The Bills face the Texans Sunday in Houston. Below are comments about the game beginning with head coach Chan Gailey:
Q: How critical is this point of the season being 3-4 and knowing the two teams you have coming up?
A: To me every week is critical. I cannot say that there is one more critical week than another. You are fighting your rear off to get yourself into a position to get yourself into the playoffs. That is what you do every week. So every week is critical.
Q: Coach, will DE Mario Williams and LT Cordy Glenn be able to practice today?
A: Both of them, as was stated to me by the training staff this morning at our early meeting, they will both be available in a limited basis. They may not take every rep, but they will be available in a limited basis today.
Q: How tough of a week is this for Williams? He was talking about how he was basically pushed out the door in Houston. Do you see something extra there for him?
A: You have to ask him about that. We do not talk about that. Not something I have had a conversation about with him.
Q: As a coach who has seen a lot of players return to places they have played, do you notice anything from players who return to play their old teams?
A: It depends on the player. Some players it is a big deal. Some players it is just another game. It just depends on the guy.
Q: What about when you yourself returned to Dallas and Kansas City?
A: If it is me, it is just another game. I do not make that big of a deal about it. You think about it a little bit. But if that's what drives you then you are in trouble because then next week you do not have that and what drives you?
Q: Williams practiced against the Houston offense for years. Can he help the coaching staff with the offense?
A: I am sure he probably can. We have not talked about it--I have not talked about it with Dave (Wannstedt) if he has had that conversation. I am sure that they have had that conversation.
Q: Williams said he does not need a crystal ball to see what is coming.
A: Yeah, everybody knows what is coming. You know that the run game is coming and the play action pass is coming. You know what you have to stop. They are not fancy. They just do extremely well.
Q: The fact that this team has struggled against the run, this has to be a challenge.
A: Sure it is. It is a big challenge for us to stop the run. This is not just your normal running game. This is somewhat of a unique running game, the way they run the outside zone and the inside zone. The way they do it will be a real challenge for us.
Q: It looks like you guys have an advantage in special teams this week with you guys playing well and their numbers being down. Is that something you can take advantage of maybe a little bit more than usual?
A: You hope to, but you do not want to return kickoffs very often and you hope you make them punt a bunch so you get those opportunities. There is a lot that goes into it. You cannot say 'Well we are just going to go make big plays on special teams.' You have to create those opportunities.
Q: Do you feel like you have gotten in the right groove with the run game? Are you using RB Fred Jackson and RB C.J. Spiller the way you like to or are you still trying to figure that out?
A: I think it changes week to week. I really do. I do not think there is a balance that you are shooting for. You go into each game and you have a plan about how you are going to do it--and that might change every week. I do not know if that is something that we are going to set in concrete and say 'This is how we are going to do it from here on out.' I think you have to be fluid with that situation in order to maximize them and to create problems for the defense. If you keep saying this is the only way we are going to do it or this is how we are going to do it, then maybe they draw a beat on that. You want to keep changing that up.
Q: Just a couple of days removed from when we last talked, how is CB Terrence McGee doing? Has he improved?
A: He has improved. He is going to get on the field today. We are going to see... It is going to be kind of a wait and see situation about how far he has come and where we see him for this week.
Q: Other than injuries, have you made any changes in your starting lineup?
Q: Getting back to Mario for one second. He said there is a healing process that has to take place, but he thinks he will be more effective just based on range of motion or mentality. Are you absolutely certain that he plays Sunday?
A: I cannot say that I am absolutely certain, but I am in the upper-90 (percentile) that he is going to play.
Q: Speaking of injuries WR David Nelson was back on the field (at the last home game visiting). How is his recovery going?
A: I think it is going well. I have just seen him from time-to-time and he says he feels good. He is getting back, getting the rehab that he needs and getting back to somewhat normally. It is a long process.
Q: Is J.J. Watt all energy and motor out there or is there more than that?
A: Yeah, there is more than that. He has got great quickness. He is an extremely quick football player. He does not play just your normal way that defensive linemen sometimes play. He will jump around, block but then he is quick enough to go close his gap off. He is good enough and strong enough to close it down the traditional way. He is a dynamic football player. He really is. He is high energy, do not get me wrong, but he is a very unique player in the way he plays the game.
