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Doug Marrone: "I'm proud of this team"

Posted Sep 29, 2013

The Bills head coach talks about the 23-20 win over the Ravens.

BUFFALO BILLS HEAD COACH DOUG MARRONE

Opening Statement:

To go through the injury stuff first. Obviously C.J. Spiller had an ankle; I think he’ll be ok. Fred (Jackson) had a knee; I think he’ll be ok. Aaron Williams had a lower back contusion, so he just took a shot. Kraig Urbik had a knee; I think he’ll be ok.

I think I look at this game and we came in, thought we did a nice job early on. Couple things we wanted to get accomplished. We wanted to stop them from running; I thought our defense did a heck of a job there. We wanted to be able to run the ball; I thought we had some good runs early on in the game. We used some of the play action pass. We missed some. I thought the defense played extremely well, third down and what they did. I thought they created turnovers. Obviously they did hit us on a big pass. Offensively I think there’s no doubt that we have to improve in the third and short situation. We missed one; we got a penalty on a fourth down we converted. Those things hurt. Again we had some mishandled things in the backfield between the quarterback and the running back. Couple times that ball was bobbling back there. We had some penalties on the perimeter and it got us off in a tough situation again on a good start.

At the end of the game, just so everyone knows, there’s 57 seconds left in the game, 48 seconds is what the management sheet says. So you have that difference right there. If you take a knee right away its 48 seconds if you bang it down. We wanted to keep the quarterback up. On the first play I don’t know how obviously we only got three seconds off. He didn’t take a knee right away. That got us back, the plan was to go ahead get the extra five seconds, get it back down, get it to under seven seconds, throw the ball out of bounds so we didn’t have to do anything. That was the game plan going in to that last series.

I'm proud of this team, here we are after the first quarter and we’re 2-2. We’ve had a lot of adversity throughout every part of the program. Whether it be injuries, whether it be schematics, the coaching, trying to get people in the right spot. The player’s communication is a big challenge. We’re playing with a lot of players that haven’t been together for a long period of time. I give a lot of credit to the players and I give a lot of credit to the coaches. To come through this first quarter and be 2-2, that’s who we are, let’s get ready to get this fourth quarter and I believe we’ll start getting some of the players back and we’re looking forward to that and we’re excited about it.

Q: Do you think this was this a good bounce back game for EJ Manuel?

A: I do. I think that he’s seeing things a little bit better, communicating. I think he had some tough pressures and some tough looks at times. I credit a lot of this game and I said it before when I talked to our players about it and I think I said it in a press conference publicly, I thought the crowd early on set the tempo on this game. With penalty, penalty, what was going which I think was big. It helps us at home. It seems like we have a good feeling for when we’re at home. We’ve got to be able to take that to the road and go, especially at the quarterback position. I think next week will be a big thing for him, going back on the road to see how he is. At home he’s been getting progressively better.

Q: They picked up their first third down and then didn’t get another. What were you doing well on third down?

A: Obviously the guys in the back end were doing a great job of covering. I though up front we were able to get them off the spot. We got them off the spot a couple times early. We tried to pop someone around, we missed getting a guy around and he went out and got the big long third and long. I thought the coaches did a good job because when you work on something all week long and then all of a sudden the first third and seventeen comes up and here they go, they get 18 yards again, it’s very frustrating. Telling the players that we’re doing a good job, keep sawing wood or whatever expression you want to use there to keep it going. I thought we were able to get them off the spot, get some pressure. Sometimes we were able to bring pressure to get them to release the ball early and I think that’s what helped us on third down. They played well as a team.

Q: Your thoughts on Aaron Williams’ performance today?

A: Our thought going in to the game, we really didn’t know. I mean Leodis (McKelvin) was close to coming back, we knew it would be close and it would be a game time decision going in. I think I communicated that well in the week to everyone. I think what we started to think about was we wanted to say, ‘Listen, lets settle in Aaron right away because they are two different positions.’ We settled him right away and made a commitment saying we’re going to put him at corner and then we’ll take care of the safety positions. We’ll get Duke (Williams) in there and (Da’Norris) Searcy and Jimmy (Leonhard) and we’ll run it that way. Rather than have Aaron thinking well if Leodis can go maybe we’ll put you back there or something like that. That was the decision we made during the week and I think he played very very well. I don’t think people have an appreciation, even though he’s played the position, he hasn’t played the position a lot in what we’re doing, in our scheme and how it goes. They have some receivers down there that can run, they’ve been very productive from that end. They have some very difficult route combinations that you have to cover. I thought he did a very, very good job. We’re proud of that.

