Doug Marrone: "We're really excited for tomorrow night's scrimmage"


Head Coach Doug Marrone**

Training Camp — August 4, 2013

Opening StatementI was happy about today. I think we, as a staff, are really excited for tomorrow night's scrimmage. I think the players are too. We just cut (practice) a little bit today to make sure that we get some rest. What we like to see from the scrimmage is we are going to be playing football with all of the rules. We're going to come out here, stretch, pursuit, have some individual and do some special teams. Early on, some seven-on-seven. Take some little breaks. Special teams will be involved in the scrimmage. They'll have about two in-field drives, probably 12, 12 and six with the others. We'll do that twice. Then we'll have a little bit of a more controlled scrimmage. We'll go red zone, make sure we get enough red zone in. And then we'll do goal line and then we'll end it up with a series of two-minute. One series probably for each.

I think as far as participation, on who's is going to play and who's not. We're going to think about it tonight. We're not going to say anything as a staff. We're going to wait and see where the players are tonight and wait to see where they are tomorrow morning as far as if they're going to participate in the scrimmage and who do we want to participate in that scrimmage. We'll meet on that as a staff.

In regards to Kevin (Kolb), we're going to try and get him back for tomorrow. We just kept him out today off the field because if he's standing on the field, it's not something that will help him at this time. We're trying to get him back for tomorrow, which we think we have an opportunity to do. Mike Caussin is still in that evaluation phase, and him just standing around is not going to help him either. All the players that you've seen, Mario (Williams) is back today. He did some team work which is good, so he's acclimating the same way as you see with Kyle Williams. Today was a scheduled day for Scott Chandler so we can get some work out of him tomorrow in a live setting. Justin Rogers, Kevin Elliot, we feel they are doing well and are on track. Stevie (Johnson) is out, like I've said before yesterday, for some time.

Q: Can you talk about the incidence with Duke Williams?A: He showed some concussion-like symptoms yesterday. We thought he was fine initially coming off the field, then he just had some concussion symptoms that we are going to make sure we are doing everything we can as an organization and as a league for player safety. Once we see those symptoms, they go through a process with our trainers and doctors until they're able to be released.

Q: How much pre-season scrimmaging did you do at SU?A: The one thing about college, if you look at it, and you say 'Okay, did you do enough scrimmages compared to the pre-season games?' Because in college you obviously don't play preseason games, you're probably right on track. I think you see it around the league, you see, whether it's an orange and blue scrimmage that someone is doing. Everyone probably has a scrimmage beforehand just to get in there and get an idea of the team and how they're going to play. It just gives you an extra evaluation. It's part of the process to evaluate. And you do tend to put more into it. I'm not going to sit here and say it is all equal and everything like that. So that's why we're excited about it and the players are excited.

Q: Was today another scheduled rest day for Scott Chandler?A: Absolutely. And that's what I mentioned before. This way we can get him in tomorrow and get some work with him.

Q: It looked like EJ Manuel struggled a bit out there today. What did you see from him?A: If you're going to talk about better days, not the production end, I agree with that. But today was a great day for him. We did a lot of third down today, so early on I said we were going to progress him against all the looks. Now with Kevin (Kolb) not being there for practice, we're throwing him in there. And I think it's always difficult. The way I watch it is, a poorly thrown ball, a tipped ball, a ball that a receiver should win on. I think you go through that process. He threw two picks today. One was on him and one was probably on something else that happened, lineman, something to that sense. The one good thing about it is, right now, it's a third down day and he got a lot of work against some tough looks.

Q: What are your thoughts on the kicking competition so far?A: I think it's important. When you look at the weather we've had my thoughts are, one, it has been great. The players have been excited about it. I'm sure the fans have been excited about. I think you sit there as a head coach and say 'Gosh, I'm looking for that hot day, that real hot day.' I'm looking for that day when it's really windy, especially in the venue that we play in back in Buffalo. It's a windy stadium. And I think, today, you saw a little overcompensation for the wind, which is something you can experience. I think with the quarterbacks you see it, I didn't see any effect on the quarterbacks with the wind. But with the kickers, they're trying to play that placement with the wind. And I think it's a great learning experience when you go through camp. And then hopefully, something I can control is when you get a hot day or two here, before we break, which we hope that we do. Q: How have you found yourself acclimated to the NFL after your first week of training camp?A: It's been much, much easier for me coming from college to the NFL than it was for me going from the NFL to college. It really has. I feel better about it because when I went to pre-season before I was worrying about what day class starts, what day is the orientation period and how do we get our guys a little bit ahead. So you're dealing with two separate issues going on of football, you have the social and personal relationship that you have with the players. And then you have to get them ready for the academic situation. Here, we're in a great, structured environment. We're in there for a long time. We're able to concentrate on football. And really that's it. So to answer your question, I feel much more comfortable going the way that I did.

