Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone Comments

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Opening statement:
Business of the day, the following players did not participate in practice. (Stephon) Gilmore with a wrist, (Dustin) Hopkins with a right groin, (Marquise) Goodwin with the hand, (Ron) Brooks with the foot. Limited in practice today was (Jairus) Byrd and (Doug) Legursky. That’s where we are and pretty much everybody else is healthy. I know we have a lot of challenges this week. We’re playing a good football team, both defensively and offensively, and special teams. We’re going to have to work extremely hard and obviously it’s our first game on the road. We’re excited to put in the work this week and go down there and compete.

Q: Penalties were still a big issue this week, what have you been doing to prevent that this weekend?
A: We’re working on it. I think you see it’s a work in progress trying to prevent them, keep educating the players, working in practice that if we do have penalties, we’re working not to get them. Whether it’s offside or just some mistakes of turnovers, or dropped balls, I found that you don’t really get a lot done when you talk about the peer pressure part of it. I’d rather be in the education part and how we’re going to get better and work on those players to get those things corrected.

Q: What about the discipline factor?
A: I look at things as unforced errors, which were the offsides and things like that. Obviously I look at some of the penalties and we evaluate them after the fact. I think the league does a very good job, we’re able to turn things in and they’re able to give an explanation on it. I think that helps clear up internally, where we can both get better. Working together as coaches, players and officials. I think sometimes you’d like your players to be disciplined and not get those types of penalties, but not that we condone that, but to say that it’s never going to happen, we try to prevent that as much as we can.

Q: You’ve seen Geno Smith in college and obviously things change, but does that help you?
A: Having competed against him in college and then having the ability to work him out and spend some time with him, I had a great appreciation for him then. What was asked of him and what he did and what he had to do. When I look at him now, I see a player that is developing. I’ve said that before, we made a decision to go with EJ (Manuel), we thought that was best for our organization, but I thought there were quarterbacks out there that will win in this league. I think that Geno Smith is developing and he’s doing a nice job there, he really is when you see what they’re asking him to do.

Q: (Doug) Legursky was a part of the starting conversation with Colin Brown in the preseason. Is that competition back on now that he’s healthy?
A: I think Colin Brown is our starting left guard and we’ll evaluate Doug (Legursky) when he gets back.

Q: Can you talk about the road game and how EJ’s poise will translate on the road?
A: Obviously he came from the ACC and I used to joke when I first came in to the league about away games and those types of environments and if you play in a place like Florida State and you play in the SEC, I think they’re a lot more hostile than what we face. Again, it’s just a matter of execution, is what it comes down to. I don’t really see that he will have, I don’t perceive any problems. We’ll work on noise. We’ll work on those things just like we do with our defense at home.

Q: What have you thought of the performance of your offensive tackles, Cordy Glenn and Erik Pears?
A: I think they’ve been playing well, I think they’ve done a nice job. They’re going to be challenged each week. They need to get better and develop. I feel fortunate that I’m able to work with them every day in individual and watch that development personally.

Q: Can you take us through the Jets defense?
A: Well, to talk about a couple players would be difficult because it’s a team effort by them. I think over the last five years statistically, when you look at the numbers they’ve had, they are in the top five. The one thing that they do an excellent job of, one of many things they do a great job of, is pretty much on average if you have 12 drives in a game, on average five of them are going to be three-and-outs. I think they do a very good job in attacking, confusing. I’ve competed against Rex (Ryan) before when he was in Baltimore. They did an outstanding job there and I think it changes. It presents a challenge for our offense. It’s going to be a great test for our guys.

Q: When you have a coach like Mike Pettine who was with the Jets for the past couple of seasons, does that help you out in preparing?
A: I think that we can all see it on tape and I think that both systems, offensively and defensively, as with our systems, play to the players. So you see a little bit more, I think that you go back in and like I said before, you try to keep files on coordinators and what they do and what they like to do. Again, you might have a little bit more knowledge of the personnel but that was from last year, not necessarily this year. I think a lot of those players have gotten better.

