Monday, April 8, 2013
Q: Congratulations and welcome to Buffalo.
A: Thank you. Glad to be here.
Q: How does it feel to finally be here?
A: It feels good. It really does. The organization I have always heard good things about them. When you get here it is even 10-fold what they tell you. Everybody is very personable and helpful as far as myself and my family. This being my third organization, been through a couple of them and very impressed with the way they handle themselves so far.
Q: This has been reported for a long time. What was the delay?
A: Really once I headed back and we got the contract negotiations done when they reported it, I had some stuff to take care of with the family. I just brought the contract back with me. Nothing big. When they reported it, that is when it happened. Just could not get back up here for a couple of days.
Q: What was attractive about coming here with the new offense and coaching staff?
A: The first (thing) was the offense and the coaching staff. Just the time I got to spend with them and Russ Brandon, our President, to see where the future of the team is going. Buddy Nix, there was just a lot of good rapport there the first couple of hours we spent together. And you can tell. When you have been through meetings before and you sit down with these guys, you can tell when you have the same visions and the same hopes. I thought that we all felt that way when we left the meeting. Went home and slept on it for a couple of days. They flew me up here and had the same feeling while I was here. My wife and family felt the same way. Long way from home, but at this point like it always should be it is all about football. At this point in my career, where I have been and what I have done—for me I just want to win and this gives me the best opportunity to do that with this team.
Q: What was important to you as you were going through the process?
A: I think overall obviously the offense. Some of the stuff we are going to do offensively is unique and is going to be fine. It is going to fit my strengths and what I have picked to be my strengths over the last couple of years and even before that. So that was number one. And then I think the overall demeanor and personality of the coaching staff, the organization and even this town, I mean really. I have never played here in this stadium before, but I have heard a lot of good things about it. When you get here you get that small town atmosphere that everybody talks about. I have only been here for four or five days total and feel that same way.
Q: Can you elaborate on some of your strengths or what you heard from the team offensively?
A: Yeah, we have to be a little careful but I think the cerebral part of the game is something that I take a lot of pride in. They will put a lot on the quarterback here. Trying to think of how I can word certain things—getting the ball out my hand quickly, pre-snap reads and understanding defense. Just some things that over the last few years being through a couple of different systems, the footwork of this offense and stuff like that. Just today when I was sitting in there, 75 to 80-percent of it is all retained information from previous places and coaches I have been with. Obviously Coach Hackett, he has a West Coast background with his dad and so there is some carryover in that regard and some of that other stuff. I think he is a sharp mind. The thing that I like and that I have noticed which is different from other places, is he is not totally engrained in doing what he was taught to do. He has always got his eyes open to new ideas, new thoughts and if you can be proactive in that regard then you are going to stay ahead of the game. I want to be a part of a team and a part of a coaching staff that is wanting to do that and that is wanting to develop as the years go on. Always progressing. I have had a coach in the past that was that way. He was very successful and he taught me to be that way.
Q: The offense you ran at Houston was described as being very simplistic. How would describe the way that the offense you ran in college actually did prepare you well for these concepts?
A: Yeah, it is wild how that came 180-degrees. Before that was a negative and now that is a positive. Being able to show those different assets of your game. I think a lot of it is a mentality of, ‘Hey we are going to do this. This is how we are going to do it. We are going to use some tempo.’ You have to believe in it. When I talk to these guys, they totally believe in their system. Like I said, they are ever-evolving and that is a big key for me whenever I was discussing with these guys.
Q: Where do you feel you are at in your career and how much do you feel you still have to prove yourself?
A: Prove my ability to myself. For me, I know I can play at this level. I have done it here and there throughout my career two or three games at a time. We all know that I have to stay healthy. That is where the work comes in right now. Of course, a lot of it is a little bit of good luck. Played 50 straight in college and then come in here and get banged up every four games it seems like. That is a bit frustrating because it is out of my hands. For me that is what I am saying. It has nothing to do with being away from home. It has nothing to do with being with certain organizations or whatever. For me it was just straight, ‘Hey how can I go win? How can I go be successful?’ I am here to win a Super Bowl. Period. There are very limited opportunities in this league. I have been lucky enough to have a few of them. Hopefully have another one here and plan on taking 100-percent care of that and making sure I do my part to play at the highest level.
Q: How are the ribs?
A: It is good. Everything is perfect.
Q: Is there anything you are doing training-wise to try and stay healthy or do you think it is luck and kind of fluky?
A: Well honestly I think a lot of it is luck or fluky, but if it ever does happen again you still want to say, ‘I did everything I could possible to make sure.’ So eating right, working right, 100-percent consistency off the field and being disciplined with certain habits. All of that comes full circle whenever you have been injured a couple times in a row. I am just going to cover all of my bases. You cannot help it if you go out there and break four ribs. We all know how that turned out. I am just going to make sure I do everything in my power to make sure I do everything I can.
Q: You are no stranger to a quarterback competition. How are you approaching the one here with the idea they could even draft a guy as well?
