Doug Marrone - Monday, September 30, 2019

(On what they emphasized to improve the running game last week) "It really goes back to what we talked about before, just really the guys up front, the tight ends and everyone just doing a better job. Leonard [Fournette] was doing a good job. But more importantly, from a strategic and scheme standpoint, we needed to get those plays, and in order to get extra plays or more plays run, you have to do well on third down. And I think when you look at the game, in the first half we didn't do well converting. We have a good average, our average has been OK, but we didn't have enough attempts. In the second half, we were obviously much better on third downs and we wound up getting 70-something plays in the game and I think that's something that can help you where you can go back to it, or you can stick to it, whatever the word is, to be able to do that. But I was happy. I thought we did a much better job up front. I thought the tight ends, we have to eliminate the holding penalties, that's what's hurting us. And I think one of the things that goes unseen a little bit is the way the receivers go in there after people, and I think that's a credit to [Wide Receivers Coach] Keenan [McCardell] and those guys taking a lot of pride in the run game. So, I feel like we have the ability to be a good running team, but it's still going to go back to the ability of staying on the field and being able to run plays and not get ourselves in poor situations with penalties."

(On his appreciation for CB D.J. Hayden) "I think the physicality of how he plays, and even not just being able to tackle in space and get in there on some tackles, but even the ability to pressure. Obviously, we were a little bit late, but that was a big play when he came free on the one side. So, I think those things are things that don't show up in the box score. I thought the play he made, the third down play, yesterday in the second half was really outstanding. I mean, that was an outstanding play, and he's made plays like that before. That one sticks out because of the way the game was played the other night, but he's been rock solid. He really has. It's difficult playing the nickel position. A lot of times that player gets a lot of work. They put him in there, he's off the football so they're tough to press. They're usually quick, fast guys. The nickel position has changed over the years. You're seeing much more vertical routes out of it and D.J's been rock solid for us. [I] appreciate the way he plays. He practices every day. He's always there, he's not an injury guy. So, he's been great. He had eight tackles, a couple pass breakups. He's got some quarterback hits, he has a sack. He's really doing a lot for us and we really appreciate him."

(On rookie RB RyQuell Armstead's Week 4 performance) "I think we've always felt good about Rock [RyQuell Armstead], and the way he's practiced, and his explosiveness, and what he can do. We just really didn't have the ability to get him into the game, meaning that we felt really good. The one thing about Leonard [Fournette] that gets a little bit missed is probably the biggest improvement Leonard has made since he's been here is his pass protection. He's really done a nice job of that. But with Rock, we feel good and when we can get those snaps and get those carries like we did the other day, then we'll be able to implement him and we think we'll get really good production out of him. So, I think we feel like we're in a good spot with our running back situation and we'll see how it goes for the rest of the year. And hopefully it can go where Leonard's getting a bunch of carries, and he's getting in there and he can get his share."

(On if he felt QB Gardner Minshew II was a suitable backup in the preseason or if he went to the front office to look for other veteran players to sign) "I'm not a big go to the front office guy. I never have been. My job is to develop the players and work with them. My anxiety level was – I don't know if anxiety is the right word for me, but it's more of I didn't know. I really didn't know. I wasn't sure, I could have gone either way. I could have been, 'Well hey, I'm not sure, maybe he'll do well.' And the reason why I say that, and I think if you can go back and pull some of the interviews, I've always said he did a great job in practice if you remember that. It's just we weren't getting the production in the preseason games, so I felt real comfortable about where he was on the practice field and what he was doing, I just would have liked to see more production. And then you start worrying about the production phase of it, and then I think it's changed the way I think now a little bit with that position in the preseason, about who's around him, and what's going on and trying to get a good beat on what that player is going to be able to do. But I felt a lot better about the practices, didn't feel as good about the preseason games and obviously it's working out. I think it's still early and we'll see how it goes and we'll take it week-by-week."

(On his thoughts on Panthers LB Luke Kuechly) "I've always been a big fan. Obviously I was in that conference, in the NFC South with New Orleans, and played against Carolina quite a bit, even recently [with] Buffalo and then obviously when I was here as an assistant. I like the way he plays. I like the style, I like the leadership, I like everything about him. I think that in my mind, he's someone that will be in the Ring of Fame, a potential Hall of Fame type of player. I think he's one of those players that we can all look at and really have a great appreciation for, even though we have to play against him. I think everyone understands how great of a player he is and how well-rounded he is and everything that he can do. So, I don't think I can say enough good things about him. He's a heck of a football player. And he's one that, if you don't have someone on him, he can make every play. I think you have to watch him in coverage, he's all over the field. He's just a heck of a football player."

