Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Opening Statement:
We released Manase Foketi, a practice squad offensive lineman, and signed Jamaal Johnson-Webb, a practice squad offensive lineman. Then obviously we released Tashard Choice, we’re in the process of filling that roster spot. When we have something to report, then we’ll get that out right away. Obviously we’re in the process of going through and we really can’t comment outside of that until it becomes official, of what’s going on.  The team came back today; obviously we’re focused in on our opponent, looking at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  It’s going to be a great challenge for us.  I think when you look at them offensively they do a lot of things to spark themselves.  There’s offensive linemen reporting eligible that they’re doing.  They’re going to try to spark themselves with maybe different types of plays that we haven’t seen before.  We’re in the process of getting ourselves ready for that.  I think defensively their front seven is obviously playing extremely well and we know that they’re very talented on the back end.  I think it’s going to be a great challenge on offense

I think probably to date it will be the biggest challenge special teams‑wise when you look at them statistically from a special teams standpoint.  They’re the best special teams unit that we’ll see all year, so all three phases have big challenges this week.  We’re working on the weather; obviously we know what it’s going to be down there.  Our players have started that preparation now.

We had a good practice today, not a great practice, one that we have to continue to get better at, and again, I think it’s urgent.  There’s an urgency about ourselves.  There’s an importance to making sure that we’re doing the right things, that we’re building this foundation to go ahead and win the next game, and then we’ll concentrate on the following game.

Q: Was releasing Tashard just to look more at (Ronnie) Wingo?
A: Yes, well, I think that’s one situation that we looked at of putting, obviously bringing Wingo up.  I don’t think it’s a secret; we’ll dress him this week.  He has the opportunity now to show us what he has, to get in there, but I think when you look at it on the other end of that spectrum, I’ve said this before that we’re always looking to better our team and better our roster. What we have to do with constantly evolving, constantly striving to get better.

Q: Choice was a well-liked guy, did he too anything or more just a case of targeting somebody else?
A:I talked to Tashard.  Normally those are private conversations, but what I told him was he did not do anything that made us look to do it; it was more of a sense of us trying to better ourselves.  I’ve always appreciated his enthusiasm here.  I’ve always appreciated the way he’s gone to work here.  But at the end of the day, it happens quite a bit in this business, and it is a business at the end of the day of making sure that you win and you get better. If we don’t continue to get better and we don’t continue to win games, you’ll be saying that coach Marrone was a good guy but he didn’t get it done, and I don’t mean that in a comical way, I mean it as very straightforward and truthful.

Q: We saw Fred and C.J. wearing his jersey at practice today, is that something you’re concerned about?
A: Our players have done that stuff before, so I wouldn’t look too much into that.  I don’t really take a close eye at that.  I don’t see it that way at all.  I think everyone time that someone leaves that’s been a good pro; I think it does take something out.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that, but I think it’s also a time where you say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to go to work’ and move forward.

Q: Do you worry about not being on the same page as a team captain who is wearing the jersey of a guy you just let loose?
A: I’ve never had a problem being on the same page with any captain, any player, anyone on this team.  I have never had any issues with that.

Q: You’ve turned over your practice squad and the bottom part of your roster quite a bit, how much are you involved in those discussions?
A: Doug (Whaley) and I meet constantly, and if Doug if not in the building and Doug is traveling for evaluations, we talk constantly along with Jim Monos.  It’s always been my philosophy, I talked about it in the interview process that we’re always looking to turn the bottom of the roster.  I don’t think that you’ll ever see as long as I’m here and Doug is here, Jim is here, Russ (Brandon) is here, I don’t think you’ll ever see us not trying to better ourselves from that standpoint, so that’s something that we’re always trying to do because I believe development in this league is extremely important, and that’s the way that we can develop players, bringing players in and out and seeing which one sticks. I believe that I have a certain philosophy of how many people you’re working with and how many years, but that’s where sometimes those guys pop and that’s where they come from. I think when you look at the situation that we’re in, when I think you look at salary cap, I think that there are certain positions that you need to develop.  If you don’t develop those positions, you’re going to get in trouble from a salary cap standpoint and not be the best team you can be if you’re relying on paying players at the highest price to play certain positions.

