HC Doug Marrone
Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Scott Berchtold: On the injury front today, the guys that did not practice were Kyle Williams with a leg, Leodis McKelvin with a groin, Bobby Felder with a groin, Mario Butler with an ankle and Tony Moeaki with the hamstring.

Opening Statement: Obviously it’s our last day here, I would just like to thank the staff of St. John Fisher for all the work that they’ve done. The people in the cafeteria, to the people in operations, to the faculty that let us use their buildings for our meetings, really for everyone, especially the athletic department and the St. John Fisher football program. We appreciate it, they’re outstanding, hopefully we can go and represent ourselves like they represent themselves and make them proud of being hosts of Buffalo Bills training camp.

Q: Can you discuss the discussion you had with Jerry Hughes after you had a discussion with the team.
A: Well I told Jerry I love the way he practices and I love the way he plays special teams, and how he goes about it. We’ve got to get some other guys who are starters to start doing that too.

Q: You had said, “Why can’t you handle it as players, whether it’s practice or not, do you want to play at this team?” Was that directed at any one player?
A: No it was a general statement. We’ve got to try to handle our business ourselves.

Q: During your address of the team, you said they don’t have to be a part of this team if they don’t want to, you’re saying that wasn’t directed at Jerry?
A: No, it was directed to anyone who doesn’t want to be a part of the team.

Q: If the fighting continues to happen in practice, what do you think the reasoning for it is?
A: A lack of respect, for the game, for the coaches, for the other players.

Q: How do you go about changing that, considering that looks like it could be a big problem for this team?
A: I’ll handle it myself. Personally, and I’ll do it myself.

Q: We’re you frustrated?
A: Obviously, yes. I’m going to say this again and I’m not going to answer another question about it. We are responsible for the integrity of the game, can you figure it out? Figure it out. We’re responsible for the integrity of the game. There is no use for fighting in the game of football. Period. End of discussion.

Q: Had you ever gotten to the point where you made a team run before?
A: If you’ve been around me before, you can do your research, I’ve done a lot of that stuff. For other reasons too. If you have any questions about today or Tampa Bay, I’ll answer those questions. I’m not talking about discipline or anything of that nature right now.

Q: Talk about the long camp being over now, do you feel you got done what needed to be done?
A: Yes, absolutely.

Q: Any decision on playing status for Sammy Watkins, Leodis McKelvin, any of those guys?
A: They are not cleared to play. I can’t tell you anything more than that.

Q: What are you expecting to see out of the starters playing time-wise this weekend?
A: I don’t know because if I say one thing and they shouldn’t be out there that long, if I keep them out there short then they should be longer, so I’ll put them out there as long as we, as a coaching staff, think they need to be out there.

Q: Is it important for them to get in the end zone right away when they get out there?
A: It doesn’t matter who’s out there, it’s important to get in the end zone right away.

Q: How do you feel about the speed of the offense compared to last year, especially at the skill positions?
A: They’re faster.

Q: Was that a point of emphasis during the offseason?
A: I think out point of emphasis was to get better, whether it be with speed or size or mobility or productive veterans, I think that was the emphasis, not necessarily just speed.

Q: Whether today or in previous practices, you have been more vocal in dealing with players and being on the field. You also seem to have been more impatient when speaking to the media. Is this a sign, or are you trying to deliver a sense of urgency as to the need to win this season?
A: First of all, I would like to apologize that you would even need to ask that question, because I probably did a poor job last year of creating a sense of urgency to win, if that’s what you mean by that. I think for us as coaches there’s always a sense of urgency. The years of three year plans or five year plans are long gone. That doesn’t happen. The sense of urgency for us as coaches is extremely high no matter what the situation is.

Q: Have you felt that you need to voice your sense of urgency to send a more direct message to the team this season?
A: Here’s what I sense. We’re close. We are close. What is it going to be to get over the top? It’s a matter of either you get over the top or you don’t and we’ve got to find a way to push ourselves over the top. There’s a lot less things I’m focused on from the year before. There’s a lot less this year. Now, this year is critical to get us over the top. I’m doing everything I possibly can to get us over the top and, if intensity is the answer, yeah I’m intense.

Q: How has the team benefitted from the extra week of work out here?
A: Yeah, we need it. I think we benefitted quite a bit from the extra work. I also think the work in Pittsburgh was outstanding for us. I think the more that we can do that moving forward, I think the better chance we have of being a better football team. I think when we’re more of a veteran football team with a lot of people that are long in the tooth, so to say, and then I think you have to be careful about the reps for them in those situations. And we have for most of our guys.

Q: How does practice change when you go back to Buffalo?
A: In my mind, to the media, you can only come to the beginning of practice. We don’t get the stats anymore. I’ve got to figure it out myself. I can’t read it. No, honestly for us the environment changes and we have to be careful. We want to make sure that we set the expectations for us when we go back to Buffalo and how we practice and we were trying to do that today and this week. But then the environment changes. There’s a lot more structure when you’re in training camp as a whole team. You’re around each other quite a bit. Now you have a lot more free time. There are other people that are going to come in that you have to do a good job as a player and as a coach to make sure that you have the structure, the discipline and the focus remains the same..

