Q: How’s it going?
A: It’s going well. Being out there with everyone on the team, firing around and getting back to real football. It’s been awesome.
Q: How about [the fact that] everybody’s learning a new offense? What do you think about the challenge of, now that you’re into it, learning the new terminology and all that?
A: Yeah, I mean, everybody’s going through the same thing right now. All [of the] quarterbacks are still trying to figure out entirely what’s going on with everybody; that’s the tough part of being quarterback: you’re supposed to know what everybody’s doing on the field. AJ [McCarron] and Nate [Peterman] have done a really good job of knowing what they’re doing out there and giving me a lot of knowledge and they’ve helped me along the way. Obviously, we’re only three days in, so we’ve got a lot of more install, we’ve got a lot more to do before we can say we’re ready.
Q: Jordan Palmer worked with you on studying the system for learning. Has that been helpful to you?
A: Absolutely. It’s not that we learned the system before, it’s was learning how to learn a system. It was techniques we can use to learn formations, things we can tell ourselves when we hear a concept and go out there and try to remember it, just kind of sequencing. Jordan did a good job with me and Sam [Darnold] with that.
Q: Josh, have you ever been third on the depth chart as a quarterback on a team?
A: Yeah, absolutely. My junior college year, I was maybe third or maybe even fourth my first three or four games.
Q: What’s the challenge then in being that far on the depth chart while trying to learn and compete and all of that?
A: Well the challenge of that is getting a limit to the amount of reps. Especially yesterday, it was split up where the ones and twos got more than the threes. At the same time, it’s me standing back there and trying to take mental reps, trying to learn from what AJ and Nate are doing [while] staying engaged the entire time.
Q: So that kind of flipped? You got a bit more today, right?
A: No, we all got the same today.
Q: So that said, if you’re not getting as many reps, is there sometimes a tendency to not try and do too much to show, ‘hey, I want more reps, I want to show that I belong here’ and kind of have to not be too aggressive at times?
A: I mean, that’s a really good question and some people handle it differently. I’m going out there and I’m trying to do everything right. I’m not trying to do too much. Whatever Coach [Brian] Daboll and Coach [David] Culley are preaching to me is what I’m going to go out there and I’m going to do. I’m going to trust my teammates, put the ball where it needs to be, let them go make some plays, and it’s as simple as that.
Q: Coach Daboll seems to be pretty hands on. Can you comment about what it’s been like with Daboll so far?
A: It’s been awesome. He’s very energetic, he’s very engaged with myself, Nate, and AJ. Meetings are awesome; he’s super talkative, he’s got a lot of information. I definitely am in a really good situation here being able to learn from AJ and Nate and then a coach like Daboll.
Q: There’s was also one play out on the field [where] you threw a touchdown pass to Ray-Ray [McCloud III] [and] you got really hyped afterwards. Can you just comment on that?
A: Yeah, I mean, in my opinion, there’s nothing better than throwing touchdowns. So even in practice, it gets the juices flowing a little bit, so I just wanted to go out there and let him know ‘you made a really good route, you did what you’re supposed to do’. It seems that, when everybody does their own jobs, things tend to work out for the better.
Q: Josh, you said at rookie minicamp [that] you were going to try and feel your way out once the veterans got here. It’s been a few weeks that you’ve all been acclimated. Where are you in that process of feeling your way out on this team and being outspoken or whatever as a rookie?
A: You know, it’s been great. The guys that are here, the locker room that we have, the culture that Coach McDermott has established here, it’s very family-like. Getting in and establishing relationships with the vets, guys like Lorenzo Alexander and LeSean McCoy and Kelvin Benjamin. I’ve got Eddie Yarbrough who played at Wyoming with me, and there’s tons of other guys. Those are the guys that have been more notable in the past. It’s been good to get in with these guys and kind of share stories and see where each other comes from. It’s been a fun process. There’s a lot of names involved with it and it’s getting better each day, just remembering faces along with the names, but man, this is a fantastic locker room that we’ve got here.
Q: How eye opening is it, or maybe not, to see the DBs at this level compared to college and how tight they are, how tight the windows are that you have to fit things in, things like that?
A: Yeah, I mean, the game just moves a little bit faster. It’s not that these guys run so much faster, they’re so much bigger than guys in college, it’s just that they’re smarter. They know where they need to be, they get the route recognition a lot faster, a lot quicker. They’re jumping on balls now. We’ve got guys that are fantastic players: Micah Hyde, [Jordan] Poyer, and then you’ve got a vet like Vontae Davis out there and he’s pushing our receivers to be better and making sure that, as quarterbacks, we’re putting the ball where it needs to be.
