Doug Marrone: "We were prepared"

Posted Nov 17, 2013

The Bills head coach talks about the 37-14 win over the Jets.


Opening Statement:

Injury-wise, Fred got hurt during the game, but he went back in. We really came out probably one of the most healthy games that we’ve come out with. Proud of the team, proud of the guys. The last three weeks have been very difficult for us. Pit in our stomach type deal. You’ve got to keep pushing; you’ve got to get off the streak with the three losses. I really give a lot of credit to the captains of the team. It was tough; we know that we fell short in some games where we wanted to come out here today. We’ve got a lot of questions or I was able to get some questions in the week about playing a division rival again that we lost to the first time, and it was important. It was important to get out here and make sure they can go ahead and win, you know win a game. It was a physical game. We took advantage of some opportunities, thought the quarterback played well. Obviously we had some injuries on the outside and I think some people were down that we lost Stevie (Johnson), which we were down about and Robert Woods, they’re both good players. Those other guys stepped it up and really made some plays for us. At the end of the day, we’re going to come back, we’re going to take a good hard look at ourselves, we’re going in to a bye. The players are going to work for about three days, we’re going to get off and then we’re going to get back to work. That’s the only thing we can do.

Q: It looked like defensively, your guys really knew what they were doing. Talk about how well prepared the defense was?

A: Yeah, I think we were prepared. I think that they had been doing a good job recently in New York, really running the ball well. I was a little, obviously we all get a little upset at the end when they broke the big run. I think we knew that and we knew the challenge was we had to make sure we were able to get them to stop running the football. They had been doing a very good job up front and it was a challenge. I look at it more as maybe not knowing exactly what they were doing, we didn’t know their plays obviously. We know what they run, but we didn’t have the tips to say, “Ok they’re running it here, let’s go.’ I think it was more of a challenge for our guys up front to play well.

Q: We saw Nate Hackett on the sideline instead of the coaches booth, what prompted that?

A: Yeah, we had talked about it earlier in the week and I forgot to tell Scott (Berchtold). Right before the game I go, ‘Holy cow, I tell Dom (Rinelli) to text Scott that Nate was’. We made a decision during the week that we thought it would be better for the quarterback to have Nate down there. With a young quarterback, EJ (Manuel), trying to get him back and then with Nate and I down there we just really switched Nate Hackett and Jason Vrable up. Just to be down there it’s a different sense, those guys talk to each other all during the week, they talk to each other all during practice, there’s a little bit separation when he’s up. It hurts a little bit from the standpoint of the field; it’s a lot easier to call plays up in the box in my opinion. I can’t speak for everyone else, but we though it was more important for him to be with EJ.

Q: Is that a one-week thing or permanent?

A: No, that’s something we’re planning on doing for the rest of the year.

Q: How reassuring was it to see EJ throwing the ball well in this weather?

A: It was good. The first one, I can’t really say that was great, it got hung up there, but you saw the ball could get hung up there a lot. For us, when we went out and it goes back to Doug Whaley, Buddy Nix was here at the time, when we went and looked for quarterbacks, my big thing coming on board and being new but having been on teams in this type of element, it was a big thing for us to make sure and I know this sounds crazy and I’ve said it before, but one of the things we’re looking at is the hand size. When you look at the quarterbacks that have thrown well in bad weather, it’s mostly guys that can throw the ball, have a good arm, doesn’t have to be great, but a good arm and has big hands. Obviously EJ had the second or first biggest hands and then we knew for us we were able to, when we worked him out that night we worked him out in probably the conditions we just had today. Not the wind, but it was rainy, a little windy, we knew he could throw the ball and that was one of the factors that went in to picking EJ.

Q: What was the biggest difference between last week and this week for EJ?

A: I think it’s the same thing. It’s hard for me to stand up here and I keep, a lot is on his plate and we all know that. He has high expectations of himself, but I really think and I’ve said this before. He really started to go early on in the year, he was 2-2 and playing well in Cleveland and really doing a nice job and getting ready to go take the lead in that game and he was injured. He really took a step back. We had to make a good decision, it was a tough choice that I had to make whether we start him on the road or wait and start him at home. We made the decision that he was ready to go medically and we were going to start him back on the road. Now the challenge for us is to keep him going and keep him playing like he did today. He played with a lot of poise; the pressure was coming, really made some good throws. Really some outstanding throws, really handled things well. Wasn’t really rattled at all during the whole game. Had a good demeanor of himself and he was going back and throwing it.  That was one of the things we talked with him about during the week.

Q: Can you talk about the effect your defense had on Geno Smith?

A: Yeah, I think the defensive backs played extremely well. People like to say it starts up front, but really you start in the back end. We were man to man, we were on them, we were breaking on balls all day long. I really think they had a good feel; it’s a credit to the defensive back. The guys up front, they were going after him, moving the spot, moving him around a little bit and really getting some hits, legal clean hits on him early on in the game which I think helped.

Q: How big was it to get the production you did from T.J. (Graham) and Marquise (Goodwin)?

A: It’s important. I’ve always liked our receiver group and I think you can see the potential in that group when EJ keeps coming along. We have guys with excellent speed in T.J. and Marquise Goodwin. I think you saw that today. We all have known that. I think Chris Hogan, give him credit, he made a big catch on that third down. He had three catches for the game for 29 yards, he did a nice job. I really think that when Robert (Woods) and Stevie (Johnson) come back and we can keep working and keep getting better, obviously we have a chance to be exciting but we have to keep pushing and keep working.

