Head Coach Doug Marrone
Monday, September 15, 2014

Q: Injuries?
A: Scott Berchtold: Stefan Charles with a hip. Randell Johnson with a knee. I know everybody is going to ask about Sammy [Watkins]. He’s just sore with the usual bumps and bruises.

Q: Thoughts as you look ahead to San Diego?
A: I really haven’t had a chance to start game planning against them because really we just put the Miami game to bed. From this point on, when this is over, we’ll get started. First with ourselves, we’ll look at what we’re doing and then we’ll look at the opponent.

Q: How big of a concern are the red zone struggles?
A: I think early on we had some opportunities that we could’ve taken advantage of and I think the numbers will come out. I think those numbers, I’m not going to try to mitigate what’s going on with the red zone, but, at the same time, the Chicago one we were playing for the field goal to win the game and yesterday there were three times in the red zone that right, wrong or indifferent, I was playing conservative to get to the two-score lead again. We were playing to kick the field goals in that situation and not jeopardize a game that, at least I felt at that time we were in control of. You’re absolutely right. That’s not an excuse. We should still be performing better and that’s one of the things. It’s a long season and that’s something that we’ve got to continue to work on.

Q: In the first half you could have put them away pretty quickly.
A: Yeah and we had opportunities. We had opportunities. I don’t want to say anything negative. We had opportunities and we weren’t able to get it.

Q: Do you think Nate [Hackett] constricts the playbook down there?
A: There’s things that are open and it’s part of the progression. It’s part of that progression of getting better. It’s a difficult part of the game, the red zone. It’s so much tighter, so much quicker. Things happen extremely fast down there. When you’re not able to run the ball down there, which give Miami credit for doing a nice job against the run in those situations, especially in the red zone, then the passes have to come. They all-out (blitzed) twice. We had an opportunity. We didn’t get the ball there. Then probably a play call later on where we thought that they were going to come again with the pressure and they wound up playing soft and we wound up kicking the field goal.

Q: Did we just see the tip of the iceberg with what Sammy Watkins has to offer?
A: I thought Sammy played extremely well and had gotten himself open quite a bit. We hope that that’s something that is going to continue, but obviously there are things that we need to get better on.

Q: Looking at things closer today, was Seantrel’s [Henderson] performance better than you thought initially?
A: It was probably what I thought going into the game. There were times when we had to give him help in situations. I think they’re very good up front, Miami. We gave both tackles help at times during the course of the game, especially on yardages when we thought they were just going to tee off and go. We were trying to help ourselves there. At the end of the day, to give up zero sacks against that team, is a good thing. But we were able to do that because of the score and we were able to run the ball.

Q: Do you like the way Seantrel grabbed that right tackle spot?
A: I do. I do. It’s a credit to him.. He’s done a nice job. I think that there are a lot of things right now that we have to get corrected that’s on film that people are going to see and be able to take advantage of. But it’s mostly technical stuff that he can be able to get better at. He’s going to be able to look at it on film and say, ‘Hey, these are the things that I need to do to improve.’

Q: What are the updates of the statuses of McKelvin and Gilmore? Would you expect their snap counts to increase this week?
A: I don’t know if I can expect they’re snap count to increase, only because we haven’t started practicing again this week, Again, I think we’re going on basically just how they feel, as far as coming off the injuries from last week. I still think the same thing. If you ask me what the best thing is I would say, ‘Hey, we have three corners that 33, 33 and 33 and play those percentages, we would be a better team.

Q: Can you just talk about your philosophy with using starters on special teams units?
A: There are about 30-something positions on special teams. You have four or five, sometimes you can have six, core players that can play a majority of those four. Then, all of the sudden, due to injuries you start having to watch out about those snap counts with everyone. We do have starters on most teams, at least one phase of it. For Robert Woods to go down there and make that play, which was a great play, we pointed that out to the team. Brandon Spikes blocked for CJ Spiller. We pointed that out. Leodis coming from 50-something yards downfield to be in the mix for the blocked punt. I think that just goes to show the type of effort that our starters are giving on special, which I think is important. Corey Graham is playing all over the place. You can sit there and preach that as a coach, but when those players go out there and the rest of the team can see it on the field then that will make you better. We’ve been playing well on special teams right now and we need to keep going.

Q: Do you feel that this team has to excel at special teams to have a good chance to win?
A: I think al three phrases have to do what we ask them to do each week for us to be successful, whatever it may be. The one thing special teams—wise that we’ve been talking about the last few weeks is field position. We’ve done an excellent job on the field position battle with our special teams. Defensively, there’s certain keys during the week that we ask that they do. They’ve done a good job of that. The main one right now, what’s helping us right now is the turnovers. We haven’t turned the ball over much. We’re plus four. That’s really the first thing that we look at to start with.

