Head Coach Doug Marrone
Sunday, September 14, 2014

Q: It was another pretty good performance. What did you think of it?
A: I think it was. Defensively, we came out early and did a nice job. Offensively, we missed some opportunities out there. Obviously it’s a long season and we just need to continue to work on that, but it was a great win.

Q: Were you disappointed with the lack of touchdowns in the red zone?
A: No, I’m not going to say disappointed. I look at it as, obviously we won the game, but there were opportunities there that we have to get better at and take advantage of. But there were definitely opportunities there.

Q: How important were the contributions of the defense and special teams in taking pressure off of EJ Manuel?
A: I think that’s on every team that would want to do that for their quarterback, whether it be up front or anything like that. Putting ourselves in position as a team, field position-wise, being able to run the football and things like that obviously help with the progression of everyone we have. And it helps really the whole team, not just the quarterback.

Q: How much did the players sense the atmosphere at today’s game?
A: I think before I was telling the players to make sure they left early, so there was a great sense of energy prior that we wanted to make sure our players got here on time for the game, because so many people were coming out to it. Did our players feel that? Absolutely. To sit here and say that they fans weren’t a big part, those third downs and I know there was another penalty that the fans caused today with the noise. It’s outstanding. That’s why I think that this is one of the toughest places to play.

Q: When you decided to make C.J. Spiller your kick returner, is that the type of play you were looking for?
A: It’s just like I told you guys early on with the touches and C.J. being an explosive player. That’s the type of stuff we’re looking for. I think he’s very dangerous back there. We were able to get a returnable ball and you see what he can do. That’s how we’re going to have to win; by playing well on all three phrases. Special teams, really for the last two weeks have done a heck of a job. We had a blocked punt, we had a fumble recovery. They’ve done a nice job the last two weeks.

Q: How much of a boost is it when your special teams can contribute like that?
A: It goes back to training camp when we were talking about, ‘Hey, we have guys and how we want to use them that can make plays and it’s exciting.’ They can make plays and Dan [Carpenter] can make the field goals and the punter [Colton Schmidt] is a young kid that made some plays for us already in just a short two games. Those things are exciting because what happens is that it creates opportunities. What gets lost in everything is the field position that we’ve really done a good job the last two weeks in that we’ve won in a large way.

Q: Can you talk about the pressure you were able to put on Ryan Tannehill?
A: I think, obviously, [Knowshon] Moreno was injured. Obviously, it’s unfortunate to see anyone get injured in this game and I think that we had done a good job of keeping them off track. They’re a dangerous football team. They’re a very good football team. Just like any team, once you get off track and pass rushing can start taking over the game, you can get some pressure on the quarterback. For us, going into this game, it wasn’t a secret that if we didn’t stay on track we would’ve had our hands full with the challenge of their defensive line that’s very good also.

Q: How much did you try to really get Sammy [Watkins] involved this week?
A: We have all the players targeted. We feel very comfortable with Robert [Woods], Sammy, Mike [Williams], Marquise, those guys out there. It’s just one of those things where he was open and just different and just went with the reads. We had some things for him the last two weeks, but we have things for all of our guys because we have a good bunch of receivers and we know at any moment they can take one of them away at any time, sometimes two, depending on the defense.

Q: How much pain did Sammy play through?
A: I think you’d have to ask him. I don’t really know that.

Q: What did you think of the job Seantrel Henderson did on Cameron Wake?
A: We had a lot planned to make sure that Cameron Wake, who we have all the respect in the world for, would not be able to take over that game. We had chips and things like that to help Seantrel to get off to a good start. Yes. Did he play well too? Yes, he did, but I don’t want to make it look like we didn’t have anything planned for him. We had a big plan for him to make sure that, if we did have to start throwing the ball all over the place, we could be able to control him.

Q: How did you feel Nigel Bradham played in his first game back?
A: I thought he did a nice job. I have no issues with how he played.

Q: Can you explain the decision to start Corey Graham over Leodis McKelvin?
A: I just think that he [McKelvin] was just a little bit sore during the week and we just had a rotation and he was practicing. We just want to make sure. Like I said before, we feel fortunate we have three starters back there.

Q: Can you talk about Graham’s play with a few key breakups?
A: He did that last week so he can make those type of plays. If they keep targeting him and he keeps making those plays, that’s a good thing.

Q: What did you think of EJ’s play today?
A: I though he did nice. I thought he did well. He had some opportunities early on. The deep ball to Sammy was there. That was the perfect strike. A couple things that we need to take advantage of in the red zone that I said before, but he made some big plays down the field. Again, he’s progressing well. That’s two good games now for him, where he’s improving and seeing things. It’s the same thing that I told the players; it’s a long season. We’re a good football team that just needs to keep getting better and better each week.

Q: What are your thoughts are your team’s ability to respond when it looks like the momentum is shifting?
A: That’s two weeks in a row. I think it’s that locker room. It’s that team. They do a good job of feeding off of each other and it’s one team and they know they’ve got to pull their weight in all three areas.

