Head Coach Doug Marrone **
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Obviously we're in to rookie mini-camp. One of our goals, and it's a little bit different compared to some other teams and some other teams are doing things the same way, what we want to do is make sure that now that the draft was pushed back and these players will have a shorter turnaround to the OTAs and when other players come in, what we want to do as a staff is make sure that they're in shape, which you expect them to be. But you don't want to take that for granted. An injury can put someone quite far behind. Two, we want to make sure they know the drills that we do and the technique that we play so that we don't have to waste a lot of time when the OTAs start and we're on the field with them. The next thing obviously is to learn the scheme. That's really a big thing so that they can come out and compete right away. That's important because the one thing I told them before is that this is a league that is not going to wait on you. Either you get to know it, you learn it and you get out there and play it or you're not going to be here very long. We feel that with our system and our teaching that the rookies will be able to pick things up quickly and be able to compete. That's why we do things the way we do, so we're looking forward to that. Really that's it.
Q: The Giants and another team decided to not have a rookie camp. Did that enter your consideration?A: No, we did it last year because we knew we were going to take a quarterback so we wanted to make sure we had the numbers right and everything to train him. This year we didn't know what we expected, but with it being pushed back I get worried about the young guys coming in. I've been through those camps before where you bring in a lot of tryouts. And what happens is when you bring in a lot of people for tryouts, the competition is harder to manage. Not to say it's right or wrong. I'm not going to say that, but it's tough to manage. And what happens is you have to watch guys on the ground, people lying around and people getting injured. For us, we have 15 OTAs. We have the whole team here. Let's not rush in to this thing. Let's make sure these guys that are coming in to this league have the knowledge background to come in and compete.
Q: Sammy Watkins was working off to the side with Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett at one point. Where did that come from and is that something you expect to continue?A: I think it came to a point of when earlier today we had a special teams meeting and he wasn't in on that so he came out here and did some extra work. And then obviously in special teams he'll work with them on the side and get some extra work done.
Q: What were your impressions of Sammy?A: I think it's like anything else, I mean you guys were there. Obviously he is smooth coming out of breaks and he can make the catches and makes nice catches. I'm looking forward to, and we probably won't find out until we get to camp, in this league to be able to play wideout you have to beat press coverage.
Q: What did you see on tape of Cyrus Kouandjio? Everything I read about him was how he has great feet.A: Yeah, he's a great football player. All three of those kids are impressive from what they can do. From a footwork standpoint, from an athletic standpoint. It's going to be one of those things where it's how good are they moving someone that is 300 and something pounds on the inside? How good are they about stopping someone who is 265 pounds and runs a 4.4 on the outside? From that standpoint we try to work them inside out, meaning that we work with power first. Then we try to train them to have a larger range as we get going. That's what we're trying to do. I thought for the first day, on both offensive and defensive line, we got some good work in.
Q: What did you see specifically on Kouandjio?A: I thought he was a good football player. He's an excellent run blocker. He can knock people off the ball. He is powerful and once he gets his hands on you he can play. That's what you're looking for from offensive lineman early on. People that can knock somebody off the ball and people that can lock someone down in protection and someone who has the ability to get better. That's the one thing, you can be a good college football player, but if you don't have the ability to develop and get better at some skills then you probably have a short career.
Q: Given Seantrel (Henderson)'s issues in the past, does your background as a former offensive line coach make the team more willing to take a chance on a player like that?A: Doug (Whaley) handles the roster, so that might be a better suited question for him, but we do talk about that. I think in my background I have done stuff like that before. I think a lot of it depends on… there are a lot of things that go in to it. Whether it be the room, the kid, the individual or the people sitting around him. Obviously it was something that we did a lot of research on. We want to make sure that we know exactly what the situation is, exactly what we're dealing with and seeing if we're able to be the proper influence to make that change. And does the player want to make that change? I think all those things come in to play and if that happens we're going to get ourselves one heck of a football player. If it doesn't, he'll go find another line of work.
Q: With Seantrel, a lot of the responsibility falls on him right?A:Yeah, but I think anyone that has a problem, when you say it's all on him I'm not going to stand here and say I don't have a responsibility. I've stood here before and yeah, do I have to win games? Absolutely, I get it. There is a certain point where I have to look myself in the mirror and I'd like to think I can influence people to be better in the community, better fathers, to be better husbands. I'd like to have that type of influence on people, whether they are coaches, whether they're players, whether they're media, whatever they may be. To make the statement that I don't feel that way, I think that is not me. I do feel that when one of our players has a problem, just so we're all clear, or something happens I do feel - the first thing I say is, 'What could I have done better to help this person?' That's the first thing and then what could we have done better as an organization to make sure that we've educated our players to make the right decisions and do the right thing. I think that's what this organization has been about long before I came here and I think it's something that we want to continue and get better at.
