Orchard Park (WKBW.com/Bills) The Buffalo Bills are getting ready to host the Miami Dolphins this Sunday at Ralph Wilson stadium. The team practiced Wednesday in Orchard Park, where Head Coach Chan Gailey named C.J. Spiller as the starting RB for the opener.
Below are the transcripts from his meeting with the media, along with comments from Spiller, and QB Trent Edwards.
HEAD COACH CHAN GAILEY-
On the status of RB Fred Jackson and S Jairus Byrd:
I think Fred Jackson will be fine for the game. He’ll still be hampered a little bit with that hand, but I think they’ve worked it out and should be able to pad it well enough that it should not be an issue. [Jairus] Byrd will continue to practice today. He’s feeling better every day. Whether he’s ready for the game or not, we’ll just have to determine that as we get closer to the ball game.
On the status of LB Reggie Torbor:
We’ll have to see what Reggie can do on the field today. I don’t know. He’ll be limited. It won’t be full-go if he is on the field getting team reps.
On the status of CBs Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin:
They both should be back on the field today, maybe not doing everything but doing something. Looking at the future, I think they will be doing most full practices Thursday and Friday, and be able to go on Sunday.
On the way he feels LB Chris Ellis finished off preseason:
Chris has done some good things. He’s not a finished product, just like many of our players are not a finished product. He’s still learning the position. He’s made a ton of strides from where he was when we started OTA’s, he’s come a long way. He can rush the passer which is good. He’s big strong and physical which allows him to play the run. He’s just getting a better feel for standing up instead of having his hand on the ground.
On the progress and potential of RB C.J. Spiller:
Well, I think he showed, in college, that he was a dynamic player. I think that he has shown, in his few reps here, that he is a very good player and has the chance to be a really good player for a long time in this league. The reason he is starting is because he has gotten more reps than anybody else at tailback in preseason and he’s done a good job. If he hasn’t done a good job then we might have to re-think it, but he’s done a good job and he’s earned the spot. So, we’re looking forward to him being out there.
On how his playmaking ability makes it hard not to have him on the field:
Sure it is. The great thing is, at tailback, we’ve got three starters. Some people have trouble finding one and we have three. They make us rank them, they make us put one, two, three down there [on the depth chart], but it’s kind of like asking a parent, ‘Now, rank your children. Which one is your most favorite.’ They’re all going to play. They’re all starters. They’re all going to be valuable members of our football team as the year goes on, as I foresee it.
On using the versatility of all three RBs being a part of his approach:
Yeah, sure. Those guys are very versatile players and we’ll try to use them in a lot of different ways as the season goes on.
On if he feels this year being the beginning of a new era for Buffalo Bills football:
That’s what you have to believe. You have to believe that you’re heading in the right direction, that you’re making steps toward being a championship football team. That’s the reason you’re in it, that’s the reason you practice, that’s the reason you lift weights in April and May. It is to prepare for a championship season. So, yeah, I look at it as a new start, but you know what, after this season the next season will be a new start too, and the year after that it will be a new start. That’s the way it is in this league. Everybody gets to start anew in this league.
On if he personally feels re-born as an NFL coach:
No, I don’t feel re-born. I feel like I’ve got a job to do and it’s my job to get this team headed in the right direction. I don’t get in to that emotional stuff.
On if QB Trent Edwards has something to prove as a long-term franchise NFL quarterback:
Sure, anybody that has not done that on a consistent basis has something to prove. It doesn’t matter where you are or what team it is. There’s guys that have had one good year or two good years, but your term of ‘long-term franchise NFL quarterback’, there’s a lot of guys that have that to prove. There’s not many of those around. So, there’s a lot of people that have that to prove and Trent’s one of them, but as I said the other day, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
On if he still gets nervous coming out of the tunnel for the first game of the season:
Excitement. I don’t say it’s butterflies, it’s excitement. If you can’t get excited about game day, then you better get out of the business because that’s what all the work’s for.
