Buffalo Bills HC Rex Ryan

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Opening Statement: Alright. Well, obviously guys, we needed the bye week right now. We really needed it as a team. We’re a little worn out, there’s no question about it. We can take some time away, but also focus in on what we need to get better at. Is there changes – you know, what we need to really look at, and then hopefully we can heal. Get some guys back and get some guys healthy, and that’s what I think is big about this bye week. The effort that our team put forth yesterday, it was a great effort although in a losing cause. We really did empty our tank. There’s no question. We gave everything we had in that game, yet we came up short. But the effort, I think, was outstanding. Some of the execution, obviously, wasn’t as good as we would’ve liked in a lot of areas, but [they are] things that we’ve got to improve on. [That] will be our focus when we get back. But with that, I’ll open it up for questions.

Q: A day later, knowing how close you came and knowing there were some things that went against your team that the NFL has acknowledged as being mistakes, how do you feel – a day later – knowing that that game was within your reach?

A: Well, obviously, you know, it’s frustrating. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. It’s in our past now, it’s behind us, and we’ve got to look forward to – as we look at it – almost the second half of the season, even though it’s only seven games. That’s where the focus has to be. We’re disappointed we didn’t pull it out at the end there, but mistakes happen in this league. There’s no question about it. I think everybody saw what they wanted to see, and I don’t know if I really need to comment any further on it.

Q: I just wanted to ask you about Mike Gillislee. It seems like, whenever you give him more work, all he does is produce. You had that inverted wishbone look last night. It really kind of kept Seattle on their heels. As you get into the second half of the season and maybe not wanting to overtax LeSean [McCoy] too much, do you foresee Mike getting more time? Has he earned that?

A: Well I think he’s earned it, it’s just – unfortunately for Mike – he happens to be behind one of the best players in the league in LeSean McCoy. That’s the thing. We know, obviously – all the Bills fans out there and us as a football team and an organization – we know the contributions of Mike Gillislee. You know, you’re right. He’s earned some playing time. There’s no question about it. He seems to be getting better and better as we move on, and obviously we’re going to need him for this stretch run.

Q: Do you plan on having Sammy Watkins practice next week? Because he’s eligible to start practicing Friday, although I know you guys are off then.

A: We’ll make sure – obviously when we get back and the trainers and everybody else – obviously, we’ll check in with everybody. I know we’re all excited – we’re hopeful – that Sammy’s going to be able to play for us this year. But, again, we’re not going to put him out there if he’s not ready to go and we’ll have to evaluate that later because, quite honestly, I can’t answer it. I have no idea if he’ll be ready to play or not, but I know we’re all hopeful he will.

Q: What is your plan for replacing Eric Wood?

A: That’s a good question. Obviously, that’s a really, really big blow to our football team. As you guys know, Eric – he really takes charge of that offensive line. And the guys are good. Richie [Incognito]’s a veteran player that I know can handle things. He’s a sharp guy, studies hard. But it’s going to be a big loss. We have Patrick Lewis here – he’s been inactive, I think, the entire season, but he’s familiar with what we do. And then we have Ryan Groy, who replaced Eric at the end of the game. Groy can play all of the positions. He’s a smart guy as well. Obviously, it’s hard to replace a player of his caliber, but we have two guys that we feel pretty confident in.

Q: What do you make of how Tyrod [Taylor] and the offense performed? How much was it Tyrod showing what he’s capable of and the offense maybe finding its nature under Anthony Lynn? That seemed to be one of his best performances. Would you agree?

A: Yeah. I mean, I think Tyrod always plays well. I think it was good to get a couple of our guys back. Robert Woods – he played extremely well, obviously, last night. But he felt better. He’s been dealing with a foot injury and hasn’t been anywhere close to 100%, but he really felt good last night and it showed in his play. And then having [Marquise] Goodwin back and some of our guys back, obviously, helped us a great deal. But Tyrod – if we give him good protection, Tyrod can make you pay. He can make all the throws, and the fact that it was on a Monday Night game, I think the country got to see the kind of ability that this young man has.

Q: Obviously, I know you talked about replacing [Eric Wood] and how you’re confident in the guys behind him, but have you talked to Eric at all since the injury and since he was carted off the field? Is he in good spirits today? I know he tweeted out a big thanks to everybody for prayers and thoughts.

A: Yeah, Eric and I actually were on the bus to the airport last night together. He sat across from me and things, and we talked. He was really down. There’s no question about it. In typical Eric Wood fashion, he was like ‘well, you know, the injury is supposed to be this long but I think I can come back in any shape like five weeks off the injury – or four weeks off the injury.’ But that’s just him. He wants to be here with this football team. He would do whatever it takes to come back and be ready to play, but he knows the direction of this team that we feel it can go these next seven weeks. Obviously, he feels terrible about it. Not as much about himself and the injury, but about the team. He knows he’s a big factor on our team and it’s almost like he was more disappointed – almost felt like he was letting our team down, which obviously is ridiculous. But, he’s going to bounce back from this, I don’t think there’s any doubt about it.

Q: Coach, just wondering. This secondary has continued to struggle a little bit. Is there a way you can get them to play a little better over the next seven weeks? Because you need them to be better than they have been.

