Doug Marrone: "We aren't going to be that football team"

Posted Aug 29, 2013

The Bills head coach talks about the injuries, the quarterback play, and the penalties in the 35-13 loss to the Lions.


Opening Statement:

I think we all realize that, and I told this to the team afterwards was the one thing that’s disappointing and we spoke to the players about it really from Day One is what’s been hurting us for a long period of time is the turnover ratio. When you give up three turnovers, obviously close in the red zone or on your side of the 50, really you’re giving them 21 points. Then you have a personal foul, which leads to another touchdown. It’s really difficult to overcome those things and win games. So for us, I told the team that we are not going to be that football team. Whatever we have to do as coaches and players to make sure that we don’t do that, that’s what we need to do because history has shown, if we’ve learned one thing, that’s the one way that we don’t give ourselves a chance. If we give this football team a chance, then they’ll have the opportunity to win some games.

Q: How do you balance the significance of a preseason game, with evaluating what you saw out there?
A: I’m a little bit of the opposite. I think every game means something. I think that you have to, I think it’s easy to stand up here and when things go well I can promote it to the people in front of me and say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing really well’ and I think when things don’t go well it’s very easy for me to turn around and say, ‘Well it’s just the preseason.’ I think it’s the opposite too, when things go well you can turn around and say, ‘Well it’s just the preseason’ and if things don’t turn around, if things don’t go well, you can turn around and say, ‘Oof, are you nervous about this?’ I think for me, honestly and it’s the truth, I take everything in. I look to see the individuals; I look to see how they play. I’m big on when I’m on the field and we have the Bills helmet, we have the Buffalo Bills uniform on--that’s what we represent. It’s our responsibility of who we put on that field. We put people on that field that we believe can get it done.

Q: You took Matt Leinart out early. What was the thinking there?
A: I think that was the same thing, just struggling a little bit. In fairness to both of those guys, they’ve been here for what, 48 hours? Or 72 hours? I think they were thrown in to a very difficult situation. At the same thing, you could sit here and say, ‘Hey. You know what it may not be fair,’ but for us, we had to put those guys in there and get them reps and find out what both those guys are about. With the potential of making our team based on a couple things that we’re waiting to hear from the medical staff with those players. It’s the same thing when you go in to it, this is our first year, this is my first year with the coaches around the players. What was important for me in this game is I have a responsibility to make sure that I communicate with Doug Whaley and Russ (Brandon) about where the players are, how do we see them and how do we rank them. At the end of the day with some of the depth that we’ve had on this team, I didn’t feel I had what I felt was enough information to really feel good about it. It’s my responsibility to do that and the only way to figure that out is to play them. We played a bunch of guys tonight and some guys, we’re going to go back and watch the film again, but I’m sure that some guys stepped up. I thought Marcus Dowtin did some nice things out there and then some other guys, we’ve got to go back and look at the tape and see if they held up their part of the bargain.

Q: How difficult is it to evaluate both Thad Lewis and Matt when it comes to making those final cuts and decisions?
A: Like I said, I really want to stick with what I said before. It’s not a great situation, but it is an opportunity. Now, how fair it may be and how fair it may not be? The situation has dictated it. So that’s probably just about it. We would like to say, ‘Hey, we would have loved to have them for a couple more days,’ sure, but that’s one of the things, but that’s not how everything played out with the injuries.

Q: Do you have an update on EJ Manuel?
A: Sure, I’m going to stick with what I said before. I really feel good and I think that if he’s back by Wednesday of this week, he’ll have an opportunity depending on how he looks on Wednesday. If he’s not back by Wednesday, I’m not going to look to play him in the first game. All indications are we’ll know probably day-by-day how it’s coming, but right now, I don’t want to give the wrong impression if I say, ‘Hey I feel good about it.’ Then everyone is like, ‘The coach feels good and he’ll be ready to go Wednesday.’ Everything right now is progressing well and tomorrow will be a big day for him out there and then there’s a day off for us, then the following day, that Sunday will be a big day. Monday will be a big day and then there’s a day off for the players. I think by Wednesday we’ll have a good feel of exactly where we are. I don’t mean to be…I really think that’s the truth because it’s going to come down to the doctor and EJ, him working out and how they see it. Now, I will tell you that he’s thrown the ball, moving-wise, and we’re just working as hard as we can.