On how he would characterize Miami’s defense:
Very physical inside. They’re a very physical football team inside. That’s impressed me in preseason. People have had a hard time running it from all over the line of scrimmage, but from tight end to tight end especially. They’ve really struggled to have any kind of meaningful runs inside. So, to me, they’re very strong and physical in defending the run.
On how a elite receive, like Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall, affect the defense planning:
Well, they affect you pretty good. You have to know where they are at all times. You can’t treat a great player like any other player. You have to make sure that they are not able to go to him in clutch situations when you know they’re getting ready to go to it. Whether it’s a running back, whether it’s a tight end, whether it’s a wide-out, you have to make plans for that.
On how much newly acquired TE David Martin can help to prepare for the Dolphins:
We ask him a few questions, but he doesn’t know a lot about their defense or a lot about the special teams. He knows more about what they were doing on offense and he can give us a little insight, but they saved some stuff just like we did for the first week. So, I’m sure they’re preparing some different stuff. You use it and you take it in to consideration, but you don’t depend on that.
On where he thinks QB Trent Edwards has made the biggest stride since he’s been head coach:
He understands what we’re trying to get done now than he has at any point in the year. He was feeling his way through it early. To be honest with you, we were all feeling our way through it early. He’s done a good job of trying to understand exactly what we’re trying to get done. Our understanding and belief about where the ball needs to go, how you handle the ball as far as protecting it and making sure we make the plays we need to make when it’s time to make them – down-field, short, check-down, whatever it might be.
On facing the challenge of turning around a team that hasn’t had the best record the past few seasons:
Well, that’s part of it. Like I said earlier, you get a chance to start anew every year. That’s the great thing about this league. We’ve got different players. They’ve got a lot of different players from who they ended up the season with last year. We’ve got a lot of different players. You get a chance to go out and prove who you are each and every Sunday, and it starts this Sunday.
On how he prepares to deal with Miami’s defense with a new defensive coordinator:
We got back and look at Denver quite a bit. We look back at their preseason and try to [combine] the two thought processes together. It’s not easy to be honest with you. They were very vanilla in preseason and did not show a lot of stuff. So, we have to look back at last years’ Denver stuff to get an idea of where things might be and some things that we might have to prepare for offensively.
On how much is the preparation based on pure speculation:
Probably most of it. Hopefully it’s an educated guess, but it may not be.
On his concern with the special teams and defensive side of the ball heading in to the regular season:
As a coach, I don’t think you’re ever satisfied. I think I’m concerned every time we walk on the field, about every facet of the game. Just because you did something well or you did something poorly, in preseason, there are a lot of factors that go in to that. It all starts for real this week and this is the week that you have to get things ready. You do things different in preseason for various reasons. So, I look at it and I know what our problems were, I know that we can get to solutions and hopefully we’ve gotten to those solutions this week.
On if he has to rely on his secondary:
Well, we expect them to play well and we expect the front to play well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that, but I expect that secondary to be on top of their game from day one because they have all played, they’ve been in big games, they’ve played well together. So, yeah, I think we have those expectations from them and the great thing is they have those expectations from themselves, which is good.
On if RB C.J. Spiller can carry the heavy work load of a No. 1 running back:
I think we have to be really smart with how we handle him, especially early in the year. I think its incumbent upon us to make sure we don’t throw him out there and work him overly, early in the season. With that being said and everyone stays healthy and everything goes according to plan that should never be an issue with the backs that we have.
On what he thinks about Miami RB Ricky Williams and how old he is:
I don’t even know how old he is to be honest with you. I have no clue. He’s done a good job for them. They’ve made a lot of things happen in a lot of different ways down there with him. He was electric when he came out of college and he still has some of that electricity left in him. He’s one of those guys that you better know where he is and what he’s doing on the field. They create some problems. Their wildcat is as good as it gets when they get all those guys back there running that thing. You have to really be on top of your game.
