Doug Marrone - Tuesday, August 13, 2019

(Opening Statement) “I’m going to go through a couple things and hopefully I will be able to communicate some things clearly and kind of what the thought process was going into this training camp. First of all, we have had a really good past couple days, meaning that it’s been really hot. The heat – you guys have been out there. We have been able to get our full work in with not much cramping and things that are usually related to heat, which is obviously very important because of where we play and what time we are playing. That is a credit to the players, acclimating. I think there’s different challenges for teams that I’ve coached in different areas and one of the challenges at least for us as a team is obviously getting acclimated to the heat with our pads on. It’s not as easy to do as people would think. In the preseason last year, everyone that was here was able to see the amount of injuries that occurred. I started going back and I started looking. Again, you know, you put people in jeopardy a little bit. More importantly, I think people have not seen a lot or maybe I haven’t clearly defined what’s going on. I used to go really hard the first 10 days or the first eight days and then once you hit this preseason schedule and your players start playing, I would say normally you are talking about 10 plays, 20 plays, 32 plays and no plays. That’s basically what you’re doing. The first game, about 10 plays. The second game, about 20 plays, the third one, about 32 plays and then the fourth one, no. In order to play those 10 plays or to play those 20 plays, you have to make sure from a player standpoint that the day before, you can’t do anything with the players. Then you have the whole day the next day to sit around a hotel and then you are going to go play a night game. Then the next day you have off and then the next day, you bring them back slowly. There is a lot of time in between that where you are sacrificing a lot of work to prep for 10 or 20 plays. What we have done differently is obviously those players haven’t played, but what we have done differently is we have added a ton of reps. Normally when you look at the preseason, for me you are talking about 14 periods, maybe a seven-on-seven or a couple of one-on-ones. At most, you are talking about 24 to 30 reps for a player in a practice. Our ‘ones’ peaked early in the week at 48. At the end of the day, I’m getting extra reps. To get 10 reps in the first preseason game, is that better than getting on average, 60-something reps during the week against our ones, ones versus ones? So when I went back, I [thought] this is good for our players and I think that I will take a good look at it after the day and probably not play some of the players [on Thursday]. We will play [our starters] the third preseason game and the reason why, just so I’m clear on that, is because in the third preseason game, this is exactly what we do. We’re going to do the exact schedule that we do during the year. The players come in at a certain time, the reps are going to be exactly what we are going to do during the year. It’s a [dry] run. If there are any issues, we can go ahead and clean some things up. I think it’s important that you play that game because you are presenting and you want to get the players in the right frame of mind. I hope that I was able to kind of clear these things up. I should have probably done it earlier. Again, it’s not a big secret. You guys are out there, and I try to be as transparent as I can without giving away secrets. That’s where we are. If the third preseason game comes and someone doesn’t play, it’s probably on the verge of just being cautious. I’d like to get all of the offensive linemen back before I put Nick [Foles] back there. That makes sense to you guys, right? I appreciate you all saying yes because if you were all saying it doesn’t make sense I’d be like, ‘damnit.’ That’s where we are at. I’m happy where we are. I want to get some guys back. I think Dede will be back today. You will see Dede back, so that’s good. Also, when we get on the field, Coach [Tony] Dungy will be out at practice. I never worked under Coach Dungy. I have always admired him. I have read his books. Dwight Freeney is obviously a person I know really well that played underneath him and where I feel fortunate is that I worked for Herm Edwards, who worked for Tony [Dungy]. He is going to come today and you guys will see him out at practice. Today, we will have a lot of reps with the ones, and I think it started out as we went 48 [plays], 30 [plays] … Today, it will be a little bit less because now what you won’t see tomorrow the day before the game is that we will work them again. We will get a bunch of work out of them and then the day of the game, we will work them again, but not football-wise, but more lifting and running and that nature. When we come back, we are going to be able to start practicing. You know what I’m saying? Start practicing again, so we don’t have that layover where the guys that played can’t. They have to rest and we have to get them back physically. That is what we are doing and if you all have any questions about it, I have no problem answering anything on thought process or what goes into it.”

(On if he received any pushback from players saying they wanted to play) “J-Dub [Jarrod Wilson] wants to play this week and they have that option. Now when a player says that, we have to manage, you see what I’m saying? Now I have to go back and say, ‘Hey, listen, if he’s going to get a couple snaps, then we have to make sure he doesn’t take all these snaps during the week.’ There are adjustments. They have that option. They have the option of let’s discuss it, which some players can and some players I wouldn’t if I thought it would put them in jeopardy.”

(On what kind of progress, he wants to see out of Gardner Minshew II Thursday) “What’s always tough, and I think it’s hard for people on the outside, is that you want to see someone keep progressing. How big of a jump? You always like to see big jumps, you’re always pushing for that. The tough part about this game is we’re able to see him, which he came back this week, and he’s had a good week and he has made progress during the week. But the problem with this game, what makes this game so great and it’s really unbelievable, is that I can sit here and say, ‘He’s been unbelievable, he’s the greatest quarterback that I’ve ever seen practice this week,’ but yet when you go out there and play a game, if you don’t produce that way you’re going to write, and should write, ‘This guy can’t play, he can’t make those plays,’ and it’s perfectly normal. And that’s why I keep going back, it’s such a performance-based business. In other words, it’s just like an entertainer. You go out, you practice all week, it’s great, you go out there and let’s say you miss a couple of chords and everyone in the audience is like, ’Ooohhh, god that was an awful performance.’ But hey, I had a great week of practice! It doesn’t matter, you know what I mean? So, what we hope for as coaches is that you have those weeks of practices where the player does well and he’s able to do that because…I look at it is when that player works so hard, and he has that good week, you want him to show something. It’s a great example of if you put the work in, and you go ahead how hard you work, that you can go out there and perform on a Thursday night for us now. And you’d be able to say, ‘Hey, you know what, this guy came back, he’s gotten better,’ and you kind of get what you deserve. But you know what? This game is so not fair. Sometimes I’ve seen guys have a poor week of practice and go out there and play lights out. I’ve seen guys have great weeks of practice and not play well. But I would say that for the most part, if I’m a betting man which I’m not, make sure that’s a no, the guys that are consistent and really work at practice eventually the consistency comes in the game. But a lot with him is obviously he’s seeing a lot of different things then you see in college for the quarterback. I think it’s a little bit of a change at each position if we wanted to go down each position of change, because the defensive lineman, they play in all the spread systems and these open formations and open edges , now all of a sudden people in this league are shift and motion and putting a tight end on wing, making you play inside where normally you’re out on the edge, so it’s different for them. Same with the quarterbacks. You might see a couple of coverages, but you’re not going to see the disguise that you’re going to see in the NFL.”

