Buffalo Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan
Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Opening Comments

Injury wise, we got a few guys still healthy. But we got a couple guys missing. So Karlos Williams will be expected to be limited today. Expect him to be really limited with that shoulder. Ron Brooks still in that concussion protocol. I think we slashed the neck with that also. Nigel (Bradham), he’s gonna be limited today. Okay, so Nigel Bradham will be limited with that high ankle. Charles Clay, I’m just reading exactly what it says here – we’ll see how he progresses throughout the week. Alright and then we had Mario Williams out with an illness today. So he called at 5:30 in the morning, having some issues. He will not practice today. He’s not here. Stephon Gilmore obviously is out with a shoulder and then Seantrel Henderson, we’ll see how he feels today to see if he can practice or not with his illness. But that’s what I have on the injury front. With that I’ll open it up for questions.

Q: It’s been pretty clear throughout the year that players feel they weren’t ready for your defense. Do you feel you failed them?

A: Oh my god, that’s a great question to start off. I mean hey, the numbers aren’t what we wanted them to be. There’s no question about that and I think it just comes down to coaching. So you’re probably right.

Q: Why are you so sensitive?

A: I’m not sensitive. How am I sensitive? What am I saying? I’m not sensitive. The problem is I’m not sensitive so I think that’s a problem.

Q: Did it ever enter your mind it might take some time for the defense to click and mesh?

A: No. I mean honestly it never did. Did I expect our numbers to be much better than they are this year? Absolutely. Absolutely did. I mean I really did. I know we have the talent and it’s just been a good defense the last two years. It was a really good defense. We haven’t measured up statistically. Hasn’t been by a lack of effort or anything else. We just haven’t had the results that we expected. So I think that’s a given and as I say, I go that falls directly on me. So I get that. No question. Doesn’t need to be pointed anywhere else. Needs to be pointed at me. Like I said I’m a big guy, I got broad shoulders, I can take it. It’s probably one of the…literally I can count on, well this would be my first finger, that I’ve ever been considered maybe the weakness of a team. You know the way I coach defense. But clearly that’s been…You know we haven’t been up to what we anticipated. Any of us. I think that’s fan base, myself, players, everybody and we haven’t…you know I get that. Now that’s my responsibility. The seasons not over. I expect to play better. But that’s just the way it is.

Q: These are NFL players. Why has this been such a problem for them?

A: Well I don’t know if it’s that. I think there’s things that we do probably differently than other teams or something like that. I think we’re doing a much better job of it recently in our communication and things like that. I think it’s been better. Historically you have some issues when you go into it. Yet at the time everything’s different. I don’t think a lot was expected when I took the Jet defense over. I think a 23rd defense went to one in one year. So we’ve kind of seen the different switch of it. I can tell you this, we’re going to work hard. That’s what we do. We hope for better results but it’s…statistically, yeah you want to be really good on defense. There’s no question about it because I think that’s a true indicator. Sometimes your offense can get a…there’s really some great numbers out there offensively for some teams and quite honestly it’s because they’re behind a bunch. People are giving up yards and all that. Sometimes that could be elevated. But I think on defense you want to have great numbers on defense, without question. We haven’t had them yet but I know the work ethic is there. I think guys are playing hard it’s just we haven’t been the dominant unit that any of us anticipated.

Q: You noted that communication has improved recently. What accounts for the early communication lapse? Did you maybe not understand the capacity of the players to absorb what you’re teaching or the teaching methods – was there a flaw there?

A: Nah. I mean we’ll go back, look at everything. But I can just tell you the way I feel now, I think our guys definitely have a much better grasp of what we’re trying to do and so hopefully that leads to better things as we move on.

Q: It just seems like the air has gone out of the balloon with the high expectations and also seems you are taking the brunt of criticism. 

A: Sure and that’s where it should. It falls on my lap, there’s no question about that. I will say obviously there’s always contributing factors. Positives, negatives or whatever. But I’m not a guy that’s going to point fingers. So why bring them up?

Q: You shook your head no when I said the air is out of the balloon.

A: Absolutely. I totally disagree with that. But it doesn’t matter what I think. I mean it does matter what I think, believe me. But it’s…you know the opinion of people outside the building and things like that, I certainly understand where you can get that. That hey, you know everybody anticipated us being a great defense. Why? Because the year before they played really well on defense. Okay, and the year before that Mike Pettine was the coordinator and they were tenth in the league. Had more sacks that year then they actually had last year. So all those type of things, I certainly understand where that would happen. But the facts of the matter is that’s not the case. Guys are still playing and playing hard.

Q: In your past experience, how long do you feel it took for things to get a grasp of what you wanted to do?

