Buffalo Bills Media Comments for Cleveland Browns Game

Head Coach Doug Marrone

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Opening statement:

The following players did not participate in practice. (Ron) Brooks, (Stephon) Gilmore, (C.J.) Spiller with an ankle, Gilmore with a wrist and Brooks with the foot. Limited in practice, Mario Williams with an ankle, (Marquise) Goodwin with a hand, (Stevie) Johnson hamstring, (Leodis) McKelvin hamstring, (Kraig) Urbik knee, (Dustin) Hopkins right groin, Aaron Williams lower back, (Fred) Jackson knee, Kyle Williams the achilles. Full participation in practice is Jairus Byrd, so that was our business of the day with our short week.

Q: What are your thoughts on playing on Thursday?
A: I think it is what it is. I’ve always saw it as, I think it’s a tough situation, but for both times. I think when both teams go through it, it’s fair and we’ll go out there and play. I get concerned on short weeks.

Q: This is Jairus’ first full participation. What are your thoughts on having a chance for Thursday?
A: I spoke to him and we’re definitely getting better and getting real close. I don’t want to give you guys the wrong thing, we’ll see tomorrow, make decisions and then after that we have some time to rest and then I think after that depending on how it goes I’d like to be able to say day-to-day after that.

Q: How does this week of preparation go compared to normal?
A: What we normally do is Sunday after the game was over, the coaches we got to see our families a little bit and then after that game was over we immediately came here. We started working, so we look at the previous game we played, try to get that put to bed and then start working on our game plan that night. Sunday night we were here working as most people are. I think most people have the same schedule; they may change it a little bit. A Monday, you want to push the players back as far as possible to give yourself more time to game plan so you can have it prepared. We pushed them back; we kind of handled all the stuff from the Baltimore game quickly. Obviously it’s not a full scale thing and then immediately try to turn their attention on Monday night towards Cleveland. To go out there after a game, it’s a true walk through type practice. Putting in a lot of the base type of game plan. Sometimes you may get a little bit of the third down. When Tuesday comes obviously you’re putting in a lot. The meetings are a little bit longer, extended. Your practice time and your practice reps are a little bit shorter. We extend the walkthrough time again for the players and basically we’re getting our Wednesday and Thursday in. Then tomorrow on a Wednesday, we’ll get our Friday and Saturday in and repeat it. We’ll probably meet a little bit longer because it’s a night game at the hotel, but that’s pretty much it. The number one goal is obviously making sure the players are rested.

Q: The theory is that it’s a disadvantage to play on the road on a short week. Do you get a bit of a break in that you don’t have to travel very far to get to Cleveland?
A: Oh yeah. I think travel comes in to it. Whether you’re traveling from the West Coast coming back home and then getting ready to travel again for a Thursday night game or even if you have one at home. I think the short distance is definitely something that’s more of a benefit.

Q: You could have had a worse trip right?
A: Obviously. You’re absolutely right on that.

Q: What have you seen from C.J. Spiller and will he be ready?
A: Today he was out there. He went through the walk through with us, the plays and then we had him on the side with the trainers working on a lot of straight line stuff. There’s really not a lot of swelling. It’s a situation where it’s really day-to-day. I’ll really know more tomorrow on it. The signs I think I look for as a coach are encouraging. He’s out there working; he’s trying to get back. That’s all you can ask for a player.

Q: Will you work Tashard Choice in to the game more?
A: He wouldn’t be on this team if we didn’t feel that way about Tashard Choice. If things don’t work out in our favor and we have to bring somebody up, like I said before we look at the practice squad first and we’ll bring up (Ronnie) Wingo.

Q: Do you expect your decision on Fred Jackson to come right around kickoff?
A: No, I feel very confident about Fred.

