Buffalo Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan
Monday, October 24, 2016
Opening statement:

Alright obviously you know I talked about the game after it happened nothing really changed. You know we were still in the game and like I mentioned yesterday even though we were up by 11 points in the second half it never felt like we were in control of the game because we were getting out played, out coached whatever you say it never felt like we were in control of the game. I thought Miami was in control of the game and at the end of the day we need to make more plays on offense, defense and they made more than we did and that is why we won. That is just the way it is you know it is unfortunate that we didn’t play better but that is just the way it is. But with that I will open it up for questions.

Q: Update on Aaron Williams, there was a report he was in meetings?
A: Yes. Aaron Williams, I will go through the medical stuff here, you know he is walking around the building and things. We are still evaluating. Our medical people are still evaluating you know his head and neck. After the game it was well reported he went to the hospital to get a CT scan and MRI. The reason he went to the hospital was because that is where they have those machines, but right now just so you know he is walking around and you know he is talking to people and is in our meetings today.

Q: Given his history and the severity would you almost rule him out this weekend?
A: Well no, I mean I am not a professional but we are absolutely going to err on the side of caution. You know there is no doubt, a head and neck injury. That is probably as severe injury as you can get so you will make sure that, you know he is never going to go out on the field if we are here and he hasn’t been cleared by professionals certainly.

Q: You have had a chance to look at the hit and what are your thoughts on it now?
A: Yeah I mean it is, it was totally unnecessary. Did he target, did he launch? Yeah he did all those–you can check every box you want. Was it a dirty hit? Yeah it is was unnecessary and as I see it, it is unsportsmanlike. There is nothing about that hit that would say any other deal, but I thought the officials got it right by the way everything is you know it was unnecessary roughness, it clearly was. A football play and he came in for a crack block. There was nothing physical about it, I was surprised he did it and absolutely disappointed. You know, now I have a player that is in jeopardy.

So I don’t understand it. But I think maybe we need to look at our rules a little bit. The college game may have it right. Maybe it is, maybe having a guy that targets or deliberately does something like that maybe the right move is to eject the player from the game and maybe part of another game. That is how college does it. I also like the fact they review it on video and if it is not, because there are a lot of things that happen. I am not saying for every unnecessary roughness because there are plenty guys trying to block a pass, hit a quarterback in the head or whatever, that is not what I am talking about. A blatant shot like that or others I have seen. Maybe there is a different way of handling it. Yeah I was surprised by it, because like I said I have a great deal of respect for that player, a very competitive. Robert Woods is one of the most physical receivers in the game and he comes down and does the same exact blocks and all that stuff. But I have never once seen Robert (Woods) target a player.

Q: On the same play there was a holding call and the personal foul but you expect that personal foul, can you explain why you did that?
A: Well no because it was from the spot. The personal foul was from the spot, it was down the field further, so you actually gained a yard or two yards by taking the holding call. And I also said is he going to be kicked out of the game because that will be his second deal for unsportsmanlike, but as they explained to be it was unnecessary which obviously never got the ejection.

Q: Does it seem right to you that a player get a 15 yard penalty for that hit and also one for dancing in the end zone?
A: Well no, but I guess that is what I am getting at. The unsportsmanlike we are trying to clean that part of the game up there is no question about it and we should. We don’t need to do that type of stuff, I get it, a lot of kids are watching. I think those are great things. But for things that are blatant things deals like that, I am not sitting there just because this player did it to one of my players. I am saying in the game, this game is the greatest game in the world because of the players. It is not because of this or that. It is because of our players. To me we ought to protect our players at all costs. If there is a better way of doing it to take 15-yards and a take hit like that, there are many others as we know, and that is how guys get injured. We want to really protect our players we need to look at things, maybe in the future we will look at things differently.

Q: How do you coach your receivers on that type of block if a players head it down?
A: Well you never crack a guy, you never hit him in the head or neck area, so you lower your target. That is what we do in the league, and we have done good job of it. These hits don’t happen very often because of that. Players are mindful of the fact I am coming in here to block. I mentioned Robert Woods, Robert Woods makes some great blocks, the kid in Arizona, (Larry) Fitzgerald makes some great blocks, but you don’t need to target and clearly launch at a guy and hit him in the head or neck area.

