guy. I believe in personnel. Get the ball in the hands of players and let them make the plays because if you do that, they’ll make way more plays than we’ll ever design.

Q: Were the players having a tough time understanding the number of plays and concepts with the offense?

A: You know, I think everybody in a second-year in the offense. I think most guys were comfortable with it. My philosophy is just a little different. I want to cut back a little bit and see if we can play a little faster and make more plays on game day.

Q: Being a personnel driven play caller, we’ve seen the Bills try to get the screen game going with the running backs but not so much with the wide receivers. Is that something, getting the ball in the hands of guys like Sammy and Robert Woods?

A: Yeah, just touches. You know, I just want to get playmakers touches and if that’s on a quick screen, it’s a quick screen. Slant, slant. Down the field. You know? Whatever the defense gives, we’ll take it.

Q: Is your offensive philosophy have anything to do with your playing days? Did you take anything from your playing days and did that change your philosophy?

A: Absolutely. My background, from when I was playing I knew I was going to coach one day, so I started taking notes and things that I would do if I was coaching way back then. So it’s had a heck of an impact on my coaching experience.

Q: You said you want the pace to be a bit quicker, you know, a faster offense. How much faster are we talking? No huddle or just simply running more plays than the 48 and 50 you ran in the first two games?

A: We just want to run more plays than the 48 and 50.

Q: What did you think of doing media for the first time?

A: It wasn’t too bad. I mean, you guys are all professionals. (Laughs)

Q: In your experience, what’s an average number of plays to install every week? How much can guys handle?

A: That varies from game plan to game plan and team by team. Some guys they do so much you have to cut back because of what the defense does. Some guys are more basic and you can add more so that you can prepare for that. It just depends.

DC Dennis Thurman
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Q: How do you make adjustments so that your DB’s don’t get victimized sometimes, knowing Arizona is watching on tape?
A: I mean it’s about competing. You know, you’ve got to get on the practice field and correct the things that you didn’t do right. We expect our guys to play the way they’re capable of playing and we’ll see what happens on Sunday.

Q: Do you see those as easily correctable?
A: There are things that can be corrected, yes. And some of it falls on us as coaches. But we have to work together. And if we do, we have a chance to get it corrected. Yeah.

Q: When you watch Carson Palmer on tape, is there anything that has changed about his game? Is he still at the top of his game from where he’s been?
A: Oh yeah. I mean, when he’s comfortable and things are right, and he hits that back foot and he hitches up one step and there’s no pressure around him, he can carve you up. I mean he’s really a good quarterback, he throws the ball well, he can make all the throws, has a group of excellent receivers. So yeah we have our hands full on Sunday.

Q: As opposed to Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, who’s a shotgun and get it out guy, Carson Palmer seems more of a five step, seven step drop guy. How much different is that for you from a week to week basis based on that particular quarterback?
A: Well there’s a lot of different ways to play quarterback in this league and you have a variety with all teams that are doing it. But you know, if you can throw the football, you can throw the football. He’s a guy that can throw it. He’s been able to do it. Hell I was at USC when we recruited him so I’ve seen him for a long time and he’s playing as well as he’s ever played.


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