Q: What are your thoughts on Marcell Dareus and if he is coming around to what the Bills envisioned him when they drafted him?
A: I had heard some of that coming into the job, but I have not seen any of that. I think he’s played really well. He got injured in the one game and was a little bit limited from a snap standpoint. Other than that, he’s been doing a heck of a job. He’s been very very productive so I think that in my mind that’s the player that we envisioned and he keeps getting better and better each week. He’s working extremely hard. Again I think if you remember back in the OTA’s, I was really excited. He had a smile on his face, he’s going around, he likes to play and he’s having fun. I think that’s what you see now, players having fun and getting better. I think you’re seeing a lot of production out of him.

Q: What do you see as the challenges of Cleveland’s defense?
A: I think they’re very difficult because of a couple things. Obviously Coach Horton does a great job. You have 11 guys on that field that are playing extremely hard. You have a front seven that is similar to the front seven we’ve seen this past week. They’re very strong; they do a very good job of holding the edges, similar to what the Steelers did when Coach Horton was there. Not identical for what they do defensively, but I think that’s a good reference for how they hold the point. Outside, the corners are fast, they play well with their hands, they reroute you very well in their man coverage. The safeties do a good job of reading. People have had a very difficult time driving the ball on them and scoring. I think they’re playing at a high level. They do have some veterans on that field. They’ve got some younger guys that are coming in to it. They’ve got guys who have won, bringing people over from championship teams. It’ll be a really, really good test for us. I know I say that every week, but those are the type of defenses that we’ve seen.

Q: What have you been able to see of Brian Hoyer so far?
A: You’ve got two games. You can see a lot of what people are trying to do. People have asked about him and I said the same thing. I try to judge quarterbacks; I judge them quite a bit by wins and losses. So he’s won two in a row, so he’s done a very good job of managing that team and they’ve been doing a good job getting the ball down the field and throwing it.

Q: How did Leodis McKelvin look today?
A: I think it’s the same thing. He’s out there doing things; he’s trying to get back. I would view him as day-to-day so I don’t get myself in trouble. The only reason I say that is because if you ask me, I want him to play. So it’s hard for me if you ask me, he’s out there he’s going to play. For me as the coach I want him to go out and play, but I think it will be day-to-day and I think we’ll know a lot more tomorrow. If we don’t know a lot more tomorrow then I think we will go again like last week with a game time decision.

Q: You said during minicamp that you had to pull Kiko Alonso aside at one point because he was playing too aggressively in a non-contact drill. Was that almost a sign of how hard he would play once he got in to live game action?
A: I’ll go back to what we saw in college. He was a player that made tackles all over the field that stayed on the field for three downs that made a lot of plays. That’s one of the things that we liked about him, knowing that he could play three downs, knowing that he could run, knowing that he was physical. He played at a large stage, so it wasn’t too big for him and then when he came in right away it was like he’s moving a lot faster than everybody else. That’s what I talk about when you start seeing that separation. Our expectations are high and we’re excited about him. He’s actually getting better and better each week too, all little things that maybe people can’t see.

Q: What time did you get on the field today?
A: 3:10 pm.

Q: For your defense how important is the middle of the line?
A: I think it’s a lot like baseball. We use that expression; we want to be strong up the middle. I don’t think there’s any difference in the sport that we play of football. We really want to be strong up that middle because that’s something that’s very difficult to cover from a standpoint of leverage. From the outside you can get some leverage points, force people inside. Inside if you go in there and you don’t have the right players in there they can just go right down the field on you.

Q: Marquise Goodwin was catching passes today. Was that the last hurdle for him?
A: Looks good, looks good. What do you mean by final hurdle?

Q: Final hurdle to get back in the lineup.

A: Like final hurdle as is he going to play this week? I think it’s really two days now that he’s been catching, so we’re still going to make sure he’s still progressing along.

Q: Any update on Hopkins?
A: I think we’re still working on the kickoff part of it, so I think he’s still a little bit day to day on that. As far as PATs and field goals, I don’t think there are any problems with that.

Q: Have you had a linebacker so young put in a position like Kiko?
A: Yes. I was with the Jets and we had Jonathan Vilma.

