Head Coach Doug Marrone
Monday, December 1st, 2014

Q: Injuries?
A: Scott Berchtold: There are two injuries. Sammy [Watkins] with the hip and Marcell [Dareus] with the hip. I know we had report in the game that it was the groin, but we’re officially calling it a hip

Q: Any concern about Sammy playing next week?
A: I don’t know. I really don’t. I’ll have a better gauge on it on Wednesday.

Q: Will he miss practice time this week?
A: I have no idea. I really don’t. We’ll practice Wednesday.

Q: Being 7-5 and in the playoff race going into December is something the Bills haven’t done in a long time..
A: I’m just looking forward to practice on Wednesday and our preparation today. I’ve been saying that for weeks. I’m just concentrating on the next game.

Q: It’s a hard stretch with Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.
A: You’re way ahead of me. I’m just trying to get through today, trying to get through this press conference first.

Q: What about the challenges that you’re facing in this last quarter?
A: I’m not looking at the last quarter right now. I’m just looking at this upcoming game. Our challenge is that we’re playing one of the best teams in the NFL, a team that’s playing well, a team that hasn’t lost at home and a team that is very well coached. They’re top ten in offense and top ten in defense. I think it speaks for itself, the challenge that we face. We’ve got a long way to go and we’ve got a lot of hard work to put in this week to make sure we go out there and play well.

Q: Do you feel like Da’Norris Searcy is growing into his role?
A: He’s really done a very good job for us in the two years that I’ve been here. Last year, his role was more down in the box, which I though he did an outstanding job at, and special teams. It doesn’t surprise me. If you watch in practice and you’ve been around him, he’s studies film, he’s smart, he works hard. I was surprised that he had those missed opportunities. Normally he makes those plays.

Q: What do you think of your safety play this year? How have you gone about replacing Jairus Byrd?
A: Jairus was an outstanding player. I always think it’s difficult to replace very good football players. It’s about the combination of how those players that play that come up. I think Da’Norris has done a very good job for us and we felt very good with Aaron [Williams] when we re-signed him. I think that Duke is coming along very well. That, along with Corey Graham, who is now playing corner, but also played some safety for us. We’ve got some players. Jonathan Meeks before the injury was doing some good things. Bacarri Rambo is a guy who has some ability back there.. We’ve got some guys on the practice squad. We’ve got some pretty good players back there. I think that, overall, for the defense, they’ve been performing well and they’ve got a big challenge this week against a top ten offense and a Hall of Fame quarterback.

Q: What concerns do you have about the burden that may be placed on your defense by a struggling offense?
A: Everyone understands that we’re a team in all three phases, so it’s whoever we have to rely on, whatever phase. Defensively, we’ve been playing well. We need to continue that. Offensively, it’s up and down. We’re looking for that consistency from the offensive side. Special teams have pretty much been solid throughout the year. I think that’s how it goes. Once you start picking one group over the other and there’s some type of animosity that’s created, I think that’s what causes dysfunction in a team. I think that this team is beyond that. It’s a very close team. Probably closer than a lot of teams that I’ve been part of.

Q: How much does the offense need to carry its fair share of the load this week?
A: I think we need our offense to be consistent to match up against anybody. I think that’s the whole goal. I think I pretty much said it yesterday after the game. None of us were happy with our performance in the first half and even some things in the second half. It goes back to the same thing. We’ve got to be able to finish and we’ve got to be able to score. When we do that, it looks a whole lot better to everybody else and we understand that. That’s what we’ll keep working on and we’ll continue to work on it when we go back to practice on Wednesday.

Q: Do you know you’ve yet to have a losing month and have never dipped below .500? Has the team set a floor for their performance?
A: We’re going about trying to take things one game at a time, taking things by quarter. We had to fight our way out of this last one, when we opened up with the two losses and had to fight through the adversity and challenges to come back and win the next two. Now, we’re just concentrating on the first team of the fourth quarter. I just think that when you are trying to become consistent and you’re trying to win games, you’re going to be fighting your butt off game-to-game. You really are, no matter what it is or how you’re going to win them. It goes back to the same thing. It’s been well documented, after each game, what those situations are. Those are the things we have to be working on.

Q: Is Robert Woods become a game-changer? If so, how does that help you?
A: He can do that, but you’re going to need more than that to be successful. I think that, when the opportunities have presented themselves where we really needed him to make plays, he has. Obviously, there are some other plays on the field that we need to make all-around. I think he’s improved quite a bit. It’s no secret that we’re pretty much playing with three receivers who have been getting a majority of the snaps. We’re happy with the way they’re progressing. They’re three young guys that really haven’t played about of football, when you talk about Robert, Chris Hogan and Sammy. Those guys are coming along and they need to get better. This is the most important time. This is the time where everybody is beat up a little bit and you’ve got to be able to play through it and make plays and be consistent.

