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Stevie Johnson clears the air

Back to work for the Bills on Monday.  On Sunday, it sounded like Stevie Johnson hinted that Ryan Fitzpatrick should call the plays more--Stevie claims he was misunderstood.  There were reactions on Monday, beginning with head coach Chan Gailey:
Q: Are you satisfied with WR Stevie Johnson's explanation for what he meant after the game yesterday?
A: I had not heard it. I have not heard his explanation.
Q: I thought you talked to him.
A: Nope. (Bob Bicknell) talked to him. I did not talk to him, but I talked to Bick and I know where he is coming from. Stevie just wants to win. You say a lot of things and he just wants to win. He is fine.
Q: When things like that come out that players said, does that upset you?
A: It does, but you have to understand it is the heat of the battle and if you know a guy...if you do not know a guy you might tend to get really upset, but if you know a guy then you know where his heart is. Even though he might not have said it exactly right, you know where his heart is. I know Stevie.
Q: How much frustration is there knowing where you are at right now?
A: There is a lot right after the game and the day after. There is a lot of it, but it is what it is. You have to find what you can find positive. Build on it and go to the next one.
Q: Is there any way you expected to be standing here 4-7 at this point in the season?
A: No. I did not. I expected to be 11-0. That is the way I always look at it.
Q: I know you cannot change it, but is it safe to say you will be sending some stuff into the league regarding what happened at the end of the first half and how they were officiated?
A: I looked at it. I do not know what they see and what they do not see. If you send in judgment stuff, you are not going to get any response so you are wasting your time. Most of that was judgment stuff.
Q: Do you plan to talk to Stevie?
A: No.
Q: What about tempo? A couple times this season your offense has needed some time to get going. No-huddle is a part of your playbook. What about turning to that to jump start things?
A: We have done that some, but it has been revolving around the pass game. We are trying to make sure we get the running game going. When you do no-huddle sometimes it revolves too much around the pass game. We do not want to get into that. We want to keep a balance between our run and pass.
Q: You have said a couple of times this season that you feel the team is still making progress. Do you still feel that way?
A: In some areas. In some areas not.
Q: What areas are improving?
A: I feel like our defense is getting better and has become more consistent. Maybe our run defense in particular has gotten better. I think we have taken a step back in some areas. We have done some good things in special teams, but what we get we give up sometimes. That is frustrating at times.
Q: When you look at the season as a whole statistically you are further behind than you were a year ago so progress seems to be a hard sell.
A: Yeah, right now I would agree with you. Until you win games. The statistics go out the gate when you win games. Statistics do not matter. Statistics are a way to evaluate losing in my opinion.
Q: Do you have confidence K Rian Lindell can kick a 52-yard field goal or does he not have that in him anymore?
A: Yeah, he has it in him. The question is do you want to play the field position game at that point in a ball game? Right before half, right at the end of the game--sure I might try it. I know we did not in overtime for the field position reason in Arizona. I think he can make one. He makes them in practice. It is not that I do not have confidence, just percentage-wise it is against you in general over 50 yards. I do not want to play those percentages.
Q: What is DE Chris Kelsay's situation moving forward here?
A: Not good. He had a recurrence of that neck strain and he may miss some time.
Q: Is it season threatening?
A: I do not think so but you have to wait and see about these things. We will have to wait and see how it comes around.
Q: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick said he has plenty of freedom inside the offense. Can you describe the scope of Ryan's freedom to help fans understand it?
A: Not in a 20 second sound bit, I cannot do that. Freedom comes in different packages depending upon the play and the situation whether it is a run or a pass. Is it the route within the pass? We do all of that. We do a little bit of all of that. We do not do it every snap because sometimes we want to hand it off. We do not want to adjust things.
Q: Ten to 15,000 tickets remaining for the December home games. I would imagine that is as good of a source of frustration that the fans are feeling as any. Are you feeling the fans frustration?
