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Doug Marrone on EJ Manuel: "We’re very, very pleased"

Posted Aug 2, 2013

Doug Marrone meets the media after a morning session of Bills training camp.

Head Coach Doug Marrone

Training Camp — August 2, 2013

Opening Statement:

Obviously we had two players that couldn’t finish today. Mike Caussin, he’s being evaluated for his hip and obviously everyone saw Stevie (Johnson) at the end with that hamstring. So, he’s going to get evaluated and it’s always tough when those situations happen, for the players. I was happy. I think coming back off an off day, I think you worry when you’re a coach, getting them kind of back in. They came back in today and stepped it up a bit. I told them that. It was kind of a challenge for them to do that. We asked them to do it and they responded. That’s one thing that you’re looking for, now we just have to keep building on that.

Q: What do you think of EJ (Manuel) so far and how he’s progressing?

A:  It’s good. We’re very, very pleased. As far as the pass attempts, Kevin (Kolb) has maybe 20 or 30 more at this time, so we’ve been monitoring that and keeping that close. I was happy. Came in with a bad play late and then made a big play at the end. You just see it. You see the little things that he has to work on. Getting the ball down a little bit. In the red zone, a little too high. Kevin made some really good plays. I think that’s a part of the experience, what he’s doing. Those guys are battling out and that’s a heck of a battle right now.

Q: Is that pretty common to see your offensive coordinator (Nathaniel Hackett) to run down the field and celebrate like he did?

A: When you talk to players about passion and excitement and you don’t do that yourself and you’re not a good example of that, I think it’s very difficult to get that out of the players. We’ve talked to our coaches and we’ve talked to our team about when something good happens, to be excited and to make sure that we don’t want poor body language when things go against us.

Q: It seems like you’ve thrown more blitzes at EJ the past two practices.

A: Yes, that’s correct.

Q: How do you strike a balance being a head coach of being patient in your offense coming along versus being happy with how your defense is playing in pressure looks?

A: I love to win, so whatever side wins, I pick that side as the side I'm coaching. That’s the one thing about being a head coach. But no I think you look for that type of balance. When you’re in this type of setting, it’s always one period or you just don’t want to make it a day. You want to make it a continuous period where one side of the ball is dominating the other. The back and forth is great because that really simulates more of what happens sometimes in a game.

Q: It seems like there is a lot of checking of assignments at the line. Is that something you’re looking at?

A: Obviously we as coaches we keep track of all that. The good thing for us right now is really and I don’t know if I said this before, but everything is in except some of the short yardage and goal line. Really the majority of our packages are all in for the players. Now you should see that. I think with the way the schedules have been set up with the collective bargaining agreement and the players and what they’ve done it gives us a chance to really be assignment-oriented because of all the meetings and all the walk-throughs that we have. Again, the catch-22 to that is the fundamentals and the drills on the field, you lose a little bit of that when you had the two practices. Our players have done a good job, studying on the iPads and really knowing their assignments overall.

Q: That seemed like the heaviest amount of special teams work today. Is there a reason for that?

A: We always have about two special team periods in, so normally as far as the time allotted it was the same amount of time for a special team period. I look at it as we allot special teams a time and percentage of the game and build that in our schedule in our meetings. So I try to keep it the same. You know what happens, you’ll probably see a lot of rotations and the drills will change and some of them will look more heavy than others.

Q: Can you talk about the scrimmage coming up on Monday?

A: I think it’s going to be very important because it’s our first time that we’re going live. We haven’t gone live with the players. That’s a big deal.

Q: Can you estimate how much time Monday will be live scrimmaging?

A: I have it, I don’t have it in front of me. What I’ll do is Scott will remind me the day before, I’ll come out and I’ll tell you what our plans are. I have it already written down, but I don’t want to say something that I don’t know. We’re going to practice now; it’s not going to be a real short deal. We’re going to get after it.

Q: You were very critical of what was going on at left guard. Today, (Doug) Legursky was in at left guard. Is that a trend we should look to continue or is that something that could change?

A: We’re moving Doug (Legursky) around, playing center and guard. You’ll see him play more guard now. I feel very comfortable with what he can do at center and we’re going to give him the full tilt to go ahead and compete for that left guard position. You’ll see it rotate around as we go. Unless someone steps it up.

Q: Is (Antoine) Caldwell sort of easing in as he learns the program? How are you handling that?

A: (Antoine) Caldwell and Tony (Hills), we’re doing the same thing with the two linemen that we brought in. We’re getting them in there. You see how we’re rotating them in there to try to get them more reps because we want to see what they can do early.

Q: How concerning is it when you see your top receiver go down?

A: When you say how concerning, I would say it’s a major concern when you talk about it during the season. Right now, I think a veteran player that’s proved himself; we’ll just see what the doctors say. It is what it is and then we’ll deal with it from there.

Q: Which hamstring is it?

A: Left.

Q: Can you talk about Scott Chandler and what you’re seeing from him coming back from his knee injury?
A: I’m excited. I said it before when he first came back, he had some early success and I think that’s one of the most important things for someone coming back off injury and I just think that we feel we can get a lot out of Scott (Chandler) in this preseason and this camp as long as we manage him correctly which we’re trying to do. We had the scheduled day off, we’re working reps in during practice, we’ll take him out and get him treated a little bit early and just keep working that way so we can have him play during the season.

Q: Would a serious injury to Stevie (Johnson) be more concerning considering how young you are around him at that position?

A: One, I don’t know how serious it is first. No, again I'm probably a little bit different. I look at it as an opportunity to get those younger guys more reps.

Q: Any comment on Kyle Williams being worked back in to drills?

A: Kyle Williams has picked it up quite a bit. I think you’ve seen that today. When a player comes back and he goes, we’re going to work him in that way. We’re not just going to throw him in there. So you see Kyle’s workload is increasing and he looked very good out there today.

Q: So he’s on a steady incline?

A: Absolutely. Yes.

Q: Kiko Alonso is a guy is that you’ve thrown a lot at. Can you comment at his progress so far?

A: We’re excited. He’s doing everything. He’s a three-down linebacker; he’s on our teams. Again there will be a point where we start talking to those players about their structure and making sure they’re taking care of their bodies. A lot of times with first-year players, people always said this, you hit a wall somewhere along the line. We might have some of those young guys playing for us, so we can’t afford that happening to them.

Q: Any update on Mario (Williams)?

A: It’s getting closer. It’s getting closer. A little bit more today. He did, he’s going out there, going through the walk-through. Now we’re just waiting for the doctor to release him and then he’ll be going out there. We’ll probably bring him back the same way as Kyle.

Q: How much does the quality of the hold factor in to the evaluation of the kickers?

A: It absolutely does. Everything, the quality of the snap at that time and the hold, factors in to it. We’re smart about it; obviously you have an old vet. We don’t look at that and judge that. It’s not counted as highly.

Q: Coach you mentioned that you haven’t seen much separation at left guard. You said you may add somebody to that competition. Have you decided if someone else will see some reps?

A: We might put someone else over there or not, but again I'm trying to get as many reps in with those two right now. Those are the best candidates we have for the position right now.

Q: Drew Smith is the only player you have listed in at fullback. How do you see him fitting in, if at all?

A: Well we also have Frank Summers listed in at the fullback. Again, I think the one part about that position is we look at it and what they’re doing now with the work they get out there, but a critical part of that evaluation will be the short yardage and goal line.