Coach Philbin: I See Us Playing Better And Better

Posted Oct 15, 2013

Coach Joe Philbin speaks with the media to answer questions on many of the key players on the Bills team that the Dolphins will face on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium and also comments on the development of Charles Clay, the state of the running game and other topics.

(Opening statement) – “I thought we had another good day of practice. We got a good percentage of the game plan, probably 70 percent of the game plan in so far. With that, I’ll take your questions.”

(On what stands out as the biggest concern when looking at the Buffalo Bills defensively) - “They do an excellent job of takeaways. They are very multiple. They have good pressure package, a wide variety of what they do. They are playing well, a good defense.”

(On what he sees of Bills linebacker Kiko Alonzo) - “He’s been very, very productive. One of the things about a linebacker, you would like to see him make a lot of tackles. He hasn’t missed very many tackles. He’s obviously displayed a good awareness in pass defense and getting his hands on the ball and catching the ball. He’s a good athlete. He’s a good blitzer. He’s off to a very good start.”

(On this season’s rookie class after five games) – “Yeah, it’s a good group. They all are working hard and making progress, no question about it. Dion (Jordan) is getter better every single day working hard on the practice field. Jamar Taylor has been out there more consistently. Part of the improvement has been consistent participation, obviously. Caleb Sturgis is off to a good start in his rookie year. Jelani Jenkins is playing a little bit more and more and doing some good things. Dion Sims is off to a good start. I’m probably forgetting a couple of guys, but I think they are doing a good job.”

(On what quarterback Matt Flynn brings to Buffalo) - “He’s a very, very good competitor. He’s smart. He’s a good football player and excellent locker room guy. He’s a good addition, a good football player.”

(On if the team is preparing for Matt Flynn and Thad Lewis) – “Sure. We are preparing for any possible combination thereof.”

(On any additional challenges of preparing for a tandem running back duo such as Buffalo’s CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson) - “They both have a little different skillset. They are both excellent players. There is no secret why they are averaging 150 yards a game rushing. These guys, there offensive line is playing well. They have a good scheme. They have two very, very productive backs. It’s going to be incumbent on us to have good block protection, get off of blocks, tackle well, pursue well. Certainly nothing magical.”

(On difference of preparing for two running backs instead of one) - “Well a little bit. They feature them in different ways, so we do our best to simulate that here in practice.”

(On how Randy Starks has maximized his snaps) - “He’s a very good football players. There is a reason we did it. We wanted to kind of even out the reps between guys so we could have better production, more effective players in the fourth quarter. There is a lot of reasons, but yeah, I think he’s a guy who can play both the run very, very well and also rush the passer.”

(On Jared Odrick transitioning to defensive tackle well) - “Yeah, I like what we’ve seen so far. There is certainly room for improvement, getting more familiar with the position and the blocking schemes you get inside are a little bit different than outside. I think he’s making steady progress.”

(On what Buffalo’s Mario Williams brings to the table) – “He’s got excellent length, number one. He gets off on the football very well. He has a variety of moves. They move him around nicely within the scheme. He’s not always in one place, so it’s hard to say he’s always going to be there and you can put a specific player on him all the time. And he’s a good football player. He’s a competitor. He’s definitely having a good year.”

(On if he feels like at this point the team has bread-and-butter running plays that can consistently get the yards needed) – “Yeah we have plays we believe in very strongly. We’ve had varying levels of success in the five games we’ve played up to this point in terms of production out of those plays, but there is certainly a core of plays we believe in, absolutely.”

(On if he feels like the team abandoned the running game in some games) – “Not necessarily. I don’t know if we could not run the ball. We certainly didn’t have the production we wanted. There was sometimes from a schematics standpoint where we choose not to run the football. It’s not necessarily we could not, but we may feel like there is a better alternative as to running the ball.”

(On if there is a shifting of gears when the divisional games come around)– “We prepare the team the same exact way. I think I’ve said before, we want to have a great redzone package against every single team we play, a goal-line package against every single team. We understand the rules the NFL has in regards to tiebreakers and those type of things. But from a perspective of preparing a team to play a game, we want to give them an outstanding plan each and every week. We want our players to play consistently well from week-to-week-to-week.”

(On the team’s defensive identity so far and what he wants it to be)– “It’s been a little more bend but not break philosophy. I think we’ve given up some yards, but I think in some tight situations we are playing relatively well. There is a lot of room for improvement whether it be third down or the redzone, but I think we have a chance to improve here as the second half of the season kicks off in terms of after the bye week. I see us playing better and better and better and better.”

(On if he is satisfied with the takeaways)– “I believe we have nine (takeaways) and eight giveaways. I would like it to be more, absolutely.”

(On how the backup linebackers have looked so far)– “All of those guys have really contributed in games in meaningful snaps on defense. (Jelani) Jenkins has obviously had an expanded role. (Jason) Trusnik has filled in and done a very nice job in a couple of different spots. He’s a very versatile player. (Jonathan) Freeny has been there in games playing. I think those guys have demonstrated the next-up mentality where they prepare very well and when there number gets called they are ready to fill in.”

(On if he’s seen Jelani Jenkins improve since training camp) – “Definitely, yes. He’s playing faster and I think he has a better grasp of the system from a scheme standpoint. I think he’s done well.”

(On what he can say is the reason he believes the offensive line will be better than it has in the last 5 games) – “Again, jus the things I’ve seen in practice. I think we’ve had a good week of preparation so far. I think we have a good plan in place to execute against the Buffalo Bills, and I believe in the guys that we have.”

(On what it was that game him confidence in Charles Clay before Dustin Keller went down with injury) – “Well he’s a football player. He can do a lot of different things. He did some good things last year for us in 2012 and filled variety of jobs. I think he can play on the line, he can play off the line, he can play in the backfield, he can play split out as a receiver at times, so I think he’s kind of demonstrated that. I certainly think there’s a lot of room for development for him. Those would be the reasons why I think we had confidence in him.”

(On if he has exceeded expectations) – “Not necessarily. I think he’s done a nice job and we hope there’s even more positive things in the future.”

(On if they self-scout differently for the bye week) – “We have more time to do it but we certainly aware of things on a weekly basis in terms of all three phases of the game, what our run to pass ratios are and those type of things. Based on field position, down and distance, personnel and the same thing as how much pressure we’re utilizing versus different personnel groups. So we’re aware of all that stuff but honestly we have more time in a bye week to sit down and reflect on it and maybe alter things and adjust things.”

(On if it’s concerning that they are on pace for a franchise low in rushing yards) – “I’m not concerned about the franchise marks right now, where we stand with other teams. I want us to be a better running football team no question about it, and I think we will be. I’m not necessarily concerned about comparing us to other teams here.”
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