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Bills Beat Blog

By Joe Buscaglia
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Bills finish final camp practice; Marrone sends message to team

With the sun beating down on the field inside Growney Stadium at St. John Fisher College, the edgy Buffalo Bills went through their final training camp practice of 2014. And with the way the last week has gone, it was fitting that it ended with a few fireworks.

Not even an hour into practice the Bills took a page out of their practice on Wednesday. It was only the first set of team drills, and within just a few plays, the team already had two scuffles between offensive and defensive players.

At that moment, head coach Doug Marrone hit his breaking point.

He started screaming at the top of his lungs at his team. He yelled to the on-field staff to cut the music that serenades each practice. He had a message to deliver to his team — some of which that isn’t suitable for radio or television.

“Conduct detrimental to the team,” and “stop fighting,” were two of his statements to the players — albeit cleaned up versions of the original transcript. The team was then sent to the sideline and Marrone made them run a lap across the field and back as punishment.

That wasn’t before one member of the team, defensive end Jerry Hughes, pushed back and made his comments heard at least a little bit. Marrone and Hughes shared somewhat of a loud exchange before defensive tackle Marcell Dareus put his arm around Hughes and ushered him into the punishment lap before any more words were communicated.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams, who got the practice off to rest a leg injury, then had a conversation with Marrone once everything had cooled down and the team resumed practice. Marrone and Hughes seemingly buried the hatchet after the practice, with the head coach going over to Hughes and pulling him aside to have a brief conversation about what happened. 

Marrone cited a lack of respect for the reason why the fighting has lingered in camp, and then said he’s going to handle it all personally. As could be expected, though, the head coach wasn’t exactly eager to discuss what happened with the media.

“I'm going to say it again and I'm not going to answer another question. We're responsible for the integrity of the game,” he said after a series of questions. “Can you figure it out? Figure it out. We're responsible for the integrity of the game. There is no use for fighting in the game of football, period. End of discussion. Move on.”

Moving on is precisely what the Bills will do, too. They’ll spend two more nights on campus, Thursday and Friday, before packing up and leaving on Saturday before their game on the same night.

It was an extremely long camp, 21 practices in total without counting the one that was cancelled due to weather, but a necessary evil according to the head coach.

“Yeah, we needed it,” Marrone remarked. “I think we benefitted quite a bit from the extra work and I also think the work in Pittsburgh was outstanding for us. I think the more that we can do that moving forward, I think the better chance we have of being a better football team.”

Once Saturday arrives, the Bills will no longer have football surrounding their lives at every moment of every day. When they leave St. John Fisher College, they’ll transition back into real life while still playing the part of professional athletes.

“For us, the environment changes and we have to be careful. We want to make sure that we set the expectations for us when we go back to Buffalo and how we practice. We were trying to that this week,” Marrone opined. “But then, the environment changes. There's a lot more structure when you're in training camp as a whole team, you're around each other quite a bit. Now you have a lot more free time. There's other people that are going to come in that you have to do a good job as a player and also as a coach, to make sure that you have the structure and you have the discipline and the focus remains the same.”

That is the struggle for any team once a training camp wraps up. Reclaiming their lives outside of football and how they’ll approach the work in-season is just as vital as their performances on Sundays. That could have been part of Marrone’s line of thinking when he stopped Thursday’s practice, and brought an intense approach to the session.

He’s doing it for a reason, because he believes in the players that make up the 2014 Buffalo Bills.

“Here's what I sense: we are close. What is it going to be to get over the top? It's a matter of either you get over the top or you don't and we've gotta find a way to push ourselves over the top,” Marrone said. “Now this year it's critical to get us over the top, so, I'm doing everything I possibly can to get us over the top. And if intensity's the answer? Yeah, I'm intense.”

The Bills will head back to Buffalo for their fourth preseason game of 2014, a 4:30 showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the newly renovated Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

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Topics : Sports
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Locations : BuffaloPittsburgh
People : Doug MarroneJerry HughesKyle WilliamsMarcell Dareus

