Outside Linebackers Coach Mike Dawson -- September 13, 2019
Q: Can you explain the lack of a pass rush in Week 1?
A: I think everybody is looking for the same answer, how are we going to get more pressure on the quarterback? We obviously have to make him uncomfortable, we have to get the ball coming out faster, and we have to make him throw it under duress when he is going to throw it. Ultimately, we need to sack the quarterback when we get there. Something I think all the guys are hungry to get fixed, hungry to get answered, they came out and trained hard this week. We have to do a great job, guys that can move, you have to have a good aiming point and good plan on those guys to be able to get to them.
Q: How confident are you that it will improve this week?
A: Like I said, the guys came out, they trained hard. I think the guys know the sense of urgency to get to the quarterback, and we have to keep working to get there. This is the ultimate ĎI see better than I hear.í Well itís time to get there and stop talking about it and letís go get it done.
Q: One of the things the Bills do when they donít get to the quarterback, they get their hands up, can you teach that?
A: I think thatís something you have to have a good understanding for. The ball is going to come out quicker in certain situations, an empty backfield is a good example. Maybe the routes arenít going to be long, the ball is going to come out quicker so you have to be ready and get your hands up. I think guys always have to be alert for when that front hand comes off the ball, the ball is going to be moving down the field, get your hands up. The quarterbackís front shoulder is down, you know itís going to be a lower throw, make sure you bat the ball down. The other thing is staying in the face off the quarterback, not being past him or over the top of him, being in front of him where you can see him and bat the ball down.
Q: You have a lot of guys in your group with potential, the only guy that has done it before is Marcus Golden. What have you seen from him so far?
A: The thing about Marcus is he is a guy thatís done it, heís had success and heís been in this system. Heís a little bit unique that way as far as our room goes, heís a guy thatís going to prepare extremely hard. He has a good system as far as taking notes and reviewing and things like that as far what he is getting ready and prepared to do. Studying run-pass keys from offensive linemen, things like that. The intensity, the strength, him getting after the ball is going to be a big deal for us. He brings great energy, heís going to be running around flying all over the place. He needs to do that and put it all together and get to the QB.
Q: Can (Tuzar) Skipper just fill in where Kareem Martin was? Or is that too much to ask? Or do Ximines, Carter and Golden just pick up the slack?
A: Kareem is a big part of what is going on around here. Heís a guy that can do a bunch of different things, heís extremely smart and knows whatís going on. He makes an impact on the other guys as well. To say a guy is going to come and take that spot, now we have added Skip, heís a guy thatís come flying in here a million miles an hour, which is what you like to see as a guy who is going to be coming off the edge. We have to get him ready to be able to come out and get ready to go.
Q: How much did you look his tapes from Pittsburgh in the preseason?
A: I didnít necessarily ahead of time. Once I found out he was coming and joining us, I was excited to be able to check him out. I obviously heard about the success that he had and things like that. He came out right off the bat and you can see why, he has an explosive first step, does a great job of getting his rush going, which is one of the main factors in getting to the quarterback. You have to get started, your first to steps canít be slow, they have to be fast coming out the gate. He has heavy hands, meaning heís strong, when he puts his hands on somebody he is going to knock them backwards. We have to get him to go fast and have the confidence that he is going to know where heís going and what he is doing to play as fast as possible.
Q: How much does that quick first step make him usable immediately?
A: I think thatís a great point. To me, going back to the first question, how are you going to get to the quarterback, you have to get your rush started. I know that sounds elementary, but thatís the fact of it. You canít be thinking about, Ďhey, if he does this, Iím going to do that or Iím going to step this way to get him to step that way.í You have to go first and then the play is going to unfold as it unfolds. For a guy like Skip, heís got that great explosiveness where those first two steps are going to be a big factor. If we can get him in the role of, Ďhey, you are going to go out, you are going to take the edge right here, you are going to be the contain rusher and go.í I think that is something we can certainly develop off of his skillset.
Q: Weíre talking a lot about the pass rush, but Lorenzo Carter defended somebody like 40 yards downfield. In terms of pass coverage, how much do you trust him right now?
A: Yeah, I think the play youíre talking about, he had to take the wheel down the sideline and did a great job. He never looked back, he didnít panic at the ball, he stayed right where he was supposed to stay. We say it all the time, as guys that are kind of those rusher and coverage guys, probably rushing first, when you get matched up in a position like that, if itís an incompletion, thatís a win--you feel good about that down. So, that was a good play there. There was a couple other instances where he was lined up in coverages and done some things, and thatís part of the unique skill set when youíre talking about the 3-4 outside backer that can both rush the quarterback and set the edge in the run game and then also be able to play in coverage.
Q: You donít see that fullback wheel much, right? Thatís a pretty rare play.
A: (Laughter) Yeah, I think the fullback in general is a rare thing these days. Those wheel plays where youíre getting matched up down the sidelineóheís not a true fullback anyways, heís a fast guy that can runóLorenzo showed that he could run as well, so I thought that was good by him.
Q: Where is Lorenzo in terms of his development as a pass rusher?
A: I think that if he was standing right here next to us, heíd be saying that we need to be able to show that his pass rush is getting better and better. I think that heís happy with the way that he trained throughout the summertime in training camp, rushing it and attacking it, and heís got to translate it now from his training over into the game setting and be able to get after the quarterback.
Q: James Bettcher was telling us that the one thing you guys have to do is win individual battles. Are you close to winning, or is it just that Dallas had a good line and you werenít?
A: Yeah, I think everybody knows that Dallas has a good line, thereís no doubt about that, and they played well the other day. You can break down every single play from every single game. For me, thereís two guys on the field on each one. Hey, on this one, you need to correct this or do that, and how can I improve from rep to rep, from play to play? Youíve got to play each play one at a time, not let the last rep or the next rep affect this rep, and then youíve got to stack 70, or 65, or 75 of those reps on top of each other and be able to put that together and get yourself to the quarterback.
Q: What did you see from Oshane (Ximines) in his debut? Do you feel like he is capable of taking more of a role this weekend?
A: Yeah, I think when Kareem (Martin) ended up going down in the game, Oshane had to play a little bit more than probably I expected, and I think he handled it well. Obviously, there were some mistakesówe all made some mistakes, coaches, players and otherwiseóbut, he didnít back down. I thought he played hard, he was going a million miles an hour when he was going, so I think thatís all stuff you can build on. I think heís hungry to make himself better, I think he got a good taste of it, got that first game knocked off the list there, and heíll improve himselfóthey say you make a big improvement from the first game to the second game, so I expect that out of him.
Q: For your guys, how similar and different are Josh Allen and Dak Prescott? Theyíre both mobile. Are they similar or different for your guysí responsibilities?
A: They both can run, theyíre both great athletes, and theyíre both great throwers. Itís not like either of those guys are guys that are just runners, so itís the fine lineóyou never want to paralyze yourself against a mobile quarterback where youíre not going to go after him and let him sit there. So, we have to do a good job of rushing smart and rushing fast. Then, this day and age, there arenít any statues back there anymore, so guys are always willing to run and good enough athletes to be able to take advantage of it if you get crazy or get out of your rush lanes or things like that. So, you have to rush fast and smart and know where youíre going.
Q: Did (Bills RB) Devin Singletary catch your eye?
A: Yes, heís a great player. Heís versatile, heís a guy that can do a bunch of different things. I was down in Central Florida and kind of always follow those guys as well, and I knew about him. Heís a dynamic guy that can definitely do a lot of different things.