PITTSFORD, NY (WKBW/Bills Release) - Read the quotes from Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone and QB's EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel following Friday night's practice at St. John Fisher College.
Courtesy Buffalo Bills:
Head Coach Doug Marrone
Training Camp — August 9, 2013
I thought we had good work today, two days before the game. We just have to keep working and pushing. Tomorrow we’ll start working on walk-throughs and things like that. We’ll start working on Indy and the game plan towards that and just go down there and play. So we’re excited.
Q: Have you made a decision on the quarterback?
A: Absolutely. I think we all know, Kevin (Kolb) has been gone for a couple of days and coming off an injury. We’re just working him back in. We’re going to dress him for the game, but EJ (Manuel) will start the game. He’ll get in there, play and we’ll probably put Jeff (Tuel) in there too.
Q: Have you decided on a snap count for EJ?
A: Well one of the things, and I’m big on this and that’s why I’ve always felt when I talk to the team, which I did already, if you’re healthy, you have to be ready to play the whole game. And the reason why I say that is because I’ve been through this quite a bit. Sometimes you have injuries during the game and if you told a player you’re only playing this amount of time and you put him back in there, his mindset is a little bit different. He’d have a chance to get injured if he’s not mentally prepared to go in there. I talked to the team today and I said ‘Listen, here’s what we’re going to do. If you’re healthy, in your mind, you’re prepared to play the whole game.’ And that’s how you have to look at it until I take you out. I think the injured players, the guys that are coming back that have been limited, we’ll go ahead and just work them in and just see how they feel before, and then we’ll try to put them on what I call a pitch count.
Q: So players like Kevin Kolb and Leodis McKelvin will be limited?
A: Well, I can tell you right now that Leodis will be out. He’s not going to play.
Q: What would you like to see out of EJ Manuel on Sunday?
A: What I’d like to see out of EJ and the rest of the players, I’d like to see them go out there and be very competitive. Go out there and win a game.
Q: Do you expect to play Mario Williams and Kevin Kolb?
A: Right now, we’re relying a lot on how they feel during warm-ups. I would like to get pitch count on them and see. If they’re not ready, we’re going to be smart about what we do with our players.
Q: Are you looking for a quarter or a half from EJ or Jeff Tuel?
A: I think I’m going to stick with the same statement. I really believe that. All of our players that are healthy are prepared to play the whole game. Now, is that going to happen? I can’t say yes or no because I don’t want to put my players in a position of injury. EJ is going to start the game. Jeff is going to play in the game but I can’t tell you how long each one is.
Q: Where is Kevin Kolb’s health?
A: The travel I think makes you a little sore. Not having the treatment for a couple days because of the personal issue, I think that it’s a little tight. I think that if we wanted to push it, he can go out there and play if we wanted to make that decision. But that wouldn’t be in the best interest of player safety. He is going to dress. He is going to be there. Knock on wood, if we don’t need the third quarterback. If we do need one, obviously he’ll just be handing the ball of and not put him in jeopardy because we’re going to have a third quarterback ready for the season, but we don’t want to show that package right now. And we haven’t been able to prepare for it right now.
Q: What was your assessment as to how Manuel looked tonight?
A: EJ is doing fine. He makes mistakes just like veteran guys make mistakes. But the difference between him is he rarely makes the mistake twice and he comes back and whatever mistake he has made the day before, he has shown he has been able to go out there and not make the same mistake. And I think that’s the quality that we’re looking for. You’re going out here every day and you’re competing and I think he has done a very good job. I’m very pleased with him and I’m very pleased with Jeff (Tuel).
Q: Being a first-round draft pick, are you excited to see EJ in his first game?
A: I get excited about all the players, really, because I’ve never seen any of them play live except in a scrimmage. I’m a big believer in, hey, production in what they do…Again, it’s how you produce when the lights are on and you’re down on that field. That probably gets weighed a little bit more, but it’s not the end all. I think we look at the whole body of work. I’ve never seen how the team prepares to play before a game and stuff like that. I’ll be interested in that. I’ve never really worked on the sideline with them before. But again, I think that’s the great thing about pre-season. You get the opportunity to do that, to get a sense of what the sideline is like, what the locker room is like. Things like that are what I’m looking for. How they warm-up, how they come out and play and then how I can help them get better.
Q: Does Kyle Williams fall into the pitch-count category?
A: Yes. Any player that’s coming off an injury that’s going to be playing will be on some type of pitch count depending upon how he feels.
Q: Is Brad Smith going to play?
A: He’s not going to play.
Q: You brought up Leodis McKelvin missing practices. Is it something to do with his surgery from this offseason?
A: No, it’s actually not. Doesn’t have anything to do with the surgery. It’s actually the opposite situation for him as far as that. At first it was just sore and then he didn’t get rid of the soreness, so he saw the doctor tonight and again it’ll just be an evaluation process until we hear from the doctors.
Q: What is the specific injury?
A: The groin.
Q: I know it is just preseason, but it has to be special for you as well on Sunday being on the sidelines for your first game as a head coach?
A: I really don’t even think of that to be honest with you. I really don’t. I'm a little different type of guy, I told you guys that before. I'm more concerned with doing the best job I can, working the game management situations through my mind, getting the players ready to play, getting out there and really evaluating. Watching them, watching the coaches, we’ll be on the phones. we’ll be doing all of that stuff really for the first time. That’s what’s going to be on my mind, not the fact that we’re out there, things like that.
Q: Was there any reasoning for Kevin Kolb going in early?
