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Coordinators talk about challenges facing the Buffalo Bills

Rob Ryan, Pete Carmichael and Greg McMahon met with the media on October 25, 2013

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, October 25, 2013

You might see some read option this weekend, and certainly will for the rest of the schedule. I know you guys prepared during the offseason but then you didn't see it for a couple of months. Did you dust off the plan at all during the bye week?

"We had to and, you know, they do quite a bit of it. This is the most we've seen for sure. With the young quarterback who is athletic, he can run this as well. We definitely have to have a plan. We're ready for it and we've been working hard on it. The proof is in the pudding."

And their run game, have you used any new elements to test this defense out?

"Yeah, absolutely. First of all, I think they're extremely well coached. I don't know this coaching staff at all. I know our guys are familiar with their coach. You can tell he's doing a great job. He's got a lot of discipline there. He's got an excellent running attack. He does a great job on his pass concepts. He game plans a lot of things. This is a big test and obviously this will be a huge test in the running game."

As personnel heavy as you are as far as matching players up with schemes, how do you work with hurry up and defending that?

"I think you go into a game plan knowing what you want to do and what you can do. We have a plan. We knew New England was going to do that. We know these guys are going to do that and we definitely have a plan for that. I know you're saying after New England and the first few series, 'well that's great. Custer had a plan.' But we have and plan and it's good. We worked it all week long on no huddle, fast tempo. We haven't huddled on defense. We'll be ready. We're looking forward to it and we're excited about it."

How much does it change what you like to call versus what you're forced to call?

"We still have every call we got. Our game plan doesn't change, some of our people do. I like to use the whole roster. These guys work hard and everybody feels part of the win. That's what our goal is every week. Sometimes you can't do that. You can obviously stay with more calls when you do put certain personnel groups in. We'll be ready. We're excited about it. We like our plan. We're looking forward to getting back out there."

When you are facing a young quarterback that doesn't have a lot of game film out there, how far back do you go?

"I mean we saw some preseason tape on him too and we've seen him these few games. Looks like he's actually playing better in the real season than he did in the preseason. This guy has played well. He's got a lot of confidence. He's taken some big hits and he stands in there. This guy is pretty darn impressive. We have to do a great job on defense and we're looking forward to getting after this guy."

How important has Malcolm Jenkins been to this defensive turnaround?

"Malcolm is the captain of our defense. His role is so vital. That's why you see him out there with a neck roll. We don't want to take Malcolm out. He does too many things for us. He's played just about every position but nose tackle. He's great. He's smart. He loves the game. No one is more committed on defense than Malcolm is. He does tons of film work. He studies everything you can give him and more. The guy has been fantastic."

Has he been arguing, I mean lobbying, for more safety blitzes?

"No. Arguing, you were right the first time. He just always wants everything to be right. You love a guy like this. He is very intelligent. He makes every coach, me included, do a great job. I think we're so fortunate to have him. Not only is he smart but he's also tough as hell."

What has impressed you about Buffalo's offense?

"I think the way they scheme their attack. The guy does a great job. I think they have slightly different pass patterns and concepts against certain people, certain looks. They know how to attack. This is an outstanding program they are running over there. They've got a great commitment to running the football with a gigantic offensive line. That's what's been impressive. I know the numbers have changed in quarterback but they do a good job."

Is this a different team without CJ Spiller?

"I'm like one of the biggest Jackson fans around. Back when nobody cared and I was in Cleveland and he was at Buffalo and we were beating them 6-3. This guy has been a great player for a long time. He's still a great player. He'll limp off the field and he gets right back in there. This guy is a great player. (Tashard) Choice is a good back also. So if Spiller, obviously he is an outstanding player, if he doesn't play they've got an all-pro right there behind him. That's my opinion. Jackson does everything well. He runs. He catches. He blocks. He's tough."

Gutsy game for him last week?

"I think that's how that team plays is gutsy. Make no mistake, we plan on getting after them."

You get any credit for the Jets win over the Patriots? A lot of people were trying to give you credit for tipping off your brother.

"That's great. No, absolutely not. I had nothing to do with that."

They just saw that on film?

"I never saw it on the field. It was special teams play. I was trying to get our guys right. Absolutely none."

Speaking of your brother, do you start to get excited that the Jets are coming up on the schedule?

"To be honest, thanks for telling me. I had no idea. We're just focused on the Bills."

New Orleans Saints Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon

Post-Practice Media Availability

Friday, October 25, 2013

Were you aware that the New England Patriots got away with the same play against you guys that they were penalized for against the New York Jets on a field goal attempt?

"You know what happens in games a lot of times, you have the worst angle on the field.  But, no a lot of times you are in the heat of a battle and you are just looking for any leakage in your protection and stuff, so no."

But that is a rule that everyone in the league is aware of this year?