Q: The first two games you haven’t broken 60 plays. Why?
A: I think it’s the way the games have gone. We’ve had our no huddle packages in both games. It’s just a matter of picking and choosing, strategically, when we want to use them. There was a point where we were going to use it yesterday, but, at that time, we felt it was better to slow it down because the defense was on the field for a little bit. We have it in and I think we’ll do whatever it takes to win.

Q: In regards to your special teams philosophy, is that something you use analytics for?
A: Analytics is such a broad statement. We use that in everything that we do. But to answer your question more to the point, last year when we were doing studies of other teams we looked at the Super Bowl Champs [Seattle Seahawks]. They have a lot of starters on their teams. There’s a role for that in what they have to do and how they make up those snaps. For us, those players have embraced that role that we talked about. I think, depending team to team philosophy-wise, we feel very comfortable about where are players are right now on our teams situation.

Q: How do you feel about not being given much credit, despite your first place standing?
A: We know it’s a long season. We’ve got to get better each week. That’s the one thing we’ve been talking to the players about. Really our focus right now is on the game that’s next, which is San Diego. That’s how we’re looking at.

Q: But what about the fact that nobody is giving you guys credit?
A: To sit here and say, ‘Oh, did we expect to have people to give us credit?’ Not when you haven’t done anything for such a long period of time. I think we understand that and we’re not looking for that. We’re just looking to go out there and win a game.

Q: Do you think the team was impacted by the energy at the stadium yesterday?
A: I think that since the day I got here the team has been impacted by the energy at the stadium. I really do. I thought that, even when you go back to last year, we played very well at home. We lost an overtime game. We lost our first game, which we had an opportunity to win with a lead in the fourth quarter. I think this is a very, very difficult place to play. I’ve always said that. Yesterday was even more so with the fans and the impact. We were happy to be able to do our part to make it an exciting day for everyone because there’s a lot of people that worked extremely hard for this stadium to be open. Operations people, people that re-did a lot of things in the stadium. Obviously, with the ownership situation, there was a lot of positives going on and we were able to end the day the right way with a win.

Q: Do you think there’s still a lot of room for growth for the offense?
A: Oh, absolutely. There is room for that, but the one thing I have to give them credit for is that, whether it be for the special teams play or the offensive play, that every time in the first two games that someone scored we were able to come back and score. And I think that’s important. We can get the other things better as we come along.

Q: How big was that drives that ended with the Sammy Watkins touchdown?
A: It’s big. You keep trying to, as the game goes on, keep it going. Two-score, two-score game and then try to get it out to a three-score game. And then put it to a point where the opposing team becomes one dimensional no matter what. That’s what other teams are trying to do to us also and when that happens you have an opportunity to make even more plays.

Q: Can you explain your decision-making process on why you decided to punt from the 39-yard line?
A: Sure, no problem. What happened was it was on the far sideline and EJ scrambled out of bounds. The first thing that came up was that he went out of bounds at the 37 [yard line]. At the 37 we thought we were on the cuff of what we were going to be able to do to kick the field goal. Then when it came back that it was actually on the 39 [yard line] we really didn’t like the chances and that was my call on that. The mistake I made there, looking back and trying to learn from it because we’re all trying to get better, is that I shouldn’t have called a timeout. I should have taken a penalty and let the time go down.

Q: Did it run through your mind to go for it in that situation?
A: No, because at that time the score was 9-0, our defense was playing extremely and I felt that, if we were able to punt, and we’ve been doing a very good job of getting the ball inside the 20. I didn’t want to go ahead and take a chance with that amount of yardage and give them the ability, if we didn’t make it, to go ahead and get three points or a touchdown and have the momentum swing the other way.

Q: Did you run any analytical percentages that would indicate what you should do in that situation?
A: It was a feel.

Q: Do you feel like Nigel can put up a similar impact as Kiko Alonso did last year?
A: I think we’re in a different scheme, but I think he can make plays for us to be successful on defense. It’d be very difficult to answer that question this early, but we are very excited about it. He’s done a great job in the role that we have him in. He came out yesterday and I thought he played very well.

Q: How did you feel like the three rookies that have stepped into starting roles performed yesterday?
A: I thought Seantrel played better, even though we did help him at times. Preston Brown really played much better than he did the last week. Then with Sammy, obviously the numbers show. I look like I knew what I was talking about last week when we said they make the biggest jump. They did a nice job. All three of those players played much better.

Q: Once you get healthy do you think Preston Brown will still have a spot on the field?
A: We’ll see. He’s playing well right now and it’s one of those things where you have to take advantage of an opportunity. Like I said, from week one to week two he made a big jump. Now we’ll just keep watching how he goes. The opportunity for him to play has obviously come from injury, so we’re excited to see Keith Rivers and getting him back.