Q: It seems like Rex is on the hot seat in New York. Has Mike (Pettine) said anything to you about him losing that team?
A: No. I personally have not had a conversation with him in regards to that. My conversations have been more game-planning and things of that nature that may be able to help us or give us greater insight. I don’t think that’s a secret. I look at it when those players go on the field, it’s going to be the Buffalo Bills versus the New York Jets and we as coaches, sometimes maybe people like to think that we’re out there playing, but we’re not. The players are out there playing and the one thing that we have to do a good job of is making sure we’re putting them in position to make plays and really that’s our responsibility.

Q: With two rookie quarterbacks in this game, do you think they have a little more comfort going in to this game knowing that they’re going against similar looks they’ve seen in camp?
A: I can’t speak for Geno (Smith) obviously, but I know that with EJ we go in to every week with a plan and a process to get him prepared to play against whatever opponent it may be. Maybe some of the schematic things we’ll have seen. Obviously there’s a foundation to those systems, but again you have to be ready for game day for the unexpected or think of what may change or what their plan is and how they may attack. During the course of a game, you have to be able to make adjustments. You have to see early on what the team’s thought process is in how they’re attacking you and then you make those adjustments. You have to be ready for that from week to week. I don’t think there’s ever a comfort from the standpoint of our end offensively of where we are. I think there’s always a chip on our shoulder, knowing what we have to do and knowing what the challenges are.

Q: How significant was Mario (Williams) ability to get sacks on third down?
A: I think it was crucial, but even if you ask Mario (Williams) he’d tell you it’s a team effort. Most of the time it goes in conjunction with the back end when you see players making sacks it’s because you have good coverage on the back end. Those are the things that went on. I think it was a combination of Mario winning the battle that he had to win, I think the other guys were taking up blocks and pushing and moving and getting the quarterback off the spot. I think the defensive backs did a nice job of covering, so I look at it as a combination of all that that was able to cause success for us on those third down situations.

Q: He’s regarded as a star pass rusher. Does the fact that he was brought in to improve the pass rush, is it significant that he is delivering?
A: I wasn’t here when they acquired him, so when all of this, the promise and all the other things I can’t really relate to that because obviously I wasn’t here. I can relate to the fact that we were in a position with the number two pick when I was in New Orleans, studying Mario and how good of a player he was and then having to compete against him when he was at Houston and then practicing against him for three days. I was excited; I think he’s a very good football player all around. I tend not to try to label him as an elite pass rusher. I think he’s an excellent pass rusher. I think he plays very well against the run and is really a complete player for us who can do a lot of things.

Q: He talked after the game that mentally this is the best he’s felt. When you’ve talked to him do you have a sense of that?
A: Well I’ve never seen his head out of it from the standpoint of maybe being in to it or out of it. What I saw was he had a condition that was bothering him and we have to make some decisions. He’s the type of player that you have to ask to come off the field. That’s when the conversations led to, ‘Hey you need to shoot me straight and tell me how you are and let me make the decision to go out there.’ I think as a coach we have an appreciation for a player like that, that always wants to be out there, always wants to practice. We made a decision along with the medical staff and doctors to rest him and get him ready for the season and I think that’s been beneficial for us. I think we’ve been able to overcome that and he’s felt better and better each time.

Q: You had a vision for what type of defense you wanted to have. How do you think Mike has done utilizing the talent you have?
A: We want to be an attacking defense and we want to cause turnovers obviously. Right now we have a good mix of what’s going on. I think we’re getting a lot of good play out of some players that we really didn’t know we’d have to count on coming in here. With the injury to Stephon Gilmore and obviously Jairus Byrd working hard to get back. Those are two impact type players and we’re getting good production starting at our nickel position with Nickell Robey. Getting good production out of that and then obviously you have young players like Kiko (Alonso) coming in which you get high production out of and then you have a good balance of the packages that we have with the rest of the linebackers and the defensive line is playing well.

Q: Is Jairus Byrd making any progress?
A: I do. I think every day there’s progress. It’s just a matter of time now till when it gets to that point where he’s going to be able to go out there. I think we’re getting closer and closer. He’s working extremely hard. Really proud of how he’s working with the younger players and even the veteran players back there. Jimmy Leonhard is more of a veteran player, Aaron Williams it’s his first time back there and Jairus has been doing an excellent job. It’s like having an extra coach, but I told him he’s too young to coach and we want to get him on the field.