A: No my things clearly too complicated to play. I mean I think that’s the main issue here. I think, I mean because historically you look at mine…don’t look at the number because you’ll be like, we get it. We got to focus on something else. Because like to me, it’s like sometimes you look…You know I’ve had bad games in the past. Like we gave up over 400 yards in both Miami games. We gave up 14 points. Won both those games but we gave up over 400 yards in those games. So sometimes…maybe we played a little better then what the stats maybe indicate and then maybe not. That first New England game is like whoof. We can never recover from that one. We gave up 500 and some yards or something.

Q: What I’m saying though, even an offense with a new coordinator, sometimes it takes a full year and a half for everybody to adjust. In your experience, with your defense, do you feel it takes longer?

A: I mean it doesn’t really matter what I say. Hey, yeah it does or whatever. Well that’s a cop out. So I believe we’ll get better. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. Maybe I set the expectations so high, but I always set them high.

Q: Your first Jet defense led the league in defense by 514 yards – how did that happen?

A: We got lucky. My whole career’s that way so just keep looking and it’ll be…so that’s the thing that’s frustrating because we’ve got good players. There’s no question. I think I’m an above average coach, maybe, but for whatever reason the combination – we haven’t had the results that we were looking for. Okay. So I get it. But I’m the guy that it should fall on. There’s nobody else because I know my players play hard. That’s all I ever say. If my players never play hard then I would absolutely say you know what, we don’t play hard enough. I’m not going to say that because it’s not true. I think our guys study. Has it been perfect? It hasn’t been perfect, there’s no question. But I’m never…I’m not the guy that’s going to point fingers at somebody else. I point it at myself and I know I’ll try to get better. There’s no question about it. This league changes. There’s different offenses, different challenges, that you face each week and…but the stats, it’s ugly. We don’t expect to play, get the numbers like that. It’s certainly not what we expected.

Q: Is there a certain capacity that you need to have among players, different type of guys? More guys like Manny Lawson with a high wonderlic score?

A: I’m not disagreeing that maybe there might be something that we look at that may help us in the future. But to me right now, the future’s right now. So it’s not going to help looking down the road too far when we have three games to play that we need to win. So at the appropriate time we’ll look at those type of things. Anyway we can improve our football team, we’ll certainly do that in the offseason. But right now this is what we have. Look we’ve been…it’s been challenging. Sometimes we got some good, key guys been out. You’re trying to shift, you know bring guys around and use them. You mention Manny Lawson. Manny’s not playing the position that we brought him here to play. He’s all over the place. But that’s where we’re kind of at. This stage of the year, this is kind of where we’re at, and you’re kind of band aiding it together as best you can.

Q: How surprising was it to see the game Richie had on Sunday, he said it was pretty bad?
A: I will say this what was, Richie [Incognito] played, everybody gets beat. You take a look at them all, he is the best guard in football in my opinion. He is playing as good as any guard in the league and he gives up one sack. What happened from that point until late in the fourth quarter Richie was playing great. He was blocking him like he always does. But we made a mistake, he made a couple of really uncharacteristic errors on his part when he let his technique down. I think when Richie plays with his technique Richie is as good as anybody in this league and he has been all season. That is why I love the fact that he took ownership in it. Richie has never had as good a day as he has had. He gave the opponent credit, he talked about the mistakes he did, he owned up, he manned up. The amazing thing is here he is going into the Pro Bowl voting which is important especially for a guy that sat out a year and all that to get the respect of his peers and all that. Yet he man’s up and takes it. There are so many guys that would have pointed a different direction. Well it wasn’t my fault it was somebody, we missed a call or something. He owned up to it. That is the beauty of him but he should be the number one guard when they do the Pro Bowl balloting.

Q: So you’re saying he was not as bad as he said he was?
A: Not even close. Not even close, but I love the fact he took it.

Q: How important is that internal leadership and how confident are you that you have those leaders amongst your players?
A: I can tell you this, there is definitely some leaders on this team. Whether they have been here or developing, I definitely see that here. I don’t want to mention names, you know how I feel about the captains and all that type of stuff. But there is certainly guys that I can tell when the teammates look at him how they respond. So we are definitely, we have some of those players.

Q: There seems to be a concern Mario has checked out?
A:  See he had a foot injury that has kind of slowed him down. But he doesn’t use it as an excuse or anything else, he goes and he tries to compete. You know this one he has got an illness here when he calls at five in the morning and he is sick. Those things happen, but he hasn’t checked out. He has not checked out. Has he had a great year statistically? No. Sometimes unfortunately I think we look at a guys statistics and say he has had a good year or a bad year or whatever. Has Mario Williams had better years? yeah he has there is no question. Stats will say that and yeah he probably has but you know what he plays. He is out there and wants to compete. Every week he is trying to get out there and do what he can for this team to be successful. Jerry Hughes has four sacks, yet Jerry Hughes in my opinion one of the better players in this league. So does that trump the fact you know okay his stats are down, he is still an excellent player, regardless of what it is. You know I don’t think any of these players have checked out.

