Bills To Host Browns In Joint Practices; Other Offseason Updates

The Buffalo Bills have announced plans to hold joint practice sessions with the Cleveland Browns as a part of this year’s training camp program. The practices will take place Monday, August 17 at 10:00 AM and Tuesday August, 18 at 6:00 PM at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, NY. The Bills pre-season kicks off on August 20 when they face the Browns in Cleveland on Thursday, August 14 at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The joint practices will then take place and the Bills will face the Browns in Cleveland on August 20.

Buffalo BillsRex Ryan Buffalo BillsIn other Bills news, the team announced that it signed quarterback Matt Simms who will enter training camp as the fourth quarterback on the roster competing with Matt Cassel, E.J. Manuel and Tyrod Taylor. Head Coach Rex Ryan had the following to say about the signing in his latest press conference:

Q: Talk about your decision to sign Matt Simms, you already had three guys, why add a fourth guy to the mix?

A: I think he’s got a big arm, we had him for two years, he had no chance of making our team the first year that we had him. I contributed to that by getting the quarterback hurt, but he contributed well to the team when he led the NFL in quarterback rating in the preseason, so he’s got some ability. Obviously he’s got the bloodlines, he’s smart, and anytime you can add to the competition of the football team you go out and do it.

Q: You had said that it was a three man race when (Jeff) Tuel was here, do you consider it a four man race now?

A: It is what it is right now, three guys are going to be working at it, they’re splitting the reps. But don’t kid yourself. Matt will be given opportunities. Is he going to get as many as the top three guys? Probably not, but one thing about Matt, is I know he will take advantage of the opportunities he gets, and I’m not saying he can’t make this team.

The hullabaloo about Lesean McCoy’s comments on Chip Kelly shows no sign of abating and Ryan was asked about McCoy as well.

Q: There is a belief that (Chip) Kelly got rid of (LeSean) McCoy because he wasn’t much of a power runner, and you want to run him in a power scheme, so what is your definition of that and how is that different from other coaches?

A: The thing we know about LeSean is he can run whether you have a fullback in front of him or a one back system, we feel great about him running in any scheme, whether its zone, gap scheme, a full back in front of him, whatever. I think he’s a dynamic runner.

Q: What’s your thought on the idea in Philadelphia that McCoy danced too much?

A: We never considered that, one thing when you’re trying to put your team together, you know what you look for, one thing we know about LeSean is he can run whether there is a fullback in front of him or not. Some guys just want in a one back set, some guys are better with a fullback in front of them, we know he’s versatile and can run in any type of system.

NFL: Buffalo Bills-LeSean McCoy Press ConferenceMcCoy was also asked about his statements at the same presser and made it clear he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.

Q: Chip’s statements that he made last week about your statements, what is your reactions to that?

A: I have nothing to say about that. I am in Buffalo. Everything in Philadelphia is over. I have nothing more to say about it. It is what it is. Everybody can make their own thoughts and assumptions but I am done talking about it.

Q: You did raise issues about Chip when you questioned his racial motivation about his player personnel.

A: Did you just hear what I said? I am not talking any more about Chip Kelly or the Eagles. I am done with that. Ask me about the Bills. We look good. A lot of our players are stepping up. The quarterbacks look wonderful. Myself, I am playing well as well as the other guys in the back field. Just trying to get this going here. I have nothing else to say about Chip or the Eagles. Alright.

Q: Why don’t you think the discussion of race in America deserves a little more elaboration?

A: For what. I don’t have to explain myself to no one. I said what I said, I said how I felt at the time and I am done with that.

Q: Why didn’t you take Chip’s calls?

A: Are you all listening to me? I am not talking about Chip Kelly or the Eagles. I will be done with this interview if no one has anything to say about the Bills.

Q:  Do you think you are suited to a power running game with the notion the Eagles didn’t think you were?

A: I think any system I can do well in. You can just check the numbers yourself before the spread offense and all that. I don’t pay no attention to that. You are talking about the top notch backs I don’t think it matters what system you are in. You are going to make plays or you’re not. The coach that Greg Roman is, has a bunch of different things. Which reminds me of Chip getting his backs some space, that genius type of thing. No matter what I feel like he is a genius. Greg is similar they find ways to trick the defense and get the backs a lot of open space. Greg has some similarities there for sure.

Q: So that is where you do respect Chip?

