Transcripts

Andrew Franks – December 24,2016 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Saturday, December 24, 2016
Postgame – at Buffalo

Miami Dolphins K Andrew Franks (as transcribed by the Buffalo Bills)

Q: What was it like in the middle of the rush, to get out there and set it (game-tying 55-yard field goal) all up and get it off in time?

A: You know there was still a decent amount of time on the clock. So, for us that was pretty much a normal situation for us. You know, we weren’t really rushing, it felt like. You know, it was get there a little earlier than usual. So, for us it was a pretty nonchalant thing.

Q: Thinking 55 (yards) in these conditions. I mean —

A: Yeah, it was a little chilly. I think about 56, 57 was the longest I hit in warmups and, you know, the wind sort of helped it, that way especially. So, for the most part that was sort of I felt like my range.

Q: Did you feel like you hit a perfect strike on it?

A: I hit a really pure ball. I thought I hit a pure ball all day long. So you know for me, it was just continuing to do what I do.

Q: What’s it feel like to kick your first game-winner?

A: It’s my second, but it feels pretty good I guess. For us, we’re just trying to go 1-0 and any way I can help, I’m trying to do that.

Q: Playoff bound for this team. It looks like you can get in if Denver loses one of the final two. What’s that like to know that you have done your part?

A: Good. Honestly I’m not paying attention to the playoff picture. You know, for us we’re just trying to win one game at a time. We’re not really looking at other teams or what they’re doing. We’re just trying to the best we can and for us that’s to try to get a win every week.

Kenyan Drake – December 24, 2016 Download PDF version

Saturday, December 24, 2016
Postgame – at Buffalo

Miami Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake (as transcribed by the Buffalo Bills)

Q: Somebody said they head-butted one of your coaches, you know anything about that?

A: Hopefully the league will take care of something like that. I have no say-so in that so I hope the league will take care of that.

Q: Were they kind of dirty today?

A: We were making enough plays to where they really didn’t have anything they can say on the field. So, I guess, whatever ends they need, you know, head-butting our coaches, if that’s what they’re trying to do then by all means.

 

Jermon Bushrod – December 24, 2016 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Saturday, December 24, 2016
Postgame – at Buffalo

Miami Dolphins OL Jermon Bushrod (as transcribed by the Buffalo Bills)

Q: What was it like in that huddle in that final minute and a half, for that field goal to force overtime at the end of regulation?

A: We have to find a way. We got to put our best foot forward and go out here and let’s have some success and that’s what happens man. Our quarterback was able to get the ball, spread the ball around, get it to whoever he needed to, and (Andrew) Franks came and hit a big kick.

Q: Jay (Ajayi) ran for 214 down there, they were gunned up all week that it wasn’t gonna happen again, how does it feel to put 200 yards on them again?

A: That’s what it’s about. We know what we’re capable of doing we just got to go out and we got to execute. We understood the situation coming in but at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter. Whatever we got to do to have success, whether we had to run it, we wanted to run it cause we wanted to be as balanced as possible, you know you don’t want to get in a throwing fest with that defense and those guys they have upfront, but play callers did a tremendous job of trusting us upfront, and when we had to dial it up and get these pass plays, Matt (Moore) came through and we fought our behinds off to give him some time.

Q: It looked very aggressive today?

A: We had to win, we understood, look this is a good team and this team took us down to the wire last time. We had a lead, they kept fighting back, they’re not going to give up. That’s just the mentality of the coach, of their team, and then when you come up here and play them in Buffalo, it was electric out there. It was fun. We knew they weren’t going to back down and we just had to put out best foot forward and that’s what we did. I’m proud of these guys.

Jay Ajayi – December 24, 2016 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Saturday, December 24, 2016
Postgame – at Buffalo

Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi (as transcribed by the Buffalo Bills)

Q: Jay, what is it like to go over 200 yards for a third time this season?

A: I feel like it was a lot tougher today, but it was good. From the start of the whistle, I felt like the o-line, we were on it again, creating lanes and it was just about running hard through the whole game and finishing strong.

