Head Coach Doug Marrone

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Q: Injuries?

A: Leodis [McKelvin] has the fractured ankle. We’ll have to see what we’re going to do with that. We’re in discussion there, meaning the roster spot and where we put him, as far as IR and things like that. [Kyle] Orton has a toe. Manny [Lawson] has an ankle but finished the game.

Q: Any concern with Orton moving forward? 

A: No. It’s been a little bit problematic, but we’re just mentioning it because it’s a high-profile position.

Q: When did Fred Jackson re-injure his groin?

A: Tuesday.

Q: Where do you go from here?

A: Obviously, we put ourselves in a tough situation, coming in at the half-way point and then dropping these back-to-back games. The theory being in the third quarter [of the season] of what we wanted to accomplish is winning the third quarter. Well, obviously that’s not possible now, but we’ve got to go out and tie this quarter. This way we can get into the fourth quarter and have an opportunity to get something done. You put yourself in a tough situation. We did it as a team, coaches and players. We have to go back to work and really get some things accomplished, really take a good look at ourselves again. We keep saying that, but obviously there are some things that we need to correct.

Q: How do you go about keeping morale up?

A: It’s always a question people are going to ask, but I think people lose sight of the professionalism in the players and the coaches to go out there and have an opportunity to play. I think teams just keep players and they keep playing to win until someone tells them they can’t play anymore. I really think it’s as simple as that. Is there frustration? Yes. The key is how you turn that frustration into a focus and preparation. You’re always trying to build on things and get better. We have a bunch of guys that will be on this team again. We want to make sure that we’re going forward and getting better each day.

Q: What’s breaking down for you guys in the red zone?

A: Execution and making plays. I think that some of the things that we have to do are look at it more. We’ve been struggling there. We’ve been trying different things. Obviously, they haven’t been working. I think we’ve just got to keep going and figure out what is it going to be from a concept standpoint, from a running game standpoint that works for us. Then, we’ve got to get better at it.

Q: Are you planning to stick with Kyle at quarterback?

A: We’re still with Kyle. It’s still the same with EJ trying to develop and get better each day. We’re just going about the progression of that.

Q: Has Sammy been able to do everything you’ve needed of him the past few weeks?

A: He’s progressing. There’s no doubt that people are aware of where he is on the field, whether they’re matching him or doubling him. He’s progressing as far as the standpoint of us moving him around. I think that’s what you’ll see. I’ve always said it from the beginning; I think he’s an outstanding player. He’s definitely a number one type receiver and we’ve got to be able to put him in schemes and move him around quite a bit in order to get some things done. That’s why it was good that Chris Hogan really did a nice job yesterday and really stepped up. He’s been progressing. The more people that can step up and make plays, the better opportunities you have of scoring.

Q: Is play-calling and strategy the problem or is it execution?

A: The one thing that we’ve got to do a good job of is putting them in positions where they have the ability to execute. That’s really the most important thing. When you put plays up against defenses, 99 percent of the time there are answers there, but people have to win. To answer your question, it’s both. Putting them into a position where there comfortable with the scheme, where they’re able to execute and where we’re able to be productive in it. It’s not a situation where it’s one thing or the other. It would be easier to fix if it was one or the other. It’s a combination of both that we’re trying to find. The teams that are efficient or are comfortable with the schematics that they’re doing are the teams that are successful and efficient.

Q: Have you thought about switching up your decision-making on fourth downs?

A: I appreciate the questions. I have no issues with that at all. I know the question yesterday was on the fourth-and-six with around eight minutes left in a 10-point game. My philosophy has always been – I’ve said this from the beginning – to make sure that I’m managing the game where I give our players the opportunity to win. I don’t make decision to take the game away from the players on that fourth-and-six. It’s fourth-and-six, we punt, we stop, we get a score–whether it’s a field goal or touchdown. It’s still a two-score game with three possessions each in the game, with the timeouts and the two-minute warning. I’d be hard pressed for anyone, at that point in the game knowing my colleagues in this league, to see who would’ve gone for it in that situation. Are there other situations that come up during the game? Yes. If Kyle (Orton) gets that ball down to the one [yard line] when they dropped eight in the red zone and it’s fourth-and-one from the one, we would’ve gone for it there. There are situations where, on fourth down, we would go for in the course of a game.

Q: The math suggests you should have gone for it. Do you go with your gut in those situations?

A: I always say the same thing, ‘Whose math?’  The problem I have with the fourth down statistics – and I’ll say this again – is that those statistics, even though they may show that you can do that, the environment within those statistics is not the same. If someone told me that they pulled all critical plays on fourth down and then had a percentage of that, then you can look at it. No one has really done that yet. What they look at is at the end of the game when teams are down by two scores and it’s fourth down and they have to go for it. The other team is playing against the clock and not the team. I think you have to consider the environment in which those analytics are done because, if it was proven that way and it was definitely a fact, I think that you would see all of us do it. None of us are going to put our teams in jeopardy to do that. I think that fourth-down stuff, yes there is a feel for it, but I think we play it by the amount of possession and numbers. That’s how we do it here. A lot of times, when people on the outside are looking in, I don’t know if they truly understand what the data is and where it’s coming from.

Q: Is the play calling and decision-making in the red zone all on Nathaniel Hackett or are you involved?

