PITTSFORD, NY (WKBW/Buffalo Bills) - The follow are transcripts from Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone, QB Kevin Kolb, QB EJ Manuel and WR Stevie Johnson following Wednesday's practice.
Courtesy Buffalo Bills:
Head Coach Doug Marrone
Training Camp — August 14, 2013
Just to give everybody a heads up, I talked to the quarterbacks today after the walk-through and we’re going to go ahead and start Kevin Kolb at quarterback this week. Just the one thing I hope everyone understands is not to read in to this because we were very, very happy with EJ (Manuel)’s performance in the first game. Matter of fact, what we were looking at is probably if Kevin was healthy he was probably going to start the first game and EJ start this game. Again they’re in a competition and we just switched it. That’s where we are with the starting quarterback. Kiko Alonso didn’t practice today, he’s cleared by the trainers, the coaches want him out there, I’m resting him. I’m going to hold him out a couple of days, just to make sure we get him back. I don’t plan on him playing. I was happy to see Stevie Johnson out here today, he had good work. I’m not going to play him in this upcoming game, but again it was great to see him out there along with Brad Smith. That’s where we are as far as injuries.
Q: Does Brad Smith have a chance to play on Friday?
A: He might, I don’t know. That’s a thing where it’s just a matter of how you feel. I would say he’s questionable, I’m not sure yet.
Q: Is Mario Williams injured?
A: He keeps getting treatment to take care of his body. Again we’re just trying to be smart up and down, resting him for some time, just so he can make sure he just gets ready. Especially coming off this short week.
Q: What are you looking to see out of Kevin Kolb on Friday night?
A: I’m just looking for him to play. Play football. Nothing specifically. I just wanted to make sure he was healthy. I asked him if he was healthy and I said here we go. Obviously it’s a competition and we want to be equal. The same thing, I’m going to repeat it again, I told EJ, it’s not a reflection of how you played, actually it’s the opposite. We felt you played really well for a guy in his first NFL game.
Q: Do you have an idea when Stevie Johnson might be back for contact?
A: I think we’re probably going to get him back somewhere in the Washington week and if we don’t that’s ok. I think that’s just kind of the goal we’re pushing for.
Q: Any idea for how much time the first stringers will get in the game?
A: I’m going to stick with the same thing. I think the guys that are injured, what our philosophy is we kind of put them on a pitch count, I believe Scott Chandler will get some reps barring anything happening between now and tomorrow night, so you’ll see him in there. So those guys are put on what I call a pitch count. As far as everyone else who’s playing, as I said before I always tell them be ready to play the whole game because an injury and special teams if we have to put them back in there I don’t want them to say, “Well Coach took me out and had to put me back in there and I got injured”. We’re going to play our guys. Each player is different; we kind of take it individually on how much they have to play to make sure they get themselves ready. Some players are different than others.
Q: It’s still the preseason, but are you excited for your first home game?
A: It’ll be my first time on the home side of that stadium. I’ve been at that stadium before as a visiting coach, as a player and as a coach. It’s pretty awesome, everyone that knows me knows I'm a big history guy and I’m a little bit more old school at times, so you’ve got some good old school fans and a good old school stadium that has great views for everyone. It’s an exciting place, those guys get it going, so I’m excited about that for the players, but my focus will be on the field.
Q: If EJ had such a great first half, why not continue to start him?
A: Because it’s the same thing I said before, we’re in a competition. Just to reiterate, what the plan would have been going in was that Kevin probably would’ve started the first game if he wasn’t injured or hurt and EJ would have came in. Then EJ would have started this game but because of the injury, obviously EJ started and I’m going to give Kevin this start. You can’t call it a competition and then all of a sudden not have the quarterbacks getting those starts.
Q: What have you seen out of Zack Chibane and Nick Provo?
A: They’re doing a nice job. It’s their first camp; obviously it’s quite different for all the guys coming up. It’s something usually when you’re an upper classmen in college and you’re going to training camp and you start working against the other players, sometimes you don’t have to go as hard. I think when you come in from the college level, the one thing that I’ve learned is that you’re going to have to go 110 percent on every play or you’ll get beat and look bad. Those guys have been doing a nice job.
Q: Is Kevin behind at all due to the time he missed?
A: I think we’ll see that in the game more than anything else. I don’t want to go here and say ‘No he’s caught up,’ but Kevin has played a lot. He’s a seven-year vet. I asked him are your ready to do this, are you healthy, are you ready? He said yes no problem. I’m assuming that he’s ready to go.
Q: Biggest thing you’re looking for from Week One to Week Two game wise?
A: You’re looking for improvement and I think a lot of times what happens is because there’s so many different people at different times playing in the game, obviously they’re keeping score so the goal is to win, but at the same time from an individual standpoint you’re looking for separation. There’s a lot of other competition going on outside of just the quarterback. For spots on a roster, depth chart, special teams, things like that, so you’ll look for people to step up in those areas. You’re looking to see the progress in them. The coaching points that you’ve made and corrected, you’re making sure they don’t make those mistakes again.
Q: Who will start at receiver?
A: The same group that started last week. Again if we’re in three wide and four wide, we may start (more guys). If we start in any two-receiver sets it should be the same ones.
Q: With Jairus Byrd still not being there how does it affect what you’re doing with the safety position?
A: Again, I don’t know. Obviously we’re looking forward to Jairus coming in to camp. Obviously we respect his decision and what he has to do. Right now again our focus is on the players that are here and we’re looking forward to him coming back when that decision is made.