08/21/2014 2:17PM
Bills finish final camp practice; Marrone sends message to team
Please enter your comments below.
08/21/2014 2:22PM
I'm with Marrone.
08/21/2014 3:17PM
Better than 6-10!
I am glad Marrone is being intense! If you want to be better than you have always been then you need to change the way you are doing things!
08/21/2014 3:25PM
sat game
will the game be aired on channel 7 again? I know it is going to be on NFL Network, but does anyone know if its going to be on locally?
08/21/2014 3:34PM
Other Side???
Surprised no one got the opinion of Hughes or any teammate about Marrone's blow-up.
08/21/2014 4:02PM
Unfortunately you have proven that you cannot win as a head coach in the NFL. Sad but true, you are yet another in a loooong line of "hiring cheap incompetent coaches" by the Buffalo Bills. Get ready for NEXT YEAR and a new head coaching search.
08/21/2014 4:06PM
Bring in....
I like Steve Tasker's statements recently on the "Bickering Bills." I think this team needs to hold each other more accountable. Obviously that's the perspective of an outsider. I realize the different mindset of this generation compared to Tasker's, however it seems like other teams WANT to WIN more.
08/21/2014 4:34PM
fighting is just a form of letting frustration out- maybe the coaching is causing this problem? I really don't see Marrone doing any real coaching unless you can call messing with minds coaching-something is missing in this team but I can't figure it out yet? there seems to be no unity?
08/21/2014 4:54PM
Good job Marrone
They shouldn't be fighting each other no matter what was said or done there is no excuse.
08/21/2014 4:56PM
I glad that these players are showing emotion and competition When was the last time anyone hear of the bills having "exchanges" between each other. I understand that the coach doesn't want any player fighting. But you have to respect the fact that theses players want a spot on this roster and want to win!
08/21/2014 6:19PM
Who cares its football!
08/21/2014 9:15PM
Other Side?? Who Cares
You watch too many soap operas. The coach is the boss, period. At least, please try to develop a clue!
08/21/2014 9:16PM
this wannabes think fighting will make them better? shows how big of "Punks" they really are- save all that "toughness" for the opposing teams
08/21/2014 10:22PM
Lets go Buffalo
Hope the bills make the playoffs!!!
08/22/2014 6:55AM
Marrone strikes me as a very very bad coach,this season is gona be a nightmare.
08/22/2014 8:22AM
OMG! The girls got into a fight? LOL.
CMON MAN? That's the best news this camp has to report about. SAD?
08/22/2014 10:13AM
They should be more concerned about getting a experienced starting QB if they want to make the playoffs!!!!
08/22/2014 10:39AM
Marrone is Coming to Grips ....
that his team is garbage, no matter how much Bills fans HOPE their team will be decent
08/22/2014 10:59AM
Coach Marrone is dealing with a lot of egos, who haven't won in years, should he just be a nice guy and kiss up? Don't tell me that other coaches don't get angry at their teams, it happens all the time, these guys can't be babied, they are in a league that is physically brutal, one play can end your career, hats off to coach for putting his foot down, now it's up to the players to quit talking and start playing!
08/22/2014 11:49AM
Marrone is imploding. He sees another 6-10 season coming with EJM at the helm. Or 4-12!
08/22/2014 11:55AM
This is what happens when you go out and get a lot of bad actors, like Whaley does, instead of good character individuals.
08/22/2014 12:08PM
This team -the Bills -is self-destructing. It shows what respect the players have for the coach if Hughes can mouth-off at Marrone, and not be disciplined for it. Give me Bill Parcells! Its gonna be another long season again this year for Bills fans.
08/22/2014 8:52PM
Re: Let's go Buffalo
PLAYOUGHS??? You are a Joking idoit. When do the trucks get loaded to move these losers?
08/23/2014 7:30AM
Girls, Girls, Girls, Just want to have fun.
Maybe its the new image of the BILLIES?
08/23/2014 10:10AM
like his Gilligan hat
08/23/2014 12:30PM
This should not be all on the coach.
look we all know the bills have not been in the playoffs in years. If the players want to change that then put in your heart that you going to do that on the field. I don't care who the coach is he not going to like players taking flags through any game. And with the refs calling every thing under the sun this year. You really got to play smart football. Your team mate scores a td but they call it back because of your mistake is really going to hurt teams this year. That's what the coach is talking about. their going to be trash talking going on both sides. Teams are going to use that to their advantage. If you let them throw you of your mind set. Teams will not have to run a play because you will be doing a good job of moving them down the field. Ten yards here 15 yards their holding to left or the right. For change players can we let them get call for those things not us. I mean 1 or 2 we all can understand 5 to10 is going to put your a team in either field goal range or to make a td. But whatever happen we got to play as a team to be able to get the job done. just remember if you reach the playoffs you are going to make this city explode with happiness. and it will be you that will go down in the history books. Not the bills before you, it will be you isn't that why you play football is to be call the best at what you do. Something you are going to be able to tell your kids when you get old and gray. To be able to say yes that was me. It dosen't get no better than that Boy i can only wish and dream about that. But you the players can make all that i mention come true. You just got to stay focus lets go ruff buff.
08/23/2014 2:27PM
It happens
If you never played Football at a high level, you know fights happen, and make you closer as a team.
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