On Thursday a trio of Buffalo Bills players took the mic for their turn at the podium ahead of the team’s Week 18 game against the Miami Dolphins. Pro Bowl Running back James Cook, three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Dion Dawkins, and wide receiver all met members of the media following the team’s practice yesterday.
There were numerous challenges hearing questions from reporters, due to mic placement/issues. So, while I’ve transcribed the content below, it will be incomplete in that regard where audio was too challenging to decipher.
Running back James Cook
James Cook spoke about how it feels and what it means to have been selected to appear in his first Pro Bowl, including being chosen alongside left tackle Dion Dawkins.
To begin, Cook lit up when it appears (mic was very quiet throughout) he was asked about his family’s reaction to being selected to the Pro Bowl.
(Inaudible reporter Q)
Cook: “Think I told my mom. Yeah you know, she’s proud of me. Keep going, there’s still more out there — she’s not trying to be in the Pro Bowl, she’s trying to be (a) father.”
Cook went on to add
Cook: “I mean it’s a big, a huge accomplishment you know. Something that I’ve been looking forward to do, and I mean it’s just only going to get better from here.
(Inaudible reporter Q)
Cook: “Just being present, you know, like whenever the team needs me or when my number’s called just do my job man, and that’s just the most important part.”
On Dawkins going to the Pro Bowl with him
Cook: “It’s great, you know I mean he’s on his third Pro Bowl, so it tells you the type of player he is and what he’s capable of doing.”
(Inaudible reporter Q)
Cook: “I mean, yeah, you guys see — you know you just stay steady, just keep going every week and just keep getting better.”
(Inaudible reporter Q)
Cook: “Yeah, just get the job done. Just (get) more points than the other person. If it’s gotta be one, go one. So that’s what we’ve been doing and we’ve been sticking together and getting the job done. Because every time we step on the field, try to beat everybody we play”
Left tackle Dion Dawkins
Dion Dawkins spoke with reporters following Thursday’s practice — touching on everything from his third Pro Bowl selection and James Cook’s first selection, to what clicked for the team when they were 6-6, and what he’s expecting to find from the Dolphins this weekend.
Reporter Q: “Alright, enough about the Pro Bowl, what about being number one in the cornhole rankings?”
Dawkins: “I’m lit. (hah) Nah, cornhole’s lit.
On making another Pro Bowl and if it still carries “the same kind of special feeling”:
Dawkins: “Every time. Every time, ‘cause every season is a new season and (the) previous season doesn’t really matter. You know, like, recognition helps, but I take it very very seriously every year to continue to grow. Like I know truly like last year when I was (an) alternate, like I kinda hurt even when I was an alternate even though it’s still good but — like not to take anything away from it, but you know I just try to hold myself to a higher standard so this is the first time that I’m a starter now, so it’s like... it’s a beautiful feeling. It just means that I’m, you know, trusting my process and I’m mastering my process that is obviously working.”
On if Dawkins feels like 2023 has been his best season
Dawkins: “So far, it’s been going well. You know like, I still have another game in the regular season to prove that but... I can’t even like sugarcoat it. Like, it’s a whole different mode, man. It’s a whole different vibe, whole different energy. So, yes, this has definitely been my best season and still a lot more to come, you know. Like Brandon Beane always tells me ‘Dion, and there’s more and there’s more’ — and a little bit I was like ‘Is there really more?’ And, you know, I found a different process and it’s been working.”
(Inaudible reporter Q about James Cook)
Dawkins: “Yeah it’s amazing. You know, like me and Jimbo have a good relationship and... he’s doing everything that he’s supposed to. You know, like he’s kinda quiet and I respect that he is his own person. You know? He’s comfortable in his own skin with being like who he is and with that he’s playing well. I like to block for him. I like to you know, like celebrate with him. I like to eat wings with him. I like to play cards with him. You know, it’s a good deal for Jimbo to make it in his second year, ‘cause that’s huge you know to be that young and to get that — it’s special, which means that he’s just on track of having a beautiful career.”
On where he’s seen Cook grow most in year two:
Dawkins: “Playbook. He’s more comfortable in the playbook and with him being more comfortable like he knows where he needs to be, where his cuts need to be at, and his dominance — like when he steps on the football field now, he doesn’t feel like a youngin’. He feels like he belongs and he’s playing like so.”
