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Head Coach Doug Marrone - August 29th, 2020

(Opening Statement) "First, I would be remiss [if I didn't mention] we had a lot of social justice things come up and we had a hurricane down in Galveston and Lake Charles so I talked to the team about that. Obviously, we have some players that have family down there and what we can do to help. Obviously, our prayers and thoughts go out to those people. Having gone through it, it's tough. It gets missed in all that is going on so I wanted to make sure I started by saying that. This is exactly how I feel so I am going to try and tell you guys where I'm at and try to paint a picture here. I'm very happy with the way this team has progressed and the way this team has worked. I'm happy where we are from a standpoint of health wise and players that haven't been out there will be able to get them back on the field and be able to go week 1. We've had a lot of high intensity work, inside and up front, for this camp and picked and choose what periods we did want live tackling and try to break this stuff up. We spent a lot of time on open field tackling from a drill standpoint and didn't have to get down in there. We spend a lot of time on discipline, penalties and pre-snap penalties, and today we had one [penalty] with 70 plays which is something I am looking for. I spoke to the team and I feel good about where we are and we aren't missing out on the evaluation process meaning that before the season started, I wanted to get back to evaluating the players on what they are able to do for us, what we actually see on the practice field, what we see in the meetings, and we've taken the past and gave everything a clean slate. When you do that, you open it up and the younger guys that we've had on this team, the way we split was the way we've done it for bowl games. We get to spend time with the young guys and get them up to speed where I feel like now when these guys have the ability to make your team, their going to be able to get in there and help you. A lot of times, a mistake you can make as a coach is you put the full team out there, you focus on the guys you think will be the starters but the ones that are going to really help you win games or get you beat are the ones that are coming in and rotating in. Our specialists have all been good throughout the whole process. We have two snappers we have to make a decision on, Josh [Lambo] and Logan [Cooke] have done a really nice job and have been very consistent and it's been good. We've tried a lot of people in a lot of different areas to get a good evaluation. I feel like we have guys that are working hard and the main thing I told the team is that the responsibility I have, that I am in a position where I can see everything, is to make sure that we're getting players that are consistent in their ability and keeping players that are going to help us win but keeping players that have team concept first and we want to make sure those players can make everyone around them better and have the ability to play hard, not just for themselves or their coaches, but for their teammates. These are the things I've talked to the team about at a consistent level on what we are looking for. We have the body of work, a lot people will always look at this day, of being this huge day of 'what happened out here' and 'have your minds changed' and for me, it's the body of work. There are things that we still need to work on that are going to be important for us for the season and a lot of that we have kept to the side as situational stuff where we know who's going to be on this football team so that we can work on that stuff and educate on that stuff. We've hit that, but now were going to hit that a little bit harder. The goal for the following week is, outside of Monday which we're bringing them back after a day off, but on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday is to really lock them into their in-season type schedule, meaning from a standpoint of times and lifting and how to get a feel for how they are going to take care of their bodies during a long season. So that's really what our goal is as far as what are some of things we work on. We're going to have to substitute some of those things that we would normally do on Wednesday and Thursday with some situations we need to catch up on like two minute, a couple plays at the end of the half and end of the game, things that we can really lock in on and know who's going to be out there when we start. There are a couple positions that we're still looking at that we'll get together tomorrow and look at certain positions and say 'where are we' and there are some close competitions and we'll work that out and we'll put some things in to clear stuff up. Our one goal coming into this thing was to be able to have a true evaluation so we didn't miss on the guys who have the ability to play, it didn't really matter how you've gotten here because the reps have been equal the way we've been practicing so its not from a standpoint of we haven't seen enough of somebody. If they are not good enough, its because we've seen enough and we feel like these are the players that are best for our team."

(On any updates for Brandon Linder and Laviska Shenault Jr. and when they will be back) "Yeah, we have a meeting today and if I had to put both players on the field today, I could have done that. So that tells you a lot about where they are from a standpoint of being ready. Again, it's just with Brandon we are being cautionary. He's someone who we've managed through two seasons now and he's a very good player for us. With Shenault, he's come back and done a really good job. He was a guy that was coming off injury so we're managing him to be able to get him ready for the season. If we went out there today, both players could have dressed and been out there."