A: I do not feel it because I do not deal with the outside a lot to be honest with you, but I know they are. These are loyal, great fans that live and die with the Bills. They are suffering right now. They are suffering and I understand that. I do.
Q: Stevie said that he misspoke and when he said he wanted Fitzpatrick to call the plays, he meant audibles. Can you tell us what your philosophy is with audibling?
A: Some weeks we have a lot. Some weeks we do not have very many. We have adjustments that guys can make. Sometimes we do not have adjustments that the quarterback can make. So we just try to strike a balance of we get what we want run, run and then if there needs to be a change out there we allow Fitz to change some of them.
Q: Some people have placed you on the 'hot seat.' Do you feel you have had enough time to try to turn this thing around and do you believe you deserve more?
A: I am just working as hard as I can work to try to get this thing where it needs to be. I do not evaluate that stuff. I do not evaluate it or look at it. I am not going to say I do not care about it. That would be a lie, but I am just doing the best I can every day.
Q: In light of the loyalty you have showed to Stevie, is it a little disappointing what he said yesterday after two weeks ago he was criticizing a play call in New England?
A: Yeah, I know and like I said you say some things sometimes in the heat of the battle that maybe you wish you had not said or you did not say exactly the way you wanted to say it. We all do it. We all try not to but we all do it. Like I said, I know Stevie. I know what he wants to happen for this football team and I know his heart. So I am not worried about it.
Q: Do you get a sense that the confidence your team has in you may be fraying?
A: I do not sense that but you are asking the wrong person. You need to be asking them.
Q: Do you have an update on FB Corey McIntyre?
A: Better than we thought. It could have been a lot worse. There is a good chance for this week that he will get to practice.
Q: What about DE Mark Anderson and CB Aaron Williams?
A: It will be touch and go. They are going to do a little bit of work during the week, but I would say it is less of a chance than more of a chance right now for those two.
Q: Have they had a setback? This is stretching on a little bit longer than what was initially anticipated.
A: It has not been a setback, but it just has not moved forward as fast as we hoped it would.
Q: Do you have any idea why it has been so difficult to turn a once proud franchise around?
A: No. If I had that handle I would have already grabbed it, jerked it and done something about it.
Q: How would you asses the job that CB Justin Rogers has done?
A: He has been up-and-down. He played with a lot of confidence early in the season, then as of late he has not played with as much confidence and you can see it in his play. He still has got the ability to do some things, but I just feel like sometimes his confidence wavers and that gets him in trouble. He needs to play with a great deal of confidence and I think that he can be a decent player, but he has to go out and do it every down.
Q: The nickel cornerback seems to be one of the toughest spots on defense with how teams move their best receiver into the slot.
A: It is getting tougher and tougher as I see football go on because of what you just said. People trying to match-up with those guys inside.
Q: How is CB Ron Brooks playing four games in and is he a consideration at that spot at all?
A: I do not think he is. I think our first choice would be to move Leodis (McKelvin) in there before we move (Ron) Brooks in there. Leodis played it in the spring and played it in preseason. Showed some good things in there and Brooks missing all of that time has not had enough practice or even thought process in the whole thing.
Q: Is that a move you consider for this week or would it have to be when CB Aaron Williams comes back?
A: Maybe. That is a maybe (we would consider it this week).
Q: Your plans for RB C.J. Spiller and RB Fred Jackson moving forward?
A: I still see C.J. getting the majority of the plays and I do not see anything changing our mind in the immediate future about that with C.J. getting the majority of the plays. It balanced out this past week because of some throwing situations that we needed the protection in there. I think as time goes on we will see C.J. get more of the reps.
Q: If they are both healthy, will Spiller be the starter?
A: Yeah.
Q: Spiller did not touch the ball the last 13 and a half minutes of the game yesterday, is that OK with you?
A: Well since we lost, no it is not OK. You would have rather gotten him the football. Maybe he would have given you a chance to win so you'd like to do something different than you did. You think you had some good things on the plate to give yourself a chance to win, but when you do not win then you wish you had done something different.