(Another Q about Cook)
Dawkins: “Yes they do. Yeah, it’s not patience, but trust. Like he knows what I’m going to do before, and I do it. When the play is called in the huddle like I’m talking to him like ‘look bro, t his is where I’mma hit ‘em at, so do your thing.’ So I’m just blessed that he trusts me and even Spencer (Brown), ‘cause it’s a two-way play, so it’s not just about me. But me and Spencer do a great job communicating what we’re gonna do before the play is called.”
Reporter: “Obviously Spencer pulls the other way not as much as you do, but still some of the time. What about that block you make, he’s gotta make the seal block, or if he’s coming your way, you’ve gotta come — whether it’s a down block. I guess it depends on where the defensive end is playing. Right?”
Dawkins: “Yeah, it’s all based off of game plan and what type of defense they run and who the linebackers are, and where we plan on hitting ‘cause it can hit anywhere, and that’s the beauty of it. Like it could hit at any point A, B, C, D, any gap. So with us trusting our coaching and trusting the in-game plan you know, and we execute.”
Reporter: “When you were 6-6, how confident were you that this team can be at this point?”
Dawkins: “Which game were we 6-6?”
Dawkins: “I feel like that Philadelphia (game) was our turning point. I mentioned that yesterday. I feel like playing that Philly game, it unleashed a new chapter of the Buffalo Bills. Like we felt it and we turned it to a different mode of ‘these are playoff games now.’ Every game, the intensity is high, (but) I feel like we’ve been in the playoffs for multiple weeks. So, it’s been flowing. But to answer directly, like the 6-6 feeling — it ain’t even really feel like 6-6. It just felt like ‘the time is now, we’re 0-0, and we have to win.’ And, that’s what we did.”
Reporter: “So it sounds like the Philly game you came out of the Philly game not so much defeated, as (much as ) like looking up that ‘we played a pretty good game.’”
Dawkins: “We were in a good spot. Like, we knew who the type of team that we were.”
Reporter: “You talked about having that playoff mentality for the past couple weeks now. How beneficial is it that you guy have had that mindset the past couple weeks going into this final game now?”
Dawkins: “You’re basically asking does it help, does it give us the advantage?”
Reporter: “Yeah does it help that you guys have already been thinking that way for weeks on end?”
Dawkins: “Absolutely. Everything that prepares us for that next game in previous weeks helps. And I think for our team to know the urgency and know how much fire is burning, and to know what type of situation is in front of us, it helps. It prepares us for that next battle. I don’t wanna make this game bigger than what it is, but I truly think if the Dolphins did not, like, if they were... like, let’s say if they won like four games, like this whole season — they would still play us the hardest that we’ve ever played them because at the end of the day it’s a divisional conference game. They’re in our conference, so they play us hard — just like the Patriots do, just like the Jets do. No matter what their record is they play us hard. So, yes, it does help us with going in, but in this game we knew regardless of the records or what the situation was, that it was gonna be a hard game either way, ‘cause the rivalry is still there, and the intensity, and aggression, and anger is always sky high. So we understand what the mission is.”
Reporter: “The Miami game the first time around was the best offensive performance you guys had this season. How do you feel about the offense maybe finding a way to get closer to that point, and when you think back to that game what went so well for you guys.”
Dawkins: “Well, I think it’s simple. We’re gonna pull what we did well, we’re gonna see what we did bad, and we’re gonna see what worked and we’re gonna build off that. We’re not, like, gonna make it rocket science and — wins help. Games that you win help ‘cause you get to go back and study it and look at what went well. But, besides that, it’s a new week, they’re a new team, they’ve had guys that went down and guys that went up. So, we expect it to be drastically different. So, as much as we wanna pull from the old game, it’s not the same ‘cause the players and the depth chart is different there. There’s moving pieces, so we have to treat everything different and like a brand-new week, ‘cause it is. It’s a brand-new week and not that they have a new team — I don’t, like, wanna take that away from them. But pieces have shifted and we have to adjust to the pieces that are in front of us now than what were in the previous weeks.”
Wide receiver Gabe Davis
Bills Wide Receiver Gabe Davis addresses the media after practice. Topics include: facing a tough Miami Dolphins team, having confidence in the offense and Josh Allen.
