Head Coach Doug Marrone

Voluntary Veteran Mini-Camp

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Opening Statement:

Again, obviously I appreciate everyone being here. I am excited and glad you had the opportunity to watch practice today. We were open. I think for us coming into it, one of the things that we wanted to get accomplished as a team was one we wanted to establish a tempo. The way we practice. The way we go about our business. Two, we wanted to learn a system: offense, defense and special teams. Three, we wanted to learn the drills and the technique, obviously, to get familiar with our expectations, which we have at an extremely high standpoint. Changing that for ourselves as coaches and for the players. And also to get out here have some fun, run around and enjoy the work that we are putting in. There is no doubt that I am excited about our start. I am happy with it. I told that and communicated it to the players. I think the players have been very responsive. We have thrown a lot at them in these last three days. Very multiple on offense. Multiple on defense. We have done some situations—third-down, red zone. We have gotten a lot of stuff in. There is no doubt we are headed, I feel, in the right direction as well as the players. The more time we can spend together, which is coming up in our phase two, and we really work on trust and transparency. Really building up that tempo. We created that baseline. The more time we spend together doing that, the better football team we will be.

Q: Can you talk about the rationale behind the tempo and what it does for you?

A: I think what happened to us is, again, we put a lot in. If you look and evaluate the last three days, that first day we are out there and running around. All of a sudden volume starts becoming something that can affect it. That is where we as coaches have to do a good job. I do not want to look at this camp, not have volume in and have a false impression. What we are always looking to do is to see how much we can handle and really build it because obviously we are going to be multiple in all three phases. For us to end today, I was really happy with the way our tempo was going.

Q: What is the rationale or the benefit by having an individual moving at a fast tempo?

A: I think with football, football is a game where when you get on that field everything happens so quickly during the game. I think that you get a false sense of security if you are slowed down in practice and you are slowing things down. The faster you can make it in practice I think it is a better carry over to the game.

Q: Our first impression of you on the field is that you are vocal and expressive.

A: Yes, absolutely and I think it goes back to the way I was brought up and a lot of us…in other words, it was always when you hit that grass or now that turf you are running. That is how I was brought up from a very young level and I believe that. I think that it is a mentality of when you step on the field, you are running and you are playing.

Q: Can we assume that carries over to your offense? I know you liked to play fast at Syracuse last year.

A: It does and what you saw today, you will see definitely different changes as we start going through with the OTAs. What we wanted to do as far as installation was to create that base, more of a huddle, and then obviously once we have that foundation you will see us actually be a lot faster.

Q: The rest of your coaching staff is also always talking to the players and really high energy.

A: Well I think that is how we feel. I am pumped up and I am excited. I feel like the players. I feel like if I walk off this field and I am not exhausted and I am not tired, you know what, I did not give them the service that they deserve. That they have earned. I said it to the players earlier on in the week, it is a privilege for myself, and I am sure the staff feels the same way, to be on the field with them. We hope that they feel the same way about us and that is what we are looking to get out of it after the three days of practice.

Q: How do you maintain the enthusiasm and how do you keep the players focused in? Because let’s face it they are adults in that sense.

A: I think not only just adults but everywhere through life you have that problem. Keeping that inspiration or keeping people inspired. That really falls on both parties. The coaches, the players and even people in the building that we are talking about doing that. For us, I talked about it with the players today. You go out there, there is a sense of newness. We are new together. Even coaches, it is the first time we have coached together, too. You go out there and all of a sudden there is that sense of, it is not adversity that is not the correct word, but you do not know. There is a higher level of focus because you do not know what you are expecting. As you go and work, all of a sudden you start saying, ‘OK, this is going to be this. This is going to be that. This is the tempo.’ What happens is you fall into a level of a comfort zone. The one thing we have to do, and it is a fine line, is to make sure that comfort zone does not affect our production. So you have to keep them on edge all of the time, changing up drills, changing up things that we do and making some periods in things as we progress more competitive with each other. Those are ways to just keep everyone inspired. And then again, mentally getting their mindset correct. That is talked about a lot during the week. Not falling into that trap—which is a great question and a great point.

Q: Your first impressions of QB Kevin Kolb and QB Tarvaris Jackson?

A: I will tell you one thing, and I believe this, for the amount of volume that we have in on both sides of the ball, from a quarterback in Kevin (Kolb) that was injured and has not played a lot lately obviously to Tarvaris (Jackson) who obviously was not available last year to play. Really to come into a camp where they are not out throwing seven-on-seven before they come to a camp and they are not working at maybe a high school field or whatever they may be doing. To come in here and to have…I was very impressed by how they handled themselves in the classroom with excellent questions and I was very impressed with how they handled themselves on the field, especially with all of the stuff that was going on, on both sides. I was very happy with the way they have handled themselves considering all of the things that have happened to them in the past year.

Q: How are you spending your time during practice? Splitting it up between all three phases?

A: I spend it getting around to each group. I like being on both sides and making sure that I have a relationship with everyone. Meaning I am back there with the DBs talking to them, I am with the linebackers, with the d-line and getting around to the running backs. So I have to manage the team and manage the coaches. I think it is what we talked about before and some of you may have wrote it, where you are the CEO or whatever terms or labels you want to put. Again at the end of the day it falls on me and my responsibility. Therefore I get around and make sure things are running the correct way in what we want done.

Q: Any disappointment in not getting to see WR Stevie Johnson out there on the field?

