Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone Monday Comments

Monday, September 23, 2013

Opening statement:

Just to go through a couple things and looking at the game, obviously I feel exactly what I said yesterday. Meaning that the things that we need to work on and improve for us to win games are we need to work on obviously our third down conversion rate. Right now offensively we’re at 31%, last night we were at 22%. That’s not good enough for us to win. Defensively, for the year I believe we’re at 46%. Last night we did better in the second half. Four out of the five conversions were big plays, 18 plus yards or more. We have to work on the big plays. Defensively, we’ve done a good job this year in the red zone; teams have been able to convert about 40% for touchdowns, which is much improved than we’ve been before. Offensively, right now we’re at 50% and that’s what hurt us at the end of the day. We wound up kicking three field goals and we weren’t able to convert them in to touchdowns. That’s what we need to do to win. That’s basically, that’s it in a nutshell. There’s a lot of other things that we’ll be able to correct.

I think the next thing to get through business of the day for us, is in-game injuries. C.J. Spiller had a quad, I believe he’ll be fine, Marcell Dareus had an ankle, I believe he’ll be fine, Alex Carrington, unfortunately had a torn quad tendon, which I think will put him out for the year. Stevie Johnson had a hamstring; I believe he’ll be fine. Leodis McKelvin, I believe had a hamstring, we’ll see how that is when he comes back and starts working on the field. At the end, I wasn’t aware of it until the end, obviously Mario Williams had an ankle, but he was playing the whole game. I guess near the end he had an ankle that I wasn’t aware of until afterwards. We think he’ll be fine. Really no updates on (Stephon) Gilmore or (Ron) Brooks. (Dustin) Hopkins is getting closer and (Doug) Legursky is getting closer. (Jairus) Byrd we’ll see how he is when he goes out on the field and (Marquise) Goodwin is getting closer.

Q: With Leodis’ injury, how much of a concern will it be if he is not able to play?
A: We still have the ability to do what we did last night. Still have the ability to put Aaron Williams down there, also have (Brandon) Burton and (Johnny) Adams on the roster. Now that they’re getting used to our system and what we’re doing. We also can put (Nickell) Robey out there; he’s another one that can play corner out there in different types of packages. That’s what we’ll do this week. We’ll go and we’ll work the best situation. Obviously Justin (Rogers) had a very tough game, we all know that. We appreciate his competiveness in that and we’ll have to see what’s the best combination we have out there and what gives us the best opportunity to play well and perform at a winning level.

Q: Are you concerned with other teams trying to attack Justin Rogers?
A: I think at the end of the day, I don’t want to be the guy that stands up here and makes excuses, ‘Hey this guy is hurt, we’re not playing with him, we’re not playing with that.’ I mean the elephant in the room and everyone knows is that Gilmore is out, Leodis is out, Byrd’s not playing and we moved Aaron Williams. You’re looking to attack and you’re going to attack the secondary. The one thing I’ve always realized about this league is no one ever feels sorry for you. You’ve heard that expression before and it’s really the truth. For us it’s kind of next man up and high expectations, it’s an opportunity, let’s go out there and play. We have to see what we have to do as coaches form a schematic standpoint to see when and where to help those guys and give them some help.

Q: Does Alan Branch’s role expand with the news that Alex Carrington is out for the season?
A: It could potentially. I think Corbin Bryant’s role will definitely increase. I’ve been very, very happy with his past two games and the way he’s performed. Alan obviously played a lot last night, so he has to be ready to do that. I think you’ll see those roles being increased and those guys moving around.

Q: How big has your signing of Jim Leonhard been with the flexibility he has given you to move people around?

A: Obviously it was important. We’re very happy and Jimmy has done a nice job for us back there. Even to a point last night where we put him back catching punts. It’s been a good acquisition for us and we’re grateful that he’s able to do that.

Q: Where are Burton and Adams in their development in the defense and are they close to you being comfortable putting them in the lineup?
A: This week we’re going to find out. We’re going to put them out there and we’re going to take a look at it. We definitely feel comfortable about being able to put them out there. When you get out there and start practicing and the bullets are flying, you see how they perform in that situation. If they perform well that’s great for us that gives us some great opportunities. That’s what we expect and that’s what we’re looking forward to.

Q: Do you believe Leodis will be able to play Sunday?
A: I don’t want to miscommunicate on that one. That’s the one I’m not sure about. Only because it’s a rest, see how you feel when you come back on Wednesday, ‘Hey how do you feel, is it better?’ There’s a lot that goes in to that, so I don’t want to miscommunicate if he’s out for sure. If he was, I would be like ‘Hey, he’s out.’ I would tell you. I really don’t know because those things are again I call them conditions when it gets to a certain extent.

