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Transcript - Practice (Sept. 12, 2018)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening Statement:

"Looking forward to getting back on the field. I think our guys know the challenge that we have in front of us going to Buffalo for their home opener, but at the same time it's a fun environment. Get your juices flowing, that's why you play football. We're looking forward to doing that."

On DE Joey Bosa:

"He's getting his second opinion today and we'll see when he gets back."

On if he's heard about Bosa's meetings with doctors:

"Not yet. We've been in meetings. If he's in town, I'm sure I have a message or two."

On T Joe Barksdale:

"Barksdale is week-to-week. He's got the knee, but he'll be week-to-week."

On if Barksdale will practice this week:

"He won't practice today."

On how preparing for this game compares to last week:

"It's actually similar. We have a quarterback [Bills QB Josh Allen] that we hadn't seen a lot, so we watched him in the preseason. Obviously, we studied him in college, know him from his college days in Wyoming. He's athletic, big, strong, long-neck, guy. We know what he's capable of."

On what makes Bills RB LeSean McCoy special:

"You know, his elusiveness. His will to compete. He's one of the best that's played the position in our game. I believe — when it's all said and done — he'll be mentioned with those top guys. He's a rare player."

On playing in Buffalo early in the season:

"Well, weather-wise it may be good, but it doesn't matter if we get to play them in 82 degrees with a little humidity or snow.

We still have to prepare to go play this game and try to get the job done."

On the atmosphere in Buffalo:

"It's going to be loud — there will be 69 [to] 70,000 people there. It will be really loud. The way the stadium is made, the fans are kind of on top of the field. Like I said, it's a fun place to play a football game and they appreciate their Bills."

On the team's mentality after Sunday:

"Yeah, [I like where their heads are]. These guys know they just have to put it together, actually. We play really well in spots, but we've got to tighten this thing up and we've got to do it all at once. [When] we do that, we know what type of football team we can have."

On RB Melvin Gordon III:

"Like I said, when I came here last year — I just remember him coming out of Wisconsin, the only passes he caught were sweeps — I was pleasantly surprised how well he caught the football. He was second on our team in receptions last year. What he's doing now doesn't surprise me at all."

On if receiving backs are a growing trend in the NFL:

"It depends. It could be game-to-game, but I talked to my guys about touches, not rushes."

On the tandem of Gordon and RB Austin Ekeler:

"Melvin's bigger. Melvin's more powerful. He wins a lot of one-on-ones with pure strength. Austin is smaller, but Austin is still a very strong back. He wins a lot with his wiggle. I think they just complement each other really well."

On the importance of a tandem:

"I think it's important so you don't wear one guy out and you can always keep a fresh guy on the field for the defense."

On scouting a quarterback like Josh Allen:

"We look at everything. Every snap he had in preseason, what he did in the game last week, how they used him when he came into the bowl game. We look at all that. We'll have a nice strategy for what we see and try to be prepared for what we're probably going to see that they haven't shown."

On the defense getting more pressure on the quarterback:

"No, no our defense is fine. Everybody has to execute and do their job. [Defensive Coordinator] Coach [Gus] Bradley is a fine defensive coach. I've got a great defensive staff. We're not going to change anything up on our defense."

On DE Isaac Rochell filling in for Bosa:

"Like I said last week, you're going to miss a really good player. Isaac, I thought he stepped up and he played a solid game."

On the performance of S Derwin James:

"I'm trying to forget about that game — to be honest with you — because the 24-hour rule is over, but since you brought it up, I thought Derwin played well. He had rookie mistakes like we thought he would, but he flew around and made plays as well."

On the health of the team:

"We have some nicks and bruises here and there. We'll watch some reps with some of the guys, but overall our health is pretty good."

On the run defense:

"That's been a point of emphasis for us is that run defense. Like you said, I like the way they stepped up and stopped [Chiefs RB Kareem] Hunt last week. We'll have a tall task to do it again this week with LeSean [McCoy]."

