Buffalo Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan
Monday, December 05, 2016
Opening statement:
Clearly after watching the tape we are still going through corrections and stuff for the game, we will have a walkthrough here in a few minutes. I just felt we had the game going well for two and half quarters and it just kind of felt like we imploded. It was…I mean in all areas obviously the defense gave up a lot of points and at the same time our offense really stopped, from like the 47th play on we just, we just never helped ourselves. Even our punter a guy that has been really good Colton Schmidt he even had a poor day. So we could reroute the ship, we couldn’t right the ship because both sides of the ball and even special teams tanked at the same time. So we couldn’t overcome it against a good football team, that is hard to witness but that is what happened. So with that I will open it up for questions.

Q: How difficult is it coming to that conclusion that you just stopped at this crucial juncture in the season?
A: Huge, that is it I mean that is a good team and we knew it. I mean it is the same team, everything else for the first two and half quarters but it just seemed like it snowballed on us. We thought we were playing well, offense, defense, everything. I thought we were playing, having a heck of a game, and then all of a sudden it just took a turn and we couldn’t. We couldn’t right the ship.

Q: Did Percy Harvin have a set back and do you know what this means for his short and long term playing career?
A: I really don’t know what it means. I know he is on that NFI right now so that is Non-Football Illness and can’t come back this year. That is what I know about it.

Q: Was there a worsening of his condition from last week till now?
A: I am not real sure, I just know the result of it.

Q: We have seen the run heavy and elite defense work in the NFL, through two years why isn’t the defense at the level it needs to be at yet?
A: I am not sure. At times we play pretty good, and then there are other times mistake here or whatever that is kind of what yesterday. We weren’t perfect with alignment, assignment and technique and it ended up hurting us obviously in that game. Why that is, I am not sure. Sometimes we press a little it seems like and that is where you got to be at your best, in those pressure situations and unfortunately yesterday for us that wasn’t the case. Obviously we have to be able to throw the football if people are going to get it down there a little bit. That has been inconsistent and obviously that can help us too.

Q: At what point does Tyrod Taylor need to take more accountability for this passing offense being last in the NFL?
A: Well I don’t know. I think if you talk to him you will see what he says about it. But it is a team we have got it take, we got to look to as coaches what we are asking our players to do. Can they do it? Is there, I think that it where you first start looking at. For some reason not getting done to where we need to it. We are 31st in the league for sacks per pass, so that is clearly not good enough. So we just got to take a hard look and improve in a hurry.

Q: At what point would you consider turning to Cardale to see what you have there?
A: I can tell you this right now as much as it doesn’t feel like it we are still in the hunt here and we are going to do whatever we can to win. We know we have to win these four games. We got a hot Pittsburgh team here that is loaded, and it is playing well on defense, its offense is about as good as it gets. That is a huge challenge in front of us. But at no time are we looking at that. We are trying to win these next four games.

Q: Have you seen enough progress in Tyrod’s development this year?
A: I think there have been at times he has played extremely well. I don’t think there is any doubt. Yesterday I think he came out guns a blazing. But it just as a football team is very similar, his play and our play it was very similar to how the defense played and how the offense played.

Q: Is that enough from a quarterback to win consistently?
A: I think his performance in that particular game, our performance as a team wasn’t good enough. Whether it is Tyrod, whether the offense, the defense, the coaching, whatever it is the same thing we didn’t get it done. It wasn’t good enough, so that is how I look at it. Through the year I will let you guys make that evaluation on your own. But I think he has played extremely well in a lot of games this year.

Q: Outside the injuries at wide receiver what other factors are limiting your ability to evaluate Tyrod as you mentioned the other day?
A: Well no I just think it is easy to sit back and be critical but if you are playing without five receivers in the game, I have a feeling you are not regardless of it is Tom Brady or anybody else I think it is going to affect you, and that unfortunately has been kind of where we are. But hopefully we will get some more guys healthy and be more effective in the passing game.

Q: How realistic do you see your playoff hopes being?
A: Well I know we got to win four in a row and we have done it before this year. Even this year we have done that, but we have to get through this one and this is going to be a huge task and I don’t know what the other ones look like. I just know the little film I have seen on Pittsburgh it is a heck of a lot easier said than done.