Q: What do you think those positions are?
A: I think when you start off, obviously naming a few on the offensive line, I think you start off obviously we start with quarterback.  I think obviously you start off with your left tackle, an interior lineman, whichever it may be, and obviously your right tackle is important, a top one receiver, a running back, a tight end. I think it’s very difficult for me, when you look at it no matter what people are different on that order, probably outside of the quarterback, on what they’re looking for.  For us it’s a strategic thing that we’ve talked about.  I think when you look at it defensively, the places that I have been, people look to see, ‘Do I want the corner first, the shutdown corner or do I want the pass rusher?’ That’s how it starts, and then it goes in line to whoever the philosophy may be offensively or defensively.  When you look at teams and you look at schematically what they’re doing then it’s easy to see where they’re targeting and what they’re doing.

Q: How long do you think it will be before Stephon Gilmore is back at the level you saw him at in training camp?
A: You know, we’re working extremely hard.  This is the first time that he’s had an injury in his career, and I think that’s something that he continues to work on, so there’s not a player that has worked as hard on this football field as Stephon Gilmore.  He’s working extremely hard to get better and to overcome those things.  It’s not as easy, again, as everyone thinks to come back in there and be able to have the usage of really his hand or wrist or whatever he had, and we have to get him to overcome that.  We’ve spoken to him about it, he’s been very receptive about it, and he’s been working extremely hard. The other thing I’d like to mention is I’d like to mention Leodis (McKelvin).  Leodis is playing as well as I’ve seen him on tape, and I’m really seeing a player that is playing at a very, very high level and getting better and better.  We need him to stay that way and then Stephon needs to get back to where he was, and I feel very comfortable with those two positions.

Q: Russ (Brandon) was on the radio series and talked about how the Toronto Series would be under review. He also mentioned training camp being under review. Can you share any of your feelings about those concepts?
A: Sure, absolutely. I will absolutely share some thought on that.  I think we have to understand that as an organization, and this is what I love about Russ Brandon, is that everything that we do after the season is going to be evaluated, okay.  I don’t think that’s not the norm when you look at a business model of how to do things.  And we tend to forget that this is a business that we’re in, it’s not fantasy. So every single thing that we do will always be looked at and evaluated, but from the standpoint of how can we get it better and what do we need to do within that process. I said before in regards to the Toronto series, I said this to you guys before.  My job is to win football games, whether it’s at home, in Toronto, on the road, whatever we have to do. That’s my focus.  If my focus goes outside of that, again, I keep trying to bring you guys back to what I believe in what is my core, then I’m not doing my job.  I have to get this team ready.  We have to play better.  We’re not consistent.  I think when you look at it, and I’ve been looking at every single statistic possible, our consistency is not at a point that’s going to equal winning games for us.  There are winning performances, which is a good sign within a lot of different statistics, but at the end of the day, those statistics consistently are what’s causing us not to get ourselves over the top.

Q: Did you get all that you wanted to out of the training camp experience?
A: Yes, absolutely.  I’m a very firm believer, and I said this during the interview process, of going away for training camp.  I love it.  Now, I’ve been away at training camp in the NFL, that’s the second one I’ve been away at.  In New York we stayed at home, in New Orleans we left and went to Jackson, Mississippi.  I appreciated my time in Jackson, Mississippi, and I appreciated the way those people treated us, but I would say that the people at St. John Fisher were above and beyond what my expectations was having had that experience in Jackson. So yes, I did think that we’ve gotten everything that we wanted out of that experience.  I liked staying there.  If anything, I like to stay there longer to be honest with you, when that third preseason game comes my evaluation is when we break camp.  But I like staying away as long as possible before coming back here and getting on a schedule.

Q: You have a defense that leads the league in sacks. How would you go about setting up protections against your defense if you had to?
A: I’d look at the match‑up situation, who I don’t match up with well if I was on the offensive side of it the whole time and I would set the protections that way. I think because people are multiple and we have guys with multiple sacks that can get that done, it’s a little bit more difficult. I think you’re always looking to see what sacks you’re being created from the standpoint of pressure and how many sacks are being created from the standpoint of four‑man rush.  I think at the end of the day you would like to create more of a four‑man rush even though sometimes that’s not the case.  I think that gets evaluated quite a bit, but again, that’s a category that we’ve done very well in, but we have to look at how much emphasis we’re putting on that category, what we’re doing well, and the emphasis we’re putting on the categories that we’re not doing well, and that’s when I talk to the coaches about, consistently or constantly, about process.  Everyone knows that has worked with me, I’m probably way to the extreme on process and that’s the one thing that we have to do a good job of because we have to figure out the consistency.