(On what he liked out of Collin Johnson today) "If you've been out there and watching practice, I don't think what happened today would make you say, 'Where did this guy come from?' He's been very consistent and done a really good job and he's been consistent in making those catches. Everything that you've seen out there is the same thing we're seeing. The kid has had a really good camp and he's really worked hard. "

(On if the pass rush today got to QB Gardner Minshew II and how he performed) "There are times like the two-minute stuff that we haven't really done enough of and is something I need to get in there for him. He's put in a ton of work because we're in that mode of 'we got to get and get this guy ready' and then where are we with throws and trying to get him back in. From a mental standpoint, it's not an issue, it's about getting everyone back. He's like a lot of players that are here now. If you're looking from the outside and saying okay he had this ramp up period and people that have been through these training camps are saying 'oh gosh these people should be fresh' but we did lose an offseason. You can't ever talk about how that comes into play and not being able to have that and it's really about these guys doing a lot of the work on their own. You gradually bring them back into the mode so you don't get those soft tissue injuries and don't lose that availability early. Now all of sudden you're starting to ramp it up as far as the work load because you always feel like as a coach, there's a fine balance between trying to catch up knowing that you're never going to get in the amount of work you would normally have at this time with an offseason. What I've seen from the team is that, yes there are still things that we need to get done on the football field, but players are not complaining, not trying to get out of things, and their doing everything we've asked of them and I have to give them that opportunity now which is normal even in a full season, of getting everyone back in and getting that bounce in your step and feeling really good about coming into the season knowing that this is going to be a process like the season. Your body is going feel like this. I put Gardner into that category like everyone else because for the first time I saw upfront, and we've been really physical, your starting to see a little bit of that and now it's my responsibility to recognize that and bring those guys back."

(On being curious to see what your team looks like based on the fact that you haven't seen them in live games) "I would be remiss if I said no. I go back to the same way I felt in college. You're out there working and there are certain things that you look for that you know if your having issues with now, that your going to have issues when you start to play. The main focus for me has been the unforced errors or the penalties. That's something that if your having those issues now, that's going to definitely carry over. Before, we've always had officials here that threw flags and helped us. I don't know because we've had officials here whether we weren't doing a good enough job of coaching it, we've recognized it, but how do we coach it, how do we present it to the team knowing that this is something that has given us problems before. So when the officials weren't present during this year, it put more on our plate as coaches to go over it and be on it more so than before and I've seen where we've gotten better. Even to a point where someone says it's easy to jump offside or doesn't, but even to a point of 'hey are your hands outside too long, get that back inside, get them in here, pass interference calls.' I've seen a lot more of coaching emphasis put on that, and we're going to see that when we start to play. The only thing about that you can't really see is what are our angles in these open fields. We've gotten a couple of live stuff done from a special teams standpoint but is there enough consistency to see where were going to be and how were going to cover or how we're going to return or how we'll be in the open field. So, the only thing is drill work we've done in open field tackling that we haven't had a lot of work or put them in those situations, those are the things you wonder about. Like I told the players, effort is going to help not give up big plays. Our effort and our angles and how smart we play are going to give us the opportunity to win. I focus on the things that I believe can carry over like ball security and when you talk about the NFL, I can say whatever I feel, but you never know until you go out there because it's a performance-based business. What I do feel though is the preaching of team first. As a team, this is what we're looking for, I see players that are trying to do that and trying to be players that their teammates can rely on in big spots where if something does happen, you can recover quicker when you have a bunch of guys around you that are trying to get you going rather than being divisive and pointing fingers. These are the type of things I've been talking to the team about during this timeframe. I still struggle with this in camp because it's so different from anything we've done before."

(On whether these peculiar times makes the case for having preseason games or going to no preseason games in the future) "I haven't put real thought into how I feel about that but I would be willing right now to stand up there and say 'This ramp up period that we've had, the way we've done that, and there are certain things that I would tweak a little bit but I think were on the right track.' When you come back and everyone should be in shape and everything is different. We didn't really have to go inside because of the heat and I think were better acclimated to the heat since I've been here. The way the schedule was presented is the reason why because we didn't put that stress on your body by dealing with the heat. I don't care how great of shape you're in or how great of an athlete you are, when you're going through losing 14 pounds in a practice and trying to gain it back and maybe you only gain back eight and then that stress on your body is something that shouldn't be done. The way we been practicing because of the protocols that are in place, I believe are much better so I think that even though there are things we have learned in a positive way whether it be COVID or not having an offseason, there are things we can do to make it better."