Q: I know it's the first day of practice, but the preciseness of his breaks and cuts, did you notice that?A: Smooth. That's what you saw on film. He's smooth. He's not a herky-jerky coming out his cuts type of guy. He's a smooth guy coming in and out. That's what makes him a very good receiver. A lot of it will come down to the timing and things like that once our other quarterbacks get in here, EJ (Manuel), Thad (Lewis) and the rest of them. Obviously it's the first time he's been out there. Again, you like the way he catches it. He's a first round draft pick.
Q: You smile when you say that.A: He's a first round draft pick. If he came out here and dropped five balls and fell down five to 10 times, we'd be pissed and crying.
Q: Given the price you paid to get him and then followed that by trading Stevie Johnson, how do you prevent the expectations for Sammy from getting too high?A: Getting out of hand meaning from what standpoint?
Q: There is going to be a lot expected from him and a lot of pressure. How do you prevent that from being too much?A: The only thing I worry about is winning games. When people talk about production and this guy is productive and this guy is this and this guy is that. We're not productive enough to win more than we lose. I'm not trying to be mean here; I'm just trying to be honest. For me when people talk about production and this guys is this and this person is that and this guy can do this and this guy can do that. That doesn't mean much to me. What means to me is when we can get 11 guys on that field and be executing on a high level on offense, a high level on defense and a high level on special teams and win. We're bringing guys in here to win. Whether they catch two balls, 10 balls, I don't really care. At the end of the day, all I care about is if we win. There are a lot of things that go in to it. We'll get in to, 'Hey, so and so only caught two balls today, he wasn't productive.' Well they had a corner and guy covering him and this guy's caught six balls when he never would have gotten those things before. You don't know how those things are going to work out. But I'm not in to the individual stuff and everything like that. I talked to the team about it, everything I'm in to is winning. I don't want to curse (us), but we're going to win.
Q: How do you balance it out in a rookie minicamp when you have guys like Sammy and the high picks that need to assimilate in to the team and you also have guys trying out for a spot?A: I'll say the same thing, and I've said this every year I've been in the NFL since my first year. I really don't care how you got here. I don't care if you were drafted. I don't care if you were signed in an open tryout. I don't care if you're a seventh round draft pick, I really don't care. All I care about is what you're going to do now that you're here. That's the one thing I control. I control who plays and who doesn't play. If you want to play, do it right there. All that draft pick stuff and all those other things, that's all for the media, that's' all for you guys. You can talk about that all you want, but I tell them that flat out every year I've been in the league and I truly believe that. I don't really care. Just because you're a second round pick or a first round pick, it doesn't mean you're going to automatically play. We've got guys that have been on this team that are fighting for their lives and fighting for a job. That's just the way it is. If we start playing people based on where they're drafted, you're going to lose a lot of games.
Q: Are some of the guys here more just to be a body, or does everyone have a shot at sticking around?A: I don't know. I look at it as an opportunity. If I looked at it as if you didn't have an opportunity and there wasn't a chance for you to stick here now or maybe down the road come back here. I have a lot of respect for anyone that steps on the field, so I probably have a different background in the way I look at it. I respect every person that comes on the field because I think I have a respect for how difficult it is to get on that field and just to compete. So no, we don't bring people in here and maybe that is why we have the rookie camps that we have. Everyone has a shot, even the guys that have tryouts. They might not stick now, but down the road we have some injuries we want to know what we have so we can bring them back. It's like our quarterback situation, we brought (Kenny Guiton) in, is he going to stick? I don't know, but we want to work with him and we want to see him. God forbid something happens to one of our quarterbacks, we are able to bring him back in here and he's an option for us.
Q: You have three guys from UB in this week. Can you speak on the relationship you have between the Bills and UB?
A: Absolutely. I think Coach Quinn, who I have gotten to know a little bit more now obviously since we're closer, I have a great deal of respect for him and his program. So, spending time with him and watching those kids and the way they compete and the way they play. I feel very comfortable about bringing those type of players in here. I think that's a credit to Coach Quinn and the program that he runs. Those kids have come in here and they've represented the University at Buffalo well and they belong here. Whether they're good enough to make the team, that's what we're going to see. I think a lot of that is the way that Coach Quinn has run his program.