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Marrone: "Everyone is just playing as hard as they possibly can"

Posted Oct 21, 2013

Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone updates the injuries following Sunday's win over the Dolphins and talks about all the close games Buffalo's has been involved in this year.

Head Coach Doug Marrone

Monday, October 21, 2013

Opening Statement:
Obviously it was a good victory for us down there. I think one of the points that kind of got lost through the week that we were emphasizing with our players; we were concerned with the heat down there. I thought that our trainers and players did a nice job during the week, really starting on Monday when they reported, getting the players ready for that type of environment. I thought the guys did a good job. We actually played well throughout the whole game, four quarters playing hard. Really didn’t have anyone cramping up or any of those issues.

I think when you look at the game; I think it’s not that difficult to see. The main thing, like we’ve talked about before and you hear from coaches quite a bit, is just the turnovers. We were plus two for the day; it’s very difficult to win a game for the opponent when you’re plus two. We’re plus five for the season overall, I think that’s what’s given us a great chance right now. That was one of the things that we tried to emphasize when we first came here. It’s one of the fastest ways to lose games, when you turn the ball over. When you look at the turnovers and us being plus two, we were able to score 10 points off those turnovers. Obviously we turned the ball over ourselves and I thought the defense really did a great job of stepping up. They missed a field goal off that. That was a great job.

I think the other thing was from the defensive standpoint, Miami had scored in all their red zone possessions and we were able to get the interception down in the red zone, which I think was a big play for us that was able to take points off the board. I think the other thing that we emphasize with the players has been third down. Offensively for the season on third and 10 or more, we’ve been 1-of- 22 which is not very good. Yesterday we were, I believe, 3-for-7 in third of 10 or more which accounted to 11 yard gain, a 15 yard gain, a 17 yard gain. When you look at third down, obviously your goal is to go ahead and get the first down, but we had six plays on third down where we gained 12 yards or more. I think that was a big thing. Whether it be field position or you keep the drive going and you’re able to score on those opportunities.

Conversely, on defense Miami was outstanding coming in to the game in third down and six to nine. They were converting 57 percent and our defense held them to zero percent. That was a big increase from what we’ve been doing. Third and 10 plus, we haven’t done as good of a job in the past and yesterday we held them to zero percent again on that. The situation itself, third down, we created two interceptions and then overall for the game just on third down alone we gave up 21 yards. At the end of the day, when you look at things and saying what would have been the keys, those two things are really what the keys were for us to win the game.

Q: Can you talk about how opportunistic your offense was? You only got over the 50 yard line four times, but scored all four times.

A: We were struggling, give Miami credit, on first and second down. We weren’t putting ourselves in good situations and it’s very difficult. We were not executing well and then we’re fortunate that when the time was right we executed and were able to make the plays.

Q: Can you comment on the injury to Manny Lawson?
A: It was a hamstring and we feel he’ll be back on the field with us on a limited basis on Wednesday, which is good news.

Q: Did he reaggravate his previous injury?
A: No. It’s actually a different spot than the one before. Same hamstring, but different spot.

Q: How is Fred Jackson’s knee and can you comment on his performance?
A: I was concerned I think like everybody, like every Bills fan when he was on the side there. It didn’t look good. I knew that they were going to take the brace off his leg and then take a peek at it then and I was like, ‘Oof.’ That’s never a good sign. Then all of the sudden he’s running in there and not only did he run in there, but he ran in there and di a very good job. I think he continues to get stronger. Continues to, I always tease him, look younger and younger every time he’s out there. That run, that was a critical run near the end of the game when he basically forced his way through, pushed his way through and was able to get that first down which enabled us to make sure Miami used all their timeouts in that situation. This morning he came in, he looked good and he’s fine. I’m sure he’ll get treatments like he normally does during the week and he’ll be ready to play.

Q: How inspirational is a guy like that to the other guys?
A: I think it’s important, I mean Fred is a captain. From the standpoint of leadership, really the best part about leadership or the best trait about leadership that you can have is by example. I think Fred is an outstanding pro and he leads by example. There’s a lot of youth in him which we’re very happy with.

Q: Any update on (C.J.) Spiller? He looked like he was hobbling more than normal.

A: It’s been up and down. Like I said before, we just monitor him during the week and see where he’s at and if it continues to get better we go out there and then we go play. There’s going to be a setback when you play the game, he’s not going to come out of there 110 percent. I think it’s a situation that we’ll keep monitoring and if there’s a point where during the week it doesn’t feel as good as it should, then I think we’ll look to see what we want to do. As long as he’s getting better when he’s in there, he obviously has the potential to be productive, which he was. He had a run; one or two runs over 10, good distance there. Obviously the Cleveland game he had the big run for the touchdown. We just have to look to see, just keep trying to get him better each week.

