Head Coach Doug Marrone

Monday, October 14, 2013

Opening Statement:

Let’s just start with the injury situation. Obviously Thad Lewis had an X-Ray and an MRI and they both came back negative. We’re going to list him day to day because we have to, obviously because he was injured. Really can’t specifically tell you, I think it was something after the game, he didn’t really know exactly what play. I think we got a feel it was early in the game and he actually played through it. We’ll list him day to day, I think he’ll be out there Wednesday and I feel good about him being able to play on Sunday.

Obviously Matt Flynn, we were talking about bringing him in to a workout prior to the game and that was in the plans. What we’re doing is just trying to make sure on our roster we have enough players with the amount of injuries that we’ve had, that we’re backed up with people that can go out there and be able to do it. The tough part is getting them ready to go, seeing how fast can you get somebody ready. I think Jeff Tuel still remains the same in what we’re thinking. Obviously he’s a quarterback that’s developing, we’re still really excited about him, we just have to keep him coming. That’s the one thing, you can’t get frustrated at this time of year with anyone, you have to keep developing the players and we all understand that with our roster.

The way we were able to clear the roster spot just so you know is obviously Jonathan Meeks had an injury, it’s an ankle. The exact injury is one of those high sprains. We’re going to put him on Injured Reserve and designate him for a return, which is eight weeks so he can come back. Really all the rest of the players: Stevie Johnson, Ron Brooks, Stephon Gilmore and C.J. (Spiller) all are working to get back and we feel good about from a standpoint of where we are injury wise. Everyone else should get back.

When you look at the game, and I like to tell you guys exactly what I talk to the players about, you look at red zone again. We talked about some keys to victory prior to the game and you look at red zone touchdowns. Obviously we were one out of two. We had the ball on the two yard line. The decision was once we got the ball down there we were going to go four downs and we weren’t able to score. Schematically it wasn’t anything from that standpoint; they beat us on those downs. They won those downs and we weren’t able to do it. Conversely on the defensive side where we’ve done a very good job, we’ve been holding people to 35 percent in red zone touchdowns, we were two out of three. They wound up scoring two touchdowns in there. When you look at third downs, there were situations that we did better, some of them, but really at the end of the day when you go in to the second half and the overtime and you’re two out of eight on offense for 25 percent, that’s really not where you want to be when you’re trying to win games.

I think defensively you look at 13 plays in that game, obviously there is going to be an amount of plays in the game, but 13 of them totaled 311 yards and two touchdowns. The other 71 plays you’re talking about 172 yards and 2.4 yards per play. That’s the thing we have to get better. Offensively we had seven plays of 12 or more yards and three were penalties. For us from a standpoint playing each play is very important. That’s the difference when you get into these close games which we’ve all been in. Trying to keep pushing you never know when it’s going to come. We all know what people say, we’ve got to be more consistent down by down by down. I think that’s important for us.

The turnovers were another key. We turned the ball over, Cincinnati turns around and they score off it, seven points. Jimmy Leonhard makes an interception, we get the ball on our side of the 50 and we come away with no points. Those things can’t occur when you’re trying to win. The rushing battle is a big part of winning and losing as well as the turnovers. When you look at the rushing you’re looking at Cincinnati with 165 and we had 130. We have to continue to do a better job offensively running it and then defensively holding them to the run. You look at it and then after the game I got a question about special teams like, “Here we go.’ The first four punts you’re talking about 48 yards in the air and a five yard return where Brian is netting 47 yards, which is outstanding, that’s what we want. Then all of the sudden the last punt, he kicks it 51 yards which was fine and we get a 29 yard return and net 22. Next thing you know, you hold them one, two and three and then they kick the field goal to win the game. I think what I try to tell the team and I’ll answer all the questions, is each phase there’s something that we’ve done well and some things that we broke down on. Really each phase of what we did contributed to the loss. What we have to do is make sure that starting with me and then the coaches, making sure we’re putting our players in the best position to play to their strengths. Putting them out there and giving them an opportunity to win and make plays. We just have to keep fighting until we get it done. We’re close to it, but we’ve got to play each play. That’s right now what is hurting us. We haven’t been in sync yet. If the defense is playing well, the offense is struggling a little bit. If the offense goes well, the defense (struggles) and obviously with special teams in there. Just haven’t been in sync and that’s consistency and that’s what we need to do a better job of.

Q: Any update on Manny Lawson?
A: He’s good. No problems.

