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Doug Marrone on EJ Manuel: "He’s really coming along"

Posted Jul 31, 2013

Doug Marrone meets with the media after a training camp practice.

HC Doug Marrone

Training Camp – July 31, 2013

Opening Statement

Obviously everyone knows Mario (Williams) returned last night. He was out on the field observing practice. He returned to campus last night. I spoke to him after he spoke to the doctors on the way here. Obviously we sent him out of Rochester. Our medical staff with additional consultation with Doctor Anderson determined that the best course of action was rest and treatment. And really there is no timetable for his return but it’s day-by-day. That’s where his situation is right now. The other players today, Zach Brown, we feel it’s just a left ankle. The doctors will look at that. Tashard Choice had a left ankle and with Mario it was his left foot. I apologize for not having that earlier. And then with Kevin Elliot obviously, he dinged up his right shoulder. Those are where we are for the injuries of today.

Q: What is the status of Scott Chandler, and what is the reason for his absence today?

A: What we did with Scott (Chandler) is we built in rest days for him and his return. So today is a built-in rest day so you get the extra rest with the players off tomorrow and then bringing him back.

Q: It appeared during the QB/WR drills, he had to be taken off and go on the bike. Did anything happen yesterday to cause this?

A: I think with all players that come back from injury, you have to watch that when you come back, there’s a certain point of strengthening that he felt good. Obviously, he felt a little bit lack of strength there. He’s been pushing really hard, and again, we knew we had the built-in rest day, and we talked about it before if you don’t feel good, let’s be smart early on in training camp.

Q: Are you seeing more consistency from EJ Manuel with his intermediate throws and outs over the past few day?

A: Interesting point. Very well-observed. We’ve been discussing that. If you saw him in college, and you see what he’s doing now, I think between EJ (Manuel) and Nathaniel (Hackett), he’s done a really good job, a really excellent job at that. As far as the consistency, you’re seeing that, you’re seeing what we’ve talked about before with, we’re starting to throw more stuff at him. We’re seeing some good things, and obviously, we’re seeing some things that we need to improve on. So he’s really coming along nicely.

Q: Has it impressed you how he has been able to pick it up coming into training camp?

A: I think we did such a thorough job during the draft process that, we do many kinds of different things with quarterbacks when you’re with them, so we expected that. That’s a better way to say that. After going through that exhausting search.

Q: Can you talk more about his decision making as you’re throwing more stuff at him?

A: He’s done a nice job. He has been indecisive at times, there’s still some inconsistency there. You need to remember he’s still a developing quarterback. Today, he made a nice check and was able to throw or make a good decision and get the ball down. You’re seeing good signs about how he’s progressing. And then obviously, as coaches, we are striving for the perfect player.

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

A: I think he has stepped it up from when we were in OTAs and mini-camp. I believe he’s in better shape than he was before. That’s a credit to him and our conditioning people and what he did in the off-season. He’s done some nice things. He’s had some separation. He’s a big receiver with strong hands. He’s going to be competing for a roster spot.

Q: What do you see from Chris Gragg?

A: I see someone with some good vertical speed. He can really get down the field quickly. He’s someone that we can feel can be a mismatch at times at what we’re doing. He’s very smart and has done an excellent job in terms of the playbook and knows what to do. That’s obviously the first concern when you’re coming in and getting him to know it. I really like him. He’s done a really good job. I like to see how he progresses as the physicality starts to step up as we work through this camp.

Q: Because of the injuries, do you see Chris Gragg behind the curb when it comes to the versatility required from the tight end position?

A: No, I don’t. I really see it as the opposite. The physicality part, I agree with. Learning how the leverage and the power and the short area zone, but what I see is the skill of having played receiver has really helped him vertically. And that’s probably what his strength is right now. We need to still continue to develop the short, on-line stuff that he probably hasn’t had a lot of experience with.

Q: Torell (Troup) is one of the guys that have suffered from tough luck with injuries. What do you see from him and what are you expecting from him?

A: I think we as coaches have an understanding with guys who have played that we understand that when players come back, they aren’t going to come back to exactly where they were when they left off. That process of going in there and saying ‘how does it feel?’ even though doctors, trainers, coaches say everything is okay, you still have to go out there and do it. I see him as better than in the OTAs and mini-camp and doing a better job now. Again, when the physicality comes up, that’s when more eyes go inside to what they’re doing up front with the line, so I think he’s coming along well and there will be a point when it’s a process right now just being out there with two pads, there will be a point when you see there is an open window when the player says ‘hey, I feel good.’ And then we, as coaches, will look for when the jump is coming.

Q: Can you break down Kevin Kolb’s decision-making?

