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Doug Marrone: "We’re lucky to come into camp early"

Posted Jul 23, 2014

Doug Marrone comments on Marcell Dareus' return to the team, the performance of the offense, and more on day four of Bills training camp.

HC Doug Marrone

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Q: Having Marcell [Dareus] back, even if just on the sideline with the trainers, what does that mean to the rest of the team?

A: For any coach, as long as all your players are here and they’re in camp, that’s always a good thing.

Q: Do you feel Marcell needs to earn everyones trust back?

A: Well, I think you need to ask him about that, it was coming from his statement. I’m just taking it day-by-day.

Q: Is there any indication of when he will retake the conditioning test?

A: Not to my knowledge. He’ll be taking the test when our weight coaches think he’s ready, and not putting him in any jeopardy.

Q: How far along is Alan Branch?

A: Same situation, our weight coaches are progressing with him and when they tell me he’ll be able to take the test and he has no further problems then we’ll do it.

Q: Can you tell us what you thought of the offenses performance today?

A: Well I’m not going to get into a daily performance, whether it was good or bad, but obviously there’s some things execution wise we did better today, but at the same time, we still have a long way to go.

Q: Going into your first break, heading into tomorrow, how do you think the team has progressed in your mind?

A: I think we have a long way to go, and if there is one thing that it’s shown, it’s that we’re lucky to come into camp early and have these first couple days. I think we should all be grateful that we have this head start.

Q: You sound discouraged, do you feel as though the team is underperforming as to where you thought they would be at this point?

A: I think as a coach, my expectations of our performance, especially in practice, is always going to be extremely high, and again, there’s really no cooling period for me when I come off the field. Every time I come here, there’s a lot of things on my mind that I want to make sure that we get better with. I don’t want you to take my demeanor at times as a chance of reflecting on my disappoint, I’m actually very encouraged, when you look at where we were last year to where we are this year, it’s very encouraging, but it’s still not where we want to be at.

Q: The last thing you want at training camp is distractions, how important is it to get this Marcell situation behind you and get back to concentrating on football, and eliminating this type of question from your post practice press conference?

A: I don’t mind, I know you guys have a responsibility to the fans and the readers, so you should go ahead and ask those questions. I think it’s a point well taken when you ask how much of a distraction it is for me, it’s really not, when you talk about the players, I don’t think it is for the players at this moment in time. For us, we’re focusing on getting better each day.

Q: What have you seen thus far from Macky McPherson? Enough to keep him around and keep giving him a shot?

A: Well, first I would say I didn’t take a shot on him the first time around, he was a very good football player and it showed in the way he played. Macky is a very disciplined player, a smart player, knows our system and is very tough. He has an opportunity to do it, and I feel fortunate that he was out there and we were able to bring him in, and even if you talk to our quarterbacks, they feel very comfortable with him in there, and happy that’s he’s here in camp.

Q: What are the best strengths [Da’Norris] Searcy brings to the table?

A: Da’Norris has really played extremely well, starting in the OTAs. He did a very good job for us last year and I thought at times he probably didn’t get enough credit for the plays he made, he made a lot of big plays for us. When he came down to the OTAs, he’s very solid, he’s very good at what he does, he’s very knowledgeable, he has good instinct. He’s been playing very well, and I’m excited about that. He’s a multi-position player, he can play the back end safety for us, he can play up on the line of scrimmage, he can blitz, he can play man to man, so he gives us a great deal of versatility, and he plays special teams. I’m very happy, and I don’t mean to sound robotic, but he’s a great value for us.

Q: The no-huddle, I know we’re four days into camp and there has been execution problems, but do you like the pace that you’re working at?

A: No, it needs to be moving a lot faster. Obviously we’re installing again, so we’re reinstalling, and in the back of my mind that might tend to slow things down a little bit, but my expectation is to be right on the money with it, so we need to be faster.

Q: With a young quarterback and young receivers, are you concerned about piling too much onto them?

A: No, because I’m not concerned about the quarterback. That’s the thing. In other words, everyone else needs to make sure they can keep up with the quarterback.

Q: Has Sammy Watkins done some things that have surprised even you?

A: Yeah, I would say [so]. Obviously, we made a trade and moved up to bring him in and you’re saying, ‘Okay, this guy really has to be a player.’ And then, as a coach, you have expectations, but he’s performed better than I would’ve expected. I say that, because I don’t think I’ve really ever appreciated the maturity of the kid. I think when you look at that you can understand why he’s the way he is.

Q: Can you talk about Sammy’s maturity level?

A: I give credit to his parents, the people I’ve been around. I met his parents. They’re great people and I think they’ve kept his head on straight. I think he’s a very humble kid. I think he understand the little things. I think he gives credit to the people that are around him. That’s the way you like to see a lot of these players coming into this league behave like.

Q: Can you talk about the backup quarterback situation?

A: I think, right now, I wouldn’t have enough information to make a decision on, but these guys are definitely in competition. They’re aware of it. They know it. We’ve talk to them about it, so I don’t think it’s a secret. I think it’s a point where you feel that you have gotten enough reps and you feel like there’s separation and you go ahead and make a decision.

Q: Is it safe to say that both days Jeff Tuel and Thad Lewis played equally well over the first few practices?

A: I’d have to check. I don’t want to go on record in case it’s not that way.

Q: Is the right guard spot up for grabs?

A: Yes it is.

Q: What is the status of Evan Rodriguez and Chris Gragg today?

A: They were released [from the hospital]. I just saw Evan so I believe they were probably just released from the hospital for cramps.

Q: Do you feel like Marcell [Dareus] can focus fully on football at this point?

A: We’re going to go day-by-day. I don’t want to get ahead of myself

Q: How much does Chris McAlister bring to the table interning and helping out the defensive backs?

A: I think it’s important. A person like Chris, he played for Donnie Henderson in Baltimore so he knows what we’re doing and what Donny teaches, which is an advantage for us. Coming here and having the success he had in the NFL, not only from a technical standpoint to be able to help those players, but what it means to be a pro. I think all that stuff helps and that’s one of our goals during camp: to bring people around the team that have been successful in this league and have won. And Chris is a great example of that. And I also think that in these short days that I’ve been around him, I think he’ll potentially be an outstanding coach in this league if he chooses to do so.

Q: How long do you have Chris McAlister for?

A: We have him for a longer period of time. With those programs, a lot of those players come from college or a lot of those internships come from college. With college starting early, somewhere around the first week of August, you lose a lot of them. Whereas Chris, being an ex-player, really not having that to go back to. We’ll have him until probably August 23.

Q: We haven’t see Cyrus Kouandjio get any first team reps at right tackle. Does that speak more to Cyrus or Erik Pears?

A: Probably a little bit of both. Cyrus is coming along. Again, the closer you are to the ball, the tougher it is to play in this league. I think Erik really feels healthy. He was coming off an injury last year and has really performed well. It’s still going on. Nothing is locked in stone yet. It wouldn’t smart of me to sit here right now and say, ‘Hey this is locked stone, this is locked in stone.’ Everyone has to go out there and prove that they can do it. We’ll see how it goes as camp moves along, but Erik’s done a very good job so far.

Q: With Dareus and [Alan] Branch on the sidelines, has that given you a chance to evaluate the depth of the interior of the defensive line?

A: Yeah, I feel good about what we have on the inside. We brought another player in who’s performed very well to this point, so we’ve added even more depth to that situation. I just think that we’ve got to see the versatility of those players. We’re good inside. I’m not worried about us inside.