Q: Coming off of a game that a lot of people thought you were going to win at home, do you look at Houston and think you have to go in there and almost steal that Tennessee game back? Do you look at it that way?
A: You look at a season and I have said this 100 times-You look at a season and you try and go out and win every game. Then you get through 12 or 13 and you evaluate where you are and what you need to get where you want to be. I do not like to talk about getting games back or losing critical games. That is done. To me, those are done at the end of the season. If you go on a run, then it was one of those things that was a glitch. If you do not, then it may have been one of those that was hard to swallow. I look at them, and there is a lot of different ways to look at games, but (Houston) has the best record in the AFC, so they are the best team in the AFC today. You have to go down there and try to find a way to win a ball game.
Q: With this stretch of games, do you think the team's leadership in the locker room is going to be tested?
A: I have used this term before and I really believe this, the accountability factor is to each of them to each other. That is who they have to be accountable to. If our team is going to get where we want to be, we have to understand accountability to each other. I think they understand that and we just have to continue to grasp that. Yes, you want your leaders to step up, understand where we are and what we have to get done.
Q: If things do not proceed well with McGee would that mean CB Aaron Williams would get a full chunk of reps at corner or would you rotate someone else in?
A: Do not make me answer that one today. I am not ready to answer that one.
Q: Will you reactive CB Ron Brooks?
A: Do not make me answer that one yet either. We are getting him ready to play in case we do.
Q: What are your thoughts on OT Erik Pears' play so far this season?
A: I think I got that same question Monday or last week sometime. He has been up-and-down. He has struggled at times. Probably the last game was the worst game he had played. He has done some good things though. He has done plenty of good things. Hopefully we will be able to get him back. He has been struggling a little bit coming back from the injury somewhat. We will see how he goes.
Q: What has been good about Pears' play?
A: He has done some good things in the run game and the pass game from time to time. It goes back to everything. The term that I keep bringing up is consistency. We have to have all of our people be more consistent. There is not anybody that cannot be more consistent.
Q: The defensive numbers on third-down I'm sure are not where you want. What have you seen in the biggest reason for the struggles?
A: I think it is probably a little bit of everything. Early in the season, I thought the coverage was a little soft. We are not getting as much rush as we need with the four man rush. We need to get more pressure with the four man rush. The other thing you have to do is stop the run where the third-downs are not third-and-shorts. That is the one thing that kills you. If you end up in third-and-less-than-seven on a regular basis, the odds of them making those go up tremendously. You have to do better in the run game so you do not end up with a bunch of third and shorts, which hurts you.
Q: You are not blitzing a lot. Do you want to see more pressure via the blitz?
A: We have evaluated that and that may be something that we look at as part of our process to try to get better at third down. Maybe we bring a little bit more pressure. You have to balance that out by bringing pressure and then dropping eight sometimes. You have to mix it up a little bit and I think in our evaluation process we looked at that. We will see how we need to change on that.
Q: In your evaluations, was stopping the run your top priority?
A: Yeah, people getting in the right place at the right time. That is how you stop the run. The big runs that have come against us have been somebody did not get in the right gap. Somebody did not play in the right technique. If we can just get all of that down where it is supposed to be, I think we have chance to stop the run when we need to.
Q: On Monday, you said Thursday would be the definitive day for DE Mark Anderson, would he have a chance to get back on the practice field today?
A: No. He will not get out there today and tomorrow would be the day. It is looking less and less likely.
DE Mario Williams
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Q: What are your thoughts on facing your former team this weekend?
A: I am very excited to go back and to play. Glad to be a part of it and have an opportunity to get on the field.
Q: Are the any feelings of wanting to show them what they are missing, especially after a slow start? Do you have anything extra to prove against your former team?
A: At the end of the day, I have something extra to prove in general. Definitely with everything going on, it has not been the way I really wanted it. Going out, making an impact and just being better to help the team win. It is just a coincidence it is this week after the bye week. Everybody has time off to kind of regroup and look at things. Just happened to be against this team.
