Kelvin Benjamin joined the Buffalo Bills on Halloween night and didn’t fully practice with the team until this past Monday. For the first time on Wednesday, quarterback Tyrod Taylor discussed his new wideout, how he is getting to know Benjamin on and off the field, and what he brings to the table.
Here’s a transcript of all Wednesday’s Kelvin Benjamin questions and answers including Taylor, head coach Sean McDermott, and running back LeSean McCoy.
Q: You said you wanted to take a wait-and-see [approach] and see how far along he was. How has he done in terms of rapport with Tyrod [Taylor] and getting to know the playbook?
A: He’s done a nice job so far. Again, credit to Kelvin and credit to Coach [Phil] McGeoghan and also his teammates. They’ve helped as well. It’s been a team effort. He made progress Monday, did some good things on the field there, and then we’ll see today how he does as we continue to move forward throughout the rest of the week.
Q: How much do you think it’ll mean to you, to the passing game to have Kelvin Benjamin?
A: Definitely big to get him in. He’s a talented receiver; a big target for sure. As he continues to keep learning the playbook and the things we’re doing here, we have to find ways to give him opportunities to make plays. That’s my job, that’s Rico’s [Rick Dennison] job, and, as an offense, we just have to welcome him in and allow him to go out there and play free.
Q: Is he one of those guys where with his size being such an advantage over most, would you be more apt to throw it up to him and let him go get it as opposed to other wide receivers who are more close to the same size as their defenders?
A: If you look at the plays he’s made over his career, he’s definitely made a bunch of contested throws. Like you said, just have to give him a chance and those opportunities where it’s him one-on-one with a DB. More times than likely, he’s going to have the size advantage, so we’ve talked and trying to get on the same page and it’s going to take reps, but just, like you said, give him a chance. His ball or nobody’s ball.
Q: As a player, as a quarterback, or as just a teammate, how much do you appreciate your coaching staff and management going out mid-season and making this kind of deal when there was so much talk earlier in the year with “who knows how good this team’s going to be?” Some people were saying the Bills might be tanking. For you guys now going out to make a play for a guy like Benjamin, what does that say about the team?
A: Some of the stuff that we preached from day one. I think the outside perception is definitely one thing, but from an inside-out, we believe that this team is capable of being one of the best Bills teams, and we have to go out there and prove it. Them making a move, as far as going and getting Benjamin, helping out our offense, helping out the wide receiver room, and just adding another playmaker to this team, definitely shows that they’re serious about winning, and we are as a team.
Q: I know you make it a point to talk to your receivers, especially new ones coming in the door, to kind of build that rapport with them. Is there value in you talking to Joe [Webb] a little bit, knowing he’s thrown to Kelvin over the years?
A: Yeah, me and Joe have talked, he was actually the one that broke the news, or one of the guys that broke the news to me when we first got [Benjamin]. [Just] some of the things he noticed while with Kelvin in Carolina, some of the things he did well, and just ways to allow him to make plays. We’ve definitely had that conversation, and it will continue to go on.
Q: With extra time over the weekend, how much scouting did you do of Kelvin, himself?
A: Yes, whatever cut-up that was made, I was able to watch some plays of his and try to get a feel for him watching film. Like I said, the reps and stuff were limited, we were able to get some extra reps after practice two days ago, Monday. [We] have to continue to keep building the chemistry mentally and on the field as well.
Q: Sean [McDermott] would expect Kelvin Benjamin to help the passing game, [but] how does he help the run game?
A: A lot, first of all, he’s 6’5”, 200 plus, plus, plus, plus, so, getting him blocking will be good. First thing, he came in the building, you know, big guy, I said ‘Hey man, happy to have you, but can you block?’, so, we laughed. Also, just from a passing standpoint, you have to watch him, because he’s a guy that’s slow to bring down, and it’s going to be tough to cover him in one-on-ones. I like our chances, so that’ll definitely be a big key for us.