RUNNING BACK C.J. SPILLER
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
On the objective to turn the Bills into a winner:
I’m ready, I’m prepared and that’s why we have practice throughout the week to get ready. It’s not going to be a one man show though. It’s going to take a team effort to get where we want to go and I’m just happy to be a part of that. Everything starts Sunday for our goal and that’s to be in Dallas at the end of the year. I’m just taking it all in stride and just preparing the best way I can prepare.
On getting the opportunity to start:
You’re always surprised. You never know what’s going to happen. That’s why you just have to go out there and prepare yourself. It just goes to show you I’ve put in a lot of hard work, but there are two other great guys and everybody is always capable of being the starter. I just went through the preseason and have been trying to get in a good grove and get accustomed to the game and how the offensive line blocks and what’s going on and that was the coach’s decision. I just went out to play. That’s all I did.
On the pressure to improve the offense:
I just try and go out there and just play. I just try to bring excitement to the game and play it how it’s supposed to be played and that will never change. The way I play the game, I just try to go out and help my team win and that comes through preparation. I think if you’re prepared and know what you’re doing you can go out there and you can play full speed and kind of give the fans what they came to see; a good show and that’s kind of what I try to take to the game.
On critics saying he can’t handle an extensive workload:
That’s their opinion. Everybody has to voice their own opinion and I know what I can do as a player. I know what I did in the offseason to get my body prepared for this type of season and I know what I’ve done through OTAs and minicamps and now through training camp and now the season here. I never get down or let anyone talk about my game. I know what I’m capable of doing so that doesn’t hurt my confidence at all if someone is saying I can’t carry the ball 25 times. I’ll just go out there and show them wrong.
On what it will be like to play in his first NFL game:
It’s going to be great. The start of a new season, I can’t wait. Preseason was great but this is where it really counts. This is what you work hard for in the offseason, trying to win the Super Bowl and it all starts Sundays. I’m just ready to see how the crowd responds, I’ve been hearing about it so much since I’ve been drafted. I’m just anxious to go out on the field and be able to compete again.
On if he’s prepared for the differences between a preseason game and a regular season game’s pace:
That’s what Coach Gailey’s been preaching, that every time it’s going to go up a notch. Of course the preseason got faster than it was in OTAs and minicamp. Of course the season is going to pick up. Guys have been telling me that it’s going to pick up and this is what everybody has been waiting for. Of course I’m going to have to adjust to it. The first couple of snaps I’ll get adjusted to it and I’ll be ready to go. Like I said that just comes from preparation. I don’t really let the speed of the game lower my confidence. If I’m prepared enough to go out there and give my team a chance to win the game I think everything else will take care of itself.
On the importance of scoring against first team defenses in the preseason:
I didn’t really go into the games saying I need to go out and prove something. I just went into all the games to get better than I was last week and to do it against a Super Bowl team like the Colts and even the Bengals, they’ve got a Super Bowl team over there. That gives not only me confidence but this whole team. To be able to do that of course it gives you a lot of confidence but that’s preseason. Now everybody kind of knows what I’m capable of doing so of course the bull’s-eye is going to probably get bigger and I’ve got to get prepared. The good thing is I have a great supporting cast so if teams want to try to come in and stop the run we have great receivers who can make plays. So as long as we’ve got more points at the end of the game I guess that’s all that really matters.
On the relationship between RBs Fred Jackson, Marshawn Lynch and himself:
It’s been great. We have a great relationship. There is no jealousy amongst us. Any one of us could have been the starter and the other two guys would have to support it. Those guys have been very supportive since the decision was made and we’re all in the film room trying to get better, seeing how we can help this team win, as far as our group, and I’m looking forward to getting out there on Sunday.
On any nervousness before the start of the season:
I just don’t show it, I do a great job. Of course come Sunday you’re supposed to be nervous. If you’re not nervous then you need to check yourself. Of course I’ll be nervous going out there on Sunday but throughout the week I just try to stay calm, I just try to prepare myself, so when Sunday comes I can just go out and have fun and compete against another guy.