Q: His level of production is not approaching what it was last season and obviously the injury has something to do with that. You still feel like what he’s able to give you at whatever percentage he is, is valuable to the team and worth more than any additional carries you could be giving Tashard Choice?
A: To answer the question, I would think the injury has everything to do with it, not some of it. I think that it’s the same thing. We’re looking at the production, seeing if he’s getting better and not putting him out there in jeopardy. Yes, him being out there, he can produce. You look at Cleveland, the run against Cleveland, the run even the other day that he bounces outside and takes it up the sideline. Not very many people can do that. That’s the one thing we’re trying to balance the whole time.

Q: Can you explain why you called a timeout before first down after the long kick return they had near the end of regulation?
A: What I did was I called a timeout to make sure because you’re out of challenges and there was a question that I had that I wanted to make sure they were going to go to the replay booth and look at it. I had the timeout, so I figured I would go ahead and use it. It was at that point I knew I had three in my pocket. I’d rather make sure if I have a timeout, talk to the officials, are you going to look at the replay booth at what just happened, so that’s what I did?

Q: To see a spot for the ball?
A: To see if he was down by a knee or if his hand went down.

Q: Did they look at it?
A: Yeah, they look at all the plays. It’s just a point of wanting to make sure that it’s done.

Q: Have you ever had a similar season where every game has been essentially a one possession game?
A: I don’t know if the score indicates that in the season I’ve been involved with, but as far as the players playing, I’ve been around that before. Everyone is just playing as hard as they possibly can. When we have a good opportunity or make the best of our opportunity we come up on the right end of the score at least from our standpoint and sometimes when you don’t. I think one of the things we look at is how the players are playing. It’s not like we’re out there, we have made mistakes, we do need to improve, we have a lot to work on, there’s no doubt about that. As far as our effort and trying to get things right, that’s there. Despite all the injuries and adversity that we’ve had.

Q: What about the way that your team has come through in some of these close games?
A: I’m extremely proud and that’s a credit to the players and the coaches, to get the guys ready to play and go. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not adding years to my life or any of our fans as they watch it, but at the same point we’re a team that’s fighting and trying to get over this. We haven’t been in the playoffs in twelve years. We know it’s out there, it’s not the elephant in the room, we talk about it all the time. We’re fighting, fighting, fighting and that’s what we’re going to keep on doing. At some point it’s going to start to break. It’s going to break to go over the top. Once you get there, now it’s another challenge to be able to stay there. That’s what you’re seeing right now. You’re seeing a group of guys that care about each other, at least that’s what I see when I’m around them. Obviously Thad (Lewis) is out there playing, they believe in him which I think is a very very important thing. I say that all the time, when you have someone at that position and the players think you can win with them, that’s very important. You see the defense, Jairus Byrd has come on now, he’s playing well. A lot of guys have stepped up in that secondary. Guys up front, doing a good job. Offensively, we’re just fighting through all the nicks, bumps and injuries. That’s really been the storyline. Really deep down inside I think you look at the players and you appreciate it, at least I appreciate it as a coach, how they handle themselves professionally. How they go about and how they’re playing. Again, granted we’re not happy with the record or where we’re at, but we’re working at changing that every single day.

Q: Having looked at the tape of the strip sack and Kyle (Williams) falling on that fumble. I’m assuming you’re happy he didn’t try to run?
A: I looked at it, it was really very smart. I think when he first went in there he tried to pick it up and then realized that he wasn’t going to get a clean exchange with that. I think maybe a younger player; someone who’s not as savvy would have tried to pick it up again. We’ve seen many a times and the other opponent falls on it and they get the ball back. He went to pick it up the first time and figured, ‘Hey, a lot of people are going to be getting close,’ and then fell on the ball and made sure we had possession. I actually think it was a very good play by a very good football player and a veteran type of play.

Q: What did you think of Nickell Robey’s interception and touchdown and the play he’s given you as an undrafted rookie?
A: It’s great, you get a guy that’s an undrafted guy, we knew a little bit more about him, I’ve said that before. Having faced him in college, him making that interception was more of an it’s about time because he’s been doing that and has been very close. I actually told him, ‘Gosh you should have had another one later in the game.’ When you start talking about that, it’s great because you have someone who has very good instincts, someone who can make those plays. You’re looking for him to do that more often.

Q: When was the last time you exchanged texts or phone calls with Sean Payton?
A: We talk. Obviously I had a great experience down there, I have a great appreciation. I played there in ’89 and went back and worked there through a tough transition after Katrina. Those memories are always going to be there and I have all the respect in the world. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have or had spent the time that I did down there. Like I said, I have a great appreciation, I wish them the best and we’re going to go out there Sunday and compete against them.

Q: Did you think Stephon (Gilmore) looked more comfortable in his second week with the cast and do you have any idea how much longer that will be?
A: I don’t know, that’s really the surgeon’s call. It’s not even really our doctors, it’s the surgeons call about when that comes off and stuff. There’s no doubt he definitely looked much more comfortable. I think he’ll even be more comfortable this upcoming week. It’s one of those things, I think like any of us, the more we can wear whatever we have to wear that’s different than how we played before, we just get more comfortable with it.