- Mike Rodak, ESPN Staff Writer
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- If you were looking for a rah-rah speech from Doug Marrone, there wasn't one to be had.
At 4-8, the Buffalo Bills are technically still in the playoff hunt, but Marrone wasn't going to harp on that point Monday. Instead, the first-year head coach has seemed to accept the reality that the book is closing on the Bills' season.
With four games left, the expectations have been scaled back.
"I told the team: We haven't won a quarter [of the season] yet. That's our goal: To go out and win a quarter," Marrone said. "We have a tough slate ahead. Three out of four games on the road, and we have to learn to win those games. We got to learn to win close games. We have got to learn to win games on the road. We got to finish teams."
Naturally, the tail end of what will be another non-winning season can bring about a loss of focus and motivation. Marrone implied Monday that he will try to combat that.
"Obviously, it's my job to win football games," Marrone said. "I'm going to do everything I can, and I told the players that it's their job, too."
Three weeks ago, after the Bills lost their third consecutive game, Marrone gave a passionate speech, explaining how he didn't feel like he deserved patience after losing. On Monday, a more reserved Marrone acknowledged his rebuilding effort will take more time.
"At the end of the day, there has to come a point where you have to go forward and work and get the foundation right. It's a work in progress," Marrone said. "I don't want to be that guy that stands up here and says that, but it is what it is."
As he tries to piece together a winning team, the most significant experience Marrone may draw upon is his first season as offensive coordinator in New Orleans in 2006. Under first-year head coach Sean Payton, the Saints turned a 3-13 record into a 10-6 mark and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.
That won't be happening for the Bills this season. Part of that may be their decision to go a different route at quarterback, drafting EJ Manuel in the first round. The Saints, on the other hand, signed Drew Brees before the 2006 season.
"I think the dynamics were quite different. [We] brought in a quarterback that [had] won and been to the playoffs before and [he] came in and really did a good job of taking over that team," Marrone said. "I think this is a different situation. We have players here that can win games for us, and coaches. Creating that consistency in how we play is the most frustrating thing."