QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Q: Bill Belichick talked about the Bills defense being one of the better defenses in the league. What are your thoughts on this defense and how tough they'll be on Sunday?
TB: Yeah, very tough. I agree. They've been ranked up there for a while now, and I think they're good at all levels, so that's the challenging part. They have a good front, very good at linebacker, very good in the secondary, play the pass well, tough, physical, stout defense, well-coached, fundamentally sound. They play well at home; it's a great environment. So, it's pretty tough, it's pretty tough. It's a great challenge. They're 3-0, they're off to a great start, they've got a very good football team and it's going to be really a great environment for football. They're going to challenge us. This will be the toughest game we've faced, and we're going to have to play a great game.
Q: How much do you enjoy playing in an environment like that where they're just focused on you and you're just trying to ruin all their hopes and dreams?
TB: Yeah, when you go on the road in the NFL, you've got to get used to that because that's a lot of what that's about. You go in there with however many guys – 46 active, five or six other guys, your coaches, a few fans in the crowd – but I think it's always gratifying when you go in there and then by the end of the game, you look up and there's only Patriots fans left. I always think that's pretty cool. So, to go on the road in the NFL is tough, and certainly early in the game, after their pregame tailgate when they're a little fired up. So, they're pretty into it, they're pretty loud and we've got to go out and we've got to execute early. I think starting fast, which we've actually done a good job with this year, that's really important this week.
Q: You had Julian Edelman out there today at practice. His toughness is well-documented. What does it mean to have him answer the bell on a day like today?
TB: Yeah, very much so. I said after the game, he's as tough as they come. He's faced a lot. You know, he's a very, very tough guy. He'll do everything he can to get ready to go. Certainly, when he's out there, it's a big boost for our offense. He just does so many things for us and he's so dependable, consistent – he's a great player. When he's not out there, it's definitely noticeable for all of us. Hopefully, he can make it, and if he can't, the other guys have got to fill in and do the best job they can do. So, you've just got to prepare for both.
Q: Belichick mentioned today that the Bills are not a game plan defense. They're going to do what they do and do it as well as they can. Do you prefer that because you generally know where the challenges are going to come from, as opposed to something like what the Patriots do defensively?
TB: Yeah, they always have some change-ups, I would say. They definitely have a core defense they run that I would say is very fundamentally sound. I don't think there's major change-ups from week-to-week, and I don't think you should change up week-to-week when you're one of the best defenses in the league. What they do works, and what they do is people are accounted for, there's gaps accounted for in the run game, there's zones that are accounted for in the pass game, there's man-to-man – when they play that, they're accounted for. So, I think it's a great style of defense because you really make the offense earn everything, and I think they have very smart players that all work well together. This is Coach [Sean] McDermott's, I think, third season, so he's had an opportunity to get the kind of guys in there that he really likes, along with keeping guys that he really likes. So, I feel like he's pretty close to where he wants to be and I think they're playing really well. They're playing well on offense, they've got a very good defense, they're turnover driven, they win close games – it's a very good team.
Q: Is this where the chess match comes in? Like if we move this guy here, this is how they generally react. Is that what the week is devoted to against what we'd call a standard, 'do what they do' defense?
TB: Yeah, I mean, you have different challenges based on what our personnel is and what the things we think we're confident in or that we think we can do consistently well. I think, when you look at this defense, I don't think we played that well last year when we went up there. We didn't play that well at home when we beat them here. I mean, I think they're good. They challenge you. They force you to make good plays, good decisions, good reads on a consistent basis, which we're going to need to be able to do and we've got to prove to ourselves that we're capable of doing that in order to gain confidence to actually do it when the pressure's on. That's why we go out and practice and try to get out there and rep those things. The more consistent, the more dependable we do it in practice, I think the more confidence that gives us to do it right in the game.
Q: What do you think of the job Phillip Dorsett has done, especially over the last year?
