We’re going to get faced with Spiller and Jackson right out of the gate in this game. We know we’ve got to stop the run and that would be no different than every team in the National Football League, starting games. You got to stop the run so you have an opportunity to get to the passer. They would be a big test for use to see where we are. Two, really exciting backs, quick, change of the direction, speed … that would be big and they’re offensive is built for the running game. We got to keep the quarterback in the pocket. We know that and that we’ve talked about that a bunch to level our rush to keep him in there and have the opportunity to take a look at what’s going on coverage-wise. That would be big and give our guys a chance to rush the passer.
And then conversely, on the offensive side of the ball, we’ve got to get ready for their pass rush. That’s where they’re primed. They’ve got really four really, really good pass rushers in there. They’re holding onto second in the league in sacks as we talked about earlier, so being able to neutralize the pass rush and accommodate the pass rush by moving Jay and doing the things you do to neutralize a pass rush are things we’re going to have to do, there’s no surprise there.
And then in the excitement of our special teams, where are we? We’ve got a lot of guys working. We’ve got a new core of players on our defense. We’ve got a new snapper. We’ve got a new holder. We’ve got a new punter, so there’s a lot of new there. There is.
But overall, we look at our team. We know we have talent. We have experience in a lot of different places in a lot of different ways and we’re truly excited to see where this thing goes and excited to do it at home on Sunday.
IT’S BEEN FOUR MONTHS SINCE OTAs, DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR STARTING SAFETIES ARE YET?
We don’t. We’re going to meet today to finalize the starters. One thing you’ll see is we’ll be rotating the three of them and how they come out may not be indicative because there may be a special teams like that along way. But they’ll be rotated in there.
ROTATING RIGHT TACKLE?
We don’t anticipate that. We think Jordan is ready to go. He’s had almost two really good weeks of practice. If he needed a break or something like that, we feel very good that Mike Ola has got a lot of work in and we can rotate him in there. We feel good about Brian. He’ll be ready to go. He practiced. He’s been cleared to go. In the backup range, in Charles Leno, he’s growing in the position certainly and not one of the next men up so to speak with Michael and Brian there. But we expect Jordan to play and play the game.
WHAT IF YOU HAVE NO FULLBACK?
“We have those opportunities with Matt [Mulligan]. Really, Matt, Dante and Marty. Really all three of them know that role as well. There’s certain things we do with Tony that are limited to just Tony but they don’t take us away from everything that we’re doing and what we’d call a two-back running back.
ARE THERE CAPTAINS?
We’re going to have game captains this year. We’re not going to elect. So we’re going to do it game-by-game and I’ll make that announcement to the team in the morning, who the first game captains are going to be. We’ve got a lot of guys deserving. They’re not only leaders but they’re influential leaders in our locker room now that go beyond five guys. And I just didn’t want to put our team in position [to vote?]. I want to have the opportunity to recognize other guys on this team for game captains. That’s not new to the league. Other teams do that as well.
I’m going to choose them and I’m going to get input from the staff.
WHAT ABOUT THE “C” PATCHES?
There won’t be any patches because we won’t have any. What I’m hoping to do, and we’ll see where we are at the end of the year, but during the regular season we’ll have game captains.
WHY DID YOU PRACTICE INSIDE WHEN IT WAS BEAUTIFUL OUTSIDE?
There was a threat of storms. There was a 60 percent threat of storms. You can check with our two meteorologists Tony Medlin and Josh Moore. They tell me where to practice and what the situation is and I didn’t want to expose the team to not only showers, because the other day we did practice in the rain, but there was also some severe weather in the area and we didn’t want to expose the team to that.
ON Buffalo DEFENSE GENERATING NEGATIVE PLAYS
Well it’s their pass rush. They’re able to rush the pass. They had three guys who had 10 sacks and Dareus had almost 8 sacks, so they do that and they create havoc and they get penetration. When they can pin their ears back and rush the passer, they’re as good as anybody in the league and that’s given the opportunity. They got speed on the back end, guys who can make plays and that’s why they were second in the league in interceptions. They’re not just good athletes. They’ve got good hands back there, so if they get their hands on the ball, they’re going to be in a good position to make a play. They’re very talented group. A lot of speed on this football team that we’re playing.
