PITTSFORD (WKBW) It was the last day of practice until the Bills second preseason game of the season on Friday, the last open practice for the team to work off its rough preseason start.
It wasn't the greatest for QB EJ Manuel. Manuel, who went just 2 for 7 against the Giants in the Hall of Fame game, threw two interceptions during practice Wednesday.
Marcell Dareus also did not finish practice with a tweaked hamstring injury.
The Bills are off on Thursday, and travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers Friday night. You can watch that game on Channel 7, with pre-game coverage starting at 7pm.
Below are transcripts from Head Coach Doug Marrone and EJ Manuel following Wednesday's practice (courtesy of the Bills):
Head Coach Doug Marrone
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Q: Any decision yet on how long starters will go on Friday?
A: We're going to wait to see how the players came out of this practice, how they're feeling about tomorrow. Tonight we'll work on the game plan and see who you want were and who you want to look at. It's really a short week so we really don't have a lot of time to assess that earlier, so we'll discuss that tonight and set the plan.
Q: How much do you prepare for a preseason opponent?
A: Last year was a little bit different. We tried to look to see what they did well. This year, there's a little bit more of not showing a lot.
Q: What do you want to see from Seantrel Henderson, in terms of overall development?
A: He's really made great improvement from OTAs until now. He's really made a big jump. Basically, I just want to see if he's someone that can go out there and play 16 games at tackle in this league.
Q: What role do you see C.J. Spiller playing in this three-headed running back committee?
A: I don't know if I want to get it down to three. I've never been a guy that has three backs playing in the game. I've always believed, and you guys know, in the two backs. It'll come down to two backs; the two backs going in there. Obviously, we've run the ball quite a bit. It's something that we believe in and I'm really excited to see them. One of the challenges is how many carries does he need between now and the end of preseason to be ready for the season. That's a challenge for a lot of guys that have played before and have played well.
Q: How much more are you expecting from C.J. Spiller this year since he's healthy?
A: I think what we're looking for from him is as a running back, but what you've seen is that we've expanded his role also. We have him in some pass receiving situations and I give C.J. credit. I think he's been outstanding in catching the football.
Q: What have you thought of TJ Graham's game thus far?
A: He didn't get a lot of work in, so I think it's a process for him. I don't think naturally he's going to come back and be right where he was before. I think he's working his way back in. I think he probably some things that he's been discouraged with that he'd like to have back. There are also some things he's done well. I think it's early and we'll see how he progresses.
Q: He's had some drops in camp. Do you think he's having a problem with confidence?
A: It's hard for me because players are never going to say, 'Hey how do you feel?' A player is never going to say, 'Oh Coach I don't feel confident.' You know? So I think that's a better question for him. I hope that's not the case because that's difficult to overcome.
Q: Has Leodis McKelvin had a setback from his offseason surgery?
A: No. We have a plan that we've talked about and we're going to rest him as long as we feel the doctors and he and the other people [say]. When he's ready, I'll let him out there.
Q: Have you enjoyed the way Brandon Spikes has easily assimilated with the team?
A: I don't know if he came right in and felt comfortable. I think that's difficult to do, especially when you come from within the division. But he's done a nice job of coming in. He was around quite a bit. Probably more that he has been in the past and that's from what I heard being around the players. He's done a nice job here in camp, getting his weight down, which I wish he would've done before he came to camp, but we've got him where we want him now.
Q: Any injuries at practice?
A: Scott Berchtold: Marcell has a hamstring and Meeks with a neck.
Q: Can you talk about what you saw from Robert Woods today?
A: We know Robert can play three positions for us. We're just trying to figure out what's the best combination that we have out there. When Robert first came to camp he didn't do that. Not to see he was complacent, but I told him today that when he plays with that little chip on his shoulder, he's a darn good football player. I said, 'We need to see you play more with a chip on your shoulder every single day.' And I think you'll see that same result that you were able to see from the game and today.
Q: What does it say to you that he seemed to respond to your talk with him?
A: I just think you tell the player the truth. I really do. And I don't know. I think that's a better question for him. I just wanted to make sure that we were all on the same page.
Q: Duke Williams had a nice play on the goal line. What have you seen from him in camp?
A: Duke's had a good camp. The play on the goal line was really Mario Williams. Mario really set that play up. He went inside, opened up the hole, free Duke up and Duke went in there and made a nice tackle. That period was live. Duke's had a very good camp.
Q: With more experience at the safety position, what do you think the ceiling is for Aaron Williams?
A: I think it'll help him. Like I said many times before, it has been talked about that a lot of people thought that he was maybe better safety when he was a corner coming out. He's performed that way. He's a player that we're looking for great things from. I don't know how many people will actually challenge him, so I think you've got to be careful when people start saying, 'Hey, what's going on,' Because I think, if you challenge a player like Aaron, he's going to make plays on you.
Q: What would be a sign of progress in the second game for the first team offense?
A: I think the thing I'm looking for is not to turn the ball over, I look at penalties, I look at making sure we score when we have the opportunities and to score more points than the opposing team, no matter who is in there. Those are the things that I'm looking for. I said it before we played. The goal is if you're going to play a game, your goal is to win the game. There are other things that are coming into play with the schematics. Obviously, we're not game planning quite a bit, but we have enough in to win. For me, I want to make sure we know what we're doing, we're lining up and then we're watching guys to go out there and play. We're making sure, at the end of the day that we can figure out and come to a conclusion of who the best players are to make this roster.