QB Kevin Kolb
Training Camp – August 14, 2013
Q: How do you feel after the week you’ve had recovering?
A: I’m very excited. I’m excited that my body is allowing me to and coach is allowing me to. Like I said, I have a chance to get out there and enjoy the fun with the guys and get this thing started.
Q: How has your knee progressed this week? Better every day?
A: Yes. Obviously yesterday was a big improvement for me. I felt my feet get back underneath me. I was able to push the ball down the field a couple of times. I was happy with it.
Q: When were you able to feel comfortable again after having to miss some days?
A: I guess (sometime) yesterday. The reps were really the way they were before. Coach saw me in individuals and said ‘Hey you’re looking pretty good.’ I said that I feel great. So we decided right there to push through like a normal practice. Once that mind frame sets in, you’re good to go. The next thing is the game and preparing for the game and going 100 miles per hour.
Q: Can you comment on your mobility?
A: I wouldn’t say my knee is a second thought, I still feel it out here, but it’s definitely not...when the lights come on Friday, I don’t think it will be an issue.
Q: Do you think Friday is an opportunity to prove your point?
A: That’s one of them. It’s obviously a big one. We’ve had a lot of shots. We’ve had shots with OTAs and obviously it picks up and we go from here. I just think, like I’ve told you guys before, you can’t focus on that stuff. You have to focus on as a quarterback, how do I get better and you have to be coachable. That’s a big thing for Nate (Hackett) and our offense. That’s what I’m out here to prove.
Q: How will it feel playing with all young wide receivers on Friday?
A: We definitely wish those guys (Stevie Johnson and T.J. Graham) were out there. With Stevie and his style of play, but you can’t help injury, as we know. Those guys are proven and they can make plays for you. We’ve seen it whenever they were out there. I’m impressed by the guys behind them. Everybody is working hard. The receiving corps has a lot of athletes and a lot of guys that are fighting for positions.
Q: Do you feel you have caught up from your time missed?
A: I don’t know if I can say one way or the other. I think once you’ve missed time, you can never get that time back. You’re always going to be missing out on something or lose something. It was difficult coming back after missing those five days and getting back in the groove of things, but like I said, yesterday was a good day for me mentally and physically. I’m putting that week behind me and moving forward.
QB EJ Manuel
Training Camp — August 14, 2013
Q: Do you understand where coach is coming from in trying to keep the competition equal?
A: Kevin’s healthy now and he made the decision I wouldn’t be starting.
Q: When you do get in there and you’re not starting from the get go, what’s different?
A: Nothing’s different. I still prepare like I’m going to start. Like I said when I get the opportunity to go in there and play, do well.
Q: What are your thoughts on seeing Christian [Ponder] again when you play the Vikings?
A: It’ll be good to see him. I talked to him a few months ago just to say hello and things like that. But it’ll be nice to go out there and play against some of the guys that also went to Florida State, Xavier [Rhodes], Everett Dawkins, Anthony McCloud, Rodney Smith. So, it’s quite a few guys.
Q: So, it’s going to be like a reunion practically, right?
A: Yeah, but we still want to get out of there with a win.
Q: Are you looking forward to play on your home field?
A: Most definitely. I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of crowd we get out (there). Hopefully it’s a lot of people. We’ve had a lot come out to our night practices and things like that. So I’m sure being it’s a night game, our first game in Buffalo, I’m sure fans are really excited. I’m looking forward to seeing them out there.
Q: Coach Hackett said he needs you and [Jeff] Tuel to settle down a little bit. Is there a way to control your emotions?
A: I think what he meant by that was just stick to what he’s coaching us. Don’t try to do any more or any less than what we’re supposed to do as quarterbacks. Do our job, and we’ll be fine.
Q: Is there any sort of frustration that it was a big win, and now you’re not starting?
A: I wouldn’t say it’s frustration. Like I said, I’m focused on getting the reps I get and going out there and playing well.
Q: Does it motivate you even more to go out there and play harder?
A: Not really. No, sir.
Q: Were you surprised when you were told you weren’t getting the start?
A: I wasn’t going to be a bad teammate about it or anything like that. Coach is going to make the decisions. It’s his call. And that’s what it is.
Q: Obviously you’re a competitor and you’d liked to get the first reps?
Q: How did it feel getting the disappointment of not starting but also being told you played well last week?
A: We have conversations all the time. When he told me, it wasn’t like I was blindsided or anything like that. We have a great mode of communication, I think myself and all the quarterbacks and the coaches. So, he just told me that I played well and things like that.
Q: Did it take you by surprise when he told you?
WR Stevie Johnson
Training Camp — August 14, 2013
Q: What do you think of EJ [Manuel] and his first preseason game?
A: I think he’s a legit QB right now. Of course it’s only the preseason. I think he’ll be doing his thing this week also.
Q: How do you feel after getting back in there?
A: I feel good actually to be out there. It’s not where I wanted to be. I was hoping I can get into the practice, but it’s still pulling a little bit. But every day it’s getting better.
Q: Are you hoping to be back by the Washington game?
A: Yeah, that’s what we’re shooting for. That’s what we’re working for. I’ve been working with the trainers and the strength coach to get right. Hopefully I’ll get there in Washington.
Q: How important is it not to rush back?
A: If it’s feeling okay, then I would be back for this game. But it’s not there and I don’t want to force and risk having to deal with this for the entire season. I’m trying to be smart about it.