Q: How much will that help your growth, and maybe even quicken the curve working against Tre White, Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde, as you just mentioned? I would think going against that group only makes you a better quicker.
A: Absolutely. Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. That’s kind of the mindset that, when you’re practicing, you should have. You should be able to look across to the guy next to you and the guy that you’re competing with and say, ‘I’m going to make you better, you’re going to make me better’ and go at it like that.
Q: In terms of how the reps were issued out, how much of that was kind of pre-planned when they sat you down and said, ‘this is how we want to develop you’. Did you kind of know coming in that you would start at the bottom and work your way up?
A: I didn’t know that, [but] I expected it. I’m not even looking at it that way, I’m looking to get better every day. Whatever reps I’m getting with whoever I’m out there with, I’m here to learn from, obviously, Nate and AJ, and from Coach Daboll, and from experiences on the practice field: balls that I can throw at the professional level and balls that I can’t. Being out there, like you said, with the guys we have out there, it’s definitely a quicker learning curve just because the guys we’ve got are extremely good. The process has been fun, and all you’ve got to do is trust it.
Q: Is there more pressure because you want to work your way up faster or less pressure because you’re starting at the bottom and you’ve got one place to go [and that’s] up?
A: There’s really no pressure. There’s nothing that’s been said to me that has made me feel uncomfortable or feel worried about anything at all. I’m here to get better, I’m here to be the best teammate, the best quarterback that I can be. That’s what I’m trying to do.
Q: Josh, how comfortable are you feeling in the pocket right now on the field?
A: I’m feeling good. You know, the drills that we’re doing with Culley and Daboll are really good. They definitely apply to in-game and in-practice situations, just feeling pressure from one side, and subtle movements, and setting your feet down and putting the ball where it needs to be.
Q: You’ve now spent a couple of weeks in Buffalo. What jumps out at you?
A: Obviously the people. Bills Mafia is an energetic group; they’re very passionate. I’ve gone out to eat a few times and the welcoming by the people of the community has just been fantastic. We’ve got a lot of good people, a lot of good, hardworking people up here that really love football and that’s the type of environment I want to be in.
Q: Any of those meals wings?
A: Oh yeah, oh yeah.
Q: You’ve battled against adversity time and time again. We saw that in Tim’s [Graham] excellent series. What continues to motivate you in the sense that, here you are, a number seven draft pick. To some people it might say, ‘hey, I’ve arrived’. What continues to motivate you and prevent you from feeling that sense of comfort in knowing somebody hasn’t overlooked you as far as the Bills and the number seven pick?
A: I’m a very self-motivated guy to be honest. I want to play this game for as long as I can and as long as my body will let me. I’m going to do everything right, and that’s what motivates me to play this game for 15 plus years and be known as one of the greats to play this game. You talk about the vets in the league right now like Drew Brees and Tom Brady, Big Ben [Roethlisberger], Philip Rivers, the list goes on and on. To be talked about like one of them, it takes a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of success and in order to get success, it takes a long time to accumulate over the years and that’s what I want to do.
Q: What are your thoughts on the league [who] passed the policy as far as the National Anthem goes? I know Sean [McDermott] had told us that he was going to speak to the team and everything.
A: To be honest, I haven’t watched any TV. The only TV I’ve watched is the (NBA) Finals at night, but usually I’m drawing plays and making sure I’m going over everything. To be honest with you, I haven’t even seen what the policy is, [what] the ruling is. I have no clue, so I couldn’t give you an honest answer.
Q: To boil it down, it’s basically: players need to stand when they’re on the field or stay off the field and wait until the National Anthem is over. I guess just on the outside of it, is it at least nice to hear that they’re looking in and pursuing a way to resolve this if you will call it a resolution?
A: I mean, really, truly, I’m just going to do whatever Coach [Sean McDermott] tells us to do. Those decisions are bigger than me, higher up, so I’m just going to go with whatever they decide.
Q: AJ, what’s it been like sharing the reps and the quarterback competition so far? I know it’s still early.
A: Yeah, I mean, it’s fine; you compete. I’ve shared reps before. It’s fun; we’re out here, everybody’s kind of really learning, especially, speaking for myself, just trying to get timing with guys, first live action. It’s been fun. It’s always fun to compete.
Q: Kelvin Benjamin has struggled with some injuries. Coach said that he’s healthy right now and looks really good. What do you see with Kelvin out there so far?