Q: Are you saying there is a balance you’re trying to find?
A: You always like balance, correct.

Q: You had mentioned clearing the air with Stevie (Johnson) a little bit. He’s taking a lot of heat because of the fumble, have you felt the need to meet with him again?
A: You said clearing the air?  I don’t look at it that way when I brought him in.  In other words, my vision wasn’t I’m going to bring him in and clear the air.  My vision was to bring him in to make sure that he knows that we’re going to be okay.  Does that make sense?  In other words, we’re going to talk about it, ‘Hey, are you okay? Here’s where I’m okay, and let’s move forward and let’s go.’ To answer your question, yes, we did have another meeting.  Again, you guys have to appreciate and respect that my meetings with the players are private, but it’s the same thing.  What I’m trying to do is push this team forward, making sure that when we look back that we learn from those mistakes, whatever they may be, and I’m not talking about just Stevie Johnson, I’m talking about all of us, so we can keep pushing this team forward and keep plugging away. So we can still have progress even though we’re disappointed with the season, numbers, win‑loss.

Q: Being 4-8, how important is it for this team to separate this season from what has come before?
A: I think it’s extremely important.  I think there are a couple of things, and a lot of people don’t like to talk about it.  Mathematically we are not out of this thing.  Even though it may be difficult for you to talk about it, it’s still there in front of us.  Now, if you look too far down the road, I think you can get yourself in trouble, so all of our focus is on this next game.  But make no mistake about it, it is darn important, what we have, and I go back to the same thing. We team right now that has quite a bit of players coming back, so how we perform and how we move forward, is extremely important to building a foundation of how we may start and be able to get going next year. Now, I’m going to tell you this because some of you guys are going to remember what I just said,  I do believe that you don’t start where you left off, but I do believe in a foundation and a philosophy that needs to be in place which we will have after year one.

Q: You’ve talked a lot about inconsistency and yet the team has been in most of the games. Have you had to emphasis the message you have up on the wall of ‘Don’t confuse effort with results’?
A: Absolutely, absolutely, mm‑hmm.

Q: How important is that to remind these guys?
A: I think it’s important, and I’ve said this before.  You have seen that we are talented enough at times to win games, period.  Period.  We have a rookie quarterback, I understand that.  He put together back to back, I’m not going to say the greatest games in the world, but he has shown that he can put our team in position to win.  I think we agree on that. So when you look at it and you’re upset with where you are and not satisfied with where you are, how do you push forward? How do you show that you have, that you are moving forward?  And I think what you said is right, you have to make sure that you’re showing that constantly, and it’s very difficult because when I get up here and talk about where we’re moving forward, which we are, make no mistake about it, what are the indications of that?  Sometimes as you move forward, your match‑ups may not be what you’d like.  Your competition may increase.  Therefore those signs may not be as visible of what you have, but we’re plugging away at it, and one thing I will promise you, I will be the first guy to come up here and say yes or no of what is going on and what we’re doing.

Q: Does (Darrelle) Revis look to be as dominant as ever?
A: Absolutely.

Q: Any injuries?
A: Oh, injuries. Are you ready to go? Did not participate in practice, Kyle Williams.

Q: Is that because of his back or his normal day off for his Achilles?
A: This is his normal day off.

QB EJ Manuel

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Q: EJ, you’ve known Mike Glennon since high school and went against him in college, what’s it going to be like to go against him again?
A: Yeah, it’s going to be great.  It’s funny because we’ve been roommates at the Elite 11 when we were in high school when we were counselors, and obviously we talked about playing each other in the league. This is our first opportunity, so I’m looking forward to it.

Q: Is it getting nasty in that quarterback room between you and Thad (Lewis)?

A: What do you mean, as far as?

Q: The ACC Championship?

A: Yeah, yeah.  Of course we wanted to bet three weeks ago, but now he doesn’t want to do anything, so that’s fine with me.  We’ll probably do some friendly bet like dinner or something like that. I already know who’s going to win that.

Q: How would you break down your play in the game Sunday after getting the chance to look at the film?