Q: How do you feel about the Texans? Do you get why you are not there anymore or is there a little animosity that is like 'Hey, they did not want me anymore'--how do you feel about that?
A: At the end of the day it is a decision that the General Manager made. Opened the door and pretty much gave me a one way exit. That was it. At the end of the day it is what it is. It is part of the business. People do not realize what really happened at that point in time. That is fine. The fans can only go off of what they hear everybody else say. That is fine with me. It is part of the game. I am here now and just have to make the best of it.
Q: Do you think you will be booed?
A: It is what it is. Probably. It is expected, but at the end of the day you are playing football. You are not really paying attention to everything else that is you going on. You want to take whatever happens and is in front of you and take that out on the field. Use it as extra motivation.
Q: How does your wrist feel and how has it responded since getting back here?
A: It feels great. I worked out, finally, for the first time Monday and Tuesday. Something I have not done in a while. I am really excited. I think the biggest thing is, not feeling normally yet (since) I just had surgery, but being able to progress. Getting in the weight room has definitely lightened my spirits.
Q: Would you anticipate being able to do more on the field this week?
A: Definitely. As I talked to the doctors, it is supposed to be week-by-week getting better. That is all we can ask for with the healing process, as far as making me feel comfortable and get back to doing the basic things I used to do.
Q: In a short-term sense, do you feel it will let you be more effective and try to do more things than before the procedure just one week in?
A: Yeah, definitely. Mentally at this point since the end of the preseason, I think mentally my spirits are definitely uplifted tremendously. I need that and not just for me working out. Being on the field and around my teammates.
Q: Do you think about going back to Houston? When the schedule came out you knew you would be going back there for this game. Have you thought about going back there? Maybe seeing friends or just how it would be going back?
A: It is going to be great to see old teammates and old friends. I think that is the biggest thing. Whenever you play with somebody for so long, you get the bond and the brother ship that you have there. It is going to be great to go back, see the guys and play on the field against them.
Q: You said you were upset that fans did not know what happened, what did happen?
A: It is the simple fact of everybody looks at it like you just up and left. You do not know the fact of basically being told we are not giving you anything as far as an offer or anything like that. Your hands are tied in that aspect. Everybody else looks at it like that you just went into free agency and left. Obviously there was plenty of time for things to be done and it was not. That is fine with me. I just wish everybody else that runs their mouth, says this and that knew the whole story about it before making a decision about me just abandoning the fans, the team and everything else like that because that is not my role. I am not that type of guy.
Q: There was no offer whatsoever?
A: Yeah, I never...I am here now and I am excited about it. We need to make the best of it. There was never an offer from the General Manager. Like I said, there was a one way door that was open,
Q: Would you have preferred to stay with the Texans in a perfect world?
A: At the end of the day it is almost like saying you do not know what would happen after the fact. None of this (would have happened). I would not have even been a position to hit free agency if it had happened. I voiced my opinion on it before. Any other team, any other situation came about that I wanted to stay there. Fans that saw me said 'Do not leave.' I said 'I do not want to leave.' That is just how it is. Nothing against whether or not I am here or anywhere else. This was prior to even having the door opened. I never said I wanted out, but like I said, that was prior to what happened. Do not take it, I am sure everybody is going to twist it up and say 'Oh well he did not want to come here' and so forth. That is not what I said. Like I said, I never asked them to (leave). I was basically given a door in a quiet manner and I had no other choice.
Q: The day you hit free agency the GM of the Texans came out and told the media we would like to make him an offer.
A: It never happened.
Q: Do you think that was just closing the door as you left?
A: At the end of the day, people are going to believe what they hear. I do not have a say in that. With that statement being made, there was never an offer made. At the end of the day, it is something people do not realize or understand. They just think 'Oh well he just up and left and that is the type of guy he is.' That never happened. Obviously they kind of keep it open as a window to say 'We want him back,' but the General Manager at the end of the day makes the decisions. I know the coaching staff was very high on me and I was high on them obviously. We had six years together. We came in together. At the end of the day, the General Manager makes the decisions.
