PITTSFORD, NY - (WKBW/Bills Press Release) Below are quotes from members of the Bills following their second practice of Training Camp 2013:
Head Coach Doug Marrone
Training Camp — July 29, 2013
Q: Can you update us on Mario (Williams)?
A: I apologize if I miscommunicated yesterday that he was going to be evaluated by our doctors. He’s off-campus being evaluated and I have not heard any report yet back. I tend to get a little nervous of what I’m allowed to say. I’d give you guys as much information as I possibly can and I don’t want to start off in a bad time. It’s really the same thing. His foot was sore. We’re not going to make any mistakes about. We’re going to make sure that everything’s fine and just start evaluating it. Where he is and where he goes, I’m not going to talk about that.
Q: Since he is off-campus, does that indicate it could be something more substantial than just a minor injury?
A: I don’t know. Every time I go to the doctor, there is always something that can happen. I’d leave it up to the layman to put their opinion on it.
Q: What’s your opinion on it?
A: Just like anybody else. If someone else’s foot was sore or someone else was injured, they’d get evaluated and then the doctor tells me and I’d either put him on the field when the doctor says he’s cleared or the doctor says he’s not cleared and he’s off the field. I don’t really try to concentrate too much on that. I’ll try to do a much better job with injuries and things like that. You guys have to remember, and I hope you appreciate where I’m at, my focus is on the players that are on the field. That’s what my main focus needs to be and my concern. That doesn’t mean I’m heartless or have no empathy towards people. I obviously do. But the people that are here, I have to get them ready.
I, really guys, just so you know me, because I know we don’t know each other a lot. I just basically ask the doctor when is he coming back or do we have him for practice. And really that’s all I do. Whether that’s a mistake on my part, that is up for discussion with everyone else. That’s just the way I do it. I’m not a doctor so I’m never going to sit here and try to explain something to you guys that I have no clue about. The only thing I can tell you is, when the doctor tells me how long he’s out, I will tell you. I just know it’s that part of your body that is injured or something goes wrong. I hope that you can appreciate that. I’m sorry that I am that way if it offends anyone and I can’t give you more information. But that’s the way I’ve dealt with injuries my whole life as a coach and a player.
Q: Is there a timetable for him to return?
A: I think it’s the same thing. When the doctor tells us exactly what’s going on, believe me, I’m sure, you will be the fourth or fifth person to know. Mario (Williams), the doctor, our trainers, Russ (Brandon), Doug (Whaley), me, Scott (Berchtold), you. There you go. Eight. You guys are eight on the list.
Q: You seem surprised about this. Did this come up suddenly?
A: We were all ready to go and when something like this happens, you go out there for the first time and sometimes you’re sore and sometimes we’ve been fortunate the past two days in practice. We’ve come out healthy from my terms. It might not be for someone else. We have some soreness.
Q: Do you know which foot it is?
A: I still don’t know what foot it is.
Q: How did it happen?
A: I just think it was sore. I think whenever you have soreness, did you ever wake up in the morning and feel sore. I don’t know if you can pinpoint a certain time. I wake up sore every day, so I’d be on the injury report every day.
Q: Is there any chance he’ll be placed on PUP?
A: I have no idea, I really don’t. I’m waiting for the doctors to get down that chain until it gets to me. I hope not.
Q: How did you think the team looked offensively today?
A: Today we hit some plays and got in some gaps. But again I think it’s very difficult when you go out there and you’re evaluating. You’re going to see a big play, but you’re also going to see a big play on defense. It’s very difficult to say who had the better day, or who didn’t, when you’re looking at things. I think that today was probably pretty close. There were some plays that the defense made and some plays the offense made. I’m looking forward now to transitioning to the pads. I really am for our players because I think that there’s still a type of etiquette on the field as far as being a professional player that when you get out there, there is an acclimation period. We’re not asking them. We’re trying to do all the things kind of like teach it like we were in the OTAs for player safety, which is the number one priority for us. But I think the mindset changes a little bit when you put pads and a helmet on because now you’re not as worried. You still want them off the ground but I think that you don’t worry about getting shoulders in there and I’m excited about putting the pads on.
Q: What do you think of the defensive scheme?
