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Buffalo Bills: Doug Marrone Conference Call Transcript

Posted Dec 24, 2013

Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone addresses the New England media during his conference call on Tuesday, December 24, 2013.

Q: What are your thoughts on your first year in Buffalo and if you’ve laid a foundation?

A: Obviously my thoughts and concentrations right now is taking our team up to New England. I think after the season and I’m trying not to be rude, I think I’d be able to better answer that question. I think right now we’re putting all our focus on this game.

Q: What would it mean to end the season on a positive note?

A: It would mean quite a bit and again we have a very difficult challenge obviously it’s not a secret. We haven’t won up there in the new stadium. We’re playing an outstanding football team. They’ve been an outstanding football team for quite some time and it’s a great challenge for us and we’ve got to be ready.

Q: Obviously you opened the season against the Patriots, when you go back and look at the film are you wondering, ‘Who are some of these guys out here?’

A: You know what’s so funny is when you go back to the first game of the season you realize how long of a season it is and how long ago. We watch pretty much everything and have things broken down and things like that. Part of this game is there are changes. Obviously we’ve gone through changes as most of the teams have. It’s just a matter of getting your team prepared in a direction of which way you want to go and going out there and executing.

Q: Even though some names and numbers might be different, do they look the same to you?

A: I’ve always thought this even in my time in the AFC East when I was in New York and you get a sense of appreciation again when you watch the film of what Coach Belichick and his staff and those players too. I say it all the time you look at a lot of teams, but how well they play the game, how hard they play the game, how they execute. You really have to, they’re never going to beat themselves and you really have to beat them meaning that schematically you’re going to have to make plays and you’re going to be covered or people are going to be blocked or people are going to come down. They force you to truly beat them and I’ve always had a great appreciation for the way that they played for a long period of time like that.

Q: You’re second in the league in interceptions and first in sacks. How disruptive can your defense be?

A: Obviously at times it’s been, and again it’s a challenge for us as we look at it as those are some very good points and things that for the most part have consistently gone well for us. When you look at it, we’re still looking at it from a team perspective and winning games. Right now obviously we’re not happy with our results. Disappointed is probably a better way and we have a chance to play another game and get a win. I think that’s where our focus is. The defense, we have some good players on that side of the ball and they’ve played well.

Q: I had read that the plan was for EJ (Manuel) to play Sunday?

A: Yeah, right now he participated in practice and we have another day. He was out there and he threw and did some things out there so we’re just going to see where he is with a day’s rest. Resting tomorrow and then seeing where we are on Thursday when we restart.

Q: What’s his year been like developmentally?

A: I think there’s been some adversity. There have been ups and downs. I think when you look at it and you take a quarterback in the amount of games that he’s played and the amount of preparation that he’s had, it’s probably limited form that standpoint. There have been times where he’s won games for us, he’s put us in position to win games for us and there’s been times where he hasn’t played as well as our expectation is or his own expectation. It’s a process with him and we’re getting better and better each week.

Q: What does Thad Lewis bring to the team as a backup or secondary quarterback?

A: It’s the same thing. When you’re looking at players we try to go back as much as we can with a history thing and obviously Thad played with Coach Cutcliffe and I even think Coach O’Brien was with him when he was at Duke. For us you can see how well he was coached at that age and really hadn’t had a lot of opportunities when he came in to this league, for whatever reason. He’s really done a nice job for us. He’s sitting at 2-2 for us as the record for a guy that’s in there for EJ. He has the ability to help us win and that’s what we expect from him.

Q: You’ve been in almost every game this season. Do you think that is a positive for you guys?

A: I would have to say it’s one of the things that we focused on. I think in order to, the easiest way, and obviously we haven’t been to the playoffs in a long period of time and obviously the fastest way to get in the playoffs is to have the ability to win the division. I think that we talk about things within the division quite a bit and we have a good division. New England has been elite in this division for a long period of time, you have New York and you have Miami. It’s a tough division. It’s one that’s very challenging for us here.

Q: You come in on a two game winning streak. After playing the Patriots in week one and knowing what they’ve done, what are you going to have to do on Sunday to give yourself a chance to win?

A: I think the most important thing is to not turn the all over. I think we as coaches talk about that quite a bit. When you look at the success that New England has, and not to take anything away from how they’re coached or their players, but if you turn the ball over against them you’ve pretty much diminished if not took out any possible opportunity of winning a game.

Q: I know turnovers come in all different ways and some you have to credit the defense, you have a high number of fumbles and I just wonder if that is a ball security issue on you guys or just some of them is the defense making a play?

A: I believe we control more of our fate. I think we have to do a better job of coaching it and we have to keep emphasizing it. That starts with me and drilling it. We have been all year, that’s one of the things we talk about daily. Every day in practice we drill it, we spend time on it and we have to do a better job of that.

Q: It seems like the Patriots really feast on those things. Is it become especially important in this case?

A: I think every game it is, but especially I think when you look at all the good teams, teams that have won consistently for a long time like New England, I think you’ll see that same type of common theme. They don’t lose games, they win a lot of football games, but they don’t put themselves in a position where they’re losing the game. We have to go in there and not lose the game by turnovers or penalties and things that we have control over.