Q: If Leodis goes does Williams play the other corner or does he go back to safety?

A: We’d like to get him back to safety. We really think that again he can do a lot for us back there. I think that a lot of it when you say can that player go, a lot of it is gonna be about how we feel, how much he can go. I think again when you’re working players back in to you have to see it as, if it was 110 percent healthy and here we go, we’ve got some other players that we’re trying tog et back too. I think a lot of it we’ll go through the week, see who is back there, look at the team we’re playing, what we want to do schematically before we make those type of decisions.

Q: This was a team that on paper looked like it would be very tough to run against. Why did you have success?

A: They’re very physical. Let’s make no mistake about it they’re the defending Super Bowl champs, yes they’ve gone through a lot of transition, but they still have good leadership, they’re very well coached, they have very good plan on how to beat teams. We were able to do a good job. I think if you take away some of those holding penalties on the fourth down, I think that and I’m one of those guys. I want to celebrate, yes, it think we did an outstanding job. You have 207 yards against a Baltimore Ravens defense is very difficult to do on the ground. The guys did a good job and we left a lot of yards pout there and that’s the on thing I keep telling the players about. These little things, these little things. I expect us to be able to go out there and do those things. We can be even better and I just keep pushing them.

Q: What made a one tight end, two back approach so attractive to you today in regards to the run game?
A: A lot of times it’s not rocket science. You’re going to get the base looks; you’re going to get the safeties down. Early on coverage looks we were able to run some draws. As the way went on they wound up bringing some safeties in and obviously we want the slot. You know what you’re getting. Then you have to go block them, that is the one thing. You may know what you’re going to get, feel comfortable about the front mechanics and what they’re doing, you feel comfortable about what pressures you’re getting out of them, but at the end of the day you still have to go block them and they’re very stout up front, so I was happy with that.

Q: What can you say about Kiko Alonso’s first four weeks in the NFL?

A: What’s difficult for me to communicate here is if you think about early on in camp everyone is like, ‘Well here he is, this guy is out there playing, is he your starting middle linebacker?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ And they were like ‘Well is a three down linebacker?’ For us early on we really felt that way. So as the season goes on and we see him progressing and doing things, again it’s something we’re actually, obviously we’re very happy with. We’re very proud of. You see a player that’s getting a better feel each week, getting better each week. He’s playing very well, at a high level and I think what we have to do a very good job of, especially with all of our younger players and when we get some of those young guys back, rookies, we have to do a good job of pushing them through, being a pro, getting them through the season, so we don’t have the infamous label of the hitting the wall.

Q: How did you adjust your thought process on clock management?

A: What we were going to do, we went in to the game knowing that we were going to substitute quite a bit. We went in to the game; we knew we were going to substitute quite a bit, so we knew that was going to slow us down.  We substituted quite a bit and then we just wanted to be more relaxed, get the information and then let’s go. We really didn’t strategically say to ourselves we’re going to slow it down. We ran the ball and were able to runt he ball and pick up first downs and limit the three and outs. We were better than they were on third down I believe, we weren’t that great, but we were 28% and they were 19%, but running that football also does it too. Strategically, like I always said when the strategy going in to the game, we thought to beat Baltimore we had to hold them under 23 points and it really held up exactly right, 23-20. We didn’t want to get in to a high scoring type of contest with them.

Q: What are your thoughts on Jim Leonhard?

A: Very happy with Jimmy.  That’s the one thing I think people tend maybe not to understand so much. Here comes Jimmy right before the season, we get some guys hurt and now we’re putting some other players in there. Just that communication alone is very difficult between what’s going on in the back end, what’s going on with the linebackers, what’s going on with our calls, how we’re making checks, how we’re doing things based on formation. I think Jimmy is doing an outstanding job and we would be in a very very tough diction if Jimmy wasn’t able to come in there and do it. Communicates very well, really helps us on the back end and has been able to make plays for us. We’re extremely happy with his performance.