On how he found out he was the starting running back:
I saw it just like everybody else, on the website. I had my family calling me and telling me, I don’t really follow that stuff. I didn’t know anything. Like I said I’m just worried about stuff that really counts and that’s being prepared. If I wasn’t named the starter I still would have went about it the same way.
On what he has learned recently about football and life:
That this is a business and that you have to do your job. And if you don’t do your job there’s a guy there that’s willing to come do it for you. That’s a thing I learned early and that’s a mindset I’ve always had, that if you don’t take care of your job there’s a guy willing to do it for you. In life, I learned enjoy your family because you never know when it can be your last time with them. That’s kind of what I’ve been doing. I try to talk to my family every day and I try to talk to my daughter everyday because you just never know what can happen in this life and in today’s world. So that’s the main thing that I’ve kind of been taught.
On the bull’s-eye on his back:
I don’t worry about it. It’s happened throughout my whole career and I’m sure it won’t change and that’s a good thing. That means it opens up doors for everybody else. When a team is just going to try to focus in on one guy, I wish them well.
On his reaction to the first time he saw a fan wearing his jersey:
I mean it was strange. You’re always growing up as a little boy wanting to have your name on the back of an NFL jersey and to see a fan with it on means a lot. The main thing I tell fans is don’t just watch what I do on the field, take into account how I handle stuff off the field because those are the role models you want to follow. That is just the example I try to set for younger kids. I don’t want anybody to put my jersey on and I’m the guy who is always in the paper for the wrong things and I’m up here answering questions about what happened downtown or something.
On if there is any connection for him with the Dolphins being from Florida:
My dad stays down there in Miami so he’s getting a lot of people talking to him about the game because they know I’m in Buffalo. I never followed one team. I just liked to follow guys. When I was a little boy my Mom bought me a Miami uniform. I put that on for the first time and ran around with that and the helmet on, but I never became a fan of the team. I didn’t like them and I didn’t dislike them. It will be great going against them. Any time you go up against your home team it’s always fun and all I can do is just try to go out here and prepare and get ready for Sunday.
QUARTERBACK TRENT EDWARDS
Podium – September 8, 2010
On his growing confidence:
I’ve talked to guys about this before, it comes back to me focusing on enjoying my job, enjoying the sport of football and being an enjoyable person to be around. I know sometimes these interviews get boring and I’m not the most up-beat guy all the time, but when it comes down to it I enjoy being with the guys in this locker room, I enjoy being around coaches and I enjoy the game of football. It might result in more confidence. That’s probably why I’m in the situation I’m in. That’s probably why Lee [Evans] and Terrell [Owens] are saying things like that, but it’s a long season. So, we’re going to go through our highs and lows and when it comes down to it, I still need to see this job as something that I enjoy to do. In the end that will make me seem a little more confident.
On if he feels more comfortable in this offensive system than years’ past:
I feel comfortable in the fact that Chan [Gailey] does a really good job of explaining what the quarterback’s responsibilities are on each play. I get my questions answered, I know what I’m coached to do and, as a player, that makes one less thing to worry about. You’re just out there reacting and you know what you’re doing and your comfort level goes up – that all stems from having Chan be there to help us out.
On what he’s seen thus far that makes RB C. J. Spiller special:
Well, I said this when he first signed. He was holding out from training camp for a couple of days and I think you guys asked me, ‘What it is about him that you really like?’ Through OTA’s and mini-camps, I just liked his passion. He was here and picked up the offense real quickly. He’s one of those guys that has his eyes open and he’s making eye contact with you in the huddle. He comes to work every day, plays hard and runs hard. You want teammates like that. You want running backs like that in your backfield and that’s probably why C.J.’s in the situation that he’s in. He’s a great football player for us. Like I’ve said all along, we just need to block for him and when we make our mistakes we need to learn from those and put the ball in the end zone.
On Spiller opening people’s eyes with big plays:
That absolutely does and I’m hoping that will happen in the regular season. I know that he wants that to happen and that’s why he was drafted and brought in, to do that. So, we’re hoping that will happen on Sunday and a lot of Sundays to come.
