Buffalo Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan
Wednesday December 9, 2015

Opening Comments:
Alright, here we go. Obviously it’s kind of getting ready for Philadelphia.  A little different than most teams for the simple fact you got this offense that is trying to go at warp speed, or whatever. So hard to simulate on the practice field. We’re gonna do our best to do that. I wish we were playing, obviously, the game here in front our fans. But the fact we’re playing them there, if there’s one positive about it is that we should be able to verbally communicate. Where we want to be able to do that here. So, I don’t know how much that’ll help. We’ll find out. But obviously they are coming off a huge win against New England. Most times you go and you talk about special teams, but this team really has been special on their special teams. I think they blocked seven punts, I believe, in the last two years. So we gotta do a great job that way and by the way, its good news/bad news. The good news is you get the punt off, the bad news is you got (Darren) Sproles down there. So we gotta do a great job on that team in particular. And then defensively, they’re super active in their front seven. So all these guys are athletic, they can move, they get after the quarterback. So we got some challenges, there’s no question about it. I like the fact we are going to Philly because you can get a good cheese steak and all that stuff. Should be good. There’s Pats and Geno’s right across from each other. Make sure I’ll go to both of them so they don’t get upset at you. But anyway, we know it’s gonna be a…you know with everything on the line, we know that both teams are in the middle of it and it’s obviously a huge game for both teams and certainly is for us. With that I’ll open it up for questions.

Q: When Chip Kelly went to Philly he was going to reinvent NFL Offense. What are your feelings on that?
A: Well I don’t think Chip ever said that. I mean that’s a good quote to put on him though. I like that. Yeah Chip, come on. You shouldn’t have said that. It’s like I was gonna reinvent defense.

Q: But he still came in with a different approach.
A: It is different. I think their tempo is different. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. I think there’s times when you see how effective it can really be and it just gets you on your heels, gets you discombobulated…that tough word to say. Gets that. Somebody take a shot at it – discombobulated. But there’s some good things and then all of sudden if you go three and out and that puts your defense kind of at risk. So there’s good things, bad things with it. Obviously they know what they’re doing. They’re even doing the old college deal where they look at the sideline now. You know the one that every single fan hates – I’m just putting it out there. Nobody likes seeing it. But they do it. So you know, but they’ve been effective. Through the years they’ve had one of the top offenses in the league. So I think it definitely has its spot in the NFL. Similar to things, I remember when they were saying, well the zone read won’t be a factor. You know all those type of things. Well you see it. Every team in the league runs it. At least some version of it. So maybe he’s come in the league and maybe there’s something to it. I think he’s real progressive coach. I think when you look at some of the training things he does, the sleep deals. You know there’s some interesting things.

Q: Can you recall the thought process on how the LeSean McCoy and Kiko Alonso trade went down?
A: At the time we were sitting back and had just gone through our free agency priorities. All this type of stuff and we had just finished and then we get the call. And it just shows how you better be flexible in your way of thinking. But this was an opportunity for us to add a dynamic player to our football team and that’s what we wanted to do. Like I said from day one, we did not want to get rid of Kiko Alonso. I think he’s an outstanding player. But for us we had C.J. Spiller coming up, there was some uncertainties on where he would go in free agency. We knew we needed a back and so it worked out great for us. And obviously LeSean is an outstanding player as nobody’s ever debated that.

Q: Can you talk about how that trade has played off from your perspective?
A: Well from our perspective we couldn’t be happier with it. I mean obviously LeSean (McCoy) is a great player, great talent and we love him in the building. He’s got that great energy about him and good teammate.