Q: Does he remind you of that?
A: I always get in a problem of trying to compare players and stuff, but way back then I think Jonathan came in and we had a lot of high expectations for him. I was on the other side of the ball, but I had heard what the defensive coaches were saying and he came in and played extremely well for us. Kind of the talk of what was said, not comparing the two players, I think it was the same type of situation. Both guys were productive; obviously Kiko might have a little bit more intangibles with the height.

Q: Has Cleveland changed their offense at all around Brian Hoyer?
A: Well Coach Turner, we all know each other, we’ve all seen each other, coach Chudzinski obviously I know very well. You’re seeing the elements and the base foundation of their offense and what they’re trying to do. Schematically obviously they do a good job. To say what they have changed, I don’t think there’s anything drastic that you can tell from film that they might have been doing with one quarterback compared to another.

Q: Does Hoyer bring anything different to the table?
A: I don’t know what difference they bring between him and Weeden, but the one thing that we see is that obviously they’ve won two games, they’re playing extremely well, he’s managing the game and they’re winning with him. They’re probably better at answering that question than me, because I really don’t know.

Q: Can you comment on the whole primetime game atmosphere?
A: I think the players can probably answer that better than me. For us as coaches we’re going in there playing a game and we’re worried about and our focus is on what’s going on on the field. At the same time I think I would be lying if I don’t think there’s awareness from a player’s standpoint to know that all the other players that are not playing on Thursday are probably watching that game. They’d probably be better at answering that question than myself. As far as the other coaches watching it, we all watch each other’s films.

Q: How does this Thursday game throw the players off?
A: I don’t think so. I think there’s two situations in football. You either play at our house right over here or you play at their stadium. There’s two situations that you have, home and away and we’re going away. I think the point of it being a short trip; I don’t even think the plane will get to 10,000 feet.

Q: Where do you stand on the short week and are the players for or against getting ready for a short week?
A: Does my word mean anything in this league? What are you trying to get me to say? I think it’s very difficult. I think it’s a challenge and I do have concerns about it. My concerns if I want to voice those concerns, I would do it the right way and I would call the league and tell them or write them a letter and tell them how I feel, I wouldn’t do it openly in public.

Q: It’s a tough situation in the NFL.

A: I’m criticized about everything. I have a great appreciation for this game in the other way, for what it’s taught me and things like the structure. I try to keep my mind focused on the great characteristics of it and not get myself leading away to some of those other things that people talk about which may be true or not.

Q: So you don’t have a problem playing then?
A: As long as the other team has the same amount of time and preparation I don’t have a problem. I think when you have fair time and preparation it’s good. I think when other teams have a little bit more time or a little bit more rest, I think that creates an advantage in a league where we’re trying not to create any advantages.

Q: Do you think it will give you an advantage with the way you play offense because they’ll already be short on rest?
A: I don’t know, we held the ball for 35 minutes the other night, so maybe not. I think that’s a double edge sword. That’s a good point. You have to watch what you’re doing too, how many plays you’re running, what you’re doing and you have to look at where you are too in the season is a big thing. Early on a short week or later on a short week. I think things change that way schedule wise. I know that’s what my thought process is. If it’s later in the year it’s probably going to be a little bit shorter than what we’re doing now. I think you have to watch what you’re doing from that standpoint, from a health standpoint because the number one goal, at least for me I can’t speak for the other coaches, is to get the players as healthy as possible to play Thursday.

Q: With both of your kickers practicing, might there be a decision coming because you might need a roster spot?
A: As soon as Dustin Hopkins is ready to go, there has to be a decision made. Whether we keep two on a roster spot or we don’t. You’re correct on that.

Q: Would he be ready to go on Thursday?
A: No.

Q: Are you confident with EJ heading in to his second road game since he has the first one under his belt?
A: You always want to see improvement, not necessarily from road game to road game, but from game to game. I think we’ll see that. He’s improved; he’s getting to a point now where automatically he knows right away which is a good thing. You really don’t want those mistakes, but he’ll know right away and work on correcting them. I think we always use the word experience quite a bit and that’s what we’re doing. Every single day, every player that is out there whether he’s a four year player getting another year experience or a rookie getting experience, it’s valuable and it’s probably even more valuable when you’re younger. I think that everything that happens to him, everything that we say to him, everything we coach, everything about playing this game I just think he’s evolving all the time in to a better quarterback.

