ML: “As we look toward the Bills, obviously they’ve been very, very hot on offense. They’ve come back the last two games after being down and really made plays in the third and fourth quarters to get themselves back in position to win the games, very similar to our ballgame here last year (a 49-31 Bills win). Ryan (Fitzpatrick) is playing very well, and they’re being effective both running and passing.
“Defensively, they’re retooled a little bit. They’re covering very, very well now. They’re doing a nice job and making plays on the ball, and that obviously put them back in the position to win the game last week.”
Is it safe to presume that
ML: “Yes. That’s our presumption.”
What do you notice different in Ryan Fitzpatrick from last year to right now?
ML: “He’s very confident right now with the football. I don’t know if that’s a change, but I think Ryan has always been a very confident quarterback. I think the other guys have grown around him, and they have confidence that if they work their butts off and do what they’re supposed to do, the ball is coming. It may come at times when normally you wouldn’t expect it. He’ll throw the ball into the sweet spot of two-deep zones, and things like that, which you don’t see that often.
“But he’s got the confidence in doing it, so they keep running it and it gets done. He moves the chains with his own feet at times if he needs to. I think there’s just a confidence. They’ve built a nice offense around him with the read package and the things they do off of it. They take advantage of his athleticism and also his intellect and ability to understand defenses.”
How different are the Bills now than when you played them last season?
ML: “They’re not different at all.”
It seems like Stevie Johnson is really coming into his own at WR for the Bills this year. One of his breakout games came here last season:
ML: “Yeah. He’s a guy playing with a lot of confidence and making plays and big catches.”
Have you ever been a part of the game like the one against the Bills last season when three starters were injured?
ML: “Two starters went down in two plays – one play after another, consecutive plays. So no I haven’t, to answer the question.”
ML: “I don’t remember all that, but I know we lost three or four DBs in the course of the ballgame. Two starters (were injured) on consecutive plays, and then one of the backups got hurt. I think when (Brandon) Ghee came into the game, he eventually got hurt, so he didn’t finish the game either. I’ve not been in that situation, when you have a lead and you really want to try to defend them throwing the ball and you get depleted that way.”
This is one of the first times you’ve faced multiple-receiver looks this season:
ML: “We faced it in Cleveland, so it’s the first time since the opening week. We faced a lot of three- and four-receiver looks in Cleveland.”
ML: “Kelly’s done good since he’s gotten an opportunity to play for us the last couple of weeks.”
How many teams stack their receivers the way Buffalo does? Does it present specific problems?
ML: “I think the reason why you stack guys is to free guys from man-to-man (coverage) and things like that. They do a good job of it. The guys are patient at times and do what they do. They’ve become very comfortable with it. It’s something you see a lot of when you’re playing a lot of man-to-man. In certain third-down distances, they’re going to stack them up like that. It’s been common. Maybe about 10-15 years ago, Mike Shanahan started doing it back in Denver with their guys, and people have done it (ever since) and it’s been a good thing. Chan (Gailey) comes out of that Denver philosophy a little bit.”
That allows for picks on receivers, right?
ML: “Not necessarily. You have different techniques you use to sort through the stack. It’s not necessarily that way. It’s some of the crossing and some of the things they do and other situations that teams do that you get more chances to pick guys off. You have to run through the zone and stay with your guy and stay tight on his hip. But they do a good job of it.”
So they’re illegal picks, but they’re not called?
ML: “Picks aren’t legal any time. Again, now we’re getting into strategy, and that’s not really what I come here to talk about.”
What do you think of how the Bills use WR David Nelson?
ML: “He’s been a productive guy, he really has been. He uses his body well. I think he runs and plays faster than supposedly what his timed speed is, and he’s been a really productive guy. I can remember when we went up there in the preseason (in 2010) and seeing him prior to the game and watching him warm-up, he’s an impressive looking kid in person and he’s played very well for them. They do a lot with him and he obviously handles it.”
Do you anticipate
ML: “I think Robert has an opportunity to play this week, and as we go through the week and get to Sunday I will make the decision on whether or not he’s part of the active group.”
ML: “He’s making a lot of progress. You spend that much time in a boot and you have got to get back the range of motion and things like that. He’s working real hard. He’s been doing a good job out there and the things he’s doing now are getting back to playing defense. I would expect him to be back full-speed at practice here maybe by the end of the week or next week.”
Do you anticipate
Do you think the league office’s actions with the possible Cedric Benson suspension are fair? I guess it’s out there that you brought in Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson for tryouts:
ML: “Those tryouts were set up long ago. When Larry was released by Miami, I talked to Paul Brown about bringing Larry in and taking a look at him. We just waited. We gave him an opportunity. He’s got a newly born (child). Drew (Rosenhaus) has been after people trying to get people to give Clinton a look. That was not so much in response to (a possible suspension for) Ced as in just doing it, but you’re right in saying my interpretation was that if we didn’t hear something generally by Tuesday, we were going to assume everything is status-quo for this week. Otherwise, it puts you at a bit of a disadvantage.
