The Bills are looking ahead to Sunday's season opener in the Meadowlands against the Jets. Below are comments from the team, beginning with head coach Chan Gailey:
On if WR Brad Smith will practice today:
He is going to go out and work a little bit. This is sort of the transition day. We will hopefully get him on the field a little bit more tomorrow and then a little bit more Friday. Hopefully we will have him Sunday.
On if Smith cannot play, does he have a backup Wildcat QB in mind:
On if the Wildcat will not be used if Smith cannot play:
On if there are any other aspects of the game plan he would like to reveal (jokingly):
On the Jets' defense:
They are really about confusing the offense. That is what they are all about. They have good players and they are trying to confuse your communication, confuse your techniques. That is what they do a good job of. They have an active front. Their linebackers are good. We obviously know about their secondary and they have added two strong secondary safeties. That is one of the strengths of their football team.
On the offense improving against the Jets from the first game to the second game last season:
Yeah (we take things away from that). We left points on the field in the first game, in my opinion. I thought we did not, I mean we played bad do not get me wrong, but I thought we had opportunities that we did not take advantage of in the first game.
On how eager he is to see DE Mario Williams in regular season action:
I am eager to see him. I am eager to see everybody. We all know that the intensity level goes up a notch now. It is going to be interesting to watch everybody play. It gets different when you get to the regular season--to real games.
On if he has been encouraged by the play of the defensive line:
Yeah. The thing about it is I think they all help each other. That is the great thing about where we are right now. We have good players all along the front so if you try to focus on one or two, then we have other players who can make plays, which is great. We are in a much better situation than we have been in the past in that area.
On the Jets not using the Wildcat during the preseason:
It is a little bit of a disadvantage. You would like to know some of the things that they have got. It makes you prepare for a lot of different things because you do not know what is coming. I'm glad we have had this extra time to be honest with you. We have had a couple of extra times to take a look at all that stuff and at least give our guys an idea of what they might see.
On if QB Tim Tebow is the most problematic Wildcat QB all-time:
If you get somebody that can throw the football and still be able to run it effectively, he creates a problem in the Wildcat. That is what you are trying to do. You are trying to find that guy that can just keep them honest enough in the Wildcat where they cannot just throw everybody right on the line of scrimmage. That is what (Tim) Tebow has proven he can do. He beat the Steelers in the playoffs last year throwing the football to win the ball game. That does create a problem. He does create that kind of problem for a defense.
On what QB Ryan Fitzpatrick needs to show this season:
He just needs to play. He is good enough to take us where we need to go. That has never been a question in my mind. You can probably go back and find out how many times I have said this but every time I have said the same thing. There is no question in my mind. We just need to make sure we protect him and let him go play. If he goes, plays the way he is capable of playing and we get better as a football team he will be just fine.
On his concern for the offensive line:
I have a lot of confidence in the line. Are there going to be some issues here and there that we are going to have to solve problems during the course of a game and the course of a season? Always are issues. But I have a lot of confidence in the guys that are going to walk on the field. We are not going to ask somebody to do something that they cannot do. We would not make somebody block somebody the whole day without any help if it is not a good match-up for us. We will change things up enough, I hope, to help things out some.
On if last year's offensive line success means higher expectations for this year:
Yes, they are higher. I'd be lying to you if I said that expectations are not higher. They are higher for the offensive line, they are higher for the defense and they are higher for the kicking game. Our expectations as a team are higher now which is where you want to be.
On how OT Erik Pears is progressing:
He got through (Monday's practice). I fully expect him to play Sunday. I think that he has progressed well. Today we will be in pads. We will find out even more today. I think as the week goes on he will either get stronger or weaker. That will tell us how much he is going to play.
On how much of a boost it would be to have Pears back:
He is a really good player. He was very good for us last year, did a lot of good things. You need your good players back. The more you can have experienced players on the field, the better you are as a football team--as long as he is good enough and he is.
On who the backup quarterback will be:
That will be Tyler's (Thigpen) job.
On the necessity of seeing improvements going into his third year in Buffalo:
Sure. It is really important, but it was important the first year, it was important the second year and it will be important next year. Every year it is important. That is life in the NFL. It is a production business. If you do not produce, they try to find somebody who will. That is life. You understand that. Yeah, it is time for us to do it but it was time last year. We should have done it last year but we did not finish out the way we should have. So we get a chance to do it this year.
On if the team is more prepared for this season than previous years:
I think we are a better football team than we have been in any of the three years we have been here.
