Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale
Got a great challenge ahead of us this weekend, Sunday night, playing in a great environment against a great quarterback and offense. It's going to be another challenge for us and we're looking forward to it.
With that, I'll open it up to questions.
Q: You love to make comparisons. This week, (quarterback) Josh Allen, who or what would you compare him to?
A: Alright, you ready?
(Quarterback Dan) Marino's arm, (running back Derrick) Henry's legs, and Curry's mindset. Steph Curry's mindset. He thinks he can hit it anywhere on the court, and that's the same way Josh is. He's just an unbelievably elite quarterback in finding extra time to hit the open receiver in tight windows, and he's got one of the strongest arms in the league.
Q: In the bigger picture, how much different is this challenge from last week with the speed?
A: It's a completely different challenge.
Q: What are the most—
A: The actual speed of it, they're still a fast offense, obviously with (wide receiver Stefon) Diggs and the receiver corps. It's not as many motions and how they have in Miami – both Miami and San Francisco have all that coordinated very well. It makes it tough on guys' eyes. You won't see as much of that because it's more of a blueprint NFL offense where Josh runs everything at the line of scrimmage. He calls his plays and gets them in the right play and when you have a bunch of guys moving, that's hard to do.
Q: What did the Jets and the Jags do to beat them? I mean, obviously they're a very good team, but are there things you can take from those two teams to maybe help you?
A: Yeah, I think that's the thing that we talk about all the time. It's a copycat league. You see things that you like, there's different situations, whatever it could be, but you always take things and see things and tweak it or say this is similar to us in our scheme. You can do things like that, yes.
Q: Because you don't have a cookie-cutter scheme, is it harder for you to copycat? Do you just kind of borrow stuff and fit it into your system? How does that work?
A: It's usually in our system already. So, it's more of what gives them a hard time on certain aspects of their game.
I don't want to get too deep into it, because I feel like I'm going to give something away.
Q: What did you make of Sunday's performance? You finally get the takeaways, three of them, but then give up 524 (yards). What do you make of that?
A: Well, I think that if you talk to analytics, we were in, what do they call it, a high-variable situation there. I think you had to do something different. Last time we did something different to the extreme that we did in Miami was Kansas City when we were in Baltimore. We won that game.
We gave up too many explosive plays. I mean, that's obvious. But I always say that takeaways, they come in bunches. We had the fumble recovery, we had the two picks, we caused another fumble. If we keep playing that type of tempo to get to the ball, I think that's one of the things that was different from what they practiced and helped us get into situations.
Q: What happened on the (wide receiver) Tyreek (Hill) long touchdown at the start of the second half from your perspective?
A: I think that's a schematic thing. I know we fixed it. I don't want to sit there and tell you how we fixed it or anything else because I know we're going to see that play again. It's got to be the same coverage and everything else, but I just know that they're going to try the same thing. Somebody. Might not be Buffalo, could be Washington or whoever in that situation.
Q: From a personnel standpoint, when did you know (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) wasn't going to be there? How did the mechanics on that work?
A: You've got to talk to Dabs (Head Coach Brian Daboll) on that. Dabs and the trainers.
It was unfortunate because like I said, we gave them a different look in our eyes. It was a one-score game at halftime, a net 21-point game, and it was unfortunate that that play happened.
Q: Even though as a group it hasn't looked great, do you have guys individually who you feel like are playing good football right now?
A: Yeah. I thought (safety) X(avier McKinney) is playing well. I think it's going to continue to grow. Obviously, JP (safety Jason Pinnock), taking it back 102 yards. (Outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeau). (Inside linebacker) Bobby (Okereke) is starting to really get used to playing the MIKE position and starting to make more plays.
It's the same thing we talked about last week, and we've just got to continue to work on it. When you have one guy that had one or two plays that they wish they had back, you usually win those games, or you played really well defensively. But if you have six guys, and that could be any of the guys I mentioned or anybody else, that have one or two plays that they wish they had back, that's where you start giving up too many plays.
Q: How about the two guys in the middle? The two vets.
A: What's that?
Q: (Defensive lineman) Dex(ter Lawrence II) and (defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams).
A: That game right there, we defended every blade of grass. They were going to make sure that they were not involved in it. So, if you think back at it just with your memory, everything is (visual display). So, it wasn't anything around the center.
Q: You guys played in London last year and then had to play the next week. Buffalo is doing that now. Is there a point where that travel doesn't really have an impact on the team anymore the way it maybe used to?
A: I hope it has a huge impact (laughs).
Last year I didn't, but this year I hope it has a huge impact. That's a tough trip. I don't know how they've handled it with their schedule and everything else.