Q: What goes into getting a guy like Marcus Thigpen ready to play in such a short time with the team?
A: I think a lot of it starts with their background. With Marcus coming here as a returner, those playbooks are usually the same around the league, so I think it’s easy to pick up. He has had a lot of experience doing that, so it was easy to plug him in in that role. With MarQueis, it’s a little bit different. Obviously, he’s been around. Credit to him, like I said after the game. I thought he did a very good job during the week. I thought he did a very good job of picking things up and playing special teams also. Really, in the game, he had an opportunity to make two plays and he made them. When you have those opportunities and you do those types of things, that’s what you need to do to have a job in this league. I think he’s multi-functional. You saw him play fullback in a couple of formations. We’re happy and we knew about him a little bit beforehand.

Q: How big is it for the team that you’ve been able to acquire so many contributing players from waivers?
A: Absolutely. I think that you’re consistently trying to upgrade. We didn’t feel like we were able to do that initially with the return game and then, all of the sudden, Marcus becomes available and we’re able to take him. MarQueis, we’ve looked at before and liked. When we had the opportunity to get him, we were able to get him. Then, Chris [Gragg] gets hurt and he’s ready to plug in. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck.

Q: Is it a testament to that Chris Hogan has been able to earn his current role?
A: I think he’s earned it. He’s a guy that goes out there every day and works hard and proves to everyone that he deserves to be out there. I think that’s the case with everyone that you see out there. Chris is getting better. He really is. He’s getting stronger, he’s getting faster and he’s becoming a better route runner. We have a lot of confidence in him. Credit to him, like I said before. You’re always looking for reason in the roster of why you may not want him, but he always comes up playing and he keeps proving that he needs to be in this league. He’s done a great job. We’re fortunate.

Q: Is it fun to watch a guy go from extremely raw and develop the way he has?
A: It happens. It happens quite a bit. I think there are a lot of those stories out there. Chris hasn’t stopped developing, so his story continues. Obviously, we hope that he improves and keeps getting better.

Q: What do you think may have slowed your effectiveness running the ball since you had 193 yards against Chicago?
A: We’ve had some injuries in-and-out. We’ve had some injuries up front. That always goes into it. Our passing game has gone up quite a bit from the beginning of the year.

Q: What do you think of your linebackers?
A: I really like our linebackers. I think that each one of them brings a lot to the table. I think that Nigel Bradham’s having an outstanding year. Preston [Brown] is almost the equivalent to what we had with Kiko [Alonso] last year: a three-down player that has done a lot. I think Brandon Spikes has brought leadership and toughness to our group, so I’m happy with how we’re playing at that position.

Q: When Kiko went down, did you ever think that linebacker would actually be a strength for you guys?
A: I thought it’d be a challenge. I don’t think it’s like before when we were talking about Jairus Byrd. When you lose someone like Kiko and the year he had, you’re thinking about where we go and how we replace him. Then, all of the sudden, Preston Brown really popped. I’ve said this before. Two years in a row, we’ve popped the draft with two linebackers that are three-down linebackers that are two outstanding football players, along with Nigel Bradham doing a 180 to turn it around and play lights out..

Q: Is Jerry Hughes the beneficiary of double teams on Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams?
A: I think some teams go in there and think about Jerry. I think they all benefit from each other and I’ve said that before. We’ve been winning the one-on-one battles. Teams have to make decision. Yesterday, there were a lot of double teams on our games, making sure that they were able to get the ball out. You see a different type of passing game, with not as many deep shots and the ball getting out earlier. I think that’s a testament to those guys up front. I think it’s very difficult to pick and choose which one of those guys you want to commit and double team to. Once you do that, you’re losing somebody in your route and, all of sudden, if you get beat by the other guy, you get kind of upset from an offensive standpoint.

Q: Is there an update on Jarius Wynn or Chris Gragg?
A: We didn’t put them on IR, so it’s week-to-week to see how they progress. We’re hoping to see something out of them. We’re hoping to see CJ Spiller start to come back. That designation is coming up too. I think, when we get on the field, every day it progress. I’m waiting for them to say, ‘Okay.’ A lot of it depends on how they feel and how they move with the trainers and then they give them to us. Obviously, we didn’t put them on IR, so we are expecting them back at some point.

Q: Is CJ allowed to start practicing?
A: There’s a bunch of paperwork and a bunch of rules. I’ll probably get him straight and, if you see him out here, then I’ll be able to tell you about the rules and things like that. We have to file things.

Q: What has his progression been?
A: Good. Good.

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