“But we’re prepared either way. As I said last week, we’ve been prepared for this as we go. The guy that stays close to me on it is (special teams coach) Darrin Simmons, regarding who he would replace on the 46 (player gameday active roster). That’s really what we’re looking for. But we’re set up to go and deal with it that way. The hard part has been on Ced. I think it affects him a little bit. It was fine when no one else knew about it, but when it became a public thing, not only does he have to answer questions from you guys (the media), but he has to more from his people and friends and so forth. So you’re constantly answering that. We talked about that on Monday and it’s unfortunate, but go do your thing. I do think that now that it’s in the process, he’s done everything he can do and now it’s basically in the hands of the NFL.”
ML: “I’m asked this question a lot by my boss. I’m happy we have Taylor, and at some point I’m confident Taylor will get out and play a lot of football for us. I’m glad he’s with us. He’s everything I expected and better. I’m happy he’s on our side and we’ll continue to coach him, and at some point hopefully I can get him out there and playing for us. I think he has a high upside.”
Is he in the same situation
ML: “Yeah. We had a little bit more need at that time last year when we brought Reggie here, so we were able to get him involved earlier. I think they’re similar guys. The advantage Taylor has is that he hasn’t been in someone else’s system that long, whereas Reggie had been in Jacksonville’s system, even though it was somewhat similar to ours because of (Jacksonville head coach) Jack (Del Rio) and (former Jacksonville defensive coordinator) Mike Smith. The terminology was the same.”
How would you assess the play of
ML: “Jon has been very, very productive. He was hurt last year but he has picked up from where he left off during the ’09 season. He had to get himself in shape, which we allowed him to do once he signed. He also has a newborn. Ironically, he and
Continuing on the D-line, how about
ML: “Very, very, very pleasant turnaround to his career. He’s a vocal leader now, but also a guy who is leading by example. He does his thing against the offense during practice. In the past I’ve never used eight defensive linemen, but now I have eight deserving ones. I think that’s a good problem to have.”
How much is rotating the defensive linemen helping?
ML: “That’s the way it was in Cleveland. We got a little bit more (yardage gained on the defense) than I wanted against Denver, but we got back to more of that last week, which is good. It’s a good rotation, a very healthy thing for those guys. We’re keeping them fresh, they’re able to continually in the fourth quarter be rested and ready to go.”
What have you seen from Fred Jackson on film?
ML: “I think he’s a really fine back. A lot like (49ers RB Frank) Gore, who we played against last week, but probably faster and quicker at times. Great receiver, he does a lot of things for them when they use Spiller in the backfield. They almost use him as the fullback, as a lead back and doing the different counters where he becomes more of the blocking guy. He’s an impressive player and one that I think kind of goes unnoticed until you play against him.”
ML: “They will both participate in this game.”
When you look at film of 49ers game, what things stood out that you want to fix this week?
AD: “Obviously everybody saw what happened on third down. We've got to get better. It's definitely our focus. But there's just some mental errors in there. It wasn't one area, everybody took turns at it. So, just being more focused and going in and doing your job and trusting the guys around you.”
How much of the third-down problems were related to what happened on first and second downs?
AD: “That's a big part of it. We've been in a lot of third-and-longs, which is tough – they’ll be dropping everybody or doing certain things. We've got to do better on first and second down to get better on third down.”
What do you see of the Buffalo defense on film?
AD: “They've got a lot of athletic guys. They play with a lot of DBs on the field a lot of the time. We're just going to have to find the matchups that we want and try to take advantage of it.”
How much different is it without Jerome Simpson in the game and having
AD: “Bubba (Caldwell) did a great job. He came in and caught most of the balls early on. He understands the position, he's playing out wide, he's playing in the slot. He does a lot of good things. There's definitely not a drop in productivity out there.”
How much is Caldwell’s versatility an advantage?
AD: “It definitely helps. He can be on the field a lot of the time.”
The NFL is a copycat league. What do you think other defenses are going to do in weeks ahead based on how you played in the 49ers game?
AD: “Everybody has their own wrinkles, everybody does their own thing. Like you said, it is a copycat league. But going against a 3-4 last week and a 4-3 this week, there's some differences there. I'm sure they'll try to do some of the things that San Francisco was doing, but I think for the most part they'll probably stick to what they've been doing.”
You were in rhythm the first drive, then got out of it. What happened?
AD: “We started fast. That's what we try to do. We've just got to keep it going. We weren't able to do that. We got stuck in some third-and-longs and it makes it tough for us. We've just got to keep the momentum going throughout the game. I think that was the big thing, we started off fast, we had the momentum, we just had to keep it.”
What did you think of your accuracy on Sunday?
AD: “Obviously I wish I had some throws back, but there's always going to be room for improvement.”
Like the one long throw to
AD: “There was one to A.J. down the sideline that I wish I had back.”