A: Well, I thought we played a solid game.  Obviously there were some throws I missed and things I wish I could have back, but overall I thought we got ourselves in position to win the game, just had some mishaps late in it.

Q: What challenges or reminders to you give yourself going back on the road in to a hostile environment in regards to staying consistent?

A: We’re just feeling good about the game plan first.  I think if we can have a solid game plan and know what we want to do, know how we want to attack their defense and how they’re going to try to attack us, that gives you a lot of confidence going into a game.  With that comes a lot more consistency and then you can go out there and make plays and kind of just let loose and play.

Q: What about yourself individually? You haven’t won yet on the road, what about the need to further yourself there?

A: We’ve just got to win, plain and simple.  I think obviously being our next game is an away game, we need to win that one, but whether it was here in the Ralph or somewhere else, we need to win.

Q: Coach talked about a sense of urgency; do you have that sense of urgency?

A: Well we’re 4‑8, so you have to have a huge sense of urgency.  I think the later the season gets into it, you have to win.  You really want to finish the season the best we can do right now is 8‑8, and that’s .500.  I think if we can finish the season strong like that we can move forward and still might have a chance of getting to the playoffs.

Q: What challenges does the Bucs secondary present to you, especially a guy like Darrelle Revis?

A: Yeah, you have to be on point with all your balls.  You can’t necessarily stare a guy down, you can’t look one way and just try to think that he’s not going to play the receiver very closely.  Sometimes he runs the routes for the receivers, I’ve seen him do that on film.  He’s one of the premier corners in the league.

Q: Third downs in the second half have been harder to convert than in the first half over the last five games. Have you been able to determine why that is?

A: I really think it’s a matter of just paying attention to the small things. Making sure you get to the right depths or making sure you’re making the right calls, making you’re looking at the right people, making sure your eyes are in the right places.  I think a lot of that just goes to reminding yourself literally when you’re walking out there on the field, whether it’s in the first or second half, you have to be sharp throughout the whole game.  You can’t go out in the beginning of the game and want to be sharp and then fall off the second half, and I think that’s what we’ve done.  I think it starts even in practice, the second half of practice you just really want to stay honed in on what you need to do.

Q: Do you find that opposing defenses are changing all that dramatically in the second half?

A: I wouldn’t say dramatically, but they obviously throw in some wrinkles and different things that we may not have seen throughout the whole week of preparation on film and you just have to adjust to it.

Q: In the last two games it’s seemed that you’ve taken some more shots downfield, is that where the reads have taken you or is that become more of an emphasis?

A: Yeah, I think that’s just where the reads have been taking me and just try to continue to go through those.

Q: You see some of the deep passes that don’t end up in completions, how do you evaluate those throws? Is there a plus that can come out of throwing those deep passes?

A: I think it is, yeah.  As a quarterback it’s your job to throw it to a spot to allow a receiver to make a play on it. If a guy is getting held of it or something happen that’s out of our control.  I think as a quarterback you just want to control what you can control and give them a catchable ball first.

Q: Did you think you did that in the Falcons game?

A: I think so.

Q: What do you mean when you say that Revis sometimes runs the routes for receivers?

A: He’s good enough, exactly, good enough to see a guy coming out of a break or he’ll see certain steps that the receiver may take, he can kind of get a good jump on what a guy might do.

Q: You only have four interceptions all year, what do you think has allowed you to avoid big mistakes.

A: I think just having the mindset of not wanting to turn the ball over, not wanting to cost a turnover for your team because that really puts you behind the 8‑ball in terms executing our offense and lengthening drives and things like that, so just have to continue to do it.

Q: How do you prevent yourself from being too cautious?

A: I don’t know, I just continue to do what Coach Hackett tells me to do as a coach.  When the shots are there, take them, but if they’re not, just give it to somebody else.

Q: Coach is talking about mathematically you still have a chance at the playoffs, while fans are more interested in seeing how you progress over these last four games. How do you feel about the rest of this season?

A: I feel we just need to win.  That’s the biggest assessment I can take, just need to win these last four.

S Jairus Byrd

Wednesday December 4, 2013

Q: How hard is it to get the bad taste out of your mouth after a loss like that?