Q: What did you see out of Landon Cohen on Sunday?
A: I don't want to mitigate the loss, but we had nine tackles for loss in that game and he had a couple of them. He did a nice job. That's one of the things you look at and I talk to the players about. The starters going in, there going to play their x amount of plays or whatever the plan is. Then there's other guys going in there, but those other guys have an opportunity. First of all, they're going in there and they're wearing the same uniform we are. They are representing the Buffalo Bills. They're in there trying to show us that they can play and make this roster, one. Two, they need to show us that they're maybe good enough to be around to make the practice squad. And three, it's really a resume for them that if we don't feel we have room for them on ours, another team can pick them up on their roster or another team can pick them up on their practice squad. So there's really a lot going on in those games, for them as individuals and for us as coaches as we play through it.
Q: Is there any timeframe that DaNorris Searcy will be back from his personal issue?
A: Yeah, I don't know. I missed him a couple times. I called him, I got in touch with him while we were on the field during the break. He has a family situation that he is excused from, obviously, and he's dealing with that.
Q: Will he be ready to play Friday?
A: I talked to him on the field and he wants to come back. I told him to just make sure that he has everything in order before he does.
QB EJ Manuel
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Q: Was this day frustrating for you?
A: Yeah, I had one force tonight in the red zone and I can't do that. Other than that, I thought it was a pretty good day.
Q: What have you seen from T.J. Graham physically since his injury?
A: T.J. has done a great job since he's come back from his injury in his offseason and rehabilitating. I thought he showed great routes and things like that from the game this past week. In practice, he's still kind of working himself back into it. He missed all of OTAs so I guess he's playing a little bit of catch up but I think he's coming along just fine with his injury.
Q: What're you looking for from the offense on Friday?
A: I just want to score, that's the big thing for me. I just want to go out there and get our first touchdown under our belt not just a field goal. I know it's not going to be very long that we're playing, but obviously we still want to go out there and win as a team. So that's my biggest goal for the offense. We want to go out there and score and if we can get a couple more series in, that's great, but I definitely want to go out there and score before we're done.
Q: You had success playing against Carolina last year. Does that play into things?
A: Yeah, I guess we had a little success. It was a great win for us. I don't necessarily think it plays much into it. It's a great feeling knowing that I beat them before but they're a new team, we're a new team and this is a new year so we have to go out there and play hard.
Q: It's not in your control but would you like to get more than 10 plays?
A: Definitely. I think the more at bats you get, especially in live action, is always good. At the same time, you can't allow your competitive spirit to overtake you because you still have to be smart. It's still the preseason and things like that. You want to especially be ready for when those regular season games count. Not that we're taking these games lightly. We still want to win the game. If they're going to take the score, we want to win. I would love to have more than 10 plays in a series or two series but sometimes that's how it plays out and that's how it played out last weekend. So, we'll see how it goes on Friday.
Q: Will the game Friday test the offense's protection since the Panthers had the second best defense in the league last year?
A: I thought we did a good job against them last year so I don't know why we wouldn't do the same this year. Like I said, we don't really scheme very much for these preseason games, but at the same time, I think we can communicate well enough to get some good protection and get the ball down the field.
Q: What have you seen from Robert Woods?
A: Robert's done a great job. As you can see in the game the other day, he played hungry. He played like a man that wanted the ball and wanted to be fed. And that's what Jeff Tuel did when he was in. I'm extremely excited for Robert and obviously to have him out there for myself is going to be a huge tool because he's a guy who is a "run-after" catch. He can obviously make the great big catches but he's a guy who, inside, can kill those linebackers off the line and once he cuts to the ball, he can get up field and get a lot more yards.
Q: It was said that he "plays with a chip on his shoulder." Have you seen that?
A: Yeah, I think so. He definitely had a chip on his shoulder and I think we all do. That's not necessarily the image we always want to carry, like a chip on our shoulders, but I think we all have something to prove in our own way and whenever we get the opportunity we want to do it.
Q: Is that something you bring out in him?
A: I don't necessarily think I have to do it. I think Woody wants to be great just like the rest of us, so that's something in his own game and in his own mind that he does for himself.
Q: Can you explain the partnership with Camp Kesem?
A: Camp Kesem is another 2014 campaign. Basically, every touchdown I score, I donate X amount of dollars to send a kid to the camp, which is for kids whose parents have either died from cancer or are dealing with cancer. I've obviously been a child of a mother who survived breast cancer. It's a tough process to go through, so I thought it was an awesome thing to be a part of and I'm very thankful to Camp Kesem to give me the opportunity to be a part of it.
Q: What does it take to be more successful in the red zone?
A: Extreme communication. I think that's big. You have to be on the same page down there because it happens so fast. I'm very happy that we've been doing it at the end of every practice. Whether we're getting it done or whether there are some things we need to work on, I think the more reps we can get in red zone the better. Like I said, it happens so fast down there so you can't be late. The receiver can't waste any time getting off the ball in the line. They have to protect a little longer if they can. That's a huge situation for us and if we can be good at that in the red zone, I think that's going to give us a lot more points come the season.
Q: What's the biggest area of concern for you heading into Friday?
A: I don't really have any concerns. I'm just going along with training camp and how it's going. I'm happy with the development of our offense and the defense is doing a great job as well. They're continuing to get better and develop everyday. I don't really have any concerns as far as negativity.