TB: Yeah, he's done a great job for us and he's making a lot of plays for us, we put him all over the field, and [he] just continues to improve. I think this has been a big year for Phil. He's worked really hard, put himself in a great position to take advantage of his opportunities, and he's certainly done it. So, everyone's happy for Phil. Nobody deserves it more than him, and he's going to need to keep doing it. He's one of the guys that's now become one of the people on the team that you just have to count on week-to-week and you have to know exactly what you're going to get. Because there's sometimes where you don't – he was one of those guys before that was like, 'Man, we don't know.' He was new here. There were other guys that carried a burden. And I think the veteran players who have been around, been in the tough games, know how to do it, you've got to carry the burden while the other guys can get up to speed and learn. So, that's part of the responsibility as a veteran player, for a guy like Phil, for a guy like Julian, James White, Joe Thuney. You know, they were all young players at one point. Now they've become the veteran players that they've got to carry most of the burden.
Q: How tough is it to lose a guy like James Develin?
TB: Yeah, very tough because he's a tone setter for us. He's a hell of a player, great teammate – I mean, he's everything you would look for in a teammate, person. We hate not having him out there. So, he'll be able to play a role, not necessarily on the field but for us in the locker room and practice and so forth because he's just got a great spirit about him. His energy, everything we ask him to do is so selfless. I think that particular position – there's not a lot of glory in playing fullback in the NFL, but he embraced that role and I think he gained the love and trust and respect of his teammates for that, and we feel the same way about him.
Q: What type of challenges does the Bills defense present when they disguise pre-snap what they're going to do?
TB: Yeah, they do a good job of that. I think everyone's pretty aware on defense. I think they have a lot of veteran players that do a very good job of rocking in and out of different looks and so forth. I think Coach McDermott puts them in a good position, and Coach [Leslie] Frazier – they put them in a good position where they can make things look similar and then they're a little bit different. I mean, I've been at this for a while, so I know what they're trying to do, they know what I'm trying to do. I mean, I'll figure it out once the ball is snapped. So, try to get it to the open guy and let them do something with it.
Q: You were limited today in practice and last week, despite being available for the game. How does being limited help you be ready for game day?
TB: You know, football is a contact sport. I wouldn't say I'm a spring chicken anymore. So, I'm trying to just feel as great as I can and see how it goes tomorrow. But, I feel pretty good.
Q: What it's mean to you to have Josh Gordon as a teammate this year, knowing what he had to put in both football wise and personally to be able to contribute this year?
TB: He's done a great job. He just puts his head down and comes to work. I think what he did last game was pretty spectacular in his own right to that number of plays that he ran. You know, other guys were going down. He was getting the ball on the reverse, he got the ball on the go routes, he got the ball, and he just kept coming back to the huddle. I kept going, "You good?" And he's like, "I'm good," and he just kept answering the bell. I think that says a lot about him and his mental toughness, his perseverance. Guys were dropping like flies out there and he just kept getting back up. There were a lot of big hits that he took on a very hot day, and just proud of him, what he's accomplished. We're going to need to continue to do it – not just him, but all of us.
Q: Your locker has been placed next to guys like Josh Gordon, Randy Moss, Drew Bledsoe going back and a number of other receivers. What does that give you, in terms of creating relationships and working on rapport and the playbook?
TB: Yeah, those are always good. My locker hasn't changed much over the years in terms of where I've been at. Different guys, usually the receivers, have been around me, or other quarterbacks. Yeah, it's just you have a chance to communicate when you have a couple minutes here and there, and it's always good. I think the defensive players kind of hang out together. We kind of hang out together, the offensive guys, the quarterbacks kind of hang out and the O-linemen kind of hang out. But then when everyone on offense is kind of down there together, you get quite a bit of time together. It's just part of being in the locker room. I think the locker room is a great place. It's a very comfortable place for a lot of guys. We kind of feel like we're all in there together and a team and trying to learn and understand each other so that we can go do a great job on Sunday.