Q: I know they play different positions but WR T.J. Graham played two more snaps than Spiller did.
A: I do not even think that comparison is fair. Just because of different positions and who the other guy is.
Q: In what way? Because C.J. is doing that much more work in terms of exertion?
A: No, I mean who is playing behind T.J. and who is playing behind C.J.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Monday, November 26, 2012
Q: WR Stevie Johnson was talking about maybe you would have better luck calling the plays. How would you feel about that?
A: I think Stevie...I do not know if maybe it was taken out of context. I have talked to him a little bit today about what he said, what he meant and why he said it. You will have to ask him all of that stuff and maybe a day after thinking about it, being able to see what was written about it he will kind of let you guys know what he was talking about.
The two things about Stevie that I will say--one is he is fiercely loyal. I think coming out of that game there is a lot of criticism on me, always when we do not win and rightfully so. I think that was probably part of it. That was a way for him to show that he had my back. That is something I appreciate. The other thing is he is as competitive as can be. We saw that even on the interception. Fighting and getting the fumble. He does not like to lose. He came out and kind of said some stuff that was on his mind. I think it was not necessarily I need to be the offensive coordinator, I think it was more that sometimes we get into a better flow when I am able to go out there, and especially with him and the way that he runs routes and things, give him some routes and the line and do some of those different things. That is something we have done a lot in the past and we did a few times in the last game. I think that is what was on his mind.
Q: Are you comfortable with the level of autonomy you have in the offense?
A: Yeah. Chan (Gailey) and I have worked together long enough now that I have a ton of freedom. Even in year one I had a good amount of freedom. There is a lot of give and take with that. I feel 100-percent comfortable. It is not always on the field, it is not always during a specific play. Sometimes that stuff happens on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday when we are sitting up in our meeting room and talking about plays, things that we have installed and what we are trying to attack.
Q: Would you welcome the opportunity to call more plays if HC Chan Gailey gave you that opportunity?
A: We could sit and talk about this forever, but I have a lot of freedom in this offense. Chan gives me a lot of freedom and I am happy with it.
Q: But do you need to have more? Is that Stevie's point?
A: You will have to ask Stevie, but I feel like there is a lot of trust between Chan's play calling and what I do on the field sometimes when I switch things up. There is a lot of trust there. You will have to talk to Stevie about what he was talking about but that is all I can say on that.
Q: You talked about the criticism that you get, but there was a lot more towards Gailey. Doesn't his loyalty to his coach come into play there?
A: Yeah it does. I was not sitting there listening on what he was talking about. I know this morning he was a little distraught because he felt like what he was saying got misconstrued as he was questioning Chan and that is not the point he was trying to get across. You can ask him. He loves Chan. If you look at what Chan has done for him. He did not really get on the field and play until Chan got here. After last season Chan had a decision to make, did he want to bring Stevie back or not? Nobody would have questioned it either way. He wanted Stevie back and brought him back. Stevie owes a lot to Chan and I know he understands that.
Q: Gailey has said many times that he feels the team is making progress. Do you agree that the team is making progress?
A: It is tough because you look at our record. We are 4-7. Last year we started off hotter, we started off with a better record. It is frustrating to turn on the film and watch to just see that it is a play or two here or there. We had three big down the field throws that could have broken open the game. We only completed one of them. We had some bad behind the chains deals, we were second-and-long, third-and-long, that stalled some drives out. There are just little things that come up in games that we are not good enough to overcome right now. We just have to continue to get better in those areas.
Q: Eleven games into the season, shouldn't you expect more from the offense?
A: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is we have been inconsistent. Unfortunately the last month or so we are heading in the wrong direction in terms of our production has dropped off and is not where we want it to be. For us, that is disappointing. We just have to continue to work and continue to fix things that we are not doing well.
Q: What can you say about a tempo change? No-huddle is a part of your playbook. It is an option you can turn to, I would think?
