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BILLS: Jets Still Have a Dominating Defense

Posted Nov 14, 2013

Transcripts of Jim Leonhard's and Doug Marrone's conference calls with Jets reporters on Wednesday afternoon:

BILLS S JIM LEONHARD

On what it has been like preparing for this Jets team...

Early in the week we're definitely putting in our time, putting in our work. They're playing well, they're running the ball well, they're being very physical. Geno Smith is making plays in the passing game and that's why they're winning games and playing better. We're definitely going to have our hands full. We have to go in with the mindset that they're going to try and come in and bully us. We have to be up to the challenge.

On how different the Bills defense is now with Jairus Byrd and Stephon Gilmore back...

It's a lot different. Our last game [vs. the Jets] especially was a little chaotic with having Leodis [McKelvin] go down on top of not having a couple of guys who were inactive for the game. We feel like we’re coming together, we're jelling. If you would have looked back at the beginning of the season, the guys that they expected to start, we finally got everybody back. It's definitely exciting to have the secondary working at full strength and hopefully we can continue to go out, play well and continue to make plays in the passing game.

On how his role in the Bills’ defense compare to the role he had in Rex Ryan's Jets defense...

It definitely is similar in that aspect, having experience in the defense, being able to help guys with the communication and the adjustments. Obviously with [Mike] Pettine coming up here, he kind of made the defense his own by tweaking things and changing some things that he thought needed to be changed, just making it his own defense and not copy and paste from what Rex did. I think we've made a lot of great adjustments in trying to use our personnel the best we can.

On having any chance to see how the Jets’ defense is playing this year...

As a casual fan, it looks like up front they're dominating teams. That's where it all starts from. That's Rex’s MO. They're doing a great job of taking the run away from teams, making them one dimensional, and then getting after the quarterback. That's something that Rex always preaches year in, year out and game in, game out. They're doing a great job of that and that is why they have a success.

On if he had any conversations with the Jets about coming back...

No, there wasn’t, nothing really to go into. It just wasn’t going to work out based on their depth and it was not a conversation.

On if he's surprised by the coaching job Ryan has done this year...

No, not at all. Obviously Rex is a very prideful person and he is going to put in the work, he is going to get his team playing the way that he wants them to play. Being physical and running the football, they kind of got back to that. Limit the mistakes and go out there to make the other team beat you. He's done a great job of that and there is a lot of talent there, there always has been a lot of talent there, it's just putting it together and not shooting yourself in the foot. They're doing that right now and that's why they are causing a lot of problems for teams. Similar to us in Buffalo, just in every game for the most part, coming out in the fourth quarter and having a chance to win the game.

On his thoughts about Geno Smith...

He’s played well. Obviously he’s got a big arm and can make all the throws. At times throughout the year and especially recently, a lot of moving parts on offense as far as injuries go and he seems to have handled that well. He still has a lot of confidence in his ability and recently he’s getting out of the pocket more and running and causing some teams a little more issues as far as that goes. It’s something you have to worry about. He’s coming into his own and we have to try to hold him down.

On seeing more read option from the Jets since Game 3...

I believe so. I know we had talked about it a lot, they hadn’t run it a lot. We put some emphasis on it the last time and it has shown up a little bit more. They do a lot of unique things, whether it’s Wildcat, read option, those things they do in the passing game. They do a lot to make you think and that’s nothing new. They’ve done it all year and we definitely have to stay on top of our adjustments.

On if the Jets' big plays in Game 3 were the result of the Bills' injuries at that time...

Somewhat personnel and just situations. Early in the year we struggled in certain situations, whether it be third-and-long, some red zone situations, and that’s what it was. We felt like for the most part we did well on first and second down and we’d get them in third-and-long and give up the big play. There were numerous occasions where that happened and we feel like eliminate those and we have a lot better chance of winning this game.

On how he expects Santonio Holmes’ possible return to impact the game...

Playing with Santonio and knowing the competitor he is, he’s going to want to get right back in the mix and impact the game. He had a great game against us the last time, so I know he’s going to come in with a lot of confidence. We have to try to take him away early, not knowing what his role is going to be. Obviously with Kerley going down it’s a bad situation for them, but Santonio is going to come in and be a big part of that offense and we’re going to have to take care of him.

On if he and the Bills can bait Smith into making bad plays and turning the ball over...

I think you definitely try. You definitely have to try because just being a young quarterback you can throw some things at him that he hasn’t seen or might make him second-guess himself or miss something. It’s something I pride myself on and we’re doing a better job week in and week out understanding the structure of this defense and being able to mess with quarterbacks a little bit.

BILLS HEAD COACH DOUG MARRONE

On the status of his wide receivers...

Robert [Woods] is not going to play. I’m pretty unsure about Stevie [Johnson].

On if there's a feeling Johnson's groin injury might be worse than other nicks he’s had this year...

I don’t know. It could be. They’re just working through it.

On what he's seen from the Jets off the tape since the teams' first meeting in Game 3...

I think they’re still a dominating defense. They’ve been playing extremely well throughout the course of the year. I know there was obviously the one tough game, but they’ve played well. They’re big, athletic up front. They cause a lot of problems. They’re well coached; I think. Offensively I see a big, physical offensive line. They have a lot of weapons on the outside and obviously they’re getting healthy at that position. I think the two backs are running better now than they were at the beginning, so you can see them getting better and better as the season goes on. Geno [Smith], he’s a rookie quarterback and he’s getting better each game, too, learning and doing well. This is a very good football team. It’s going to be a challenge for us and it’s going to be a tough match.

On how his secondary has come together now that they’re healthy...

It’s helped us quite a bit. We still have to be a better team to get more wins, but having the secondary back has helped us with those guys coming back. They’re communicating well. They’ve been doing some nice things and getting better and better each week. It’s exciting, but it’s still going to be a very big challenge for us with Santonio [Holmes] coming back and [Kellen] Winslow coming back and obviously [Stephen] Hill and everyone else has done a good job there.

What’s the status on [Jeremy] Kerley? Is he coming back? He’s played very well for them, too. Obviously David Nelson will come back and he’s done some good things and is a good football player and obviously there’s Josh Cribbs on special teams.

On what he's seen from QB EJ Manuel...

Well, EJ has been hurt for quite a bit of that time after we played Cleveland. We’re just trying to get him back started again. You don’t ever start where you left off. You have to start from the beginning.

On if it’s almost like the season is restarting for him...

Yeah. I think when you’re that young and the things occur to you, that’s what happens. I think it’s exciting. EJ and Geno are both young quarterbacks that are in the same division and their two teams will be competing against each other for quite a while. I think both quarterbacks are extremely talented and extremely good. EJ is doing well. He’s just working on getting back and concentrating on getting better each game.

On if he thought weather was a factor in Smith's performance n the Pinstripe Bowl...

No. You’d have to ask him, but he’s a talented quarterback. I don’t know if I can answer that question because you’d have to ask him. He was talented every year that we played him and we were always concerned about him.

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