PITTSFORD( WKBW) The Buffalo Bills officially moved in to training camp on Friday. Below are the transcripts of what players and GM Doug Whaley had to say. (Transcripts provided by the Bills)
GM Doug Whaley
Move In Day- Friday, July 18, 2014
Q: Talk to us about Kiko [Alonso] and his surgery yesterday. Is everything good?
A: He had his surgery and from all the reports we’re getting it was a successful surgery. We’re expecting him to be back after camp, let his swelling go down and do some rehab there. But he’ll be back in Buffalo when we break camp.
Q: You’re always talking about next man up. After all the OTAs to have that happen, you’re basically doing a try out in training camp. That can’t be good.
A: I have to disagree. Because he wasn’t taking many reps in the OTAs, that gave experience to Preston Brown, Nigel Bradham, Ty Powell so those guys had gotten some reps with the first and second team so this will just be a carry over and then we have to see what happens when the pads come off.
Q: How big of a loss was Kiko?
A: It’s a tremendous loss but no one is crying for us. So we have to like you said “next man up.” We think we’ve built a roster that can sustain a loss like this. Our expectations aren’t going to drop.
Q: Who do you view as some of the prospects who are going to get cracks at reps?
A: I have to talk to Coach but right off-hand, Preston Brown, Nigel Bradham, maybe Ty Powell. Two young guys. It’s an exciting time for those guys and an exciting time for us to say, “Alright, what we saw in these guys is true and they can play.”
Q: How did Kiko do it?
A: We’ll let them talk on it. I wasn’t there so I can’t talk on it. His camp will handle that.
Q: How much of a shock was it when you first got a call?
A: It’s nothing you want to here on your vacation. Absolutely it was a shock. But again, injury is part of the game and it’s not an excuse for us and it can’t be an excuse for the team and it won’t be.
Q: When you drafted Brown you thought of him more as an inside guy didn’t you?
A: We thought of him as a guy that has the flexibility to play inside and outside. He played mostly inside at college but we thought with his workout and the way he moved at his size, that in a pinch he could go outside and we’ll find out for sure.
Q: In terms of Marcell Dareus’ status at the start of the season, have you had any correspondence with the league?
A: Not to this point. We haven’t heard anything from the league.
Q: What about the guys you place on the PUP list, especially Leodis (McKelvin)?
A: Leodis is coming back from that hip surgery that we talked about and we just wanted to make sure that we eased him in and not give him to strenuous of a workout right off the bat.
Q: Do you think Cordy (Glenn) could be a lengthy absence?
A: We’re still waiting on some reports on him but it looks like it’s going to be one of those day to day things and we’ll see how it progresses.
Q: You don’t think it’s season threatening?
A: We don’t think so at this time but again, we’re going to have to see on how he progresses. We hope not.
Q: Is what happened with Alan Branch something that quickly developed?
A: He was out but when he came in and did his physicals there were some tests that came back that we need to wait on and see if everything is okay. If they come back okay, he’ll be out on the field. He is at camp now.
Q: How about Cordy?
A: He’s going to be here and he’ll be doing some light exercises and stuff like that.
Q: What are you expectations and your message now that camp is here?
A: I think if you look at all 32 teams when they go to camp, everybody is looking to win. We’re competitors. Those guys in there are competitors, the coaches are competitors, us front office people are competitors. So anytime those guys strap it up, we’re expecting to win so I don’t understand why everybody keeps saying it’s a win-now situation. It’s always a win-now. That’s what sports are for.
Q: This is the Bills 15th year at Rochester and they’ve never made the playoffs here. Every year this day opens with high expectations and they’re dashed come December.
A: Well, that’s why we’re here to change it. That’s why we’ve built this roster and the moves we made in the off season were with the eye of making the playoffs.
Q: Do you feel like this roster has arrived, in terms of the overall picture you want to paint as GM?
A: We feel that we have a roster that we are building with some cornerstone pieces that we believe can consistently compete for playoffs and championships. We’ll see a big determination in that with the loss of Kiko [Alonso] and if we’ve found the right guys to replace him. It’s a huge loss, but Sean Lee went down in Dallas and they still have to play. People are getting hurt all the time, so we’ve just got to be ready to move on.
Q: In what ways would you the depth on the roster is better when compared to a couple years ago?
A: I think, again, the Kiko thing. We went and signed a guy that was more special teams oriented to fill the roster, who can take some reps then look to be a starter. Those are the things that are encouraging, not only to us, but also to the coaching staff and to the public, that we can withstand an injury. Again, the expectation is not going to dip.
Q: Where does LB Keith Rivers fit into the mix at linebacker?
A: I think he’s actually a four-down player. I don’t know which one is going to play Sam and Will, but he’s going to have to step up and take the lead between him and [Brandon] Spikes and whoever takes the other one. I think he can play on special teams and passing downs and Nickel situations.
Q: Why did you cut two players today?
A: Just to upgrade the roster.
Q: Will you go up to 90 players?
A: We’ll go up to 90 and we’re in the process of looking at two guys now. We’ve got to get some physicals and stuff like that, so we may have an announcement tomorrow.