Q: What is the plan for Keith Rivers this week, coming off of that groin injury?
A: We’re going to see how he is these first two days. They’re working him out and we’ll see if we can get him back on that field and I think, from there, then we’ll be able to progress and see where we’re at.

Q: When you guys are fully healthy, who are you’re starting cornerbacks?
A: All three. They really are guys. I’m not trying to play games with you guys. We’ve been rotating them from day one since they’ve been back. I keep saying the same thing. Everyone is trying to pin, ‘who are the two? Who are the two?’ But we’ve got a pretty good deal going if we have three guys. I firmly believe, with the level that they’re playing, that those three players will produce more than if it’s just two. We only have an opportunity one or two of those guys maybe wearing out, whereas now we have all three and it’s a long season. We’re in good shape until something separates.

Q: What about Duke Williams seeing time at safety?
A: Same situation there. We’ve got a good rotation there and same with the d-line. We’re rotating those guys in. I thought we’ve done a very good job of the rotation of the defense line when we need them and when we want them on the field according to their skills sets. Obviously, we want our pass rushers on the field on third down, but we’ve been doing a very good job with Pepper [Johnson] and Rebs [Jason Rebrovich] rotating those guys in there.

Q: Is there something that Duke bring that makes you want to get him on the field?
A: I think he’s a good football player. I think he can play the run well. Obviously, he can hit. He has good speed. He can play man-to-man. There are a lot of things that he can do.
QB EJ Manuel
Monday, September 15, 2014

Q: Are these first two games the blueprint you’re working with right now?
A: As long as we win, I’m happy. Whether it’s me putting up huge numbers or being smart with the ball and making good decisions, as long as we’re coming out with the W then I’m happy.

Q: How is your chemistry with Sammy [Watkins] developing?
A: Very good. I think I have five great receivers. Anytime we put those guys out there, it can be Sammy’s day, it can be Woody’s [Robert Woods] day, it can Mike’s [Williams] day, so I think it just so happened that it was Sammy’s day yesterday. Woody had a great game in the first week, so those guys all understand that they’re all going to get their opportunities. I’m extremely happy to have all of them because I feel like anytime those guys get the ball they can do something with it.

Q: What do you guys have to do to be more efficient in the red zone?
A: We just have to be more efficient. That’s it. When you have to opportunity to hit touchdown passes, make sure you take advantage of them. The biggest thing is continue to get down there, continue to move the ball down the field and continue to be great on third down. We’ll be in a good position as an offense.

CB Leodis McKelvin
Monday, September 15, 2014

Q: What has Corey Graham brought to this locker room?
A: Just competitiveness. Being able to compete. Go out there and when the ball gets thrown his way, to make plays on it. Just being able to be a team guy.

Q: Can you talk about this defense through two games?
A: When you stop the run everything starts to be easier. If you stop the run you make guys be one-dimensional. We love to make plays. We love to have the game is our hands, especially as a defensive back. Once you stop the run you feel like we’re talented enough to go out there and get the job done and win the game..

Q: What was going through your mind after you made that interception?

A: Before the game my mom was like, ‘Make sure you get me that ball.’ If I gave her an interception or a touchdown, I told her I would make sure I would run over there and give her the ball and actually I ended up giving to my brother. It was his first NFL game that he ever watched and that he’d ever seen me play. It was very exciting just to go over there to see my family, to see them in the stands, just going over trying to get my mom the ball.

S Da’Norris Searcy
Monday, September 15, 2014

Q: Do you find that you guys are not making as many mental errors on defense?
A: I would say so. It just comes with a full week of preparation. [We’re] just going out there, reading formations, recognizing routes and just trying to keep everything in front of us.

Q: To this point you’ve only given up one big play. I’m guessing you guys want to stay on that track?
A: Right. I would say the big emphasis is on we don’t want any deep balls to be thrown on us. Like I said, we want to keep everything in front of us. We feel like, if we can keep it in front of us and we can see it, we can be able to make plays on it

Q: How were you guys able to sustain such a high level of intensity for four quarters?
A: Just always being able to play with a chip on our shoulder. A lot of the guys in the locker room, we had enough of not winning, so we want to just always come out with a chip on our shoulder and get better to come out here and perform.

RB Boobie Dixon
Monday, September 16, 2014

Q: Can you talk about the importance of special teams to shorten the field?
A: I think it’s just that we’re just competing with each other. I see C.J. [Spiller] wantING to make a play and I want to make a play. It’s the same way with Fred [Jackson]. All of us are feeding off of each other. It sucks now that C.J. and I are tied for the longest run. We’ve got to fix that next week.

Q: So you’re keeping an eye on that?
A: Yeah, yeah, we’re keeping an eye on it. We’re just competing and it’s making us better. At the same time we’re having fun with it. It’s a good year so far. We’ve got to keep going. It’s just two games. It’s still early, so there’s a lot more fighting to be done.