A: Yeah, and that is something that when I first heard Stevie's comments that is a lot of what I thought he was talking about. Just in terms of in years past we do not have any momentum when we are kind of dead out there. When we are three-and-out or four, five, six plays-and-out just going on the ball and getting some stuff going. A lot of times when we do that it limits the amount of runs we have. It limits the touches we can get for C.J. (Spiller) and Fred (Jackson). I think that is why we have gotten away from it a little bit this year. That is always something that we need to consider because it is something that can liven up the offense if you need a spark.
Q: Why would the tempo limit the amount of runs?
A: Everything is up on the ball and we are calling things, so we do not have...we have plenty of runs, but we do not have our full package of runs that we would have in the game or different ways to attack the ways that people are defending us. A lot of times with the quarterback calling the plays on the field and that kind of stuff, especially with one-on-one matchups on the outside of the field, you tend to throw a little bit more.
Q: How difficult is it standing here right now knowing that the playoffs are just a mathematical dream?
A: It stinks. We knew that was a big game for us. It would have put us right in contention really right in the hunt. Right now it is dim. The hopes are dim, but there is still a little bit of hope and we are just going to keep fighting and keep playing.
Q: Can you give us an example of the inconsistencies that you mention?
A: Specific examples--I get them to jump offsides and I miss C.J. Then we have a down the field shot to Donald (Jones) we do not complete. Being able to hit those big plays would help. There are also just some runs here or there or some screens, whatever it is. All of a sudden we are finding ourselves in 2nd-and-12 or we have a 2nd-and-five and all of a sudden we have a 3rd-and-nine. The negative plays and the longer third-down stuff we have not been as good with as I would have hoped coming into the season we would be. That is part of it. Sometimes it is one guy or one great defensive play that will ruin a play. It is just getting all 11 guys on the same page and continuing to work at it.
WR Stevie Johnson
Monday, November 26, 2012
Q: What are your thoughts about your comments yesterday?
A: I am good with it. I am ready to move onto the next team and that is the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Q: It was construed that you were questioning Coach Gailey's play calling ability. Was that your intent?
A: The intent was more so audible. I did not mean changing play calling duties and all of that. I may have said it, but what I mean to say was audible. Giving (Ryan Fitzpatrick) the ability to audible a little bit more.
Q: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick claims he has plenty of room in the offense to do that type of thing. Do you disagree with that?
A: I would not know what the conversation they are having. I said what I said and what ended up coming out was me talking about play calling. It was really about audible.
Q: Part of your comment also seems a little bit tempo based and we have not seen you use the no-huddle a whole lot when you are sputtering a little bit--which was the case yesterday.
A: Yeah. My issue is not even no-huddle. It is not even that deep. When I even say to make audibles, that is not even just to throw the ball. Even with runs. When you are back there you see what the defenders are doing and all of that. Maybe we check it into a draw play for C.J. (Spiller) or what not. That is the basis of it. It was not even turning to no-huddle or do the two-minute drill. It was not even that deep. It was just simply making an audible.
RB C.J. Spiller
Monday, November 26, 2012
Q: The fact that your playoff hopes have been severely damaged has to make today a little harder.
A: It does because that is a game that we definitely wanted to win. We came up short. They just made a couple more plays than what we made. Everything that we missed is very correctable, so I expect us to do that this week and moving forward for the rest of the season.
Q: It seems like the biggest problem for the offense is you guys do not connect on the big plays when they are there and it seems like it kills your offense.
A: Yeah, it did yesterday. I am not going to say it killed the whole season because we did not make those big plays, but yesterday was just one of those days we just missed it. I missed a couple cuts and we missed a couple throws. Everybody. It is a group thing and it is something that is very correctable. We have to correct it and hopefully improve on it the rest of the season.
Q: Do you feel like you are still working to ditch the perception you are the speed back who cannot handle the load? Do you feel like you are always going up against that?
A: I will always be the speed back because I am fast. I do not expect that perception to go away. I really do not care. I know what I can do as a player and I take pride in my craft. I work hard to try to improve it each and every week so I cannot help it that I was blessed with tremendous speed.
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