KSK: Playing for a team in the AFC East, you’re certainly familiar with the Patriots’ offense. In the last week or so, Jets linebacker Calvin Pace called the pace they played at “borderline illegal”. Obviously, it’s not illegal, he was just referring to how they’re really, really fast at getting plays off quickly. What have Bills coaches tried to do to counteract that no-huddle approach?
George Wilson: You can try to practice for a no-huddle offense but you’re not going to get the same intensity or sense of urgency in that practice that you would get in a game. They change their personnel so fast and you’re supposed to have a chance to match your personnel with the offense’s personnel but that doesn’t always happen. But you know that going in that the Patriots have the ability to be an uptempo offense where they keep you in the same defensive package or keep the same personnel on the field for the entire series unless you burn one of your timeouts. So you have to give up something. You either gotta give up a timeout or you have to give up some yards because of some of the confusion that arises once you go their uptempo offense.
KSK: I saw on Twitter that Stephon Gilmore, the rookie corner, mentioned that he’s gotten more advice from you than any other player on the team. What kind of things have you told him to help him adjust to the pro game?
George Wilson: I’ve just been trying to help him be a better professional on the field but also to help him deal with the pressure that come with being an NFL player. Anybody who has experienced that knows it’s not just football that takes up a lot of your time. It’s not just football that all of your pressure comes from. Trying to make sure he has a concept of what being a pro means, from his preparation, to how he takes care of his body, to being out there on the field and figuring out what the defense is trying to do to him. So I’ve just been trying to pour all the knowledge I’ve acquired during my career into him. There were veterans in the locker room who did that for me when I was in his position so now I’m just trying to pay it forward. Hopefully, one day he’ll be able to pay it forward to somebody else.
KSK: Coming into the season, the Bills brought on some high-priced free agents like Mario Williams and Mark Anderson and there was a lot of expectation about how they would do coming into the season. There’s been a lot of criticism of the defensive line especially so far this season. Is there a sense of frustration among the defense that you all aren’t living up to those expectations?
George Wilson: I’ll say I’m disappointed in our performance, because I know we’re better than that. We have the talent to play better than that. We’ve been inconsistent. But when I say I’m disappointed, it’s doesn’t mean I’m discouraged. So with this bye week and time away, we can come back together and get this thing going in the right direction over the remaining nine games. It’s not just one particular player or area. It’s 11 guys on the field at one time and all 11 guys gotta be doing their job the right way and dominating their man across from them. Because of the salary and the media following that took place after the contract was signed, we know Mario gets the brunt of the criticism because basically he’s in the same position that the quarterback is in on the offense. Usually, the quarterback is the highest paid and most visible guy on the offense and Mario is that guy on the defense. But in no way is it Mario’s fault for us to be 3-4. Like I said earlier, it takes effort from all 11 guys to be effective against the run and the pass.
KSK: I mentioned Twitter a little earlier. I know you’re on there. A week or two ago, it was DeAngelo Williams on the Panthers was complaining about the grief he was getting from fans about his production and its effects on fantasy football. As a defensive player, you don’t have to worry as much about fantasy stuff, but any starter is gonna take some criticism on some stuff. Does that make you hesitant to check you mentions or do you just do it anyway?
George Wilson: Anybody who is a professional athlete who has a social media account on any of the networks, when they sign up for that account, they subject themselves to all of the criticisms and all of the praises that may or may not be out there. And so you can’t get on social media and complain about the people because that’s what you know you’re dealing with. You have to hear it. You don’t have to respond. It’s not about what you see or what you hear, it’s about how you respond if you choose to respond. Me personally, I don’t respond to the negativity. It’s gonna be there. I read it. It keeps me grounded. But at the end of the day, that’s what I signed up for by getting a Twitter or Facebook account.
KSK: What are some criticisms from fans, maybe not even necessarily on social media, that you feel are the biggest misconceptions. Not even which ones bug you the most but which ones are the most unfair?
George Wilson: People sometimes on there, they talk to you as if you wanted to make the mistake or you tried to make the mistake. Nobody wants to lose. Nobody wants to mess up. Sometimes, I think people take it as if that’s what we were trying to do, as if losing was our intent. Sometimes they forget that we’re human beings, too. We’re people. Even though we’re in uniform and you see us as stars that are elevated on platforms, we’re still people. And I think people lose focus of that.
KSK: On the Bills, it seems like Stevie Johnson gets the most attention for some of his sillier behavior. Are there any other players on the team that have big personalities that the public doesn’t know as much about? Maybe they do funny stuff at practice.
George Wilson: Not for the most part. Guys have their own swag. Guys have their own way of how they go about their job. Nobody really does anything really that sticks out. Stevie, the way he carries himself, his style and the brand he’s built has really drawn people to him. So i think Stevie is the best example of that on our team.
KSK: Because the AFC this year is so muddled. You’ve got Houston and Baltimore on the top, but then there’s a huge pack of teams in the middle. So do you think that even though Buffalo hasn’t had the greatest start that you guys are still in a position to make a playoff run?
George Wilson: Yeah, I definitely think we’re in a position where we control our own destiny, but we can’t continue to allow games and opportunities to pass us by without taking advantage of them. We have nine games left to get our ticket punched to that playoff race on the end. So we gotta get back on the winning side of things beginning next week.
KSK: Obviously, Houston is a tough draw. Part of that has to be dealing with their running game, but what sort of challenges does their passing game pose? They have Andre Johnson, one of the better receivers in the league, but what other things are you guys keying on?
George Wilson: They have a great, productive tight end in Owen Daniels as well. Like you said, the productivity they get from their running game, that opens up their passing game, because they use play action off their run game to use the pass game to get receivers and tight ends open. So you have to do a great job of making them one-dimensional, so you can anticipate more what they’re going to do to you. Schaub does a great job of getting the ball to their playmakers. They rarely beat themselves with penalties and turnovers. And they’re a disciplined football team. So we got our work cut out for ourselves. It’s gonna be a real test for us.
KSK: All right. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Good luck the rest of the way.
George Wilson: No problem. Thanks for having me.
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