A: Just trying to give him as much treatment as possible because we’re going to take him. I was a little concerned about getting him on a plane again because he just came off a plane, so we’re just making sure we get as much treatment as possible.
Q: Your first regular season game will be against the Patriots. Can you talk about that magnitude of that game?
A: Honestly, I have not even thought about it. Right now we’re going day by day. We don’t have the roster set, on who are going to be the 53 that are out here competing. We have a lot more work to do; we have a lot of preseason games ahead of us. Right now I'm concentrating on getting this team ready and going to Indianapolis.
Q: Does the fact that rookie quarterbacks had so much success last year put more pressure on EJ Manuel?
A: I think pressure is what you put on yourself, no matter who you are. That’s probably a better question for them. I think if you’re a competitor, which all these players are, I think they put a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves to go out there and perform. A lot of times it’s how they handle adversity. That’s a big thing because now it gets stepped up quite a bit. You get in there in practices and guys might write reports on practices and things like that. I’m sure those players see it and they look at that and they come back the next day and go. Now you’re going in to a game-like atmosphere, you’re going to have a lot more critics just the same way you would have a lot more praise. You’ve got to be able to handle that.
QB EJ Manuel
Training Camp — August 9, 2013
Q: Can you comment on making your first start here in the preseason?
A: Yup, very excited. We’ve worked out very hard these past two weeks. I know we’re going to be very excited to play a different team. Not playing against our own defense and our defense playing against us, so I’m looking forward to it.
Q: What were your thoughts after going through the scrimmage and seeing live action like that?
A: I think it’s to relax. Go play football and do what you’ve been coached. There’s no difference, obviously it picked up as far as speed and whatnot, but that had nothing to do with how I played. So I feel the biggest thing was just go out and relax and play football.
Q: Will it feel good to throw the ball against somebody else after seeing the same guys out there?
A: Right, definitely getting some base looks and things, our defense does a lot of different things, so actually watching film of a different team, you kind of get back to seeing the normal football looks you see from a defense, so that will be nice.
Q: Their defense comes from a Baltimore background as well. Their looks might not be totally foreign to what you’ve been seeing. Have you thought about that?
A: I haven’t really thought about it, but going against our defense, seeing all types of looks and still having to declare the Mikes and get protections correct. If you can still do it against our guys, like I’ve said before, it should be fine.
Q: As much as you want to make some highlight plays, this first game is more about getting the offense running smoothly right?
A: Yeah, just have a smooth operation. Do what we’ve been practicing all week.
Q: Have you been told how much action you will get?
A: I haven’t yet, no.
Q: What would be a successful night for you?
A: I would love to win the game; I don’t know how much I’ll play, if I’ll play the whole game or whatever. I would love to win so to me that would be a great night.
Q: Do you have any goals or targets for the game?
A: No, I haven’t set any goals.
Q: What’s the thing that’s surprised you the most about the NFL that you didn’t realize?
A: The coaches really like for you to take care of your body. Whereas in college, you have two a days and things like that. I think the things they implement with the CBA and things like that, you’re able to take care of your body as a professional.
Q: You know Andrew Luck; do you remain close to him at all?
A: I haven’t talked to him much, I talked to him I think last time was maybe a summer ago at the Manning camp. I’ve known Luck since probably 11th grade in high school. Great competitor, great quarterback, so it’ll be good to see him.
Q: Do you plan to pick his brain at all?
A: No I’ll just focus on the game.
Q: What about Bjoern Werner? You think he’ll be excited to try and sack you?
A: Haven’t talked to Bjoern since the rookie premiere. I’m sure he’ll be licking his chops if he gets the chance.
Q: What qualities do you think will make you successful in the NFL?
A: Just be consistent. Get your offense in the correct positions, get those guys able to make plays and allow them to make plays. That’s it.
Q: How excited are you?
A: It’s a dream come true. Every day is a new day for me and like I’ve said, I just want to get better each day, so just go out there and get my first game action and I’ll be excited.
Q: What are you going to feel when you go to take that first snap?
A: I’m not sure yet, you can’t say.
Q: Who was your idol growing up?
A: My idol growing up was my father. I look up to my Dad immensely; he’s a passionate guy in my life. Huge example for me. I would say my Dad is my biggest role model.
QB Jeff Tuel
Training Camp – August 9, 2013
Q: Your role has pretty much changed heading into your first preseason game. What do you think about that?
A: It’s exciting having a lot of fun out here. I’m just really taking it a day at a time and getting better a day at a time so when I get in there I can execute at a high level.
Q: How has your outlook changed now that you’re taking reps with the second team?
A: Honestly, not much at all. No matter what time of the game you’re going in or with what squad, you’re going to go in and do your best to perform and put points on the board. I prepare the same way as I would if I was the third string or fourth string, whatever the guys. I think that’s important to do.
Q: What does it mean getting so many snaps in the preseason game?
A: It means a ton going from an undrafted free agent to have the opportunity to go out there and get reps with the second squad and get a lot of snaps. It’s just a blessing and I thank God for it. I’m looking forward to it.
Q: Can you talk about your preparedness for the game after practicing so much this week?
A: I feel really good. The receivers have done a phenomenal job. The offensive line has too. Like I said, I want to get better every day. I definitely feel a lot more comfortable from this week. I feel good.
Q: Describe your relationship with EJ Manuel and Kevin Kolb?
A: It’s great. Our quarterback room is awesome. Kevin is kind of the mediator, he calls himself. He relays what EJ and I are going through to Coach Hackett, because he was a rookie too. Sometimes you know how Coach Hackett is. He really gets into it. It really works out well and I love the quarterback room.