A: Sure, and I want to be clear with that—is there an area of disappointment? Absolutely. My disappointment is not that I wanted to see Stevie Johnson out there, my area of disappointment is Stevie worked extremely hard. When he came back and was with our weight coaches, really from what I have heard, is the best he has ever been. Really put a lot into it and we had conversations prior to this. I was very excited. So my disappointment is for him, because I really think he put a lot into it getting himself ready to get out here with a new staff.

Q: Can you give us your first impressions of DE Mario Williams?

A: I was very happy. I thought when you go ahead and you have a player like Mario, you can look at him for leadership. For an example, the ball being thrown on the other side of the field and running across at full speed. When you look at a player that, I look at what we are teaching individual technically and seeing if the player turns around in 11-on-11 and is really trying to work on those things. I saw a lot of that not just from Mario, but a lot of other players. So I am very pleased with that.

Q: Is OL Zebrie Sanders still a tackle first and guard second?

A: Would I agree with that? I would agree with that.

Q: Could you just comment on the value of rookie free agents and the opportunity that they have?

A: I have always said this whether it be right or wrong—I think that, and your perception of what I may say may differ, but I have said this every year I have been in this league. You have a draft. People get picked and they get started. You go ahead and there is an order there. Obviously we are talking about rookie free agents coming in, and they come in. We go ahead and we sit in a room. I have always addressed it when I was a position coach or a coordinator that, ‘Hey, that label that may be on you is off. We are all in competition right now and the best players are going to play.’ For me as a coach, I have always found that, as well as our scouting department, it is a great challenge. Pulling for that underdog. Pulling for someone that might have been overlooked. I think it is much more difficult in this day and age with all of the film that is out there and all the stuff we get to go ahead and find that diamond in the rough. You have to look for those intangibles or those strong points in those players that might not have been developed yet. And then I really think when you get those types of players in that can play with a role and make your football team, you become a better football team.

Q: How is C Eric Wood suited to you playing fast? They always said Kent Hull in the old day was the key to the no-huddle. A smart, athletic center.

A: Kent was a heck of a player. He was playing at the same time I was around and he really did a great job. I know having watched the tape on those teams I have a great deal of respect for him. I think you have to be careful when you start comparing player to player. What I have seen in Eric Wood in this camp was, I saw a player who came out here and I am excited that he feels healthy. I think he has been injured in the past. I saw a player that went out and, again, a lot like Mario (Williams), went out there and really worked on something. Really had some instant feedback. Meaning that he worked on something, went out there on the field and said, ‘Hey, how did it feel?’ ‘That felt very good.’ That is what you want to start hearing when you are a coach. Being able to help those players develop and having them get excited about whatever it be technique or scheme of what they are doing. That is what I saw with Eric. I thought he did a very good job.

Q: The new banners and slogans, what are the changes you had in mind that you were looking to do?

A: Well I think there has been a lot of great tradition here. I think it is a way to remind us of what this organization is and what it has been about. I think that you sit here and there are a couple of things that I talked to the players about. Obviously one, we are here and we want to get a banner up with our football team and what we want to do in some way shape or form. And I think two, we talk to our players about a higher calling. In other words, we understand as an individual when we get out on that field it is important for us to win: as an individual, as a unit and as a staff. There is a higher calling. Something that is more important. You are talking about a region. You are talking about fans. You are talking about a lot of things externally that are going out. That is how we are talking to our players.

RB C.J. Spiller

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the different pace of practice?

A: The guys just get very competitive out there. We do not want to lose. They do not want to lose. We’re just trying to make each other better. There was definitely a lot of energy today than what it has been the last couple of days.

Q: Does the coaching staff’s energy help you guys kind of get going a little bit?

A: As a player it does, but at the same time you are still going to feed off the players. It is good to see some of the coaches, a young staff and guys getting excited. Each position wants their guys to do good. You have certain battles that go on, so it is a good feeling to have the guys into it as well.

Q: From the changes this offseason, do you feel the leadership has been passed down to the younger players?

A: Well it is. Anytime you lose guys that were in leadership roles, the next guy has to step up and try to be that leader. Everybody is different. Everybody leads different. We are not putting a lot of pressure on who needs to step up. When you talk about being a leader, I think it just has to be inside of you. I do not think it is just a switch you can turn on and turn off. That is something I am trying to work on and I am going to continue to try to work on just making my teammates better.

DE Mario Williams

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Q: First impressions being on the field?

A: Fast. Aggressive. Up-tempo. A lot of fun.

Q: What do you see from the multiple looks on defense? Is it different?

A: Extremely different. Extremely different. (Laughs) There are times where I could not even tell you what position I play because I really do not know. It is all over the place. It is definitely something that is going to put different match-ups out there on the field and put us in different positions. Have guys free and be aggressive.

Q: Do you like that? Keeping the offense guessing whether you are up or down.

A: Yeah, because obviously when you study it I know where I have to go but it is almost impossible for you to predict where I am going to be at. I have never done that before. I have pretty much played every position besides safety, I think. (Laughs)

Q: Does that give you a new level of appreciation given you have been in different defenses before?

A: Definitely. I have had a chance to play I guess you would say a hybrid 4-3, 3-4 before. This is similar with the possibilities. I know the possibilities that are there. You have somebody that can schematically scheme up something to create edges and create wide open guys. The one thing I have not done before is play this many positions. I am ready for it. It is just going to be very exciting and us as players are very excited. Every day when we come in it is an upbeat tempo. You have to be. The atmosphere is completely changed here.

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