Doug Marrone - Friday, May 10, 2018

(Opening statement) "I'll go ahead and address the situation yesterday in regard to Telvin Smith Sr. and what he tweeted out. I have not spoken to him. You found out the same information that I found out at the same time that I found out. I think that for me, I kind of put football to the side. I think for me, that is an afterthought right now in concern with Telvin. I really believe in my heart that Telvin knows that we are here to support him in any which way. Not just myself, the coaches, the organization, his teammates … I'm sure he is aware of that and if all we can do is make sure we pray and he knows that if he needs some support then obviously we are here for him. That is No. 1. No. 2, as a coach, I think that you are prepared for things. You have to be ready for everything – injuries, retirements, stepping away – whatever it may be. We have done a good job. We were able to bring in a couple linebackers with D.J. [Alexander] and Najee [Goode] and Ramik [Wilson] that we really are happy with. Obviously, we have Quincy Williams in here now. He's here today, and it's a great opportunity for him. We are going to work with those guys and we feel good that someone will come to the top. Right now, we are looking at the rookies that came in. Josh Allen has reported, and he looks in great shape. [Jawaan] Taylor did a good job. [Josh] Oliver … All the way down the line. 'Rock' looked pretty good. He looked big. They all looked big, and they all looked like they were in shape. I think that is the one thing that we were looking for. As we progress during this minicamp, we're talking to them about what they need to do, what they are looking for, what we are looking for. We are talking to them about teamwork, taking care of their bodies, things that they might not have gotten tips on because they have been preparing so much for the draft. We are trying to get them acclimated once they get through as a team. What we're looking for in the afternoon, we will do a little more football, so we will be looking for retention. We will see more of the movement skills from the position specific drills in the afternoon. All we are looking to do is to make sure we can get better and better. As we go through that, there are always some surprises. There are guys that are here on tryout, which I congratulate them on. Not everybody gets a chance to perform at this level. We're going to do everything that we can to make sure we get a good evaluation of them. Some guys pop out of that group. Some guys are surprises. Some guys, there is some disappointment. Right now, it's early. We're excited to have these guys in, and we are excited about coaching these guys. This is a great week for the rookies that are coming in. Obviously when Monday comes, they will transition with the players that have been here before. That is what we are looking forward to."

(On if he had any idea that Telvin Smith Sr. was struggling with anything) "No. Telvin's a strong man. He feels like a lot of guys on this team that can handle their situations. We just want to make sure that everyone knows we are there to support them. If they reach out and hopefully each player does – not just Telvin – that they don't have to do anything alone. We are here for him."

(On why he feels that Telvin Smith doesn't feel comfortable reaching out) "You would have to ask him. I don't know."

(On if he is concerned for Telvin Smith's well-being) "Yes, I mean in the beginning, the first thing I said was that you have to take football and put it to the side. It's not about football. It's about making sure that he's OK just as a person and being a good human being. That is the part that we want to be able to help him with, but obviously we respect his decision, and I know in my heart that he knows not only us as coaches, but his teammates and the organization – we are here to support him in any which way we can."

(On if he tried to have someone get a hold of Telvin Smith) "We just tried to make contact. That's all we tried to do."

(On if he's made contact with Telvin Smith's agent) "I have not talked to his agent, no. I don't know that."

(On if he plans to work Josh Allen at linebacker and if Telvin Smith's announcement changes how the team will use Allen this weekend) "We have to look. You look at Josh and you are looking at a 6 feet 4 inches and a half tall and a 265 pound athlete. There is a lot of things we can do. We just got him here. Obviously, he'll play up, he'll play down. We will see how he best fits our team as we go through and not try to put too much on his plate and try to see what he can do. Right now, today when he walked out there, he was impressive. It is impressive his moving skills for a big man. We'll see how that goes, but to answer your question, no. We have a plan for him."

