By Tim Graham
Many Buffalo Bills fans certainly are tempted to dismiss Thursday night's putrid preseason finale as a meaningless exhibition.
Head coach Doug Marrone won't be with them.
"I'm a little bit of the opposite," Marrone said. "I think everything means something."
Marrone seethed after the 35-13 loss to the Detroit Lions in Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Bills are trying to reverse their culture of losing, and whether the players on the field Thursday night will be on the roster after it's pared to 53 men by 6 p.m. Saturday, they were in Bills uniforms.
"It's easy," Marrone said, "to stand up here and, when things go well, I can promote it to the people in front of me and say, 'Hey, this is what we're doing really well,' and I think when things don't go well it's very easy for me to turn around and say, 'Well, it's just the preseason.'
"I think it's the opposite, too, when things go well you can turn around and say, 'Well, it's just the preseason,' and if things don't turn around, if things don't go well, you can turn around and say, 'Oof, are you nervous about this?' "
Marrone readily admitted he was concerned about the Bills' depth, which looked onion-paper-thin against the Lions.
The Bills already could be down to their third-string quarterback for the Sept. 8 season opener against the New England Patriots. So the Bills felt compelled to rest undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel. They also protected cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin, Justin Rogers and Ron Brooks. Does that mean they will be the top three to face Tom Brady?
"I think for me, honestly, and it's the truth, I take everything in," Marrone said. "I look to see the individuals. I look to see how they play.
"I'm big on when we're out on the field and we have the Bills helmet and the Buffalo Bills uniform on, that's who we represent. It's our responsibility of who we put on that field, that when we put people on that field that we believe we can get it done."
The Bills committed three turnovers deep in their own territory. They committed nine penalties for 60 yards.
"I told the team that we are not going to be that football team," Marrone said. "Whatever we have to do as coaches, as players to make sure that we don't do that, that's what we need to do because history has shown, if we've learned one thing, that's the one way that we don't give ourselves a chance.
"If we give this football team a chance, then they'll have the opportunity to win some games."