Q: Tell us about what you saw on the 57-yard overtime run?

A: Patience. You got to be patient; BA (Branden Albert) did a great job sealing the edge.

Q: Dion (Sims), are you reading him?

Q: Yeah, so it’s one of those plays where BA, if he flashes across he does a seal block, then it’s just about finding the right lane, finding the right cutback lane and then just hitting the gap.

Q: Are you bouncing it outside for sure on there?

A: No, it depends where it hits.

Q: You’ve gone over 200 twice now against the Bills, why do you own these guys?

A: I don’t know. I just feel like we came up today, I feel like a lot of times, too, we could have been running the ball a lot better, so today, this whole week of practice we put a premium on coming off the ball fast and running harder, just finishing blocks, and that was the sum of it today and we were able to get over 200.

Q: It seemed to us that there was something a little extra personal between these two teams; did it have that feeling in the week leading up?

A: Yeah, I mean it’s a division rival game, a December game, a lot is on the line so tensions were high today. We knew that they were going to give us their best shot, their gonna get our best shot and it was gonna be a physical game. That’s what it was today.

Q: What was your mindset on the touchdown?

A: One of their defenders was able to get in the backfield, but when you get that close to the end zone, you got to score. For me personally, I hadn’t scored in a couple weeks so I was just really determined to get in the end zone.

Q: You killed them on cutbacks in the first game, it seemed like today you were determined to press the edge, hit it hard. Was that a part of the game plan?

A: Every play that we run, the way those runs are, you can either go outside or hit the cutback, it all depends on what the defense gives you. You got to take what you get, hit your lanes, stay on your landmark, so today, they wanted to make sure we weren’t cutting it back, so you just stay with your reads, stay with your landmark.

 

 

Adam Gase – December 22, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(Did Chad Ochocinco tell you he’s still available?) – “I heard him say it. I did hear him say it. I think he told Matt (Moore) that.” (laughter)

(What’s the connection? Why was he here today?) – “Him being down here and I’m not sure exactly who he knew. I’ve never been able to talk to him before; but I’ve met him over the years in the NFL, just being on other teams, just saying hi to him after a game. But today was the first day I ever really got to talk to him. So I’m not really sure who exactly … I think him and (Wide Receivers Coach) Shawn (Jefferson) might know each other.”

(With CB Byron Maxwell, how comfortable could you be with him playing after not practicing all week?) – “Normally I feel pretty good about a guy that’s going out there – especially a veteran player – performing after not practicing all week. We still need to figure out where he’s really at. I’m not going to put him out there unless I feel like he feels really good. I don’t want to have a setback. We’re still going through a process. Right now it’s just not … he hasn’t gotten as well as we thought he would this late in the week.”

(With now CB Xavien Howard, CB Tony Lippett and CB Bobby McCain, these are young first- and second-year guys at corner back. How much growth have you seen from them and are you worried about communication issues considering they’re all relatively young?) — “No issues with the communication. I think the longer they’ve practiced together and played in games, and I know ‘X’ (Xavien Howard) is just coming back; but he has been out there. He has been in meetings to where that comes back pretty quick. I feel confident about those guys doing a good job within a game, making sure that we’re all on the same page. If we do have any kind of errors, those are things we’re going to have to learn from and we have to learn quickly. We have to minimize those as much as possible.”

(With CB Xavien Howard having success against a guy like Brandon Marshall, how much do think that’s a confidence booster?) – “Anytime that you play a player at the level that Brandon’s (Marshall) at and you’re able to challenge him and do a good job of staying with him … and I know there was a couple of times where Brandon (Marshall) won and the ball might have not necessarily have gone to him or the throw wasn’t exactly where it was supposed to be, it’s just that back and forth battle that you can recover from when you do get beat, lining up the next snap and putting that last play behind you. I know the numbers weren’t really there for Brandon (Marshall), what he’s used to. I know he had some really good routes, really good releases, and ‘X’ (Xavien Howard) will learn from that through time; but anytime that you do play a player of that caliber, you have to maintain a confidence you had in going into the game and then you have to learn from those experiences. And I feel like he does. It probably gave him a little bit of confidence boost that he is feeling as good as he looked.”