Q: Apparently he’s been much louder and vocal this week and up for this game.
A: He’s up for every game. That guys up for every game, there’s no question about it. He loves to play, loves to compete and so I think he’s…is this game different to him? I’m sure it is because he’s got a lot of guys that he really cares about, former teammates there and I mentioned the community. That he grew up in Pennsylvania, went to college in Pennsylvania and obviously played his whole career in Philadelphia up until this point. So I’m sure that’s gonna be special to him. But this is special to all of us. This is a game we have to have and I guess you’ll have to ask him specifically about those things. But from my perspective I know how…I mean I had to deal with the same things to a lesser degree. I never grew up there all my life like he did. So it might even be more so for him. But I know the special feelings I had going back and what that game meant. So I’m sure it’ll mean a lot. But for us as a football team it means everything. We know the job that we have in front of us and how tough of a job it is. And at the same time we know that we need this win.

Q: What else have you seen that’s made him really come together? Aside from getting over the hamstring injury.
A: I truly believe that it was the hamstring more than anything else. Because there were times in training camp I was–oh my goodness. Like you saw…like this guy’s gonna dominate. There’s no question about it. It was just about him getting healthy and now that he’s healthy we’re seeing the guy that we know he is.

Q: Can you give us a thought process behind the tight end move yesterday.
A: It’s part of the business. I think sometimes you get these young players, it takes time to develop. They’re not right out of…you know the NFL games different than college as we know. Even though the ACC is probably as high of a level as you can get. But I think he’s ready to play now. He’s been phenomenal out here. It’s just an opportunity for him. Matt Mulligan’s a tremendous young man and he does a good job for us, and he’s been with me for now two teams. But several years. But this is the unfortunate part of this business. You can’t keep everybody and we really want to see (Nick) O’Leary up and he will play this week.

Q: Do you think if Karlos Williams is ready to go on Sunday you may resign Matt Mulligan?
A: There’s obviously a possibility that our players can come back. If he’s not claimed by somebody else, obviously. Yep.

Q: Who do you see getting more snaps – Nick O’Leary or Chris Gragg?
A: I mean, what are we taking bets here?

Q: Well Matt Mulligan was essentially your number 2 tight end, snap wise.
A: I mean I really don’t know. I think both of those guys will play though. The numbers – I can’t tell you the exact numbers, you know what that will be.

Q: In terms of being a blocking tight end though, who’s your blocker when you need a third and one for example?
A: Well I don’t want to lay the game plan out there. Obviously (Nick) O’Leary’s a thicker body type, blocking type.

Q: Where other teams sniffing around for Nick O’Leary?
A: Yeah there were definitely teams that were interested in O’Leary and I’m not gonna say who.

Q: So that is why you made the move?
A: Well I’m just saying that’s obviously…this time of year in particular, a lot of times people will start yanking guys off peoples practice squads that they have a good feeling about. And so obviously (Nick) O’Leary was a guy that interested them. Even though he had like no catches in the preseason, it’s the body of work that he did on the college tape that I think people were interested in. But I think he’s really elevated his play during this time. He’s gotten better and better, gotten use to the speed of this game and really learning our system. So I think he’ll give a good account of himself.

Q: Ronald Darby has talked much about how much he looks up to Stephon Gilmore as a mentor. If Gilmore is out – how much falls on Darby and how do you see him functioning as your primary guy?
A: I think the young man will be ready for it if that is indeed the case. You know Steph (Stephon Gilmore) won’t play today. He won’t be practicing today. But we’ll see, you know the likelihood of him playing? Probably not great. But I think Darby will accept that role. We’re fortunate. We have another corner with a great deal of experience in Leodis McKelvin. So I think that’ll really help us.

Q: What can you say on Ronald Darby’s season as a whole?
A: Probably, in my opinion, will be the defensive rookie of the year. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. It’s funny because we went to…You know we were playing Kansas City and they have a really good corner. He had given up seven touchdowns. Where our guy hadn’t given up any. He’s given up two, I think, lately. But some of it’s amazing. But it’s hard to play in corner in this league. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. But this guys, he’s up for the task. You mention – I love the fact that he leans on Steph and you know about…you know looking him. Using Steph. Another great talent and through the years how he developed, and how he studies and all that. I think that’s a great thing for him. But this young guy’s got it in here and he’s got that…you know a corner, it takes a rare individual to be able to go out there on corner and especially play as much man as we do. I mean it’s him versus whoever he’s up against and that’s it. And yet he’s up for that challenge week in, and week out.