Q: What made you decide to throw the challenge flag?
A: It’s always [from] upstairs. It’s always going to come from upstairs because they have the best look at it from the replays.

Q: What’s your process on that?
A: We have coaches upstairs that we have assigned to that watch it. When they see it, I tell them only when it’s clean will I go ahead and throw the flag. There’s certain situations where you just have to just to make sure. We talk to our players about it. I don’t think our process is any different. Some people hire people outside to come in. ACC replay officials or SEC replay officials, guys that are retired that come in. But we have two guys up there, two or three, everyone really work on it up there.

Q: Is that different from last year?
A: At the end of last year, when we started winning them, we changed it and we kept it that way.


Q: What’s it like to charge up a crowd even more with that kickoff return TD?
A: You’ve just got to give credit to the other 10 guys. Those guys did a great job of getting on their men. Me and Coach (Danny) Crossman always talk about is, as soon as you see it just hit it. The only guy you’ve got to beat is the kicker, I was able to do that today. Credit goes to the other 10 blockers, those guys did a great job of busting their butts, getting back there and making sure they were on their guys.

Q: Were you hurt on that first kickoff return to open the game?
A: A little bit, not too much. It’s nothing serious, I’m fine. It’s nothing to panic about, just had a little mishap right there but I was able to regroup and finish the game.

Q: C.J., for those of us who don’t know can you walk us through the decision to return kicks this year? Was that you going to coach or coach going to you? Walk us through that.
A: Pretty much the coaches came up to me and asked me if I was to do it would I feel comfortable and I told them I’d be fine. It was something that I’ve done my whole life and hadn’t done in a while. My rookie season was the last time that I’d done it. I felt very comfortable, just having to get back into the groove of catching it, making great decisions. It’s pretty much just trusting your eyes and when you see it just try to hit it 100 miles per hour. There’s really no magic about being a kick returner. You have to be patient but as soon as you see it you’ve got to go full speed.

Q: How important was it for this team to respond each time (Miami) put points on the board?
A: It was very important for us to respond, obviously it wasn’t pretty at times. I think we had a couple three and outs right there putting our defense in a bad situation, those guys kept battling for us and at the end we were able to make some plays.

Q: C.J., 0-3 into the red zone until that point, how relieved were you as an offensive player to return a kick and finally get a touchdown on the board?
A: It was a relief but at the end of the day the offense we’ve got to look at the 17%, that’s unacceptable in the red zone. To get where we want to go we’ve got to be a whole lot better. We’ll look at the tape, see the things that we missed, clean it up and try to come back next weekend a whole lot stronger. On third down, we were 33%, nowhere near what our goal is. There are some things we’ve got to clean up to put us in a better position to be able to be efficient.

Q: Could you feel the crowd, the emotion, the excitement even before the game?
A: Oh yeah, I felt it at 6:30 this morning, honestly. On the way to my house from the hotel the fans were already coming in, picking out their parking spots. I kind of felt the electricity in the air that it was going to be electric today. I tried to tell the guys, the running backs that it will be the loudest it’s ever been since I’ve been here, the fans did a great job of showing up and showing why they’re the best ones in the league. We needed them today, it was very emotional for everybody but it was very important to come through for the win.

Q: Not that there aren’t other playmakers on this team, C.J., but Clemson had a pretty good showing today on the Bills roster. Can you comment on that?
A: You mean the Clemson connection? Yeah, I mean that’s what we do! It was good, pretty much hit them with 28, hit them with 14, I guess they just didn’t have an answer for us. I was thinking what it could have been if we would have played together in college? It was great, I’m very happy for Sammy, to get his first touchdown today. He had an unbelievable game, you can start to see DBs respect him as a young player. That’s what we need, we need him to continue to make plays like that along with the other receivers. It was a very special day for him to get his first touchdown. That’s one of many.


Q: Can you talk about Sammy’s breakthrough game?
A: Great game from Sammy today. It happened that a lot of calls and progressions had him getting the ball and coming open. He did a great job running the route and getting open. I’m very proud of him. That last touchdown, he got in there for us on the third down. We call that a double whammy when you get a first down and get a touchdown in the red zone. That was huge for us, and that’s what I expect from him. Great job right after the catch.

Q: Was that just a simple crossing on that play?
A: It’s never simple. Everything out there is hard. You’ve got to earn it, but nonetheless it was a crossing route or a crossing concept. The receivers did a great job doing what they were supposed to be doing, and that’s what allowed Sammy [Watkins] to come up with it.

Q: How much of a lift was [C.J.] Spiller’s return?
A: It was huge. It was weird because we didn’t get a chance to go out there until three minutes into the third quarter, but nonetheless I’m extremely happy with C.J. That’s what it’s all about – a team victory. I said it last week; offense, defense, and special teams. That’s what we want to do as a team because that’s what we are. If we focus on the guys in the locker room, I think we’ll be able to continue our success.

