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Doug Marrone: "We’ve got to keep pushing ourselves"

Posted Aug 19, 2013

The Bills head coach talks about the release of Rian Lindell, EJ Manuel's outlook, and the execution of the two minute drives in practice.

Head Coach Doug Marrone

Training Camp — August 19, 2013

Opening Statement: Today I was pleased with the players, the way they came out and worked. I think it was important. It’s the one thing that we’ve been doing a good job of. You can see at times the execution is not perfect nor are some of the other things, but it’s not an overall lack of effort from either side of the ball. It’s just something we’ve got to clean up and that’s why when I get up here and say, ‘Hey we have a lot of work to do,’ we’ve got to keep pushing the players, we’ve got to keep pushing ourselves, keep working and get better. We’re not were we want to be, but we’re working our butts off to get there so from that standpoint I’m very pleased. We worked this morning; the players will have a lot of time now to recuperate. I think a lot of things that you hear at this time of year are kind of get your legs back. We have more than enough time. We’ll be practicing tomorrow night, it’s a good time now to go back, watch all the film, make sure we’re focused and come back tomorrow evening and have a great practice. It’ll be our last evening practice of camp.

Q: Coach you executed two two-minute drives at the end there and got in the end zone both times. Before that you got the offense together during the water break, what was your message to them?
A: Well I got the defense together first and then I went over to the offense and it was exactly what I just said. I said I appreciate the work we’re putting in, the hard work, but again it’s a little bit of the focus individually in different areas. We have to push through that. We need 11 players every time they’re on that field to make sure that they’re focused on doing everything right. That’s what I challenged them with. You saw them picking up. So the one thing you feel good about as a coach and my philosophy has always been make sure you’re straight with the players on what you’re seeing. Make sure you exactly tell them what they need to do and what goes on. For the most part, when you treat players like that, they’ll respond. I thought that they did.

Q: What did Dustin Hopkins do well or do right to earn that kicking job?
A: It’s always tough when you have to release a player like Rian Lindell. A true professional that’s obviously been with the organization for quite some time and I have a lot of respect for him even though I wasn’t here with him in the past. One of the things when I saw him from the film last year and I was looking at and evaluating just kick offs and long field goals, when he came back he worked extremely hard and was much much better than what I saw in the year’s past. As far as the kick-offs and the long field goals. I think in the past 10 days, Dustin has performed better. So we made a decision to go with Dustin. It also gives Rian the ability, he’s a great pro, gives him the ability to maybe go ahead and get with another team. You make those decisions and you move on and a lot of times those decisions are tough. Obviously I know about those things, I was released six times myself; I understand what the players go through. I understand what it’s like in that meeting. I want to make sure that I’m giving that player a lot of respect when those times come and Rian is one of the top professionals that I’ve been around.

Q: 14 penalties Friday night. You were frustrated with nine in the first game, where are you with penalties?
A: I think with penalties, I think people tend to look at the number at the end of the game. I tend to cut them all out and evaluate them all. To say ‘OK was this a penalty? Was this forced by us just being aggressive? Is it a penalty forced on us not being focused?’ We’re trying to play and we’re just a little too soon. I think you have to manage those as a coach because you can over manage a situation and lose that aggressiveness in a player, but I think for us obviously it has been too much. I think that when we get in to situations, especially the red zone. When we work on those drills and we work on those situations we have to constantly remind ourselves of that and really up our focus because we don’t want any penalties down there and they do, they hurt. It’s very hard to make up certain downs and situations in this league. We’ve seen that with everyone. We have to make that a point of emphasis for our players and again evaluate the situations, which is what we do. I get very upset; the players know I get very upset, with more of the unforced errors. Meaning that, not trying to make a play through a ball, but jumping off-sides and things like that. Those are things you can truly control and I think that’s where I would use the word frustration.

Q: Have you noticed any different points of emphasis from the officials based on their calls so far in the preseason?

A: No, I think the officials have done a great job. When you look at it, and sometimes it’s bam-bam, looking at it from the sideline, you say ‘Well where do you go?’ and you watch the film and say that’s a good call. Sometimes I think it’s a very difficult job. I was fortunate enough that when I was in college, I was able to attend officials meeting: all of the NCAA, all of the BIG EAST Conference, which was good for me because the NFL officials run those conferences now. Terry McAulay was with us when we were in the BIG EAST at Syracuse. Tony Corrente, who we just had, is a leader at the PAC-10, and they bring in a lot of the NFL coaches to teach them and you have a greater appreciation for them when you’re sitting in the meetings, and they’re showing tapes and they say, “Oh I can’t believe I missed that.” I never realized how important it was to them to make sure that those calls are right. I’ve always had a great appreciation for what they’ve done. A lot of times sometimes things happen so quickly that if someone’s body goes down the wrong way, you might get called for that. Like a holding penalty, you’re driving a guy and all of a sudden, he puts his hands out and flips over. We see it all the time by defensive players. Or offensive players get a flag for pass interference and drawing that type of attention. Sometimes those things get called. We can play that the right way if we just go ahead and play football, finish the play and let the officials do their job and officiate it. But no, to answer your question, I don’t see a point of emphasis. The only thing I would say is a point of emphasis, and we saw that last night, the officials have been talking to me quite a bit making sure that I keep my butt on the sideline. So that seems like a big point of emphasis this year. I know they called one last night, but that’s what they’re communication to me quite a bit during the game.

Q: Are you encouraged by Stevie Johnson’s prospects for Saturday?

A: I am encouraged. I think he’s looked better and better, and we’re working him more and more. He looked better today. I think that those are our expectations for him to look better today and an expectation that he had. So yes, I do feel much more comfortable with that.

Q: Have you spoken to the doctors regarding EJ Manuel’s operation, and has his timetable changed at all?

A: No, I'm actually looking forward to seeing what the doctor says to see if it will be shorter. Prior to the preseason, the message that I’ve gotten from the doctor is that everything looked great. I didn’t ask for all of the specifics and I’m meeting with the doctors today to go through all of the injuries again sometime this afternoon. My message from the doctor is that everything went great. EJ is here, he’s at camp. We are just keeping him, after a minor procedure, off his feet for the first 48 hours, but we’re making sure he gets his meetings, gets his tape. We’re going to try and get him out there as soon as possible.

Q: Did you talk to him today? How’s he doing?

A: Good. He’s about 50 yards from us right now.

Q: Can you comment on Da’Rick Rogers’ development?

A: I think what you see with some of the younger players, and I think where the separation has come from let’s say Robert Woods, for example. Robert has been out there every day consistently doing well and winning routes. Da’Rick you’ve seen flashes of him being able to win, so it’s just a matter of the consistency. I think a lot of it is when you come up here, I always work with the players on the mindset: going out every day, trying to win and handling adversity. If you don’t get off to a good start, how are you going to get yourself back? So with Da’Rick, you see a lot of potential up there where he can go ahead and make plays and beat people. Sometimes you see him whether he’s getting down a little bit or feeling sorry for himself, whatever it may be, then you don’t see that consistency in him. It’s a little bit up and down. We just have to get it to where he’s constantly going up and he should be a fine player.