“Even though it has been over a week since we have all experienced the tragedy, the massacre, whatever words you want to use, of innocent children in Uvalde, be it a church, a grocery store or a school, Just seems like Some places should be havens for us Whether it’s the young white kids in Sandy Hook, the older black grocers in Buffalo, or the young brown kids, it seems like something has to be done. don’t have all the answers to what needs to be done but maybe it’s just to raise awareness about gun violence I’m not trying to make a political statement which side of the fence you know we should to be but we should all be on the same side of safety for our youngsters, that’s definitely something we need to focus on.
Our football team, a group of young men, wanted to make some sort of statement. They came together, asked can you do in tough times like this? You can try to make people’s lives a little bit better. Our football team got together, led by them, and raised over $200,000 to try to help the people, the community. We will donate this to the Robb School Memorial Fund in Uvalde. Our organization, led by Cal and Hannah (McNair) will match that. We will therefore donate $400,000 to the community of Uvalde. Again, money can’t do much. But more than anything, we will raise awareness about gun violence. You see a lot of us in orange t-shirts today. I think in 2013 Hadiya Pendleton was killed in south Chicago, and her friends, the young people, wanted to do something to raise awareness about that. So they created the Wear Orange foundation to raise public awareness. For hunters, orange is supposed to be a color synonymous with safety. So we could talk a lot about it. Our country, we have found a way to live with COVID. There are a lot of smart people here. It seemed like we should be able to find a way to deal with gun violence, too.
On the football side, you know, we love what we do. It’s a great country where we have the chance to do that. Our football team is improving. For the most part, we’ve had most of our guys here. I think the NFL season is about 99 days away. It falls on us. As you can see there is great work being done. I made the statement, starting positions aren’t given in the spring, but you might start to be on the front line in the spring when you show up each day and we can start to form an opinion. And before you know it, as I told the team today, the coach also trained today. So we’re not just doing one practice, so we’ll keep doing that.”
What did you see of DL Jerry Hughes as a veteran passer?
“Well, a veteran rusher but a veteran player who’s done it the right way his entire career. I remember when he came out of college at TCU, and he played at a high level. To play at a high level you have to take care of your body. You have to be a pro. These are all voluntary days and he’s here in the lead. You can’t say he’s not a rookie trying to make his first team, and we need that in our program, veteran leadership like that.”
You added a defensive line coach and several defensive linemen who have spent time at Buffalo before. What do you like about their defensive scheme?
“First there is a group. There are 3-4 teams, there are 4-3 teams and there are those who are rising in our defense family. Jacques Césaire was one as a coach and Mario Addison, we signed him when I was up north with a former team, the Bears, over a decade ago. So we know what they bring to the table. And they know what what we’re trying to accomplish here too. Some guys like to play in this system and we think they can help us as much as anything. You can never have too many good defensive linemen. We’ll keep going, if there are good defensive linemen there, we will continue to bring them in and watch them.
What have you seen of OL Charlie Heck and its growth from last year to this year?
“Progress. Charlie, you know, we’re going to have two starting attacking tackles, but you need a lot more. We like our tackle position. There’s depth there. Eventually, you know, (Laremy) Tunsil will be in and Tytus Howard has done a great job but you need more than them we want to be two deep in every position in our football team that is what we are trying to achieve and i think that we are heading in that direction.
What have you seen from RB Marlon Mack?
“When you look at players some people say let me see the bad plays. I like to see the good plays. When we coach a guy let’s see his best and Marlon has been a productive player in the league and we look at his best years he’s had. Sometimes you need a change, a change of scenery, a new team. I know he fits in well in our group. We feel we have a plan for him and we like the running back position, not just him.”
What did you see in the newly acquired DB Fabian Moreau?
“Six-foot (tall) corners, who like to tackle, who can jump, run, catch all that stuff. We love it. We have a place for them too. Fabian played well. High choice for the (commanders). Good play “. Started every game with the Falcons last year. Again, we weren’t happy with the way we played in corner position, so we’ll keep watching the guys there. But we love our group. Steven Nelson has done some good things. We know Derek Stingley is going to play for us this year and will be a great player for us, so that position is getting a lot better.
You as a defensive coach, having not played defensively as well as you wanted to, how much better do you feel compared to what you have now?
“No position group in our team played as well as needed last year, but we feel like we’ve improved every position in our football team. We’ve talked about secondary. We love what they’re doing. the safeties. We like our group of linebackers. There’s depth there. The guys have played a lot of football. We’ll be a better ball club this year. We’ll definitely be a better defensive team too.
What benchmarks does WR John Metchie III need to hit in terms of recovery?
“We’re just going to keep improving him a little bit every day and eventually he’ll be ready to go and we’ll put them there then. Pretty close.”
What would you like him to do in the meantime?
“I’m not trying to run away from your question, but that’s about it. He’s getting better day by day, isn’t he? He’s mentally staying in his back and that’s what we ask to all of our injured players to do, to stay in the game mentally Jonathan Greenard hasn’t picked up a live team rep yet so we have some injured guys but they’re on track to possibly be there in training camp and that’s where it really counts.
What have you seen from LB Garret Wallow?
“We’ve seen him improve. Garret is one of the players who hasn’t missed a day, I think since we drafted him. Every day we train, Garret Wallow is there. So if you do that and you have He’s a football guy. We’ll find a place for him. And we have quite a few players that way. I keep track. Even if it’s voluntary, we keep a trail every day of who shows up. And there’s something about some players never have – every day this building’s been open, they’ve been here. That says a lot. He’s one of them.”
Does participation in these practices play a role in finding a role in the special teams?
“I think it plays a big part in being available, being seen, having reps every day. Ultimately, no matter how long you’re here, you have to perform. But the way you perform and have an opportunity is to show up every day.”
You said the players came together to pool funds for a donation to Uvalde’s relief efforts. What does this say about the group of players you have?
“Well, that said exactly what we know inside. We have real quality men who care. I want our team to be involved in what’s happening in our world, in our country. That’s You know, it seemed like some of us old people couldn’t do certain things, but it seemed like the younger generation, you know, they can. action and our team did it. Guys, a lot of our players, they’re parents, grandparents. So that means something to us. But that’s what we expected and to them , following this path says a lot.
What are you looking at wide receivers right now?
“That’s pretty much what we’re looking for, it’s just individual improvement. Some of the guys, Brandin Cooks, we kind of know who he is and what kind of player and what he’s going to do for us. But there are so many other guys that we don’t know, and again, we’re a new coaching staff. So we’re all on the same page. Offensively, we have a new offensive coordinator. So there’s a lot of different things that we’re gonna go through and we get to know each other The way you get to know someone I’ve been married for 42 years and you know time together helps a lot The same way with the guys who show up every day, the time together has helped us enormously, to assess, to determine exactly who we put on the pitch.”
Was there one aspect of the team that surprised you?
“No, because I knew our guys would come to work every day. I knew they would take training. I knew we had good football players and I knew they were going to be happy to go through the process. There’s no miracle pill. We can’t skip a step or anything like that. So that’s what we’re going to do.”