Q: Does it help alleviate in some way that Landry stayed on the field and tried to apologize?
A: Well I think, like I said before he has always been a physical player and a great player, I guess you just have to ask him. They say it is a football play, no, that is not. There is nothing about being physical about that play. It is just being…

Q: I wasn’t excusing.
A: I get it and maybe after he did it he realized that. These guys are, it is rare group guys that are able to play in this league. It is rare fraternity, I don’t think any player wants to take out another player. You want to hit him physically, I guarantee you want to go in and hit that player as physical as you can, you want to hit them as hard as you can, but you want to do it within the confinements of the rules. That way we are protected, I think rules protect our players. That is what they are there. I am sure the kid realized, (Jarvis) Landry realized that he made a terrible mistake.

Q: Other injuries?
A: Yeah (Marquise) Goodwin is in the concussion protocol and there is a shot he gets hit in the head and that wasn’t intentional at all. A guy making a play on the football, those things happen. This league, it is a physical game, it is not for everybody but it doesn’t have to be dangerous and this is one of those unfortunate things. But he is in the concussion protocol. LeSean McCoy we will see how the week unfolds. As soon as he said he had tightness in the hamstring we took him out of the game as soon as he mentioned that, but that is where he is at. We will see how he progresses. Marcell Dareus we will see, hopefully this will be the week we get him on the field, but he has still got that hamstring deal. Robert Woods he is making progress. He has got that foot injury but he is making real progress and we will see how he progresses through the week. The last guy is Seantrel Henderson and Seantrel is working his way back, feels much better so hopefully we will have him.

Q: To clarify on Marquise on video it looked like it was how his head hit the turf.
A: Right and that could be one of those things too. But obviously he is in the concussion protocol now.

Q: Did not having Marcell finally catch up to you guys considering how they ran the ball?
A: Well you know we just have to step up, and injuries happen and guys just got to step up. Would we like to have Marcell Dareus playing when teams are running the football like that? Yeah you are darn right we would, but there is no excuse. We just got to, we know we can play better than we did.

Q: Was that as poorly as the team has tackled this year?
A: Yeah we definitely have to tackle better than that. And it wasn’t just that, you have to give the kid credit, that running back ran hard and ran through some tackles, and they did a good job up front against us. But yeah that might have been, it certainly wasn’t what we were used to seeing.

Q: Do you chart the categories in review of games? And if you do, what kind of an issue has it been for you this season?

A: Well, it certainly wasn’t anywhere close to what it was yesterday.

Q: Rex, you pride yourself on being an old-school type of football. You said it: stopping the run, running the ball. Was yesterday’s performance against your defense – running the ball – does that go even harder at you? Does it dig in a little bit more, because it was in that manner in which you lost?

A: Oh, yeah. I mean, we talked about that the day I got this job, about building a bully. I used the wrong term, but what I meant was you want to be physical. You want to win the physical battle each week. And quite honestly, up until this point, we pretty much have. We got whipped by the Jets, we got – but we definitely got out-physicaled yesterday and, you know, the blueprint. We had the same blueprint. They went in and out-executed us, but that hasn’t happened very often to us.

Q: Rex, how critically do you evaluate Tyrod [Taylor] when he’s down so many pieces?

A: Maybe not as critical as other people do, because I realize – look, we’re playing without our four top receivers. You know, when you look at it, you got Sammy Watkins out, you have Greg Salas on the [Injured Reserve], you’ve got, obviously, Robert Woods was out of the game, and then you lose [Marquise] Goodwin. So, is it going to be tougher to throw the football? It probably is. There’s no question it’s going to be. But, at the same time, we have NFL-caliber receivers. We got to find a way to – number one: protect the quarterback, and number two: get open.

Q: The last time this team, as you put it, got embarrassed on the field, was the Jets game – and you headed into the stretch of Arizona and New England saying, “maybe this is what this team needs.” Now, you’re heading into a stretch of New England and Seattle. What do you say about the challenge ahead?

A: Well, it’s a huge challenge. I want to say it now because Tom Brady’s playing. Just kidding. But, in all seriousness, we’re going to measure ourselves against the two best now. We’re going to find out all about us. After a game like this, where we clearly never played – or coached – as good as we need to. You know, the ultimate test is right in front of us.