(WR Jarvis Landry’s yards per catch has improved by about two yards this season. I know you didn’t have him last year, but do you think that’s a system approach or anything you may have seen in his game that has contributed to that?) – “That’s a tough one for me to answer because I don’t know exactly or I can’t recall exactly all the routes that he was running last year. I know we’ve done a few things different, but every system’s pretty close to being the same. I think he’s created some explosive plays on his own. We’ve tried to free him up in that intermediate route down the field every once in a while but for the most part, a lot of his things have come off of just his determination to not be tackled. That’s something that’s … He just has that ability to just fight through that initial contact and create yards after catch, after contact.”

(Beyond QB Ryan Tannehill, CB Byron Maxwell and LB Jelani Jenkins do you feel good about everyone else being available Saturday?) – “I think so, unless something comes up that … this afternoon or tomorrow. We’re probably as healthy as you can ask for, for this late in the season. I know a lot of guys are on IR, but the guys that are practicing … I’m sure there are guys that feel sore, but that’s really what this game is – just fighting through those type of nagging injuries, or not necessarily injuries, but those bumps and bruises.”

(I know you try to take every game as its own individual challenge. But the fact is that by the time this weekend ends, this team could conceivably have clinched a playoff berth. Where do you see the mindset of this team? Has it changed anything for you this week?)  – “I haven’t seen it. I’ve seen guys focused on the challenge that we have on Saturday, and they know what they’re in for. They understand where we’re going. It’s a place that is tough to win and we know we’re playing a team that is looking to beat us and looking to play a very good game. They’re well coached. They’re playing extremely hard. They’re playing extremely well right now and we know this is going to be one of those games where it’s going to come down to probably whoever has the ball last. I wouldn’t expect anything less for this being a division game late in the year.”

(With Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan and his exotic blitzes, how much do you have to worry about QB Matt Moore falling for a trap or misidentifying something? Every quarterback faces the same thing, but Matt generally likes to see it and throw it.) – “Yes, it’s a tough task we have. Any time that you play Rex’s defense, you know it can come from anywhere, anytime, any part of the field, any down or distance. You have to have your mind right through the entire … You cannot relax. The first second you relax, no matter if it’s first, second or third down, that’s when you find yourself in trouble, and he’ll get you. He does a great job keeping his scheme to where he can disguise things. He gives you a lot of different looks and right when you think that you’re not going to get something, something comes. That’s what makes him so hard to go against. I’ve never experienced a game where I’ve walked out of a game saying, ‘That wasn’t that hard.’ Every game I’ve ever played against him, there are at least two or three things where I almost can say, ‘Well that was something completely different than I’ve seen.’ Those guys are very creative. They do a lot of things that cause problems for quarterbacks, especially. Everyone has to be on the same page – o-line, receivers, backs, tight ends. If you slip up a little bit against these guys, it’s a turnover. We have to do a great job as far as our communication goes and that’s what makes it difficult when you’re going on the road against a defense that does show you a lot of different looks.”

(CB Byron Maxwell is the only corner I believe that you’ve had shadow opponents this year. Why are there a limited number of corners that do that?) – “I think the number of guys that want or willing to do it is probably a lot less than guys speak of it. I’m sure a lot of guys say they can do it, but for the most part it’s not the easiest thing to do. A lot of guys … The league has kind of gotten to this whole right, left corner deal because what happens is when you do travel with a guy, all of a sudden now you’re in the slot. You might have the nickel responsibilities. If you’re just playing man and you only travel with him on man and in zone you don’t, you kind of give away what you’re doing. So there’s a lot of moving pieces that go on, especially when you have these receivers that are really talented that can go inside and outside. Then all of a sudden they’re a No. 3 in a 3×1. It causes a lot of problems. You have to have a guy that understands the entire defense if you want to travel a guy because he has to play multiple spots.”

