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Transcript: Day Four OTAs

Posted Jun 5, 2012

Head Coach Chan Gailey

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On what injury RT Erik Pears has:

He had little surgery, minor. It’s minor when it’s somebody else. When it’s you, it’s not minor. He had a little minor surgery. He’ll be back for training camp.

On what Pears’ injury is:

I’ll let him say it if he wants to say.

On what he’s seen from LB Kelvin Sheppard and the confidence he has in him:

(Kelvin) Sheppard played well last year and that’s what gave us the confidence that he can play the position this year. He’s a big, strong physical guy inside which we need. We think that Shepp handles the inside part of our game extremely well. He’s an intelligent guy. He plays hard and he’s physical. Really his play last year is what allowed us to think he could do the job this year.

On the second year guys who didn’t get OTAs and mini camps last season:

Added on to what they learned last year because the terminology on offense did not change at all. The defensive terminology has been tweaked some but they’ve got enough foundation to be able to build on this so it’s good.

On DT Kyle Williams being cleared for team practice:

It’s a slow process and we want to be extremely cautious, but yes we’re trying to be smart in letting him play when he can. But like I said, we don’t want to push it too fast with Kyle.

On FB Dorin Dickerson:

He’s more of an H-Back type player than an on-the-line player. He’s good enough to block on the line some but to say down-in and down-out that you would ask him to go line up against big defensive ends, we wouldn’t do that. We’re going to try to take his abilities and work things around to let him be good.

On what he’s seen from RB C.J. Spiller that he may have learned from playing a lot at the end of last season:

His confidence level just went through the roof in my opinion. He knows what to do a lot better now. He has a lot of confidence that he can play running back, he can go out and play receiver, he can do a lot of things and blocking. He’s gotten better at his blocking from the previous year. His ball security was a lot better last year. He carried it multiple times and did a good job of controlling the ball. Just his overall confidence level I think is very good this year.

On the challenge of constructing an offense around RBs Fred Jackson and Spiller:

You don’t want to do too much when they’re both in there because if you lose one of them then all of a sudden you’re without a big part of your package. You’re trying to construct enough to create problems for the defense but not so much that you’re relying totally on having both of them at the same time. That’s a fine line that you walk creating offenses to be able to take advantage of both good players.

On QB Tyler Thigpen’s injury:

It had been a nagging thing. He pulled a muscle in his rib cage, or somewhere. It’s just been nagging and they’re just trying to get it well. Throwing was aggravating it so they’re trying to get it well.

On if he expects Thigpen to be out for a while:

No. I think he’ll miss this week and I think he’ll be back next week.

On the fact that Spiller can line up in so many different places:

The great thing about it is we can put both of them anywhere. We can leave one of them in the backfield and put the other one out as a receiver or motion them out. They both can block well enough that they create problems for the defense which is really right now a good thing for us to have.

On what he tells WR Marcus Easley to keep him upbeat about his third season:

I don’t think I need to talk to Marcus (Easley) because his attitude has been so good. His work ethic and the things he’s done in the offseason to get ready to participate. He has been so strong and so good. I haven’t had to say a word to him. He is an upbeat guy. He knows he’s got to fight an uphill battle to get into the fray but I think he can.

On how Easley looks out in practice:

He looks good. He doesn’t limp. He’s not having any shortness of breath. All those things that were bothering him earlier, none of those seem to be bothering him now. He’s done a good job.

On how T Cordy Glenn’s development is right now:

He’s done a good job. He’s got some things to learn. The speed of this game is so different. He’s got a lot of learning to do but he’s got physical talent. He’s got ability and he’s got a work ethic that will allow him to get there. He just needs as many reps as he can possibly get between now and the first ball game of the year.

On WR Derek Hagan’s progress with the team:

The thing about it is don’t put too much stock into the one’s or two’s out there right now. The thing we’re trying to get done is to evaluate everybody. Then once we evaluate everybody we’ll put them where we need to put them to work within the offensive, defensive and special team’s schemes. So we’re just looking for the best football players now. We’re just trying to get as many reps for as many guys as we possibly can.

On the relationship between QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and QB Coach David Lee:

From what I’ve seen I think that relationship is very good and very strong. I think they both have a great deal of respect for each other. I don’t see any reason that that should be any different as time goes on.

On if he’s seen any improvement with Fitzpatrick:

Ryan (Fitzpatrick) would’ve worked to improve himself but there’s some technical that he can see on film that I think he’s worked him and it’s made him better.

On how difficult it is to make it as a left tackle in this league:

It’s difficult for either tackle to start. I wouldn’t want to be lining up at right tackle either with Mario Williams over here. People flip those rushers now from side to side. Just playing tackle in this league going from college to pro is not an easy transition. It takes a lot of hard work. You’ve got to stay healthy. You’ve got to get a bunch of reps. We feel like that Cordy (Glenn) can make that transition, but like I said he needs a lot of reps.

On what the timeline for CB Terrence McGee is:

Training camp. We’d love to have gotten him out here but it’s not smart to do that.

