Marrone on Jim Kelly: ‘He’s the greatest representative we have of this region’
As Buffalo’s training camp opens, Bills head coach Doug Marrone says he’s seeing a much more confident E.J. Manuel than the one he saw last year.
“Truly night and day. He’s quite different and he’s different because he’s worked at it,” Marrone told The Jim Rome Show. “Now, instead of saying, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to do, this is the offense.’ Now we’re telling him the whys – why we do things and if someone shifts us down, this is what we want to go to. Just his demeanor alone, we’ve been on the field once so far for a practice and we’ve had a walk-through, is quite different than it was a year before, to a point where we’re very excited to see the progression.”
The second-year head coach acknowledged that there are a lot of eyes on Manuel and it’s crucial for the team’s success that he has success, but Marrone also wants his quarterback to enjoy the game.
“The pressure that people put on these quarterbacks and even comparisons when they’re comparing them to the last great quarterback for Buffalo and people will mention Jim (Kelly) for that. But the great quarterbacks in this league and there are a couple, so I try to tell them to go out there and play have fun,” said Marrone. “But make no mistake about it, that position has to play well in order [for us] to win.”
Marrone also talked about the Hall of Famer Kelly’s mini-camp visit with the team. It was Kelly’s first public appearance since he finished radiation treatments for sinus cancer.
“Jim is obviously a part of our family, but he’s a part of the present team. He’s the greatest representative we have of this region,” said Marrone. “He sent a great message: football is a game, we play it and it’s a job, but what we can do for the people around us and the region. The fans supported Jim when he was player and they support him even more now in his battle against cancer. I think he was trying to explain to us the relationship that you can have as a professional football player with the region and the type of impact you have. No one had more impact than Jim Kelly.”