(LB Neville Hewitt, he played nickel last year for LB Jelani Jenkins when he went down. Has there been any thought as to why not him in that nickel package?) – “I think that a lot of the teams that we’ve seen have been more base-oriented. We feel like he’s getting a good amount of snaps in base defense. We like playing ‘Spence’ (Spencer Paysinger) as well. We want to give him time on the field. We kind of look at it as what fits what we want him to do, and he does do a great job in base defense. He can do both as far as defending the pass, but he’s a really good run stopper as well. We like him in our blitz packages when we are out of base, and you can see the results of some of those. He’s had some TFLs (tackles for loss) and he’s had some sacks. We feel like the package we have him in fits what we want to do with him. Down the road, I’m sure it’s going to expand, but we were just trying to compartmentalize everything as far as, ‘Hey, this is your role. This is what you’re doing. Spence, here’s your role. Jelani, here is your role when you’re healthy.’ So we’re not trying to put it all on his plate as a young player.”

Adam Gase – December 21, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(Anything new on CB Byron Maxwell and his status?) – “Nothing really. No great update. We’re still trying to get him healthier than what he was after the game. It’s been a slow process. We’ll see how he gets through the next couple of days and then we’ll make a decision off that.”

(Are you going to try to practice him tomorrow?) – “We’ll see how he feels. Every day it’s been a little different. One day he feels better than the next. Yesterday he didn’t feel as good as he did today. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

(Can you talk about G/T Jermon Bushrod? First of all, his willingness to embrace the position switch and then he’s turned out to kind of be an anchor on the line with everything that’s been going on around and all the necessitated changes, what his contribution is?) – When you sign a player that’s been through a lot of the things that he’s been through, whether it be part of an organization that was winning a lot, winning a Super Bowl and then getting an opportunity to go somewhere else and become one of the higher paid players in the league at left tackle, and going through the ups and downs he did there and fighting through injury and then having an opportunity just to come try to help us get this thing rolling in the right direction. He probably could have made some different decisions and maybe he could have gone somewhere else for more money; but the fact that he had some faith in us to try to help him get healthy (and) get an opportunity to play this year, that was a great thing for us because he did have faith in us doing the right thing. He stuck with what he was trying to do, which was get to as close to 100 percent as possible and then to learn a new position was … not many guys would do that. He probably could have had some opportunities to go somewhere else and still play tackle and we felt like we were in great shape with the players that we had and felt like we need some help at guard. He stepped in and did everything he could to learn that position as fast as possible. His leadership ability is really something that’s unique, and the way that he goes about his business as a veteran player is something you want younger guys to see.”

(Has G/T Jermon Bushrod turned out to be an anchor there with the swirl of changes?) – “I think so. He’s fought his way through probably some ups and downs throughout the season where it hasn’t been as easy as, as probably what it looks like right now. When you do change positions, especially going from one side of the line to the other, let alone going outside to inside, it’s just a different view from the positon you’re playing. He kept fighting through it and he tried to learn as fast as possible, and he’s done a great job with that. I know he’s still trying to get better.”

(This is obviously new territory for QB Ryan Tannehill. How has he handled the last 10 or 11 days? Have you learned anything new about him through this adversity that you didn’t know before?) – “It hasn’t been easy for him. I know Saturday was tough with him being out there and knowing that he wasn’t going to play. It’s not an easy thing for any competitor; but he’s done everything he possibly could – or possibly can – to help Matt (Moore) and help anybody else on offense. He has a different vantage point right now. He’s more taken on a role of a coach, almost to help guys. If there is any kind of question, he can answer it. So it’s really … we’ve kind of gained an extra member to helping our guys out from what he sees and he’s spent a lot of time still watching film and trying to help out in any role he can.”

(Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen said earlier that QB Ryan Tannehill has been in the meeting rooms and stuff during the week, when he could just be at home or spending more time with family. What does that say about him that he’s still so …?) – “That he’s committed to what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to win one game this week and he’s done everything he can – especially the last two weeks – to help us on anything that he sees. He’s communicated with me quite a bit game-plan-wise with anything he sees on tape to where he thinks Matt (Moore) would like. He does have the most knowledge as far as he spent so much time with Matt (Moore), when they go through game plans, they both know what each other likes. Him being able to tell me when I order some of the things in situations, he can give me a heads up of he’ll like this, this and this. So he’s been very helpful for me.”