Q: How do you balance the benefits of evaluating a live scrimmage against the possibility that somebody could get hurt?

A: I think anytime you come out on this field, even in the dead situations, someone has that opportunity. I think that for me, I'd rather go out there, play and know what I have. Then if God forbid, knock on wood, something happens we're going to get somebody else ready to go. That's what I was trying to explain early on in training camp. It's part of the process, people are going to get little nicks and bruises, little bumps and they're going to be out. The next player has to go in. Those things happen. I'd rather know what I have now, then wait until we get in to the preseason and then all of the sudden say 'Whoa, I don't know if we were right on this evaluation.'

Q: Can you comment on what the thought process was behind trading for Jerry Hughes?

A: What goes on in (the decision making process)? The process that goes on is that you look for availability, you go back to see what you thought about that player when he was coming out. We had good reports on him coming out of college, from our college scouts, so you're intrigued by that initially. Then you look to say, "OK, maybe a change of venue will help this player". As if from a lack of maybe structure on the outside or lack of self-discipline. Those weren't the issues with him. Really the change of atmosphere and knowing that we can find the role to fit him has been very beneficial and I've seen some good things out of him. I think those are the things that go on, the scouting department initially, then our pro scouting department and then we as coaches get involved and then obviously we talk with myself, Doug Whaley, and at that time Buddy Nix. Then we talk to Russ and we work it out from there.

Q: He looks like a guy who understands he's getting a second chance here.

A: I think so. A lot of times in this league, sometimes that's all you need. You get a second chance; you make the most of that opportunity. We feel that Jerry is doing that and really I see him going beyond that, as far as being a good teammate. I see him pushing others, motivating others and as a coach that's what you're looking for. I'm very pleased.

Q: You talked about looking for someone to separate at quarterback. Has that happened? When do you think it will really start to become clear?

A: I think when you go out and play against, you can see, part of the process is really until we get to that preseason. That's really what we're looking for, so it's not something that's going to be done before hand. I don't like to pass judgment or complete an evaluation, until we go in there and obviously, EJ hasn't been in there in that type of atmosphere. I just want to see how he looks in that atmosphere and how he responds in that atmosphere.

Q: Can you talk about the premium that you seem to put on speed at the wide receiver position?

A: I think everyone has a little bit of a different philosophy on that. Sometimes they'll go with bigger, taller people, I think in the beginning when you talk about West Coast offense, you put that big receiver out there. Really we're trying to just get the best player available. We're trying to get a little bit of both. Someone with size and speed, thinking about where's the skill level and where do we need to develop them. When we go out and try to get a player, that's what we're looking for. Some of those intangibles that might not have been developed yet, we feel that we, and I'm sure a lot of other people around the league, are going to put in a lot of time with the players to try to get them developed because at the end of the day the teams that are successful in this league are able to develop players. If you're just going to kind of draft and throw them out there on the field, I think it's very difficult to be consistent.

Q: So are you saying if you can get speed, you can develop the other skills?

A: Yeah, you can't teach speed, you can't teach height and you're not going to get someone to grow a little bit more. You can get someone stronger, you can get them a little bit faster, but technically, fundamentally, you have that opportunity to get those players better and it's just a matter of where they're coming from. How much opportunity that they have had. There's sometimes you go to camps and you're not getting many reps, so it is hard to develop. Then you get released and all of the sudden now it becomes on you to develop yourself. We spend a lot of time on individual and fundamentals and we think that at the end of the day it's important for us a staff to make sure we develop players.

Q: Going off the point about speed, do you want the offense to always be in attack mode?

A: Coach Mac, he was my coach in college, and he would always say this, this is the first time I ever heard it. You go to the saying, 'Luck follows speed.' I just believe in that. When you have speed, I think it opens some things up. You get some people off you more. Every time someone with elite speed gets the ball in their hands, they have the potential to make a big play. I think that's what you're looking for. You have a chance to become a true playmaker. Those are the things we're looking for and I don't think we're any different than anybody else.

Q: How much do you enjoy the night practices?

A: I just like to practice. I don't like the days off. I think it is good, it is different. I look at that as a little bit of adversity, which is not a bad thing right now in camp. I heard a couple of the guys say they got up this morning ready to go at eight and say, "Wait, I have to check the schedule. We're going in the afternoon". I think it's good because I think it develops as a player knowing how to get going and get ready to play. When you look at our schedule, in the beginning of it we're playing most of our games at one (o'clock). At the end of the year, we hope to get that changed and the players will be used to playing at different times and getting their bodies ready.

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