Q: You lost Aaron Williams early on has Rambo surprised you by his play?

A: Well you know I think with [Bacarri] Rambo, he is really a guy that studies the game. Sometimes when you come in you don’t know the professionalism and all that. He does a great job for us in the classroom and then it has carried over to the field.  And you see his confidence getting higher and higher but a lot of it is based on his preparation. He has got good ball skills, he has always had play making ability, he did that in Georgia. But I think he has become a better hitter, you know I think that is a big thing and become a sure tackler event though he missed one obviously. But I truly believe he is becoming almost a complete safety. But it starts with his preparation and his mental capacity. He makes others around him better because he is so in tune with what we are doing.


Q: He seems like a guy that struggles with coverage but just finds a way to make up for it?

A: Well I don’t know if God touched him with some of the athleticism of some of the other top-flight safeties in the league, but he gave him brains and a heart.


Q: What do you think of Darby’s adapting to the NFL with early struggles in the preseason?

A: You mention some struggles he had in preseason, I never saw him that way at all. We put, we fed him to the wolves. We wanted to see how he reacted to them and things. He understood that hey, his game has got to change a little bit. That he has got to, yeah we got to play the ball in the air. And guys that weren’t considered open, remember he had no pass attempts hardly at all in college and everybody used it against him. And I like what are you saying that is because no one is open. Well in the NFL game they are open, this much separation is open in the NFL. So you really got to tighten your coverage up, you got to learn how to play the hands, and the ball in the air. And I thought the guy, Ronald [Darby] has done a tremendous job of that.

Q: So that was by design?

A: Well we put him out there by design because we knew the type of defense we wanted to play and we wanted to match him. Remember we were putting him up against the best receiver every week of the preseason. Just to say hey this is what it is going to be like. You are going to be going against guys like this every single week. And he never shied away from it, not one time.

Q: Did you think about challenging the Shorts play and how did the new challenge system work for you?

A: Yeah it was, I thought it worked out pretty good for us. You know the biggest one to me was the out of bounds by Shady [LeSean McCoy] when he made the big run. That was the biggest conversation one that we had.  We had more conversation about that because literally it would have given you an extra nine yards if you will at a critical time in that game. We weren’t going to get the time back but we could have gotten an extra nine yards. And at that time I was definitely considering it but then when it was hey its out. We may need that timeout later on down the road so I never threw it. I think that play more than any of them more than the Shorts one more than the other plays, that play was the one we had the most conversation about.

Q: So you are comfortable with how that all worked out?

A: Absolutely. Yup.

Q: Do you spend any extra time on a week like this and talk to LeSean about what to say?

A: Nope. We sure don’t. You know what he is a man, and you know I don’t think, see sometimes I look at it this way for our fans to connect with the players this gives them an opportunity.  Because they want to know, what it is like, put themselves in that position. So why would I, you know, ‘Hey just say this.’ Here is a sentence for you, memorize this, this will be great. Why don’t you just tell the truth? You know–or hide it if you want like I did all week.

Q: So don’t wear a Pitt helmet?

A: I never said that.

Q: What have you seen on film about Murray not being as productive this season as he was with the Cowboys?

A: You know they are different systems and all that. I can tell you this he is a very good running back and we are going to very aware of him. You know they basically have a three headed monster over there with [Darren] Sproles, [Ryan] Matthews coming back. So it’s not, I think the biggest difference is probably he was the bell cow where it was him and that’s it, maybe you get a carry splashed in with one of the other guys, but he was getting it 30 times a game. Obviously with the talent that they have they probably not, they want to chop it up a little bit.