Q: Are you taking veteran guys or younger guys for those spots?
A: Younger guys.
Q: Do you think QB E.J. Manuel has to take a big step this year for the team to go anywhere?
A: I believe that he has to take a step. Now, a big step, that depends on your categorization of big. I would say take care of the ball and, the one thing he did last year that he needs to do this year, is to come through and make the players. He did that last year. We think with our defense, our running game, I’m not going to say he has to manage it, but he just gets better and keeps improving. He doesn’t have to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders and he has to go out and win. We’ve surrounded him with some people where, if he does his job, we should be okay.
Q: What are the specific things you’re looking to see out of E.J.?
A: I want to see him be in more control of the huddle, the offense and [display] the command and presence we saw in college. It’s tough as a rookie, with all the time he missed, to get that comfortability factor. With all the offseason and him healthy now and going into training camp, by the time we leave training camp you should see a guy that’s standing tall in that huddle and quick and decisive with his decision-making.
Q: What do you think about several preseason projections ranking the team near the bottom of the league?
A: They should. We haven’t done anything. We’ve got a lot to prove. It is what it is. Like Russ [Brandon] said, ‘We won’t hide from it.’ We haven’t been in the playoffs in a long time and we owe it to the fans, our late Hall of Fame owner and everybody in this business to show that we’re not the Bills anymore. We want to be a playoff team. We’re planning to be a playoff team and that’s our goal.
RB Fred Jackson
Q: Some people bring a lot of things to camp, you brought a whole dorm with you. That’s a nice truck.
A: Yeah, it’s kinda for family travel. It makes it easy, put the kids in the back, throw a movie on and I don’t hear from them again, so it makes it easier for everybody and the trip is quick and easy that way.
Q: What was the movie?
A: Today it was actually adventure time, it’s a TV series, yesterday it was frozen I think. It’s usually some sort of princess movie.
Q: Is there anything different with this camp for you? Anything different for this season?
A: Not really, I think once you get used to doing this, you know what it is you wanna bring in and what it’s going to take to get through. I know this year is going to be a little bit longer for us with the construction going on at the Ralph [Wilson Stadium]. After about 5 or 6 times going through camp, you have a better idea of what you need to get ready for a season and get through training camp.
Q: In the previous eight years, everyone has seemed to have high hopes, and those high hopes always seem to get dashed for this team by not making the playoffs. What gives you the impression that the 9th time will be the charm?
A: The number one thing I'm excited about is a second year with this coaching staff. Their number one thing coming in was to get this thing turned around. Being with those guys for a second year, figuring each other out and what we want to do, how to use us and stuff like that, I think it’s going to be a tremendous thing that comes to fruition for us this year. That’s the number one thing I’m excited about, it’s easy to sit here and talk about it but I think we have the keys, we’ve added some pieces, guys have been here for a little while and we know what we have to do to get it done.
Q: As a team leader, do you get rattled by news like the news with Kiko [Alonso], losing him for potentially the entire season?
A: Obviously, you never want to lose a player of that magnitude. He did some tremendous things for us last year, and we definitely want a player of his caliber on the field at all times. I wouldn’t say I get rattled, but it’s definitely frustrating knowing how hard he worked to get ready for this year, coming off of hip surgery, he was trying to get back out there and be able to start the season with us. But now it’s just about who’s going to be the next guy up. We’ve played with that mentality the entire time I’ve been here, and that’s the mentality we have to continue to go forward with.
Q: This being your ninth training camp, how has your perspective changed as you arrive, speaking in the big picture of things, as you begin another season?
A: The number one thing is that I want them to be a part of this, especially my two oldest daughters as they start understanding more of what’s going on. My oldest daughter was saying “You have to leave for camp soon.” so that’s the type of stuff you’re going to remember and the stuff you want them to remember, like going and helping me move in, stuff we can talk about when they’re older, when I’m a grandpa and we can talk about with their kids. I think that’s the sort of stuff you start to see when you’ve been around as long as I have.
T Cyrus Kouandjio
Move-In Day — July 18, 2014
Q: You’ve been through camp before at the college level, and some people say Coach [Nick] Saban runs his camp a lot like a professional camp, so do you feel you have a pretty good idea of what’s to come these next three or four weeks?
A: I know it’s going to be challenging, there definitely is a difference between college and professional football, when we’re talking about camp, and how much we’re supposed to run because of the NFLPA and stuff. It was definitely tough in college, they pushed us to our limits every day, but I’m looking forward to see how it transitions into a professional camp.
Q: Do you feel that you put together a pretty good minicamp and can it act as a spring board for your game here in training camp even though there is a month lapse in between the two?
A: Well we all trained during that month off, you can’t just sit around all the time. Minicamp gives you a little taste of how it’s gonna be in the NFL, and I’m looking forward to it.
Q: How anxious are you to put on the pads? You couldn’t really put your full game on display in the OTA’s and minicamp, now you will have more of an opportunity to do so.
A: I think it’s really fun, I haven’t done it in a while. It’s been a couple months since I put on the pads and played a little bit, so I miss it and I can’t wait to get back to it.