Q: Some of your players on both sides of the ball have mentioned a lack of mental toughness and when the team faces adversity the team unravels, from a coaching perspective how tough is that to hear your player question if they have the mental toughness to be a good team?
A: Well I think that is a thing on frustration. Obviously we are up that many points you expect to win the game, we are all frustrated in the fact that we didn’t. In those types of situations we have to play better and there is no question. I think this team’s got heart, I think it tough, I think it is resilient, and I think that gives us an opportunity to win.

Q: Where does that mental toughness have to come from, does that come from you, or does it need to come from the leaders in the room?
A: I hope it starts with me because I know that I am mentally tough. If this team and every person in that room was like me that I can promise we are mentally tough enough. We just got to find a way that is it. The way to do it is to be committed to what you are doing, alignment, assignment and technique and putting the work it. I think that is the key.

Q: In regards to pass rush, how do you evaluate that yesterday in seeming that you kind of have a similar task ahead of you, and had no sacks yesterday?

A: We knew going in that we weren’t going to get a sack – maybe one or two. But that’s what that team – that quarterback will dirt the ball when he’s in trouble and he did exactly what we thought. They did a great job [with] pass protection. There’s no question about it. We rushed three [defenders] way more than what we’ve done in the past. That was contributing to it as well. But, you know, you’re trying to do what’s best for your team in those situations. Sometimes, three-man rushes work well, sometimes, four-man. I can’t say the five did, because he hit every one of them every time we tried to pressure. It was tough sledding. We knew it was going to be tough.

Q: You listed Tyrod as having a groin injury but being a full participant last week in practice. At any point during this season, has that or any other injury impacted his performance?

A: No, not that I’m – I think he’s been healthy throughout the season.

Q: Is there an update on John Miller or Ronald Darby? I know it’s early in the week.

A: Yeah. John was actually medically cleared to play. He did not sustain a concussion. He was ready, but we weren’t cleared until like the last minute of the game, so by then [we] just kept him out. Darby is out of the concussion protocol. We’ll see how he progresses. The other injuries, we have – speaking of concussions – Lerentee McCray is in the concussion protocol now, so apparently he had something in the game. Robert Woods, we’ll see how he progresses. He’s doing better, so we’ll see what happens there.

Q: In the locker room today, with Antonio Brown coming to town, Stephon Gilmore said that he would love to follow the other team’s top receiver around, but that’s not what the team’s defense calls for. He does what the coach asks. Is that ever a consideration if he goes to you and says, “I want to do that,” or is the defense the defense?

A: No, I’ve matched up guys before, but we’ll see what we think. It’s way too early to tell you who’s going to match with who or whatever.

Q: Is it just the general philosophy though? I mean, I know you have confidence in all of your [cornerbacks], so is it just a general philosophy if you guys two guys you have confidence in, you don’t have to do something like that? Or, you know, is it “hey, that guy wants that challenge and I feel like he’s clearly my top guy. I would do that”?

A: Well I’ve done it in the past, like I said before. But when you do have two really good corners you feel great about, then most of the time – you know, I know they’re really comfortable playing left and right. But, I will say this: Stephon is playing about as good as any corner in the league right now, probably, I mean, [he’s] right there. The last three weeks in particular, he’s been absolutely outstanding.

Q: Were you okay with Charles Clay’s decision?

A: Well, I’m not going to get into everything. Obviously, I never want a player to miss the birth of a child. So, yeah I would be [okay with his decision]. I think the communication could have been better throughout, but I’m not going to get into specifics. I’ll never – for someone to see the birth of a child, I think it’s a huge day. That’s his first child, so I’m okay with that.

Q: Rex, at this point, you guys have four games left to evaluate the roster, evaluate Tyrod, and still compete for that playoff spot. How confident are you with that big decision, with Tyrod’s contract, that he’s going to be your quarterback in 2017 and beyond?

