PITTSFORD, NY - (WKBW/Bills Press Release) Below are quotes from the Buffalo Bills following their practice on Friday, August 2nd:
Head Coach Doug Marrone
Training Camp — August 2, 2013
Obviously we had two players that couldn’t finish today. Mike Caussin, he’s being evaluated for his hip and obviously everyone saw Stevie (Johnson) at the end with that hamstring. So, he’s going to get evaluated and it’s always tough when those situations happen, for the players. I was happy. I think coming back off an off day, I think you worry when you’re a coach, getting them kind of back in. They came back in today and stepped it up a bit. I told them that. It was kind of a challenge for them to do that. We asked them to do it and they responded. That’s one thing that you’re looking for, now we just have to keep building on that.
Q: What do you think of EJ (Manuel) so far and how he’s progressing?
A: It’s good. We’re very, very pleased. As far as the pass attempts, Kevin (Kolb) has maybe 20 or 30 more at this time, so we’ve been monitoring that and keeping that close. I was happy. Came in with a bad play late and then made a big play at the end. You just see it. You see the little things that he has to work on. Getting the ball down a little bit. In the red zone, a little too high. Kevin made some really good plays. I think that’s a part of the experience, what he’s doing. Those guys are battling out and that’s a heck of a battle right now.
Q: Is that pretty common to see your offensive coordinator (Nathaniel Hackett) to run down the field and celebrate like he did?
A: When you talk to players about passion and excitement and you don’t do that yourself and you’re not a good example of that, I think it’s very difficult to get that out of the players. We’ve talked to our coaches and we’ve talked to our team about when something good happens, to be excited and to make sure that we don’t want poor body language when things go against us.
Q: It seems like you’ve thrown more blitzes at EJ the past two practices.
A: Yes, that’s correct.
Q: How do you strike a balance being a head coach of being patient in your offense coming along versus being happy with how your defense is playing in pressure looks?
A: I love to win, so whatever side wins, I pick that side as the side I'm coaching. That’s the one thing about being a head coach. But no I think you look for that type of balance. When you’re in this type of setting, it’s always one period or you just don’t want to make it a day. You want to make it a continuous period where one side of the ball is dominating the other. The back and forth is great because that really simulates more of what happens sometimes in a game.
Q: It seems like there is a lot of checking of assignments at the line. Is that something you’re looking at?
A: Obviously we as coaches we keep track of all that. The good thing for us right now is really and I don’t know if I said this before, but everything is in except some of the short yardage and goal line. Really the majority of our packages are all in for the players. Now you should see that. I think with the way the schedules have been set up with the collective bargaining agreement and the players and what they’ve done it gives us a chance to really be assignment-oriented because of all the meetings and all the walk-throughs that we have. Again, the catch-22 to that is the fundamentals and the drills on the field, you lose a little bit of that when you had the two practices. Our players have done a good job, studying on the iPads and really knowing their assignments overall.
Q: That seemed like the heaviest amount of special teams work today. Is there a reason for that?
A: We always have about two special team periods in, so normally as far as the time allotted it was the same amount of time for a special team period. I look at it as we allot special teams a time and percentage of the game and build that in our schedule in our meetings. So I try to keep it the same. You know what happens, you’ll probably see a lot of rotations and the drills will change and some of them will look more heavy than others.
Q: Can you talk about the scrimmage coming up on Monday?
A: I think it’s going to be very important because it’s our first time that we’re going live. We haven’t gone live with the players. That’s a big deal.
Q: Can you estimate how much time Monday will be live scrimmaging?
A: I have it, I don’t have it in front of me. What I’ll do is Scott will remind me the day before, I’ll come out and I’ll tell you what our plans are. I have it already written down, but I don’t want to say something that I don’t know. We’re going to practice now; it’s not going to be a real short deal. We’re going to get after it.
Q: You were very critical of what was going on at left guard. Today, (Doug) Legursky was in at left guard. Is that a trend we should look to continue or is that something that could change?
A: We’re moving Doug (Legursky) around, playing center and guard. You’ll see him play more guard now. I feel very comfortable with what he can do at center and we’re going to give him the full tilt to go ahead and compete for that left guard position. You’ll see it rotate around as we go. Unless someone steps it up.