Q: How have you guys been able to outmatch your opponents in the intensity category?
A: I think a lot of credit goes to Kyle Williams and EJ [Manuel]. They’ve been having some awesome speeches before the game, especially Kyle. He’s pretty much our general. He set the tone in the locker room before we came out yesterday. He felt a little disrespected and we all feed off of that. He gave a great speech and EJ was the same way he was last week. When you see your quarterback get like that it’s like, ‘Oh man. It’s time to go.’

LB Nigel Bradham
Monday, September 15, 2014

Q: When you’re able to keep big plays under wraps, how does that help the overall defensive effort?
A: It’s huge. A lot of it has to do with our DB’s. They’ve been tremendous. Then, of course, up front getting the pass rush getting the pass rush going and pretty much just playing great coverage. Sometimes we get coverage sacks and sometimes we get pass rush sacks. We’ve got the best of both worlds right now.

Q: How would you assess the discipline of the run defense?
A: One of our goals is to limit the run. For the main part, we don’t want to give up any run over 10 yards. When you get an opportunity like this, we just come out here and we execute. We know we all have to stay disciplined and stay in our gaps and we all just have to trust each other to do our job.

Q: Was the environment in the stadium everything you thought it would be?
A: Oh, for sure. The crowd was ecstatic. It was actually 10 times more than what we thought it would probably be. We had a high tolerance for it. We thought it was going to be crazy anyways, but it seemed like 10 times crazier than what we could imagine. The fans did a great job. We really appreciate the way they came out and were loud and causing penalties and stuff like that.

WR Sammy Watkins
Monday, September 15, 2014

Q: Can you talk about your first career touchdown?
A: It was amazing just to score in the Ralph and help your team out with the win. Ultimately, we got the win and it felt good.

Q: What do you think was different this week compared to last week?
A: I think the offense played better as a team. The defense played well and I think we played as a whole complete team on special teams. We looked like a complete team.

Q: In regards to playing through injuries, is this what you expected in the NFL?
A: Most definitely. They pay us to play, so I’m going to be out there on the field whether I’m injured or not. If I can manage the pain then I’m going to play.

Q: How are you feeling?
A: I’m feeling pretty good. Sore. I’ve just got to take care of my body and try to get healthy.

G Chris Williams
Monday, September 15, 2014

Q: Can you speak to how much the big plays have helped the offense?
A: I think that’s just part of running the football. You’ll get the one, the two, the three-yard gains for most of the game, but then, at some point, you’ll pop one. That’s just how the running game works. You just keep hoping that towards the end of the game you’ll pop one. Offensively, we didn’t convert like we wanted to in the red zone, but we didn’t have any turnovers as well. Holding onto the football is big, especially with the way our defense is playing. We’re trying to play mistake-free and take advantage of opportunities.

Q: Up front what are you guys thinking as the running game moves along?
A: We know our backs are explosive and that they’re going to break one eventually. Coming out early, they threw some fronts at us. They were changing fronts a lot. We made adjustments and eventually it just popped open.

Q: Does it feel like everyone is finally comfortable in their spot on the offensive line?
A: I believe so. Guys seem pretty comfortable. Like I said, it’s Week Two. We’ve got a lot of work to do.. I know for me, personally, I’ve got things I want to work on. Preseason is what it is. We had a long camp. Guys get dinged and whatnot, but we’re getting ready to go and just getting ready for San Diego. We’ve got some things to work on.

Q: What have you seen out of [Seantrel] Henderson?
A: That dude is big and athletic. I tell him all the time that he can be any player he wants to be. He’s got all the tools. The thing I’ve been impressed with him the most is how hard he works. He wants to be good. He’s working really hard and you’ve got to love that out of a young guy. He’s going to make mistakes and he just kind of takes them in stride and works every day at his craft.

Defensive Tackle Kyle Williams
Monday, September 15, 2014

Q: What did you tell the team in the locker room before the game?
A: I think that’s kind of fallen on me the last few years, kind of speaking to the team in the locker room for the game. I really just told them that it’s going to be an emotional day and a high-energy day with our fans. It was really just don’t let the emotion of it consume you. Instead, feed off of it. I think I was really talking more to myself than the rest of the team, having been around. I had a relationship with Mr. Wilson. It was an emotional day for everybody I think.

Q: Was yesterday’s game more meaningful for you and what did it feel like to give that to the fans?
A: It was different. Our first game here without him, knowing how much he loved home openers, opening weekend in Buffalo. To go out and beat the Dolphins, it was a good day.

Q: What were your thoughts on the crowd and it’s impact?
A: It’s a big part of what we can do as a team with our fans in the stadium. If we can get them in third and five plus and get our fans going, we have some guys that can rush the passer and it makes it difficult for teams coming in here to play against us.

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