Q: ** What do you see from E.J. Manuel and Jeff Tuel in terms of what challenges they bring offensively?
MP: I certainly think that Buffalo's offense in general has a tremendous scheme and philosophy that they are trying to implement. The quarterback position, as you can see throughout the preseason, has just an integral part of that, being able to plug in and still be successful in that system. I think the system they have is run really well. I think the quarterbacks obviously are doing a good job in the system and offer a lot of challenges for us this weekend. Guys that they try to fit into what they do offensively have done a good job of really doing that. I think every week you try to prepare your best to try to handle all the different scenarios that could come up.
Q: How much of a connection do you see with the Syracuse offense you saw back in 2001 with the offense that Doug Marrone brought with him to the Bills?
MP: Obviously, Syracuse is home for me, so it's always good to see Syracuse. Really, what we're focused on is Buffalo and what they're doing currently. You're trying to get a grasp of the offense that they're running which is a system that they've had in place, obviously previously with Doug and Coach [Nathaniel] Hackett. You try to go through all those different avenues and see what they're doing and try to explore and make sure you're prepared. But obviously, the Buffalo system and the players that they have is really what we're concentrating and focusing on right now.
Q: Did facing Tim Tebow in training camp help prepare you for mobile quarterbacks such as Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel and situations they might present?
MP: I think in training camp you're trying to go through and improve every day as a defense and trying to improve on a variety of different things that you might see throughout the season and might have to address at some point during the season, whether it's Week 1 or all the way at the end of the season. Obviously, we try to get multiple looks at different offenses and different things that might come up throughout the season. Certainly, the better look we can get in practice will help in certain situations that will hopefully help us down the road. Training camp is a good opportunity to just try to improve the individual fundamentals and skills. It was that way in training camp and we'll continue to do that.
Q: Do you still have to pay attention to Fred Jackson despite all the hype that C.J. Spiller has received this offseason?
MP: I think from a personnel standpoint with Buffalo, I think they have tremendous players. Spiller is extremely difficult player to play against. He has a great combination of quickness and speed and vision and the ability to play out in space or run the ball. Certainly, Fred Jackson is someone that we have familiarity with as far as his explosive play ability and his ability to change a game. Obviously those are two great players that we have to do a phenomenal job against in this game to try to stop, along with the skill players outside – the receiver positions, Stevie Johnson, [Robert] Wood, [T.J.] Graham. All those guys just do a great job at their positions getting open and can be explosive players in their offense. Those are certainly guys that we have to do a great job of stopping.
Q: Has having a lot of familiar faces back from last season helped the defense and the process going forward this year?
MP: I certainly think it's good when you have some carryover year to year. I think every year is different and that's how we approach it but certainly guys that have familiarity with the program and what you're trying to do, hopefully they have an advantage coming into the next year to start at a higher [level] and to improve from there. We're certainly excited about the season getting underway and certainly excited about going through training camp and improving and trying to get better as a defensive unit. That's really what we're trying to do every day, is take a look at the different things that we're doing and seeing if they've gotten better from a fundamental standpoint through to a scheme standpoint. It's good to have guys that are back year after year – obviously Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Devin McCourty, just the leadership that we have with those guys but really everybody. Everybody that steps out onto the field is going to set an example for the rest of the defense and hopefully the team to follow. We're excited to get going.
Q: Does Aqib Talib seem more comfortable in the defense after an entire offseason with the team?
MP: Very, very happy with his work and his ethic that he comes in as far as this guy studies film, he really practices hard, he competes every day. He's a good example on the field for those guys who are coming into the program to get in behind him and follow along. It's been good to have him through training camp, like everybody that we have. Obviously, the more you're here, the more we can get down and improve upon. It certainly is beneficial to have everybody as long as we can from the spring all the way through.
Q: What does a healthy Chandler Jones mean to the defense?
MP: I think just in general, we're trying to go out there and work as a unit. We're just trying to work hard to get better, as is everybody on the defense. [Our expectations] for him, as they are for all of us and that's to grow and compete at an extremely high level and do the best we can to stop the Bills. That's what we're looking forward to.
Q: What are the things that make Chandler Jones unique?
MP: Again, I think with Chandler, he's gone a good job coming out and trying to improve his overall playing style and just all aspects of the game, as far as the run game, the pass game and trying to be a better football player every year and that's really what we're looking for. I think we're just looking for him to improve on the things that he does and hopefully do them a little bit better.
Q: Would you agree that Chandler Jones has very unusual length?
MP: I don't think you can argue Chandler is a long guy – he has long arms, long legs. Hopefully, that's something he can use to his advantage like guys that have played before that are long like him. There's different leverage that comes with that length than maybe a guy with different size numbers. Certainly playing with that length the right way can help him.
Q: What type of stress does Scott Chandler put on the defense?
MP: He's obviously a real good player and a key for them in the past and obviously in the future as far as a guy who can get open in the pass game. He does a good job, has a good feel for the pass game, whether it's zone or man, working away from leverage or finding an open spot in the zone, along with obviously just being a big guy in the run game that can get out there and get in a good blocking position and really whether they're trying to get the edge or run the ball inside, he does a real effective job there out on the edge. Definitely a challenge for us to do a good job against him and try to get him in both facets of the game.