Doug Marrone - Falcons vs. Jaguars, Thursday, August 29, 2019

(Opening statement) "It's disappointing when you go out there on a night like tonight and you're trying to pull for guys to really go out there and play well. It's a tough situation. Some guys rely on other people around them to play well, too, so that's always a tough thing to try and look at and evaluate, but from not keeping the quarterback in the pocket to giving up runs to giving up big plays on third down to not creating plays on offense (dropping the football), it's not good enough. When I look back at this preseason, it's been a tough preseason. It's been tough to go through this preseason. The whole situation with trying to keep the players healthy and getting them extra reps, and at the same, having guys go out there, but you know, obviously, we want to compete and do a better job of that. That's what you want, and we didn't get that done, so now there's a lot of work ahead of this football team. There's a lot of things going on, obviously, about trying to find the right guys and you're always going to continue to build a team to get the best guys you can in here. We'll see about the formula of getting the extra reps during the week and holding them out of the games and keeping them healthy because the one thing I am happy about is we're going into the first game and we're healthy. That was the goal and that's where we are and now we have to be ready to play. That's the one thing everyone is going to ask, and when I sit as a coach and look at the reps and the things we did, obviously I feel like we will be. It's still going to be how we go out onto the field and how we play. If we play well, then everything worked great. If we didn't play well, then we're going to have to fight through it because we know that adversity will be out there in those challenges. I'm excited to look and watch this team now. I saw a little bit during the week and how they were practicing and running around, and they wanted more. We were really limited in what we did and now they'll take a little break and come back, and they know we've got a very tough opponent. We're playing a team that's predicted to go to the Super Bowl and maybe win it all. We'll get to work on that, and it will be a crazy 72 hours from this point on."

(On his approach during the preseason of keeping guys out and how difficult that was) "I think you make good decisions and [you try to] be smart about it and you're going to see what happens. I've never done it in the NFL, but I made a living out of it like we all have in college. A lot of times, when people are asking me questions about playing guys and not playing guys, I just didn't want to mitigate it or fight it, but there's a lot of things that go on. There are players that are injured that don't play during the preseason and we just made a decision of doing what's best for the team because of all the stuff that happened last year. The other storyline would have been if I kept everything the same and we had six to eight guys out, then what would the story be. 'When you run this type of camp, how come you didn't hold guys out?' It's a challenge. At the end of the day, I know if I didn't make any changes and we had the same results, that would be on me. I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to help this football team win, that's what I'm committed to. If this doesn't work and we have a bunch of injuries, then that's on me."

(On Gardner Minshew's performance tonight and this preseason) "You want to see him do better. It's always in the back of your mind. 'Well, what if he was with this guy or that guy?' But you want to see that production. It's tough. There are times where I felt really good and times where I want to see more. It's not from his lack of work ethic or lack of his effort or practice, he's been pretty consistent in practices. A lot of the fans and people out there don't see the practices every day and the media doesn't see him every day. All they're able to look at is what goes out there on the field and obviously you're going to want more, and Gardner wants more from himself, too, and you're going to see that. A lot of times, quarterbacks and a lot of positions, most of the time, offensively, when you get better guys around you, you're going to do better. It's easier to evaluate if you had better guys around you and he doesn't do well, then it's easy and you shouldn't be around. I wish he was better; I don't want to say more comfortable with it, but I wish there was more evidence to make it easier for him because he's worked so hard and deserves it, but it's what you do on the field."

(On being comfortable with Gardner being the backup) "If that's what is elected to do, then I will be fine with it. I learned a long time ago that it's easy to go in there as a coach and demand, 'I want better here, I want better here, I want better here,' and you can go down the list and say that but I've always taken a lot of responsibility to make sure I develop players. The number one thing I learned when I came into the NFL and when I took over for the New York Jets, they were hounding me, telling me what it takes to coach in this league. I have to develop players. I understand that aspect of it, but at the same time, we as coaches have to realize we're not going to have the perfect team. Not going to have the best players at each position and I think what makes the difference in coaches is being able to take these players and make them, as a whole, an unbelievable unit. It takes a lot of work from assistant coaches and coordinators to do that, but those are the things that you have to do. I don't think anyone sits up there and is totally happy, there is always going to be better players and you have to love the ones you have and make them great because they want to be great."

(On positives that he saw tonight) "It was tough. Elijah Hood at the end had some nice runs in there. I thought early on, some of the guys did some good things. The defensive side of the ball, I thought they did well. When you lose like this, there's not a lot you're going to be able to say. I've never said this before in my life, but I'm going to need to look at the tape. I've always promised myself I'd never say that, so it's the first time I've ever said it. I don't know whether it's the frustration or what was going on, but I'm going to have to look because I'm sure there's things in there that I didn't see that I should [have]."

(On Taven Bryan making strides) "Yeah, he knew coming off of the last game with two personal fouls and I used the word, 'little funk,' I think that happens. The major thing is how do you come out of it? The next day, when you watch the film, you're pretty much still in it, and if you're not, than that kind of pisses you off when a guy doesn't play well and looks at it and is walking around like he doesn't really care, but that's not Taven. It was weighing on him, bothering him. You're going to go out there, practice and work on technique and go out tonight and do some good things. That's the step in the right direction and now you just have to keep going and stay hungry. You have to get better and better each day and that's the way the profession is and if you don't, it will eat you up. I was happy, it's a step in a right direction that he needed and one we wanted him to take."

(On what input he'll have with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and General Manager Doug Marrone on the 53-man roster) "They both do their homework. There's a lot of pro scouts, regular scouts, they pretty much get in there and we'll sit down and talk. 'Hey, this and this and this.' It's how many guys you want to keep at this position and that's it."

(On if the biggest conversation is numbers and how they are utilized) "It's really not as crazy as maybe it seems on the outside. I think everywhere I've been, you're like 98, 99 percent right on the money with the same things because you are talking each week. Sometimes practice squad, what players you want to keep, what numbers, sometimes injuries, sometimes guys who aren't doing well, you take advantage of that. It's not bad because it's what's on the tape, you know what I'm saying? So, it's what you see on tape, that's what's going to make the decision of who makes the team. I've always said it before. I think you can go into that locker room and say, OK, here's a number, whatever ideal number from each position, and you can ask those players who should make the team. They'll pretty much tell you. I used to do it with the o-line quite a bit. They were like 100 percent every time [predicting] the guys that should make it. I think we sometimes lose sight of it. When we were growing up on our baseball team or our little league team or whatever we played, whatever sport we played, we could pretty much look down the bench and know, 'I'd take him first, him second, him third.' You know what I mean? And I think we've done that, because we've grown up like that in sports, all of us have. I don't think it's as difficult as some people make it sound with problems or fights or people standing on tables."

(On how Ryquell Armstead played) "Good. He's one of the guys who was in there early. He's an intriguing guy. You know, he had that injury in training camp and that, I thought, really set him back a little bit. He was rolling really well in OTAs, and I know I left here, and I was really excited. Then the hamstring kind of lingered on a little bit and then I start to worry, then you start to worry if he can get back from it. 'Hey, is this a guy that's going to be hurt a lot, because you don't know him.' When you don't know a guy, it's difficult, but he worked his butt off, trained. You could see the frustration in him, how pissed he was that he wasn't out there. He's one of those guys that looks like the more he's out there, the more he's around, the better he gets. So, he's one of those guys that when you have him on the field and he's available all the time, he's going to be pretty darn good. If he's a guy that's hurt back and forth, it's going to be tough like it would for anyone."

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