On the Body Weight Rule:

"Well, we're trying to protect the quarterback as much as we can, especially when someone sacks him from the blind side and a 340-pound man falls on top of him. That can be dangerous to a man's career. I don't have any problem with the Body Weight Rule."

On the difficulty coaching defenders to not fall on the quarterback:

"I don't think [it's harder to coach]. I think we're going to have to wrap up and roll. We can do things to prevent falling on top of the quarterback."

On LB Uchenna Nwosu having an increased role on defense:

"He will. He's going to work in more packages. Last week he was in the base package and we didn't run a lot of base last week. That team stayed in our sub [packages] a lot. Sometimes what they do dictates our personnel on the field, but we'll get Uchenna more involved — period."

On the importance of making a rookie quarterback uncomfortable:

"I think you have to pick your moments in the game where you want to make him uncomfortable. I had a rookie quarterback, Byron Leftwich, in Jacksonville in '03. When Mark Brunell went out and he came in, the team tried to pressure us and we let them up because you just pick your favorite target and throw a nice ball. You don't have to read any progressions to go through your reads. It's a chess game there, when you pressure and when you don't — but we definitely want him to go through some of his progressions."

On Josh Allen's athleticism:

"He can move. He can run RPOs. He can run the zone-read. If you watched the game last week, when he came in they went straight down the field. Two of those were designed quarterback runs, so he can move. You have some of the same issues [as last week with Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes]."

On Josh Allen's ability to run:

"It's a little bit of a concern. Anytime you have to defend a quarterback on the move, they going to make you play 11 on 11 then. It's a little bit of a concern."

On Bills WR Kelvin Benjamin:

"Like you just said, you described it the best — he's a big, tall receiver. Outstanding ball skills. A 50-50 ball with his height and size, normally he comes down with it. We're going to have to have a plan for him."


On his experience starting a rookie quarterback:

"Well, it's hard to just quantify that about anybody. First of all, I don't know their quarterback, but it's every player is different. A lot of times, it's the team that you have with them, too, so it would be hard for me to say really anything about that. It's always difficult for a young quarterback when they come into this league just because of the volume of what goes on and all the different looks you see, especially in the season, but there have been guys that have done really well with it. I had [Steelers QB] Ben [Roethlisberger] as a rookie. His rookie year, we won a lot of games. It's just every situation is different."

On T Sam Tevi:

"[His development] really started last year in the Jets game when he played and he really got a full game of action. He did pretty good in that game. There's always some things you can correct as a young player and I think, more than anything, it was the sense of urgency about his preparation. When you're a young player and you know you're not playing, you have a tendency to drift and maybe not pay as much attention or work on it — and all of the sudden you're in there [and you're] like, 'Oh my gosh.' But he had a good spring and a good training camp, so he was prepared to step in and he did a good job of that."

On the offensive performance on Sunday:

"We did some good things. It's hard to say that you're happy. Obviously, in third down we weren't as good as we need to be. I think if we can do better there, we'll certainly be more pleased. We missed an early opportunity on that third-and-one, and that hurt us because when we punt they return for the touchdown. That certainly affected the momentum, I think. I mean, I still think our team is mature enough that we can recover from that, but we kept plodding. It was hard. We missed a couple of shots, but overall I think we did a lot of good things and I think certainly there's a lot to build off of."

On the deep shots and dropped passes:

"I haven't seen that before from these guys. Every once in a while, we'll get one of those things, but in that game it was just tough. I don't think you really can say much about it. You just move forward. I don't expect that to happen again, not with the way you see these guys practice and you see the plays that they have made in games. If it's a young guy that doesn't have much experience, you have to say you have to put that behind you, not let it come back and haunt you going forward. I don't think that's the case with our guys. They all — everyone [of them] — has made tremendous plays for us even last year and over the course of training camp and OTAs, so you just keep going."

On WR Travis Benjamin:

"I don't know. I couldn't say that it was a function of [being a yard or two off]. I have tremendous faith in Travis. He's made a huge amount of big plays for us and even on special teams [returning] a couple of those punts. I have a lot of respect for the way he prepares and I didn't really see that. I know anytime that you have some plays that you're in the spotlight and it doesn't work out your way, then you are going to catch some grief about that. I understand that, but I'm very happy with Travis on our team and what he does for us."