A: I think, first off, that I’m pleased with Tyrod Taylor. I think he gives us the best chance to win. I think he’s a good quarterback. But our focus is strictly on Pittsburgh, so anything past that I don’t think it’s even an appropriate conversation right now.

Q: You said that there are no problems on your end about mental toughness, and then Lorenzo Alexander was in the locker room today saying, point blank, that the team just lacks mental toughness every week. Where is that not translating, do you think?

A: I have no idea. I can just tell you this: we’ve lost a couple of games now that we expected to win – that we were in control of. [The] Miami game and obviously the Raiders game stick out that you want to close teams out, and we haven’t gotten that done. We’ve gotten it done in some of our games, but we came up short in those two games for sure.

Q: Knowing the plays that were called and everything, is there anything that you see in those games that’s a common thread between them?

A: No. I mean, the only thing that those two games had in common is the fact that we didn’t get it done.

Q: What level of disappointment is there? This playoff streak, this drought – you came here to get this team to the playoffs and it’s back in that “in jeopardy” status for a seventeenth year. I know it’s not your seventeenth [year], but you know what it means to Bills fans to be frustrated at this point. What level of frustration, I guess – I know you’re not out of it, but it’s there.

A: Right. We have three games at home, so I think that’s something that – our fans, we’re going to lean on [them]. We’re going to count on our fans to be there for us and be a huge factor for us. That’s why the schedule is the way it is. It’s set up for us [where] we’d rather play these games right at home with our fans, and I certainly understand the concern of us not making the playoffs. I get that.

LB Lorenzo Alexander

Monday, December 5, 2016

Q: Now that you’ve watched the film, what broke down in that late third quarter, fourth quarter?

A: Well we actually haven’t watched the film together, we watched a little bit on the plane last night. It just comes down to guys being accountable for four quarters, one guy on one play, another guy on another play, what it’s a run fit or coverage, or not going and making a play, missing a tackle, not breaking up a ball. When you get a combination of one guy here, one guy there, that’s what happens and when you’re playing against one of the best offenses in the league, I mean Derek Carr could easily be the MVP of this league, you can’t have those mishaps, you got to be able to finish out games and just kind of keep our foot on their throat and finish out strong and we weren’t able to do that at all, defense, special teams, offensively yesterday.

Q: How frustrating is it that you have them for 35, 40 minutes, get a signature win on the road and then to have that slip away the way that it did?

A: Obviously it’s frustrating because not only do want to win that game, you understand the playoff implications of losing that game as well, so it hits you on various facets, giving up a game where you feel like you should of won it cause we played, I don’t know, maybe two and half strong quarters there, and then to let it go the way that we did and not be able to finish strong is just frustrating. Because you put in a lot of work, this goes all the way back to OTA’s, you put everything on the line is still in front of you and go out there still play inconsistent football is hard to live with.

Q: Sammy (Watkins) commented on the way the offense felt they lost themselves a little bit, having been around a lot of teams in your career, when things are going the wrong way in an avalanche kind of fashion, how do you guys circle up and get focused back in?

A: It’s hard to pinpoint on what you do, it’s just always going back to fundamentals and execution. We were never able to do that collectively. You can have four or five guys that have been there and know what to do, but if you don’t have everybody buy in all the way around, you’re not going to be able to withhold a charge of the Raiders, especially a team of that caliber. It’s something that, we still have to grow, we’re an average team, and that’s really the difference between an average team and a team like the Raiders right now, because they were down 24-9 and they could have easily packed it in, but they didn’t. Obviously, a lot of that starts with Derek Carr, and that’s what we have to figure out, how can we rally our guys, get our guys back on the same page to withhold those type of charges, cause if we want to get ourselves in the playoffs moving forward, not only this year but next year and changing the culture around here, we have to be able to stand up as men and collectively rally together.

LB Preston Brown

Monday, December 05, 2016

Q: What was the mood like today?

A: People are a little upset that we lost, especially a game that you felt you could of won against one of the best teams in the AFC. Especially with the playoff implications that we had going, but we still have four games left, you never know what’ll happen. We could go out there and win 10 games and it could be a good year. Hopefully we can try and find our way into the playoffs.