On how much of a weapon he is from an offensive scheme point of view:
It just takes a lot of pressure off our passing game. I think if you have that run threat you’re going to keep the defenses off balance, you’re not going to be so predictable, the pass rush isn’t going to come as hard and that just helps having that element in your offense where you can turn, on any down and distance, and hand him the ball off and he’ll get a first down or he’s going to make a big play for you. You set up your play-action game. You set up your boots and [naked boots] and your screen game, and that makes it really hard on a defense.
On RB C.J. Spiller’s pass protection and the trust he has in that:
I do feel like he understands the offense, like I said. He knows where to go and he’ll fight for you and that’s all you can ask for. I know he’s an undersized back when it comes to blocking 3-4 outside linebackers, but he’ll get in there and he’ll fight for you. He knows who to block and that’s all you can ask for out of him.
On if he’s out to prove he’s a franchise quarterback:
I’m out here to prove that I’m a winning quarterback and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to come here, like I said, and enjoy the sport of football. If that comes with the territory then so be it, but the bottom line is we need to beat the Dolphins on Sunday and the rest will take care of itself.
On if he thinks the team needs to have a winning record for him to prove that he’s a “winning quarterback”:
I honestly haven’t even thought about that. I’m going to go back to my cliché answer that I give when there’s a question that I don’t really feel I need to answer. There’s guys in this organization that get paid a lot of money to make those decisions. My opinion doesn’t matter in that situation. So, I’m going to do what I’m paid to do and that’s deliver the football and win football games on Sunday.
On if this match-up with Miami is a little different with the new personnel on both sides:
It does. We’re not expecting too much of what they’ve shown in the preseason. They were pretty basic with their defensive looks. We’re probably going to see a lot of things we haven’t seen so far. So, we’ve got to be ready and react to that. Mike Nolan is coming over from Denver [Broncos] and we have some guys in our locker room that have played for the Dolphins. So, we’re going to try to get a head up on that, but the bottom line is if we know our schemes, we know our fundamentals, we know where we’re going with the football, it really shouldn’t matter what sort of defenses we’re going up against. We’ve faced it already before with our defense and we should be able to react to it.
On what gives the team the confidence that this fresh start under Chan Gailey will be successful:
Well, I’m always that guy that’s optimistic. I’ve said this from day one, I’m a glass-half-full type of guy and I can sit here and tell you the most standard answer that I feel like we’re going in the right direction. I’ve said that all along. We’re finding our rhythm on offense. Defensively, we’re flying to the football and on special teams we’re some of the best in the league. So, if we stay healthy, we’re calling the right plays at the right time and we’re in situations in the fourth quarter to win football games, there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a fresh start. I feel like we have the guys, the pieces in place and it’s for you guys to write about. You guys can believe it or not believe what I say. I believe what I say and that’s my personal opinion on that.
On how much playing against a 3-4 defense in practice has helped in preparing for one this weekend:
I think it’s helped me out a lot. I think it’s helped the offensive line out a lot. I know that we faced some 3-4 defenses last preseason that we had never faced because we were in a 4-3. So, some of those guys haven’t seen some of the looks and we’ve seen it since day one in OTA’s now. Like I said before, some of these looks that we’re going to get on Sunday that the Dolphins haven’t put on tape through preseason, we’ve probably seen out of our defense so far. As a quarterback, as offensive linemen, as a running back, receiver, and tight ends – that’s going to be beneficial for us, that we’ll be able to react a little bit better and a little more efficient when we do see that on Sunday.
On if head coach Chan Gailey has been a revelation for him:
I believe in him. I feel like he believes in himself and that’s what you want out of the position. He’s a guy that shows up for work every day with a smile on his face and a positive attitude, and as a quarterback, to have a head coach like that, to have a boss like that. Talk about your guys business too, if you guys have someone that you work with and manages your position, and he’s happy to be there, it makes your job a lot easier. So, I’m happy to be here and I’m happy for Sunday.