(Inaudible reporter Q)
Davis: “Yeah, I think he was following Garrett Wilson when they played the Jets. So, when it comes to him being you know, still that dominant corner that he’s always been since he entered the league — it’s still true to this day he’s a great player. You know, happy to be going up against him this week, but you know when it comes to their — he hasn’t lost a step, he’s still that same player he’s always been.”
Reporter: Their team, they’re going through a lot of injuries right now, their team looks different than it did before, your team looks different than it did before. How do you guys (inaudible)?”
Davis: “Try to treat every game the same. Right? You know I say try to treat every game the same. You know, obviously you can have those thoughts in the back of your head like ‘you know, this is the last game, big game, you know if we win, this that and that.’ You know, it’s all over the place — you can’t act like you don’t see it. But you try your best to stay locked in on what’s going on in this building and keep that the main focus. Don’t try to listen to any outside noise, and you know treat this game as you know, as every other game.”
(Inaudible reporter Q about Buffalo’s offense)
Davis: “I mean, it’s the same offense, we were just clickin’, you know we clicked more than we did all season that game (Week 4 vs. Dolphins). You know I feel like it’s that simple. I always had the same confidence I had when we were up, you know, 48-20 is the same confidence I had even when we came up short. I mean, I know what we’re capable of, and I know what we can do. I know the players that we have and trust all those guys fully. So, I don’t look at any of the games as if, you know — I feel like we’ve always been the same offense we were always, just there were some inconsistencies that, you know... had to clean up.”
(Inaudible follow-up Q)
Davis: “It’s doing more, it’s getting extra reps. I mean, after every period, me, Josh, Stef, you know, we were out here practicing on some deeper balls, we were practicing on some shorter balls, some routes that we normally run to work on ball placement and chemistry. You know, you just gotta put in that extra time to be successful like you want to be. You can’t do what’s just required, and that’s what we’re taking our next step in, is doing more.”
Reporter: “You guys have kinda had that mentality the past few weeks of, you know, it is a playoff game like every week to this point you guys have been kind of treating it like a playoff game. Is it beneficial that you kind of already had that mindset for a little bit now?”
Davis: “We knew after the bye what was at stake and we knew what we needed to do. So we knew we really needed to lock in and be more detailed, be more consistent and, again, put some more time in in general. So, again, like I told Matt (Parrino), you try to treat every game the same, but at the end of the day there is that little noise in the back of your mind that you know these ones are big.”
(Inaudible reporter Q about Pro Bowl)
Davis: “Those guys, you know, deserve it. Dion’s been a great left tackle since he entered in the league. To see James develop the way he has to be a Pro Bowler now, I mean it’s awesome to see it, you know. His brother was a great running, is a great running back and was a Pro Bowler as well, so to be able to have both them do the same thing is I think is super special.”
(Inaudible reporter Q about the Pro Bowl)
Davis: “Yeah, I mean, I feel like we got a lot of great players on this team that should be Pro Bowlers. We have a lot of guys but, you know, it’s a little bit of a popularity kind of contest you know sometimes. So, you just gotta — you can’t really take that — you know gotta take it with a grain of salt.”
Reporter: “Anything you’ve noticed from Josh or the offense that made his, you know, short-yardage running situations better. He leads the league in rushing touchdowns. Is there anything you noticed from the offense that’s helped you guys do that?”
Davis: “Yeah, we gotta establish the run game, you gotta be a two-dimensional offense — you gotta be pass and run, you gotta be a double threat and that’s what we want and that’s what we have. We have two running backs in the backfield every single play, so it’s definitely something to our advantage. So to be able to see him go out there and make the plays that he can on his feet is special ‘cause he can do the same with his arm.”
Reporter: “What’s it like practicing those — do you practice those plays with, you know, Latavius (Murray) is behind Josh and just kind of, you know, the shove play. Is that something that you guys have worked on this year?”
Davis: “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, we definitely worked on it, and it’s been a part of our game plan every single week. You see how successful it is, so why take it out.”
Reporter: “This is a little like Heather’s (Prusak) question — do you guys feel comfortable in the role of knowing that every game is a playoff game just because you kind of (inaudible)?”
Davis: “Yeah, I mean I feel like, you know, when there’s a little added pressure I feel like that’s when we really play our best. I feel like we’ve really been playing really well, being more consistent — obviously there’s things you always need to clean up. But you know, having our backs against the wall I feel like is our most comfortable spot.”