Q: Is (Antoine) Caldwell sort of easing in as he learns the program? How are you handling that?
A: (Antoine) Caldwell and Tony (Hills), we’re doing the same thing with the two linemen that we brought in. We’re getting them in there. You see how we’re rotating them in there to try to get them more reps because we want to see what they can do early.
Q: How concerning is it when you see your top receiver go down?
A: When you say how concerning, I would say it’s a major concern when you talk about it during the season. Right now, I think a veteran player that’s proved himself; we’ll just see what the doctors say. It is what it is and then we’ll deal with it from there.
Q: Which hamstring is it?
Q: Can you talk about Scott Chandler and what you’re seeing from him coming back from his knee injury?
A: I’m excited. I said it before when he first came back, he had some early success and I think that’s one of the most important things for someone coming back off injury and I just think that we feel we can get a lot out of Scott (Chandler) in this preseason and this camp as long as we manage him correctly which we’re trying to do. We had the scheduled day off, we’re working reps in during practice, we’ll take him out and get him treated a little bit early and just keep working that way so we can have him play during the season.
Q: Would a serious injury to Stevie (Johnson) be more concerning considering how young you are around him at that position?
A: One, I don’t know how serious it is first. No, again I'm probably a little bit different. I look at it as an opportunity to get those younger guys more reps.
Q: Any comment on Kyle Williams being worked back in to drills?
A: Kyle Williams has picked it up quite a bit. I think you’ve seen that today. When a player comes back and he goes, we’re going to work him in that way. We’re not just going to throw him in there. So you see Kyle’s workload is increasing and he looked very good out there today.
Q: So he’s on a steady incline?
A: Absolutely. Yes.
Q: Kiko Alonso is a guy is that you’ve thrown a lot at. Can you comment at his progress so far?
A: We’re excited. He’s doing everything. He’s a three-down linebacker; he’s on our teams. Again there will be a point where we start talking to those players about their structure and making sure they’re taking care of their bodies. A lot of times with first-year players, people always said this, you hit a wall somewhere along the line. We might have some of those young guys playing for us, so we can’t afford that happening to them.
Q: Any update on Mario (Williams)?
A: It’s getting closer. It’s getting closer. A little bit more today. He did, he’s going out there, going through the walk-through. Now we’re just waiting for the doctor to release him and then he’ll be going out there. We’ll probably bring him back the same way as Kyle.
Q: How much does the quality of the hold factor in to the evaluation of the kickers?
A: It absolutely does. Everything, the quality of the snap at that time and the hold, factors in to it. We’re smart about it; obviously you have an old vet. We don’t look at that and judge that. It’s not counted as highly.
Q: Coach you mentioned that you haven’t seen much separation at left guard. You said you may add somebody to that competition. Have you decided if someone else will see some reps?
A: We might put someone else over there or not, but again I'm trying to get as many reps in with those two right now. Those are the best candidates we have for the position right now.
Q: Drew Smith is the only player you have listed in at fullback. How do you see him fitting in, if at all?
A: Well we also have Frank Summers listed in at the fullback. Again, I think the one part about that position is we look at it and what they’re doing now with the work they get out there, but a critical part of that evaluation will be the short yardage and goal line.
QB Kevin Kolb
Training Camp — August 2, 2013
Q: How did you feel out there?
A: I thought it was a real good practice. We started off a little bit slow, but Coach got on us a little bit. We picked up the juices, kicked it in a second gear and started executing pretty well those last three team periods.
Q: Was that during that little, big kind of offensive huddle earlier on?
A: Coming off a long day of rest that usually happens. It’s the coaches and the vets and us as a whole unit making sure we address it and we did that. We made some adjustments so it was good.
Q: That throw to T.J. (Graham) in the back of the end zone was a touch pass, right?
A: T.J. (Graham) did a good job of selling it. That’s the thing about tempo. You get the defense thinking and they overacted to the run and we were able to sneak it in behind him. That was one that I think kind of propelled us into getting our rhythm going there and scoring some more touchdowns as practice went on.
