By Tim Graham
All rookies eventually experience their "Welcome to the NFL" moment.
Whether it's absorbing a bone-crushing hit, making a youthful error or getting punked by a veteran, it happens to the best of them.
First-year head coach Doug Marrone likely is encountering his "Welcome to the NFL" moment right now. After a relatively smooth offseason and a 2-0 preseason start, the Bills have hit nasty turbulence.
"It's funny," a bemused Marrone said Monday. "My first thought process when I was younger was, when these things happened, I would say to myself, 'What did I do in my past to deserve this? ... I go to church on Sunday. I'm a good father, a good husband. Why did this happen?' "
Kevin Kolb's concussion in Saturday's 30-7 loss at Washington left Buffalo with undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel as its best option for the moment. Top cornerback Stephon Gilmore will miss six to eight weeks because of a broken wrist. Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd is disgruntled. C.J. Spiller's step-grandfather allegedly was involved in a mass shooting with multiple deaths, including a suicide.
"I compare life to the game of football quite a bit for our players," Marrone said. "Obviously, it's adversity and how do you deal with it. One of the things that I have not spoke to the team about that we'll talk about is, 'You know what? There's adversity and there's time for other people to take advantage of it and step up and how we deal with it.' "
Marrone, who called the possibility of Tuel starting Sept. 8 against the New England Patriots "exciting," kept a positive outlook on the issues that have cropped up. What else could he do?
"I would definitely view this situation as adversity," Marrone said. "So it's interesting to see for me true character does come out -- whether it's management, whether it's coaches, whether it's players -- to see how we're dealing with it.
"Now, you don't like to deal with it, but it is what it is. We're seeing a lot from the coaches and the players of how we deal with this type of adversity. Right now, it's been good. We went out there today and really had a good practice. Now it'll be interesting when we start going in to the season and the first week and how players do."
taggedC.J. Spiller | Doug Marrone | Jairus Byrd | Jeff Tuel | Kevin Kolb | Stephon Gilmore