Head Coach Doug Marrone Conference Call
Q:** What's the status of the program now?
A: Those types of things we'll talk about at the end of the season. We're just trying to keep fighting. We fought our way into some good situations and, obviously, we were disappointed in some of the games during the year, but we're going to look at it as a whole at the end of the season. Right now our focus is just on winning a game up in Foxborough.
Q: How does New England's situation change how you prepare?
A: We're preparing for their best. They've been at the top of the league for such a long period of time that we have to go out there and we mentally have to be ready to play our best to be competitive in the game.
Q: Can it be a benefit to go against such a strong franchise as you get to observe the things they do well?
A: When you watch the film – and this has been going on prior to me going to the Saints – from the standpoint of the coaches and the players that they bring in from a leadership standpoint. Their efficiency, the way the play, whether it's just in the fundamentals like blocking and tackling are things that everyone looks at and says, 'How do we get that on a consistent basis?' If you don't, you're not going to have the consistency with winning. It's a credit to the New England organization, Coach Belichick, the coaches and the players that have been through there. They've done it with a lot of different players and parts, but they've all performed the same way. They're very consistent, they're very efficient and they're very difficult to beat.
Q: How close do you think you guys are to breaking through and becoming a playoff team? What do you think has to happen for you to take that next step?
A: It's hard to tell how close you are because you continue to have to fight. The first time is usually the most difficult time because you're trying to change the culture and maybe some poor habits you've gotten accustomed to because you've lost so much. Those things are always a process and always according to change. You always have to keep going forward and keep fighting and then you look back and say, 'Okay, this is what we were able to do to do that.' You never know exactly what was the piece or players or what you may have or scheme or what you may do, so you just have to keep working and going forward and know what you believe in and keep fighting.
Q: What were some of the things you talked to Sammy Watkins about after this first game against Darrelle Revis? In what ways has him improved since that time?
A: He's going through his rookie year and he's put up good numbers. You're always going to gauge yourself to the best corner in the game with Darrelle Revis. Brandon Browner and the whole secondary are playing extremely well. It's difficult. It's man-to-man. They play that quite a bit. It's not a secret. You're going to have to win. They're very good at it. They know routes, they know splits, they know exactly what's going on, they study the receivers. It's a challenge. If you want to be the best, you're going to have to beat the best. I think Sammy understands that. I think he's a young player. I think he's progressing nicely. We need to have him have a good game against a Pro Bowl player.
Q: How important has the defensive line been to your team's success?
A: It's a credit to them. I think it's difficult to get three players at one position to the Pro Bowl. The fact that Jerry Hughes is probably having his best year, an outstanding year. I think all four of them have done a nice job. They played through injuries. They are extremely competitive with each other. It's extremely important to them. I just think that we have a lot of talent on the defensive line. I think we have a lot of talent on defense. I think, overall, there have been some spots where we've been spotty, but if you look over the course of the season so far, they've done a great job and we need to continue that this Sunday.
Q: What were your overall impressions of Alan Branch in camp and how he's done in New England?
A: I see him playing with a lot of enthusiasm. Obviously, we're happy for him. You don't like playing against good football players and Alan's a very good football player. You see him making plays and you see him having fun. He brings a lot of energy and he's a solid football player that's playing well.
Q: Is Brandon Spikes everything that you thought he would be?
A: He's really done a great job for us; in the locker room, on the field, helping some of our longer guys like Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham. With Kiko Alonso being out, he's helped them learn how to be pros, watching film and doing those things. He had an outstanding offseason. He was here throughout the entire offseason. I think that was important. He's been everything that we expected him to be.
QB Kyle Orton Conference Call
Q:** What's the hardest thing in preparing for this Patriots' team and this Patriots' defense from your perspective?
A: Just an all around solid defense, they play great team defense, never out of position, and obviously have a lot of talent so we'll have to play our best game.
Q: Can you elaborate on your thoughts on this Patriots' defense and this front seven?