Q: If for some reason Thad Lewis can’t play, will Matt Flynn be the backup?
A: We haven’t worked with him, so as far as the background it all depends on how fast we can get him ready. If not, Jeff would be in there and Matt would be backing him up.

Q: What did you like from Flynn?
A: I like him. Again you don’t have a lot of exposure right now, it’s not like you’ve gone in and really studied. You’re more concerned with the people that are here. Then obviously Doug Whaley and the scouts, they’ll look at what’s out there and bring people in. Coming in he did a nice job. He worked out this morning for us and looked very comfortable. Obviously good rhythm obviously has experience. We’ll come in and start working with him.

Q: Is there any concept or terminology carry over from places he’s been previously?
A: I have not been with him in those type of meetings yet.

Q: How confident are you in Thad’s chances of playing on Sunday?
A: I feel good, I do. You guys know me now, sometimes I say, ‘Hey as a coach you really want them to play’ and that’s when I’m really not sure. I feel good about him playing, I really do.

Q: Have things become more clear with EJ (Manuel)?
A: Yeah, I checked with the doctors today and he’s ahead of schedule for where he is right now.

Q: I spotted him briefly in the locker room and he’s walking without a limp. That must be an encouraging sign?
A: Yeah, the report today, and again I don’t want to be misleading, was encouraging. When you say ahead of schedule, people say what’s that with the timeline. I’m waiting for the doctor to give me a timeline, I still haven’t gotten a timeline yet from the doctor and as soon as he does I’ll give it to you. Obviously we want to be close to or exact to. Now there’s started to be rumors out there about how long it is, but I was encouraged talking to him today and seeing him, exactly as you said, walking and going around. I think by the middle or the end of this week, just to see how he is I think we’ll have a timeline for him.

Q: Is that a timeline for when he can be back on the practice field?
A: Yeah, that’s the one thing that’s tough because you’ll say, ‘He’ll be back this week’ and I’ll say, ‘Hey he’ll be back this week’ and I’ll tell you guys the truth, he’ll be back this week and we’ll see how he looks and we’ll go from there.

Q: There has to be some sort of general timeline or else you wouldn’t be bringing in other quarterbacks?
A: Obviously he’ll be back. The thing about the first injury is he’s come back very quickly, so obviously he’s a young kid and has healed well. He’s had some misfortune and again the thing that the doctors, when they talk to me and I’m trying to get a good timeline, they don’t really know and we want to give out exact information. Obviously they ran some tests on him, it worked out well and then now when he starts the rehab process to see where he is when he begins it, then I think they can put an exact timeline. At the end of the day I don’t know, I guess what I’m saying is I don’t know why we can’t just say what it is, but everyone gets nervous about when we think it’s going to be. If I said, and again let’s take EJ off the table, if I said. ‘Hey this guy is going to be out for eight to 10 weeks and he’s back in six’, what’s the big deal? If I say he’s going to be back in six and I say, ‘We had a setback he won’t be back until 8-10’, what’s the big deal? Everyone wants to make sure their information is accurate, so I’m just responding to what I get.

Q: So has he started his rehab?
A: No. Remember I said he was going to calm down a little bit and see where he’s at. He’s calmed down a little bit and seen where he’s at and now we’re going to start truly in the rehab project of what I think rehab is. Getting out there, moving around, going around and seeing where he’s coming.

Q: And that is today, tomorrow, Wednesday?
A: Probably tomorrow.

Q: What is Jeff Tuel’s status with the team?
A: The same thing from where you say we knew he was going to go in to the first game as a starter was because he was the only one on the roster at that time that really knew the offense because we brought in Thad and Matt Leinart was brought in late and I don’t know if we can get him ready, kind of like how Matt Flynn would be right now. Again it hasn’t really changed. I talked to Jeff and brought him in today, actually Jeff came in to see me. I told him it hasn’t really changed; here was our plan in the beginning, to see what we wanted to do. This is how we see you, we see you as a young quarterback that’s developing and really just reaffirmed with him all the things that I said here. We like you; you’re a young developing quarterback. In a perfect world we were probably thinking practice squad, you played extremely well, we were nervous about someone taking him and I pretty much told him the same thing I said here, which is what I believe. So to answer your question, nothing has changed from that point. Obviously if Thad isn’t ready to go and you can’t get Matt ready, then we’ll put Jeff in there.