A: Yeah, he’s a great player, huge target, really, if you just put the ball around him, he does a great job of snagging it and making a play. He’s been awesome to work with and [I’m looking forward to the future.
Q: AJ, what’s the challenge in juggling learning the aspect of timing but also competing to try and gain an upper hand in this competition? What’s the challenge in trying to do both because you’re learning at the same time, so mistakes will be made, but you’re also trying to be as much on point as you can.
A: You just go out and play. You really just try and take what they give you. If it’s a home run, it’s a home run. If not, and you have to throw it to the back for six yards, you know, you just live with it. That’s a part of the game, that’s how you win. You can’t always have the homerun hitter, and so I think just taking what the defense gives you and playing your game. It’ll be fine.
Q: AJ, how much so far have you gone along with Josh [Allen] and looked over plays together and schemes together and worked together on the offense?
A: I mean, well we all meet, us QBs, every day and every morning, so it’s really, I guess you could say, every day. We’ve been doing that.
Q: What’s the relationship been like with Nate [Peterman] and Josh so far?
A: They’re great; two great dudes. Nate’s like a walking angel [laughs]. He’s one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. Josh has been awesome to work with and [I’ve been] trying to help him in every way I can. We have a really good room; it’s fun to be a part of.
Q: Brian [Daboll] seems to be really hands on in working with you guys individually out there in between drills or going over certain aspects of techniques and stuff like that compared to maybe some of the guys you’ve had in the past. Is that a little more so than you’ve seen in the past?
A: We’ll I’ve only had- are you talking from an OC [offensive coordinator] standpoint?
Q: Yes, from an OC standpoint.
A: Nah, Hue Jackson was really hands on when I was in Cincinnati, and then [Ken] Zampese was the same way when he took over. It’s nothing new for me.
Q: Is there a big benefit that, as a quarterback, you’ve got a guy that’s going over things pretty immediate after they happen?
A: I mean, listen, you can talk all you want out there. You still have to see it. The camera doesn’t lie, the human eye will lie sometimes; you think you see something and it doesn’t happen, but the camera doesn’t lie. You can talk about it until you actually see it on film and then talk about it in the film room. You just try and take quick notes if you can. If not, you just go to the next play and play the game.
Q: AJ, from your perspective, what are your early impressions with Tremaine Edmunds?
A: He’s just a big dude on defense. He covers a lot of ground. Other than that, I’m not over on that side, so I can’t give you an answer on how he’s doing over there. He’s a big dude, for sure, and I feel like he’s done well.
Q: AJ, how do you think you did today on the field?
A: I did good, took care of the ball. We took what they gave us. We had some big plays, so [I] thought it was good.
Q: Coach [Sean McDermott] said you guys have been rotating first team reps throughout the week, so kind of give us a sense of how that’s going. Today, we say you a lot out there on first team. Is it kind of a day by day basis or by series by series?
A: Yeah, I mean we’ve all been out there getting reps. I mean, it’s OTAs, [you’re] kind of working with a bunch of guys, which is good. We’ve got so many new guys on our team, so it’s good to get reps with everybody and kind of build chemistry with everybody, because you’ve got to be ready.
Q: Obviously, you’re all starting from scratch with this offense. Just kind of what is your- just talk about the process of learning this offense. You’ve been here for a lot of weeks now, but where do you feel you are?
A: It’s good. We’ve been working out, like you said, for a few weeks here [and] it’s been great as far as being detailed in what we’re doing and having a reason for everything that we’re doing, too. I think what’s really great about this offense is it gets us to understand the play completely; not necessarily just one, two, three, this is our progression, but hey, understand where I’m going versus certain coverages, what we’re trying to get out of this play. I think everybody’s really bought into it, too. [To see the guys] really study, I mean, it’s our job, but guys you can tell love what we’re doing. I think that goes a long way.
Q: Is it easy? I mean, obviously, you had to learn from scratch last year. Is it easier? What’s the difference between this year and last year? Is there some carry over and how’s that going?
A: Yeah, I mean this is my fifth year and fifth offense just as far as my last years in my career. I think it’s good; football is football at the end of the day, but there’s definitely some nuances, some different things we’re doing. The NFL game’s a little bit different from the college game. Obviously last year was a big transition for me, but I think it’s helped where the lessons I learned last year are going to be helpful for this offense and what we’re doing this year. I’ve been able to tell that so far
Q: The terminology style, is it totally different or [a] similar word base?
