Doug Marrone had a beleaguered look after Thursday's 35-13 home loss to the Lions in the final preseason game. It was understandable.
Marrone's Bills were bad for the second time in six days. At halftime, they were down, 35-6. They were outgained badly for the second game in a row in the first 30 minutes -- 221 yards to 44. They turned the ball over three times, including two brutal interceptions by emergency quarterback Matt Leinart.
In assessing his team's overall play, Marrone made it clear that some of his backups were not taking advantage of their opportunities in the preseason. He seemed to be coming to the realization that his team lacks the overall talent to be a contender at this stage of the game. In other words, the Bills aren't very deep. I asked him in the post-game press conference if he was concerned about his depth.
"I am," Marrone said.
Marrone said the Bills will be scouring the waiver wire after NFL teams make their final cuts. He said every team does it. After the draft, it's one of the crucial ways to improve your roster. But the better NFL teams will surely cut players who are better that some of the marginal players who will make the Buffalo roster.
Meanwhile, Marrone said he remains encouraged by EJ Manuel's recovery from his knee procedure. Manuel worked out on the field before the game. He seemed to be favoring his bad leg, but Marrone said his rookie quarterback is "progressing well."
"I really feel good," Marrone said of Manuel. "If he's back by Wednesday, he'll have an opportunity (to play in the opener). If not, I'm not going to look to play him in the first game."
Marrone said he didn't want to give the wrong impression about Manuel's condition. Jeff Tuel is still slated to start against New England. The Bills shouldn't play Manuel unless he's close to 100 percent. But Marrone seems reasonably confident in Manuel's progress.