(When we talked to QB Ryan Tannehill on Saturday he said he would know very soon what his short-term prognosis was. Have you gotten any more information?) – “I haven’t. I have not.”

(So there’s still a possibility this year?) – “I don’t know. I take the same approach as almost everything else. When somebody tells me something different, then I’ll react then. But I’m not going to start guessing on how long or when some kind of answer is going to come about.”

(Is it correct though that you still have at least some hope, because you haven’t made the roster move that would suggest [he won’t be able to play again this season]?) – “Right. They haven’t told me that we should shut him down yet. That’s all I know.”

(Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph, he labeled Bills RB LeSean McCoy as one of the best, or the best, ‘make-you-miss’ back in the league. What kind of goes into that, just breaking him down as being able to kind of make guys miss like that in open space?) – “I think he was born with it. He’s legitimately one of … He has such a great feel. I don’t know if you can teach that. The game is really slow for him. Everybody else is moving real fast and you can tell he just sees things that most guys don’t. That’s why he’s able to almost be slow and then kick it in gear and find that space that he needs. If he does get somebody in space, and it’s one on one, the chances of you bringing him down are slim. The percentages are so low. That’s why he is who he is. That’s why he’s been special since he’s gotten in the league. That’s why he’s caused so many defensive coordinators heartache over the years. Nothing’s changed. It’s the same thing that we’ve all seen over his entire career.”

(Some of that patience, that pick-slide motion behind the line of scrimmage, he’s able to kind of make guys miss back there, right? Because of his patience?) – “You don’t see … Even if there’s a free runner, it’s hard to get him in negative plays. You have to not only get one guy to try to get him off track, but you better have a gang of guys coming, because he makes guys miss in the tightest of spots – the tightest of areas. That’s what makes him special. That’s what makes him different and one of the elite guys in the league.”

(I had the same question for all of your coordinators today, but I’ll ask it slightly different to you. They gave me players that have really sacrificed a lot to get you guys here to 9-5. DE Cam Wake’s name came up. They mentioned G/T Jermon Bushrod, QB Matt Moore, QB Ryan Tannehill, DE Cameron Wake obviously. Who are a couple of coaches that have really sacrificed a lot to get you to where you are?) – “I think the whole staff. I mean it’s hard for me to pick one guy out. I know everybody has been grinding, trying to do everything they can to put our players in position. They try to spend the most amount of time possible getting guys ready –game planning. Everybody’s been putting in everything they possibly can to put our players and give them the right information. You have to watch a lot of film, especially this late in the season. There’s so much information out there. It’s easy access with the way that the systems are set up to where you can grab almost anything from any game. It takes time. And that’s what makes it a little more difficult nowadays is there is so much information and it’s not just a four-game breakdown. It’s how many games you’ve played, and then there’s access to the year before and access to film in years past that you may have played a certain coordinator. So it’s a lot of information and you’ve got to find the right things to present to your players and then you have to make sure that you do it in a way to where it hits your players to where they can use it to their advantage.”

(Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn obviously, is getting up there in age a little bit. The fact that he came back to help you guys this year, was that a sacrifice for him?) – “I think so. It would have been easier for him to say ‘I’m done;’ but we reached out to him and wanted to see if he’d be interest in coming to try to help us out, get this thing started and rolling in the right direction and help us become an attacking defense. We wanted his presence around here and his ability to help young players get better and help veteran players take the next step. I feel like he’s done that. Him and ‘T’ (Defensive Line Coach Terrell Williams) have worked unbelievably together and that whole defensive staff has meshed well together to put together improvement throughout the year. I know it hasn’t always gone smooth. We’ve had some ups and downs, but I feel like our guys are doing a great job of playing team football.”