A: Yeah. I have dealt with it my entire career. I think young guys, there are very few of them that come in right away. There are a handful. But even the days of you draft a guy in the top five and he is definitely your starter from then on—he still has to prove it. RGIII (Robert Griffin III) had to prove it. Andrew Luck had to prove it. Even though they were one and two. Those days are gone. You have to be able to compete. There are too many talented guys out there. There are too many guys—you just never know, let’s say for instance a Kurt Warner back in Arizona. He is on the last leg of his career, comes in and goes to the Super Bowl. Always have to be on your toes. Always have to be ready. I am ready for it. I am excited about it. I want to be on the field and be the starter. I am sure Tarvaris (Jackson) does, too, and Aaron (Corp) and whoever else they want to bring in. So we will go out there, help each other out where we can but make sure that, me personally, this is a big chance for me and that is why I came here. I am excited about getting out there and doing some special things.
Q: Did you kind of have a sense that it was the end of the road in Arizona? New coach, contract, salary cap and all of those reasons.
A: Well a lot of stuff behind the scenes. It was interesting how it all played out. Without going into too much detail, I was not totally shocked when it happened because I’m an always plan for the worst and expect the best kind of guy. That is how we all should handle things, but there was a bit of surprise there when it happened. Even though a lot of arrows pointed in that direction. There were certain things being said that I tried to believe, but at the same time I tried to cover all my bases as well. That is about the best way to put it.
Q: What did you learn throughout that process going there so highly touted and now coming here having to prove yourself? What have these last three years been like for you?
A: They have been tough. They have been really tough because number one being thrown in there without the offseason was a hard situation. Coming in with, I think I had three practices before the first preseason game. Trying to learn that new offense. It is not like now. There was nothing that was retained from the West Coast over to (Coach Ken) Whisenhunt’s offense. Starting that way, getting injured again, QB competition coming in last year, fought through a honestly tough offseason mentally trying to get back in that frame of mind I am ready to be elite and want to be elite. Then started 4-0 and bang, got beat up. So I think the biggest thing is I never lost my confidence in that whole thing. I was proud of myself for that and I knew I could still play. Even coming back and winning those four games, they were all in different fashions. Winning the team over—we had a nice chemistry and camaraderie there with that four game winning streak. We really believed that we were going to do something special. Just knowing that it can switch back that fast.
There are going to be highs-and-lows, ebbs-and-flows throughout an entire season, throughout a career—whatever it is. I just always trust that God has got a plan. Part of his plan was me being injured. Part of his plan was me going to Arizona and part of his plan is me being right here, right now. Really that was when I sat in the meetings with those guys and I said, ‘Wow, I cannot believe they are running this. I cannot believe Buffalo is what it is. A town that I will enjoy.’ It just seemed like a lot of stuff was pointing in this direction. That is why I am so excited to be here. Looking forward to doing really special things on the field once we get rolling.
Q: Some quarterbacks get tabbed as a quarterback who gets sacked a lot. You have obviously been sacked a lot. What are your thoughts moving forward on that? Is it something that can change and is that something that concerns you?
A: No, because the label only came from really my stint in Arizona. When I was in Philly for however many games I started in Philly… I can remember going multiple games without maybe getting hit four or five times. A sack is spread out across the board obviously. It is on the quarterback, just as much as the offensive line. It is on the offensive line as much as it is on the protection schemes. All together it is a collective group. I am not concerned with it because I know what they are doing up there and I know our talent level up front. I know my mindset. I think we will do fine getting the ball out and getting it into our playmakers’ hands. Not worrying about that.
Q: The Bills have not made the playoffs in a while. What do you see besides the offensive scheme that indicates things could be successful here?
A: Well like I said, meeting with the President and meeting with the GM. Honestly a lot of times from what I have learned, it is good to come to an organization like this. They are hungry. Everybody upstairs is hungry. They are not taking a day off. They are not taking a minute off. You find sometimes with success, and I am not saying anybody I have been with before has done this, but sometimes with success people start patting themselves on the back. Maybe get a little bit lackadaisical with certain things that they had done before when they were young and hungry. So I like the fact that Coach Marrone and a lot of this staff is coming from a college. I like the fact that people are saying we have not made the playoffs in 13 years or whatever. I just think just like anything when you have the underdog role that fits a lot of peoples’ personalities. Especially in this game and in the locker room. It will be nice to come out and surprise some people.
Q: What concerns might you have at the receiver position given there is only one real proven guy on this team?
A: I am not concerned about it really. Again I have been around long enough to see that even though they are elite quarterbacks, but when guys come in for Tom Brady boom. He rocks-and-rolls with them. I had Danny Amendola on the practice squad when I was in Philly. We kept saying, ‘Man, this guy can play.’ There were guys that were starters then that were playing above him that are out of the league. Now look he has had a good couple of years in a row. Look, players always say, ‘If you can make the practice squad in the NFL you are a heck of a football player.’ A lot of it is just getting the right opportunity and getting it in the right system so I trust that these guys know what they want. It may take time for everybody to fill out the offense and fill out certain positions and moving around to get certain mismatches and stuff like that, but when we do we will be ready to roll.