Sunday, July 20, 2014

Marrone: This year we have a background with players


In Year 1, Doug Marrone was not only learning the basics of being a head coach in the NFL, but also simply learning the basics about his personnel.

In 2014, Marrone is able to hit the ground running, and much of that has to do with his extensive knowledge of the team, something he didn't have as a rookie coach.

"Well, last year I didn’t know a lot of the players, honestly," the second-year coach said Sunday. "I had never really worked with any of them, you see them on film but it’s not really the same.

"This year we have a background with the players and the players have done a good job, we’re stronger, our training staff has done a good job, we’re stronger and faster than we’ve been, I like where we are from a talent standpoint, we’ve just got to go out and execute."

While Marrone is certainly more comfortable in Year two, a good chunk of his staff, particularly on the defensive side of the ball with Mike Pettine's departure, is new to the team. New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will be without the arguably team's best defensive player from a season ago in linebacker Kiko Alonso.

"You’re always disappointed when a player that puts in a lot of work like Kiko has and has performed very well for you isn't able to get out there," Marrone said, "but in the same sense, someone else is going to get an opportunity to get on the field.

"We have a couple of guys we’re going to look at, Nigel Bradham has had a good camp, Preston Brown, Randell Johnson, maybe some of the other young guys or free agents will be able to do something so we have people at that position."

Offensively, Buffalo is banking on sophomore quarterback E.J. Manuel to take the next step, though the first priority is to keep him healthy.

" I’m excited, he looks good and confident, obviously it’s a better situation," Marrone said, "last year we were explaining what the offense is and not really the ins and outs of things, this year we’re able to get more into the ins and outs of things, not just with EJ but with a lot of guys on the team with the system already being in place."

The Bills were the first team in the NFL to kick off training camp Sunday.

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