Buffalo Bills HC Rex Ryan
Monday, September 19, 2016

Opening Comments: Obviously, as anybody who watched the Cardinals play this last week, (we) realize the task at hand where we’re playing against—if they’re not the best team out there, they’re certainly one of them in all three phases. I think they’ve led the league in offense a couple times, their defense is right there at the top, so we know what we’re facing and I’ll be honest; it’s an impressive group, there’s no doubt. Bruce Arians does a great job and he has those guys humming right now. With that, I’ll open it up to questions.

Q: What’s the biggest concern with their offense? They can do it all.

A: They do. That’s a great question. I don’t know if I can answer it. Obviously we’ve got to be much better in all phases, in stopping the run and our pass coverage has got to be much better than it was this past week, for sure. But they present a lot of weapons to you. I think it starts with Carson Palmer. I think he’s incredibly accurate as a quarterback, sees the whole field, so that I think’s the first challenge. Then you got the running back, they’ve got a couple of Johnsons (David and Chris) out there that can really run and that obviously is a big problem. You got two Pro Bowl guards, I mean this is a team that has it all. You got that speed receiver (John Brown) and then you got the big kid, first round pick from Notre Dame, (Michael) Floyd. It’s a daunting task, it’s no doubt.

Q: Days after that Jets game, is there anything that stuck out as to why the coverage had as many issues as it did?

A: I think, really stepping back, they knew we were in coverage and they kind of picked the one-on-one and we were up to the challenge on some cases, other times their guy made a play. So I think that’s the biggest thing.

Q: Do you think the offensive line improved from week one to week two?

A: I thought it did and it really—everything’s always put on them. I put things on them, but I think even in week one a lot of that protection thing had to do with our backs in protection as well. But I did think we did a better job of protecting our quarterback in the second week.

Q: Rex, logistically speaking, how much can Anthony (Lynn) put into the offense, meaning plays and his spin in the offense when you’ve got a game in six days?

A: Right. Well I think the spin in the offense is going to be immediate, some things that we’ll do from a tactical standpoint, I think we’ll see immediately. Changing the verbiage and playbook and all that stuff—we’ll pull from the same place. It may be an occasional play here and there, but we’re still definitely keeping the verbiage and everything else that’s already in place.

Q: Coach, it’s technically an extra day for you, is this a chance to maybe address some of those things for Coach Lynn or will it be gameplan install to get ready for the game?

A: Well we’re definitely going to try some things. We’re going to put certain things out there. Sitting in the offensive meeting, already we’re talking about certain situations that will be played differently, challenges to our players, so we’ve already started looking at that. And I think we will be putting some of that into play in today’s practice.

Q: You made some big plays on offense the other day, but you can’t count on those every week. Are you concerned that this offense for two weeks has not been able to sustain drives?

A: It is a concern. There’s no doubt that’s a concern, so we’ve got to do a better job. And as we’ve mentioned, you’ve got to stay in front of the sticks against some of these really good defenses and clearly Arizona’s one that we can’t be behind in third-and-long situations, second-and-long situations. That doesn’t bode well for us.

Q: You couldn’t have been happy with your authority being challenged over the weekend with some of these anonymous reports.

A: No, and believe me, I’m very aware of some of those reports out there, and you know what? There’s a couple things that I think that we have to all understand. Number one, I made the decision on letting Greg Roman go. I think that’s it, final, that’s it. I made the decision. In regard to the report how players were seeing ownership, that happens all the time. I feel fortunate that our owners—they talk to our players, they talk to everybody. I can tell you this; I’m in full support of our owners and at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter, does it? I mean, they own the football team, they don’t have to get permission to talk to anybody, and myself included. But I have no problem with it whatsoever. In fact, I think it’s a real positive thing for us. And then, just the thing that—we all understand the frustrations of our fanbase, of everybody. We didn’t want to be, we didn’t expect to be 0-2 at this point, yet here we are. And as I look at it, some of the decisions that I made, the decision I made to move on, is because I truly believe that we can get better by making a change. And that’s the only reason I did it. I have a great deal of respect for Greg Roma, I’ve said that before, yet I think at this moment, I think we needed to make a change and if you’re going to pin it on one person being responsible for this 0-2 start, it’s on me and I certainly accept it. I’m not happy with it, but I’m doing whatever I can to avoid being 0-3, albeit against arguably one of the best, if not the best, teams in the NFL

Q: Rex, there is a perception that this team might be in crisis only two weeks into the season. Outside, there is that sense.