A: Good front seven, good edge rushers, good size in the middle, two inside linebackers are playing really well…playing physical, and they do a good job on the edge of obviously funneling everything inside to those guys and giving them a lot of checks.
Q: How impressed are you with the way the Darrelle Revis has impacted their secondary this season? I imagine you've gone against him in the past and what have you seen from him and the Patriots as a difference maker this year.
A: Just obviously his style of play. Press man-to-man coverage. Certainly the best secondary that we've played and even better this time around than the last time around we've played with the addition of Browner. They're both playing extremely well and the two safeties play very good football.
Q: And with regards to Hightower, Collins…those two young linebackers. Based on what you saw from Jamie…I know he had his first interception of the season against you guys but also what they've done with those two guys in subsequent weeks. How much have they impressed you?
A: A lot. Obviously they're probably playing as good of team defense as we've seen and pretty much across the board, there's not a lot of week spots to where you go into the game and say, "We can attack here, here, and here." We just feel that we have a great challenge ahead of us and we're going to have to play our best game.
Q: I read that this the fifth different team for which you've passed for the 300-plus yards in your career and you've had a lot of success in different places. What has it been like in Buffalo for you? Has this been the fit that you thought it would be when you went to the Bills during the course of the year?
A: Yeah, I'd say so. It's been fun. It's been fun to work with a young group of wide receivers who have all the talent in the world and I hope I can make a positive impact on them and so it's just been…it's been a lot of fun to progress as we go. I wish we could have more success because of the work we put into it and time we put into it. We get one more chance to go out against a good defense and just prove to ourselves what we can do.
Q: I know this time last year, you were playing for a playoff spot with Dallas but though the Bills have been eliminated from playoff contention but how meaningful would it be to that region and not just the city of Buffalo but Western New York if you guys win and beat the Patriots in Foxboro but as well, secure that first winning season in a decade?
A: I guess you'd have to ask other people about that. I know how much it would mean to the guys in the locker room so I think we pretty much played for each other all year and we didn't accomplish all of the goals that we wanted to accomplish, but we've got one more chance to go out and play as a group and play hard together and go get a win.
Q: I was curious what you took from your time with Josh McDaniels?
A: Josh is very bright guy. Coaches quarterback extremely well. Not only bright on the offensive side of the ball but certainly knows the defensive side of the ball as well as anybody I've been around.
Q: What were some of your biggest take-aways in terms the way he coached you compared to some of the other coaches that you've had?
A: I guess I don't really have any take-aways. Guys have different coaching philosophies and I don't have an answer to that question.
Q: What specifically with Darrelle Revis do you see from him to as you study for this game?
A: He loves to be in press coverage obviously and is comfortable in tight press man-to-man as anybody in the league. He doesn't panic at all. Doesn't ever get out of sorts. Doesn't ever get outside of his running frame. He does a great job staying in stride with the wide receivers and having a great feel for making plays on the ball.
Q: In sort of a similar question about the Patriots' linebackers, specifically Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower; what do you see from them in your game preparation here?
A: They're good players. Physical players and don't miss a lot of tackles and play to the strengths of their defense.
Q: Lastly from me, I know Doug was asked from your local media about his decision to go with you at quarterback and how much he considered EJ but he said he really wants to win this game. How gratifying is it to you to have this opportunity to be out there for the Bills as the starter on Sunday?
A: You only get 16 of them in our situation so there all important and you'd love to win them all so I think the longer you stay in the league, the more you realize that each game's a gem and you go out there and try to put on your best show that you can. I guess that's my mind frame going forward.
Q: I wanted to ask you about Rob Ninkovich as a tight end being a Purdue guy and what kind of hands he had when he lined up on the other side of the football on offense.
A: A great athlete. A great feel for football. I'm real happy for him. What a career he's had and he's just a Purdue guy…a gritty player. Loves the game and plays hard every snap.
Q: Have you guys been able to stay close over the years?
A: No, not really.