Q: Do you make decisions on whether players are going to play on the morning of the game or do you know by Friday?
A: I struggle a little bit. I’ll tell you exactly how I do it. In our profession, places I’ve been, I can only talk about my past, we’ve always said it right before the game. The reason why is because we don’t want people getting to them and knowing because sometime strategically it could mean a difference. If you dress a lot of wideouts it could mean more four wide, maybe they’re thinking you’re going to be more 21. There is a little bit of strategy to it and you know how we are, we’re always paranoid about a lot of things. I’m a little bit different; I try to put myself in the player’s position. Usually it’s some point Saturday, sometime Saturday morning, I’ll make sure I tell the player, but I also tell him don’t tell your family, don’t tell anyone else, don’t say anything, I’m just doing this out of respect. Now the next day if someone gets sick or something we can bring you up, but this is our thought process going in to the weekend. That’s how I handle it.

Q: Fourth and two, you kick the field goal. Essentially fourth and two, you for two instead of kick the extra point. What’s the difference?
A: The possessions and feeling how the game was going and being able to, at that time normally I don’t look at the two point chart until the fourth quarter has been my philosophy, that’s what I’ve always done. I just had a feeling that this was the right time. I felt that we had a really good play. I felt that we were going to be able to execute it. I felt like we needed to go ahead and get the two points now and tie the game. That one’s more of a feel than it was from the strategy of what I’ve done before.

Q: Did you consider trying to score a touchdown there when you kicked the 20 yarder.

A: If you can recall for me what was the point of the game?

Q: Early third quarter.

A: And the score was?

Q: 7-6.

A: That made it 7-6? Right, I just felt more comfortable kicking it there, getting it to 7-6 and knowing that we had the field goal. Our defense was playing well.

Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Q: Little bit of a different feel this week?
A: It is, but I addressed the defense after we put the Carolina game behind us that there was a lot was going to be made of this for obvious reasons. No different than what Andy Reid is going through this week as well. It’s going to come down to the Bills versus the Jets, not me versus Rex (Ryan). It makes for a good story, but again it comes down to the players and I wanted to make sure the players didn’t get caught up in this or lose sight of that.

Q: Do you have a better feel looking at tape this week compared to the last two weeks?
A: Offensively, not really. You get a grasp of the personnel, but there’s still a lot of new faces on their offense. From a coordinator standpoint, from a schematic standpoint, they’re completely different. The quarterback is new and again a lot of those guys that were there before are jumping off the tape as being better than they were before. It’s not a lot to pull from my experience there from the offensive side. Looking at the other side of the ball, sure there is a lot of things to pull from that, but I can see kind of the direction hat Rex is heading with that defense. He has 10 years of playbook material to draw from so it’s not like you can just look at it and say these are the three or four calls you’re going to get and be helpful with that information here. Those are a great group of guys I worked with and it’s great to see them doing well, just don’t want to see them do well on Sunday.

Q: Will you talk to coach (Nathaniel) Hackett more this week than other weeks about what he might see?
A: I’ve talked to Nate (Hackett) some but it’s probably not as much as you’d think. I think you can get caught up in this too much. I went through the same thing leaving Baltimore and coming in and having the ability to sit down with Brian Schottenheimer before we had played the Ravens knowing what they were personnel-wise and schematically. I think the strength of the system that was built defensively was its flexibility. The ability to adapt each week to a particular opponent, so again Rex has 10 years’ worth of material to draw from and tighten that down to a 30 or 40 call game plan. You’re just chasing ghosts when you go, ‘You might see this or you might see this.’ To me it comes down to execution and you’ve got to get your players lined up and play sound and hope that your guys can out execute their guys on that given day.

Q: Wouldn’t you be pretty familiar with those 10 years of plays?
A: Sure, but you’re also talking hundreds of defenses for a game plan. I know the mentality, but I think there’s just too much volume to sit there and say, ‘Ok I’m going to put myself in Rex’s shoes and here is what his game plan is going to be against you and here is what you need to practice against all week.’ As Rex said earlier, the strength of the system is to make it player driven, as we’ve done here. We’re not significantly different from New York, but we are different with the personnel that we have here. Just as his personnel has changed slightly in New York and he’s adjusted his system accordingly. You get in a lot of chase and go if you try to sit on the other side and say what you’re going to get.