A: Well, and I understand it because when you look at it from afar and you make a change at a coordinator position, we are 0-2. So I get that. I think in our room, our guys are focused on getting better and as I mentioned, we know the task at hand, but we want to get better ourselves and I think taking a good hard look at what we’re doing, we made some changes.

Q: What changed? When you walked in the doors here, you wanted to be ground and pound and build a bully. And then on Friday you said you want to open up the passing game a little bit more. What changed that line of thinking?

A: Well no, I want to build a bully. There’s no question about it. Offense, defense, special teams. Without a doubt that’s what we want to be. We want to dictate to who we’re playing, how we’re going to play. So that has never changed. The ground and pound, I know it was a thing that followed me—I want to be able to run the football, don’t get me wrong. I want to be able to run the football and we need to be able to run the football. There’s that saying, “You pass to score and you run to win.” So, that’s always going to be who I am, the philosophy that we’re going to have. We want to be able to run the football, we expect to be able to run the football. But I also think that we need to expand what we’re doing in the passing game. Not with a zillion plays or whatever, but getting good at certain aspects and take advantage of the players we have, especially on the outside.

Q: Hey Rex, you used this mantra, ‘all-in.’ At times, with Greg being the latest example, there’s been conflicting reports on things from this organization. One side says one thing, one side says the other. That would seem to go against that ‘all-in’ belief. Do you have confidence that everybody inside this organization is fully invested in what you’re trying to do and is all-in?

A: I do believe that. I absolutely believe that.

Q: Why do you think there’s so many conflicting reports on that?

A: Well because not everybody is right there in the locker room, is seeing the things that I see, so I understand it, especially when there has been a move like I made, but it’s something I feel very confident in. I believe this organization is all-in. I know one thing, we’re all-in in the fact that we’re disappointed that we’re 0-2. I know that for a fact. I also know for a fact that we all expect better things in front of us.

Q: Is it frustrating though that these reports aren’t being pulled out of thin air? I mean Ian Rapoport I’m sure is talking to people in your building, Adam Schefter as well. Different stories are coming out, some not putting you in the best light. Is it frustrating that people are talking, that leaks get out like that?

A: No but people can say whatever they want, that’s the beautiful thing about this country, you can say exactly what you want. Do I believe some of the reports that are out there? No. There’s a lot of them that I know are—I’m not going to throw the letters out there—but I know that some are ridiculous. But that’s okay and I understand it comes with it. It comes with the territory. When you’re 0-2, a lot of it comes with that, being 0-2.

Q: What about injuries? Where are Sammy Watkins and Cordy Glenn?

A: Well both those guys are working hard. I think Sammy is probably very similar to last week, his situation. And then Cordy Glenn keeps working and hopefully we’ll have him this Sunday but I’m not ready to say that for sure right now.

Q: You say Sammy is the same as last week. Does that mean there’s a chance he doesn’t play on Sunday?

A: I think he’ll play, but again, we’ll see how it progresses through the week. We’ll be smart, we’ll hold him out of some things just like we did last week, but the key thing there is trying to get him to where he can play and be effective on Sunday.

Q: From a practical matter, is there a person working with the running backs now that Anthony is calling plays?

A: Uh, right now we’re kind of in the process of figuring that out, exactly what we’re going to do. For today, it’s kind of business as usual but by Wednesday we’ll have an exact set plan on it and give you that information.

