The Bills returned to practice Wednesday, looking ahead to Sunday's game in Cleveland. Below are comments beginning with head coach Chan Gailey:
On if he'd rather run the ball than throw it:
Every snap. That is just the way I have thought about the game through the years. It is a tough, hard-nosed game. It is a tough game for tough people. I think if you run the football, you can impose your will on other teams. It is different. The game is different than it was 10 to 15 or 20 years ago. You change. You change with the times and you adjust. You do what you have to do.
On what RB C.J. Spiller is doing:
That is what you are trying to do. Even though you have a spread offense, that does not mean you are trying to throw it every snap. You can still run it. We are just trying to find ways that we can still run the football and be successful. You have to be balanced though. They can take it away. If somebody wants to take away something, they can take it away. You have to be balanced and be good enough to handle whatever they throw at you.
On how having the same players year-after-year has allowed the offense to evolve:
It allows you to do a lot of different things. The continuity on the offensive line is probably one of the biggest things there. They understand when you make little changes to plays and they understand what you are trying to get done. And that is huge. We have been fortunate to have been able to have some success early. Early success, as we found out last year, does not mean anything. You have to sustain it.
On if he has a reason for why the team has gone so long without winning a road game:
Nope. I have no reason. If I knew a reason I would solve the problem. I do not. We have not played well on the road. I do not have an answer to that one.
On if the team has been flat at times:
I do not know. I have a hard time if I think we are flat, then I have to do something about it. I have not felt that our team just went out and was getting ready to lay an egg. I have never felt like that.
On if the team can get discouraged on the road:
I do not know. We are going to find out, aren't we?
On how FS Jairus Byrd is:
He has taken a step back. He is going to struggle to make some practice this week so we will have to see. It may be a game-time decision on him.
On if anyone else will not practice:
Ruvell Martin will not practice today and, of course, Marcell (Dareus) is not here today.
On if the swelling is still up in Byrd's foot:
He is not going to practice.
On if it is tougher for a rookie quarterback than a veteran:
Yeah it is tougher for them. I have seen improvement from (Brandon) Weeden from game one to game two. Most guys make an improvement once they have been able to play. He is not your normal rookie. The guy is 28-years old. He is not your typical rookie. He has been through a lot of things in his life and is more mature than most. They are doing a good job of helping him be successful. The ball is getting out of his hands and getting it to some other guys in different ways. It is good.
On if he has noticed any difference with the replacement officials compared to the regular ones:
Yeah, there are some difference. Sure there is. We complain about them all. That is just coaches' nature. It does not matter who they are. They are human. They do not get it all right.
On if he cuts the replacements a little bit more slack than a veteran official:
Probably subconsciously I do.
On the outcomes of the game being affected by the replacement refs:
We have had two games and they have not determined the outcome of either game. That is all I can comment on. I think for the most part, players play, coaches coach and referees do their job. They are doing the best they can.
On the keys to having success in the red zone:
One of them is not running a reverse on the two-yard-line and losing eight yards so we can throw a 10-yard touchdown pass. I do not believe that is one of the keys. (Laughs) I think (Ryan Fitzpatrick) has a great idea of what the defense is going to do and is able to take advantage of things. And of course our line is blocking well for the run game down there, too.
On sounding remorseful about the failed attempt at running a reverse:
Of course I do. I should. In hindsight that was a dumb call.
On how the Wildcat looked:
The Wildcat looked like it was the first time we had run it in a game. That is what it looked like. It has got rust all over it. We have to polish it up and get it ready to go in the future. We are going to continue to use it as many weeks as we see it being a viable part of our offense. You are going to see it some more. We have to add some stuff to it. We have to put in a few more things, but I like where we are headed with it.
On letting then Cincinnati rookie QB Andy Dalton be too comfortable last season:
I cannot remember that far back.
On Cleveland having a basic defense:
Yeah, they line up and say we are going to outhustle you and outhit you. Looking at their sacks and turnovers they have done a pretty good job of creating plays. They do a good job defensively. They get after it. It is impressive to watch them play. I told our team this morning they are relentless. They are.
On Browns RB Trent Richardson:
He is strong. He is a strong back. He is going to be a very good player. I hope he really picks it up in Week Four.
On why scoring is up around the league:
I do not know. I do not have an answer to that one.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
On if he has talked to ex-Bills head coach and Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron:
No, I have not. The Harvard-Yale stuff, Harvard usually beats them, especially now so he does not talk to me much about any of that stuff (jokingly). But the guys who were here with Coach Jauron, I know we have a ton of respect for him as a coach and as a man. It will be good to see him and just be able to catch up a little bit with him.