(Regarding QB Matt Moore, we like to call him a gunslinger, because he likes to throw downfield. Where is he on the risk-taking scale? It doesn’t seem to me he throws into double coverage or does a lot of that stuff. In your opinion, where does he rank on that?) – “I think Matt goes exactly where we ask him to throw it with the play that’s called. He had some opportunities this last game. They kept pressuring us, and we got a couple looks where they brought one more than what we had in protection, and we were in max protection, so there’s no middle-of-the-field safety, and at that time we had plays called that were down-the-field throws. He hung in there, he made the throws and then guys made plays. They went and got them. That’s why we had so many explosive plays in that game in the limited amount of attempts we had.”

(Does QB Matt Moore have many throws where you’re just like, ‘What in the world was he looking at?’) – “Maybe. (laughter) No, he sees the field well. He does see some things every once in a while where it is off of what we talked about. Sometimes when you do play for a longer period of time – even though you may not be playing, you’re practicing, you’re going through training camp, you’re going through the preseason – but you start to see … Sometimes you just see a guy open. The longer you play, that’s what this game becomes. Sometimes that’s what happens. You saw a guy open, what brought you there? ‘He was open.’ I’ve been around it before. I’ve seen it happen with quite a few quarterbacks that I’ve worked with in the past, and it’s hard to argue with that. You try to reiterate what the progression is. Sometimes they’ll give you the, ‘I completed it, right?’” (laughter)

(It looks like you’ll be in consideration for Coach of the Year this year. Would a personal honor like that mean anything to you in your first season on the job?) – “Right now, I’m just focused on what we’re doing. We’re trying to win this week. That’s really the most important thing. It’s the same thing with guys with the Pro Bowl. I don’t think our guys have … Really, that hasn’t been a focus for anybody. Yesterday, getting that news, I think, almost felt like a lot of the coaches were happier for our players than really they (the players) were. You see those two guys (Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake) be able to make a Pro Bowl team and be on a winning team right now and a chance to win another game this week and they were more focused on what we had going on this Saturday than worried about the Pro Bowl voting.”

(One of those guys being DE Cameron Wake, I’m sure more important to him would be the possibility to play in the playoffs. You weren’t here for this, but you know the losing that he has grinded through. What do you think that would mean to him to finally get his chance after eight years or whatever it has been?) – “Anytime that you go through … All I can speak of is what my experience was when I was in Detroit for five years and went to San Francisco for one – 2009 was the first time I did not have a losing record. I was 8-8 in 2009. And then the next year we went 4-12. It took … 2011 was my first experience of we didn’t have a losing record – we were 8-8 – but we made the playoffs. I remember that feeling of knowing we were playing that extra week. It’s an exciting feeling, because it’s something you’ve never experienced before, and you always hear the stories about how everything amps up another level. Everybody’s getting paid the same. All the big contract guys are irrelevant. Everybody’s making the same amount of money. There is an excitement there. It’s a different feeling when you get to that next round.”

(DE Cameron Wake, specifically, you’ve gotten to know him very well and know what he’s about in terms of his priorities. Do you have any insight into how badly he’s craving something like this?) – “Since the first day I met him, all he has talked about is wanting to win. Individual statistics and things like that, he has never really said anything to me about that. He has constantly talked to me about, ‘Whatever I need to do to make this team win, that’s what I want to do.’”

(What has been the challenge of getting QB T.J. Yates ready when clearly QB Matt Moore is just starting now and he needs a ton of reps as well?) – “We have to use our walkthroughs wisely. (Yates is) a very smart player. He has played, which helps. Really, right now, it’s changing the terminology in his brain. You guys have heard me say this before, nobody is doing anything that’s so different than another team. It’s really getting that language switched in your head. The progressions and the reads are really the same as everybody else in the NFL. That’s really the thing he’s trying to get caught up to speed (with) more than anything is making sure, if I call a play, he knows exactly where he’s supposed to be looking, where he’s supposed to throw the ball.”