On his thoughts about having DE Shawne Merriman back at practice:

He looks quick to me. He’s coming off the edge with that same speed and quickness that I remember. It looks good right now. The best thing about it is he says he feels good. There’s not one of those where he’s feeling something or trying to hide something or limping or something that like that as he’s coming off the field at the end of practice. He’s bouncing off at the end of practice like he did at the start of practice.

On keeping in his enthusiasm for Merriman because he’s been injured for the past three years:

I’ve been in it long enough I think I realize that you realize you wait until you get pads on. You wait and get a bunch of plays on a resume for any given year before you get too bent out of shape, bad or good. That’s the one thing you’ve got to guard against here, too. You can’t get down on a guy that’s not doing some things exactly right out there right now. We’ve got to give these guys a chance to get back in the groove and play. You don’t get too high and you don’t get too low right now. Let’s wait until January.

On how the players are handling the installation because it’s different than it has been in the past:

They’re handling it extremely well. It’s been much more of a process defensively than it has been offensively because we didn’t change much on offense. I think the defensive players have handled it well. We’ve had plenty of walkthroughs to be able to explain it and go through at that speed. Now it’s just an up-tempo that we’re getting to with the OTAs and then it’ll go to another tempo once we hit training camp.

On all of the props that David Lee uses with the quarterbacks:

He does a great job. I don’t sit around and question what he’s doing or why he’s doing it. He’s done a great job of coaching quarterbacks his whole career. I’m learning things. I know that.

RB Fred Jackson

On what he wants to get out of OTAs:

Get better. I think a lot of guys, especially guys that were in my situation that didn’t get a chance to finish the season last year, just to come back and knock some rust off and get back in the swing of things. That’s what I’m primarily trying to do this year. We come out and we make some tweaks to our offense. Trying to pick those little tweaks up that we’re making. Try to get the timing back because when you don’t do it for a while it goes away and you’re just trying to come back and re-establish that.

On coaches tweaking the offense:

Every year you have to. You can’t stay stagnate. Defenses pick up on what you’re doing. We make tweaks. We make tweaks every day. We’ll come in and run a play one way and then come out the next day and run it a completely different way. That’s what you’re doing. You’re not only training your body, you’re training your mind as to how you’re going to make game plan changes through all week, all 16 weeks you change something every week. It’s what you’re trying to do at the same time.

On the amount of options seem limitless with having himself and RB C.J. Spiller in the backfield:

That’s something that we’re working on. C.J. and I are joking with each other when we go in what position we’re at. I’m trying to confuse him and he’s trying to confuse me. The more we get used to doing it the better we’ll get at doing it. Hopefully it’ll be something we can use as a tool throughout the season.

On having FB Dorin Dickerson with him in the backfield:

It’s huge for us. It allows us to do a bunch of different things and disguise some things. He can run routes for us. He’s a great route runner. He can even get back there and block for us. When you’ve got a guy that’s that versatile it allows you to open up the playbook and do a bunch of different things. Not only does it help us but it helps Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) and it allows us to do a bunch of different things on offense.

On how much the end of the season benefitted Spiller:

It’s always huge. I’ve always thought the more touches you get as a running back the better you get. To get that experience definitely was something that I think he needed. It was something that helped him grow as a running back. We got to see his potential. For me not to be there allowed him to go in there and take some reps and develop his game a little bit more.

On how he’s seen QB Ryan Fitzpatrick develop so far this offseason:

I think one of the most obvious things is not being here last year hurt us. To get a guy that knows his things like his quarterback coach does, he’s allowed him to grow. You can see that Fitz is making some great throws for us already. For him to be out here and have these OTAs to go out perfect his game is just going to make him better.

On the props that QB coach David Lee uses with the quarterbacks:

It’s a great tool. You get to see him make adjustments, not without an offensive line but still getting that same look as somebody running in his face. I think it’s just been a tremendous job. He’s doing a tremendous job with him. I think Fitz is going to do some tremendous things for us this year.

LB Nick Barnett

On coming into this season and knowing what’s going on and already being familiar:

It is a different experience. I’d rather be here than anywhere in the world with our guys in here and doing what we love to do and learning a new scheme. It’s not too different from what we were doing before but it is a challenge to learn different things. I walk out a lot more on number two than I did last year. There are a lot of different things that I’ve got to get used to and that’s what OTAs are for.

On his impression of the defense so far:

With this defense, the 4-3 defense, you’ve got have those guys up front do what they do. So far, granted we don’t have pads on and we can’t physically see what’s really going on, but they look like some monsters out there right now the way that they’re rushing. That rotation that they’ve got with all those guys; Mark Anderson, Shawne (Merriman),obviously Mario (Williams), and then our interior guys. If we keep everybody healthy we should be something to deal with.

On how good the defense can be:

I think we can be as good as the best defense in the NFL if we do what we’re supposed to do. I definitely think we have that potential. We’ve got great pass rushers. We’ve got great interior linemen. We’ve got young hungry linebackers. I’m getting a little long in the tooth but I still consider myself young and we’ve got some young DB’s. I don’t know if you guys are watching but they look pretty good. Today was a little bit sloppy but they still look pretty good out there. A lot of potential to be one of the best defenses in the NFL.