Q: Is Dez Lewis a consideration to come off the practice squad with how banged up the wide receivers corps is?

A: We’ll see. There may be somebody else too that we look at.

Q: Brandon Tate, on special teams, continues to make plays for you. You’ve even gotten him in a little bit at wide receiver. How valuable of a pick-up has he been since right before the season started?

A: It’s a great pick up. And quite honestly, we brought in Reggie Bush to be our return man, and when Tate became available, we were like, “Wow this guy is exceptional. Let’s pick him up” And he’s done a great job. He’s in the top – I think he’s eleventh in punt returns, I think eighth in kick returns – and you mentioned the fact that he contributes as a receiver as well, so that was a great pick up for us.

Q: When you say there could be somebody else at receiver, do you mean a free agent or a trade or what are you…

A: No, it could be somebody on our practice squad that we’ll look at.

Q: What about the way they ran the ball, Coach. With the cut back lanes did you find anything in there that you or your guys weren’t expecting, or your linebackers could have done a little bit better job of?

A: Yeah, you know what, to be honest with you, I’m sick and tired of looking at that film. I’m sick and tired of talking about it. We’re going to play them again and we’ll see what happens, but as soon as this thing’s over and I do this radio thing, I’m done with this one. And I can’t wait to be done. You know, am I sick about it? Yeah, absolutely. Nobody wants to – you know – I’m a better coach than that. I look at it. I look at myself first. A performance like that hasn’t happened to me in a long, long time.

Q: Did it take the wind out of the sails of this team? I mean, if you had won the game, this weekend would have been for first place in the division, but now you’re back to kind of where you were: digging dirt off yourself.

A: Yeah, we are. There’s no doubt about it. But, the more we dwell on this game right here, sure we have to learn from things, there’s no question about it, but the more we dwell on it, it doesn’t help us. We’ve got a bigger task in front of us.

Q: It’s not too often that there’s a fight before a game, as there was last time with, and all that. What does that mean in terms of the feelings between these two teams right now?

A: Well, these two teams don’t like each other. There’s no question about that, but I don’t think there was a real fight, you know? A real fight would be outside in the parking lot. You know what I mean? Then you’ve really got something to write about, but that thing was hardly a fight, I think.

Q: Rex, what’s your impression on Brady so far? Do you need to beat New England with him to elevate yourselves? Do you believe that?

A: Well, I don’t know when the last time they’ve gotten swept is. It’s probably been a long, long time. Probably never happened with Brady. But, it’s not about validating ourselves. We’ve just got to find a way to win. In regards to who we’re playing, you know, he looks great. He’s got those two great tight ends – they’re big. They’ve still got [Julian] Edelman out there. They’ve got everybody they had out there last time, but they’ve got their player back. So we know the challenge in front of us.

Q: After what happened with LeSean [McCoy] yesterday, does that make you more cautious making against that decision next Sunday?

A: No, because I think the decision is made – the decision to play LeSean, as I mentioned, he got clearance from our medical personnel. That’s a variety of tests, tons of tests. Also, the player needs to sign off on it. So, it’s not just the medical staff going, “Hey, you’re going out there.” So, LeSean wanted to play. He felt like he was ready to play. And then, before the game, we took him to pregame and he was running routes at full speed and bursting, so we thought he was ready to go. 100% ready to go. That’s why we played him. Will we do the same again? If every box is checked, then yes. If any box is not checked, then no way are we going to play him. And we’ve said that from day one about any player.

Q: Is the hamstring worse now than it was at the end of last week?

A: I don’t believe so. For what I understand, I’m not sure. We’ll see how it goes. I think he was tight, and that’s why we took him out. But I’m not sure about that.

Q: Rex, does your current record in the division and conference put any more importance on this Sunday’s game, considering your losing record in both of those categories?

A: Yeah, I don’t know how much more important it could be than this one. I mean, I could lie to you and say that it’s not important, but yeah, this is a critical game for us. There’s no doubt about it. Does it break your season if you lose? I hope I don’t have to worry about that. We’ve got to find a way to win this game. But, it’d be the halfway point of our season. But, yeah, it’s definitely important.

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