A: I mean, everybody’s got their own. That’s kind of the difference, is terminology. Everybody’s got their own style, but it definitely makes sense and it works.
Q: How do you mentally readjust? Last year you were Tyrod’s [Taylor] backup, and now it’s like there’s this three headed deal going with a top draft pick and a veteran. How do you adjust to this situation that you’re now in the middle of?
A: I think the biggest thing is [that] I’ve always been a competitor. Even last year, no matter what your role technically is, I was always competing to be the starter no matter what. I’ve done that my whole career and [have] been in competitive situations. I feel like I thrive in those, too.
Q: Do you feel sort of fortunate in [the fact] that guys come into the league and there’s [an] absolutely entrenched number one [quarterback] and you’re not getting a whole lot of reps. What do you think about the growth opportunity?
A: Absolutely, I mean any time you get to play the game and get reps, it’s fun; it’s what you love to do. [I] have the greatest job in the world. It’s great to get out there and throw the ball around. For that to be your job is awesome, so the opportunity’s been great, just to have that. I’ve been learning so much even these past couple of days, and I know I’ll continue to do that.
Q: Nate, did any of the receivers you were working with today really stand out to you?
A: Every one of them; they’re- I’m telling you, we do have some really talented guys. It’s fun throwing to them. They’re getting open, creating great matchups for us and it’s going to be a fun year.
Q: What would a healthy Kelvin Benjamin mean to this offense?
A: Yeah, so much. Kelvin’s an unbelievable talent. Obviously, all of his measurables but he wants it, too. He’s got the mentality that ‘I’m going to go beat the guy in front of me’, and ‘if you just throw it up, I’m going to catch it’. That’s huge when you’ve got a guy like that with his talent; it’s helpful.
Q: What’s your relationship like with Josh [Allen] and AJ [McCarron] so far?
A: Great; I think it couldn’t have been better. Obviously, it was just me and AJ for a while before Josh got here, so we had a chance to get to know each other. I thought it has been as good a transition as I’ve had before with a guy. Josh coming in, I think he’s a great kid. He seems humble but confident. [He’s] coming in here learning [and he’s] a smart kid. It’s been a great room and I think Coach [Brian] Daboll] and Coach [David] Culley definitely, and Shea [Tierney], our guy, make that quarterback room fun.
Q: When you get to the line and look up and see [number] 49 [Tremaine Edmunds], is that a pretty imposing presence?
A: Yeah, I think, just his athleticism, too; I saw it today. He’s a talented kid; usually trying to look for those matchups of a linebacker and running back. He might win some of those matchups sometimes. He’s a talented kid; I’m excited to see more from him.
Q: Are you aware of, like, the wingspan there?
A: I don’t think I’ve heard any measurements, but I can tell he looks like KB [Kelvin Benjamin] out there.
Q: Obviously, you’re dealing with a new coordinator, a new offense, but also Eric [Wood] and Richie [Incognito] are gone. Does it feel like a very different whole dynamic from a chemistry standpoint in the offense?
A: For sure, and that’s the great thing about the NFL is it’s a new team every year. [You’ve] got to build your identity during this stage especially during OTAs and then into camp and preseason and so on. It’s a new team every year, and it’s exciting to get a new start.
Q: Last season, the performances you did have, you didn’t have the results you wanted. What would you say to any fans or anyone that, coming into this season, how you’ve improved?
A: Yeah, I mean, [I’ve] talked about last year a lot. To be honest, I’m kind of [moved] on to this year. I learned so many great lessons last year. I thought I had some ups, some downs as well. As much as those things happens, it’s just on to this year and it’s a fresh start. [I’ve been] learning a lot, new offense, new players, new coaches, and it’s an exciting start.
Q: How much does it help not having to go through Senior Bowl week, and the combine, the draft, worrying about where you’re getting drafted and having all that gone this year and you can just start from day one in the offseason?
A: Yeah, it was great. Again, with having a new offense, it adds a little bit to it, where it’s not quite as, hey, I’m completely comfortable with everything that’s going on, but as the days have gone, as the weeks have gone, I’m more and more computable. It’s been great to kind of get a little bit of off time to get a breather, kind of look back at things from a broad perspective. Coming into OTAs last year, you’re kind of going home studying every night and just trying to keep your head above water. While it’s a new offense this year, it’s a little bit different getting to go through the OTAs, phase one, phase two, go through things a couple times before we’ve actually repped them on the field.
*Transcripts courtesy of the Buffalo Bills