SAFETY DEVIN MCCOURTY
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Q: How tough is it to play in Buffalo?
DM: Yeah, I mean, the atmosphere is awesome. I think as an away team, if you like that type of atmosphere where everybody's against you, you know it's going to be just you and your guys there for three hours trying to get a win. When you can get a win in that environment, I think it builds great character. It bonds a team together, but it's going to be tough. We know how hard it is. We went there last year on Monday night. It was a back and forth, low scoring, tough game. I think that's the type of battles they want to have there, and the crowd was in it from the beginning to the end. So, we know it's going to be the same type of game Sunday. They'll be ready to go. I think this is only their second home game anyway, and it's a division game coming. They'll be in there breaking tables probably from 8 a.m. all the way throughout. So, we'll get their best shot on the field and their fans.
Q: How important is a veteran like Frank Gore for Buffalo's offense?
DM: You watch him on film and you kind of forget how long he's been in the league because of the way he's running. But, I think any time you have an experienced guy like that – that he's played in a couple different offenses and he's kind of mastered all of them – I'm sure that's a very calming feeling, especially for Josh Allen, being a second-year. But to have that guy behind you and helping out and then talking to guys, probably in between the plays, and then you add on how tough he is. You see him run up the middle and it looks totally clogged, and then he's straight onto the safety and now you have to make a tough tackle against a guy like him. So, we know you've got to kind of be ready for the downhill runs. But he still has good speed if he needs to bounce it, and can really go anywhere. And then I think the hardest thing about Frank Gore is always just tackling him, getting him on the ground.
Q: What kind of challenges do Josh Allen's size and mobility provide for your coverage schemes?
DM: I think the tough thing is like you said, when he decides to run he has good size and he can really run with the ball – stiff arm, he's like a running back – but at any moment he can pull up. And I don't care if he's running full speed, with his arm strength, he can throw the ball 60, 70 yards in the air. So, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense, and you see it. You've seen him in the first three games stand back there and make throws, but also get out of the pocket and look like, "Man, you shouldn't do this," and then he completes a ball down the field. So, we've talked about this. Last year, it seemed like it was every week we were going against a guy like this. This will probably be the first test this year of trying to contain a guy, keep him in the pocket and not allow him to make plays all over the field. But, it's hard on a defense, especially because he's such a good athlete, that you see guys come free and he's able to get out of the pocket, make them miss, and now the whole field opens up to him.
Q: How does the defense continue to play so well despite your media coverage?
DM: Practice. It all comes down to what we do in practice each week of preparing and getting ready to go. And, with all due respect, we don't care what anybody writes or says about us because we know as good as it can be, I bet if we pull up some clippings from last year, you guys were probably saying some of the worst things about our defense. So, it all comes and goes, and I think the biggest thing is kind of playing for each other and then preparing each week. From Wednesday throughout – and really starting Tuesday, starting watching the film on our own – but coming in here on the practice field Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then tying everything together Saturday, I think it's what's given us confidence the first three weeks.
Q: What was it like to have Julian Edelman back out at practice today after getting injured Sunday?
DM: Jules is crazy, though. He's one of the toughest guys I've ever played with, so you never count him out. I mean, he was saying that Sunday. He was saying he's going to get as good as he can and do whatever he has to do, so I'm not surprised by anything he does. Since I've gotten here in 2010, he's always been a tough guy. Even the years he's been on I.R. and you knew he wasn't coming back, if you see him in the locker room or working out, you would swear he was coming back for the playoffs or something. So, he's always been a tough guy.
Q: Have you discussed the fact that you haven't given up a defensive touchdown since last year's AFC Championship Game?
DM: No. Honestly, no one has talked about that, and I think for us it's just going over all of the situations. We haven't gotten a ton of red area work in the game. Against Pittsburgh, they got down there, but I think that's something that we've continued to work on because we know games are kind of decided by that. So, you talk about giving up touchdowns and turning seven-point plays or just three-point plays, just playing well in the red area, especially on third down in the red area. So, that's something that we continue to focus on and make sure each week we know what teams want to do and how they want to play against us in that area.