A: We all have an input in it. There’s nothing going on, nothing that we’re call that we all haven’t agreed up and that we all don’t feel comfortable with. That’s players and coaches. We work on it during the week. If someone has a problem, whether it be the quarterback, whether it be me, whether it be Nathaniel or whether it be anyone on the offensive staff then we’ll look at that play and take that play out or put it in. The problem with the red zone is that whatever deficiencies you have will always be magnified in that situation, more than anything. Whether you can’t run the ball well enough, whether you can’t beat man-to-man, whether you can’t beat zone or whatever it may be. It’s probably, out of all the situations, that hardest one to turn the corner on.

Q: Are we at the point in the season where you’re going to start giving younger guys more playing time?

A: I don’t believe that we’re at the point yet to put them in there to just see it without any type of basis. Meaning that if they’re practicing well and I think that they can help us win and they’re doing a better job, absolutely. We’re not going to keep somebody on the bench. Nobody has any redshirt years here in the NFL. Whatever we can do to help ourselves, we would do. I would look at it more from that standpoint rather than saying to myself, ‘Hey, let’s put him in there and see what he can do.’ We’ve got a responsibility for the organization, for the players, for ourselves to make sure that we put the best players out there.

Q: How will you utilize the extra days of preparation?

A: I’m specifically going to utilize it by going back into the red zone. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m going to go back there and I’m going to take a good look at it. It’s my responsibility to answer those questions. I’m responsible for that. There’s no doubt about it. Yes, Nathaniel is the offensive coordinator and Jim [Schwartz] is the defensive coordinator. Defensively, we didn’t tackle well yesterday. We couldn’t get them into many third downs yesterday. There are things that we did yesterday, in special teams we had an opportunity to pin them back there and we punt it and put it on the two, that when I say a team loss is a team loss. But I’m responsible for all of that. For me, the critical area right now for us is obviously the red zone. I’m going to take the majority of my time, outside of managing the team and doing the things I’m supposed to do, I’m going to spend any type of extra time I have in that phase.

Q: What’s the reason that you guys fell off a cliff in the second half with your third down conversions?

A: First down and the running game. I think that there were some times that we lost and some time that we missed cuts. There was the short passing that we had early on in the game. I think that helped us. I think there was a penalty or two in there. That obviously hurts. At the end of the day, you have to score in this league, to a certain extent. You’ve got to get to 24 points. 21 points is usually one of the keys with how our defense is playing. We did not play well in the second half from an offensive standpoint.

Q: Is it even tougher to lose when your defense plays at a high level? 

A: They played at a high level, but I think that if you talk to the coaches – and obviously we haven’t met with the players today – there were things that were uncharacteristic. They had nine third down opportunities. Yes, we did have the five sacks. The reason why they had only nine third down opportunities was because of the first down. They did a nice job of making sure that they had the short chains.. There are things out there that we can do better. The one thing about it is that, as a team, if we know defense and special teams as we’re developing the offense, then those guys understand what their role is and what they have to do.

CB Corey Graham

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Q: What are your thoughts on Leodis McKelvin’s injury?

A: It sucks when anybody gets hurt. It sucks. For it to be somebody that we battle with, somebody that I’m very close with and watch film with, study with and hang out with is a tough situation. You never want to see anybody get hurt. You hate for it to happen in this type of situation, especially in a game like that that meant so much to us. It sucks, especially coming off of an L.

Q: Are you pretty confident you’ll be primarily at corner? 

A: I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be at corner now. It’s weird how things happen. I’ve been at safety the last four or five weeks and haven’t gotten any reps at corner. Then, something like that happens and you get thrown in at corner. I’m prepared for it. I’ve played both positions. I’ve played more corner than safety, so that’s kind of a natural position for me. I’m just going to go out there and play and try to make some plays and just do the best I can.

Q: Was a situation like this is exactly why you were brought here? 

A: Yeah, you’re right. That’s exactly the reason I was brought here, so it’s nothing new to me. I’ve been doing this a lot of years. There’s nothing spectacular about it. I’ve just got to go out there and play ball.

WR Chris Hogan

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Q: Can you talk about the frustration level of the team?

A: We put ourselves in really good position going into the bye week 5-3 and fell short the last couple of weeks. Obviously, we’re pretty frustrated. Last night was a big game for us. As professionals, we really just have to put that behind. Anything can happen in this league. It’s happened before and we just have to come back after this weekend and focus on winning this next game.

Q: Is that what you try to build on?

A: Yeah. We can’t count ourselves out. I’m never going to count us out because I think we keep getting better every single week. Obviously, we have a lot of stuff to work on, but there’s still a lot of football to be played and a lot of games to be won. We’ve got to keep preparing and keep getting better.

Q: How is it sitting with you that now you guys will need assistance from other teams in order to make the playoffs?

A: It’s one of those things that’s in the back of your head. You’re hoping that this team loses here. At the end of the day, we control what we can control. Every single week we still have to come out, we still have to prepare to win a football game… I think that’s the biggest thing for us right now. Don’t worry about what’s going to happen in the long term and just worry about the next game. Control what you can control.

C Eric Wood

Monday, November 14th, 2014

Q: Do you just try to brush the loss off and focus on moving forward? 

A: We still have to evaluate this film. We have to try to get better from the loss yesterday. Last week, we rushed past the Kansas City game to try to get ready for this one. The 24-hour rule isn’t up yet. We need to get into this film, correct our mistakes and try not to repeat them moving forward.

Q: Why weren’t things working in the red zone?

A: We just have to make plays down there and right now we’re not making them. I realize that’s general, but from my standpoint that’s what needs to happen.

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