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Doug Marrone - Tuesday, August 28, 2018

(On why he is feeling down) "I'm down. I always get down this week. Every time this week comes up, every year for me it's hard. I've been one of those guys that has been cut a bunch of times. I kind of look back on how I felt. I felt like I did everything, busted my butt like a lot of guys on this team did. I just remember playing in the last game and going to bed that night and thinking to myself, 'When I walk in that building, within five to 10 to 15 minutes, my whole life is going to change one way or the other.' Whether you make it or not. Most of the time [I did not]. You just go back to the next day and all of a sudden you go home and you try to get to your family first and make sure that they know, and then it's like a shock. You don't have to wake up, you don't have to practice. You don't have a job, you don't have anything. There is a lot that goes on. For me, this is probably the worst part of the job. I would say so. This week is always tough for me."

(On how coaches handled the message to him when he was cut as a player) "I always appreciated the players on the teams – and I told this to the team – that I was with. I appreciated their support through this week. I think it's one of those things where it's kind of like the elephant in the room. The coaches that I had didn't really talk about that. I kind of do. I just bring it up. I think that I always appreciated the players that pulled for you; you're working with them every day, you're trying to make them better, they made you better, you're in the locker room … That's tough, too. When you're done and you go in that locker room for that last time and these are guys that you have been with through the whole offseason and through training camp and it's an interesting sport. When you're in, it's great. You're in the locker room every day. Everything is great and then all of a sudden, when you're out, you're out. You don't have that same feeling of family or team or whatever anyone wants to come to. But the coaches that I was with were very respectful. They appreciated the job that you did if you stayed healthy and you were out there every day busting your butt. You keep things open in this league. A lot of things can happen, but I always appreciated the players more than anything because even in that last preseason game, even though a lot of those guys didn't play, they were supportive. They were working with you on the sidelines. They were giving you all the advice for you to perform well. I always appreciated the guys that I was with from the beginning because you get a bunch of young guys or draft picks – whatever it may be there – they are really looking at taking their [veterans] jobs. I really didn't see … Everybody was very supportive of that. It's an interesting time, the dynamics of what's going on. I can't speak for every other team, but at least I know for my experience and our team." 

(On if he meets with every player when the team reduces their roster to 53) "I do meet with everyone." 

(On if it is important for him to meet with every player) "It is. It's not very long. It's a tough meeting. I just appreciated whatever two or three words the coach would say. I can pretty much remember every one. A lot of times for me, it's trying to have an understanding or an appreciation of what they have done. It's just tough." 

(On what veteran player influenced him during this time period when he was a player) "It was a ton of them. I think Miami had great players. You had Dwight Stephenson and Roy Foster and Ronnie Lee. All of these guys – Jon Giesler, Jeff Dellenbach was good. Mark Dennis. It was all of those guys on all those teams. You build those relationships. You sit next to them every single day and you're eating with them every single day and you're out there on the field with them and working with each other or working against each other. You're together quite a bit. After you walk out of the building, there is no counseling or anything like that. All of a sudden, all of the resources you had – free food, the trainers, massages – it's all gone. It's a life-changing experience and it's one that is difficult because I think for me, I always had my focus just on making the team and playing. I was not really thinking about, 'When this day comes and I'm not playing, what am I going to do?' Maybe some other people are better prepared, but I know that I wasn't."

(On if there are any open roster spots yet to be filled) "Yes, there are spots open. Things can change. Things can change, whether it be in practice or whether it be in a game, things can change afterwards or whatever the market dictates. Whether you are acquiring players, whichever way you do things can change. The worst thing you can do is sit back there and try to count the numbers, from a players' standpoint, and think about who is going to make it and who is not because it's going to affect your performance and you're not going to play well and you really don't know. You really don't know what is going to happen because there are positions that are open." 

(On balancing seeing guys who have been injured and having them play or let them rest as the coaches know what they can do) "If they can play, they will play." 

(On his confidence level with Dante Fowler Jr.) "I'm not worried about that as far as the teammates or issues there. We have to have a good plan for him when he's not allowed in the building, so this way when he comes back is he ready to go, which he has done a good job in practice and he has been working hard. He really has." 

(On if Fowler Jr. understands he needs to be a better pro) "You have to ask him. I have had no issues with him. I have had no issues with that. I can't speak for someone or how they feel and what they're doing. I can only tell you that he has been great. He was that way before. He has been doing a good job." 

(On Fowler Jr.'s plan for Thursday's game) "He's going to play. That's my plan." 

(On if he can give a snap estimation for Fowler Jr.) "No, not really. Not right now. Maybe the night beforehand. I know he is going to play. I think that's important. Just so you guys know, my philosophy has been – you can look back at what I have done before, but if someone is playing, I never really tell them how much they're playing. What happens is they get that pitch count in their mind. All of a sudden it's like, 'Whew, I have two more plays left.' Then all of a sudden, they take it a little bit easy and maybe they stand up a little bit and someone rolls into them. I try to keep their mindset – you're getting ready to play, play a whole game, until we tell you that you're not. This way the player doesn't know and he is prepared for everything. That's how I feel. I don't know if it's real or what people feel or not. I just know my experience as a player when people have gotten a pitch count, then those guys will be counting the plays." 

(On when he will tell the players that are not playing) "The day before. Tomorrow we'll talk about what we're going to do afterwards." 

(On if the players not playing will still dress and warm up) "Yes." 

(On the trend of starters not playing at all during the preseason) "I can't ever speak about someone else's team because I'm not there. It's hard for me to say I think they're doing 'this.' All I know is what is best for our team. For our team, I like to play guys. Right, wrong or indifferent, that's just what I believe. What anyone else does – I'm not saying that's right and I'm not saying I know what's best. I just know what is best for our team." 

(On if Cody Kessler will play Thursday) "Cody is going to play."

(On if he has seen enough from WR Keelan Cole) "We're looking at things during the preseason. We feel very comfortable knowing what he can do because he has been able to do it at practice. I don't feel that the lack of production is really any indication of how we feel about him." 

(On Dede Westbrook) "Dede has been productive for us. He has done a lot of things. We've been moving him around. We did some things for Dede, but we really didn't put anything in for Cole." 

(On the importance of positional versatility during the final cuts) "Offensive line it's important. Defensive line it's important. That helps us with numbers. I have said this before, if you are not a starter, especially on the offensive line, obviously I have the experience there, but your sixth and seventh [offensive linemen] have to play multiple positions. You're only dressing – most people dress seven for the game if everyone is healthy. [Defensive] line is the same way. If you dress eight you're okay, if you have four inside and four outside. If you dress seven you're going to have to have some versatility there. Anywhere you can find versatility then I think that is going to help you down the road. At the end of the day, if you say this guy is just basically a special teams player or this guy just basically this is what his role is, then you have to find a way to cover it and I usually go the formula is three deep. If this guy goes, if this guy goes then who is next. You mostly have the two-deep [depth chart] pretty well set on game day. It's the 'what if' game. I read something about that a long time ago by [former Michigan Head Coach] Bo Schembechler, the night before the game he would go through 'what ifs.' What if this guy gets hurt? What if this happens? What if, what if, what if? I have cards made up and I write that stuff down. Bad habit or good habit, I don't know. That's part of my anal [ways], my screwed up thinking." 

(On if he has named a starting punt returner) "No."