On the running back tandem of Melvin Gordon III and Austin Ekeler:

"Well, obviously you feel like they're both weapons, so I guess that's good. Every situation is different. We had a couple of situations where we thought that might be something that could help us. If we feel like that going forward, we could. The only problem with that is if you give them too many reps — you just worry about both guys getting a lot of reps. We'll see as we go forward situationally how we use those guys."

On the performance of Gordon and Ekeler:

"I thought they both played at a really high level. They both ran hard, made some big plays for us. They were good in the pass game, on check-downs. I thought Melvin, especially run after contact he did a nice job with and had some good runs. Austin kind of built off the Saints game where he looks really good. [It] definitely was a bonus for us the way both of those guys played."

On the offensive line:

"We talked about that last week before we got started. One of the things we talked about was how important that group and the chemistry of that group and how they really drive us. I think there's a confidence with that group that could have been rocked easily when [T] Joe [Barksdale] went out because Joe went down fairly early, but Sam [Tevi] stepped in. He fit right in and they did a nice job. I think that there are always things that you could correct, but you don't have kind of the production we had as an offense without having a line doing the job — and we threw it 51 times or something like that. A lot of it was situational because of the way the game went, but you're going against some pretty good rushers in [Chiefs LB] Dee Ford and [Chiefs LB Justin] Houston over there and they have 95 [Chiefs DL Chris Jones] in there — that's a darned good player. I thought our guys, they lost some battles but they won more than their share and did a good job. So [the offensive line was] definitely a big part of the reason that we had some success and will be a big factor for us going forward I hope."

On C Mike Pouncey:

"He brings a lot to the table for us besides just being a good player. He's a tremendous leader. He's a good guy in the room and he played well. I think that just goes to further solidify the esteem people hold him in — especially on our team and how important he is to us because of that. He played really well. He did a nice job. He was very positive and it was easy with the way things were going in that game to get discouraged a little bit, but he didn't and that's a big part of it."

On WR Mike Williams:

"It's always exciting to see that. We've seen that kind of progress through the spring and summer, especially in camp. I think that he made some plays going back to the Seattle preseason game where he jumped up caught that ball for a touchdown. Iif you asked me that last week, I'd say I have to see it in a real game. We had a chance to see that and he did well. The arrow is definitely pointing up on Mike. It was a lot of fun to see that."

On if Mike Williams will have a bigger role this week:

"Bigger than what? He had a big role last week. I think he had — I don't know how many yards he had, but he caught five or six balls. I mean I hope that he continues to play like he is."

On TE Antonio Gates picking up where he left off last year:

"It was impressive. I saw that Thursday last week. We saw that when he was on the field in practice and [TE] Virgil [Green] had to take a couple snaps off and he got in there, ran some more reps than what we expected for him to do and it was like, 'Wow, he looks pretty good.' But you just don't know until you get to the game you see how the game speed is. The only thing that I wish is that the two-point conversion would have been a touchdown and would have got another one of those. He played well. It's a credit to him and hopefully he can sustain that."


On how he is feeling following Sunday:

"I feel good. We had a lot of plays. It was a war, but I feel good. I'm looking forward to getting back out there and hopefully bouncing back."

On the Buffalo defense:

"I think the game a year ago, when you look at it, they ended up getting — the margin, it was big. We kind of got off to a slow start in that game, too. [We kicked] field goals early [and] didn't really capitalize. Then our defense was put in a tough spot with a lot of turnovers we had. I think, much like the game last week against Baltimore, the score is a little bit skewed. Baltimore got the ball on the one-yard line going in, the 30 going in. It seemed like they were getting the ball in the red zone to start with a lot of drives. It kind of throws it out of whack when you hear the score when you watch them. We know what type of team we're getting. We have to go their place, their home opener. We were there last in '14, I guess. It gets loud there. We'll have to deal with that the first time just as a group and regular season environment at their place. But it's going to be a challenge."