(On if he factored in the adjustment for Minshew II in regards to him not playing with tight ends in college) “The thing about Gardner is he’s—I’ve said this before, out of all the players that I’ve been around, and I’m talking about offensive lineman, offensive players that I’ve been in meetings with and taught an offense or taught a technique or anything like that, what’s really unusual about him is he can take that information and go out on the field and really know what you want. That’s unique. A lot of times you kind of have to walk through it, you have to see it, you have to do it. But he’s a guy that has an opportunity that you can tell him what you want in a classroom and he can go out on the field and pretty much know exactly what you want. Which I think is a benefit. Now it’s just a matter of can he do it at that level at a consistent basis. It’s young, he’s young. Again, a lot of times it’s just being mentally tough and not caving in to the stuff on the outside, the noise. That happens to a lot of people. I don’t see that in him. He is one tough sucker now, so I’m excited, I really am. I like the kid.”

(On how Cam Robinson performed yesterday) “I think Cam’s movement in induvial, I liked it. We have to continue that. I was happy to see him out there, anytime you see a player out there that’s starting up, and now you’re into that progression. Today a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more and then you just keep pushing, keep monitoring, don’t jeopardize anything, you want no setbacks. So, I think we’ll just stay with that plan. I think it’s easy, and I say this with any player not just Cam, it’s easy to look good when you’re on air, or versus bags, but when you go out there on the field and things are changing, and moving, and you have to react and do things. It takes a while to get yourself ready for that, so that’s what we’re trying to make sure that we’re prepared for.”

(On how he feels about linebacker Najee Goode) “I like Goode. I tell him all the time, I go, ’You might be the only West Virginia player I ever liked. Now there’s a lot into that, I mean Syracuse, West Virginia, the Schwarzwälder trophy. Then they [West Virginia University] left and we [Syracuse University] didn’t play them anymore, and then we play them in a bowl. And we played them in a bowl game last year. We got the best of them, twice. Alright, but, he’s really done a nice job. He’s someone that has flexibility, you’ll see that. You’ll see that in how we’re going to play him, too. He can play Will [linebacker], he can play Mike [linebacker], he can do a lot of things for us. He’s good on [special] teams. He’s got really good leadership skills. He’s a great communicator. I’ve been really, really pleased with him, because usually when we take a guy from West Virginia I’m a little guarded. And I give him crap all the time about it. He gives me crap, too, but he really doesn’t have anything to stand on right now. He has to go back. But I really like the way he’s playing, he’s been a good addition to our football team both in the locker room and obviously on the field.”

(On Syracuse being ranked before the start of the season) “21st, baby. They’re ranked 21, open up against Clemson.”

(On how important the defensive end spot behind Calais Campbell is) “I feel good about where we are with our D-Line, I do. In other words, I feel like we have good starters, and I feel like we have good depth. I think we have a lot of players there, guys that will probably be, if you look at the roster, I think that can potentially be the toughest. Who is nine, who is 10 if we keep 10, wherever that goes. We’ve got guys that are playing very well. We’ve got guys that in the past have gotten a lot better. We all know that between Marcell [Dareus], Abry [Jones], Yan[nick] [Ngakoue], Calais, those guys are veteran guys that have played and played at a really high level. But then Taven Bryan’s starting to play really well, that’s exciting for us. [Dawuane] Smoot’s playing really well, that’s exciting for us. Then all of a sudden you have Josh Allen, and Josh is getting better, and better and better each day. He looks like he’s getting bigger, and stronger and faster each day when you see him and that’s exciting. And then he can do so much. Yan obviously looks great out there, but then all of a sudden [Dontavius] Russell, [Michael] Hughes, Datone Jones, I mean you have guys now, big V [Kalani Vakameilalo] is a big body in there. We have guys now that are in there that are pretty good that it’s going to be a tough call.”

(On playing at home for the first time this season) “It’s awesome to play at home, we love it. It’s good for us and we have to earn the support. We appreciate the people that are diehard, that come out each day and just love the team, but we understand as players that we have to earn that home field advantage, I’ve always said that. So, we have to come out, we hope that the fans will come out and give us that opportunity early and say, ‘Ok, let’s see what these guys have.’ And then we have to play extremely well, and I think it’ll build from there, and it’s tough. I think when you look at two years ago, really at the end of the year, the Seattle game going forward after at, I think this was a tough place for people to come and play. I think when you’re an opposing team the first thing you think about is the heat, ‘Hey we have to get ready for the heat.’ So now if you have the heat, plus the fans, that’s a tough combination, so we hope that we get that support. We know that we have to earn it. We feel like the people in this town are awesome, they want us to do well and we’re going to do everything we can to give them what they deserve.”

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