(On what went into drafting Collin Johnson beyond that he is a big target) "I knew I wanted to get a different type of variety in that I wanted a big, strong receiver. I want a quick receiver, I want someone with speed, I want someone with strong hands and I think we all sit there and we try to get that all in one person but that one person is top three receiver in the league so I was looking at the guys we've had that have done a good job and we haven't really had a big tall receiver and I've had a lot of success in this league where we've had those type of guys. Just the height and the weight, or the dimensions or the stats on the guy aren't going to get you the production that you want so when I was looking at the receivers and going down the list highlighting the guys that had the height, weight, and speed, Collin was one of those guys. The next thing I do is look at the stats because I want to know is are they throwing the ball to this guy, is he catching. When I looked at the stats and I saw the senior year and I looked at his junior year, I was trying to figure out why there was such a difference so I went back and looked at the senior year and said ok but when I went back and looked at junior year, I was like woah, I really like this guy. Having gone back two years on him, that's what really helped me. I really think this guy has a chance. Has he done things here that I maybe didn't see on film, like dropping weight and getting in and out of cuts, that's something that is a little bit different but I would say yes, we've seen that. That was my process and how I got involved with Collin and then obviously I had good feelings about him. I don't think anyone didn't have good feeling about him when we dove into the research part of it."

(On impressions so far of Tramaine Brock) "He's a veteran guy, we've got to put him in there which we have. We've got to see and just like everyone else, we see what he's done in the past and what he's done here. We've got some tough decisions, we've got some younger guys that are starting to progress and we've got guys that have done it before. When it comes down to our defensive backs, I feel good about the starters that we are putting out and then the guys that are behind, we just have to keep working through because we haven't made those decisions. I think Tramaine is in competition with the younger guys and who we feel is going to be able to play better and get better, he has done a really good job because he came from a different system than ours so we'll see like everyone else. As far as putting the work in, being out there on the field, being available and coachable, he's done everything we wanted."

(On what you've seen from Joe Schobert) "He has a really good command of what we're trying to get done. He's a great communicator and has good speed and read and diagnoses well. He's going to be around a lot of football and around a lot of plays and he's shown that throughout camp and he's been consistent that way. You go out and get a guy to fill that position and we'll get better production out of that position because now that we have Myles [Jack] playing will, we're going to get really good production out of him. When you look at the overall take of those two stacked linebacker positions, those guys have been good and on the same page. They communicate well together which is one thing you look at early on. They talk to each other; they have a good feel for it so I'm expecting those guys to make a lot of plays for us."

(On the quarterback battle and what he foresees happening in the next week) "I think all of those guys have done a good job and I feel comfortable if they have to go into a game and play. Each one has a different skill set and each one does a couple things differently. Each one of those guys is better at certain progressions than others. Some of them see different things than others but I think they all have the ability to go out there and play. At first, I was a little skeptical of bringing four quarterbacks to camp but I think those four quarterbacks have opened up a lot of different things to what they can do but also what we can do in supporting around them. Going into this thing, you guys have seen practice, we've rotated them quite a bit with Gardner getting the majority of the reps and the other three really rotating around. There's been a little bit of ups and a little bit of downs but right now, when you talk about Josh [Dobbs], you talk about Mike [Glennon], you talk about Jake [Luton], you're seeing those three guys really come on and make some throws that they haven't made before so it's just a matter of what are the total numbers and how many are you going to keep at the end of the day."

(On the decision of making Jake Luton the second quarterback that entered the scrimmage) "His reps. Just looking at the reps and sometimes there are certain guys you're not going to play, sometimes those guys get less reps, sometimes they need more reps. To make sure we have an evaluation, I really wanted to make sure at the end of the day, we can do it with the same body of work that they all have. If someone had 150 plays and you're looking at a body of work of someone who had 150 plays compared to someone who had 400 plays, the odds are both the same way. You can have the guy with 400 have some really good ones and some really bad ones and it's just a matter of how you want to mitigate your argument whatever it may be and I want to make sure its equal so this way now we can look at things and make good decisions on who we feel is the better player."

(On the progress Keelan Cole has made and whether the wide receiver group will be hard to determine who stays and who doesn't stay on the roster) "I would say it's one of the groups that has the most competition when you look at it as far as playing time or dressing on Sunday or the final number of the 53. That position has done a nice job and the one good thing they do is they play multiple spots. In regards to Cole, he plays multiple spots and he has had a really good camp. He's got really good hands, can play all three positions, he makes the tough catch, he's been very consistent, he's become better at this route running, he's been able to get in and out a little better, so you see an improvement from last year to this year. He's been solid and DJ [Chark Jr.] has had an excellent camp and now its going to come into play of what are they bringing to the table offensively and what are they doing for you special teams wise. Cole has returned for us in the past and done a good job in the kickoff return so these are all the things that go into play when start looking at the number that says 53 or number that says 47. That room has been very competitive."