BILLS D NOT AS GOOD AGAINST THE RUN. DO THEY SELL OUT?
They don’t. They know that they’ve got to sell out to the run game so they can get to rush the passer. Stats can be deceiving. There’s no denying 57 sacks and there’s no denying second in the league in interceptions, but you can overreact to … does that mean you can run the ball more. You don’t know when the runs come. I just have complete respect for the soundness of their scheme. We found that last year with Jim. He’s got a very sound scheme — run and pass. Every defense makes stopping the run a priority. It has to be, or the pass rush is really non-existent. If you’re second and medium or third and medium, offenses are able to dictate because they can get the ball out of their hand fast. Every year is new. They are good pass rushers. But we’re not going to disrespect their ability to stop the run. We know we’re going to have to do some of both to get the job done in this game.
GOOD MATCHUP FOR McCLELLIN?
Right now Shea is scheduled to be our Sam linebacker in our base defense. When offensive personnel dictated that, he’ll be in the game. And we’ll see where he is, because this is going to be his fist opportunity to start in a regular season game at a new position. He’s also learning backup positions in the nickel. If he has the opportunity to play we’ll see where he is there. So how much he plays is somewhat going to be dictated by Buffalo’s game plan.
It really starts in the locker room. He comes in every day consistently with a smile on his face. He has fun. He works really hard He’s a finisher in practice e. He runs to the ball. You notice him out there. His strength, you notice that in training camp. He’s playing against taller, longer, players all the time and he’s able to control them. Great competition for Jordan and the guys on our right side. And when we move him inside, he’s a penetrator as well. just the overall personality is good for our locker room in terms of just how he acts every day in terms of just getting along with everybody and having fun. But when he’s out here and the ball is snapped he’s working. He’s on top of things. He’s a pleasure to have around.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST VALUE IN THAT VERSATILITY?
The beauty is because we have Willie in the picture too, we can get them all on the field at the same time and they can be comfortable in those positions. When Lamarr goes inside he likes it. He likes having opportunities to attack a different offensive player along the way. That just adds tremendous value for a guy who can be a pass rushing, run stopping defensive end and a pass rushing three-technique or defensive lineman depending on how we play him. And the personality he brings to the locker room is really positive — I think you guys have seen that as you’ve engaged with him.
HOW MUCH DO YOU LIKE Willie Young
I’ve always liked Willie. I watched him as a puppy when he came into N.C. State and watched him grow up and I’ve followed his career. I just love the way he works and plays. He was penciled in as a starting defensive end and we fell into — we didn’t fall into Jared — but we came across Jared later in the picture and I just appreciate so much Willie’s professionalism. He come in, worked his tail off. He’s another guy — smile on his face always. Positive. And he creates. His length and quickness. He created havoc for us last year in the two games we played them. I’m really excited to have him, to have three ends like that and one flexible enough to go inside adds a lot of value to our football team.
FIRST TIME O-LINE TOGETHER?
That question has been asked in abundance and rightfully so. We didn’t know what we were going to be like in Game 1 against the Bengals a year ago. We feel a lot more comfortable with each other certainly and the caliber of where we are and the level of where we are. It takes time. It’s going to happen at a speed that our guys really haven’t seen other than 15 plays during the course of the preseason. Certainly one of the better defensive lines. We got a taste of it in Seattle certainly and we were able to handle ourselves well in the noise. We should have an advantage in our place with the snap count and things like that. We just want to get it going, see what we’ve got. we know we’re facing a really solid football team, talented football team with speed.
FEEL MORE CONFIDENT THIS YEAR?
I just feel the same. I’m excited for our team. I know they’ve worked very hard. I talk about they’ve invested in each other during the course of the offseason, in doing more than just practicing against each other and that’s big in bringing a new locker room together. We’ve got 29 new guys, loaded with talent, veteran talent who have played the game. That’s exciting. Young players who are talented. They don’t have to carry the weight of the game on their shoulders when they go in. Just go in and do their job. We’ve got guys who are experienced at playing Game 1 in the National Football League. Got an offense that’s been together. Let’s see. I’m just excited for our football team and feel privileged to be out there and be a small part of it. I think it’s really cool.
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