QB EJ Manuel

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Q: EJ, second road game, did that first road game bother you?
A: No it didn’t, didn’t really register as far as road game or home game, that didn’t matter to me. I’ve played in road games before and it’s not a huge difference.

Q: First time going Sunday-Thursday, what has it been like?

A: We haven’t gotten to Thursday yet, but I think my body feels good, everybody else on the team, my teams’ bodies are feeling great. We moved around great today, Coach is allowing us to get rest and things like that. We’re fresh not just mentally but physically.

Q: Do you have to seek out veterans and ask them how do it get ready for this game with the short week?

A: Not necessarily, if anything you just kind of follow suit with what everybody else is doing, so you still continue to do what you normally do, so I guess you’d make this day a Friday if you were in  a normal Sunday type game week, but you still go like you would normally.

Q: Did you do stuff like this in college with the short week?

A: We’ve had a Saturday game and then a Thursday game, so it’s still a little different as far as playing Sundays in the league, but we’ve had a quick turnarounds before and we’ve handled them well.

Q: The numbers look pretty good for Cleveland’s defense, what do you see on tape and what do they do well defensively?

A: Yeah, they do a great job flying to the ball, they do a great job covering deep, their safeties are going to try playing the box to try and stop the run, that’s something they tried to do verse the Baltimore Ravens and they did last week verse Cincinnati, but none the less I think we have some things we can do against them to counter that and we’re just continuing to practice and be ready for those guys.

Q: You saw how important last Sunday it was to run the ball, can you do it against this team that’s the top five run defense?

A: Definitely, we had some great players on our defense, they did a great job getting turnovers, fumbles and interceptions, all kinds of things, give us some short fields, so that obviously helps me as a quarterback and helps our offense as well, so if we can continue to play like that and complement each other, offense complement the defense and vise-versa I think we’ll do well.

Q: CJ and Fred are both banged up, if they can’t go or have trouble during the game, is that something where you want to assume a leadership role?

A: I’m pretty sure they will be able to go.

FS Jairus Byrd

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Q: What is your confidence level going for Thursday, think you can go?
A: We will see, at this point, I got in there a little bit. I’m not going to say yes or no, that’s Coach Marrone’s call–but well talk and see. I honestly don’t even know, so we will see and we’ll talk about it.

Q: Your last Thursday night game went pretty well with that big interception; do you think you can have two of them?

A: Yeah it went pretty good, every year is a new year though. This is a new year, so we will see.

Q: Might this be the best you felt?

A: Yeah, I think it’s more of just heading in the right direction, like I’ve said all along. I’ve been completely honest. It’s getting there, this is something that is chronic and so it takes a while. Each time you have to see, one day you might feel great, then you might have a set back and it might get a little achy on you, but it’s headed in the right direction. Its Coach Marrone, I have to talk to him. I don’t know what the plan is so we’ll see.

Q: So the next step would be where you can try it out on game day?

A: I guess, I don’t even know the next step. I have to talk to Coach Marrone and see. It is really his call. He makes those calls, so I have to talk to him and see where it goes.

Q: Is there an eagerness to get out there?

A: Yeah, this is what you do. You don’t want to not be out there, but at the same time you want to make sure you’re good when you go out there. It’s your resume what you do out there, so yeah, of course I miss the game. This is what you do and you appreciate it. Definitely want to get out there.

Q: It’s got to be pretty tedious out there being on the practice field and not having a game at the end right?

A: Yeah, exactly. The best part of it is the games on Sunday.

WR Stevie Johnson

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 

Q: When did you get your first look at the game plan?

A: Well, we got a little bit of it Monday and we got the bulk of it today. I think it was cool how we went out and practiced and got through everything, its fast but its Thursday night game, you don’t really complain how the week goes; you have to be ready for Thursday.