A: I think you have a defensive scheme of all different types of pressure and zone coverages. Many different types of coverages. You guys have seen the defense before. When you want to do that, and I’m going to try to explain this the best I can, when you look at the history of the defense, there has really only been one offense that has done well with it. And some of that is because that defense comes in and throws so much stuff at you that you can’t really build a foundation from a standpoint where you can put that foundation in to a zone and man and all the different things you’re going to see. And I think a great part about the staff is that we understood that and we understand that and that we work together to make sure we’re getting all the certain looks and building a foundation. Then when we go into the scrimmage situation, sometimes we have to run a play against a defense we wouldn’t normally run. We get caught. For us, I think it’s a good working environment. I think in the long run, I think it helps you. I think when you look at the league now, it’s multiple each week. You can play a team that’s a two-man team, a team that plays the same front and a couple different kinds of coverages, the multiple teams. And what it does, being an offense coach at this level, it builds up the anxiety levels of the players. And in training camp you see the same defense each and every day that’s not as multiple. All of a sudden you worry on offense how you’re going to react to that adversity, what you’re going to do. It’s like a catch-22. We’re seeing a lot of things, so during the course of the year you’re going to see a lot of things. So you might as well see them now and get used to it now.
Q: Do you set a certain script as to what you are going to do in practice?
A: There’s been times, the script thing, it’d be a great story. I could tell you guys some really good stories. I’ve got some stories of offensively we would put in a script and I was a coach and then that script cost the defense. And then you’re accusing the defense that they’re looking at our script and what we’re running. And the defense says the same thing. We don’t have that here. We really don’t. I’m laughing because I can tell you stories. Sometimes there were two scripts. The offense would get one script. The defense would get another. It was crazy.
Q: What value do you play on Brad Smith and his versatility? Is he just a receiver?
A: For us right now, yes. But he’s a core special team’s player for and does it very well. We look at him as a receiver trying to get himself slotted wherever that may be at the end of the day competing for a position. And we feel that he has shown some very good progress having just been in one position. But the more I’ve talked to Brad (Smith) about the different places he has been, quarterback, whatever it may be. For us, right now our plan is just go ahead and compete at receiver. Obviously be a core special team’s player. And that’s his role on our team right now. No different than the other players.
Q: Can you talk about the competition behind Stevie Johnson?
A: I think it changes drastically. I think there’s a difference. On the outside, we have guys that have the speed. With (T.J.) Graham on the outside, (Marquise) Goodwin can go play on the outside, we have some younger guys that can go on the outside with some speed. And they can run the fades and you guys have seen them run the go routes or whatever you want to call them. But it’s a little bit different when to me I kind of value who is going over the middle. I think that Stevie (Johnson) has proven that he can go in there and get that. Brad has done a nice of job of that. I think Robert Woods in his (college) career has done a nice job of that. Now he has to do it at this level. I think basically what we are looking for is that type of consistency at that position. And I feel very comfortable with Ike Hilliard coaching them. He’s done an outstanding job with them. I’ve seen the progress. We’ve got a lot of young guys out there that are really progressing well and now it’s a matter of being consistent.
Q: Have your players commented to you on the new league rule about pads?
A: No. I think our players know that I can’t do anything about it so I don’t think they’re going to say anything to me.
Q: What position do you consider Dorin Dickerson?
A: He was in that hybrid situations and he can really run well. At first you say, oh gosh, I’ve seen him play receiver in college, so I’ve seen him do that. So I said we’ll throw him out there. He’s big, strong and can run. And then we had him out there and then he actually came to us. And I think it was a problem of trying to get the weight down and that he needed to be able to be faster to play the position or get in and out of cuts is probably a better way to explain it. He didn’t mention that to me but he said I really want to play tight end and I think you are trying to give the players the best chance to make the team. If he feels, and I don’t disagree with him after seeing him at wide receiver, that the best position for him to be at is the tight end position. But I think that he’s an interesting player because I think now that we trained him as a receiver and trained him as a tight end that can help us down the road if he plays well during camp.
Q: What did you see out of your quarterbacks?
A: I probably saw a little bit more production than I saw yesterday. A couple reads. I thought both quarterbacks had very good one-on-ones against the DBs. I think in the teams they saw something a little bit and then I saw them miss some things. I think Kevin (Kolb) is seeing more of the exotic stuff from our defense. We’ll bring in EJ (Manuel) and gave him a little more reps today but we’re careful with what we’re showing him. EJ is in a pretty decent position. We throw Kevin out there and Kevin’s going in there and seeing everything for the first time. And EJ is able to sit back there and look at it. Now we’ve got to start stepping him up in those situations too.
Q: How many quarterbacks will you have on the roster?
A: I’d say minimum two, maximum three. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that to say it all depends how they play. But the minimum would be two on the roster and the maximum would be three. And there’s always a chance of keeping one on the practice squad. I think there are a lot of options there.