Q: What are you seeing from Bobby? You mentioned him just getting more comfortable with the MIKE position, but week by week, how is he growing more accustomed?
A: I just think that he is seeing things better as the middle linebacker. He's put in the extra work. He's doubled down on playing well, and doing what he has to do to play well. I love his leadership, his communication skills. He's really on the cusp of starting to really take off. And he's been good anyway. I'm just saying he's playing better. You're seeing more plays; you're seeing him coming downhill and hitting people down in the redzone and things like that. It's really starting to show out.
Q: I don't know if you have a comparison for Diggs, but what makes him so effective?
A: He's like those guys that sell a lot of jerseys. I mean, you can talk about all of them, as far as the guys who want the ball in game-winning situations, and he's one of those guys. He makes a lot of plays, has great hands, runs routes, sometimes runs his own routes. I've talked to the defense about plaster coverage because the combination of those two with Josh and Diggs, I mean, it turns into, like, when you're growing up playing football at recess. The play breaks down and you've got to defend the second play, the third play, and like I said, Josh is elite at avoiding the rush, buying time, and he can put the ball wherever he wants.
Q: Are you getting any more sleep this week?
Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
Good afternoon, everyone. I'm sure you guys might ask some questions about the injury report. Anything injury related, you can go ahead and direct that at Dabs (Head Coach Brian Daboll).
Q. How do you, with the quarterback situation the way it is, how do you game plan knowing Tyrod (Taylor) might be starting?
A: Yeah, that kind of falls under the injury related question, I would say, but we are all preparing the same way. Nothing has changed for our prep.
Q. How about from a play calling perspective, for you as a player caller, how different would you call the game with maybe Tyrod compared to (quarterback) Daniel (Jones)?
A: Our process this week has been the same. Always prepping, trying to make sure we put together the right schemes, put together the right formations and do the things that we need to do to put ourselves and give ourselves a chance this week.
Q. Tyrod having played as a starter in this league before and the fact that he has some familiarity in Buffalo, if he does play, what is your confidence level with him and how much does that help, having a guy that's got that experience?
A: Tyrod has a done great job since he's been here. He's a veteran guy, like you said. I have a lot of confidence in him and all the guys on our offense really to go out there and execute.
Q. From a skillset perspective in regards to the play calling, what do you see different from Tyrod? Like what does he do differently, maybe better or worse that you look at and say, okay, I've got to utilize this.
A: Yeah, I think whenever you look at, really any of the players on offense, you want to try out and pull out their strengths as much as you can. You want to try to eliminate as much weaknesses as you can. So, that's what we are doing this week, is to put together the best plan for the players that are going to be out there.
Q. What are Tyrod's strengths in your eyes?
A: Tyrod is a veteran player. He controls the huddle. I think he does a great job of, obviously, getting the ball out… He can make plays outside the pocket as well. He's done that his whole career.
Q. There have obviously been some one-on-one matchups maybe the offensive line has missed, but it also feels like there has been a lot of times where there have been breakdowns communication wise. How do you explain that? What do you have to do to fix that?
A: Those are things that we are really tough on ourselves on and so we got to make sure that we tighten up that communication, tighten up our responsibilities, our fundamentals. That kind of always falls back on that when you really look at it. So, we evaluate that hard and we go through the week and we study, we prep and we look at all those things and see how we can improve in that area.
Q. What do you look at as the biggest problem with the offensive line in the first five games? The reason you guys have struggled there, and you need to get fixed.
A: I think on offense, it's really never one person or one group, it's an 11-man operation. All the guys have got to be working at the same level of execution and we've all got to operate and execute better.
Q. Have you had to condense the playbook for the lack of a better term or do anything differently because you say it's 11-man, but the protection isn't there, you haven't been able have a lot of time in the pocket. Have you had to kind of tighten up what you guys have?
A: Our process hasn't changed; we are looking to improve on those certain fundamentals and techniques and schemes, and I think that's part of our process is continuing to improve on the things that we haven't done as well and continuing to build on the things that we have done well.
Q. How much more of a light goes on that this week when you are a playing a Bills team that leads the league in sacks?
A: Yeah, they are a talented defense, have some familiarity there playing them in the past. They get after the football, they run, they tackle, they've had a lot of production in the pass game and the run game, so we are going to make sure we prep it and study and make sure that we are prepared to go.
Q. You mentioned the things that you've done well, what do you think you've done well?
A: I think one of the things that we improved on from last week was the turnovers. That certainly showed up early in the season, so last week we were able to minimize that and improve and to me that's a step in the right direction and so we will continue to try and build on that this week.