On how things are different for him in the new defensive scheme:

In the base right now obviously I’m playing the will so in some of our schemes I’m walking out on number two. I don’t think I was ever; no I wasn’t removed from the box last year at all because we had an outside linebacker, definitely removed out there with the number two. I’ve got to give calls to the in’s and different things like that. Then in the nickel I’m playing the mike which is similar. That’s the same as last year. As far as the base goes there are definitely a lot of different things I have to get used to out there playing in more space, on number twos, receivers, and slots, guys who are rockets.

On how long it will take the defensive guys to get comfortable enough in the new scheme:

Well we’re hoping by the end of training camp right before the first game. That’s when we’re hoping. I think it’s very feasible. I think guys are pretty close to reacting and just playing right now, obviously this is just OTAs. People are trying to get their football legs, I like to call them, and be able to play football. The schematics, the scheme is not too hard. You’re playing cover two; you’re playing cover four anywhere you go in the league. Our terminology is not different so as long as we can communicate with the new guys who are learning our terminology and get that done we’ll be fine. I’m pretty sure by the time we hit training camp in the first week I’m sure at first we could be a little rusty but I think we’ll be off running.

On word of mouth from players being a big role in getting players to come to Buffalo, including himself:

Definitely. Word of mouth is awesome but $100 million isn’t bad either (laughing). He (Mario Williams) could’ve probably got that from a couple more teams but when you look at teams like I did when I came you see potential like you don’t want to go to a losing team. I don’t care how much they pay you. You want to have the potential to be a winning team. You’ve got guys like Shawne (Merriman) when I came and (Chris) Kelsay, and Kyle (Williams), and Dwan (Edwards) and Marcell (Dareus) coming in. You’re like ok I’ve got a good front that can be here for years and years and years. You start to say ok if I can stay here with them then we can get a Super Bowl possible. We’ll be in the running at least and that’s what you want to have at least the opportunity and be in position to take a shot at it. That helps a lot. Obviously Buddy did a good job with bringing players in here that want to win games. We’re going to have to do that this year.

On if the linebackers are reading things differently because they know the guys up front aren’t holding people:

Obviously you’re going to get a lot more go calls and let those guys go up front and rush. As linebackers we’ve got to be able to react. They’re not always going to be playing outside when they’re rushing and it turns into a run. So we’ve got to be able to react, come tight the color and make the play. That’s kind of the benefits of having guys like that who can run up front. They cause havoc up there, we’re able to clean it up. We make big plays, they make big plays at some point. If you’ve got guys playing fast someone’s going to make a play.

On if it helps having veteran newcomers such as DE Mark Anderson and DE Mario Williams coming into a new scheme:

It helps that you’ve guys who know the game of football at this level. Bringing in guys like that and bringing in free agent players who, good free agent players, with good attitudes and good mindsets. It makes us move faster along and help the younger guys too. We’ve got some younger rushers and things like that. When you’ve got veterans like that in front of them it helps them improve and challenges them.

On OTAs and mini camps benefitting players like LB Kelvin Sheppard who didn’t have this last season:

Definitely it is a position in the 4-3 you have a lot of options and a lot of challenges playing that mike in the 4-3. For him as a young player coming in here OTAs, you couldn’t ask for a better situation. You get some live ammunition but not in a live battle. He’ll benefit greatly off of this and mini camps. He had none of that. I think he’ll be, not to say he wasn’t a good young player last year, but I think he’s going to improve and start to take that next step.

On if he things Sheppard is ready to take that next step in his career:

I think he’s potentially could be one of the best linebackers Buffalo has ever seen. If he has his head on straight and he continues to grow the way he’s growing the way that he plays. He could be a great player. He’s just got to do what he’s supposed to do; OTAs, mini-camp and continue to keep his mind where it’s at now.

On what gives him the impression that Sheppard is ready for the next step:

Obviously his body type is a pretty big linebacker and runs like a linebacker of my size. He can hit. He’s physical. He’s smart. He loves the game of football. When you’re in the locker room you see young guys, sometimes you can really tell they don’t love the game of football even though they’re good players. He loves to play football. He can study. Last year I don’t think I’ve ever had a rookie come to my house as much as he did since I’ve been in the league to watch film. I think he’s a student of the game. If he continues that mindset he can be one of the greats.

On the rookie linebackers Nigel Bradham and Tank Carder:

We didn’t get to see a lot of them so far in OTAs. They’ve been out there. Carder looks like he can be a great player. I really like Nigel. He can run like a deer. He’s very athletic. It’s a different game from college and you’ve got to learn a lot. These coaches are going to demand a lot from you as players. They’ve got some time with OTAs and mini camps. I remember when I first came in I didn’t even get OTAs, I got minicamp at the time. My eyes were wide open. I was just running fast trying to make a play and that’s all you should be doing is having fun and learning your playbook but still running fast.