Doug Marrone - Wednesday, November 14, 2018

(Opening Statement) "We showed up today and obviously Monday we looked at all the [film], made all those corrections, went out there with a good attitude during the walkthrough, did a good job. The focus is making sure we can carry this stuff over. Obviously out to the practice field, but more importantly, we have to do a good job of carrying it over to the game. That was the point of emphasis with the players today. They look like they are ready to go to work. We have three guys out of practice. Eli [Ankou] is out. [Josh] Walker is out. [Ereck] Flowers will go in there. We have had some pickups with Pat. Pat Omameh has played tackle for us or guard. Linder had surgery and it went well. We are hoping for a good recovery for him. The third player that is out is Quenton Meeks. Those are the three guys that are out. [Ben] Koyack is back. That is good. He is familiar. He looked good. We are excited to get on the practice field and put this thing to work."

(On Omameh's versatility) "We did that last year. We had him working [multiple positions], some in the preseason, and knew there was a point in the game and we are just going to have to see where those three guys go this week. I think Josh will be able to practice tomorrow. We will see how that goes. That is what we are expecting. We will make a decision later in the week with the three."

(On the benefit of bringing in someone who spent two years with the team) "I think it is tough. If you are bringing someone in and they come from a similar system then you can do that. They are able to pick things up a lot quicker. If it is something completely opposite of a system – there is probably three types of system in the NFL – if you do something like that then it is a little bit tougher. It depends upon the veteran, what type of player, where he has been, how much he knows, what he can recall. It is hard to get a guy up to speed in that short period of time. That is always a challenge."

(On if he has talked to Omameh about why it did not work out with the Giants) "I don't know about that situation. My standard is, whatever is happening there I don't want to beat a dead horse or bring something up. I just want to make sure that when they come in they know we are excited to have them back and let's go. More positive things."

(On if it is unusual when the running back defines the identity of the offense) "That is a good question. I look at it as kind of overall. When you want to be a physical team – we are playing a very physical team. Pittsburgh has been a very physical team from my first year in the league and we had games against them. When you think of physical teams you think of the physical style of the running game. I think of the physicality of the guys up front. I think a better indication is when you look at the guys on the outside and they come in there and block, those receivers. Then all of a sudden it is a complete physical battle. Then on defense you look at it the same way. Are the corners tackling? Are they knocking people back? Are they changing the line of scrimmage? For me to say where does it start, yes I believe it starts up front, but when you term, 'This is a physical football team,' I think you are looking at everyone that is playing on the field. Pittsburgh has done a great job for a long time. Since I have been going against them in being that type of complete team."

(On T.J. Watt becoming someone who can wreck a game plan) "Yes, I think he is a guy you have to account for. [Bud] Dupree is playing well too. Both of the outside guys. They are getting good push inside. You have to be aware of them. He is a good rusher. He is technically very good, sound and he has the height, weight and speed to do that stuff. I believe he has eight sacks on the year, so he is doing a nice job. Dupree is coming in there and he has put a lot of pressure on the quarterback too. I think in the back end they are playing well and they are able to get pressure on the quarterback. It is a pretty good recipe for success. One that we have had and one that we have to get back to."

(On if the game plan is any different with James Conner at running back) "You would think that going in, but then all of a sudden when you look at the numbers – basically their offense is more efficient now than it is has been in the past couple years. You start trying to look at where it has changed. You see Antonio Brown still has his 10 touchdowns. Ju-Ju [Smith-Schuster] has a high amount of catches. The tight ends are involved. Ben is Ben. He is a great player and has been for all these years. You knew how much the focus was on that position for them. Are they going to get the same production? Conner is playing to a Pro Bowl level. I don't see the change as far as the production. I actually see better efficiency. I know the offensive coordinator up there has really done a nice job."

(On the point of emphasis for the defensive line) "We were talking about it, trying to create that pressure. We have the same guys basically in there that we have had before. We just have to get after the quarterback. We haven't done a good of a job as we have did in the past and it is something we are working on and trying to get more pressure on [the quarterback]. That is the one thing that really helped us last year and that is the one thing that causes a lot of turnovers. That is the one thing we are trying to emphasize."

(On if the team is lacking an interior pass rush) "The thing that has hurt us a little bit is we lead the league in quarterback escapes – quarterbacks being able to break the pocket and escape. We have to do a good job. When that happens, the first thing you talk about is your rush discipline. You have to be able to do that and not peek or look or slow down as you are doing it. There are a lot of things right now that people are trying to overcome. We just have to go back to just go play and be able to attack and beat the guy in front of us, rather than think of all the things that could happen. I think that is something you have to do. The more complicated you make it for anyone on defense the tougher it is."

(On if the players are anxious to play Sunday) "I think so. The first experience you have as a coach, you have a team meeting. I am talking about Wednesdays now. You have a team meeting and everyone is listening and you are just prepping the game plan for the players. The first time they actually go out there and we are actually doing stuff is the walkthrough. We have a 40-minute walkthrough in the morning. That is when you can tell. That is why I was able to come in here and say they are focused. When you don't play well in this league you want to get to that game, so you can get that bad taste out of your mouth and prove it. Sometimes those weeks are so long to be able to get there. The players seem to have that type of attitude right now of wanting to go out there and play knowing they are going to play a heck of a football team in Pittsburgh."

(On the impressiveness of Pittsburgh's win against Carolina) "I don't know Carolina as well as I know Pittsburgh because they are in the NFC. Whereas Pittsburgh I will see games, crossover games. I just have a ton of respect for Pittsburgh. I always have. I think everyone that has played against them, and I have been facing those guys from 2002, where I am talking about some battles too and then the battles we had last year. It is always one of those games where after when you are in the locker room you really can't say anything because you just put everything out on the line and it was physical. You know if you don't show up and you are not ready to play then they are going to knock you on your ass. I think our players know that and they have to get themselves ready to play."

(On Pittsburgh's tight ends) "There is always a concern with the tight ends from the scheme of things. It is tough when you look at it and you see one of the best wide receivers in football on one end. Another young, upcoming star on this end and then a running back that is playing well and a quarterback that has been doing it for all these years. You can go down the line. An offensive line that has played together for a long time. There are different guys and different things you have to look at, but they are part of it. They are a big part of it. We have to be able to – I think that is what makes it so difficult when you defend Pittsburgh – they have a bunch of good players out there. They have a Pro Bowl running back, potentially two Pro Bowl wide receivers, a Pro Bowl quarterback and some Pro Bowl offensive lineman. Then you look at the tight ends. Vance [McDonald] – I have known for a long time. We wanted to take him when I was in Buffalo. We were trying to take him. I did a lot on him. I know what type of player he is and obviously Jesse [James] is from Penn State, and I know the job that he has done. It is a challenge and that is why it is going to take all eleven guys to do the right thing, do their job, know their role to defend this team."

(On if Bortles has responded since being benched) "Going back to that, we turned the ball over twice and I just wanted to see different things. That wasn't 'Get him out of there. He is not good enough for us.' We just have to play better overall. At the end of the day when you look at it, one week it is one thing – it might be turnovers. The other week it might be giving up explosive plays or not having enough explosive plays or not being able to possess the ball. Right now, when you lose that is what happens. It becomes a grab bag. Each week is different and the whole goal is let's get this thing together to where we are not beating ourselves. We are getting ourselves an opportunity to win games, but we are really taking the game away from us early on, whether it be penalties or turnover, missed assignments or whatever it may be. That is the one thing that we preach or I preached the first time I got here. The number one thing that I have always had as a philosophy that you have with your football team is the first thing before you learn how to win you teach them how not to lose. Right now it is a good indication of how to lose with the way we are playing. That is what I am most disappointed in."

(On if he has sensed frustration from Defensive Coordinator Todd Wash) "I don't want to limit it to one person. Frustration can be a wide range. I think if you look at it, we're all frustrated. I would put everyone in that category, not just a specific coach or a specific player or anyone in this organization. I think as an organization, I think we are all frustrated. I have to lead it and they have to pull it together and we have to go. We have to get on the field, we have to be able to coach them as well as we can, they have to get out there and be able to perform. We've got to go win a game. I look at it as it's more of a whole than one person."

(On if his conversations are different with Todd Wash) "I learned a long time ago, I never get too crazy when things are going really well. I know how hard it is. I think once you have been around and you have seen it with the head coach's part, I think you realize how hard it is to win and how close it is in this league. I'm not saying that people have a great appreciation for it. I'm just speaking for myself that I understand that, and I know when you get like this, this is where leadership comes in and you have to lead and be very clear in what you're communicating. For me, I've always communicated the same way. More of maybe, 'Hey, let me get in there and let's see what's going on. Let's talk about some things.' I try to help in all three phases, but I basically was doing that last year, too."

(On how tough his Monday morning conversations with EVP Tom Coughlin have been considering Coughlin is an ultimate competitor) "I consider myself an ultimate competitor also. I would hope that as an organization, we are all like that. It is always tough. For me, what's tough is for the people on the outside. The people that want to kind of voice their frustration. They are angry. I understand that. I take that. Me, personally, I feel like I'm letting them down. That's how I look at it. I always have. It's not about me going out there and winning a game and, 'Hey look at me.' It is about – and it always was – it's about doing it for the fans, the people in the organization. That's how I look at it. I look at the people that support the team first all the way or all the way up however you want to look at it. I'm at the back of that line. For me, my job is to lead, to coach and to win football games. It is very clear what my job is, and I have no issues with that. But the sense of disappointment with people around … That's what hurts me more than anything else. It's not that I can't go out. It's not that I hang my head. I'm doing everything I possibly can 110 percent and either we get it done or not. That's the greatest part of this profession and everyone knows it. You either win or you lose. There is no … That's why I went into it. It is a great challenge, and it is a challenging time now, but at the same point, when you are dealing with this type of adversity and you can pull everyone together and fight through it, then it's going to be a pretty decent foundation for what's going to happen next week, the following weeks and down the road. That's the challenge I have and that's the one I readily accept and I'm actually excited for."

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