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Doug Marrone: Sammy Watkins "a fearless player"

Posted Jul 21, 2014

Doug Marrone addresses the chemistry between Sammy Watkins and EJ Manuel, the improved play of Nigel Bradham, and the Marcell Dareus situation.

Head Coach Doug Marrone

Monday, July 21, 2014

Q: What happened when Sammy Watkins got banged up?

A: He got poked in the eye. That’s what he told me.

Q: Can you talk about the chemistry between Sammy and EJ [Manuel], especially on deep balls?

A: We brought him in here to do that and he’s done a really good job. He has. He’s made plays in this camp. You guys have seen it. We just need to make sure that we continue developing him. He’s going against good players. He’s working with the first team, so he’s going against our corners and all of our guys. He’s a good football player and I think it’s one that, you sit there and the guy is making plays. I think a lot of people are excited.

Q: Can you talk about the fearlessness Sammy displayed on the play in which he was injured?

A: He shows that. He’s made a very good career for himself, in college, being able to go over the middle. That’s always a big test when you get to this level to make sure you can come over the middle. He’s a fearless player and, again, at the same time you have to be smart when you do that.

Q: Was today evidence of chemistry developing between EJ and Sammy?

A: I think you sit there and you like to see that, but that’s going to be a time situation. I think there’s a lot of football to be played, a lot of preseason games and things like that. I think, over time, that’s what you like to see on a consistent basis. To have that chemistry, not just with one receiver, but with all the receivers that are out there on the field. That’s what you look to build up to and when you have a bunch of young guys on the field it takes a little longer, but that’s why I’m excited about us being in camp early.

Q: What is the status of Brandon Spikes?

A: Cramps. 

Q: Will he be back tomorrow?

A: I just know he has cramps right now. I’m 110 percent sure that I don’t know if he’ll be back tomorrow. I made that mistake before.

Q: What do you think of Nigel Bradham at outside linebacker?

A: Honestly, I think last year Nigel struggled at times with us. I saw a change, more of a commitment from him when we came back, which I give him a lot of credit for. He came back and really had solid OTAs and really played well. I think that when the situation happened with Kiko [Alonso], in talking with Jim [Schwartz], we’d been talking to Nigel for a while and how pleased we were with his play. We said, ‘Hey, you know what? We’ve got a guy here that’s been playing really well that’s a heck of an athlete that’s played and done some good things.’ I’m excited about him having that opportunity.

Q: Do you think Nigel is more comfortable in the 4-3 this year compared to the 3-4 last year?

A: I think that’s a tough question for me to answer. I’ve never spoken to him about that. He’s performing well now.

Q: What does T.J. Graham have to show you in this camp to stick on the roster?

A: Just that he can go ahead and play. And be better, be one of six or five or seven, however many we decided to keep to be in that top thing. I think that TJ’s worked hard and he has something that not a lot of people have, which is just the flat out speed. You just need to make plays. That’s what we’re looking for. And be consistent. He’s shown that at times and I’m looking forward to him having a great camp.

Q: What is your impression of Mario Williams thus far?

A: I spoke to Mario about this, but this is the happiest I’ve seen him. He’s energetic, running around, he looks great. He’s having fun and I couldn’t be more excited about where he is. Before, obviously last year he had the injury coming in. I think he feels good. I think it’s a good question for him. He’s running around, flying around, taking all the reps. It’s exciting because he’s a player, he’s a dominant type of player in this league. I know when I played against him, you’ve got to know where he is. He’s a matchup problem.

Q: Can you give us your thoughts on Aaron Williams going into year two as a safety?

A: Obviously, we’ve shown a commitment to him as an organization. I think that shows you that we feel that the sky is the limit for him.

Q: Where’s Marcell Dareus and what’s he trying to do to get into shape?

A: All the players reported to camp. At the present time, I’ve excused Marcell. He’s taking care of some personal stuff, but he’ll be like everyone else you’ve seen before, on the side training and getting ready to pass the physical.

Q: Marcell didn’t pass the physical?

A: He’s one of the players, not the only player, that didn’t pass the running test.

Q: When will he get an opportunity again?

A: When our weight coaches feel he’s ready.

Q: There’s not a specific date?

A: No. No. We’re not just going to put him out there every day. We’ll wait until our weight coaches say, ‘Hey, you know what, we’re ready to go and let’s go.’

Q: Are you surprised to already have a tussle in the backfield at the second day of camp?

A: I don’t know. I just want to go out there and practice and make sure we’re competitive and not combative. Sometimes it gets a little hot, little heat and people get a little pissy. They shouldn’t do that. That’s not what’re we’re looking for.

Q: Can you tell us about the other injuries?

A: I was told that everyone was cramped, except for Sammy, who got poked in the eye.

Q: Are you concerned about the ownership situation?

A: No, not at all. I think, as coaches, we learned a long time ago to control what you can control. I think that’s what we’re doing and our focus is on playing football and winning football games. That’s why you have a team president. Russ [Brandon] is handling that. We’re focused on the season and playing.

Q: Is there a timetable for when Marcell might be back?

A: Yes, there is. He’ll be back tonight.

Q: How much different is it coming in this year compared to last year?

A: The difference is that I feel more comfortable just because it’s the second year. Whereas last year was the first time doing it. The challenge is getting this team to the playoffs.

Q: Can you speak on Sammy’s ability to get off press and deal with physical corners?

A: I think it’s a challenge, but I think he’s shown already that he can have multiple moves to get off it. He’s fast, he’s strong. But again, you’re going to be facing the top corners in the world. We feel that we’ll help him prepare because we feel we have very good corners on our football team to get him ready to go.

Q: Has Sammy been a quick study?

A: Like I said before, I think it goes back to the maturity. He’s a very mature kid. He takes this very seriously. I think you can see how he handles himself, how he answers questions is the same way he goes about his business. He’s in there and wants to make an impact.

Q: Is Marquise [Goodwin] okay?

A: He has a medical condition that he tweeted out last night.

Q: How impressed were you with Sammy’s work ethic?

A: I think that’s what we want and what we look for. Not to say that we had any more insight than anyone else, but obviously there are people on that staff at Clemson that I’ve worked with, scouts that I’m very close to. These are things we knew ahead of time, which I give credit to our scouting department and Doug Whaley. There’s a gentleman on that staff that I worked with that I have a great amount of respect for. He said to me that, ‘He’s one of the most humble superstars that I’ve been around.’ And he’s been around some big-time superstars.

Q: When do you expect the return of Cordy Glenn?

A: I don’t know that. It’s a medical condition. I’m preparing to go on as if he’s not playing, which he’s not. I’m just waiting for the doctors and I can’t speak about the condition because it’s something that happened outside of football. I’m planning on playing and right now he’s not there, so I have to play with him not being there. When they tell me he’s there then obviously we’ll plug him back in.