(LS John Denney has been in this league a long time. Have you gotten any insight working with him why he has been so successful, why he has been able to stick?) – “He’s one of those guys that have consistently done the right thing. He’s a pro. When you talk about guys that are pros, he’s the first guy that I can think of that I met. I met him very early. Everything that I had heard about him – and now that I’ve seen – is exactly what people said about him. He works. He educates younger players as well, and that’s what you want a veteran player to do. You can see with the two guys he has to work with every day, they have the same mentality as he does. It’s hard for me not to believe that he’s a big reason for the way those guys are. Personality-wise, I’m sure those guys were like that, but they’ve had a great role model to see how to work day-in and day-out, do the right things, making sure that every little detail is covered before they get to Sunday.”

(I think LS John Denney has 40 tackles, maybe three recovered fumbles. Is he athletic? Is there such a thing as an athletic deep snapper – you see him running down field – or does that even matter?) – “A lot of times at that position, it’s really about awareness. It’s about understanding what’s going on around you, knowing where you fit and how you can do your job. Every punt has a little wrinkle of what his responsibility is. When you have a guy like that who understands where he fits in the whole scheme of things, he knows how to put himself in position. If he has to make a tackle, he has been able to do it over time.”

(You mentioned some of the pressures that you all got last week. As a result of pressures, sometimes the quarterback has to let the ball fly a little earlier than he’d like. What does that say about QB Matt Moore’s anticipation, as well?) – “I think it has a lot to say about the receivers being in the right spot exactly at the right time, and the trust factor. Sometimes when you don’t get to practice with guys as much, that could always slow you up a little bit. I think he has seen enough of what our wide receivers do to trust that they’re going to be in the right spots. We did get a little more than probably what we anticipated, but he made the most of it, and it really helped us. I know our third-down percentage wasn’t as good as what we wanted, but he made every one of those count, and they were big plays in the game. Any time you’re getting touchdowns on third down and you’re getting explosive plays, it’s what you’re looking for.”

(We had a chance to talk to C Mike Pouncey today, and he told us that he feels like he can play now, but obviously, understands why he’s not. How tough was that to sit down with a player of that magnitude who feels like he can contribute? And did the fact that he maybe came back too soon the first time around make sense to him that, ‘Maybe I should be smart here?’)  – “That wasn’t a fun or easy conversation at all. As a coach, you want to have a guy – especially that’s at an elite level at his position – to play. But the thought process we had was we were not going to risk long-term injury for one game or possibly two games. We weren’t even sure if that was the right thing to do. When you’re getting the answer of, ‘He could be alright, but this could still happen.’ That’s just not a great answer for me. I wasn’t going to put him in that kind of position to where I had to tell him, ‘You might not be able to ever play again.’ That wasn’t going to happen. I want to be around Mike as long as he can possibly go. I do not want to have that conversation with him, especially at this point. I know he wasn’t happy with that, which that’s the competitor in him. I wish he could be out there – not only for him, but for us – but the information that we had, we felt like we made the right decision.”

(Is it correct that C Mike Pouncey came back too soon in October?) – “I was never told that. If he came back too soon, then that was our fault, but I wasn’t told that.”

Cameron Wake – December 21, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Defensive End Cameron Wake

(What do you think about your being named to the Pro Bowl? I know you had a quote last night but talk about what it means to you.) – “It’s obviously a tremendous honor being selected by your peers, the people you play against, people you play for. And obviously, (there is an) asterisk besides it, because of all the things that have gone on in the past year for me personally and coming back from a career-ending injury, and being able to come back and play at a high level is something I take a lot of pride in. It’s something that my family is obviously proud of, the people who supported me through all of the ups and downs. It’s kind of testament to all of that, plus all of the guys in this locker room – guys who go out every Sunday and allow us up front to make plays. Obviously the group of DBs over there play hard – the linebackers, as well. And even the offense, to put us in position to pin our ears back and get after the quarterback. So I feel like it’s a group effort from a lot of different avenues. I’m definitely honored to be a recipient.”