Q: On the touchdown to Robert Woods, did you elude the blitz?
A: Yeah. They kicked the coverage over so I went one on one back side and then got into a little bit of a scramble mode. It was nice to finish a two-minute drive, not only with that play but then the plays with the twos there at the end. That was big for us. We have been making some two-minute adjustments and trying to get better at that, so it was a good day.
Q: You had two chest bumps with the offensive coordinator (Nathaniel Hackett) in six plays there.
A: I want some pictures to see how high he got. That’s one thing that he brings. He brings some energy. We are out there having fun. Touchdowns are fun, so we’ll keep doing it.
Q: Coach Hackett is only 33, so you are pretty close in age. How unique is it to have a coach that is almost one of your contemporaries?
A: It is a lot different. But I respect his knowledge of his game. I think that’s one thing that Nate (Hackett) has that allows him to be so good at a young age. He grew up in it with his dad. He has been here before. He coached at the NFL level for a lot of years. And really whenever you’re a quality control (coach) and you’re a position coach you really see the nuts and bolts of how an offense is put together. And you say, okay I’m not going to do that. I’m going to do that. And here’s how the players react to it. I get to see the players’ reactions as well where an OC or a head coach doesn’t always see that. So I think Nate was always putting those feathers in his hat. And when you sit-down with the guy, he is just very knowledgeable. I’ve been around a lot of good coaches. I’ve been around some good offenses and he still amazes me every day with the stuff he has. It’s fun to play for him. I look forward to the year, playing for him this year and hopefully we put up some points and have some more fun.
Q: How do you think EJ (Manuel) has handled himself so far?
A: Great. I think he has done an amazing job. He works hard. He studies.
Q: He doesn’t really look like a clueless rookie.
A: No, he really doesn’t have that look in his eye at all. The thing that I like about him is that he doesn’t have pride as far as if he doesn’t know something, he asks the questions. A lot of times people don’t do that. Players don’t do that because they want to look smarter than what they are. He’s not afraid to put himself out there and be vulnerable and that’s how you learn fast and get better every day. So I commend him for that.
Q: How do you feel about your growth so far?
A: I felt like every practice has gotten better for me. I feel more comfortable with the play calls, the footwork. There’s always going to be a little bit of rust when you come into training camp but today was by far not only my best day but I think as an offense those last three or four team periods, we looked as smooth as we have so far.
Q: How much does that attitude with EJ help the competition?
A: It helps everybody. It helps our team, it helps me, it helps him, and it helps the coaching staff. So, I didn’t first see that being a problem and it never has been in any other competition I’ve been in. We’ll work friendly together but also compete and see who gets the job.
Q: Are you guys finally getting a little accustomed to all the stuff the defense is throwing at you?
A: I think that’s part of it. We definitely had a lot less communication today, needed a lot less communication today when they start bringing all the little guys and (Mike) Pettine starts giving all those different looks, which was nice. Guys knew how we were handling every blitz and part of that came with Nate changing some stuff up on offense. But also I think that guys need to realize that that may be our style of offense. When you go back and look at Syracuse, and you watch them over the last two or three years, their second half was twice as much scoring and yardage as their first half. That may be how this thing goes. We want to start fast. We want to get that first, first down and get the flow going. But we are going to wear people down with that tempo and with our aggression. There are probably a few other games and scenarios where that will happen.
Q: So it’s almost like we may take a couple of negative plays in the first halves of games, but as the games wear on, we’re probably going to get the best of you.
A: Well, I just don’t think you want that to affect you or kill morale knowing that we’re wearing them down and we can see them getting tired and we know that as an offense. When those guys start huffing and puffing and they need to chase the ball, we feel that and we start picking it up, picking it up, picking it up. That’s when the runs start really busting and that what really opens the offense up.
Q: What do you think of Stephon Gilmore?