Q: Why do you think that was? Why do you think a guy of your stature would not have gotten an offer from a team you spent six years with?
A: That is a question you might want to ask the General Manager. Like I said, at the end of the day I cannot do anything about it. When the cards are dealt you have to play them. That is what I did and I am here now. I am grateful.
Q: At some level, even with you having a lot to worry about here in regards to your health, your performance, the performance of the defense--does this game mean more at some level based on what you just talked about?
A: I think the biggest thing for me is I cannot single out one team whether or not it was the team you were at before. I think it means more for us to get back on track. We have nine games left and I think the biggest thing is to go out and perform. Go out there and make it happen. At the end of the day we are here now. That is all you can look at.
Q: Is Bud (Carpenter) going to let you practice?
A: I do not know. I actually just put my cast on, obviously to protect it. It would be foolish not to protect it at this point. I am not sure.
Q: Talk about the challenge of stopping RB Arian Foster. You are familiar with him and this defense has had difficulty stopping the run. Obviously though, you know what you are going to be facing.
A: Yeah, definitely from playing against that offense and things like that for the last few years. He makes everybody right at the end of the day. He is the type of player that can do anything at any given time if you give him a crease. Like I said before, it is definitely going to come down to us being fundamentally sound and staying in our gaps because he will take it one way and if you get cut off, cut or just get out of your gap, he is going to see it. He is that type of back. He always has been since he has been in the league. That is the biggest thing for us being able to stop that. Him being such a threat to run the ball, that is what sets up the play action pass to make big plays. They are a big play team. If you limit the big plays for them, even when I was there, it is a lot tougher on them to go, execute and put points on the board.
Q: It is a lot tougher to stop them from putting points on the board too. It is easier said than done.
A: Yeah, definitely. When you have got the threats that they have all across the board offensively, from tight end, running back, wide receivers and quarterback obviously, it is very tough. It has been done. You saw that definitely against the Green Bay Packers. It has definitely been done.
Q: Can you help the coaching staff with the Houston offense a little bit? Tell them little nuances that you picked up practicing against them every day?
A: The thing is that they are just very efficient. They do not do things that are careless with the ball. They do not turn the ball over. That is huge in the league. You turn the ball over, and your chances of winning definitely go down drastically. That is something they do not do. They do not turn the ball over and they play sound football. The things they do are very simple. It is very simple but they are efficient at it. They do not do too much out of character. I think that is the biggest thing, we are going to have to stay calm and face (it). Stick to the game plan because they are just going to be a rhythm and tempo. They are not going to do anything that is going to be drastic. We have to match that and do not do anything on our end to get out of position and mess it up.
Q: Is it hard to see them doing well after how things transpired?
A: Definitely not. I have mad love for them, for each and every player on that team and for each and every coach on that team. There is no type of bad luck or wishing that on them at all. I hope they do the very best. That is definitely how it is. At the end of the day, these are your brothers that you play with for a long time. I definitely do not look at it like 'Oh man they are doing good,' and so forth. They were always good even when I was there--it was just one play here or one play there.
Q: Do you think it will be tough to put a hit on these guys since they are your friends or will you just forget about it once the whistle is blown?
A: You get a chance to hit Matt (Schaub), I am definitely going to. It is going down for sure (jokingly). You do not want to go out there and hurt anybody, but we are all friends.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Q: WR Stevie Johnson was just talking about J.J. Watt and how you might have to make some adjustments on how you throw things because he bats so many balls down along with getting to the quarterback. He talked about the kinds of things you have to do to counteract the kind of player he is at all levels.
A: I think in general they are a top five defense and he is one of the guys that makes them great. Very good player. He has the deflected balls, he has the sacks, makes a lot of plays in the run game and gets a lot of pressure on the quarterback. He is a guy that we will be aware of. That being said, it is not like I am going to change my arm angle when I throw or anything. You cannot do any of that.