Q: So you’re certain about Marcell and Mario?
A: Yeah, I am.

Q: You and Coach Pettine were pretty high on Alex Carrington. How do you feel for him knowing he was looking at a big season?
A: I feel bad. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘Next man up.’ You have feelings and that’s what’s difficult. When I say nobody feels sorry for you, I’m talking about on the outside. On the inside, obviously it hurts because here’s someone who has put in a lot of work in. Here’s someone who may not from a standpoint of numbers, of people looking at, but has been very very productive for us in three games. Someone who is a very very good football player. I look at it as here’s a player that put in a lot of time, that’s been very consistent, been a good leader for us, done everything we asked him to do and unfortunately he has an injury. From that sense, obviously my thoughts and prayers are with him. Staying strong is very difficult when you have those types of aspirations and expectations for both the coaches and the player. It’s tough; he’s a player and a great man. You look at this game and we know injuries are a part of it, but at the same time it’s hard when you see those things happen. You feel for those players.

Q: Does he need surgery?

A: He’ll have surgery today.

Q: Will you be keeping Aaron Williams at corner or will you ideally like to keep him at safety?
A: Ideally we like him at safety. If you’re talking to me about, ‘Hey if you had everybody going would Aaron Williams be at corner?’ No. He went in there and he played well. I think that we’re very fortunate to have a player that has that type of ability, but make no mistake we like him at corner, we love him at safety.

Q: Given the high expectations you have of all your players, are you disappointed at EJ Manuel’s ability to face the blitz and keep the ball inbounds?
A: I think everywhere I’ve been anytime any quarterback, not just a young quarterback or an old quarterback, and we see it. Any time that you’re not giving yourself an opportunity, it hurts. There’s a difference, I think in your question you’re asking, ‘Hey if he’s rolling out and nobody is open and you want him to throw the ball out of bounds’ that’s fine, but when he’s taking a shot down the field and the ball is not in play, the one thing I’ve always realized my entire life is nobody has ever been able to beat the sideline. No one really has ever been able to beat that. We want to make sure we’re giving our players an opportunity to make those plays. Am I sitting here and am I disappointed? Absolutely. I can tell you this, EJ Manuel is disappointed too. I think those are the things that we’ll work on to correct.

Q: Are you concerned that teams might use the blitz more to disrupt him?
A: We talk and try to teach our players and try to encourage that because it gives us an opportunity to make a big play. People look at that as a plan and they decide they want to go do that, that’s their choice. At the same time, I think it just goes back to the execution and picking where we want to go in the matchups. We have to do a better job of that. We left a couple big plays out there. Not taking any credit away from the Jets, they did a nice job, but we left some things out there, things that we can’t afford to keep leaving out there if we want to win the game.

Q: Have you kept anything out of the offensive packages given that he was hurt at the end of the preseason? Has he been 100 percent since New England?
A: 100 percent.

Q: So no play calling has been altered to protect him?
A: No. When you use the word altered, if you’re using it from the standpoint of if we as coaches consciously said, ‘Hey we’re not doing this or not doing this because A, B or C,’ then the answer is no. If you’re thinking about it from the standpoint of alter as saying, ‘Hey what are you comfortable with, what do you like?’ then that’s the stuff we’re putting in. ‘Hey what don’t you feel as comfortable with?’ Then we’ll take that stuff out. That happens week to week with every quarterback, not just the young quarterback. That’s what we’re doing on offense.

Q: Can you talk about the play of Kiko Alonso so far?
A: I think you see someone that plays every snap of defense for us. He’s on the field the whole time. This is what I tried to tell the team today. Here we are we’re sitting at plus-two in turnovers. When you look around the league, there’s 12 teams that are plus-two. We all know what statistics are for; people who lose, but the other eleven teams are 28-4. They have an 88% chance of winning the game. Don’t get me wrong we have put the ball on the ground and we still have to work about our ball security. We’ve been fortunate to get it back. We are sitting at plus-two and we’re 1-2. We all know that these three past games could have gone either way. 0-3, 3-0 and 2-1. We are what we are and we’re 1-2. That’s why I go back to the third downs, the red zone, as being the things that we need to make sure we do a better job of because as long as everything else with the turnovers and stuff are going, we’ll have a chance to turn this thing around and turn these close games in to wins. Like I said before, I give the players a lot of credit for getting back to 20-20 in the game last night and then we fell short in the end. We have to be smarter in what we do and do a better job, including myself, right from me all the way down to get us over that hump.

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