A: I think that’s a fair statement. I think we really played a lot better in the second half, obviously, but it can’t take that long before you dial in and unfortunately that’s happened the last couple of weeks. Sometimes it’s hard to defend the perfectly-thrown ball and Russell Wilson, last night, threw some great passes. There is no question about that. [The] tight end makes two one-handed catch touchdowns against us and sometimes it’s going to work like that, but we have to tighten up our coverage. There’s no question. And if we do, I think we have a really good pass rush that I think can get to the quarterback if the coverage is a little tighter. It hasn’t been all bad, but obviously we have to improve in that area. It’s something that we’ve talked about. I thought Stephon Gilmore played extremely well yesterday and that’s what we expect from him. He has to play that way for us. Corey Graham, I think, plays really well – but we’ve got to get others to play up to their ability and if we do that, I think we’ll be much better.

Q: Rex, with the schedule going forward, the last seven games are all against AFC teams. You guys are 1-4 in the conference right now but are you confident enough in this team that you guys will be able to bounce back and compete down the stretch?

A: Well I know the effort’s going to be there, I don’t think that’s—you can’t deny that from us. Our guys, we want it in the worst way and not just for ourselves either. We understand how our fan-base wants this thing—almost as bad as we do—and we get that. There’s no question. So we understand the responsibility. All we can do is work as hard as we possibly can and work to the very best of our ability and play collectively as a unit and as a team and that’s what we’ll do. There’s no doubt. Our fans will get everything we have, there’s no question, from every coach, every player. And that’s something you can bank on and if not, then that person won’t be here and that’s the way it is. I’m comfortable with our team, I know how bad we want it and we just got to focus and find ways to get on a roll and it starts by winning one game and that’s obviously what the focus will have to be against a team that’s been to the playoffs I think six consecutive years in the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s not easy, certainly, but I think we’ll be fresh, I think we’ll be healthy coming off this bye. I hope we are. Obviously we still have some really key losses but we got to be able to overcome those and as the season goes on, hopefully we’ll get a few more guys back.

Q: Pete Carroll was on a Seattle radio station today and regards to what you had to say about Richard Sherman after the interception, he basically had a quote that said he thought you should worry about coaching your own guys. I’m interested in your response to that.

A: Well, as a matter of fact I do coach my own guys and I’m proud of the team that I coach. We haven’t had the results that we shoot for every time but I’m proud of this group and yeah, I have no problem. I do coach my own guys but I forgot, I guess I should have asked Pete when somebody asked me a question about one of his players, I should have asked Pete about the appropriate response I guess.

Q: Rex, do you feel that Jordan Mills played well enough last night? Do you think that Seantrel Henderson may have to start pushing for that job? It looked like Mills struggled a bit.

A: Well Jordan did struggle, there’s no doubt, and that kid is a really good player. I probably shouldn’t talk about their player but—just kidding. But Cliff Avril is a heck of a football player and we knew going in that that was going to be tough sledding no matter who he lined up against, but it’s tough I think. Their crowd noise is unbelievable and that makes it tough and then you got a heck of a football player that you’re up against. But Jordan’s competed well for us in the past and this might not have been his best game but I’m sure he’ll be ready to go when we play Cincinnati.

Q: I’m not sure if you’re aware of this but a TV station caught a fan yelling some nasty things at Kathryn Smith, referring to her as a waitress and asking her to get him a Pepsi. I’m not sure if this happens all the time to male coaches, but your thought on this with Kathryn being the first female coach in the league?

A: Well I think that’s ridiculous and I think we’ll all agree with that. I don’t know what else to say about it. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Now look, I get ripped all the time, and that’s cool. I’m free game, there’s no problem with that, I’ve been called everything known to man and that’s okay. I’m the opposing head coach so that’s part of the gig, no doubt about it, but I think that’s really classless and no, I wasn’t aware of it.

Q: I think Percy (Harvin) was able to give you 21 plays last night. What did you see out of him?

A: Well I think as we get going through this, I think hopefully that workload can increase a little bit but that’s about really where we thought it would max out at and to Percy’s credit, Percy wants to help this team out anyway he can, and I know he’s going to be working hard this bye week to try to get his conditioning (up) and everything else. Try to work routes and different things and he can only make us better I think. If you get Percy out there with what we already have, he’s such a talent that I think it’s a good sign for us but the fact he played 21 snaps for us I think is pretty impressive.

Q: Any other injury updates besides Wood?

A: No. Eric’s the only one to my knowledge that didn’t finish the game.

Q: The confidence you have in this team going forward and if you think it can get out of this hole? Maybe some encouraging things you saw last night?

A: Well I think the biggest thing is I think we’re a team, and that’s the beauty of this group. I feel great about that. It’s the chemistry of this team, they don’t want to let each other down. It’s no offense, defense, special teams. We’re a team and I think that’s what it’s going to take for us to have a chance moving forward. That’s what it’s going to take and embracing the fact that we are a team and I think that’s it. Were there some encouraging signs? Absolutely. I mean we’re playing against one of the best defenses in the National Football League, we had over 420 yards against them. Controlled the thing. Anthony (Lynn) and I talked about trying to get this team in the deep water and that’s controlling the football, get them into the fourth quarter and try to wear them down. I thought we did that. Obviously we finished a little short and to their credit they won the game at the end, but there’s a lot of good signs about the way our team responded. I love the way the defense responded in the second half. I mean after getting our butts kicked in the first half to go in and basically shut them out for the most part in the second half, I think that’s encouraging. You’re starting to see some of the guys—Shaq Lawson, the kind of player that he can be. He’s got a chance to be a tremendous player for us, but I was encouraged. There’s a lot of positive things, albeit our record isn’t what we want it to be, but I think there’s a lot of positive things about this football team. The big thing is we’ve got to overcome this Eric Wood injury now and hopefully we can get some other guys healthy that they can possibly contribute to our team. That would be a big thing for us. I know we’re going to play as a team, number one, and we’re going to give everything we possibly have. I think I’m encouraged by that more than anything.

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