Jairus Byrd went the culinary route in describing the Buffalo Bills’ defense Sunday.
“There is a menu of things that you can do,” the Pro Bowl safety said.
Byrd’s appetizer Sunday against the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium was a sack of quarterback Geno Smith in the second quarter. The main course came shortly thereafter, when he intercepted Smith to help set up a Buffalo field goal.
Byrd liked that so much he added another pick for dessert in the Bills’ 37-14 victory.
“I’m having a lot of fun,” he said. “I’ve kind of gotten comfortable and a feel for everyone in the locker room. There are just great guys in here. ... A lot of people use that saying of ‘family,’ but it really is. You can go out there and just play with your brothers out there and just have fun. There’s nothing like it.”
While he was taking everything he could away from the Jets on the field, Byrd was in a sharing mood after the game. He credited fellow safety Aaron Williams for giving him a heads-up on what play to look for on his first interception. He said the team’s coaches “do a great job of getting us in position to make plays.” And he complimented cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin for their outside coverage of the Jets’ receivers.
“It was all of the above a little bit,” he said.
No doubt, Byrd’s presence in the lineup is featured on defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s menu.
The fifth-year pro has three interceptions in the last two games and is the first in team history (since sacks became an official stat in 1982) with two interceptions and a sack in the same game.
So is he “back” after missing the first five games of the season with plantar fasciitis in both feet?
“When people say am I back … I don’t know if I was any different,” he said. “You are who you are. I haven’t played the game in a while. You’ve got to get comfortable playing the game, but that’s really all it was; just a matter of feeling comfortable in the system and in the game. Hopefully I’m headed in the right direction.”
Byrd was asked whether games like he had Sunday makes him think about his status with the team. The 27-year-old is playing on a one-year contract as the Bills’ franchise player. Unrestricted free agency looms after the season – provided the Bills don’t franchise him again.
“Honestly, I’m over that,” he said. “I am who I am. You can’t change it now. We’ve got to win. I’ve been here for four years; I want to win games here.
Byrd joines Tom Janik (six) and Billy Atkins (five) as Bills with multiple interceptions in at least five games.
“They’ve got an excellent ballhawk back there at safety who made a couple great plays against us,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said.
“It’s just a feel,” Byrd said of his propensity for picks. “You just go out there, you study, you prepare.”
When that happens, like it did Sunday, the dish comes out exactly as ordered.