(As far as this game on Sunday, you guys have not won in Buffalo for the last four years, since 2011. No. 1: Are you aware of that? And No. 2: Will that have anything to do with the game on Saturday?) – “No and no. That has no bearing on my approach to the game and I’m sure I speak for everybody here, that’s not something that we think about. It’s another football game and another opportunity for us to go out there and win. I’m sure there have been a lot of firsts that have been thrown out there every weekend. We just go out there and we do our job and we should be successful on Saturday night.”

(Do you mentally prepare yourself for the worst weather possible this weekend?) – “No.”

(Do you ever think about it?) – “If I’m thinking about the weather, then I’m not doing my job. If I’m thinking about ‘Dre’ (Andre Branch) being silly, I’m not doing my job. The weather is a silly comment that a lot of people make a lot of big fuss about. It’s hot down here. It’s cold up there. It rains. Sometimes it doesn’t. Do your job. That’s what we’re here to do and I think it’s made a bigger deal than it is.”

(Earlier today, C Mike Pouncey was telling us how difficult it would be for him to have the team make the playoffs and not be able to participate. If in fact you are able to participate in a playoff game this year, what do you think that would be like for you?) – “We’ll see when it happens. But right now again, I’m thinking of one task. That’s Saturday. The Buffalo Bills. Whatever happens after that, we’ll talk about that, if and when it happens.”

(Is RB LeSean McCoy a big deal at running back? Is he a tough guy to stop?)  – “Every NFL running back is a big deal. If you weren’t a big deal, you probably wouldn’t be playing in the NFL. Last week we had a big deal at running back, two weeks ago, three weeks ago, five weeks from now. It’s life in the NFL. If you are a NFL player, you’re going to play a big deal running back, a big deal tackle, a big deal o-line, a big deal quarterback and so on. So you can replace LeSean McCoy with whoever we’re playing next week, and the week after that, and the week before that and the week before that. It’s again, a very easy quote. Go out, play hard, beat insert-name-here and we move on to next week.”

Jay Ajayi – December 21, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Running Back Jay Ajayi

(Both Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen and Head Coach Adam Gase have said all the last couple of weeks that the lower rushing totals are in no way a reflection of you. You’re running just as well and as hard as you did during the great streak. Does that make it less frustrating that maybe the yards haven’t been there as much?) – “You just have to go out there, no matter what the excuses are, and just get it done. We have to start producing more and just better on the ground.”

(After the game you had against the Bills in October, would you anticipate extra special attention from them?) – “I expect them respecting our rushing offense, putting a lot of guys in the box. It’ll be a tough day, but I think we still want to be able to get some stuff done on the ground, and we’re excited for the challenge.”

(What went so well for the running game that day?) – “I think we were just clicking. We were running hard. (We were) healthy. (We) just had a good day against them and we plan to have another good day this (Saturday).”

(Can you notice the opposing defenses really gearing up to stop the run? Is that obvious when you play a game?) – “You definitely can tell that they’re putting a premium on trying to stop our run game, which is opening up a lot of things for our passing game. We’ve seen a lot more plays down the field by our receivers, and it’s been good to see those guys make a lot of plays. We just want to keep having a good balance.”

(Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen said that he believed you’d been picked as a first alternate for the Pro Bowl. Have you been informed of that?) – “Yes, I have.”

(Does that do anything for you? I know you probably weren’t happy about it yesterday but…) – “It is what it is. You want to be in the Pro Bowl. First alternate, I guess, if someone doesn’t go, then you’ll get to go. So I’ll be grateful for that; but you just want to keep putting in work so that you end up being in, no matter what, automatically.”

(Did you have a lot of anticipation yesterday thinking that you would make it?) – “I was kind of seeing what would happen. I know they said that it was coming out. My agent called me and told me what it was, so it is what it is.”

(When you look across the field at defensive fronts, either live during a game or on tape, do you see a clear difference now in terms of crowding the line compared to maybe the first couple of games during the winning streak?) – “I feel like, again, teams are doing a good job of stacking the box. They want to make sure that they want to keep our run game at bay. That doesn’t matter to me. We still have to find ways to produce, still have to find ways to create yards, score touchdowns, and we haven’t been doing that so we have to get back to it.”

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