Q: I guess you’re the kind of guy who likes being on the prime time stage?

A: Yeah, I think we all like this situation that were in. We don’t get many times to play on national televised games, so this is big for us. So hopefully we can go out there, show who we are and get a W. Let the world know we are for real.

Q: Offensively, what do you think has to happen here to get that going in the right direction?

A: First downs. I think we have got to get first downs so we can extend these drives, that way we can have more time with each other on the field on Sunday and that’s about it. Our rush game has been very good and very effective for us. The passing game could be better, I think when we click we are good to go but we need more drives, that’s more than four or five plays so we can get that feel for each other.

LB Manny Lawson

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 

Q: Are you surprised at how much the Browns are chucking the ball all over the place?

A: Yes I am actually, especially after them not really settling down on the quarterback at first and now coming down with a but, then again you have to look at the flip side–they have a very talented tight end right now that’s coming up. He’s going to make himself well known and they want to feed him the ball and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Q: Do you think that is the reason they have such a propensity to throw it, you have to run the football everybody says and these guys aren’t.

A: You do, and probably they will establish some type of running game to at least make you respect them, for when they do their play action. When you have talented guys you want to give them the ball action and that’s what they’re doing, giving the ball to the play makers.

Q: At the same time that’s going to create a lot of opportunities for you guys, they’re also one of the most sacked teams so that has to open some eyes.

A: Correct, as a defense we have to do our job, and we know that they’re going to try to air the ball out, we have to get quarterback of his spot and we have to cover the receivers, tight ends, and running backs.

RB CJ Spiller

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Q: Was there a setback in practice today?

A: No, it was right on schedule to do what was supposed to do today, do what we had planned to come in and do some jogging and moving around, trying to get some energy into it, and just go from there. It wasn’t the plan for me to come in today and get a full day’s practice, just to come in just move around and get my body back to moving because I haven’t really done that since Sunday.

Q: Can you go from that to game shape to that in 48 hours?

A: Sure, I’ll be fine, I’m not worried about being in game shape because we have got other guys out there, so I’m just staying in tuned with everything, being attentive, making sure I’m in the game plan and know what’s going on come Thursday if I’m out there I’ll be ready.

Q: So today was kind of more about getting it loose again, getting the blood flow going through there?

A: Yeah, I mean it was just to see where we’re at, see how I feel. Tomorrow will be a huge day for us, see what the reaction will be, it felt good, to be honest I didn’t think I’d be able to jog today, so that’s an encouraging sign. Like Coach said there is not much swelling in there so we are going to continue to do all the treatments I can do, like I said position myself to play.

S Aaron Williams

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Q: First just an update on your health, were you limited today?

A: Yeah, a little limited today but I feel like I’m progressing, think I’m going to a little more tomorrow.

Q: Did you tweak something earlier in practice or is this from the game?

A: No, just from the game.

Q: If you had to play tomorrow do you think you’d be ready to go?

A: Yeah, I would be ready to go.

Q: Is it frustrating being injured?

A: It’s very frustrating, especially when you’re playing well so far, you don’t want people to think you’re just good for one game, you want to prove to your teammates you’re going to be consistently good. So I feel like as long as I get my body right and get ready for Thursday I should be fine.

C Eric Wood

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Q: A lot of these games have been brutal on Thursday, have you watched any?

A: I’ve pretty much watched the first half of each one. I usually head to bed at half-time. Yeah, one team is usually pulling away in the second half in each I’ve seen. A lot of it is about getting some rest and really being able to prepare on a short week.

Q: Do you wonder sometimes when the team is down they kind of pack it in because they’re so exhausted to begin with they don’t want to be there?

A: Yeah, that’s when you have to try and inflict your will on somebody but with the team we are playing against, they’re a fairly young squad, they’re hungry coming off two wins, I think it will be hard fought game.

Q: What do you think of their defensive front, is it similar to Baltimore’s?

A: Yeah, it’s excellent. They have a great front seven, a good defense all around. I have been very impressed with them on film. Just like last week we will really have to come to play to do things on offense.


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