Q: Given the mutual respect between the two of you, there has to be some inner motivation to prove yourself against him?
A: No question. I’d be a liar if I stood here and said this game didn’t mean more to me or I didn’t want to win it. Coaches in the NFL were born with a competitive gene, a hyper competitive gene and you want to win at everything. When I went on vacation with Rex and we were throwing washers on the beach, I wanted to beat him just as bad as I want to beat him on Sunday. It comes down to it’s a team thing and I can’t get drawn in to the emotion of that. I have a job to do to put my players in the best position to be successful and that’s’ what we’re going to do. I think it makes for a good story and it’s like going against your brother, as I’ve referred to it before, brothers who fight a lot. To me when you get in this league long enough you start to realize that almost every week you play there is someone on the other staff that you know or you worked with. Just against the Panthers there was Lance Taylor who was the assistant receivers coach with the Jets and John Matsko who I worked with who was the offensive line coach when I worked in Baltimore. The longer you’re in the league it’s almost week-in and week-out that you go against someone you’ve worked with in the business.

Q: People see you making a lateral movement in terms of position title and assume there was a falling out between you and Rex. Is that true?
A: Not at all. He and I have been texting each other since I left there and that’s even picked up even more so this week. Just funny things back and forth. Rex and I will be friends for a long time. I think the falling out thing was just people did the math on the circumstances. I was given some good advice a long time ago by Mike Tannenbaum. He said, “You’re in a team business where team and loyalty is preached, but at the end of the day you have to be the CEO of yourself.” That’s why when I was offered a contract the year before, on the advice of my agent I didn’t sign it and wanted to let the year play out and had a better opportunity present itself. You feel selfish when you do that because you’ve been somewhere and you’ve worked with guys. It’s no different than a player who goes to free agency and loyalty wants him to stay where his with familiar surroundings and friends. Familiar with everything else. Ultimately you do have to be selfish. That was the circumstances behind me leaving. I know a lot of things were made of it and people tried to fill the holes in and put negative things in it and that was upsetting because that wasn’t the case. Rex and I, there was never a falling out and we’ve never fallen out of touch and our relationship today is just as strong as it was before.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Q: Excited about the matchup with Geno Smith?
A: I’m excited about the next game, so that’s probably the biggest thing I’m focused on. I’m not really focused on facing Geno (Smith). Like you said he’s not on defense, so we’re just looking forward to the next game and trying to get another win.

Q: Do you know him at all?
A: Yeah, we’re good friends. We keep up with each other every few weeks or so, just text him how you’re doing or something like that. Or if I see him have a great game or vice versa we’ll send each other a text saying good job.

Q: What was the toughest road place you played at while at Florida State?
A: Either Florida, the Swamp, or NC state gets pretty loud on Thursday night as well. Clemson.

Q: Did you hear from Geno after Sunday?
A: Not after Sunday. I think the last time we talked was during the preseason at some time.

Q: What do you see from the Jets defense?
A: A bunch of multiple looks. Fast, long guys. Guys that get to the ball very fast and a lot of veteran leadership on their defense, guys who have been in the league a long time. They have a lot of playmakers on their defense and I think a lot of their turnovers come from just giving you hard looks. You don’t really know who to call out as the MIKE and all that kind of stuff. The good thing is we’ll have a bunch of those looks this week.

Q: How different is it having two games at home then going on the road?
A: I’ve played in stadiums where it’s 95,000 people, a hundred (thousand). I know it’s going to be loud. Everybody is going to be against us except for the Bills fans that are there. I think the biggest thing is early in the game you want to really hush their crowd down. If you can go out there and put points on the board or try to get the momentum on your side because that’s where it matters the most, when you’re away. If you can get the momentum on your side early in the game and try to keep it, I think it’ll be a lot easier as far as the loudness.

Q: That becomes this team’s next test. That’s sometimes one of the hardest things to do in the NFL.

A: Yeah, well it’s a test and we’ll see how we do Sunday.

Q: Is there a benefit playing against the Bills defense all training camp with the similarities?
A: Yeah, I think it’s a huge benefit. Seeing a lot of those multiple looks and guys lining up and walking around before the snap whether it was in OTA’s or training camps, I think it’s really going to help me out personally. I think I can ID that pretty fast and still be able to call the play and still have a high tempo.

Q: Has (Mike) Pettine given you any tips for this week?
A: I’m sure he’s met with Coach Hackett. I’ll probably meet with him later this week as far as some other things, but I’m sure him and coach Hackett talk all the time.