Q: Cole Beasley has often been compared to an Edelman-like receiver. What's his value to the Bills, and does your experience competing against Julian in practice help you defend a guy like that?
DM: Yeah, he's a tough receiver. I think he's able to do a lot of things on the field. Similar to Jules, I think guys always just want to label him as a slot guy that only can play in the slot. But, Cole Beasley, he's out there. He's playing the Z, he's playing the X and two-receiver sets, and he kind of plays all over their offense. So, you can tell he's a smart guy that can do a lot of different things. So, I'm sure Josh Allen has a lot of trust between him and [John] Brown out there. Obviously, two new receivers this year, but it seems like they've gained a lot of trust in the different things they want to do offensively. And then from practicing against [Brian] Daboll, we know some of the tough things that he can draw up and have. So we know it'll be tough from a scheme standpoint, and then going against some of their newer guys out there.
Q: With their new weapons, do you see Brian Daboll expanding his playbook and being more creative?
DM: Yeah, you definitely see that through the first three games – just their ability to attack each one of those defenses a little differently each week and kind of having that match-up offense where they want to do and how they want to attack a defense. But, that could change depending on what you do defensively. You can definitely see that when you watch the film. So, this'll be another game early in the season. There's some core things that they're probably going to do, but there's going to be some things that we have to adjust to in the game that we really haven't seen on tape that they probably drew up special for how we play and what we do defensively. So, it's something that we're going to have to be prepared for, getting on the sideline, talking in between plays, being able to communicate on successful plays that they have and just being ready to stop that series-to-series, but also within a drive.
Q: When Jamie Collins was here the first time, you called him the best athlete you had seen at the time.
DM: Not anymore, he's a little older.
Q: How good has he been since he came back, and when did you realize that he was going to be this good again?
DM: Yeah, he's been awesome. He came in here in the spring, and I think for him, from a mentality standpoint, he didn't really come back as Jamie Collins, the guy that was here. He came back almost as a new guy, like, "Let me prove to these guys that I can, for one, play in this defense, and I can do what the team asks me to do." Since he's come back, he's been awesome. He's always had versatility to be at the end of the line of scrimmage, be inside, standing up at linebacker. And if you ask him, he can go back and play safety, too. So, it's great just having him out there. He has special athletic ability. You see it every day on the practice field. You see it in the games on Sunday. He's one of those guys you're happy he's on your team because he makes everybody else better with just some of the things he can do out there on the field.
Q: What does it say about the depth and versatility of the defense when you're able to play at a high level with guys in and out of the lineup week-to-week, like Kyle Van Noy in Week 1 and Shilique Calhoun last week?
DM: Yeah, J-Mac [Jason McCourty] got on those guys about being selfish having babies during the season. But, I think the depth on defense shows, and it showed not only with KV [Kyle Van Noy] being out, but in some of these games. You know, you go down to Miami and it's like 100 degrees out there, and then Sunday it was another hot one. Guys just staying fresh, saying, "Hey, you got me on this series, you go this time." I think we all as players, and then the coaches, have tremendous amount of trust in each guy that sits in those defensive meetings – if you need to go in and your number's called, that we can, for one, run all of the same defenses we've been running. We don't have to adjust anything. And I think the best thing about depth is the versatility. We have guys that can play in so many different positions, whether that's a linebacker-type role, in the secondary, on the line. Within a game and within practice, we have guys kind of playing all over, to the point that we have to sometimes remind each other, like, "Hey, you're here this time," "I'm here," just to make sure we get all of our communication. And it's tough, though, but that's some of the hard work we've been putting in that we've got to continue to do if we want to do those things well.
RUNNING BACK JAMES WHITE
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Q: Congratulations on the birth of your son. How excited are you at this time?