A: I like Stephon (Gilmore) a lot. The thing that I think he brings is his physical toughness. On the line, he’s going to switch it up. He’s going to back off you, he’s going to read the QB’s eyes and footwork. But he’s also going to get in there and get his hands on somebody when he needs to. I played with Sheldon Brown who is a mentor of his. And I know he idolizes his game. And Sheldon was an unbelievable player when I was with him on the Eagles. I feel like that Gilmore really takes some of his techniques and brings them to his game. It’s exciting to watch him play and he’s obviously very talented as well so he can mix both of those. He’ll be a great player.
Q: What did you see on that play when you made the pass to Stevie (Johnson) to beat Stephon?
A: Stephon made an unbelievable adjustment. He played him on the top shoulder, which you want. That back shoulder fade is becoming more prevalent in the NFL. Stevie (Johnson) did a good job widening it for me and that kind of tells me here’s where I’m expecting it. And it was good chemistry. And it’s good to see from an offensive standpoint that we’re starting to feel those types of things.
Q: How tough was it to see Stevie go down like that?
A: Of course, yeah. I saw it as soon as it happened. My eyes were on him because the ball was pre-snap, I thought it was going there. Not even sure, haven’t been in the training room to see what’s going on. But I want as much work with Stevie as I can possibly get.
QB E.J. Manuel
Training Camp — August 2, 2013
Q: Was that a nice way to end the day?
A: Yeah, I gave Marquise (Goodwin) an opportunity to go down and make a catch. It was a two-minute drill. I think it was 4th and 8. Marquise did a good job stare, stacking the DB, gave himself a chance to catch the ball and score a touchdown.
Q: Did you try to look him off at all?
A: Yeah, you always have to do that stuff, but Marquise is fast. He displayed his speed right there. He made a play and I’m still happy about it.
Q: Did you enjoy watching Coach Hackett running down the field after the play?
A: Oh, I love it. Anytime your OC gets just as excited as the guys and the players, that makes you feel great.
Q: Because Coach Hackett is so young in age and you are closer in age, do you have a different type of relationship with him?
A: There’s still that respect that he’s your coach, your offensive coordinator but like you said he is younger so he is a little more hip to things that a guy my age might know about, like the music or current events. But other than that he’s still my coach and I still give him that respect.
Q: When you’re in the room with Coach Hackett, where are the conversations gravitating towards in terms of your personal game.
A: We just critique whatever we see on film, whether it’s good or bad. Obviously he doesn’t hold anything back. He tells you what you did well and what you need to fix. I just jot everything down that he says so I don’t make that same mistake twice.
Q: So far, how has camp gone for you?
A: I feel great. I think I’ve done well. The biggest thing for me like I said last week is continuing to be consistent, continue to build on what we did as a team these last five days in practice. Each day is a new day for me, and continue to get better.
Q: How do you think you’ve been able to handle the exotic blitzes so far?
A: I thought we’ve done well as an offense overall. I think the line has done a great job protecting and also communicating with me or me communicating with them, however it goes. We have a great back and forth so that we’re able to pick up those protections and blitzes and still get the ball off.
Q: Coming off a day off, how do you think you guys did today overall?
A: I was proud of how we came out. Not at first because I felt like we came out a little sluggish. But we picked it up right after that first period. I think we played to our level of where we can be as a team. Our defense did great job and obviously those guys are good too. But I think we can do better as an offense than we did. Later on in practice after that first team period, we did a great job in the second half.
Q: Why were you able to have success in the red zone today?
A: You just have to be on time. That’s the biggest thing. Obviously things happen a lot quicker in the red zone. It was our first day we did some of those red zone plays so obviously you’re going to have some mishaps whether it is as at the quarterback position, wide receiver position or line position. I felt we came out and did well. We executed like Coach Hackett wanted us to.
Q: Do you feel like with this offense, you may be able to scramble and keep the defense honest by doing that?
A: Most definitely. I feel like if the play isn’t open down field, you can drop the ball off to C.J. (Spiller) or Fred (Jackson) or Tashard (Choice). All of those guys can make great plays, so that’s the great part about having great talent on offensive positions.
Q: When it comes to those blitzes and pressures, how much of it is time and experience in the field?
A: I would say 80-percent of it is just continuing to get rips, continuing to see those looks, continuing to be in that fire, I like to say. The more you can handle it, the better you can show coach you can handle it in the real game.