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Interview with Buffalo Bills WR, Isaiah McKenzie



Hey BillsMafia!

Wild Card weekend is officially here, and the 2nd seed Bills are hosting the Indianapolis Colts in Orchard Park on Saturday at 1 pm. The Bills clinched the 2nd seed with their thrashing of the visiting Miami Dolphins. WR Isaiah McKenzie decided to put on a show en route to two touchdown receptions and an 84-yard punt return for TD as well. One might ask themselves, “What does one do after such a great performance?” Well, they hop onto the Rico Report and give Buffalo Fanatics another reason why it’s the best content outlet available! On a serious note, big thanks to Isaiah McKenzie (aka Lil dirty, aka Lil clean, aka Salsa King, aka slot-o-matic) for taking the time to give us a part 2 of his appearance on the Rico Report as he and his teammates prepare for the biggest game of their season.

Let’s dive in and take a look at some highlights!

On the Punt return TD:

Q: “What’s going through your mind when taking a punt return for a TD?”

IM: “I told Josh right before the punt that I was gonna take it to the house. I had the confidence and I knew I could do this. The first guy is the gunner, so once I made him miss, I wasn’t gonna keep making a bunch of moves. I hit the speed and just went. Once I saw it open up and I hit it, I knew I could take it all the way. I wouldn’t have heard the last of it if the kicker had caught me, so I couldn’t let that happen”.

On his relationship with QB Matt Barkley:

Q: One person that was super excited for you once you scored that TD was Matt Barkley. What’s the relationship between you guys?

IM: “Matt means a lot. It all started last year against the Colts in the preseason when he threw me a deep ball. And in practice, we’ve got a good relationship, and I’m WR1 on the scout team, and he’s QB1. We mesh well, and I can talk a lot of smack to him. Me and him are always going back and forth. He means a lot to the team. He’s a veteran leader and does everything the right way, and he helps out Josh (Allen) when he can. He gets along with everyone, and he’s like a brother out there”

On what the sideline was like during Sunday’s blow out win:

Q: With what you did to the Dolphins number 1 ranked defense, what was the sideline like during that game?

IM: “It was hyped, man. It was hyped. Coach Hall actually told us that this was the number 1 defense, and I told him that he said that about the Patriots last week as well. He said, well actually, this is the true number 1 ranked defense. I said, listen, who cares about the ranked defenses because defenses need to worry about how they’re gonna stop us. We come to play our football and that’s it.”

On the Bills’ ability to not have significant impacts by COVID-19:

Q: “What is it that’s so good about what you guys do to maintain safety and avoid getting cases of COVID?”

IM: “We test every day; everyone has to wear their masks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been very hard, and the NFL is on everybody’s backs about being safe. We want to be safe because we know the position we are in, and we don’t wanna lose anyone. People can still obviously get it outside of the building, and we had a couple of guys, and when that happened, coach McDermott was able to handle that well.”

On the success and confidence of Brian Daboll this season:

Q: Going against a defense that has Xavien Howard (possible DPOY), Byron Jones, and old pal Shaq Lawson and doing what you did, what has Daboll been doing to get you guys to just light it up this season?

IM: “He’s dialing it up, and he’s in rhythm. He’s got the hot hand and just on fire. No matter who’s in the game, he’s dialing it up and feeding the guys who are hot. Every year, Josh has got better, and he’s got better. He’s a pretty confident guy and sits back in his chair coming up with the master plan, and he believes he has the guys capable of doing it.”

Q: Are you guys, as a team, talking about him leaving?

IM: “Nobody talks about, because it’s already in the air. Whether he leaves or stays, we wanna say thank you, and we gotta respect it. I’ve grown with Daboll since 2018, and the things he’s accomplished has been amazing. If he leaves, of course, it’s going to be hard, but we gotta respect it because he does deserve it. If he does stay, well, then that’s love right there!”

On WR’s coach Chad Hall:

Q: A couple of weeks ago, you guys decided to bring out coach Chad Hall and surprise him with a wonderful gift (a brand new truck). Talk a little bit about what Chad Hall means to you guys, because that’s love!

IM: “Chad is one of us. He’s a young coach, but we all listen to him. Chad puts everybody in great positions. He even helps out Diggs, who’s a big time guy who’s been established in this league. It’s impressive for a coach like him to help elevate the game and give pointers and tips to a guy like Diggs. Coach Hall now has all the leverage with Bease (Cole Beasley) having a career year. Smoke (John Brown) had 1,000 yards last year. I’m improving every year, even Gabe came in and did his thing. Coach Hall is our hidden gem. Talk about Daboll leaving, but if Chad leaves…man things just won’t be the same. We love him to death, and he’s been in our corner since day one.”

On the mindset going into a playoff game:

Q: How dialed in is everyone for this playoff game? Is there less joking around than usual in the locker room, or is everyone the same?

IM: “The vibe is the same. You don’t want to get too tight, but you also don’t want to get out of control. We’ve been the same the whole season, we know that we have a job to do and that’s win. Now it’s even more important because there is no next game if you lose. Everyone in the locker room is locked in on winning, but we’re not gonna get too tight about it.”

On the feeling of getting slotted into the Saturday 1 p.m. time slot:

Q: The number 2 seed is forced to play on Saturday at 1 p.m., how are you all feeling about that?

IM: “They’re still treating us like we’re the same old Bills: no respect. But at the same time, it is what it is. We still have to play no matter the circumstances. They want us to be the first game and start it off, so we’re gonna go out there and start it off right”.

On a message for BillsMafia:

Q: I’m gonna give you the floor…what message does Isaiah McKenzie have for Bills Mafia?

IM: “The process works. It’s been four years of work for this staff, and coach McDermott has brought guys in to make this work. We would have loved to have Bills Mafia in the stands this season, especially during the rough patches. We’re happy to have them in the stands for the playoffs. Everything is flourishing now. We gotta finish this season strong and make a playoff run. Get your popcorn ready because we want to put up points, the defense wants to take the ball away, special teams is gonna make big plays. That’s what we plan on doing.”

On teammates that would be fun guests to have on Buffalo Fanatics:

IM: “Cole Beasley and Duke Williams”

Maybe these 2 are on deck for next guest appearances on the Rico Report?

My key takeaways from this:

  • This team is locked in to make a run during the playoffs. They are firing on all cylinders, and they are confident and having fun. Allen is playing with arrogance but not forcing things. Daboll is putting together gameplans that he knows can’t be stopped. The OL is giving Allen time, and the WRs are getting open and catching the ball. The defense is playing as a unit and making life miserable for opposing offenses. The Bills went all of 2018 and 2019 without a defensive TD but have scored a defensive TD in three of their last four games. Not only are they confident, but they know they can beat anyone. It has been fun to watch as a Bills fan, and I have been soaking this in. I can’t wait until Saturday.
  • This offense and WR corps LOVES their coach, Chad Hall. They all pitched in and bought him a brand new truck as a Christmas present. They believe in him and trust him. They know he has their backs, and he is in their corner. He’s the first to meet them on the sideline after a big catch. He’s the first to celebrate a TD or big play. The team feeds off of his energy and genuine love for them.

Thanks for reading everyone!

As always,

Go Bills!