Q: With Mario out, who on defense has stood out?
A: I’m excited for when the pads come on. It is more power versus power. I think Jerry Hughes has done a lot of good things, I’ve seen that out there. He’s quick change of direction, done some nice things. Jamie Blatnick has done some good things. Kourtnei Brown has really done better than what he did in the OTAs. I saw him make a couple plays today. And I think that’s what happens. You get an opportunity and it gives us more snaps to evaluate those players. I was happy with the way those guys have stepped up.
QB Kevin Kolb
Training Camp — July 29, 2013
Q: What’s your thought on the fact that you get everything but the kitchen sink and the rookie gets it a little bit easier from the defense?
A: I’m not paying attention to who gets what. It’s just a learning curve for all of us. Seeing we all know what our defense brings. They bring a lot of different looks. They got us a few times today in that third-down period; got me a few times I should say. They mix it up well, so it’s a lot of stuff to look at. But it helps you down the road and I’m glad I get to see it now rather than being surprised by it in the season.
Q: Is it difficult at this stage in your career to be in a quarterback competition?
A: No, I’m just used to it. I think besides the few that are just drafted somewhere, franchise guys for a long time, I would say that 90 percent of the quarterbacks have to do what I’m doing. You’re continually competing, so it’s just something we get used to. I think really in this day and age because it’s a now business, you have one bad year, you have one bad preseason, whatever it is, things start to happen. So everybody is competing everyday. You can ask anybody, even midseason practice you’re still competing. So, nothing new for me, nothing new for this position or in the NFL.
Q: How do you block out the pressure or how does it not weigh on you?
A: I guess just because I’ve done it a lot and I’ve seen it, really the pressure, just holds you down. Putting that pressure on yourself and worrying about it holds you down. The good Lord himself says not to worry, so I lean on him a little bit and just keep rolling.
Q: What’s the interaction between you and the wide receiver group been like?
A: I really like our receiving corps. I really do. I like the way that they’re receptive. I like that they come to me with things. There’s just a very good communication level, not just with me, but with the other quarterbacks and I know he (Coach Marrone) was commenting on the young guys and I’ve commented on them before, but I’m very impressed with the way these young guys are coming along as well. Both these guys, and the rest of them, can really play and they’ll be a huge asset for us down the road.
Q: In addition to timing, how will you understand their individual tendencies to how they approach different routes?
A: I’m learning every day. Stevie (Johnson) and I had one today, we missed it early in practice, came back and hit it in the team (period) late in the practice. Then there’s one I threw it at his feet, where I’ve now gone back with coach and we’ve discussed something where now with how Stevie runs the route, let’s change some things of my footwork up for him because now I know how he’s going to run it. That stuff is ever evolving and that’s exciting because you get a feel for your guy. You know what you can expect. Y’all have seen Stevie, he’s a very special player, very talented and very special, so we have to… Me personally, I’ve never played with a guy like him before, so I’ve got to change up my footwork here and there, my thought process, throwing to him sometimes because he’s such a special player.
Q: Because he’s pretty unorthodox?
A: Yeah, exactly. That’s why he beats a lot of guys, too, though. My confidence level with him is through the roof. I know he’s going to win, I do, I know he’s going to win inside, so I trust him. Now its just a matter of getting my feet right there with my mind and putting all those in the same pattern so we can be right on stride every time.
Q: How would you rate Robert Woods as far as other rookie receivers you’ve seen?
A: Stud. Legitimately a stud. I relied on him a lot the last two days and really through camp. What I’ve seen from him, I’ve been with some really good rookie receivers, some really good ones. DeSean (Jackson) came on the scene fast when I was in Philly and I remember some other guys and I’m really impressed with the way he approaches. Not just his talent, and the kid can run better than I think anyone gives him credit for, and his approach to the game for a rookie and a high draft pick and being a receiver and all of those things that go in to it. He really has an open mind and wants to learn. And he’s a “my bad” type of guy which is the kind you want out there playing for you.
QB EJ Manuel
Training Camp — July 29, 2013
Q: What has your interaction been like with the receiving group?
A: During practice? Sometimes I’ll ask them what they saw or they’ll ask me what I saw. I think that’s pretty much the biggest thing, just asking. Making sure we’re both on the same page, whether it was a good or a bad play, we just try to go back and review and make sure we’re on the same page.
Q: Were you nervous at all to open training camp?
A: No, I think it was more so just being excited to go out and practice. I wouldn’t say any nerves.