A: It’s real hard, but you can’t look back because that’s going to cost us another one if we keep looking back. We need to now look ahead, remember the things we need to correct and go in to this week and correct those things and be better.

Q: Do you feel there are guys in this locker room that help guys get over that?

A: Yeah definitely, there are guys that have been here in this position before and can definitely help the younger guys. It’s a collective effort to get over something like that and that’s why we’re a close team. We help guys get over things like that and we all bond together and move forward.

Q: Going in to the final quarter of the season is it strange to know that you might not be here next year?

A: I’m not really worried about that, just got to win the games here and finish the season strong.

RB Fred Jackson

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Q: What was your reaction when you found out Tashard Choice had been released?

A: I was completely surprised. He’s a guy that has been contributing, not only on special teams, but he played a lot in the games too. It was shocking, but he’s a tremendous player so I think he’ll bounce somewhere and get right back on his feet.

Q: Some might infer that you and C.J. wearing the number 20 was some kind of a protest, would that be wrong?
A: Yeah, we definitely weren’t protesting. We were just showing him that we were thinking about him today. He’s a guy that, like I said, he’s been our brother in that room for three years so we just wanted to let him know we were thinking about him and we had him with us today in spirit.

Q: Did you discuss it with any coaches before practice?
A: It’s just something we did on our own. Coach Marrone knows we’re not the type of guy that are going to come out here and try to create a scene and do anything like that. He knows we just care about everybody on this team, we care about the guys in our locker room and we were just showing him a sign of respect.

WR Stevie Johnson

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Q: Does Darrelle Revis look like he’s back to his All-Pro self?

A: I feel like Revis is Revis, I don’t need to say too much about him. What my worry is, my main concern is getting a win. That’s it; I’m not worried about the match-up.

Q: You’ve gone back and forth with him and had some success against him. Do you think you’ll see a lot of him on Sunday?

A: Who knows? I feel like we’ll matchup more times than not and when we do we’ll see who be the better man throughout the game. Once again my main concern is trying to get a win, not an individual purpose.

Q: You’ve taken a lot of heat since Sunday because of the fumble, how much of that have you heard?

A: I’m good. I was good then, can’t knock a guy making a play. He’s in the NFL also. I have to be better in that situation. There are things I could’ve done to secure the ball in that situation knowing we only needed a field goal. I’m cool, the fans sent their shots, which is necessary and the climb continues. We have to get back on top.

TE Tony Moeaki

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Q: What’s the last couple weeks been like for you?

A: I was really focused on rehabbing and training. I was rehabbing up in Chicago after I did the injury settlement and I’m excited to be here and ready to get started.

Q: Did it happen quickly?

A: Yeah this all happened pretty quickly. Just trying to catch my breath here and get started. Within 24 hours it all happened.

Q: What do you feel is going to be the time needed to be ready to play in a game?

A: That would be something to probably ask Coach Marrone. I’m not really sure, I’m just going to come in every day and learn the playbook and get better at practice and knock some rust off.

Q: This is new for you trying to learn on the fly, have you talked to any other players in the league that have done that?

A: Yeah I talked to a couple buddies around the league and you just have to come in every day ready to put in the work and be a pro and study the playbook. Do all the little things.

RB C.J. Spiller

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Q: Can you talk about why you guys decided to wear Tashard (Choice)’s jersey at practice today?

A: We always do that. Guys are always changing jerseys. It was an emotional day especially in the running back room. We’re such a brotherhood in there, whenever you see one of your brothers leave it’s always sad. We understand the business side of it, it’s out of your control. We wish him well. I know him, I talked to him before he left he was a little hurt but I know he’ll bounce back. Whoever picks him up, they’re getting a great player.

Q: Tampa is a team that likes to run the football, is this one of those games where it’s a battle of wills?

A: To me, I’m going in to the game trying to be balanced. We just want to have one more point than what they have at the end of the game. That’s the biggest thing; it’s not about all that other stuff. It’s all about who has that last point more than their opponent. That’s the mindset that you have to have and we want to have a balanced attack and I think we will.

Q: Do you feel there is some momentum in light of how successful the run game was last week?

A: it was great, but like I said going in to the game, each week is different. We had a great game against Kansas City and then fell off the tail end a little bit. Just had another good running day, but this team is going to be ready and you can take some good away from the tape and see what you’ve done well, but we just have to take what they give us.

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