Q: Do you sense it’s a letdown for him?
A: Yeah. I told him that exactly. I said, ‘Listen, here’s what it is.’ Do I expect you to be happy with that? No, I don’t want you to be. I want you to be like, ‘I’m going to show him and I’m going to get better and work my butt off’, but again at least it’s communicated straight forward between he and I. I have no problem with that and I told him if you’re upset with it, that’s fine. You don’t have to agree with what your role is. You have to do it, but you don’t have to agree with it. You’re the one who can change it by getting better.

Q: So Thad starts if he’s healthy enough to play and then you’re going to see in practice this week who would be the backup between Matt and Jeff?
A: Yeah.

Q: How concerned are you that C.J. Spiller’s injury won’t get better the more often you play him?
A: Yeah, we’ll rest him in the beginning of the week like we did last week and then come back. We just have to keep being smart. It’s better today than it was last Monday.

Q: How much was the decision having Stevie not play yesterday based on the back injury versus him missing time away?
A: More the injury. More the injury, we worked him out before the game, so it was more the injury.

Q: What do you think about the overall development of your young receivers?
A: It’s so difficult because you have these young receivers out there and we have to do a better job at the top of the route to really help us out. It’s two ways to look at it. When you look at them sometimes, you’re like, ‘OK these are the things that happen to young receivers and where they have to develop to the next step.’ You’re sitting here and our responsibility is to win and we need them to make that step now. There is some production out of that group. I really feel really good about the direction that group is going. I think we still have a lot more room of improvement, but they’re a good young group of guys that we’re expecting to get better and better each week.

Q: Stephon Gilmore said it’s was awkward to play with the club on his hand. What did you think about what he was able to give you and are you happy with the decision to play him?
A: Absolutely. I think that here is a guy and I think we can all appreciate that obviously it’s difficult. It’s difficult playing this game when you’re healthy and then you put a cast on and go out there. Even he said, ‘Hey I want to go out there and help this team.’ I think he was able to do that. Obviously it was his first time out there; he’s productive when he’s out there. He’s not a good player, he’s a great player. I appreciate him being out there and I thought he did a good job.

Q: How much is winning on the road a concern now that you only have four home games remaining?
A: My focus right now with the team and I talked to them about it, is playing each play and trying to play in sync. More so than anything else. In other words let’s address this problem and it’s interesting because I told them we go out on the field and we talk about don’t confuse effort with results. Really, effort wise has been excellent. These guys are playing as hard as they possibly can, but the results haven’t been what we wanted on each and every play. There are lapses, when these things happen. Whether it be like I said before, poor tackling maybe or some other aspect of it or not getting the third downs here and not punching it in from the two yard line. So again instead of drawing back to the bigger picture about the road and all that stuff which is a direction you sometimes want to be able to start going. Let’s not lose sight of making sure we can play each play first before we go. So when I address the team, that’s what I’ve talked to them about, playing each play.

Q: Is there a concern that you may have squandered the early part of your schedule that was home heavy?
A: Are you saying am I disappointed that we’re sitting here at two and four? Really? Yeah, of course.

Q: Well you know how tough it is to win on the road, but now you essentially only have three home games left.

A: I think what’s a greater message is how hard it is to win. It’s very difficult. You could always say it’s tougher to win on the road, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s tough to win in general. We haven’t won here in a while and that’s what we’re trying to get over the top with. You can always look at those certain plays in the course of the game. It’s just like I told the team after the game, you come in to a locker room and everyone is extremely disappointed and here I am. I have some of the same emotions too obviously, but my role is to, ‘Hey listen, pick your darn heads up, let’s get together, we’re going to get this thing right together, it’s a team situation. I’m going to do a better job, coaches, players, we’re going to do a better job. I’m going to explain everything to you when you come back and we’re going to get our butts back and go right to work because all you can do is fight.’ No one is going to feel sorry about the injuries here or the injuries there or whatever it may be. You just keep fighting and going. It’s a lot, like I say at the same time; I want to see where this team is when we play in sync. We’re playing well offensively, defensively and on special teams, I want to see where we are. See where we rank with everyone else that we play. I believe that when we do that and when we play in sync, we’ll win a lot of games. Right now we’re not doing that and that’s what I have to get done.

Q: Will Doug Legursky be the full time starting left guard from this point forward?
A: I haven’t talked to those players yet, but I thought Doug did a nice job in there for just coming back. Colin (Brown) has struggled before and we did play Doug much more than we did Colin. I don’t really like talking about it, until I’ve talked to the players which I haven’t yet. That’s a situation that hasn’t occurred and when I update those guys, I’ll update that answer.