JW: I appreciate that. It's definitely an exciting moment in life. I always wanted to be a dad. Your wife goes through a lot giving birth to a kid, so it's an exciting moment for the both of us.
Q: Can you talk about the challenge you guys have going into Buffalo this week?
JW: It's a great challenge. Every time we play these guys they give us a great game. They're a physical defense. They're smart guys. They disguise well. They're good at the defensive line, linebackers, at the safety position, corners. They have everything they need. They play sound football, smart football. It's going to be a great challenge for us, a tough environment. We've got to see what we're made of.
Q: How much does it hurt losing a guy like James Develin?
JW: It's tough, man. He's a great teammate, great football player and a great person. You hate to see a guy like that go down. He's a focal point of our offense. Not many teams use a fullback but he's a guy who changed the game for us, so it's tough to see him go down.
Q: Is Buffalo a tough place to go on the road and try to get a win?
JW: It's definitely tough. The fans are into it. They're tailgating so when you pull up to the stadium they're yelling at the bus, all things of that nature. It's NFL football. It's exciting. It's everything you can ask for. It'll be a great challenge for us though to see what we're made of, another road game, another challenge. We've got to go out there and execute for four quarters.
Q: Do you have to worry about any foreign objects thrown on the field?
JW: I hope not this year. You never know with the fans out there. You never know.
Q: Can you just talk about Julian Edelman's toughness and resilience to be back out there today after exiting Sunday with an injury?
JW: He's a tough guy. He takes a lot of hits going across the middle and he always gets back up. He's a physical player and he does a lot of things that a lot of receivers probably wouldn't take some of those hits, so he's a tough and dependable guy.
Q: What does it do for your team when he answers the bell on a day like today, knowing that some other players would've sat out?
JW: I mean, like I said, he's tough, dependable. It's not easy even at this point of the season. Even early in this year, guys aren't 100-percent, so everybody's battling through something.
Q: What was it like to watch your team take care of your Jets while your No. 1 priority was obviously on your wife and child?
JW: It was a cool experience. Like I said, my wife giving birth to our child, that was a great experience and then for us to be able to watch the game with him being there even though he was asleep and everything. It was a great experience and I'm happy those guys went out and played well and got a big division win.
Q: What's your son's name?
Q: How was Bill Belichick to work with as you prepared for that moment? Was he supportive and understanding?
JW: Definitively supportive. Like you've seen, we've had quite a few guys have babies during this season, so they've been supportive. Obviously, that's a once in a lifetime opportunity so he's let our guys experience it.
Q: Did Kyle Van Noy give you some advice on how to deal with it given that he went through a similar situation earlier this season?
JW: A little bit. I just gave them a heads up, let them know what's going on and keep them updated pretty much.
Q: What was it like watching your football team play and not being there?
JW: It was definitely weird. It felt like I wasn't a part of the team for a second, but like i said, those guys, they went out and played well. Rex [Burkhead] played a lot, Brandon [Bolden] played a lot, Sony [Michel] and those guys did a great job. Like I said, it was a big division win.
Q: What type of fan are you? Were you screaming at the TV?
JW: No, I couldn't scream. The baby was sleeping. I was excited for those guys. It's never easy playing against the Jets and those guys did a great job versus them.
Q: What can a guy like Damien Harris learn in trying to get up to speed with the running back group here?
JW: Just continue to work hard, practice hard. You may not be getting the game reps but you never know when your number is going to be called. You never know when that opportunity is going to pop up, so just practice hard, show the coaches that you're paying attention to the game plan and you're going to continue to learn, continue to grow, continue to ask questions so whenever you're out there, you can go out there and make the most of the opportunity that you get.
Q: What did you see from Cody Kessler today and what did you know about him before his arrival here?
JW: I've seen him play for a while. I might have played against him in college … He's a good football player. Obviously, it's just one practice but I'm sure it's a lot to learn as a quarterback stepping in for your first day, so I'm sure he'll continue to work.