Q: Do you still feel that the transition back to Buffalo for Mike Williams will be especially important?
A: I do and, if you remember what I said, not just Mike but for everyone. Everyone has that, including me. I go through a transition myself. We all go through a transition. I mean here we are back in a dorm, with the team, with each other every single day. Now we’re going back and we’ll be with each other; the coaches obviously a little bit longer than the players. There’s a lot of other things that are going on. There are people that pull at you for different reasons. I’ll get it too. Your parents want to come up for these games. This guy wants to come here. Could we get tickets for this? Can you sign this? Can you do this for charity? I know you’re busy during the season, but this. If I get it then the players get it even more than I do. It’s important how you handle that stuff.

Q: Do you sense that your players are relieved to be done with such a long camp?
A: I mean you’re talking to someone that has been through a lot of other different camps. I think we’re excited about going back. We’ve heard rumors, but none of us have seen the locker room, the stadium, the tunnels. You hear all this stuff, yet you haven’t seen it. I think we’re more excited about going to see what’s gone on because when we left it was all under renovation.

Q: Is your walkthrough here tomorrow or back at the facility?
A: Here.

Q: Are you staying until Saturday morning?
A: Yes.

Q: Will you just go directly to the game from here?
A: Yeah, yeah.

Q: Have you reached the goals you wanted the team to get to during this camp?
A: We talk to people about competition and expectations and all that, but our focus, right now, is on moving forward and making sure we have the right players in order for us to win. I’m working with Doug [Whaley], looking at the tape and going back and crossing the t’s and dotting the I’s to get this team ready for the season.

Q: Is there a certain reason why Kiko Alonso has not been place on IR?
A: I think it’s language.

QB EJ Manuel
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Q: Can you talk about the length of camp? Are you glad it’s over?
A: Yeah, it’s been a long camp. I thought we got a lot of good work done here at St. John Fisher, so I’m excited to transition back to Buffalo.

Q: What has been your great offensive accomplishment?
A: Just the rapport we’ve had with each other. Communication has been huge and that was one of the things I really wanted us to work on coming from OTAs and moving forward into training camp. So I think that our communication has been tremendous from what it had been to now.

Q: Are you talking on the field or off the field?
A: Obviously off the field. Like I said yesterday, we hang out all the time because we have to. Not to say that we wouldn’t off the field if we were back in Buffalo, but we’re next door to each other so that communication has always been great. But especially on the field telling guys, “Hey, this is what I was expecting on this route, this is why I ran that route this way, or this is what I saw on that protection.” I think that communication has gotten tremendously better.

Q: Were you ticked off by the disruption at practice today?
A: A little bit, but it’s one of those things. Within competition, sometimes that happens. The biggest thing is you just have to battle that, just put that aside and focus on completing the practice and executing.

Q: Given that Coach [Marrone] has been pretty vocal that he doesn’t want fighting to happen, why do you think that it continues to happen?
A: I don’t know. Like I said, it’s just competitive nature between men. Guys are trying to make the team and I think it’s just competition.

Q: Looking at the beginning of camp and the end, do you have goals that you’ve set that you’ve reached?
A: Yeah, I’m happy. I’m very happy with where we’re leaving off. We’re moving on the right path. We have a big game ahead of us this Saturday, so I’m just looking forward to getting to that.

Q: How would you evaluate the camp from day one to now?
A: I think it’s gone well. I think each day we’ve progressed. I don’t think there have been any days where we’ve gone backwards. That was a big thing for myself. I didn’t want to have any days where I felt like I took three steps back or a step back. Each day I worked on something, whether it was a small thing that may not have been big to the outsiders watching our practice, but I could see the growth and development in myself. I’m very happy about it.

Q: Are you figuring you’re going to be into the third quarter for starters?
A: That’s what I would assume. That’s occasionally what happens in a third preseason game for NFL starters so that’s what I’m expecting. Another thing I’d like to add that I’m proud of is just that I was able to get through a whole camp compared to last year when I had the injury midway through. I’m very happy to complete my first camp as an NFL quarterback.

Q: How important is it to find the end zone in this third preseason game?
A: It’s very important because that’s going to help us win, period. The more we find the end zone, the more we’ll win games.

Q: Is it a pressing issue because it hasn’t happened yet or do you think it will come?
A: Definitely. I think it’s definitely going to come. I think it’s going to come this Saturday.

Q: What will happen if you don’t get that touchdown and get taken out of the game?
A: I think we will get that touchdown before I’m out, so we’ll see.

Q: What sort of challenge will it be transitioning back to Orchard Park?
A: I don’t think it will be a challenge. If anything, we’ll just be able to go home at night instead of going to bed at 10:30, we’ll get a chance to go to bed a little earlier and just get back home and relax. I don’t think it will be much of a challenge. We’re all professionals so I think we understand how to handle it.

Q: Not staying out later?
A: There’s not much to do, so not later.

Q: Talk about the additions of Mike Williams and Sammy [Watkins].
A: I hated that Sammy had the injury he had last week but nonetheless, he’s been excellent from day one to now.. Same with Mike. Mike has proven not only to me, but the whole team, that he can go out and make big catches for us. I think in OTAs, we weren’t necessarily always on the same page, but the things we’ve been doing after practice and just trusting him in practice to go up and make big catches for me has been huge for me. So I’m very excited to have both those guys coming in with our wide receivers this year.

Q: How antsy are you to get to regular season?
A: I’m excited. I go with the flow. Whatever day we’re on, whether it’s in training camp or progressing back to Buffalo, that’s what I’m worried about and focused on.


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