(On if he had an idea that the team may not have Telvin Smith) "Anytime you don't have communication, you really don't know. You have to be prepared in this profession for anything. I think being a head coach for this long, things come up that you don't expect and you kind of learn early on your first year probably when you're a head coach that you have to expect everything. I just look at it as more like I said before – my immediate reaction is that the football side of it is out. What can we do to make sure that we are here to support and help the player?"

(On if he remembers the process of just trying to make the roster and if he leans on that at all) "I do. That is kind of what my meeting was last night. You look around the room and the first thing I do is I try and congratulate everyone because you had to do something to get here. The next thing I tell them – and this is the truth – it really doesn't matter why you are sitting here right now or how you got here. Whether you are drafted or whether you were a college-signed free agent or whether you were a tryout player. It's an opportunity and you never want to waste an opportunity to make a good impression. For me as a coach, we are looking to find the best players. If there is a guy, a tryout guy that is better than someone else, then we'll do anything we can to make sure that we can get him on our team. What I try and do is make sure … Don't look around and put into your mind, 'Oh, this guy is going to be here and this guy …' It goes for the same thing during training camp. You try to get them to understand that they are not only competing with the guys in the room, but they are competing with 31 other teams, too. You are going to have opportunities. Take advantage of it and leave the stuff you can't control out. The anxiety that you create as a player of all the things that are around you … You kind of lose focus of that opportunity and you need to make sure to take advantage of it."

(On his conversations with players the team isn't going to bring back) "I always believe the same thing. For me, I have always appreciated it as a player. I go back to the Jim Finks story. When I went in to see Jim and was a plan B free agent, Mr. Finks was an outstanding general manager. One thing I learned in that conversation, because I've learned from so many good people, I sat down with Jim and said, 'Minnesota has offered a contract. They have offered this much money and playing incentives. I would like to stay here if you guys can match that offer.' Mr. Finks said, 'I have to be honest. If you're playing for us, that means someone got hurt. You're not good enough to be a starter. We like you where you are, but we are not going to put something in there for someone gets hurt and then you play.' Obviously as a young man, I didn't like that. I was pissed. I walk out of there and I leave, but when you look back, I always admired that at least someone told me the truth. I try to do that. With players that I haven't been around before, I don't know if I can tell someone in a short period of time that I think they can't play in this league. But I can tell them that we feel we have better players and that's just one person's opinion. I'm not every going to be that guy that sits there and stops somebody's dream. I think that one of my things with players has always been that if they ask me where do I think they are, I will tell them exactly. But by then, I have had a pretty good relationship with them. But if not, it is not up to me to decide. The one thing about this game is that if you do decide whether you are going to try out again or whether you are going to keep going or what you may do, you have to make sure that you are happy with yourself. Because you don't want to go through life and look back and go, 'Maybe, I should have gave it one more shot.' I think that is for each individual to decide and not for us to decide."

(On the process if Telvin Smith was to come to him in July or August wanting to play football) "I'm just hoping that if he needs me, I'm here. That is all that I know. As far as the process and everything, I don't know. I've never been through this."

(On if the door would be open for Telvin Smith to rejoin the team) "Hopefully we have some communication before that. And if we do, yes. That would be great."

(On if the seven draft picks look to be in pretty good shape) "Yes. I was very happy. You look for the weight, their fluctuation in weight. All of those guys by the way they performed today, they have been working. That is very encouraging from our standpoint. Those guys have been going pretty hard and are having a lot of change in their life. Now they have to get acclimated to the training part, get acclimated to the heat and get acclimated to what we have to do. All the players have come in so for the draft picks and really everybody on that field today, they are pretty much ready to go."

(On if anything stood out from Jawaan Taylor) "Yes, we didn't have a lot on his 40 time. We worked him out and really liked the footwork, but there were some drills today where we saw speed that you wouldn't really know unless you put him out there and did those specific drills. He was first in a lot of the sled pulls and things like that, so I think he's off to a good start."

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