LATROBE, PA - Below are transcripts, provided by the Buffalo Bills, from the Bills joint practice with the Steelers.
Head Coach Doug Marrone
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Q: What do you think of your cornerback depth this year?
A: I personally think you can never have enough good corners. I think we’re fortunate that we have a lot of players back there that we feel confident in and have the ability to play for us.
Q: Was that a point of emphasis given the injuries you dealt with last year?
A: I don’t think it was a point of emphasis. I think we had an opportunity with Corey (Graham) to go out and get a good player. Then just making sure that you never fall short at that position. That’s a position almost like left tackle where if you fall short there you get in trouble. Same with the quarterback, some of those positions. We just want to make sure that we had enough good players there and we feel it’s great. It’s definitely, I don’t want to say comfort zone because you never get in to a comfort zone in this league, but we have players back there that we do not have a problem putting on that field.
Q: Leodis McKelvin looked like he got his first set of team drills in the past couple weeks yesterday. Is he progressing at this point?
A: I would say yes.
Q: Cordy Glenn looked to be progressing as well. You said there were some things he had to get checked out to go further on the field, were those positive?
A: The same thing. He’s not been cleared for team and he’s not been cleared for full reps. That’s really all I can say.
Q: I’ve seen Sammy Watkins catch balls in preseason games and I saw him make a one handed catch at your camp the other day.
A: Just go to our website. You can get all the highlights.
Q: Can you give me your point of view if he is as advertised?
A: I would say yes. Up until this point he has been as good as advertised. I think the thing that I have been the most impressed with is the way he handles himself and his maturity. He handles himself like a player that has been in this league a long time, but at the same time he understands he has to earn the respect and understands what it means to be in the NFL and represent not only the NFL and the emblem, but also obviously being a Buffalo Bill. I’ve been very impressed with the way he handles himself and his practice habits. He’s done an outstanding job for us.
Q: Was your team able to get out of yesterday what you hoped for them to?
A: Yes. I think it’s the same thing. From a competition standpoint it was obviously outstanding and I think that’s what you’re doing. I think both sides got a lot of great work. It’s very difficult to duplicate in a setting amongst our own team. From that standpoint it’s a great evaluation for us and it’s a great chance to see players that may step up or not. We’ll look at it form a cumulative standpoint of the two days plus the game. I think now the part at least for us is there will be some separation from players and we will have to make decisions after the third preseason game. The roster gets cut down after that and then the following week we’ll have the roster. I think after this game, it’ll go quick.
Q: Should we expect more or less live tackling today?
A: Pretty much the same as yesterday.
Q: Will you treat this upcoming preseason game the way that a third game is traditionally treated and the starters put in more time?
A: I don’t view this game as the traditional third game if you’re asking that question. We’ll talk about it, but to me it’s just an extra one. I’ll look at the next game as more of the traditional one.
Q: Coach Tomlin made it a point to talk about how pleased he was with the way both teams conducted himself. Would you agree with that?
A: Probably how it’s been portrayed with how much is going on in the other camps or other situations, but I think it’s something that we expect out of both of our teams. We’re still not out of it yet, we still have one more practice. I thought yesterday there really weren’t any scuffles, nothing really occurred. I think the players were focused on trying to get better and that’s what we were trying to make sure they were focused on. Coming out of here against different types of players, different types of schemes and getting better. That’s what I’ve talked to the players about. We don’t have time for the other stuff. It’s not part of the game and if something does occur you have to have the discipline to be able to not do anything. If you do that during the regular season you’re going to get thrown out of the game.
Q: What are your thoughts on EJ (Manuel) and his accuracy from what you’ve seen so far in camp?
A: Yesterday outside of seven on seven was probably his best day if you charted it. It was probably his best day.
Q: Can you elaborate on what made it a good day for him?
A: When you combine all the team periods he was 60 percent completion percentage and he was 56 percent accuracy percentage. I’ll take it. It’s progression for him over what’s been going on. The only period, like I said before, was seven on seven which was a little bit different than how we normally run our seven on seven, so we’ll get that straightened out today.
Q: How much of that is skewed towards his passes staying close in proximity to the line of scrimmage?
A: It’s difficult to go down the field when you’re at the 30-yard line. It’s difficult to go down the field when you’re at the 30-yard line going in. Those long routes are 30-plus yard routes. Hopefully we’ll get more of those in today. They’re scripted to get more of those today.
Q: How do you feel about his overall progression?
A: We’re just working and trying to get better. Compared to what? Compared to where he was?
Q: Compared to where you want him to be at this stage.
A: I’m good.
WR Mike Williams
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Q: What did you see out of EJ Manuel today just in terms of consistency?
A: I told EJ, to be honest my exact words were this is the best I’ve ever seen him. I don’t think he threw an incomplete pass today. Everything was on time, we got everything we wanted. It was perfect. Coming out of our breaks and the ball is right there. It’s just the best I’ve seen him. If he keeps going like this, we’re going to be something to play with.
Q: Do you think the passing game has turned a page here in these last few days?
A: Definitely. With him progressing every day, I think it’s because of him. We’ve been catching passes and he’s been hitting us. With him progressing, it looked good today.
Q: What was it about tonight’s environment that maybe brought that out?
A: He’s very competitive. Being competitive, you want to win every down. I send those guys a text, the receivers and quarterbacks, every day telling them we want to win every down. No matter what it is, we want to win. We want to win first down, we want to win second down, third down and if we go for it on fourth. We want to win. I think it’s about all of us being competitive. We want to win because the fans are out here and we want to show everybody that we’re a threat.
Q: It looked like the Steelers defensive backs were a little leery of giving up something cheap or giving up something deep. Were they trying to just keep everything in front of them?
A: If you look at their defense, that is kind of how their corners play. They’re a big blitz team, blitzing on-and-off and things like that. They play deep, they disguise coverages and they were doing that today.
QB EJ Manuel
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Q: Can you comment on the passing game the past few days? It seems like you guys turned a page here.
A: Yeah, I think we honed in going against another opponent—and a great opponent at that. Coach LeBeau, like I said yesterday, is one of the best defensive coordinators ever. I think we were up to the challenge. I think our communication overall has really helped us out. Communicating to the o-line as far as picking up their blitzes and the schemes that they do down on the fronts. And then also, the receivers buying into what the coaches are telling them to do to get to their destination. We are putting the ball there for them.
Q: What was it about this environment that brought this out?
A: Competition. It was a competitive environment. We are going against a different team. We are playing them on Saturday so as a team we wanted to put our best foot forward. Obviously this is their house, so we wanted to come in and give them a good look. We did not want to make them feel like we were wasting their time. That way we are both getting better as a team. Their offense is getting better and our offense is getting better to.
Q: Mike Williams said this was the best he has seen you throw the ball tonight. Did you feel that way?
A: I thought I was consistent. That is something I want to continue to build on. Don’t let it be a one, a two, a three-day streak. Make it an everyday thing. It is a process. I am still going to continue to buy into the process. Continue to listen to Coach Downing. He has been helping us out tremendously as a quarterback group together so I am very excited about the steps that we are taking. I think that we are right on time for where we want to be as an offense. Continue to develop within this preseason.
Q: Is the goal now to carry this over into Saturday?
A: No question. I thought we did a pretty good job throwing the ball last time we played in a game. So we want to continue to carry that over. Not sure how much I will play, but the reps that we are in, we want to make sure we look good.
Q: Is there a concerted effort to spread the ball around or does that just happen?
A: Yeah, I think it just happens. When certain guys are in a read, certain personnel at different spots on the field, you just give them an opportunity to go out and make a catch. I feel like all of our receivers can go out, make plays and get open against any d-back in the league. As we continue to build that trust with each other it is going to be a beautiful thing with our offense.
Q: Did Coach Tomlin provide you with any specific looks that you asked for?
A: Not as much. I felt like they were going to give us whatever they needed to give us. There was not anything specifically that I needed to see from them. I wanted it to be a surprise almost. Something that I did not know was coming. That’s the way it is going to be in a game. Obviously I appreciate him reaching out and offering that to me, but their defense is awesome. I think we did a pretty good job to combat what they were doing.
Q: Does practicing so well make you more anxious to play?
A: Not really. I don’t want to make it seem like it was a surprise to come out and practice well. I want to take each and every day and treat this like a game—especially going against a different defense. We do not want to consider this like, ‘Oh man this was a great day.’ This needs to be a consistent thing. It needs to be like that every day. Just another good day in the books. We come back tomorrow doing what we need to do and be prepared for the game on Saturday.
Q: How much are you going to be playing Saturday?
A: Yeah, I’m not sure yet. I have not talked to Coach Hackett or Coach Marrone about it yet. We will probably discuss that tonight or tomorrow.,
Q: Is it important for you guys to finish drives and get in the end zone?
A: Yeah, that is one thing I really want to do is score. I do not know how much I am going to play, but I know before I come out we would like to have a touchdown as an offense and as a first group.