A: As a coach I can’t say anything negative about him for X’s and O’s.

Q: Do you regret saying what you said?

A: I never regret anything I say. Never. Nothing I do, I never regret it.

Q: Do you worry about your comments being a distraction or making you a distraction?

A: I don’t feel like that. I don’t think it was a distraction with this team. Nobody has even asked me about it. Players mention little thing and want to know what is going on. But I do not feel like it is a distraction at all. Maybe that is something you sensed that I didn’t. I don’t think that’s a distraction. I think Rex will say enough things this year to stir up somethings anyway. Makes is a lot of fun. But yeah I don’t think it was a distraction. He would have called a team meeting, like he has so far. If there is something going on that is wrong. He needs to step in and address it he will. I think it is something small. What I said before has nothing to do with the Bills. Majority of the questions in the beginning was about Philadelphia it wasn’t about the Bills so I don’t see a distraction.

Sammy Watkins 350Wide receiver Sammy Watkins also spoke to the media and he spoke on his progress as he returns from hip surgery.

Q: How are you feeling physically Sammy?

A: Feeling pretty good just getting back to the stance of the team and running routes, right now I am feeling pretty good.

Q: What is some of your procedures for when you can’t participate in the team drills?

A: Mentally I have to get my reps. I am behind I am not there every day with the guys running routes. So mentally I got to watch the defense and the coverages watch how things move because I am going to be coming back soon and everything is going to be fast and I have to pick it up. It really is about the defense’s coverages.

Q: What are you shooting for at this point in time? What is soon for coming back?

A: Just to stay healthy, and keeping coming along with the injury and taking things from the guys watching them run routes. That is for the training staff to let me know to get medically cleared and worked up on.

Q: Can you see yourself on the field for training camp or even mandatory mini-camp?

A: Whatever the coaching staff has planned for me that is when I will be back. If it’s early I am fine if it’s I am okay with that.

Q: Do you feel normal or pain free?

A: Everything is pain free. I am taking it easy I am taking it slow. I am not doing everything 100-percent. I am just basically just going to give it time and rest to feel comfortable with myself and get the injury out of my head. So when it comes time at training camp to play and compete, I can compete.

Q: Were you a 100-percent healthy at any point last season?

A: It is the injuries that come within the season. It is football. I finished the season well. Had a great season because that is what I like to end on.

Watkins also sp0ke about the new system under Ryan and whether it will stifle his production.

Q: How have you liked working with Sanjay so far?

A: He is great, he is a great coach and so far I haven’t even been on the field with him that much but my game has improved with just the little things and the details. Seeing our receivers right now become true receivers. He is teaching us how to play the game.

Q: Rex traditionally runs the ball. What is your reaction to the fact you might not be getting the ball as much?

A: As long as you win the game that’s the goal. You can run the ball, pass the ball, when we balance you can do anything. We can run the ball 15 or 30 times and you can throw the ball 20 times a game. Got to take the good with the bad. As long as we are winning, I am fine with that.

Photo by Derek ZellerSims also spoke to the media and he spoke about how he landed with the Bills.

Q: It looks like you kind of went to the Jets, and said, “Look, it doesn’t look like its going to work here, can you let me go spread my wings a little bit?” Is this right?

A: Yeah, that was basically the gist of the conversation, but yeah I went to them early in the morning on Thursday and just talked about the situation with them, about how I was feeling and I thought it would be best if I just asked for my release. Obviously they didn’t have to, but they granted my wish and here I am, a Buffalo Bill.

Q: Being here with a coaching staff that you know so well, how important is that to you, and what are some of the benefits of that?
A: Really it’s being in a place where I feel welcomed, and a place where I feel the coaches want to see me grow and continue to do well, those were the main things. So even though I’m playing for a different New York team, it still feels like home to me.

Q: Did your agent make the call? Or did the Bills call you as soon as your name hit the wire?

A: One of the first phone calls I got was from Rex Ryan so to get a call from your ex-head coach was pretty uplifting just knowing that he thought that highly of me to call me personally.

The Bills have another round of OTA’s that run from June 8th through the 11th. They conclude the offseason training program with a Mandatory MiniCamp that runs from June 16th through the 18th. Training camp kicks off on July 31 and runs through August 25. For more details on training camp for fans, visit the official website for the Buffalo Bills.

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