Q: Is there any part of this process that overwhelms you?
A: No sir.
Q: Have you seen how excited the fans are?
A: Yeah, definitely. That makes you feel great, one as a player and also being new to the franchise and everybody is very inviting and seeing your jersey out in the stands and seeing so many people at practice. Obviously in college we had closed practices all the time, so being in the NFL that’s a new part about it, so getting used to that. They cheering for us when we just walking or going through the tunnel or going to the other side of the field. That parts pretty cool.
Q: Is it a lot of pressure that not only are they excited, but the expect a lot out of you?
A: No sir.
Q: It’s only been a couple of days, but have you felt any difference between camp and the OTA’s?
A: I feel a lot more comfortable. I understand my protections, been going over that a lot during the offseason and also now with Coach Hackett. Just going over all the playbook, I feel that I have a better grasp on (the playbook) than I did in the OTA’s.
Q: Do you ask for advice from Kevin (Kolb)?
A: Yeah, like you said, I ask him questions and just to be exact on certain things. Even, he’s had, I think he’s been in the league for six, more than five years I know, so he has a lot of experience, so I ask him questions. Just how do you prepare for a practice and things like that.
Q: What are you focused on during camp? Just trying to improve?
A: That’s my main goal. Try to get better everyday.
Q: Do you think you did?
A: I think so.
Q: Good you give any example where?
A: Can’t really point out one thing.
Q: Kevin has seen a lot of blitzes and different looks in camp and you haven’t really seen that so far. Are you anxious to see that?
A: Sure. Whatever defense they throw at me I adjust to be prepared for it.
Q: Talk about your progression and if you’re on schedule for what you expected?
A: Well like I said my goal is just to get better everyday. For my team and my teammates, just get better everyday, so that’s what I try to stick to.
Q: I know it’s only been two days, but have you seen a difference so far between college and the NFL?
A: Like I said before in the OTA’s, nobody makes mistake on the field or there’s very minimal mistakes on defense, so as a quarterback you have to be on time with all of your thought processes.
Q: How do you get the timing down and knowing the tendencies of each of your receivers?
A: When we’re doing routes on air, you just want to take that time and try to have game speed to see how those guys will run a go or run a comeback or run daggers, things like that. Try to take those time, those drills when you’re not going against a defense and just try to make them as game like as possible.
Q: Have you developed those tendencies with any of the guys out there?
A: Yeah, I would say all of them. All the guys are fairly young and Brad (Smith)’s a guy who’s a little older, but he’s still right there with the bunch. I think I’ve gotten along great with all those guys and even outside of the field.
Q: Do you feel comfortable being a leader with this group in the huddle, despite being a rookie?
A: Most definitely.
Q: What kind of progress do you have to make in earning their trust?
A: I think the biggest thing off the field, is just being accountable, be accountable, be on time to meetings and all that kind of stuff. You don’t want to be the guy who’s late, things like that. You’re the quarterback; you don’t have time to do that. Then also, just produce. That’s really all you can do. Don’t do a lot of talking, enunciate when you’re calling the plays and things like that, but just go out there and produce, make plays, that’s all you can ask.
Q: Do you feel you are there?
A: Most definitely. I think the guys all get really excited when we make plays.
DT Kyle Williams
Training Camp — July 29, 2013
Q: Where are you at in your recovery process?
A: Just getting explosion back and just working. I’m excited to be moving up and know that I’m getting better, rather than trying to maintain or feeling worse. It’s been that way for a long time, so I’m excited for looking up.
Q: Do you feel like you’re that far away?
A: No, I’m not far. There’s just kind of this last little hurdle. It was the same thing with the last one, so I feel like ill be there sooner rather than later.
Q: With Aaron Schobel gone and Chris Kelsay gone, do you ever feel like the last man standing here?
A: Well it’s obviously different. You get really close with those guys, but they were there, they were kind of in that position at one point. You always kind of adapt when you have new people coming in. You tend to gravitate to a guy and develop other relationships. I think we have special relationships. I hate to see them gone, but at the same time that’s the nature of this deal. You bond with your teammates, especially through getting out here and working and sweating and carrying on.
Q: Did you just slide in to a leadership role?
A: I think I’ve been there for a while. I don’t think I’ve slid in to it. I think its just kind of been there. I think early in my career, guys watched me and they saw how I worked and how I conducted my business. That earned respect and I was able to do it on the field. It’s just kind of been a natural progression that everyone has to go through. I feel like I’ve been there for a while.