A lot of times, if a defensive linemen bats it down, he bats it down. The one thing is if you are getting a lot of batted balls, you hope that there is not a lot of pressure and they are sitting waiting back trying to trying to jump and bat them. They do a great job of getting pressure on the quarterback so it will be a big challenge for us. Not only up front, but the guys on the back end. They have some good players. Jonathan Joseph I played with in Cincinnati for a few years and they have done a good job. They are in the top five for a reason. It will be a good challenge for us.
Q: Could part of the plan be to get you out of the pocket and get you moving a little bit just so they cannot get that pressure on you?
A: I cannot tell you all our secrets. (Laughs) We are who we are. This game, they are obviously a great defense, but this game offensively we are just trying to continue to improve and continue to find that consistency that we have been missing the first half.
Q: Could you talk about the running game and do you think that those guys are starting to find a groove with getting both of them going and you are able to keep them in the game?
A: I think we have had a great plan all along. The problem was the beginning of the year, Fred (Jackson) goes down. Then C.J. (Spiller) goes down and there was some injury stuff. With them both healthy, obviously those are two guys we need to get them their touches during a game. Sometimes it is going to be handing it off. Sometimes it is going to be through the screen game, through the empty sets or the pass game and stuff like that. Obviously a very important part of our offense. For them to now both be healthy, out there and we can rely on both of them in the game, we have been able to do some of the stuff we set out to do all along.
Q: You get some offensive linemen back too. Does that help you establish the physical side of the game?
A: Yeah, I think the last few weeks we have done a good job and it has kind of been patchwork just putting guys in there and trying to move guys around. Be able to get (Kraig) Urbik back and we will see with Cordy (Glenn) and all of that. It will be good for us because (Chad) Rinehart got hurt and will not be able to be available. Getting some depth there and getting our starters back will be big for us.
Q: Do you think the leadership of the team will be tested the next couple of weeks?
A: I think so. This is one of those things where we are 3-4, not where we want to be and not what we expected. Coming out of a bye, I think we had a nice couple days of extra work and now we have got maybe the best team in the league that we are coming out to face and then next week with the Patriots. It is going to be a real test to see who we are. This a great opponent for us because they are the best. If we want to get there we have to be able to beat teams like this on the road.
Q: There is probably not a fan out there looking at these two games and not thinking this is your season. Do you ever think about what these two games mean?
A: I will feed you the line of one game at a time and all that. 3-6 obviously the chances go way down. These next few games for us are huge. They all are, but especially going out, being on the road and facing tough opponents. These are going to be games that really kind of set us up for the rest of the season good or bad.
Q: Is there anything exotic about their defense, aside from them just being good at everything?
A: They run some games and they blitz. They do a lot of blitzing and that is not just on third down. First and second down they will bring a lot of pressure. I think they are just a very solid, sound defense. They are going to get pressure, they are going to get in your face and they are going to bat some balls down but they cover well in the back end too. It will be, like I said, a real good challenge for us to go out there. We will have to beat man-to-man coverage. We will have to run the ball against some bad boxes and that stuff, but it is stuff that we have shown we can do in the past. We just have to go out there and be consistent with it.
Q: Johnson was saying he likes the matchup against their defensive backs. Do you agree?
A: I hope he would say that. As a receiver when you are getting man-to-man you have to think and believe that you can beat the guy across from you. I have a ton of faith in our guys. Stevie is one of the best in terms of getting off press and playing against that man-to-man stuff. That is something he has shown over the years. We like those matchups. I am sure if you talk to the Texans, they probably like those matchups too. It will be good to see how it comes out.
Q: You look at the schedule and this your third straight team that you are playing that is well-rested and the Patriots are coming off of a bye next week. Is there something to that?
A: I do not know. It is something I was aware of, but I do not know. I guess that is something for you to write about. We have no control over any of that
Q: How much is there too that, in your case coming off a bye and the rest, is it sort of like swimming against an undertow for a stretch of games where you have teams with extra rest?
A: If you look at us--having a bye week, getting people back healthy and being able to scheme against them a little bit more, I think there is an advantage to that. Obviously they have the same advantage so it washes out. It is just part of it. It is part of the game. You cannot sit there and worry about those things. Our advantage this week is less than it would be because they are coming off of the bye too.