Q: Have you talked to any Alabama guys in the NFL about how to approach camp or anything like that?
A: I talk to guys here and there, they say it’s serious and it’s tough but I’ve been doing serious and tough things for years now. So, well see how this one goes.
WR Marquise Goodwin
Move-In Day — July 18, 2014
Q: How much more do you feel you have under your belt going into year two?
A: A whole lot. Coming in I really didn’t know what to expect at all. Having one year experience has helped me out a lot. I’ve matured over just one year and I kind of know what to expect. I still have a lot to learn, but I’ll definitely be ready to go.
Q: What are your dorm life essentials?
A: All I really need is my bed, my playbook and my Bible. Those are the essentials right there. I didn’t bring a TV or video games. I’m not really a gamer. I like to think I’m the best gamer in the world, but I’m really not.
Q: What do you think about preview magazines giving the Bills low preseason rankings?
A: I like us. I like the Buffalo Bills. That’s goes without saying. We’ve been putting work in through this offseason, through camp. I kind of like coming from the bottom and we’re going to have to work our way up. There’s going to be a lot of bandwagon fans out there that will come out of the woodwork, so I’m looking forward to it.
Q: What is your outlook on the offense?
A: Sammy (Watkins) has definitely added to the offense, as well as the other people that we drafted. We have a good opportunity in front of us. E.J. (Manuel) has matured over the year. He’s ready, he’s assumed his role. He’s being more of a leader, more vocal and getting guys where they need to be. As well as other guys on the offense. It’s not just receivers, running backs and the QB. We’ve got offensive lineman like Eric Wood. He’s definitely stepped up along with other guys.
Q: How do you feel about the heavy competition at the receiver position?
A: I’ve been a competitor all my life, so it’s just another thing to me. I love competition and it’s only going to make this team better. If they brought in Calvin Johnson then that’s just better for the Buffalo Bills and, at the end of the day, that’s what’s it’s all about.
S Aaron Williams
Move-In Day — July 18, 2014
Q: How do you make up for the loss of Kiko Alonso?
A: It’s very unfortunate that we lost Kiko this offseason, but that gives guys an opportunity to step up, make plays and come here to contribute to the team. As sad as losing Kiko is, the great things about this team is that we have depth. I’m really sure that whoever is behind Kiko will step in and make plays.
Q: How critical is this training camp for getting up to speed with the new system?
A: Training camp is always critical. Especially when you have a new defensive coordinator and a bunch of new coaches. I really don’t think there’s that significant of a change from last year. I think we did a great job during our OTAs and minicamp and we need to come back and reassume our responsibilities.
Q: How long did it take for the shock to wear off when you heard about Kiko?
A: It goes quick. You kind of think about it for a while and then you understand that, just like during the season, injuries do happen. When that happens a guy has to step up and that’s basically what the NFL is. When your name is called you must be take a chance with the opportunity, roll with it and do the best you can.
Q: How prepared do you feel to build on last year?
A: I feel very confident that the change doesn’t really reflect on how much we have to catch up. The whole catch up process began in minicamp where we learned who our new defensive coordinator was, who our new coaches were and the new schemes. That time right there was to get acquainted to what’s new and to learn the new scheme. We grasped it and in training camp we will reevaluate it and just learn from our mistakes in minicamp and OTA’s.
Q: As a leader, what is your message to your teammates?
A: Oh, we’re not going to play any games this year. There’s a new attitude, a new style, a new coaching staff. I’ve talked to Coach [Donnie] Henderson, I’ve talked to Coach Samson [Brown] and we’re expecting a lot from this year. Our expectations are high from last year, especially from our defensive backs, who were top four last year in DB stats. We’re looking for number one or top three.
CB Ross Cockrell
Move-In Day — July 18, 2014
Q: What is it like stepping back onto a college campus?
A: It’s not too bad. All these cameras, all these people asking questions, it’s a little bit different. You know that you’re stepping into a big world, into a big game.
Q: What have you done to prepare yourself on your own?
A: I went home and spent a lot of time with my family. I also trained with Eugene Robinson a little bit as well. He used to play for the Panthers and play for a couple other teams. He coached against me in high school. So I knew him, but I never worked with him before.
Q: Did Coach Schwartz or Coach Henderson give you a short to-do list of things to work on before camp?
A: The best thing they told me is to continue to improve upon my footwork. At DB you can never get enough. Your feet are how you make plays and if your feet are correct then you can be in position to get interceptions or knock balls down.
Q: What are your expectations walking into your first training camp?
A: Well, the major thing that I heard is just that the intensity level is going to increase to a level that I have yet to see. I’m trying to get ready for that. As far as expectations, I don’t have many. I try to work hard and then see where it goes from there.
Q: How do you feel about being behind so many veteran players?
A: Well, I think it’s a very good thing. I mean you’ve got guys like Leodis (McKelvin) and Stephon (Gilmore), (Nickell) Robey, Corey (Graham). The list goes on. There’s so many people that have so many different techniques and so many different playing styles that I’m going to try to learn from them, take the best parts of each and put it all together.