Q: Does this team send Tyrod Taylor out as the starting quarterback next year without any renegotiated contract?
A: Well I think he is under contract for next year.

Q: I know that.
A: So do I. What do you want me to say? You know I mean the answer would be yes because he is under contract.

Q: Is it harder for Tryod as a first year starter to be that natural leader that position seems to be?
A: I think it would be hard for anybody coming into a new team. All of a sudden you are going to demand a leadership thing. I think you earn that. I think he is well on his way to earning that, some of that leadership. I think he is very well you know on his way to doing it. But yeah I think it is difficult when you go to a new team, you can’t just unless you are a Hall of Fame guy like you know like a Peyton Manning. Well guess what you know okay he is the leader, and the coach, and everything else. I mean I get it but there is very few guys like that.

Q: Did you get more out of Tyrod right now then you thought you would?
A: That is a fair question. I expected we get a lot of good things from him. You know did I expect him to be the fifth rated quarterback in the NFL? Probably not.

Q: How much progress does he need to make to be the quarterback this franchise has needed?
A: Well I think he is doing an outstanding job. So how much I think just finish, I just think do his thing. I feel  good about him being out quarterback moving forward. So I don’t think, I don’t know what else he has to prove. Would we like to get more wins? 100% yes. But it doesn’t just fall on the quarterback. But I think that is maybe the you know a fourth quarter comeback something like that. Maybe that, he has had a couple but I could tell you this I am happy he is our quarterback.

Q: Is the next step he has got to see more of the field?
A:  No, I think he sees the field pretty good. He has been able to read coverages. I don’t think he just locks on to half field or as you say first guy isn’t there, second guy isn’t there take off. That is not his game. He is a complete quarterback. Sometimes I would like to see him run more, but I think he scans the field pretty good.

Q: How convinced is your team that you can still make it, if you listen to the press conference it seems like the post-season press conference?
A: I’m sorry?

Q: How are you convincing your team, the mood here is the season is over?
A: Well no all I have been getting is ripped for being a bad coach or something. So alright it has been a great press conference. No, we are still alive.  I said we got a pulse we may be barely breathing but we got one. That is why you never concede anything. Guys I can tell you this the preparation by coaches all that stuff going into it, because we had the walk through yesterday you know with our players giving them part of the plan. Now we move forward and put the entire plan in. I mean we are going for it. And you know what here is the thing if we win this week guess what we are still in it. Regardless what happens with the other opponents we are still in it. But we know, we get the thing. It is simple the Jets have to lose one of these next two. The given thing for us is we have to win all three for us to have any chance, snowballs chance, snowflakes chance whatever you want. But we know that. The Jets have to lose one of these next two, Steelers have to lose two of the next three so we get it, done, end of conversation. We know what is out there. We know the scenarios and things like that. Will we be looking at other teams? We better be looking at our opponent and then glance up and see what they did.

Q: What do you see from the Redskins offense and defense?
A: I never realized we had a game this week. This is one of the most physical teams in the league. That is what I see from them. They are huge up front on both sides of the ball. They have the best left tackle in the league, one of them, real athletic guy [Trent] Williams. Bill Callahan is coaching the offensive line who in my opinion if he is not the best offensive line coach in the league it is a short roll call to get to his name. So they are well coached and they are physical. They got three running backs this kid 31 [Matt Jones] I am like who is guy, I am like oh man he reminds me of Chris Ivory, runs physical. The [Matt] Jones kid. [Alfred] Morris, 46, always a good back, got 25 [Chris Thompson]. They got DeSean Jackson who has got speed. You know he is probably one of the fastest players in the league. You got the kid from Indy as the wide out [Pierre Garcon], they are loaded, that Jordan Reed. So they are loaded on offense. You have got on defense, we all know the guy from his treadmill commercial. That dude is huge I mean you look at him he is enormous playing nose tackle in there. You have got [Jason] Hatcher is a guy that I always think has been a good player. My brother coached him in Dallas. You know he is 6’7” 310 or something like that. So they have got some monsters out there. DeAngeo Hall is playing safety, that looks a little funny but he has still got the athleticism and everything. So they are very physical football team. You know I can see why they are getting better and better. It is ironic as soon as DeSean Jackson came back to that team healthy all of a sudden their wins started going like this. So it is a tough team? No question about it, and well coached.

Q: Is your brother going to make any more visits?
A: No that was kind of a one time shot. You know unless he really gets bored.


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