A: We are very happy with Kevin (Kolb). He’s done a nice job, it’s the execution where he wants to go. Does a good job. He has to make better decisions. He need to improvement from a standpoint, really from him, the protection, the receivers getting open. But as far as someone who has a really good background in the style of offense that we’ve done, as far as the tempo, so for him, really all three quarterbacks have handled that well, which is different.

Q: Have you been encouraged by Leodis McKelvin’s performance?

A: Absolutely. He made a heck of a play today with the comeback. He really came out there and we really thing he has some fine skill, and it’s the same thing. When you’re out for that long, it takes some time. He’s really coming along nicely. We’re really excited about that.

Q: Can you comment in your younger running backs corps?

A: I think you have to be smart. I think there will be opportunities that present themselves. You have to be smart with veteran players. If we don’t come out and say ‘hey, this is what we are doing with you today,’ because we don’t want that mindset of that player. We want to him to come out here and be ready to go no matter what we ask of him. But again, we are looking at some of the younger guys back there and we are careful of who we put in with who, especially when it comes to the running backs

Q: What have you seen from Marcell Dareus?

A: I answered a little bit yesterday, I really wasn’t here last year with the personal stuff and we’ve really moved on forward. I see someone, for me, first impression, because you’ll at least get a first impression, he’s excited and he’s doing a nice job and coming along well. He’s making plays out there, running around and it seems very fun to him. I think, as a coach, that’s what you like to see from your player – that they're running around, they’re working hard, being relentless at it, and you have a smile on your face while you’re doing it. That’s a good sign. You feel good about players who are doing that.

Q: Can you comment on Justin Rogers?

A: It was his right hamstring. He’ll be out for a short period of time, and we’ll have (T.J.) Heath and (Crezdon) Butler taking those repetitions forward.

Q: What are your thoughts on Stephon Gilmore?

A: Give him a lot of credit. He works hard at the little things. He’s truly consistently striving to be the best. And that’s appreciated not only by his teammates but also myself. I see him as being that type of corner.

Q: Can you comment on Aaron Williams?

A: We’re excited. Whenever you can take a person that has played corner and put him at safety and have that man-coverage ability, you have to feel good about it. Again, when you make those moves, players, for the most part, do what the coaches tell you to do. But when the player accepts it and feels good about it, good things can happen. He has made a lot of plays from OTAs and minicamp and now. So I’m very excited about him back there.

Q: What are your plans with the players tomorrow?

A: It’s an off-day. They are free to go.

Q: Does the off-day help in any way?

A: It’s two-fold. I’ll talk with the players more about it tonight. I think the players have this time to maybe unwind a little bit, get off their feet, rest. People who have families can see their family. For coaches, it gives us some time to take a step back, make sure our evaluations are right, see how we’re feeling going through the film. That’s the type of process that goes on the off-day because, pretty much, the scheduling and what’s ahead is already done.

Q: Can you comment on Jerry Hughes?

A: I think it’s good because the system, first of all, can fit to the player’s strength. I think that having him on the outside, what I’ve seen from him is quick redirection. I think it’s very hard to get outside on him. Again, we are still developing that in-line play of him, taking on the bigger tackles and knocking them back.

Q: What’s your level of concern with Mario Williams missing time at training camp?

A: I think with the time we had with him at the OTAs and minicamp and being there and learning it. The learning now is so different. Because he’s a player that has demonstrated those skills in the past, I feel better. I think now, he can work on the day-to-day, but he can spend more time getting involved and looking at that playbook to see all of the different things that are going on and what everyone is doing around him. So I have no concern when it’s day-by-day at this time of year. I think during the season, with your game plan, there are some concerns.

Q: What are you thoughts on the starting left guard position and the competition between Colin Brown and Doug Legursky?

A: I think both players are doing the best they can. I think that we have to look to maybe throw someone else in the mix. I don’t know if I see the separation that I liked to see right now. That will be a discussion tomorrow to see if someone else can go there and see if someone else can step up and separate themselves. I see both players doing a good job and I think they both have to develop. I’m looking towards going to the preseason games and seeing how they perform in the preseason games, but, right now, it’s not a solidified from a standpoint that you probably want to be right now.

Q: How disappointed are you with that position?

A: I think as a coach you’re always striving for getting things done fast. It’s no different than any competition, whether it’s quarterback competition, any competition. It’s going right now, it’s inconsistent play out of that position. We need to become more consistent. I think the frustration, as a coach, is you want it quickly and the players, at times, we have to do the opposite and tell them ‘hey, don’t get frustrated, keep pushing.’ So it’s something that we’re going to have to continue to strive for and work on, the detail and the things that they have to do to develop into that starting-type player.