Q: How have you handled this week with an increase in media requests and trying to stay focused?
A: I would say it hasn’t been different. What I did yesterday was scheduled anyway whether we had won or lost I would’ve had to do it. I’m glad we did win so it was a little bit easier. Other than that I wouldn’t say it’s changed at all.

Q: A lot of emotions at the end of the game after the win. How long did you give yourself to celebrate?
A: When I got home, whatever time I got home after the game, I was obviously still excited that we won, but I understand it was going to be Wednesday and we’d be practicing again very soon. I think my Dad was the one still kind of hooting and hollering talking to my Mom on the phone really excited. I understand how it works. I’ve played in college and I’ve had big games like that and we’ve won them and you’ve got to move on. The next week you can come out flat and you don’t want to do that. You want to keep the momentum going.

Q: How do you balance everything you have to do as a quarterback with getting the offense to go even faster?
A: Just always trying to keep that tempo in your mind. Whether it’s getting guys to the line faster or whether it’s trying to get that first, first down. Making that more of an urgent type thing because once you get that first, first down in our offense, that’s when things really start rolling and the defense might start getting a little tired if this is the third or fourth drive of the game. Try to wear those guys out a little bit.

Q: You’ve only taken one sack in the first two weeks. How has your offensive line done for you?
A: They’ve done a great job. Other than that one sack, I may have been touched once or twice since the preseason and the regular season. Eric Wood has done a great job communicating with me and making sure the protections are all ready to go and the rest of the o-line has done a great job.

Q: Is this game bigger because the loser will be 0-2 in the division?
A: Definitely. We know this is a huge game for us. One, it’s on the road and two, like you said it’s a divisional game and it’s definitely a game we need to win. We both lost to the Patriots and early on you don’t want to get behind in the season. It just adds even more urgency to this game.

Q: Do you remember the conversations you guys had in the green room at the Draft?
A: Before we went in the green room, they kind of sit you down in a little waiting room with the players, the guys that are going to get drafted. We didn’t necessarily talk, ‘I think I’m going here, I think I’m going there.’ It was more so the journey whether it was in college or in high school, like I said I met Geno I think I was in 11th, he might have been in 10th grade. Went down to a camp in south Florida and it was more so about that. Obviously we competed against each other, but we still want to see each other have success at the same time.

DE Mario Williams

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Q: Congratulations on the Defensive Player of the Week Award. What does that mean to you?

A: It just means to keep pushing, just keep getting after it, going out there and playing ball.

Q: The player of the week and your name is in the Bills record books now. There has to be some sense of personal satisfaction there.

A: Yeah, there is. I think it’s just showing the work that we put in, especially after this new coaching staff and new schemes. Like I said the 11 guys on defense that are playing together, going out there and trying to make it happen.

Q: What are you expecting to see from the Jets this week?

A: I think at the end of the day they obviously have a bunch of formations. They’re a big chip team, so we’ll get a mixture of things. But I don’t look at it… focusing on myself because everybody across the board has made plays. That’s the thing that’s good about us is we all are capable and in the position to help out and take pressure off one another so that’s a good thing.

Q: Do you think your week last week could open up things for other guys on the line?

A: I hope that every week we can feed off on another. The more we can get after the quarterback regardless of who it is the better. 

C Eric Wood

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Q: How significant is the first road test with a young team?

A: It’s going to be important for EJ (Manuel) to communicate well. It’ll be loud, especially early and on big third downs he’ll have to do a good job. And they run some pretty different pressure looks, different as opposed to what we’ve seen the past couple of weeks. I’m sure he’ll be prepared. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him and it’ll just be in the moment with the noise.

Q: You’re only two games into the season, but in the top five in sack percentage and rushing. Do those numbers mean anything or is it too early?

A: You always take pride in it and as an o-line that’s about all you can judge yourself on as opposed to just your personal and coach’s evaluation of you individual play. But as a unit, we’ve done some things well; backs have done well hitting some holes for us. We’ve had some huge runs called back unfortunately. We could probably be even higher and as far as the stats go. EJ’s doing a great job of just trusting his progressions, making the plays when they’re there and if not, checking it down or making a play with his legs every now and then. That’s been impressive from a rookie quarterback.

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