(On what the identity of the team is after four games and what he would like it to be) "Again, it's a team that there's been a lot it has been through. From OTAs to minicamp to training camp, there's been a lot. There's been a lot of fluctuation offensively with [Nick] Foles then Gardner [Minshew II]. Offensive line, things of that nature. I would say that if I had to put a stamp on what the identity is right now is a team that showed some resiliency, that has really blocked a lot of things out and really tried to focus on doing what we're asking them to do. I think that [we're] a team that is playing together, meaning there's a confidence about the phases, being able to contribute to help one another out. If one's down the other one can step up. I think that's important. I think when you talk about identity, we're all coaches and we all want to get up there and beat our chest and say, 'Hey, we're physical, and we can do this and we can do that.' I think it's still an early sample size, and I think we're working to be a physical football team on both fronts and being able to make plays on both ends and in the back end. I think as you go along, we preach a lot of those things, but again, it depends on what your performance is and I think right now you've seen it. I think it's hard to come out and say, 'Hey, we're a running team,' or, 'We can stop the run and defend the pass,' or 'We can get after the quarterback,' I mean, I think what you said is correct. I think that you see a lot of glimpses of things in the past couple of games. And in order to have an identity, you have to be consistent. And really the one thing we've been consistent in is being resilient and being able to work and play together. And I think right now that's the identity of this team and we'll keep working on the other factors at the end of the day. At the end of the day, I've always gone back and forth – I want to be a team that can play a physical game, but I also want to be a team that can play a speed game, too. I think that if you lock yourself in to one thing or the other – there are teams that we will play during the year that will be physical and we're going to have to match that physicality, which you always want to be able to do. I think there's teams that we play that have a lot of speed, and we want to be able to match that speed and do a good job versus them and I think right now we have a pretty good mix. If we keep going the way we are, and we keep developing, and getting better, and learning from our mistakes, and not getting these penalties and things of that nature, I think we have an opportunity to be a good football team."

(On the improvements on third down in the second half) "The first half, I thought we had a couple of opportunities that we'll work on that we missed. Meaning we took a shot. I think early in a game there's places to take shots and there's places to say, 'Hey, let's go get the first down.' So, a couple things. Decision making that we have to do a good job of. I thought that the second half, we came out and we were able to establish the line of scrimmage better than we did in the first half. And I think whenever you feel like you have control over the line of scrimmage, and it's second and nine, and you get an 11 [yard gain], things of that nature with the run. Those things help. But I still think that's something that we're still going to be working hard to improve upon, the third downs offensively and then our RedZone stuff. So, those are the two things that we'll be putting some time in and tasked with."

(On what he's seen from A.J. Cann and Will Richardson Jr.) "I'm not going to lock myself into saying a permanent solution is going to be one or the other if they're being productive for us. I think right now, with both of those players playing, I think we're getting production right now and I think it's something that's going to help us as the season goes along. So, I'm happy with both of those players. I think that A.J. is playing better since Will [Richardson Jr.] has been coming in and playing guard. And I think that Will's a young player that's really starting to come on and he's doing a nice job. So, I think we're in a pretty good situation. Granted, would you like one player to be the complete player, and go in there and give you that type of production? I think the answer's always going to be yes to that, but I'm not going to put myself in there of, 'Hey, we're evaluating, evaluating.' If they keep playing the way they're playing, and no one really separates themselves or we're getting good production, I'm fine with dressing eight lineman and playing both of those guys."

(On Jawaan Taylor's penalties) "There's a lot of factors that can go into that. As a coach, you never want to say, 'Well, that's OK.' Obviously, you're going to learn, you're going to get better from those things. I think a lot of these players that he's going against, that are top guys in the league. He's really seeing a lot of stuff that at the end of the day is going to really help him. And I think what you want to see is you want to see this stuff getting cleaned up as it goes along. There's still a lot of things mentally that he's working on, he's getting better at that, and I think that'll help him as far as just assignments and seeing where the pressure is coming from and what pressures he's going to get to put himself in a little bit better position. But the one thing I do love about him is his attitude, and his work ethic and I really think he's going to get better. I think that if he wasn't going against the top guys in the league, I'd probably put a little bit more emphasis on it, but obviously those types of penalties can hurt drives, hurt you in the red zone. He's not the only one with it, but I really think, knowing the kid and watching him and how he works, I really think you're going to see an improvement on it. And I think that he's going to be a heck of a player because he's playing against some really good players and it'll be the same this week. There will be a point where his technique is just going to improve and he's going to be a rock-solid player for us for a long time, so we're working on it. We're working on it, and he's working on it. We can fix that problem. We feel great about the way he's playing."

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