TE JORDAN AKINS
What did you see when you first turned on the tape and looked at the Bills?
"I see a great defense, man. They flow to the ball, all 11 hats to the ball. In the secondary, they fly around and make plays with the ball in the air. I see a good defense."
How much do you feel like your role as a tight end has changed?
"I'm adapting. Whenever my jersey is called, I do what I can, whether it's special teams, offense or whatever. I'm more active in blocking this year, which is a big role for me, as well as the passing game. We're starting to get a rhythm, so whenever we're called, we make plays."
Is it hard to get into a rhythm as a pass catcher now that you are blocking more?
"Not really. I know my skillset, and I think blocking more will open up the pass game more. So, not really. I've learned a lot more technique in blocking, which helped me a lot."
What have you learned that's helped you the most as a blocker?
"I think it's helping me identify the defense, as well. Not just the coverage, but the fronts. And my strength, as well. I have a lot more strength than I thought I did coming into the NFL."
Did you ever get an explanation of why you were not fined for taunting?
"They said that I spun the ball on their sideline, and I guess the look that I gave them they called it taunting. To me, I always spin the ball. It's like one of my celebrations, but now I know. I'll spin the ball in the field or toward my sideline."
Are you still going to spin the ball in the opposite direction?
"A little more caution, man. Them fines ain't no joke. Once I score, I believe I will either spike it or spin it."
Do you have a new thing you are going to do instead?
"You just have to wait and see. I think that the spike and the spin is getting kind of old. It's my fourth year, so I guess I've got to spice it up a little bit."
Maybe bow to the ref, or something?
"I don't know about that. That'll be another taunting call."
What room is there to improve in the tight end group?
"I feel like we're doing a great job in the blocking game. Right now, I think we're going to do more in the passing game, as well. Time will tell. We can do more on special teams, as well. Overall, the game is just improving every week, week-by-week and getting a rhythm. Once we get that thing, we'll be good."
What emphasis are they giving you to improve in the run game?
"I'm not going to give away the game plan, but we come and we bring physicality to the game. I believe we work the edges and create running lanes for the running backs. Just being aggressive, honestly, and opening up lanes for the running backs."
Have you noticed a difference in Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly as a play caller from last year to this year?
"Yes, he's getting more comfortable. It's a new team, of course, so we're trying to get into a rhythm. Different quarterbacks, so of course he has to adjustments. But I think he's doing a great job as far as running the ball and mixing in the passing game."
How can you sense that he is more comfortable?
"I feel like he's putting us in positions to make more plays. He's setting up not only the running game, but play action, et cetera, et cetera. You can see it on his face, you can see through his body language and just the excitement he brings to the room in meetings."
What's his personality in those meeting rooms?
"T.K. (Tim Kelly) is a funny guy, man. He's a cool dude, but when he's serious, he's serious. He's all about learning, and you better know your duty and your job. We expect you to come and perform, which that's what he holds us accountable for."
What's something that's made you laugh from him?
"He jokes with me all the time. He'll turn a bad play into something funny, he'll make a joke out of it. But you know what's coming. He's going to expose you, but it makes me better."
When the play caller is more confident, what impact does that have on all the players?
"Just be ready for your jersey to be called. We know that it's not just running the ball or just passing the ball. You know that any moment your jersey can be called, whether it is blocking or catching the ball. Just be prepared for your jersey to be called on."
Have you ever blocked this much in a year?
"No, but I like it. It shows what I can do and opens up more doors for me."
DL CHARLES OMENIHU
What do you see from QB Josh Allen as far as try to get him on the ground and pass rush production?
"Josh is an elusive guy. He's a guy that likes to extend plays and he's a big dude at the same time. When you get the opportunity to get to him, you have to make sure to wrap him up. We preach when you get to the quarterback it's not just about sacking, it's about trying to get the ball out. That's a big emphasis for us. Just got to be rush disciplined but also aggressive and understand that he's going extend plays, so you have to keep going and playing until the whistle blows."
How do you feel about the amount of pressure you guys have been able to create so far without blitzing frequently?
"It's good. It means that we are working up front, the four guys up front are working. Any time guys get a one-on-one they are taking advantage of it."
How much do you prepare for a guy like QB Josh Allen that can stretch the field?
"You just be relentless. Relentless with your rush. Those are things as a defensive lineman you have to understand, especially with a guy like this that you have to keep going, keep fighting, keep rushing because eventually you are going to hit home."
When you met Associated Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith for the first time, what stood out to you?
"His knowledge of the game, his understanding, his history. Those were the biggest things."
How much do you think this extra time has helped you guys defensively?
"It helps a ton just continue to mesh on all three levels, D-line, linebackers and DBs. And having a better understanding of what we are going to get during the game."
As a defensive lineman, how do you like going up against a team that likes to pass on early downs?
"It's good. You get a lot of opportunities to get after the quarterback, a lot of opportunities to affect the quarterback. As a D-line that's what your job is.
Is there anything about the scouting report as a defensive lineman that's different from the last time you guys played Buffalo?
What have you noticed about DL Roy Lopez so far?
"I think Roy's been doing good. He's been productive when he's in there first and foremost. Sometimes as a one technique you don't get all the praise or whatever the case may be, but he's come in been a guy that's worked hard and I commend him for that."
What's he like?
"Roy's a good dude. He follows the older guys on the D-line. He's always willing to learn and that's all you want from a rookie."
Has he cooked for you?
"No, he has not."
He was telling us he likes to cook for his teammates.
"Oh, I'm waiting on that then."
OL MAX SCHARPING
What was it like finding out that you were going to have a boy?
"It was very exciting. We knew for a little bit, but we didn't know gender obviously. It was just the two of us. Obviously very excited. Nice to get the boy first, wouldn't have minded a girl for sure. I have an older sister and I know how wonderful having a daughter can be. Sometimes the protective older brother can get a little bit much. But we are excited, very excited and blessed that the baby is healthy."
Has your perspective changed a bit?
"Yeah, I mean once you find out. I mean it's not even finding out that it's a boy. Just when you find out that you are expecting a baby, your whole life kind of shifts perspective in front of you and you have a bigger sense of what's going on around you and how important every single day is."
What do you see out of the Bills?
"Great team, really good defense. They're sound, they are in their gaps, they do their job. We are excited to take them on. It's going to be a good challenge for us."
What can you see that can be helpful to getting the run game more efficient?
"I think everyone has a part of it. You look at our first three games, sticking on blocks better, getting better double teams at the point of attack. Pad level up front and getting those guys moving and finishing on our blocks is really big. Obviously, with our running backs we have three different types of runners back there and we can utilize them in different ways. So, we just need to figure out ways to get them to the second level, to the third level, untouched and they are going to make stuff happen."
Do you feel like issues with the running game as similar to some of the problems you guys had last year?
"It's a new year, a new team. It's about one week at a time and we are focusing on what we can do against the Bills this week. Like I said, they're a good defensive front so we are going to have a challenge ahead of us moving those guys and trying to establish a run game early."
Is it a different issue each game?
"It's different defenses. Every single game you are trying to focus on something else. Maybe one week you had a certain scheme or look that you are blocking and the next week it could be completely different. There is different personnel in front of you every game. Your style of blocking kind of changes. Pretty much if it's a different game, different team, different personnel you have to approach it differently depending on the team."
What do you see from DL Ed Oliver after watching tape?
"He's explosive. I think you see that right off the bat. He fires out. Good with his hands in the pass game. He's a solid three technique obviously. He was drafted where he was for a reason. Going to have a challenge and we are looking forward to it."