Q: Thad Lewis showed some ability with his feet out there. What did you think about him?
A: I think that he did make some plays with his feet. I think there were a couple of deep balls, one just a little bit that we might have gotten. There was a good job on the slant that we dropped and then obviously Marcus (Easley) made a play. That’s the one thing I’ve admired about Marcus, Marcus has really done a lot of good things in camp. We missed a slant on the fourth down, which is a big play, but I tell you what, I give him credit. He comes back and makes the big play on the go for the touchdown. I think that’s what you’re looking for in players. In other words, when adversity hits and you don’t make a play, what do you do? You know you have to come back and make one and he did. Lewis, I think a lot of that depends on how we move forward with our quarterback situation.

Q: Can you update us on the injuries?
A: Doug (Legursky) looks--doesn’t look good. It’s a knee. I don’t know. Right now, I’m thinking, without hearing it, without it being evaluated, that it’s probably major. If that makes sense, without it officially being that. (Marquise) Goodwin is fine. Goodwin just got a little scratch. It’s not anything where it’s like blood vessels were broke or anything. He’ll be fine. He got scratched in his eye. Brad Smith is ribs. So I think again they’ll take some X-rays and they’ll see that. If it’s a contusion, if it’s just a hit and it’s bruised then obviously that’s less. But if it’s broken usually, here I go I become a doctor, usually if it’s broken it’s usually a couple of weeks.

Q: What’s your view on the wide receiver position?
A: I think that right know I feel very comfortable with five or six of those players right now. I think it’s like I said, you’re going to look at the game and you’re going to say, ‘Ok, here’s this game.’ I think there’s a body of work for people. It’s been tough for them, I do agree with that. Kevin (Kolb) being hurt and then Jeff (Tuel) being in there. Obviously EJ being in there and then bringing in two other guys. I’d probably, my point on that, is I’d probably weigh a little bit more on what they’ve done in the past than on what they’ve done just today in evaluating. I feel good about that position. I think that we put the right guy out there; I think those guys can make some things happen.

Q: What are your thoughts on the cornerback position?
A: I think we have to do a good job, a better job in press. Again, we’ve got to be up there and contend more of those passes that they’re winning. We’ve got to put them in a position that they can get the job done. I think that we do have a lot of tape now with them out there. We’ll be able to look at that. Obviously we wanted to look at both of those players to make a decision on where both of them were at. Obviously we rested Justin Rogers. I shouldn’t say rest Justin Rogers; we wanted to make sure we knew where those other two players were.

Q: Can you discuss your penalty situation so far?
A: I don’t mean to sit here and make excuses, you can’t have those penalties. Again I think I look at who gets those penalties, when they get those penalties and how they get them. Right now today, Doug Legursky had one in the red zone that obviously is not acceptable for anyone to have. Keith Pough had two. We grabbed a facemask on the other and I think those things go on. Outside of this game, the other games the penalties weren’t too far as far as what they were against each other. This one I believe Detroit might have had two penalties for X-amount of yards and we had nine. That you can’t do. I think that’s where I look at penalties. If we have six and they have six, if we have seven and they have seven, yes we don’t want them obviously, but you can see how the game is being called. But when you get a disparity where the other team had two and you’re at nine, then that’s a problem.

Q: Penalties have been a theme throughout the preseason, how do you get this team to get it together before the season starts?
A: I think it goes back to the same thing; you’re playing multiple people. Sometimes you play, there’s some people who really can’t do what you’re asking. You put them on the field and see if they can do it. Meaning that if they can’t run their feet and they have to drag someone down, their concentration level is not acceptable, and I think what happens when you get down to 53, you take that in to consideration. They’re hurting the whole entire team. We’re going to have to make moves. You’re evaluated on if you have penalties. We keep that during the week on all the players, we have officials at every practice. I think that’s part of the evaluation. If you put a player out there, he’s making plays and getting penalties, then you have to outweigh how does this player help our football team.

Q: Was Jairus Byrd on the sideline today?
A: No, Jairus Byrd is the same type of situation like Mario (Williams). His foot was sore, so we wanted to make sure that we sent him down to Dr. Anderson, so he went down to Dr. Anderson so Dr. Anderson could look at the soreness he’s having in his foot.

Q: Is that a concern with the opener so close?

A: It’s not a concern yet, until Dr. Andersons says so.

Q: So it’s a second opinion?

A: Yeah, I guess that’s the best way to explain it that we sent him down there.

Q: Are you concerned with your depth overall?
A: I am.

Q: Will you be looking to add some outside players?
A: I think every team will. I don’t think we’re any different. I think you’re always looking to upgrade your roster. I think you have, and it’s not a secret in this league, I think you have two opportunities, two of your better opportunities are obviously, one being the draft and two, this time of year. To upgrade your roster and get the best players you can. That’s what we’re committed to.