Q: The offense was showed a little bit more flash and speed. Is that showing teams you can win different ways?
A: I think it was just a good overall team victory. I think defense allowed us the opportunities even when we were having field goals. They would go out there, shut them out, and get us the ball right back or a turnover to get us the ball in great field position. Hats off to our defense and our special teams.

Q: The ability to respond to their two scoring drives – is this something that you guys are digging deep for?
A: We want to score every drive. I think it’s even more important when they go out there and score, especially later in the game because we hadn’t touched the end zone until that point after C.J. [Spiller] had the great kick return. It’s a good thing for our offense to show that we’ve having growth, and we’re becoming a more mature offense. Again, our defense put us in the situation to be able to do that.

Q: How much did you guys feed off the emotion in the building?
A: It was extremely awesome to have our fans out here to sell it out. It was getting crazy here two days ago. Anytime we’re seeing that it pumps us up even more. Coming out here to a packed house – it was extremely loud on third down. I like to call it our twelfth man. We’re extremely happy to have our fans back on our side. I think we’re going to continue to work hard for them. Like I said, it’s not just 11 guys out there. When you have fans out there screaming on third down, it makes it extremely hard for a quarterback. I’ve been in that situation in different games, and they made it hard. The fans did a great job for us, and we’ll see them again next weekend.


Q: Sammy, you had a few plays last week, how did it feel to be a bigger part of the outcome this week?
A: It was great. The coaches had a great game plan, the offense played well, they helped me out a lot.

Q: On the crossing route there, on the touchdown, was it you getting separation early, and then a race after that? How did you see it?
A: It was a great call. We knew it was man and I used (Scott) Chandler as a pick and got across the field and I kept running and saw green grass and EJ (Manuel) made a great pass.

Q: How’s that first touchdown feel?
A: It was amazing. Just to see how the fans got involved and to have my first TD and the Ralph was amazing.

Q: You talk about the fans, how were they out there?
A: They helped us a lot. Especially on defense. I feel like, with them, they helped us win this game on defense. It got to the offense and we played well.

Q: Sammy, what do you make of the Clemson connection, that really did the Dolphins in in the third quarter?
A: C.J. (Spiller) is a great player. But ultimately, I think the thing is that our offense played well. We leaned on EJ (Manuel) and he stepped up as a leader today and he helped us out a lot. We’ve got to keep going as a team and keep executing our plays.

Q: As debuts go, this is new to you, but the fans have been waiting a long time for a 2-0 start, just to have this electricity back, can you appreciate what a win like this might mean, even though it’s only two weeks into the season?
A: It means a lot, just to have our fans out here and engaged. Like I said, they helped us with the win, it was amazing and the team, we just have to keep giving the fans and the community something to believe in. But, I think, if we keep winning, they’ll keep believing in us.

Q: Did you feel more comfortable out there today as opposed to last week?
A: Yeah. Just being here at home, and the game plan we had was not complicated. We just came here and executed our plays and throughout the whole time, we thought we were going to win. That’s the thing we have to get throughout our whole team. We have to believe in ourselves, believe in our preparation, and we’ll be fine.

Q: How are you doing physically, Sammy?
A: I feel great. We got the win, and that’s the ultimate goal. We just have to keep working.

Q: Sammy, you seemed to get up slowly a few times from a couple of hits. Can you explain? Is it your ribs? Are they still hurting you? How much longer do you expect it to bug you?
A: Not really, they just happened to hit me hard. It’s a different game and that’s just something I have to get used to. I just have to keep playing.

Q: It seemed like those crossing routes were pretty consistently open, was that a focus before hand? Get it on the short route, and let you get the yards after?
A: Of course, EJ (Manuel) had other reads to go through, but he saw something open, he went to his progression, and the coaches put us in great situations today.

Q: What was your view of C.J.’s run back, because I guess you were probably waiting to get back on the field?
A: It was crazy. That’s what everybody expected and it was like ‘He’s going to run it back this time.’ I look up, and see him running down the side line, making that big play. I think that’s what sparked the game, and I think that’s what we need: special teams, and everyone coming together as a collective group.

Q: What does it say about C.J. and your toughness, you took some hits and looked like you guys weren’t exactly 100%, but you were able to put together a game like that?
A: That’s coaching preparedness. And like I said, it’s great having us two on the same team at the same time. We just have to keep working and keep running as a team.

Q: Sammy, with the running threat, you guys have inside especially, does that open things up for you receivers outside more do you think? Do you see it?
A: Most definitely. It definitely helps us out when we’re a balanced offense, and we have to keep contain, run the ball, to pass the ball, and mix it up a lot. That keeps the defense on their toes, and their switching up coverage. Linebackers have to look more for the pass, more for the run, it’s just great to have a defense guessing.

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