On if he knows Bills QB Josh Allen:

"Yeah, a little bit. I was able to actually spend most of the day with those guys — him and [Jets QB] Sam [Darnold] and a couple of other guys — one day last spring guys. He has a big, strong arm and really has a passion for the game. I could tell just in the short time I was around him. So I'm sure he's excited. That's when they were actually doing the workout over at JSerra [High] with Jordan Palmer. I was able to spend a little time with them there."

On Josh Allen wearing No. 17:

"I don't know the background in that. That's when you know you've been in a while when the young guys [wear a number and] you just might play a part in that, but I don't know that."

On playing against teams coming off a big loss:

"I can't tell you. I don't have that. I don't have that stat for you. I can't tell you the last time we've done that, so I don't know. I think every week you're going to get an opponent that's ready to go, especially in their home opener at their place with Josh getting his first start. It will be a heck of an atmosphere, a team that will be hungry for a win based on the way last year's game and obviously with the opener. We're the same way. It didn't go the way we wanted it to go in the opener. We're ready to go as well."

On S Micah Hyde and the Bills secondary:

"I describe a whole secondary, with him being one of those guys. I would describe them as football players. They seem to have a real knack for how to play. They tackle. They play the ball. They just — they're just solid players. Again, this scheme, when he was in Carolina, it's a sound scheme that the guys played that allows them to play fast. They play fast and they fly on the ball. It's one thing that jumps out is guys going for the football. It will be totally different scheme-wise from last week for us. We'll get dialed in and be ready."

On T Sam Tevi:

"Sam, I thought he did a nice job. Hate to see [T] Joe [Barksdale] go down. Hopefully he'll get well soon, but that happened in Week 1 and Sam gets thrown in there and plays 50 some snaps maybe. I thought he did a nice job. Sam is super athletic. He's super athletic, big, strong and will only get better with more and more reps, which he'll get all week in practice and the game on Sunday."

On being encouraged following Sunday:

"Yeah, I think really the film — gosh, I must have watched it two or three times before Monday morning got here — and it was pretty much how we saw it in person. We were just a hair off on a few things in all three phases. Didn't make the plays we could have made and really made too many mistakes against a good team, but yeah, I was just encouraged and excited. I think there was enough good things in the game, we're better. We're better than we were last year at this time and that only goes so far unless you start showing that in wins, but that definitely gives you the confidence."

On TE Antonio Gates:

"He probably ended up playing more snaps than I anticipated — maybe any of us did. He had a few catches. I thought he played well. I thought he looked good. For not — I know he's a guy that takes care of himself. You just can't simulate getting in a game, playing 30 something plays. I keep mentioning it, he was unbelievable. It was warm that first half, but I thought he got himself kind of back in the mix quickly, which is good because now you kind of know now moving forward how you want to handle things from a tight end spot. [TE] Virgil [Green] had a big catch in there as well, couple catches. So, I still feel really good about that tight end group. It's a solid group."

On the Body Weight Rule:

"You know, I can see why. I can see it. I can see why. There were a couple that were close the other day, in my opinion. I also can see how it's hard for a defender. They're doing their best mid-action. To ask them to not land on you full body weight is tough, but I can't see how some of the — that's probably where have things come, it's not just landing, it's landing having somebody land on you."

On if there is a higher risk of injury with a player's full weight falling on you:

"That's what I'm saying. I can imagine that probably — you look at it, man, that was a big hit, but maybe it was the aftermath that may have really done more than average. I don't know. There's so many — I think, as a quarterback, you're obviously thankful for as many ways they try to protect you, but at the same time you understand. I saw the thing with [Steelers QB Ben] Roethlisberger. I don't know if it should be called but you benefit from the call. As quarterbacks, we appreciate it and we also understand that it's tough for those defenders. There's a lot of stipulations what they can and can't do."

On playing in Buffalo this early in the season:

"I think for the most part [with what] we'll have late in the year will present some weather issues. Who knows in Buffalo? You never know. Even though you never know what you're going to get, but much rather be there in September than December for sure."

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