Q. What have you seen from (guard) Justin Pugh?
A: Justin has done a nice job stepping in here in the last week or so and trying to get familiarity as much as he can with the offense. He's a good worker. I know he's had a little bit of a past here, so he has some familiarity with the organization, he's been great to talk with and one of those veteran guys that you look at that has played in some games.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: I see (wide receiver) Parris (Campbell) at kickoff return. Is that an option for him?
A: Yeah, he's back there. He's done it. He did it at Ohio State, he did it as a rookie and so we'll see. We'll see what happens, but you've seen him with the ball in his hands, he's an electric guy with the ball in his hands so we're going to work him back there.
Q: What did you see from (running back) Eric (Gray) this past week as a returner?
A: He's growing, you know. I always tell those guys, it's not what you're going through, it's what you're growing through, right? So, it's a maturation process for him. Every situation is a new situation in this league for him and he just has to grow his way through it, he'll be alright. He's a young returner in this league that has upside and he's a good football player and he's a good young man so he's just getting better every week.
Q: What happened on the (kicker) Graham (Gano) miss on Sunday? It didn't look like a typical Graham kick.
A: He just missed it. As perfect as we think Graham is, every so often, he'll show you that he's not, right? But Graham, he's done a great job ever since he's been here, and we lean on him big time so yeah, he just missed it. There's no excuse, there's no great mystery. It's just kickers will miss a kick from time to time.
Q: I think in the games that (running back) Saquon (Barkley) has missed, you've used (safety Dane) Belton as the personal protector. Is that because of Matt's increased role at running back?
A: Yeah, absolutely. It's quite that simple. It ain't rocket science, it's just pure math. We've just got to make sure we take care of our guys and be smart in how we use them.
Q: How much better did you feel about your unit after that game than the game previously?
A: Obviously, if you have six penalties the week before and you clean it up and you have none, that's a small win for you. So, we've got to make sure we continue down that same path and just be the smarter team and execute the fundamentals and the techniques of the scheme at a high level when we need to do it and not just do the minimum just to not have penalties.
Q: We're like a third of the way into the season. Has the kickoff rule that got so much attention in the offseason, have you seen an impact of that?
A: I think we'll see it in the back end of the season, when the ball is not flying as far. Instead of those balls going nine deep into the stands, when they're at the one, two, the three-yard line, it's 40 degrees, 30 degrees outside – we'll see what teams are really wanting to do, whether it's a fair catch or return it. I think it's still a work in progress, but you see a lot of touchbacks.
Q: Is it fair to ask if everything's all sunk in for (punter) Jamie Gillan? You still –
A: Jamie's a young punter in this league. He's been around for a little bit but he's still young and he's learning, and he's growing. The guys that stick around and play for a long time, they'll all tell you, the guys that played double-digit years, 15, 12,13, whatever the number is in the double-digits, they always talk about finding their process and I think Jamie is – some guys like (former Giants punter) Jeff Feagles, when he was here before, he played 20-something years, he said he didn't really find his routine until year 10, and that's the thing that carried him for the next 10. Guys like Jamie are trying to find their process and find the routine that works for them and he's moving in that direction and he's doing a good job. The guy works his tail off so you can't complain about him.
Q: (Cornerback) Darnay (Holmes) played a lot of special teams in the past and he has played more this year. What have you seen from Darnay?
A: Darnay's done a really good job and again, this is a part of being a player in the National Football League. He came in as a rookie, started at the nickel, coaching change, competing for a job, bring a guy in, draft a guy, it's one of those deals where Darnay's a skilled guy. He can do a bunch of different things. He can return kicks and punts, he can play the nickel. He's a very good football player and he's willing to do whatever it takes to try and get better. If you watch – If you guys are out here, y'all watch everything else, but he's out here every day with somebody else doing something to try and make himself better. He's growing as a player and that's the most important thing and he's a young player in this league and he's getting better every week and he's working to get better. That right there is key.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Getting better. Similar spot as last week and the mindset of trust the trainers, continue to rehab and take it day by day.
Q: Do you feel like you're closer to being out there?
A: Yeah, I mean, I feel like I'm trending every week. I felt better last Wednesday and last Thursday, this Thursday, Wednesday, than last Wednesday and Thursday. But when you have injuries, sometimes it takes time. Like I said, just been listening to the trainers, coming in here and try to do everything I can, and taking it day by day.
Q: Is there any thought, since you dealt with this kind of two years ago, about not wanting to rush back so that it's fully healed when you get back out there?