On if he has spoken with Mr. Wilson:
No. We talked before he went into the hospital and then I have not talked to him since he got home yesterday. We have not talked yet. I am sure we will talk sometime soon though.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
On what he sees from the Jets' defense:
A lot of the same stuff (with) a lot of the same personnel. They are going to get after you. They are going to play man coverage. They are going to disguise some stuff. It is a great challenge for us right away. It is one of the top defenses in the league every year and this year is no different.
On why it is so hard to run against the Jets' defense:
They are stout up front. They have some big guys with their scheme. They limit what you can do in the run game. It is something that is important and it is something that you have to be able to do to be able to stay balanced versus these guys.
On how important the run game is to the Bills:
It is big for us. Week to week it varies in terms of how much we are going to lean on it. You have to stay balanced versus these guys because otherwise they will just tee off on you.
On if he is anxious or excited:
Both. Very excited to get out there. It has been a long time coming. This offseason has almost been longer than most just because we have been so excited for this game. It is almost here and I think we will continue to have good practices put together and be ready to play.
On Jets' LB Aaron Maybin:
I have not really focused on him much. I guess asking some of the guys up front might be better to talk to about it. I know he is a guy they think highly of.
On the unknowns that exist with facing the Jets:
There are, especially with the Jets even in Week 17 when we play them (again) there are still going to be a lot of unknowns in terms of what they are going to do. There are going to be some unorthodox defense and looks. They will try to confuse you a little bit. There are so many unknowns, not only with them and their scheme, but with us. Are we going to make that next step this year? How are we going to perform up front? And are we going to get back in rhythm on offense? There are a lot of unknowns for us that I think we have a good feel for. I think we know what the answers are, but you have to be able to go out there and do it.
On where the offense is at:
We feel good. I think the extra practice time will help a little bit this week with just the different things we are doing. Part of what the Jets do is they are going to throw off the timing. There is a lot of bump and hitting receivers. That is part of what they do.
On the Jets' overload blitz:
They do a good job of finding weaknesses in your protections and sending more guys then you can block. It is just a matter of staying composed when you are out there. You are going to take hits in this game. I am always going to take hits, especially versus these guys. I have got to be able to get it out and get it in my guys' hands.
On if WR Stevie Johnson responds to CB Darrelle Revis as a challenge:
I think so. The main reason being Stevie (Johnson), when we play against the Jets, he has the opportunity to play against the best corner in the league. I think for him that is just extra motivation to be able to get out there and show what he has. (Darrelle) Revis is a guy that is obviously super talented. Everybody respects him and knows him as the best corner in the game. I do not see it any different here.
On the offense succeeding against the Jets and the offensive line holding up:
I think we are ready to do it. Like I said, we have a lot of expectations. We think we know where we are going into this year. Now we have to go out and do it. I think those guys up front, they feel the urgency, the challenge that people have put on them to go out there and play well. We expect nothing less from them.
On how he plans to handle the Jets' pressure:
I think there has to be a good balance with the short quick stuff and being able to get it downfield. I think that goes into being a successful offense.
On if he feels he still has to prove things to the outside world:
I think every year you go into you have to prove who you are and what kind of player you are. That is not just for me. That is for the elite guys to. I am sure Aaron Rodgers feels like he has a lot to prove going into the year. Every season is new. For me, I probably have more to prove than the other guys. That is it as a quarterback. You have to be able to go out there and do it. I am looking forward to that challenge.
On why he feels he has more to prove than other guys:
I think I have more to prove than other guys because I did some things last year that were good, but at the same time I did not put together a full, complete season. Last year being the year that I was going in as the guy and the starter, I have to be able to be consistent all year. I think consistency needs to be shown this year throughout the whole year.
On the Jets' fight during training camp:
I think it is probably all overblown. They obviously get more attention than anybody else being in the media market they are in. Small things that happen for them happen for every team in the NFL, but they are the ones that are going to be scrutinized the most just because of that media market-that stuff that gets overblown by the media. I am sure that they are fine as a team and confident, just like we are.
On if it feels like the amplitude is turned up for this opener:
It definitely is. You are so excited to start out the season as it is. But like you said, a division opponent especially being the Jets and for us some of the additions and things we did in the offseason (with) the raised expectations. This is a big game for us. You go into it trying not to get too excited, too overhyped for a game like this. Just go out there and remember that it is a game and play.