"No, they haven't.  These rules they put in from year to year certainly it is an emphasis on the push rule this year.  It is something we all have been working on."

Can you talk about Chris Williams and his development?

"You know how this league is.  Heck, he is on our practice squad.  We are very excited we have him.  He is a fast guy.  He had great numbers in Canada.  We are excited about him.  You've seen these guys all of a sudden they are on the practice squad and then the next week they are on the active roster.  He is being trained and we have had a lot of success of players maybe that were on our practice squad that got elevated.  We are excited to have him.  I know that.  He has had good production."

Is his rotation the same as an undrafted rookie?

"Yes and yes.  He had a high production so everybody had him on a short list.  I know he had other options.  I know Ryan Pace and those guys identified him early so we were fortunate enough to get him.  We are excited to have him. I know that."

Do you think that he's made a good transition from the CFL?

"Sure, I think so.  Definitely.  Yes, he jumped off at the tape I looked at.  Ryan (Pace) had been chasing this guy for a while so I kept hearing about him so when he got here I was excited.  We are jacked up about him.  I think the transition from the Canadian league to ours it happens all the time.  I think he will be alright."

Is Garrett Hartley having a particularly strong year?

"He has had a good career for us thus far. He has done a good job. He has good consistency.  He certainly has done a good job.  I think (some of) the guys who go unsung are (guys like) Justin Drescher, our (long) snapper.  He is real consistent.  Luke McCown has done a nice job being our backup quarterback and holding.  I know Garrett has a confidence in those guys, so I think the mechanics of snap, hold, kick have been good.  We just have to keep that going."

New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael

Post-Practice Media Availability

Friday, October 25, 2013

Did you do anything in the bye week and take a little extra look at?

"Yeah, absolutely.  I think the things we'll look at really are from a self-scout.  What are we doing well? Where do we need to improve? And maybe some things that tendency where we are trying to find some areas to break some tendencies, maybe personnel or whatever it is, just trying to change some things up."

The fact that the receivers are catching a low percentage of passes, is that a tendency that concerns you?

"I would say this that we've always been the offense that goes out there and plays and we are going to call the plays and Drew (Brees) is going to find the open guy.  And if the opportunity is there for the tight end or the running back to get the ball then they are probably going to get it, but it is not anything that we are doing differently, it has just been the opportunities that have presented themselves."

When you went back to self-scout, did you find that the running game was just inches off or something bigger?

"I think it is obviously something that we have to continue to improve on.  But you look at it every single (snap), is it this individual, maybe a different guy, so just being all on the same page and everyone getting their assignment."

If you don't have Jimmy (Graham) this weekend, the fact that you have Lance Moore back, does that help the ease of not having Jimmy?

"Well I'm not going to comment on who is available and who is not available.  But obviously both of those guys present opportunities for us and having Lance is a good thing.  He's obviously proven himself in the past."

What is different now in the relationship between Drew (Brees) and Sean (Payton)? Have they kind of gone to another level this season?

"I think that their relationship has the same as it's been since 2006.  We just had a year without Sean.  But their relationship is still as tight as it could be and they seem to always be on the same page and have the same mindset, aggressive and almost as if they have one brain working together.  It is pretty amazing."

What is it like being the guy in between the "shared brain"?

"It's occasionally just passing a message on from Sean to Drew or maybe Drew's got some thoughts and Sean has a lot of other responsibilities going on being the head coach.  So really making sure the group overall as an offense is getting the message that Sean is communicating."

Does it leave you out a little bit because Sean Payton is an offensive guy?

"I think we have a great offensive staff and everyone contributes.  It's been that way since 2006 that everybody is going to give their input.  Listen, I don't need anything so I enjoy it and it's just great to be a part of the room that is in there listening to Sean and Drew.  It is an opportunity for me to take everything in that I can."

As far as relationships go on a team, the head coach and the quarterback are the most important or the most dangerous on some teams I guess.

"I think it is so obvious that they have a great relationship and the fact that Sean is the offensive play-caller, I think that makes it even more important.  They have their own little meetings and get together and make sure not only are they on the same page about maybe the offense, but the things that are going on with the team."

How have you seen it manifest itself in a game?

"Yeah I think they have been around long enough and they've known each other long enough that Drew probably knows the situation when Sean wants to go for it on fourth and one and what the play call is going to be.  Obviously it has its advantages."

Can you talk about the challenges you have against Buffalo's secondary?

"They give pressure up front which can create some tough throws for the quarterback, but they have been very opportunistic defensively with interceptions.  It is not just throws right to them.  They are making great plays on the ball.  So they clearly have great ball skills.  Balls are getting tipped and then they are just taking advantage of those plays."

Do you think Mario Williams is still a guy you have to account for?

"Absolutely.  They do a great job with their personnel groupings mixing up where he is located.  He is obviously a guy we have to account for on all plays."

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