Q: How tough is it, Preston, to pick yourself up off the mat knowing that you had such high expectations this year? This isn’t a team that started off with 3 or 4 win expectations, you guys expected to be in the playoffs.

A: It’s each and every week you have wins and losses that you feel you could’ve got. It was a big loss, we’re not going to try to downplay what it was, it was a big loss. But we still have a lot of games left, we’ve got 4 games to show teams that we can go out there and try and make the playoffs. I mean, we have to win the rest of them. There’s no more, ‘We can lose this one and get in’ because teams up there already got eight, nine wins, so it’s going to be hard to get in but we got to try and find a way to do it.

Q: Describe the task in front of you guys to do that. How do you size up that task?

A: It’s just you got to win games, it simply is. Been the same way since we were four and five years old, you got to win the game and we just haven’t been able to do it. We are, what, 6-6 right now so we’ve been even and that’s not good in this league. You go 8-8, you’re average, so we got to find a way to get 10 wins, and hopefully you get 10 you can get in.

FB Jerome Felton

Monday, December 5, 2016

Q: On the sideline, it took about an hour when you guys went from up 15 to down 14, on the sideline what was it like?

A: It’s frustrating, obviously. We felt like we were in a really good position and then they were able to switch the momentum in their favor and they just got going, and we couldn’t get them stopped and we couldn’t generate first downs on offense. So it got frustrating but we kept fighting and kept fighting but unfortunately we didn’t come away with the win.

Q: How frustrating was it, as well as you ran the ball, to not only not get points but not be able to sustain a 10-yard run, a first down, to even just slow it down a little bit?

A: Yeah, I don’t think we executed as well as we needed to down the stretch and obviously that came back to hurt us. That’s something that obviously we need to learn from, figure out that and watch the film and get better at it.

Q: I know you blocked for (Adrian Peterson), but is this maybe the best team run unit you’ve been apart of in your career?

A: Yeah I think this is the most dynamic run game I’ve been apart of. Obviously Adrian had a great year in, I think it was 2011 or ’12, but just the different ways we can run the football, our schemes, I think probably it’s the best that I’ve been around.

CB Stephon Gilmore

Monday, December 5, 2016

Q: Just describe what was happening out there in that sequence where they just kept going down the field on you guys, both the offense going three and out and them having the ball and coming down the field and scoring. What was going through your mind?

A: They were just making plays, I mean, we was in the position to make the play we just didn’t make it and they just ricocheted it on through the game. We were in the position to make the plays, but we just didn’t make them.

Q: Stephon, what’s your level of frustration knowing that you guys are in December and it’s 6-6 and the playoff picture looks precarious?

A: It’s frustrating because we expected bigger things. We put ourselves in this position and we just got to keep fighting.

Q: Stephon, yesterday Sammy had mentioned a lack of composure on offense when things started to kind of go south, did you feel that on defense?

A: Yeah, I mean when something bad happened I feel like in this league you got to have a short term memory, you’ve got to put it behind you and bounce back and make plays, we didn’t do that.

OL Ryan Groy

Monday, December 5, 2016

Q: Does the way Jerome Felton plays fire you guys up?

A: Absolutely. I mean it’s exciting. He was getting pumped up and he was firing off and lighting people up and it’s always fun to see, whether it’s a fullback, running back, wide receiver, anybody. He’s super committed to the team, super committed to the cause and it’s fun to watch him go.

Q: Is a fullback of his makeup kind of like an o-lineman? He seems relatable because his job description isn’t that different than yours.

A: Yeah it’s very similar. He’s either blocking or pass protecting and (he’s a guy) who could get the ball a couple times, maybe go out for a route or two but very much has the same responsibility. He’s got to block similar guys and sometimes he’s on big d-ends and he’s got to do the same kind of job that we do.

Q: You’ve settled in pretty nicely. How are things going for you?

A: It’s felt great. Preparation’s been key, being on the same page with the guys I’m playing next to, being on the same page as Tyrod (Taylor), everything helps. The less you’re really thinking out there, the better. The more you’re just automatically going, you know the play, you know the call, you know the communication you’re making with your offensive line and you’re gone.

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