Head Coach Doug Marrone **
Thursday, June 12, 2014
I'll start with a statement. Obviously with the end of OTA's here, it's funny if you go around everyone is going to be real positive about how things went and we put in a lot of offense. We've made a lot of improvements on the little things. Our goal obviously was the trust and communication and I think I've seen that more from this team than in the past which I'm proud of. The main thing is just what I told them at the end, we can have all that stuff and go ahead and make these strides during this period of time, but if you don't retain it and you don't keep working on it basically what you've done is flushed it down the toilet when you show up again. So I think what I told them is we do have the right guys with us and that is not going to happen. The other thing was yesterday, we had four days in a row this week and in my past I've done things where we've taken the players and done extracurricular activities. When I say extracurricular, we're not doing what the collective bargaining agreement says, but we went in and had a good day of practice. We had a good day of OTA's and we had a good meeting, we had a good lifting session and then we went ahead to do some airball stuff in a competitive atmosphere. I like doing it in a competitive atmosphere. We split the coaches up and it was great. It was good interaction and really we accomplished what we were trying to do out there. The players did a nice job and they responded. I was proud of them, obviously nobody was injured which is a good thing. We came back today and had a good practice today. I was happy with the amount of stuff we have in. I'm looking forward to the mandatory minicamp, really excited we'll have everybody here. Let's finish this thing up strong.
Q: What is your philosophy behind teambuilding in regards to the airsoft outing?A: I think there's a lot. You go back and forth, sometimes I think team-building is running 10 110's and looking to the guy next to you and the guy next to you is pushing you to get it done. I think that's team-building. I think just being competitive and a different atmosphere. You're so pressed all the time and you're limited in your time and every time you're there you are always coaching, you're always on them and getting that stuff done. The coaches are always in a form of coaching where as we became actually part of a team yesterday. I think those things are positive. I've done it many times, I've done it when I was a player, I did it at most every single place I've coached at. The only time I haven't done it is really last year.
Q: Did you get shot at?A: I got shot in the chin bad. Right underneath my mask. Kiko Alonso.
Q: Really? Did you get anybody?A: Yeah, I got my share but I don't want to say it because those are the guys I don't really like. (Laughs)
Q: Is it as painful as paintball?A: No it's not, it is actually less than the paintball stuff. We've always done paintball, but this is a new thing. It was good. Again, it was competitive. We were part of it and there was strategy involved for what we'd do and we planned together. It's not always the coach and the coordinators so I'm happy with the way that went.
Q: How do you think EJ (Manuel) has looked through OTA's?A: I'm excited, I think what had happened is that a lot of times even players, a lot of times you're looking for the end product and for end results. For us, we're looking for those steps for where he's going or what he's taking. Really when you look at the volume that we have in, which is really full scale everything right now, he's made a great amount of improvement of things that he didn't do as well last year. It starts with the foundation and his footwork and the things that are going on. I'm really excited about where he is and the amount of stuff that we put on his plate. I think everyone should be, I think normally what happens is it starts with the quarterback coach, the offensive coordinator and myself being offensive guys and the people in the offensive room. Now it's getting ready to go on to the players and the team and everyone else. Now he's getting ready to take that next step.
Q: The offense hasn't looked that smooth during OTA's. Would you agree with that?A: I'm really happy about where it is. I'm happy about the ability that we have in our matchup potential now with what we're doing and the ability where we can put different players. There are things now that we can do that we couldn't do last year. From that standpoint I'm happy. As far as when you go on the field and you look and you try to keep score, I think it's tough. I think there are moments all the time for both sides. The only one that's going to ever really win out here is the head coach because some days the offense is going to do well and you're happy for them and some days the defense will do well and you're happy for the defense. I like to think of it that way, but usually I'm not happy either way because I'm always upset with the other side of the ball.
Q: What was the reason to start practice outside with rain coming and then move inside once the rain got going?A: What happened was honestly I was told we had lightning five miles away.
Q: Would you have practiced in the rain if there wasn't lighting?A: Yeah I would've practiced out there. Lightning takes precedent over that for player safety. Reporter safety takes precedent over everyone. I was looking out for you. No, that's what I was told that lightning was coming.
Q: Were you trying to build leadership and chemistry in the team?A: Interesting point. I've taken it to if it develops it develops. I've learned a long time ago not to try to push it or try to point out that stuff. Not to try to identify or say or put people in those type of roles. What I learned before is if you don't have that and you don't see that or it's not occurring in your team, then you have to take more of a role. Myself and then it passes on to the coaches. I do see a team that is coming together and is getting to know each other better, which at least gives you the ability to step up from the leadership standpoint amongst the team.
