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Doug Marrone - Thursday, August 15, 2019

(Opening statement) "We went out there. It's always disappointing when you take the field and you're keeping score and you come up short. There' s a couple of things in this game. I thought early on we played some different guys at linebacker, a couple things, we gave up really some big runs, which is something that we've really worked hard on, but I think when you look back that's not what we want to do. Obviously, that's something that we need to improve upon, getting downhill. I think then we let the quarterback escape. That's something that has hurt us in the past for a big first down early on. Then obviously we get beat on the cover zero. C.J. [Reavis] has got him one-on-one and C.J. is coming off a real big game last week, but I think it shows how this sport can humble you, you know what I'm saying? One week you can really play lights out. The next week all of a sudden you don't make that play, and C.J. is a guy that can make that play. I'm sure the next time C.J. has that opportunity he will. We believe in that. I think one of the things defensively that I liked were the corners. I thought that Breon Borders showed up. He's a guy that has been catching a lot of eyes, doing a nice job out there. Tre Herndon obviously made a great play, but I think Tre Herndon, from our standpoint, he's been making plays like that all through training camp. Tre has really solidified himself out there. I think I've seen Tae Hayes as another guy who keeps going in there, keeps getting his hands on the football and doing a nice job. That's an encouraging part of where that is. I think that from a special teams standpoint, I thought Logan Cooke really had a good game. That's something we obviously need to carry into the season. It's extremely important for us. He's been working hard. He really improved as the year went on last year and now he's got, when you go out and punt the way he did today, we're going to be looking for that each week, that type of consistency. All the plays we made out there, obviously we made some poor errors, the holding on the 2nd-and-2, the holding penalty in special teams, things of that nature. We're always preaching to our players that we want to be a smart football team, and I think a really good example of that is what Keelan Cole did today. Ball is close to the sideline on the kickoff, he gets himself out of bounds, touches the ball, we get the ball at the 40. That's a step in the right direction. Offensively, last week Gardner [Minshew II] came out of a game where I think I can look at it and there's a lot of things I did like last week, but during the week I've gotten a lot of questions where, 'Hey, what do you need to see? What do you need to do?' I thought that Gardner gave us a really good opportunity to win the game. I thought we had a couple plays, the one to DJ [Chark Jr.] on the side, we had the one to Michael Walker where we've got to come up with that catch, we really do. I'm sure they're as disappointed as anyone and, like I said, those guys have the ability to do it so it's not like we're asking them to do something that they can't do. It's disappointing for all of us. I don't believe that will happen again. DJ has been having a really good camp, and Michael Walker has been really consistent for us. I think Gardner didn't give us a chance on the Keelan Cole throw, you know what I'm saying, the one that was out of bounds, but at the end of the day he did a lot. He did a lot for me where I feel that he's done a good job. Not a lot of snaps left. He'll get most of them coming up. We're getting ready to play our starters, obviously everyone that is healthy, getting ready to play them next week, so it's an exciting part. We're moving in a different direction as far as the week and how we prepare. I think these guys are itching to get out there, which is good. They've put a lot of work in. I'm excited about that. Then I thought Alex [McGough] went in there and showed that he can run. He can run. I thought he had a real good throw moving to his left and throwing that ball down the field. He almost gave us an opportunity. I think when you look at these games, I think the one thing you learn about this sport, never lose sight of the fact that you need playmakers. You need guys to make plays on both sides. We had the turnover early on. We had one penalty that went against us that I'm still trying to figure out, but again, you can't worry about the things that you can't control. That's where we are. We've accomplished some things from a depth standpoint tonight. Obviously, we're switching gears and going to a different week this week."