Q: What is Karlos Williams status?

A: Karlos [Williams] won’t practice today. So we will see how it goes. He is not able to practice today.

Q: Nigel said he wanted to test his ankle this week?

A: Yeah he is crazy. But that is him. He is wanting to play, everybody it wanting to play. That is why you never say never on these guys. We will see. High ankle that would be like the fast recovery in the history of it. I know all the hockey fans got mad at me for saying that kid, I am telling you the truth. Dude he is not linebacker tough, these hockey guys aren’t linebacker tough.

Q: That is going to cause a stir?

A: No question about it.

Q: Florida State guy too?

A: You know he is really not that tough. If he was a Tiger he would be out there.

Q: Would you want to be in a division where you could be in first place at 5-7?

A: Hey I would love, I would sign up for it. If we could be in first place I would definitely sign up for it regardless of the record. You know what is funny literally I know they are in the middle of it but I had no idea that was that they are in first place with a 5-7 record or whatever. Because you don’t, you just concern yourself playing the opponent. I don’t see a 5-7 team on there, hopefully they don’t see a 6-6 team with us. Hopefully they think we are a lot better than that, we certainly think they are a lot better than that record indicates.

Q: What is the latest with Seantrel?

A: I hope so. Yup, he is practicing.

Q: The rules have changed since you came in the league making it easier for offense, does that eat at you a little bit? A quarterback would never run the read option before.

A: Well you can still hit him if he carries out and things like that. So that part of the game hasn’t changed. I think it makes it more challenging as a defensive coach. I don’t think there is any doubt. Because it makes you defend 11 on 11.  Part of the thing we have with Tyrod [Taylor] we got a guy who is an exceptional runner. So that is actually an advantage for us. But the game, you know I just hope we don’t give them the old, I am on Chip about looking over to the sideline. He is going to do it on purpose, he is going to do it 50 times this game because he know it, no fan wants to see it. I watch some of these college games, and the Big 12, take a shot at them because Oklahoma is obviously up next but you look at him at you are like dude really? Do we have to look at it, all they are going to do is play quarters anyway. Every college team in America they just play quarters so you know they are playing quarters. Don’t look over there and think you are more important you know offensive coach trying to get a head coaching job that is all that is about.

Q: How big is Manny Lawson versatility?

A: Yeah Manny [Lawson] probably never thought he came into this and league going to play inside linebacker. You know I mean at a 6-5 and 240-pounds or whatever he is. He is obviously built more to be on the outside. But that is where we are playing him, we are moving him around. Obviously we are going to guys stacked up at that position so we can roll guys in going against this kind of tempo. But his intelligence, his experience I think is something that allows him that versatility puts him in there. He might not be ideal at this spot, body type wise, but he gets it done because he knows what he is up against.

Q: You looked up his wonderlic?

A: Oh yeah. Because it was so unusual, I mean if you talk to him you understand it. Like this isn’t right. But he speaks a different language. But no honest to goodness guys he scored a 43 on it. And that is…and the reason I say it look I don’t tell you most of our scores. Not a whole lot to brag about. But when you got this guys score at 43 it is one of the highest numbers I have ever seen, it really is. I always kid about defense player, but defensive guys are different cats. Eric Smith is another one you guys spend five minutes with him you will know what I am talking about, like wow.

Q: So that higher degree of intelligence helps you in a game like this with a fast pace offense, and substitutions and things?

A: Well we did a couple times back in the red zone and stuff. We all know what happened in the New England game and then we get the repeat performance. It has happened I think a couple of times. But it is we are going to keep the same personnel out there, we are not substituting. We will match the personnel we will try to go with. If they do, they give you time if they get back in the huddle they will give you time. If they substitute and they come back, they have to come back in a huddle to do that, that gives you time. Now further down the field obviously you got to be mindful of it. Now the league you generally have to be set so that gives you time. Just throwing out a hypothetical.

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