A: No, that's not really the case. A fully healed ankle, I don't want to talk like I'm a doctor or something like that, but it's what, six to eight weeks? For it to actually, fully scar in and do everything. So, I don't think it would be in my best interest to sit out and just let it fully scar in. But I've played with this before. You can play with it. It sucks, sometimes when you make a cut, you feel it, sometimes you don't. Every week, it gets better. You've just got to hope you don't backtrack, and that's what I've just been doing is listening to the trainers, listen to the staff, go out there, take the reps I can take, feel it out and every week just try to get better.
Q: How frustrating is it for you to see this offense struggle and you're on the sidelines?
A: Yeah, it sucks, because as a competitor, you want to be out there. It's not like more of the mindset of I want to be out there, it's going to change something. More of the mindset of just seeing your guys fight and you can do nothing about it. It's hard to lead. It's hard to have a presence when you're on a sideline in a hat and a hoodie in street clothes. So, I think it's important for me to get back out there, especially where we are at in the season, and I feel like I can make an impact and hopefully I'm able to show that.
Q: What's been the hardest part physically?
A: What do you mean?
Q: Is it the cutting? Is it just the pain?
A: Yeah, pain, cutting… That's what happens when you (inaudible) your ankle, you get some inflammation in there and you're kind of just working through that and working through the soreness. But like I said, each week has been trending upwards. I feel way better this Wednesday and this Thursday than I felt in the past.
Q: Does (quarterback) Daniel's (Jones) situation in any way influence you? If he can't go, you want to be out there?
A: I don't really think that plays a factor in this if DJ can go or not, do I want to be out there any more or less? Just me as competitor, I want to be out there. I feel like that win, lose, or draw. I like going out there, I like playing football. We get paid for it, but it's something I've been doing since I was a kid. I enjoy it. The other stuff is not fun, the business side, and you've got to hear people say this and say that, but going out there and playing the game you love is always fun to me. That's what pushes me and motivates me to go out there, and also, being a leader on the team. Like I said, it's hard to lead in street clothes.
Q. I think the last game you played you played all but two snaps. Have you looked back at all at that workload on that day as any reason that the ankle was compromised?
A: No, I felt great. To be honest, I felt great after the ankle. It was just I didn't think it would take this long to be completely honest. I can't even say it's taking this long, this is the timeline I probably was given, but as a competitor, you want to try to beat it and get out there as fast as you can for your team but I felt really good from the work load, I felt really good this camp coming into the season but, it's football. Had an unblocked guy come take my leg out, I was getting hit this way at the same time and had a high ankle sprain. To be honest, it could've been way worse, kind of look at it from that perspective as a blessing and knowing that I will be able to get back on the field soon and it's not something I'm out for a year or have to get surgery for.
Q. Given this start, what would qualify now as a successful season for this team in your mind?
A: I don't think that anything changed from where we were in camp, the same thing. The season is not – I know everybody wants to tear us apart and give up and focus on the future, but I don't think anyone – I know – no one in this locker room has that mindset. We still believe in each other, we're going to believe in each other until these things fall off, until we can't. I've been in this position before and nothing's going to change. It's not me trying to be optimistic, that's how I really feel as a competitor. Until this thing is over, and they say we don't have a chance to make it to the playoffs and compete for a Super Bowl, that's what we're going to continue to do.
Q. (Colts running back) Jonathan Taylor reached a pretty large extension this past week. I don't think we got the chance to talk to you about it. What were your thoughts when you saw that deal?
A: Happy for him. Happy for him, I'm excited for him. He deserves it. He's a heck of a player, one of the best running backs in the league. It definitely helps out the running back position.
Q. The camera caught you upset with a fan who was being an idiot…
A: Thank you (laughs).
Q. …for lack of a better term. When that happens is it hard to not say something?
A: It's really not hard, to be honest. We live in New York and New Jersey, we play for the New York Giants, that's expected. They want a team that's going to go out there and win so when it's the booing, when it's the cheering, they say all this, I'm okay with that. I've never had any interaction with the fans, that doesn't bother me, I don't let that get under my skin but that moment, especially when DJ, someone who would give his freaking all for this franchise and for this city and would go out there and risk it every single day and do whatever he can to bring a Super Bowl to this city and to this organization and he just hurt his neck and he's sitting in a blue tent getting check on for his neck and you've got a fan just (expletive) him, that just doesn't sit well with me. He's helpless. He can't do nothing. But like I said, I get it. I was a fan of football before. That's not in my makeup, that's not in my character to boo and do stuff like that. But fans, if you don't like the product that we're doing out there – we've got to give them a product to be happy about so go ahead and boo, go ahead and cheer. That's part of the game, but have sympathy at the same time. He's a human being and out of all people, it shouldn't be eight.
View rare photos of the all-time series between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills.