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Doug Marrone - Wednesday, September 11, 2019

(Opening statement) "Before we get started, I spoke to the team about this, today is 9-11, which is a day that's heavy on a lot of our hearts. I lost a teammate in college. I lost friends. I'm sure we've all been affected in one way or the other. It's a day that we think about the first responders and people that put their lives on the line and the people that lost their lives. I just think that it's something that needs to be brought up and [paid] attention to. And then I did talk to the team today, just to take a moment just to think about it and again I hope everyone can just take a step back at one point during the day and then a quick prayer for those people. Moving forward, obviously a disappointing game last week for our football team, especially at home. This week we have an in-division opponent, the Houston Texans, who three out of the last four years have won the division. They're an extremely strong football team. They're well-coached. They have very good players. It's going to be a great challenge for us. Our focus right now is on our team, going out there and putting in the work this week, and obviously we have to improve quite a bit in a short period of time to perform the way we want to perform, so that's where we are right now."

(On what progress he's seen from Will Richardson Jr. at the left tackle potion and on him going up against J.J. Watt in Week 2) "Well J.J. Watt's a challenge for anyone. You're talking about someone who's definitely a Hall of Fame player who has a motor like I've never seen before. I can't say enough great things about him. He's a challenge for anyone. It doesn't matter who's playing. And obviously he plays on both sides, not just one side, so both of our young tackles will be going against him and I think it's going to be a great challenge. At the end of the day, they're going to work hard this week and hopefully they won't be alone too much on him. Obviously, there's combinations and things of that nature, but it's the NFL and you're not always going to have the best match up, you're not always going to have better players at each position. But what you do is those players go out there, and fight, and hope they can win those battles."

(On the positives he saw from Richardson's Week 1 performance) "I think the easiest way to explain that, and not to be a jerk about it, is that no one really said anything about him. And when people don't really say a lot like, 'He struggled,' or, 'He gave up a sack,' or 'The penalties,' or things of that nature and he functioned well. That usually says a lot, that he played well. But Will's worked hard. [He's] really overcome a lot that first year. I really – and I told this to Will when he first came back here – I didn't know where he was going to go. I didn't know whether he'd be out on a street today or he'd be playing, and I give him a lot of credit after what he went through last year, which was really tough maybe not having a lot of positives to build on. He's turned it around. I feel comfortable if Will plays left tackle for us or if Will competes at right guard. I have no problem playing Will Richardson [Jr.] at any position except center."

(On what led to the lack of a pass rush in Week 1 vs. Kansas City) "Well I think when you go back, and you look at it, when you look at how many times, we hit the quarterback there was a lot. So, there was a lot of hits, quarterback hits, when you watch the film. But like you said, it's late, it's not there on time. And I think when that happens, I think I've always said, coverage and front mechanics go hand-in-hand. I thought that a lot of times it's the quarterback can get to the ball, the guys can get open quick, there's quick plays, quick releases, things of that nature. I think when you look at the plays that are vertically down the field then you're trying to look for that pass rush, where you're sitting in there, you're about to say, 'Let's get him,' you know. And then you want to see the pass rush come home. It's very difficult in the quick game obviously, swing passes, things of that nature. But at the end of the day, there is a lot of things that they do. I think it's a challenge each week for all the defenses unless you get put in those third and longs."

(On if the tape showed something different than the official stats) "I thought they were getting around them quite a bit. They were around them quite a bit. But again, [the ball's] coming out quick and it's going deep and it's tough. But there were wins. It wasn't like they were stuck on guys. I think that's probably a better way to say it then the actual hits or the stats. But when they're winning, it's only a matter of time where you have to be able to hold up and credit to them. They have good receivers and had guys in open areas."

(On his expectations of their pass rush for Week 2) "I know one thing, I think they'll be ready. We're banged-up up front. Don't really know who's going to be playing up front for us right now early in this week. I know their line coach very well. You're talking about a team that won a division three-out-of-four years that has an unbelievable amount of pride and they'll step up and it'll be a great challenge for us."

(On how rare it is to find a quarterback that has the poise of Gardner Minshew II) "There are a lot of good young quarterbacks that have shown that, I think, around the league. I think that whether it is the preparation of college or whatever it may be, I think there is some of that. Obviously not to take away from Gardner's performance – it was impressive. I think when anyone looks at it, I think the challenge is, 'Hey listen, we have to repeat this. Where are we going to go?' There are some people who will question whether he can keep it up. Do you think he can do that again? I think that's the challenge, but the one thing I do know about the kid is that he will work his butt off this week, and he will do everything he possibly can, which you appreciate. I think he will have confidence and I think our opponent will be trying to knock the confidence out of him. That's what happens. We need everyone to play well around him."

(On why Gardner Minshew II is able to take what he sees in the meeting room onto the field) "It's a gift. I really believe that. I think some people have that and some people don't. I think it's a gift. I think some things are just God given. It's the same way someone could run a 4.3 [second] 40-[yard dash]. How does he do it and someone else can't? I think it's just a gift. Some people are naturals."

(On how big a challenge it is to change the offense to fit what Gardner Minshew does) "It's a challenge because they are all different. You can't get two people that are alike and most of the time the offense, especially the passing game part of it, is going to revolve around the quarterback position. You go through that and like you say, it's easier to say, 'All the work we did in OTAs, all the work we did on the playbook, all of that was geared towards Nick Foles.' Well, in a matter of a quarter and here we go starting again. It's a challenge and we're up for it. I like the guys that we are going through it with."

(On the personality of Gardner Minshew II) "I don't know. I hate to say it. You're the head coach and you think you know everyone inside and out, but I don't really have that good of a feel. I apologize to players quite a bit because you only have a certain amount of time and I'm only around them [for so long]. I'm not keeping anyone late at night. I would say that I don't know if he's different. I wouldn't be able to say that because I haven't spent a ton of time with him. I think there is a confidence about him. I think when he walks into a room or steps on the field, there is an unbelievable work ethic about him. Those are things that I can see. Kind of what we were talking about before, he's a guy that really works hard outside of this building. That is a part of it too. He has a gift, but obviously he has to work at it. He's a guy that has been through a ton of adversity. I think that when you read his story and you read where he's from and everything that happened … He was going to be a backup or going some place to compete for a starting job and getting an opportunity. He has been a hell of a lot more as an athlete than a lot of people have at his stage. He's probably going to have to go through a lot more now that he's playing."

(On how important it is that Will Richardson Jr. has been able to pick the brains of veterans) "I think it's probably important. I think that we are fortunate to have a guy [in Offensive Line George Warhop] that coached me and has coached a lot of players and developed a lot of good young players. I think that comes into it, but I do think there is something to when you walk out of that room and you are in the locker room. Whether it is an older player … I still consider Cam [Robinson] to be a younger player, but like Brandon Linder or even in the past when we had Jermey Parnell, who I thought really did a good job, guys that have played. I think that's a big help to them. I think the more people that you can have helping and supporting and coaching and going through it, I think the better feel the player can have because not many people can describe what it is like. Not many people can say what it is like to line up against someone that was the defensive player of the year for two or three years or things of that nature. I think that when you are able to say I remember when I played a long time ago and I came out and I played in Houston and it was this or I played against Kansas City and it was that. I think those things are kind of like a reassurance."

(On his level of concern with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue's injuries) "I think I'm going to take it day by day. If I sit up here and I say it's not a concern, that's really BS because if that was the case we would say we are resting them. There is always a concern. Sometimes you have a concern of, 'Hey, am I going to be able to get him on the field?' That's just a small part of it. The other part is now when we get them on the field, are they going to be ready? That's the preparation part of it that you don't get because they are not out there. The next phase of it is the production. Are you concerned about it? Of course. I think that if you sit up here and you say you are not, I don't think that's accurate."

(On Cam Robinson returning to practice) "I think he's going to be limited and we will see how he is in individuals. That's what we will do today."

(On if it is still wait and see in whether Cam Robinson will be available Sunday) "Yes. We're taking it period by period. That is probably the best way to look at it. We're going to look at it in individuals and then we can shut him down or keep him going. I don't know how he is going to be."

(On whether Marrone would consider growing a mustache if Minshew plays well) "Me? No, I can't honestly. I tried and I can't grow any hair right here (points to upper middle lip area). I know this; if we can talk about that then I know he's playing well. If he doesn't play well, then I know we won't be talking about his mustache. I think it'll be a great challenge for him. The young quarterbacks in this league, going on the road, if you look at the history of it, it's usually the toughest test. There's not a lot of great performances, so it's going to a great challenge for us and a great challenge for him."

(On the strides he has seen on tape from Deshaun Watson) "Probably competes for the MVP. I can't say anything more than that. Last week we saw the 2018 MVP in Patrick Mahomes who played like an MVP. We are going in and playing against another quarterback who has the same amount of skill, the same amount of ability, and I think it'll be between those two guys who's going to be the MVP. I'm sure someone else will start playing well down the road but right now those guys just took it Week 1, but those two guys are playing really well."

(On how much he thinks the Texans pass rush has diminished without Jadeveon Clowney) "I don't know. We are talking about a team last week against New Orleans. I coached in New Orleans. That ball is coming out so quick, it's difficult to generate it [pass rush]. You look at guy like [J.J.] Watt who is a Hall-of-Famer, you look at guy like [Whitney] Mercilus, the inside players and the pressure they can get with their linebackers, their pressure-packages, their match-ups. Am I worried about their rush? Yes, I'm worried about their rush. I think they are good. They've got some pelts on the wall and those guys can play. I think they are going to come out and we are going to see their best. J.J. Watt said that defensively they didn't play well last week. You know what you're getting into, they're going to be ready to go. I'm sure we will see the best of every single one of those guys."