On if he can read Jauron's mind:
No. (Laughs) What they do on defense, they are very good at what they do and I think that is because they keep it simple. They have some stuff. They are going to change it up a little bit. For the most part, they are a fast, physical team that flies around. Their scheme, they want to beat you with the guys that they have on the field, not necessarily their scheme.
On the Browns' defense not giving up big plays and being good in the red zone:
Yeah, and getting after the quarterback as well. They have gotten a lot of sacks and created a lot of pressure. They are feisty up front. They are fast. They do a lot of different things, a lot of different movement and they are very good one-on-one pass rushers. That is going to be a big point of emphasis for us going into this week. It is not just this year; they have shown that in the past, too. They are going to be tough to handle up front and then #52 (D'Qwell Jackson) is a special player.
On Coach Gailey liking to run the ball:
I think Chan likes to run whatever is working. That is certainly what has been working the first few games. I think everybody in the league would rather be able to run it than throw it. And run it effectively. It eats up the clock a little bit and less chance for turnovers. There is a lot of different things that go into that but if you look at how we started last year, we had a few big games in the pass game but a lot of that was coming from behind. If you look at the stats Fred (Jackson) put up he was up there in league leaders in terms of rushing yards. We did a good job with that stuff last year. We are trying to get the ball to the talented game breakers on our team. Fred and C.J. (Spiller) are two of those guys and it has shown the first two games with C.J. to do what he has done.
On how versatile of an offense the Bills can be:
That is a lot of what this offense is. And what Chan (Gailey) has shown is first of all, adapting to our personnel and being able to put guys in great opportunities to succeed. Secondly, keeping defenses off balance and attacking things that they are giving us rather than going into a game and not being able to adjust. We are going to stick with what is working and if it is not working, we have plenty of ways and plenty of things in our plans to adjust and go a different route.
On grading his offensive line:
In terms of looks they are about a D maybe a D-minus. Not pretty in that room. If you have seen Eric Wood's hair, he probably needs a haircut. (Laughs) They have done a great job and we do not need to sit and pat everybody on the back. We have a lot of games left. Those guys know it and they work as hard as anybody in the building. It is nice for them to get some positive media attention and all of that. They know we have a lot of games to go and we have a tough opponent this week in terms of guys who will be sitting in front of them rushing the passer and guys they will have to block in the run game. I think they have done a great job so far, certainly what we expected out of them. We just look for them to continue to play well, not only in the run game and in the pass game, but setting the tone, the physical tone for our team. Not backing down to anybody. That is something we look forward to as well.
On if the Browns will be their biggest challenge so far:
It is an early, young season but this is a tough front that we are going up against and I think those guys know it.
On how rookie LT Cordy Glenn has done:
I think Cordy (Glenn), along with Stephon (Gilmore) on the other side, those guys have been thrown into it right away. Really OTAs, mini-camp and training camp, they have been put out there and asked to perform and perform at a high level. That expectation right off the bat is something that has helped them. They have been able to get a lot of reps and Cordy steps into an offensive line room that is a veteran group of guys--guys that have been together and played together here in this system for years now. I think that also helps. He has got more than one or two guys to lean on in that room and to be able to help him. Physically, we knew what we were getting, and the mental part has been very nice, too, in terms of what he has been able to pick up and how he has been able to grasp the offense.
On games between the Browns and Bills being traditionally low scoring:
I do not know. I do remember the Derek Anderson two completion game. When I was in Cincinnati, it was the same thing. We used to play these guys two times a year. It is just the brand of football I think they play in terms of tough, physical, trying to get after you up front and trying to run the football. Sometimes weather plays a factor in those games, too. Living right off of Lake Erie with the winds, snow, rain and whatever is going to come. I think that plays a little bit of a factor, too.
On what the Browns do differently with CB Joe Haden injured:
There has not been a lot of change. I think their scheme is their scheme. They are going to plug players in. Just like for us when David Nelson goes down, when Fred Jackson goes down. We are who we are. There has not been a drastic change in terms of not having the same personnel. I think you stick with your guns. You trust the guys that you are plugging in and you go from there.
