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Doug Marrone: "We still have a lot of work ahead of us"

Posted Aug 5, 2013

The Bills head coach talks about the team's Monday night scrimmage, what he thought of EJ Manuel, and the defensive performance during the goal line drills.

Head Coach Doug Marrone

Training Camp — August 5, 2013

Opening Statement:

I was excited. I thought we got a lot of work in. We had over, I believe, 100 plays. I was happy how we got after each other out there. I think what you saw early on was, again, the one thing you do get concerned about when you don’t go live tackling in the practices even though we did go on the goal line in the short yardage period a couple days ago. During the beginning, I thought we didn’t tackle as well. I thought we really picked it up at the end. And then there were a lot of things out there that I was pleased with, but like I told the players afterwards, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. And we’ll watch it. They need to come back and they need to be ready to go. As long as they understand that, we’re going to be in good shape.

Q: What did you think of EJ Manuel?

A: I thought early on a couple of things. Obviously we had the two interceptions. The way I viewed it, one was on him, one was on something else that didn’t have anything to do with him, even though he gets credited for it. I was really looking to see how he bounced back from that because early on, you want to see that. And I thought he bounced back well. He came in and ended on a good note. He took the two-minute drive down there for a touchdown. And it was interesting. The things we were able to do well in practice against each other, when we went down to the goal line, obviously a couple days ago I think the offense did a heck of a job and I thought the defense did a good job today. So it’s kind of that battle and if you haven’t been to all of the practices and seen anything, it was almost like the total opposite of what has been going on as far as the winning the battles which you want more consistency, and we’ll be able to get that by working with our players.

Q: Any injuries you know about right now, coach?

A: Yeah. The guys who didn’t return, [Aaron] Tipoti had a right ankle. [Keith] Pough had a chest. And Zach Brown had a rib. Everyone else finished and we feel good about at this point.

Q: Kendall Gaskins ran hard tonight. What did you think of him?

A: I thought he looked good. Again, I would say that he did a nice job out there today. I think you saw a little bit more of him than you did probably in the practice, so now we have to make sure that we’re getting that type of play out of the practices. But I thought he did run well and he did run low.

Q: It seemed like the defense responded well on the goal line tonight.

A: Absolutely. That’s what I was talking about before. It was interesting because the offense got after them a little bit at the goal line the other day, so I was not concerned but I was looking forward to seeing how the defense responded. And they responded well and I think as a coach you go in and say ‘Hey, that’s the way to respond.’ And then on the offensive side of the ball, you go in there and say, ‘Hey, we have to have a mentality every single time we get out there.’ Those are the things I think you develop in this camp and that’s what I continue to talk to the players about.

Q: What did Marquise Goodwin show you today?

A: I’ll tell you, when we first got him, obviously we all knew about the speed. I don’t know about the consistency of the hands prior to getting him. I think if you said, ‘Hey, what’s the one thing you see from him that maybe you haven’t seen in the college film?’ I think he has been much more consistent with his hands and really making some tough catches. And he’s been doing that through the camp. And I think when you have someone with that type of speed and he’s still able to make those types of catches, that’s a good situation for us on offense.

Q: Was Kevin Kolb healthy enough to play if he was not excused?

A: Here’s what I think would’ve happened. I spoke to him this morning. He was going to try to go. And I think then it would’ve been the doctor’s decision whether he would’ve gone or not. But I saw him this morning. He told me about the personal issue. He had a death in the family. And then I asked him, he looked like he was obviously walking around much better than he was the past days. I said what was your thought process going into today’s practice? He said, ‘Hey coach, I was going to go if the doctor let me.’

Q: What is the philosophy on the goal line with the backs? Is Tashard Choice in a role where he needs to come in to contribute to make the team?

A: We’re actually still trying to find that role. I don’t think that role has been defined for us yet. We’re going to take a real good look at it. I think when it gets down in there, you want to see if there is anyone coming in outside-in, angle wise. You look to be able to stay down low and run through that. That’s what we’re looking for out of our backs. Again, we’re going to take a good look at that as far as the goal line situation and then philosophically, depending on who we’re playing, we’ll have a plan whether we use a bigger or smaller package in what feel gives us the best advantage against certain defenses.

Q: How much value is there in getting EJ these reps in a live scrimmage?

A: I think it’s unbelievable. I mean to be able to get him these amount of reps because the one thing he has been able to show in a positive way, the mistakes that he has made during the course of practice, he’s come back and not made those same mistakes. The more we can put him in there right now, the faster he’ll be able to develop.

Q: What stands out from what you’ve seen from Alex Carrington?

A: He’s had an outstanding camp. He really has. The one thing that you have to work on during camp is pad level quite a bit. We talked to the coaches about that. But I think Alex Carrington has had the best pad level throughout the camp on both sides of the ball. And I think he’s playing extremely well for us right now.

Q: What were your thoughts on Jeff Tuel?

A: I’ve always liked him. I liked him when he was in college. I thought when he was coming out, we we’re fortunate to get him in the free agency thing after the draft. We felt very excited about that. And I think that when you go out here you see (it). I think you guys have seen it. He has played well and responded well.

Q: Based on what you saw tonight in a scrimmage, how would you gauge his development?

A: I’m pleased with it. I’m pleased at a couple things. Just his demeanor coming back, obviously from the start with the interceptions. I’m pleased that he led us on a two-minute drive. He has done that consistently. I think that’s difficult to do. We usually have to work a long time on those situations before they get used to it. Our defense is giving them multiple things when it comes down to that phase with two minutes. Other than that, the demeanor I like. The competitiveness I like. I’m not going to compare him against anyone else, the best way to say it is we’re all very pleased with his development. I think that a lot of times at that position, you’re going to look for a lot of things and expect it to happen overnight. It’s not. I think he, along with a lot of the other players from a team perspective, have a lot of work ahead of us.

Q: Why did you bring in Nick Provo?

A: Well, you know, Mike Caussin. We’re still in that evaluation process with that and then Scott Chandler tonight we just had on a pitch count, you know what I’m saying as far as how much we wanted to do with him. I think we’re getting good reps with (Chris) Gragg and obviously with Gragg, obviously with Dorin Dickerson and Lee Smith. But again, at three, that position, because we want to go 12 with two or three units. We needed to make sure we brought someone in. We had an extra lineman, which a luxury for us. And sometimes when injuries come, you’re looking for that group that has extra players and that’s the decision we had to make and we brought in another tight end.

Q: What do you see from Provo so far?

A: I think it’s early on for him at this level but Nick was a productive player in college. He did some good things. It’ll be interesting to see how he is at the point of attack. He caught a lot of balls. He knows a lot of the things that we’re doing, not everything. He is a smart kid. And that gives him an opportunity.

Q: Do you like to have a guy who is a goal-line specialist?

A: I guess when you say goal-line specialist, if you feel that your main back doesn’t have maybe the girth to go over the top or not. And the one thing about it is it’s not ever a knock on a player. And I think a lot of people perceive that, but a lot of times, there are explosive plays going down there and a lot of times those explosive plays, that running back played a big part in getting you down there. You’d like to get a fresh guy in there. But again, that’s a role you have to be ready for on the sideline. It’s very difficult. That back has to be warmed up, ready to go at any time if you’re going to use him in that role of short yardage or goal line.