Q: There was a report that the Jets skipped team meetings and went to Dave and Busters. Is that something you and your players were aware of and if so did you use it for motivation?

A: I can answer the question for myself. I was aware of it; I did not use it for motivation. For me, I was concentrating on getting our football team ready to play a game that we knew wads going to be physical against a good football team and that was the thing all week. That’s the way I approached it.

Q: Big part of discouragement last week was in the red zone and how you couldn’t get it down. How big were those quarterback sneaks for you?

A: Yeah, we went through that and I’ve been asked that question quite a bit. We do like doing it; EJ had not done it really before. It was one of those things that we were trying to work in. We were looking for those situations, we’re coaches so by nature we want to practice some things first before we’re just able to go in and do it. We were able to go in and get a couple. We switched up a little bit down on the goal line, we ran the fullback, we’ve been running the tailback mostly. Frank (Summers) did a nice job, great push by Eric Wood and Kraig Urbik and we were able to run it in there.

Q: Did you say anything to Coach Pettine coming off the field after he gets his first win over the Jets?

A: No. I just said nice job like I said after a couple of the wins. We’re planning on being here a long time and we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re going to face that team twice a year, so we’re going have to be able to play well and we’re going to have to beat them at home and beat them on the road just like everybody else in the division for us to win. So I take it very much as that business like approach because we want the same type of intensity when we get out there. That’s the challenge for our team. We had a lot of intensity today, much more than last week and I was proud of the players. That was our challenge and I was concerned about it.

Q: What are your thoughts on the run game today?

A: We have to get a lot better. I said that. They’re a young physical front; we’re going to see that front for a long time, we have to get better push.

Q: C.J. (Spiller) came off the field at one point looking very upset, what did you say to him at that point?

A: Any frustration would be to anyone, not just to C.J., but also to Fred (Jackson), to Tashard (Choice) and even the frustration of the lineman. When you let someone free on the inside, that’s frustrating. Whether you miss the block, we missed it once, and twice we fell, fell down once, missed him the second time. If you’re a running back getting the ball, that’s something you don’t expect. You can live with the other stuff, so I told him afterwards, ‘I would be pissed too, but the difference between me and you and this is what you have to do now is go over to that group right there, that offensive line, and you tell them you’re pissed.’ That’s what I told him.

Q: How nice would it have been to have that Jairus Byrd from the start of the regular season?

A: I think it would have been nice to have a lot of guys. When you look at it and again I don’t want to go through it, we didn’t have our secondary for four to five games really complete until we had everyone back. We’ve been revolving around with the quarterbacks and the injuries here and there. I think that group, you saw it today, people think when you come back they’re going to be right where they left off, it doesn’t work that way. You can see the continuity with that group, you can see today them breaking on balls. They had their hands on a lot of balls. We made some interceptions but when we watch that film there is a couple more that we should have had.

Q: Third down in particular the defense was getting a lot of pressure on the Jets. What was it about the aggressiveness on third down that worked more this week?

A: It’s been the coverage we had when they’re looking to throw and the guys up front, that combination. When you have that right combination it’s good. I think for us one of the keys was he made some good throws. The key for us going in to the game was to make sure we keep things manageable. At times in the run game we had some loss yardage runs and that was upsetting, but when we’re able to keep it where it’s third and four, third and five, it’s very difficult now to get coverage from that standpoint. Are they going to throw to the sticks, are they going to throw it deep, are they going to maybe take a chance on running it which we’ve shown that we would do before? I think that helped us because we were 8-for-19 and I get mad because I think we should have been better than that.

Q: Weather has been a big issue across the league today. What was it like for you out there and did it affect your game plan at all, especially in special teams?

A: On special teams a little bit. I was right about the one thing we talked about earlier in the week, the wind and Brian (Moorman) and cradling the ball. I wish I was wrong about that, but I was right about that. It really didn’t. What we have to do as we move forward, and we started it, is we want to make sure that we practice in this weather. I think that’s a big difference and I think that’s an advantage for us. I don’t know what has been done here before, so I can’t talk about that, but we went out this week and we threw in weather like this. I think at the end of the day that’s going to help us down the road when we’re making a push for the playoffs or we’re playing home playoff games and I think that’s important. That’s one of the things I tried to describe to our players. Some times you have an indoor facility and you’re worried about the win and really we’re not going to be able to throw as much as we like, we’re not going to have the completions we like, but that is what we play in. My philosophy is we went out there on Wednesday, we went out there on Thursday and we practiced in conditions that probably weren’t as windy, but it was windy.

Q: It didn’t look like you ran a lot of read option. Was that an answer to what went wrong offensively in the first game against the Jets?

A: Strategically, the last game we played New York we went in more 11 personnel, which is three wide receivers and one tight end. Even with the receivers injury we would have gone in to this game differently. We wanted to go in to this game with more 21 and 12. We wanted to keep the sticks moving, keep it going and in our opinion what we did kind of calms them down a little bit to 21 and 12 as far as what we’re going to see. I think when you open up 11 you get a lot of different pressures and a lot of different things. Our goal is to calm it down a little bit with those packages.

Q: What did C.J. do after you told him that?

A: I don’t know, you have to ask him. I told him to tell those guys. I really don’t know what he did.