On how he deals with frustration:
You try to stay level. I think in looking back to game one, I was a little bit disappointed in myself after the pick six in the third quarter. I think my frustration got the best of me in terms of body language more so than anything else. For me, and as a quarterback, you always have to stay upbeat. You always have to stay positive because you know guys are looking for you. Especially in the times of crisis and times that things are not going well that is something that is as important to this position as being able to go out there and throw touchdowns-being able to handle that adversity. For me, I try to stay level. A lot of time I internalize things, which might not be the best. Taking everything and putting on that happy face and making sure that everybody stays positive is very important.
On the Bills not having won on the road since last season's opening game:
I did not realize that until you brought it up. That is not a good stat. I think it is obviously too long, too many games in there that we have lost on the road. I do not know if you can pin it on one thing. It is always easier playing at home, tougher going to play an opponent at their place having to handle the crowd noise, the distractions and everything that goes with it. That is something which hopefully we break that trend in a hurry because if you do not win games on the road then you are not going to be very successful.
On if not winning on the road is a composure issue:
I have no idea. We lost a lot of games at the end of last year home and away. I am not sure that there is a huge correlation other than we just did not play well at the end of last year.
On what playing is like for a rookie quarterback:
I played as a rookie and I was a seventh-round pick, fourth string guy in the preseason and kind of just got thrown in during the middle of the year. It is not easy. You look at all the rookie quarterbacks that are starting right now and they have all put together some pretty games. It is impressive. I think the game plan is a little bit different. You try to protect them a little bit. This is a tough position. There is going to be plenty of highs and lows for a quarterback in general but especially the rookies when they are learning on the job. It is the hardest position in sports, I think. I know I am a little biased. To come in as a rookie and play well is a very difficult thing. You look at how he performed last week and I did not watch the game but his numbers, he performed admirably especially rebounding from a tough performance in Week One. That to me says a lot about who (Brandon) Weeden is as a person and how he is able to respond to adverse situations.
On if it helps that QB Brandon Weeden is 28-years old:
I am sure it does. There is a maturity level that I think you kind of learn as you go and I know that he was a baseball player and has been through some ups and downs. So coming out of college everything has been peachy and rosy. You do not face a lot of adversity so I think the fact that he is a little bit older and has probably faced some adversity in baseball, I think that probably does help.
DE Mario Williams
Wednesday September 19, 2012
On Browns RB Trent Richardson:
He is a very tough running. Downhill, he keeps his shoulders square to the line. He is a power guy.
On who the best back he has ever faced:
(Maurice) Jones-Drew. He seems pretty similar to the type we have this week.
On how he feels about how the run defense has played:
We have done well. We missed some tackles in my opinion and that is the biggest thing. If we don't go out and miss tackles I think we will get better. I think we have to focus on making our tackling game up to par, especially this week.
On if he feels it will be a physical game on Sunday:
Definitely, and like I said, Trent (Richardson) is a physical downhill guy so we have to be ready for that. We have to come out and tackle.
On facing a rookie QB in Browns Brandon Weeden:
Just have to try and get to them. But teams aren't stupid, especially this week. They have a lot of time, three-to-five step drops and get the ball out so we have to get to them as quick as we can. We are expecting for him to get the ball out fast for that simple reason. It is one of those things where we need to disrupt him, knock balls down, hit him and get after him.
On how to keep up the momentum from last week:
Keep a sense of urgency and keep chipping away. Play your ball, do what you are supposed to do and be accountable on one another.
RB C.J. Spiller
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
On being the only running back since Jim Brown to average 10 yards-per-carry or through two games and on Brown coming to the game Sunday:
It is just a humbling experience. He was a Brown so I would not expect him not to be at the game. It is great to be mentioned in the same breath as one of the greatest ever to play this position, and overall player as well. But that means nothing to me because I still have to go out there and have a great week of preparation leading up to this game. Then come Sunday I have to go out there and try to help my team win. I do not get caught up with who is in the stands, who is not in the stands and who is watching--none of that stuff really matters.
On how he is handling all of the attention:
You just have to stay humble with it. You cannot get caught up in it because they can praise you one minute and then you can get the criticism the next. I have a great supporting cast that keeps me humble, beginning with my six-year-old (daughter). It is great to do these but at the end of the day my most important thing is going out and getting my job done on Sundays.
On how he is a different runner this season:
I am more decisive. I am more North-South than of an East-and-West (runner). If I have to bounce it, I will. But I try to get up the field more quickly than I did in the past.