On what his opinion is of newcomer DE Mario Williams:
He is a great player. I think it has been very evident since he has been on the field here that he is a great player. We are expecting a lot out of him, just like we are expecting a lot out of Stevie (Johnson), Fred (Jackson) and a lot of different guys. That is something he has proven over his career. He can be a game-changer. He can be a dynamic player. We expect nothing less of him.
On if WR Stevie Johnson seems more mature this season:
There really has not been much change in Stevie day-to-day. I think as we get into these games we will see in terms of the maturity factor and him taking that next step as a receiver. The day-to-day stuff, Stevie is who he is. He is a happy-go-lucky guy. That really has not changed much.
On if there is a mental hurdle going up against a team like the Jets who have had success against Buffalo:
I think the biggest thing being we want to be able to play well in our division, something that we have not done the past few years. This is the first step. This is a division opponent. Such a huge game for us, right out the gate and that is what we are looking forward to.
DE Mario Williams
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
On starting the season and earning everything that was given to him in the off-season:
The biggest thing is being able to get out there with live bullets and play ball. (I am) really excited about it. It I has been a long time. (I am ready) to get out here with these guys and get after it.
On the defensive line's success in the preseason having him excited for the regular season:
It is very encouraging in the sense of actual film study, planning and scheming. Not just for coaches but for us up front. I think the biggest thing is we finally get a chance to go out there and it all counts. We just need to be on our Ps and Qs. Run our responsibilities, do our responsibilities and things we are supposed to do. Then we will be fine.
On this opening day being different now that he is in a new city:
Yeah. I typically really do not get nervous. It does feel like my rookie year all over again. It does feel like I got drafted again. I am pretty sure it will be a little anxiety. It will be fine.
On preparing for Tim Tebow and the wildcat:
At the end of the day, not actually seeing them with live bullets together on a real Sunday, you kind of do not know what you are going to get as far as Tebow, the wildcat and how they are going to attack you. You kind of just have to go through the possibilities of what they might do. Get after it. As long as you hit the quarterback and get him down, you can do what you want to do.
On the Jets not putting any of the wildcat on tape:
You are not going to see too much preseason of what they have in the basket. That is the thing, we will be the first ones to face it obviously. It is one of those things we have to be able to adjust quickly though depending on what they do come out with.
On the threat of the wildcat detracting from the Bills' pass rushing ability:
On the expectations on him and the rest of the defense:
I think the biggest thing as far as expectations are - is knowing what you are supposed to be doing and having 11 guys doing that. Let's be on the same page on one quarter. And then for us up front, and myself especially, is get after the quarterback. Getting after the quarterback, but also stopping the run. Whether it is on the way to the quarterback or just obviously knowing if it is a run or not. I think the biggest thing for me is just balling. It is just about finally getting out here on a real Sunday and getting after it.
On DT Kyle Williams and DT Marcell Dareus impressing him:
Yeah, definitely. I had a glimpse of them before so I knew what to expect. I think the biggest thing that is going to help us all get better is playing with one another. Playing off one another and getting after it together.
RB Fred Jackson
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
On the Jets being a tough opponent in the past:
I think more than anything they are a divisional opponent. All of our games in the division are tough. We know that and we have to go out and make plays. We haven't made plays consistently against these guys and that is a credit to them. But also we have kind of been shooting ourselves in the foot.
On how much better the team is heading into the season compared to last year:
We feel like we are a tremendous amount better. We got a lot of key guys back, made some key additions this offseason. I think we will be OK. With that being said, we are looking forward to making some plays this year.
On how it will feel on Sunday to be back on the field coming back from an injury:
Yea, it is huge. This is what I want to do and I wasn't able to do it last year. I didn't finish the season like I wanted to and I want to go out and pick up where I left off. And it's a great opportunity to do so against a divisional opponent.
WR Stevie Johnson
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
On his thoughts on Jets CB Darrelle Revis:
I think it is going to be an interesting game and an interesting match-up between us two. But for the most part it is bigger than me and him. It's going to be Bills versus the Jets. It's a team thing, but it is going to be some entertainment out there.
On his play against Revis in previous match-ups:
It is all competition. You win some, you lose some. Nobody is perfect. He is not going to beat everybody on every snap and I'm not going to be getting open on every single snap. It is the competition that we have out there and sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. Sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses.
On the difference between his first game this year compared to last year:
There is no difference this is the first week of the NFL. We are all hyped. It is all the same. I don't think there is a different feeling as far as Week One goes. We open with a division opponent so I guess that is a little more of an incentive to go out there and win.
On how he feels physically:
Yes the groin is good. I'm at about 90-percent.