Q: Is there a possibility that someone comes in from the outside?

A: No. I think we’ll fill that role inside.

Q: There’s been a lot of talk about getting Sammy more targets and trying to get the ball in his hands but given what he’s dealing with with his foot, is that even a possibility right now?

A: Well we hope that he—It’s tough playing on a short week Sunday then coming right back and playing Thursday was probably not a great situation for him but hopefully he’s had a few more days and feels better, but we’ll see as the week goes. That is a balancing deal because obviously if Sammy’s where we want him to be, then we want to get him the ball in his hands as much as possible.

Q: Do you anticipate this being something that plagues him or follows him throughout the season?

A: We’ll see how it goes but the big deal is we’re prepared to—I’ve had guys before that you put on certain, you give a guy a day off here, a day off here, whatever, and if we need to do that we’re prepared to do that.

Q: Does this team need Tyrod Taylor to start playing like the franchise quarterback you believe he can be? Quarterbacks around this league have been winning games. (Sam) Bradford was at Minnesota for two weeks and he probably played the best game of his career last night. Do you need Tyrod to really start showing that he is your guy because he really hasn’t won a game for you like a lot of quarterbacks have won games for their teams.

A: Well I would disagree with that. I think last year he won some games for us, really on his own back, he carried our team. But we all need to pull our weight. It’s not just on Tyrod, it’s on all of us, and we clearly have to step up this week. We have to be at our very, very best and we’ll see if that’s good enough. This kid—and I say kid—Carson Palmer’s been around a long time but man, when he’s playing like this, we just hope he has an off day against us.

Q: How concerned are you with Tyrod though? It seemed in particular last game there were guys open and he didn’t see them and didn’t hit them.

A: Sometimes that happens. But yeah, we want to be accurate with the football. We’ve seen him be accurate with the football. We’ve got to play with more consistency. You’re right, we got guys open, we got to get them the football. If you’re supposed to run a certain route, you need to run that route.

Q: Is Marquise Goodwin still in the concussion protocol?

Scott Berchtold: I just asked the trainers. We’ll find out after the press conference and let you know.

A: I know he’s got a personal thing right now. I don’t know if he’ll be at practice today.

Q: Do you remember a start to a season as challenging as this one in your coaching career?

A: No and I’ll be honest, that was about as low as you can get the other day, but being around the guys this morning and the coaches and all that, I feel fantastic. Obviously the 0-2, I’ve never been 0-2 in my NFL career, my 20 years I guess, and so I never really knew how to feel, but I feel rotten. I mean, I don’t want to let people down, I don’t want to let this team down, our fan-base down, so it’s important to me. Yet know it’s like, “let’s go man.” You know what? This might be the exact team we need to play. It might be the best team in the league and this might be the exact team we need to play. And it’s back-to-back weeks by the way. So you got Bruce Arians this week and you got (Bill) Belichick next week. So it’s like, okay. There’s a few more easier options than those two but maybe this is exactly what we need.

Q: Why is that?

A: Because I think if you’re coming down—you’re 0-2. Our expectations were much higher than that. Against these two teams right here, it’s clear they’re playing as good as any teams in the league. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. I can’t see anybody playing better than what I saw on tape, so we’ll get to see us immediately. I see we’ve had struggles, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve been far from perfect, I get that. But we’ll see how we measure up against maybe the best in the league here.

Q: Rex, I know you probably used to like having those long weekends but when you spend it reading all those reports and reading those national perception that maybe you should’ve been fired or you should’ve fired your brother, how difficult is that to sit there and take?

A: Some of them you just totally dismiss, you know what I mean? I think my brother’s done as good a job as anybody coaching in this league, so I think that’s—but I get it. That’s always going to be out there but hey, it comes with the territory. And now it’s time to move on, I’m focused on Arizona and I better be.

Q: How do you think the team and staff has handled and will handle the disappointment?

A: I think, as I mentioned, I think we’re all-in and it’s all straight ahead, no fair dodging.

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