On if that is something he worked on:
It is just a mindset... Well you can do some things to work on it but it takes game reps and practice reps to work on it. There is nothing you can do in the offseason. I think it all starts in the mind. I think that happened last year when I took over for Fred (Jackson).
On the evolution of the offense in his three years as a Bill:
I think guys now understand what we are trying to do as an offense and have a better understanding of what this offense can do. I think that is what enables us to put guys in different situations and move guys around. Everybody knows what everyone else is doing and once you do that, I think you can become a deadly offense instead of just knowing what you are doing. Then that kind of limits you. I think a lot of guys figure out they can play multiple positions so that kind of enabled Coach Gailey to open the playbook.
On having a coach who does not abandon the run:
You have to be able to run the football. It is not always going to look pretty but I think if we can stagger the negative plays when we are running it, we will be fine. They are going to get us some plays and we are going to get them, but hopefully we get them more than they get us. But you cannot just get away from the run game.
On his game aside from just running the football:
I feel comfortable. It just starts with film study and understanding where they are trying to bring the blitz from-communicating in the game with the quarterback at the line and then pretty much just coming down to go block a guy. That is pretty much what it is. I was able to put up a little bit more upper body strength through my first true NFL offseason. I think it is helping.
On the job the left side of the offensive line is doing:
All five of those guys are doing a great job. We knew we did have a lot of excessive runs to that side, but all of the offensive line, tight ends and receivers are doing a great job of hitting those guys up. That is the main thing we have been trying to stress is blocking downfield. If you look at all the runs downfield, you see receivers and tight ends blocking downfield. That is where they come from. Everybody is pulling their part and pitching in. I am just making the reads and trying to be more decisive.
On if he can see around LT Cordy Glenn:
Yeah, I can see the DB or whoever it is. I do not think they can probably see me though. I just do my best to try to get behind that big joker.
On what other teams are going to do to slow him down:
I am pretty sure they are going to try to put some guys in the box. I cannot let that get to me. I still have to go out and be prepared. And if they do then they do. I do not think we are going to abandon the run if they do put a lot of guys (in the box). If they do, then it will just open it up for our receivers.
WR Stevie Johnson
Wednesday September 19, 2012
On if Browns WR Mohamed Massaquoi raises his game:
Every week we have to evaluate our game to compete with these other guys as far as receivers goes. I know Mohamed makes plays. I have seen him make plays in college. Yes, I want to make sure I have better stats this week, but at the end of the day I want to get a win first.
On his thoughts about this week's game:
Just try to keep it going. Keep stacking these wins, make this push. Every week is important and big. We lost the first one, but we bounced back and got the second one. Hopefully we can keep it going, defense keep playing how they play. Keep running the ball how we did, make plays and get the wins. Hopefully keep piling them up.
On the offense transitioning to running more and lining up with three-wide:
No, I wouldn't be surprised. I wouldn't even be mad because it's about winning games. It won us a game. I would be selfish and I would be a fool to say that we could keep four wide receivers (sets) and keep throwing the ball when running the ball was getting us down the field and scoring touchdowns. If we have to switch to one wide receiver if it is going to get us touchdowns, I'm ready to be a part of that.
On converting each of their five red zone trips into touchdowns:
Probably because we aren't thinking about it. We are just trying to score touchdowns and win games. We aren't even thinking about if we didn't score last time or last week we didn't get it. We are just playing.
C Eric Wood
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
On how the offensive line has played through two games:
We have played well through two games, but it does not mean a whole lot in terms of a 16-game season. We have to keep preparing and have that same mentality we had the first two games.
On facing the Browns in Week Three:
They have eight sacks through two games, so we have a pretty talented group coming in. They play hard. It kind of sticks out on film how hard they do play. It will be a challenge for us.
On the Bills having a pass first identity:
We have always spread the ball out since (Chan Gailey) has been here and when we have been able to run the football in those formations we have done well. It is just part of our offense. We have a lot of talent in the backfield with Fred (Jackson), C.J.( Spiller) and now Tashard (Choice) as well. Using our best players is definitely going to help us.
On if he is surprised when people call the Bills a pass-first team:
It is pretty much a pass-first league. We probably run the ball more than most right now and we still may be a pass-first team, but we are still running the ball more than most people.
On not having won a road game since the 2011 season opener:
We need to get a win this week. They are coming in at 0-2 and desperate for a win. We are at 1-1 and desperate for a win. It will be a hard fought game. You are right, we have struggled on the road. We definitely need to turn that around.