Q: Can it be better?A: You know what? I'm being honest and I learned a long time ago not to try to do that. Meaning that what I said before, if you try to say I want to this and you try to force that, I think you're always going to be disappointed. You either go full steam ahead and the best way to do it is by example starting with myself and the coaches and then I always say that the number one skill you need to be a good leader is you first have to be a good follower. I learned that a long time ago, so if you don't want to stand up there and lead, then just stay in line and follow.
Q: Is it easier to get people to buy in to leadership in college or the pros?A: There are two things that happened. I saw initially you got to make some moves that is easier to make in college. Whether you want to call it buying in or not buying in, I don't think you need as many as people think. I know that for a fact. Meaning that if someone asked me how many leaders do you need, you need one. You need one. Where it's going to come from, does it come from the coaches or the players? It can come from both. Would you like more? Absolutely. There I thought the thing that turned us around is we had one. That's what it started with. I didn't think we had a lot the first year, we had some good guys, but we had one that I would deem a leader. That changed everything and it changed the whole entire environment of what happened. I think that happened when I was done in New Orleans. We had many good players and a lot of good leaders, but the first one was Drew Brees.
Q: Do you want your quarterback to grow in to that kind of leader?A: I think it's a natural thing by position. I don't know if you're sitting here thinking that he needs to be this or that, I think what we need him to do is just play well and he's in a natural leadership position no different than the center, Eric Wood, is in a natural leadership position. No different than the middle linebacker that calls the plays is in a leadership position. I think a lot of times on a team you have people in a leadership position; you just have to make sure you have the right ones.
Q: Do you see EJ taking ownership of that?A: I think right now his focus is to improve his game. I think every player right now. We're in trying to improve ourselves and improve our game and to follow suit. We're not in that position right now because our team hasn't formed yet. We have a team of 90 that is going to get cut down and those guys are within competition with each other.
Q: Who was your leader at Syracuse?A: (Derrell) Smith, our linebacker was the guy first. He was the guy and I think everyone on the team would say that. He was drafted, but he was the guy that stepped up and I relied on a lot of those guys because it was tough for the, a lot of their friends left the program and everything I'm saying is out there. A lot of people left the program and they stayed. They stayed because they believed in what we were trying to get accomplished. It's not much different than what we were trying to do here and we're dealing with professionals and they know. I think Eric Wood said it the other day, he knows the situation. 14 years of not making in and I'm part of that too now and these guys are part of it. It pisses you off and if it doesn't you shouldn't be here.
Q: You've put in a lot of offense in these OTA's. Does it change during minicamp where you have more focus with the extra sessions?A: No what we're trying to do is really and I don't know what other teams do, but we had the same set of installation in the OTA's and then we try to go through the same set of installations for the mandatory minicamp and then we hit those installations in the same way when we get to our preseason camp. Meaning 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 which is mostly your base and you can get some third down and red zone in there. So you get those things going and you try to hit the players three times with it so their attention obviously is better. That's what we'll try to do during the mandatory minicamp.
Q: Do you expect Marcell (Dareus) to be there next week?A: Yes. I've talked to him every day.
Q: What about Manny Lawson and Alan Branch?A: Those guys have texted me. I haven't had discussions with them and as far as I know they'll be here.
Q: Marcell was not there for the airsoft was he?A: No.
Q: Injury wise, anything on Bryan Johnson?A: I think he'll be back for training camp. They told me initially three weeks.
Q: Marquise (Goodwin)?A: He was back today. I don't know if he played, but he was supposed to be back practicing.
Q: What is your general philosophy on team captains and how significant are they?A: My philosophy? I think it's the player's team. They go ahead and pick them and whoever they pick to be the captains are the people that they pick. That's how I view it. I don't try to rig it; I don't try to do anything. This is your football team, who do you want to represent this football team?
Q: Now that it's known that you won't be on Hard Knocks, can you reveal your stance on it?A: I don't even think about it. I know if the league tells you have to do it, you have to do it and you have no choice in the matter.
Q: Would you have wanted to be on it?A: It doesn't matter. If they say the Buffalo Bills have to do it, we do it. If they say the Buffalo Bills don't have to do it then we don't have to do it. I don't worry about it. I just don't worry about it. I never even thought about it.
Q: What have you made of Sammy Watkins' progress over his first three weeks?A: I'm excited about it. I'm excited to get him on that field.
Q: Who stood out to you over the past few weeks?A: I'd rather you ask me a name. You know what I'm saying? Then I can talk about them. Q: Is it harder for a newcomer to take that role as a leader? As in a Brandon Spikes stepping in.
A: I don't know. That's a good question. I think you either are or you aren't. Whether you're new, old or whatever it may be. I think you either have it or you don't.