Q: Fred (Jackson) said he aggravated his injury early in the game. Are you worried that could limit him in practice?
A: I think you’re exactly right, he did take a shot, but he was fine. I saw him moving it. Tashard (Choice) got in there more and I think Tashard really earned it from the last game, having played the way he did earning more reps back there. Again I’m not really concerned, Fred is a great pro, he’s been in there a long time. I’m not really concerned about him being limited. He’s one of those guys who comes in every week and is like, ‘Hey I’m ready to go. Let’s go.’

Q: Did Thad exceed your expectations?
A: I guess there is two ways to think of it. The practice, he practiced very well, so the going in and doing what he did I felt very comfortable with. From that point, I didn’t feel that way, but for someone taking advantage of their opportunity, yes. You know what I mean? So I think you can look at it two ways. Obviously we have high expectations for him and the way he was going back during the week, and I told the team this, the one person I’m not worried about is Thad Lewis. I told the players that before we went out to play. As a coach you get concerned with practice and the games are completely different especially for that position. He went out there and he had good poise and threw some really good balls and was able to do some nice things.

QB Matt Flynn

Monday, October 14, 2013

Q: Welcome to Buffalo, what do you like about this opportunity here with the Bills?
A: I’m excited, excited to be here. I think it’s a great opportunity. Get to come in and learn a different offense. Just get to keep playing. That’s the main thing. Just being around here all day I’ve just being around the town, being around the guys and the facilities and everything like that. I’m excited and ready to start digging in to the playbook.

Q: What have your first impressions been of Doug Marrone and Nate Hackett?
A: Yeah, I just got done meeting with Coach Hackett and I think we’re going to hit it off well. I like what they’re doing offensively. I didn’t know a whole lot about it coming in, but as soon as I knew I was coming in for a workout I tried to do as much research as I could. I feel like I fit in to this offense.

Q: Since the offense is rooted in West Coast principles, how much carry over are you anticipating there being just on the glances you’ve had so far?
A: I anticipate a lot of the same concepts that I’m used to. How it’s called, I don’t really know yet. I’m sure that if there doing some fast pace tempo stuff, it’s going to be calling it a little bit different than an actual long huddle call or something like that. I think conceptually it’ll be easier to pick up.

Q: Can you walk us through the last couple of days?
A: Yeah. I knew I was coming in for a workout last week; it was just a matter of getting it set up. What day it would work out and obviously game planning for yesterday’s game, can’t really do much towards the end of the week or anything like that. You get the call from the Raiders on Monday or Tuesday, I don’t know what it was and then a couple days later get a workout set up. I was excited for the opportunity, been spending the rest of the week with my wife packing and doing all that stuff. It’s been a fast week for sure.

Q: How have you dealt with the ups and downs since going to Seattle?
A: I guess overlooking it has all gone by pretty quickly. Obviously hasn’t turned out the way I wanted to in either of the last two spots, but just picking up different offense and learning two different offenses the last two years, has really expanded my knowledge of the game. Expanded my knowledge of what people like to do. Just hearing different, every coach and every OC has a different way of thinking, different way of breaking down defenses, so I feel well equipped to come in and learn a new offense and try to pick it up quick.

Q: Why do you think it didn’t work in Oakland?
A: I don’t know. It was just one of those things that didn’t work out. With the timing and whatever it was, just weren’t right for each other. It just didn’t work out. I needed to play better and things like that, but it’s one of those things where I’m happy I’m getting a fresh start. I’m that getting this opportunity with the Bills and I’m excited about it. Hopefully this works out.

Q: How has your perspective changed since Green Bay?
A: You can’t let anything effect you. You have to learn from what you didn’t do so well and just learn from it. Try not to make the same mistakes twice. Obviously leaving Green Bay, I was extremely confident and I don’t think that’s shaken any. You always have to have inner confidence; I’ve always been hard headed like that. Always think I can get the job done. There is some games this year that I didn’t play my best, we didn’t play our best and it’s games that you learn from. One game here is not going to affect my overall confidence or effect my belief in what I can do.

Q: Your last two stops you’ve had an offseason to immerse yourself in an offensive situation. What’s your best guess as to when you might be comfortable with a gameplan?
A: It’s hard to say, it really is. I haven’t dived in to it yet. I’m about to start doing that. I think gameplans are a lot shorter than coming inn and learning an entire playbook. Gameplan wise I feel confident I can come in and get a pretty good feel for it fairly quickly. How quick that is I don’t know. I’ll have a better feel for that later today or tomorrow.

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