Head Coach Tom Coughlin
September 30, 2015
We’re excited about beginning our preparation for a very good Buffalo Bills teams, a team that is 2-1. In the two games that they’ve won, they were plus-three. They’re overall plus-five. They have an outstanding array of talent, both defensively and offensively. They’re the number one rushing team in the NFL, they’re the number one rush defense in the NFL. They’re a very good defensive football team, multiple personnel, multiple challenges in pass protection. A lot of different looks to try and create the one-on-one situations for their outstanding pass rushers. Offensively, they have multi-talents at wide receivers, the running backs. You saw the young running back the other night rush for a long touchdown run and averages 7.8 per carry. The tight end had a big day the other day, as well, he’s an outstanding player. So we have a lot of things to defend, a lot of things to prepare for from the running game. They have two outstanding returners in Percy Harvin and Thigpen, the punt returner. They both have multiple returns for scores in their careers in the National Football League. Buffalo, again, an outstanding team. You know the story against New England. New England jumped out to a big lead, they came roaring back, the final score was 40-32. The ball was on the minus-20 yard line with 1:15 to go, a one score difference in the ball game. They threw an interception down the middle of the field. Tyrod Taylor, the outstanding quarterback, is also a running threat. He has seven touchdown passes, he has a 74 percent completion percentage at this point in time, and does an outstanding job with the deep ball. A lot of play-action, a lot of movement, a lot of bootleg, a lot of great perimeter—so he is a force to have to defend as well.
Q: Are they pretty much a Rex Ryan football team?
A: Yes, yes they are, for sure. Great defense, rush the passer, have the running attack. I don’t know who else you would attribute it to. The head coach is the head coach.
Q: With regard to your team with the injury report—Ayers, Cruz, are they going to work?
Q: Both those guys will work today?
Q: Rodgers-Cromartie is on there, is he cleared?
A: He’s cleared to play.
Q: How about Ereck Flowers?
A: He’s going to practice.
A: Owa practices.
Q: Anybody not practicing, that might be easier?
A: On the list that’s not practicing, Fells is not going to practice with the ankle. Cunningham’s not going to practice.
Q: This has become such a passing league. Rex has always been a ground and pound type of coach, seemed to be with the Jets and seems to be now. Is there any diminished importance to the running game because of the way this league has turned?
A: No, not with teams such as this who do have an outstanding run-oriented offensive line, good size, knock you back kind of a personality, and actually three runners that can perform on a very high level. The receiving corps with the speed, whether it’s Harvin or whether it’s Watkins on the outside, however they go about their business with the tight end in the middle of the field. They’re going to show you play-action, they’re going to run the football. The other day I thought was a perfect example of their team in their win over Miami. They threw the ball 19 times and had something like 14 or 15 completions, and rushed the football very well with actually all three runners.
Q: You have three runners too obviously. Assuming that the production overall hasn’t been exactly what you wanted so far, what do you think has been the issue and what is the key to getting them going?
A: We’re working hard to block the run and to block the run consistently, sometimes it’s not as well defined as you’d like it to be. Quite frankly, we had two balls that should have come out a week ago. You've got to step through some arms or run through some arms on occasion as well. I think it’s a combination of things.
Q: Defensively, you guys have done a great job against the run, but the yardage against the pass is kind of staggering when you look at it. With the flip side to those two extremes, is there anything you guys can do scheme wise, personnel wise in order--?
A: In games where clearly you have to stop the run, I think that’s where it all starts. As you say, you have to quickly flip over if it’s not going to be a run, play-action type of game. If it is going to turn into the drop back, two-minute style game, we’re going to have to adjust to that as well. But we continue to work on these types of things—being a little bit tighter in coverage, for example, doing a better job of recognition underneath, our roles, having our disguise package continue to improve, all those types of things.
Q: Rex said that there’s a chance that LeSean McCoy won’t play because of the injury he’s dealing with. How much does it change it for you with Williams as their primary back?
A: It won’t change. You know the different styles of the two runners; obviously, they’re a little bit different. We know LeSean very well, and he’s an excellent runner, always had significant days against us. But Williams is a powerful guy, a bigger guy, a slam it up in there, north and south guy. He has the speed to get outside, he’s 4.48. Got to defend it all.
Q: The mass and the strength of their defensive line, what kind of a challenge is that? Maybe Flowers plays, what kind of challenge will that be?
A: Well, it’s a significant challenge because you've got a team who’s led the NFL in sacks for two years in a row. And they’ve also worked very hard, and they are the number one defense against the run. So they’re good, they’re physical, they’ve got good size, they can rush the passer, they can defend the run, the linebacking corps has done an outstanding job. The middle backer had two interceptions the other day, one for a touchdown, that’s a pretty good day’s work.
Q: If Fells can’t play, what’s your sense of using an offensive lineman as a tight end?
A: Yeah, we’ve prepared that way before. I still think Fells will make it.
Q: Is your plan with Cruz this week to just push him as far as he can go or do you have to throw him in full today?
A: No, he won’t be full. He’ll be gradually, his workload will improve gradually. He’ll have X amount of workload today, it’ll be increased for tomorrow. We’ll see where we are.
Q: Because he’s been out for so long, does he almost have to be on some sort of snap count for Sunday if he’s able to go?
A: I won’t answer that question until we get a little deeper. Let’s see him practice.
Q: You really haven’t faced a quarterback like this this year. How important is discipline against a guy like this?
A: Very much so, very much so. It’s always the way it has to be, not only in the rushing the passer so he doesn’t get out and get on the perimeter, but also because they do run a couple, three different ways of the zone-read. They do run the option, they do run the option with a pitch man, so he’s got it all.
Q: What kind of benefit can Owa bring you if he’s able to get back this week?
A: Another powerful kid that can rush the passer.
Q: Is that the role you sort of envision for him early in his rookie year, mostly rushing the passer?
A: No, not really. Nope. I saw him just as we described when we drafted him. Big, strong kid, can play left or right, is big enough to play on the left side and did have the physical ability to rush the passer.
Q: Do you see anything different with Eli Manning? He has yet to throw an interception this season.
A: You’re the one who’s going to start that stuff, huh? Do I see anything different? Yeah, I see a guy working hard to take care of the ball. Priority.
Q: You had Hakeem Nicks here yesterday and Wes Welker, what was the thinking behind that?
A: This is the time of the year to evaluate, to keep your lists in order, to know how you would go if you need it. It’s pretty much standard to try and work whatever group you possibly can, at least on a weekly basis at this time of the year. There’s nothing unusual in that.