(On if he evaluates a game with backups in differently than a game with starters) "When the starters go out there, I think you can do more with them. You know what I'm saying? We can do more, so there's a different evaluation of, 'hey, we can throw a ton of stuff out there and do a ton of different things, make fast adjustments and put things out there.' I'm just going to go older and younger. When you throw out some younger guys out there, I think that you really want to keep it to what they know, keep it what they can do, and you don't want to put in a big thing because there's not a lot of game planning this time of year. I'm just trying to see, making sure we're giving them the right opportunity to see if they are deserving to make a spot and that they can play winning football for us down the road. I think sometimes you get too cute and you try to do too much schematically. You might not see that in a player and you might miss on a player. I just try to go out there and judge everyone by being able to win and lose, so from that standpoint you have to. I put more on the veterans to get in and out of plays, that's why with Gardner [Minshew II] tonight I was happy. He got us out of four things that a lot of young quarterbacks are not going to be able to do. He's a bright kid, a smart kid. I think that he showed he got better from the week before. I think those things help. That's what I look [at] with the young guys. C.J. [Reavis] had a really good week last week, not such a good game today. You are trying to find that consistency. I think you do at all times. If you put your older players or starters in there and you get that inconsistency, I know in the past I've fall into that trap where you say to yourself, 'Oh they'll be OK. They did it for us last year, but this guy can do that.' I think every year is a little bit different. They have to show that they can do it. I think you have to look at that across the board."

(On if he got the sense Gardner Minshew II was more calm or comfortable) "He looked that way. Last week he took that big hit, and that's the one thing that you kind of look for when you're a coach. When those guys come over to the sideline there is just sometimes a look that they have that you're like, 'This is not good.' They're rattled. They don't know what happened, meaning like, it wasn't their fault, but they still can't figure it out. Then all of a sudden they get hit. It's a scary feeling, and a lot of players it takes them, it will vary, but it will be different on how long before they come back. I think we all sit here and not having played a lot recently, if that happened to any one of us, it takes a while to get that confidence back when you're out there. I thought that Garner just was unwavering, just 'Let's go.' There was a play tonight that will get overlooked. It was third and long and he winds up throwing the check-down, and we get about six or seven yards. We're short of the first down. We're going to punt, but instead of trying to force the ball down the field at that time of the game, we didn't have anything. It probably would have been a poor throw. It could be a turnover. The kid makes a throw and throws it complete. We go ahead and punt. It's a close game. That seven yards is a big difference. So there's a lot of things that he does that I like. His demeanor though is probably one of the most impressive."

(On what the other three things were that Gardner Minshew II got the team out of) "The touchdown, the cover zero, checking to that. There were a couple of cover zero blitzes."

(On if there is a linebacker that stood out) "The first half those guys, we had Najee [Goode] playing Will in the first half. He's been playing Mike for us, but he can play Will. We feel like he can. Joe [Giles-Harris] started at Mike for us. He's an undrafted free agent that's really been having a good camp who plays multiple positions. Really smart kid, so we had him there. Then obviously we have Leon [Jacobs] playing the Sam. I just think early on with the plays, you got to be able to bounce back in those plays that cut the guy across and they roll in there. You've got to be able to do that. So I think we were a little bit late early on in that, and that's where the big plays came in. Now the D-line can make those plays too, so it's not all on them, but we're looking for that diversity. I thought D.J. Alexander, you know, was injured during the week. He came back, which I thought was encouraging, and played. He really wanted to be out there. Those guys have some good versatility. It's going to be tough to see who is going to make it out of that group. I thought 'Mik' was a guy who started at Will with us, Ramik Wilson, and then we moved him to Sam and then we moved him back inside. I think you got to be careful with players. When you are moving guys around, you talk about – it's like the question I had before. What are you looking for? I'm looking for consistency. But when you are moving guys around sometimes its hard to get that consistency that you would like to see. I thought Ramik came back today and played better. That's where we've got to do a good job and make good decisions on where they go and where they play."

(On what he saw from the offensive line) "From the offensive line, we didn't really ever establish the running game. I thought that early on I think when any action that was going into the line I thought the backers were filling really quick, really fast. I know they had a couple of their starters in. Sometimes the protection was good. I think the thing I was most disappointed, I'd want more push inside. I'd want to be able to get up to that second level to create some more seams. It's a tough defense schematically because they have guys that play wide and outside. [Defensive Coordinator] Coach [Jim] Schwartz I have a ton of respect for. We worked together in Buffalo. Played against him for years when he was at the Titans and I was at the Jets. They do a good job. It's a good scheme with good players. You'd just like to see more out of our guys. Our guys have done a good job. They've worked hard. It's going to be a tough battle. I think when everyone comes back and everyone is healthy, the guys that are coming back play like they've played before, I think that's good, or play as well as they were playing before they were injured that will be good, but we've got to figure out where the rest of these guys go. That's really the thing in my mind that I want to get that done first. That's what we want to do. We want to get the line solidified, probably the big priority right now for me."

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