Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Doug Marrone sees red over penalties

By Jay Skurski

PITTSFORD -- Doug Marrone's patience regarding the Buffalo Bills' propensity to take penalties officially ran out this morning.

Marrone temporarily paused practice and absolutely lit his team up after there was movement along the offensive line inside the red zone.

His frustration is understandable. Through the first two preseason games, the Bills have been flagged a whopping 23 times for 180 yards.

"Obviously, it has been too much," Marrone said after practice. "When we get into situations -- especially the red zone -- when we work on those drills and we work on those situations, we have to constantly remind ourselves of that and really up our focus because we don't want any penalties down there. They do, they hurt. It's very hard to make up certain downs and situations in this league."

Marrone especially loses his cool with what he calls "unforced errors," penalties that occur before the snap of the ball.

"I get very upset. The players know I get very upset," he said. "Jumping offsides and things like that, those are things you can truly control and I think that’s where I would use the word frustration."

While Marrone was particularly upset by a red-zone offensive penalty today, only one of those have been called on the Bills this preseason: a holding call against guard Colin Brown in the second quarter against Minnesota.

The Bills have, however, been flagged for seven penalties before the snap, including one for having 12 men in the huddle and another when a cornerback (Nickell Robey) jumped offside. There have been nine offensive or defensive holding penalties, personal fouls on Ron Brooks (for taunting) and Marcus Easley (unsportsmanlike conduct), two illegal blocks above the waist called on Dominique Ellis and a defensive pass interference flag on Robey.

"I think with penalties, people tend to look at the number at the end of the game," Marrone said. "I tend to cut them all out and evaluate them all. To say 'OK was this a penalty? Was this forced by us just being aggressive? Is it a penalty forced on us not being focused?' We're trying to play, and we're just a little too soon.

"I think you have to manage those as a coach because you can over manage a situation and lose that aggressiveness in a player. We've seen that with everyone. We have to make that a point of emphasis for our players and again evaluate the situations, which is what we do."

Another troublesome part of the penalties: nine of them have come in the first quarter of the two games, when the starters are in. That means few of the penalties are being made by an overeager reserve trying to make a play.

Even Marrone himself is worried about getting flagged. He said the biggest point of emphasis that has been communicated to him from officials is to stay off the field.

"The officials have been talking to me quite a bit making sure that I keep my butt on the sideline," Marrone said. "So that seems like a big point of emphasis this year."


Colin Brown | Doug Marrone | Marcus Easley | Nickell Robey | Ron Brooks
comments powered by Disqus

About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |