Adam Gase – March 22, 2016 (Annual Meeting) Download PDF version

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase (Annual Meeting)

(On his thoughts on free agency and what the team has done thus far) — “Well, it’s been a whirlwind for sure. I like the additions we’ve made. I know we have lost some good players. That’s part of the challenge of free agency. When guys make it through and get that opportunity, the way the money is structured and the way free agency is now, the money gets up there pretty quick and it’s tough to keep really good players, to get the deal done early.”

(On losing young players) – “That’s the struggle, that’s the tough part about being, at least for myself being in year one, there’s nothing that I was able to do as far as moving forward. We were in that situation. We had three good players that were wanted by other teams. Obviously we would have loved to keep them but it was too late. Once they hit the market, it was going to be a challenge to keep them on our roster.”

(On if he looks at his team and can point to what they will do well) – “It’s still the evaluation stage, at least (for me). Defensively, it’s a little easier for them because they look at that tape and you can see a lot of the attributes that fit into the system that we are going to run. On offense, I feel like that side of the ball we’re actually going to have to go out there (to the practice field) and experiment and kind of figure out where we’re at with Ryan (Tannehill). There’s some of the routes that this group does really well that I haven’t been a part of in a while. Every quarterback likes different things and watching a lot of our film from the past, Ryan does excel at some concepts that I haven’t run in a while that the last two quarterbacks I had didn’t really like. We’ll be a little bit in the experimental phase as far as the offensive side. We have a ways to go on that side of the ball. I feel like on defense, those guys have a good feel for what we have on the roster and where we need to go from there.”

(On his enthusiasm and building relationships with his players) – “That’s the hardest part right now about where we are at in the dead period. You can’t talk football. The thing you can do is you can at least, if you see a guy in the building, you can have a conversation just about general topics. You avoid any kind of football conversation but just kind of getting to learn those guys as people.

‘Hey, what do they like to do? What are they about? What kind of guy they are.’ So, that’s really what, at least, I try to do is try to learn these guys, which is a first step – developing a good relationship with our players. That’s the nice thing about being in Miami is we have a lot of guys that they don’t leave. They stay here. I think it’s good to know that our guys are at least in the area.”

(On whether his enthusiasm helped him become the Dolphins’ head coach) – “I don’t know. I just try to be who I am. I don’t try to be somebody else. If that’s what comes across to players or people I work with, then that’s great. That’s my personality, I guess.”

(On the running back position) – “I know that we’ve kind of gone after a few guys in free agency with C.J. (Anderson) and then C.J. (Chris Johnson) – both C.J.s. The reason we were trying to do that is we’re looking to having more than one guy. Jay (Ajayi) is going to be a big part of what we’re doing. I’d like to have multiple backs. Right now, we don’t have a lot of guys on the roster. I think we only have three guys on the roster right now. We’re going to need to really develop that stable of backs. Options will present themselves. We just need to stay patient, whether it’s through the draft or somebody gets cut free or there’s somebody else out there that we need to take a look out. We’ll just keep investigating that. I guess for me, I feel really comfortable with Jay. I saw a lot of good things on film last year. I’m fired up to get going with him. The problem is, we can’t do anything until April 11th. But really, those two weeks are meetings and weightlifting. Really, that minicamp will be our first good look to see where we’re at with our running backs.”

(On evaluating RB Jay Ajayi’s play from film) – “I remember watching him when he was coming out (of college) and what I see now is I see a guy … He looks lighter to me on tape, and he’s a shiftier guy than I ever thought he was. His elusiveness – when defenders are coming at him – I think that kind of surprised me. I didn’t see it back then. So, I’m really excited to kind of see what we can do with him. He is a bigger guy though. I thought he was … It’s hard to explain. I just remember him being more of a power guy. I didn’t see him being as elusive as he has been (as) I’ve seen on film.”

(On if there is anything that surprised him offensively) – “I’m really excited to get to being around (WR) Jarvis (Landry). To me, the way that he plays and seeing what he does on film … He’s around (the training facility) a lot. I see him in the weight room a lot. There’s an intensity there that I’m really excited to be around this guy because he’s such a competitor. It’s interesting to me (that) he’s one of those guys that a lot of people didn’t see this coming. He felt like, ‘I’m going to prove a lot of people wrong.’ I like being around guys like that, that have a chip on their (shoulder). You can tell he still feels that there’s a respect factor that he doesn’t get that he’s looking for and he plays like that.”

(On how WR Jarvis Landry can continue to develop) – “He has done everything really well up to this point. That’s going to have to be … That’ll have to be something that when I see him in practice, it’ll be, ‘Okay, maybe we can help him with this,’ or ‘We can get better at this.’ As of right now, that’s hard for me to put my finger on.”

(On DE Mario Williams’ 2015 season) – “It’s hard for me to speak on what happened somewhere else. I just know that I’m excited that he’s with us. We went against him two years ago when he was rolling pretty good and that defense was tough to go against. We’re excited to get him back to playing like he did in 2013 (and) 2014. I feel like he’s in a good place. We had a great visit with him. He was really excited. When I talked to him when we signed him, you could tell he was ready to get last year, that taste out of his mouth. He’s a good addition for us. We need some veteran leadership in that locker room. I think that the guys that we’ve signed so far are going to be good additions in that area. We’re so young. We are so young in that locker room and we need some guys to come in there (and) if things don’t go right, we got guys that can pull guys up to be like, ‘Hey, this is the NFL. It’s not going to go smooth. You’re not going to go 16-0. It’s tough.’ We need some veteran presence in that locker room and I think Mario is going to bring that.”

(On DE Mario Williams’ last season in Buffalo) – “Like I said, I feel like you’re going to see a different guy with us. I feel that way. I really felt great about our visit. (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) has worked with him before. Getting the guys that he’s going to be playing with, I feel like he feels comfortable with that group. I think we’re going to see a different player this year.”

(On whether CB Byron Maxwell can be a No. 1 cornerback and if he believes in the No. 1 cornerback concept) – “To be honest with you, I just want whoever is out there playing corner for us to play well. I don’t care if you’re a No.1, a No. 2, a No. 3, it really doesn’t matter to me. I’m not looking to label anybody as a No. 1 or No. 2. I’m looking for guys that are going to play well. I feel like Byron is going to fit well into what we’re going to do on defense. He’ll be able to do more of what he has done in the past where he had success. I’ve competed against him a couple times when he was in Seattle, and he challenged us, and we had some pretty good receivers. I feel really good about him coming in. I’m excited that … I could feel his excitement (about) getting down here.”

(On the depth of the cornerback position) – “I think at that position, you can never have enough. I know right now it’s probably an area that a lot of people are looking at that we need to improve on, and we probably need to add some depth. We’ll keep looking. It’s not an easy position to find. I know there are 31 other teams doing the same thing no matter who is playing corner for them. When we were in Denver, we kept trying to add (players). They got three pretty good ones right now, and that’s tough to do. They’ve done a good job of that. We’ll keep working to do that. We’ll just keep trying to find a way to add depth at that position and find good players.”

(On LB Kiko Alonso’s play from last season) – “Coming off his injury, we feel good about it being another year removed from that. We see a guy that runs well, that he hits, he strikes. He’s going to fit into what we do really well. Him being back in a 4-3 defense, that probably suits him a little bit better. We’re really excited to get this guy going and getting him in our program. Having that kind of speed at linebacker is really going to be helpful for us.”

(On his coaching philosophy) “You know what? I feel like I’ve changed over … I think last year changed me a little bit in the aspect of … In Denver, it was like basketball. ‘How many points can we score? Score on them as fast as possible. Wear them out.’ And last year, we had a different situation in Chicago where we were trying to shorten the game up, and that’s what that situation called for. Really, it’s going to be I have to learn our team. It’s kind of nice being the head coach and the play caller, because on offense, you can kind of dictate what you’re looking to do for that game. So, whether we want to shorten the game, whether we want to play fast, whether we feel like, ‘Hey, we’re going to have to outscore a team. Or we’re going to have to hold on to the ball.’ Whatever we decide to do, it makes it a little easier on myself to where I know exactly how we should play that game. Sometimes, when you’re just the play caller and you have somebody else trying to tell you how they want to play, that’s not as easy as you think sometimes, because you have to … When you’re told, ‘Hey, let’s go eight, nine possessions,’ it’s hard to hold back sometimes when you’re trying to eat the clock keeping (Green Bay Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers off the field.”

(On evaluating last season’s film) – “I guess I never … I haven’t watched it as far as trying to critique what happened last year. It has been more of a personnel evaluation. I can’t really speak on all the little ins and outs. I wasn’t here, so it’s hard to know every little thing that occurred. There are a lot of things that play into when things don’t go right. That’s a tough one for me to answer.”

(On his vision of OL Jermon Bushrod and where he is going to play) – “The good thing with me being with (Jermon) Bushrod last year was I saw a guy that played five spots in practice. He was our starting left tackle at the beginning of the year, he gets hurt, (Charles) Leno steps in and plays really well. By the time Bushrod got back, he kind of lost his spot because of injury, which it’s unusual. That usually doesn’t happen. But we found a role for him. We put him as our big tight end, and he did a great job. And then in practice, he just kept trying to learn different positions. He played guard. He played center. He played right tackle. Him developing that flexibility last year, that was very intriguing for us to say, ‘Hey, here’s a guy that we can add to our team (who) gives us some flexibility, gives us some depth at a lot of different spots.” We’re going to give him a chance to compete and see how he fits in. Right now, (if) you look at our situation, we feel really great about, at least the depth we’re bringing in. I think our guys are going to be ready to compete. They know it’s going to be starting in OTAs that we’re going to get after it a little bit. I feel like Bushrod is a good addition, especially being a veteran as well, he fills that void for us a little bit.”

(On whether OL Jermon Bushrod will get his first look at playing guard) – “To be honest with you, I haven’t really thought about it like that. I want him to be healthy right now. Once he gets healthy, we can sort everything out, see how OTAs go. Once we hit training camp, then we’ll have a better feel of where the pieces fit, who’s where and how we’re going to approach this.”

(On QB Jay Cutler cutting down on interceptions in 2015) – “I think a lot of it … I know you’re not going to believe me on this. He did such a great job of being patient. I know that was hard for him in the past, but he really had a great mindset going into the season. It started in training camp. I think he went 11 practices before he threw an interception in practice. So, he did a great job of practicing and taking care of the football. He didn’t force throws. For him to do that, that made me feel like, ‘Alright, we’re heading in the right direction.’ When we got in games, he really did a good job. He very rarely made mistakes. I felt like as the season went on and the more comfortable he got in the offense, it just really came together. He knew exactly where he was supposed to go with the ball. He knew the timing of it. He didn’t hold onto it long and found the back. Obviously, having Matt (Forte) was big, because it was a guy he trusted. He really did a good job of knowing exactly where that ball should go and how quickly he should get it out.”

(On whether Chicago made a big deal out of QB Jay Cutler not throwing an interception in 11-straight practices) – “I don’t remember us making a big deal about it, but I do remember when we got (to) eight or nine (practices), I know you guys were making a big deal about it. But once we got pretty deep into it, I started feeling really good like, ‘(Jay) understands what we’re trying to do here.’ He carried it over to games. I know the narrative there was, ‘It’s practice. We’ll see what happens in games.’ And it did. It carried over.”

(On whether QB Ryan Tannehill and QB Jay Cutler have similar playing styles) – “They’re different. It’s hard for me to compare Ryan and Jay. They’re at different stages in their career. I think my job is going to be to help take a little bit off of Ryan as far as not letting him get hit, getting sacks down, get him comfortable standing back there in the pocket.”

(On utilizing TE Jordan Cameron’s athleticism and what stats he would like to see from him) – “Predicting anything is impossible. I don’t know what to tell you on that one. I’m excited to see where we can go with it. The tight end position in this offense has been one of the strengths as far as matchup issues with safeties and linebackers. I’m interested to see what we can do with him (and) what his strengths are. I feel like … right now it’s so hard because you can’t practice, you can’t see guys run routes. I need to see him live. I need to experiment. I need to flex him out and see what he feels comfortable doing, what routes he likes to do. That’s going to be a learning experience for our coaching staff.”

(On WR DeVante Parker) – “He’s a talented player. I’m glad that we’re going to go into the season and that he’s going to be healthy. For him to get the end of the year and be able to play, that was big for his development. I know we have to bring him along and get him to grow at a rapid rate. We need him to be a good player and I think he will be. Coming out (of college), we felt really good about him. When we were in Chicago, he was being talked about with (Chicago Bears WR) Kevin (White). I feel like going forward with DeVante, I love the skill set, love what he can bring to this offense. For me, it’s just going to be about developmental, making sure we bring him along as quickly as we can.”

(On his comfort level with his offensive weapons right now) – “I feel really good about it, at least from what I’ve seen on tape. It’s just going to be about putting all of the pieces together. How are we going to use these guys and make sure that we are using them to their strengths? The thing that we are going to have to do a great job of is that we don’t want to try to force guys to do something that they aren’t good at. And it’s trying to do it at a rapid rate. You’re trying to figure out as fast as possible, what everybody does really well. That’s why those 10 OTAs and the two mini-camps, you have to speed it up as fast as possible so when you hit training camp, you’re really grinding on the things that are important to each individual guy.”

(On how he impresses on his players that this is a process) – “It’s easier said than done. Standing up in front of those guys, you have to show them examples about why you have to stick with it. The good thing about moving from Denver to Chicago last year was kind of going through that process and now it’s starting all over for myself again at a different place. Now, you kind of saw some of the things that we screwed up last year at the beginning of the offseason program and the adjustments that we need to make to help these guys understand ‘Okay, here is how this is going to work.’ I’m going to explain to them that some of this is going to be trial by error. We’re going to have to figure out, DeVante (Parker), we might run something with him and he might say ‘That’s not my thing,’ and we can make some adjustments. It’s not hard to do, there’s just a little bit of patience you have to have in the offseason. But once you get to training camp, you really want to have a good feel for what’s going to go on and what we do well.”

(On if QB Ryan Tannehill has an area or two that he wants him to improve on) – “That’s going to go back to I need to see him live. I think I’ve seen him play live two times in my life – in 2014 when he came into Denver and he played well in that game and then I saw him last year in a preseason game and he was in for like nine plays and they walked down the field and scored on us. The times I’ve seen him play live it seems like he’s had pretty good games. We’ll see. I just want to see him in practice.”

(On if DE Cameron Wake is going to play closer to 20 or 40 snaps per game and if he’s going to stay lined up over the right tackle) – “I don’t see why we would want to mess with him at all. I’m going to put him where he’s most comfortable. I know our biggest thing right now with him is that we want him to get healthy. His role will define itself. We just need to get him back to where he feels good, he’s ready to go, he feels 100 percent. Once we get to that point, all that other stuff will sort itself out. The thing that I feel great about right now is that we have some depth in that room. That was one thing we went into this offseason saying that we wanted to do and I think our personnel guys, Mike (Tannenbaum) and Chris (Grier) have done a great job of adding depth in that area of our defense.”

(On where DE Cameron Wake is with his rehab) – “I don’t really want to get into specifics on it. I just know that he’s in there all the time. Seeing him, the more that I see him walk around and move around and seeing him kind of look like he’s feeling better, that makes me feel good I know that. I know he’s going through his process right now and we don’t have a tight timetable by any means so we just keep encouraging him, ‘You do whatever you need to do to get healthy.’”

(On what kind of scheme CB Byron Maxwell fits best in) – “I think Byron fits in our scheme really well. What he did in Seattle was, he’s aggressive on the line of scrimmage, getting up there and pressing and being able to play aggressive and that’s what we want to allow him to do.”

(On if he was okay moving back five spots in the draft in the trade with Philadelphia) – “Yeah. I was fine with it because we got two starters and we’re going to add a third at No. 13. So I look at it we moved back five spots and got three starters so I was all for it. I know this, one guy is not going to change our team so adding three starters for us is a big deal. We have a lot of needs we needed to fill so when we started talking with those guys and Mike (Tannenbaum) felt really good about the two players we were going to get it, I felt really good about it.”

(On what the team will do schematically to put CB Byron Maxwell in a position to succeed) – “Let him play on the line of scrimmage. Let him press. And we want to try to do that as much as possible. That’s the way that he likes to play so that’s what we are going to do with him.”

(On how tough it is to not be able to do football activities yet) – “It’s been an interesting process going through … I think this is the fourth year that we’ve had these rules, the dead period. It’s hard to see your guys kind of being around and they go in there and they can kind of lift, I guess; but the strength guys can’t really help them. It’s frustrating because you want to be able to help these guys, especially young players. For them, they can’t get instructed, they can’t develop at this time of the year. They have to do it on their own and it’s frustrating to sit back and watch. You want to do stuff to help these guys but your hands are tied.”

(On if his vision for LB Kiko Alonso is at the middle linebacker spot) – “So right now, unless something changes, we are looking to put him at Mike. It could change, I’m saying right now that’s in pencil. If something happens where all of a sudden we add somebody and then he has to bump over to the Will linebacker and somebody else is playing Mike, then that’s always a possibility. I don’t want to handcuff our personnel people or our defensive coaches. Right now he’s penciled in at Mike and we’ll see what happens between now and the start of training camp.”

(On what makes him confident that LB Kiko Alonso can return to the form he had as a rookie) — “I feel really great about our sports science department and our strength and conditioning program. I feel like those guys are going to be able to help him a lot. They’re going to be able to strengthen his lower body. We have a plan, as far as going forward with him, to help him out and to get him stronger in the lower (body). I feel like once he gets that lower body stabilized, which he played a year already under it; he’s just going to get better from last year to this year. So I feel great about what we are going to be able to do to help him and I think it’s going to show in his play.”

(On what he has heard about how DT Ndamukong Suh gets along with teammates and if Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn was brought in to help with him) – “See, I guess my experience, it’s hard for me to… like you listen to things that you hear but I’m going to judge things off of what I see and what people do around me since I’ve been here. And I know he’s been in multiple times to just come in and talk to me. I mean you can’t talk football; he just kind of talks to me about what he’s kind of up to during the spring. To see him be around the building and to pop in and out, I know he’s on the west coast a lot and it’s a long flight for him. I’ve enjoyed my interaction with him so I’m excited to see him practice. I know it’s going to be frustrating for me as an offensive guy. I just keep thinking ‘How are we going to block this guy in practice? He was tough in games.’ Now you go into a practice and you have no pads and that can’t be fun. But I’m excited to get a chance to work with him. As far as (Jim Washburn) goes, we brought him on because he’s an expert in this defense. To add a guy like that – who is probably one of the greatest pass rush specialists that has been around in this game – to get him to be around our coaching staff and our players, it’s exciting for me. I’ve known Jim for a long time, obviously his son (Asst. Offensive Line Coach Jeremiah Washburn) is with us too. I’ve known Jeremiah, we’ve grown up in this profession together. But to add Jim, I feel like that’s a great addition for us. I felt like we had a chance to get a special, special guy on our staff. When he said he was interested, I thought the smart thing for us as an organization to do was to go after him.”

(On the process about determining if DE Dion Jordan wants to be part of the program and if he wants him to be part of the program) – “Yeah, I mean I haven’t even got there yet. You know, I’m not going to think about it until somebody tells me that he’s off suspension. When that day comes, then I’ll worry about that.”

(On talk of moving S Walt Aikens back to cornerback) – “Oh, there is? That’s news to me. We haven’t even talked about it. You’re sources are terrible. You’re like 0 for 4.”

(On his opinion about being two weeks away from the offseason program) – “I think just getting in that … our first meeting. Having that first team meeting, kind of letting those guys know where we’re at (and) what we expect in that first phase. And then being able to start introducing the offense and defense and kind of what our special team philosophies are going to be and scheme-wise. To present those to those guys, I know personally I’m excited to be able to do that because it’s … you get over … it gets tiresome when you’re sitting there and you’re talking about it with just coaches. It’s almost that time where we get to implement it with our guys and I know a lot of those guys probably can’t wait either. I mean, it’s been a long, it’s been a long period. I mean they’ve had a long layoff so I know our guys are going to be ready to get back and get this thing rolling.”

(On his philosophy on drafting a running back in the first round) – “My philosophy is let’s draft the best guy. I mean I’m not going to… I would never hamstring Mike (Tannenbaum) and Chris (Grier) and be like ‘Hey, we need to have this.’ We want to draft the best player and everybody kind of looking at our running back position, we have some good players at running back right now. If we can add to that group, great. If we don’t, then we’ll find a solution to present itself, but I feel confident in what Jay (Ajayi) can bring to the table. You don’t want to put it all on him. You don’t want to make it a one-man show. We want to be able to have some flexibility to where we can have more than one guy back there.”

(On what he is looking for from the running back position) – “It’s really … it’s the best player. You look for … I mean I’ve worked with all kinds of different skill sets. So, for us, you know if it was a draftable … you know if a guy comes up in the draft, I mean it’s really, we’re going to adapt to what that guy does well. I mean what C.J. Anderson and Chris Johnson did were two completely different things. We were ready to go in either direction. And what Jay (Ajayi) does is different than what both those guys did. So we’re ready to go in multiple directions. That’s the beauty part of this offense. There’s some fluidity to it.”

(On if running back is one of the more interchangeable positions) – “Yeah, I mean we don’t hang our hat on one thing. So for us, I would say yes. There are other teams … if you’re just old school Denver Broncos outside zone, there’s probably a style they’re looking for. But for us, we are just looking for (the) best player.”

(On how deep of a dive the team researched the difference between picking eighth and 13th in the first round) – “We did a pretty deep dive. We did some research. I mean we didn’t just slap it out there. We did our research and we felt really comfortable making that move and like I said we had positions we needed to fill and we got two starters out of that trade and we’re going to add a third when we draft at 13.”

(On want he’s learned about the quarterback position in the last few jobs) – “The one thing that I keep, it just … the amazement part is how smart these guys are and how much information they can retain and how quickly they can bring it back to you. Obviously being around Peyton (Manning), that will probably never happen again. He’s such a special, special player. But when I did get around Jay (Cutler), I never realized how smart he was. Getting around him and (seeing) how quickly he picked up our offense and understood where we were going – the way that he communicated to the other players – that was impressive for me to see. And I feel really good moving forward especially with Ryan (Tannehill) because from everything that I hear, his intelligence level is off the charts. So I’m excited to get my hands on him and see kind of where we can go from there.”

(On if the ability to learn is given with a quarterback) – “I don’t know. My experience … I’ve been lucky to be around some very sharp quarterbacks. I don’t know. I guess if I don’t have that experience one time, I’ll let you know how that goes.”

(On what aspect of being a head coach has surprised him) – “I don’t know if it has surprised me. Just dealing with the daily personnel. I mean I spend a lot of time with Mike (Tannenbaum) and Chris (Grier). I’m sure they’re ready for the players to get back. They’re tired of being around me. I think just the amount of time that you invest in … watching players – talking about scenarios. I mean you talk about, ‘Hey if this happens, what are we going to do. If this happens, what are we going to do. If this happens…’ It’s almost like a different kind of game planning and it takes a lot of time. There’s a lot of discussion that goes into it and then there’s a lot of film watching. We watch a lot of film together and you know that would probably be the one thing that you go into this job and you always think it’s going to be, ‘Hey, I’ll be able to jump in on a meeting here and do this and do this.’ I know (Offensive Coordinator) Clyde (Christensen)’s ready for me to be in there more often. I want to do that but right now free agency is our top priority and we spend a lot of time working on that.”

(On how his discussions went with Don Shula) – “I met with him that one time and that was a great experience and just being around him, for me that was … and I was with (President and Chief Executive Officer) Tom Garfinkel and I told him, I said, ‘It just hit me,’ about where I’m at. And that was a great experience for me because to hear him tell some of the stories … I had heard a few stories before but to hear him talk about them, like with some of his older players, that was exciting for me.”

(On what he expects from WR DeVante Parker going into his second season) – “We’re looking for him to be a big fixture in what we’re going to do. I feel like we have a good group though, right now as a whole. And I don’t want to put any predictions on what he’s going to do or anything like that; but we are looking for him to just keep improving (and to) get better from what he did last year. But we are looking for him to make some strides this year.”

(On what his philosophy will be on splitting time between offense and defense with him calling offensive plays) – “I’m going to try to do a good job as far as splitting time but there’s a reason why I hired Vance (Joseph as defensive coordinator). There’s a reason why that coaching staff was put together because I have a lot of trust in those guys. That was one of the big reasons that I did want Vance (Joseph). I’ve worked with Vance (Joseph) before. I’ve competed against him. I love what he brings to the table as a coach, as a person. There’s a lot of trust there for me with him and I know he’s going to get our defense rolling and my job is to do my part on the offensive side and then kind of manage this whole thing at the same time. I’m not going to overdo it as far as spending so much time on defense where I can’t do what I need to do on offense. I’m trusting that Vance (Joseph) is, is going to do a great job. That’s why I hired him.”

(On if he tried to build a staff with a mix of younger guys and those that have been around for decades) – “No we tried to find the right mix. I feel like our veteran coaches are … we got a good group. I think adding big Wash (Jim Washburn) to the mix … that was another key hire for us. I know it seems like we’re adding him a little late but he’s a tough negotiator. We have to keep the big man happy. I just wanted him to feel really good about our situation and I think he felt good and adding him now … it’s the right time for us.”

(On WR Jarvis Landry being a returner for this team or if prefers a guy who’s not a starter handling returns) – “I’m for whoever does it (the best). Whoever our best guy is, that’s who I want to do it. Would I like to get him to where he wasn’t doing that anymore? Sure; but right now he’s our best guy back there and until we find somebody else that can change that – to where they can do it to where we feel good about it and (Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi) feels really good about it – he’ll be back there unless we find somebody else.”

(On two or three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster) – “We’ll see how it plays out. We’ve talked about ‘What’s our general philosophy?’ But it’s a position to where you’re always looking to develop the next guy and I don’t what to say we’re going to keep three and then change my mind. So I mean right now it’s going to be … that’s a fluid one for us. We’ll see where we’re at, at the end of training camp.”

(On the process of getting the quarterback more comfortable in the pocket) – “This is something that you have to drill this and you have to practice this. It’s something that you have to get the quarterback to where he feels those bodies around and he’s moving around, and (you almost feel) like guys (are) just blowing past you. It’s something that you can work on (in) practice, in individual (drills), but then in the team settings, you have to find ways to get him comfortable in practice first, and then it will translate over to the game. But that’s going to be something that we’re going to work on a lot to where … it’s just getting used to finding and sliding. That’s kind of the big thing that you want to get practice and get really good at it.”

(On if he’s reached out to any other coaches after speaking with Don Shula) – “Yeah, hopefully at some point I can get with Coach (Bill) Parcells. I know that is something that’s on my list and the good thing is with Mike (Tannenbaum) having a relationship with him and obviously a lot of people in our building, hopefully at some point I can get with him. I know there are some other guys in the area that I’d really love to sit down with and pick their brain. Just everything was … we had so much going on. And now with – once we get kind of in these phases – my days (will be) more structured; to where it’s not like the Wild West, like free agency was, where it’s ‘Hey, we have to watch this guy real quick and this just came up, and this came up.’ So once (we get) that structure set going into Phase I (and) Phase II, then I’m probably going to be able to kind of do some of the things that I wanted to do since I came down here.”

(On what has Nick Saban told him about coaching in this market) – “I didn’t ask him that one. I had a very brief conversation with him and it was good. I didn’t ask him any questions about down here.”

(On S Isa Abdul-Quddus’ position and playing time) – “That one is going to just take a second for us to get on the field and kind of see how we want to play this thing out. I feel really good about (Abdul-Quddus and S Reshad Jones) back there. To have a guy to play with Reshad (Jones), that was a big addition for us. I feel like he’s one of those guys that kind of went under the radar. That was a big need that we needed to fill. I know especially the guys that played there last year, we have a certain role we envision for those guys as well. Adding him to the roster though, I feel like we have a nice one-two punch back there and we have some flexibility with those two guys. I mean they both can play in the box or in the middle of the field and having two guys with that kind of ability really gives us a lot of flexibility as coaches. I’m looking forward to seeing how this thing plays out (and) how Vance (Joseph), wants to move these guys around. I know we’re going do a lot of experimenting to figure out the best way to use those two guys back there.”

(On his finger and the bandage that is on it) – “I had surgery. I broke my finger last year so I had surgery – had to get a little bone graft there so I did that the day before free agency. It was great timing.”

(On spending time with Jim Bob Cooter and what about his style lends itself to players) – “He does a really good job as far as quickly figuring out what guys do well and implementing the plan around that. I think you saw last year when he took over play calling (for the Detroit Lions), things changed for them. He figured out a way to get (QB) Matt (Stafford)’s turnovers down. He got the ball to (WR Calvin Johnson) He did a really good job as far as using the talent that he had and then getting Matt (Stafford) to play at a high level. Unfortunately, we played them at the end of the year and I saw the end product. He did a great job and it was fun to watch.”

(On how he feels about the offensive line) – “I like that we’ve added some depth. I feel like we’ve added some competition there. I feel like I keep going back to our strength and conditioning program. That’s one thing that when we came in, me and Mike (Tannenbaum) and Chris (Grier) had long conversations about this as far as how can we get better in that area. And we feel like the first step we made was by promoting (Head Strength and Conditioning) Dave (Puloka). (We) put him in charge and we talked about it … we said let’s get back to some old, ‘Let’s lift.’ Let’s spend our two hours in the weight room. Let’s get these guys bigger and stronger and faster. That’s been a big focus. I want to try to give him as much time allotted that he is allowed to get these guys in the position to when we do start, we can see a difference. We can see a difference physically in our guys as far as their strength and being able to come off the ball and move people.”

(On if WR Kenny Stills will be more involved in the offense) – “Yeah, he will be. He definitely will be. I like Kenny (Stills)’ skill set. I mean I’ve said this before, we were involved in trying to acquire him when we were in Chicago. Being around those guys from New Orleans that came up (to Chicago), we tried to make a play for him before he got traded to Miami. I’ve always liked his skill set. I liked him coming out (of college). I’m excited to see what we can do to get him rolling in this offense. That’s why I feel really good about the group that we have, the skill guys. If we just figure out a way … if we can stay healthy, I feel really good about that group.”

(On if there’s a unit that should be the strength or that he would like to be the strength of the team) – “I’d like for both our offensive and defensive lines to be our strength. That’s easier said than done; because there’s a physical element to that game that we have to make sure that we do a good job of and develop those guys the right way. But as far as right now, I’m not looking at anybody and saying this is our strength. I just know that’s what I’d like our strength to be is those front guys.”

(On how comfortable he feels about the defensive tackle position outside of DT Ndamukong Suh) – “I know we got some … He’s a special player, and I know Jordan (Phillips) and Earl (Mitchell) are two guys that I’m excited to see get that thing rolling there. I think all the guys that we have – especially at the defensive end positon – it makes those guys better. I know those two guys are ready to come in here and compete. I feel like we have a good plan as far as what we want to do and our starting point. I’m really interested to see how far we can bring these guys and how much we can develop them.”

(On signing S Isa Abdul-Quddus and facing him twice last season) – “I unfortunately … I lost to him twice this year. I saw him quite a bit, and he’s one of those guys. He’s so consistent. He’s always in the right spot. He’s a really good tackler. To find a safety that you can count on as (far as) he’s down in the box … If he’s unblocked, he’s going to make a play. He has good ball skills. (When) he has opportunities, he gets his hands on balls. He’s a guy that can cover the tight end. To have those options for us, it’s valuable, because now we have two guys that we feel like have very good skill sets as far as being an all-around safety.”

(On whether S Isa Abdul-Quddus did anything to catch him by surprise last season) – “No. What they did in that game was they blitzed us a lot, I know that. He wasn’t really … He was down, and he was covering our tight ends for the most part. They heated us up pretty good though.”

(On CB Bobby McCain, CB Tony Lippett and CB Jamar Taylor) – “I’ve explained to … In our building, I keep saying, ‘This is a great opportunity for those guys.’ Somebody is going to have to step up. Somebody is going to have to come in here and play well for us. I think we have some young guys … On paper, there’s talent there; but this is a league where you have to go out there and you have to do it. We’re looking for somebody to step up. Opportunities are going to be given. We’ll see what guy rises to the top.”

(On the league issuing tampering penalties and if it has struck a chord with him at all) – “No. For me, I’m like … I stay in my lane, man. All I know is I have to make sure I follow the rules. That’s all I care about.”

(On whether he uses a particular statistic to measure running back success) – “No, not really. The biggest thing that I do is … I know a lot of people – at least (with) the running backs – they look at yards per carry. I’m more into efficiency. If it is second-and-2 and you get two yards, you did your job. Sometimes runs are built for things like that to get one or two yards. That’s probably the only thing that I really look at that’s different. At the running back position, I look more at run efficiency than I do yards per carry.”

(On his vision for LB Chris McCain) – “This is one of those ones where we’ve actually had this discussion. Right now, we’re looking to put him at defensive end. We’re trying to put him in a position to where he can stay in one spot and roll. That’s what we’re looking to do. I think for him, it’s going to be … At least he’ll know where he’s at, so he doesn’t have to worry about, ‘I’m going to keep bouncing back and forth.’ That’s what we’re looking to do to start. Hopefully, we can just stick with that plan. I feel pretty confident … When (Vance Joseph) and those guys, when they feel like they have a good plan, it resonates down to the players, and they’ll trust what direction we’re headed on that one.”

(On the defensive front’s depth) – “I feel like we got … That’s why I keep looking at that going, ’Man, a good player is probably going to get cut somewhere.’ We have some good depth. I’m excited to see how this thing plays out. If we’re healthy coming out of training camp, I think that front is going to be to be tough.”

(On whether the Dolphins use advanced metrics to evaluate personnel) – “Yes. We have an analytics department and those guys do a great job. The hardest thing about the analytic stuff is asking the right question. I know you added about the stats, something in college football that sometimes you want to try to take … How do the quarterbacks do? What do they do on third down in the red zone? That’s something that you can grab. It’s just another part of the process. It’s just (about) finding the right questions to ask to help the analytics guys say, ‘Hey, how do we look at this?’ That’s the hardest part is (asking), ‘What are the right questions to ask?’ Because those guys will give you whatever you want, you just have to ask the right questions.”

(On using advanced analytics versus evaluating a player with your eyes) – “I don’t know. It’s just another tool. You’re not just going to do something off of one thing. So, it’s just another piece of the puzzle that you’re trying to put together. You have all this information and you just kind of put it together and then you try to make the right decision.”

(On being a young, first-time head coach in the NFL) – “For me, I’ve been doing this (for) more than half my life. I don’t know anything else. I’ve been going through not necessarily this process, but some kind of football. This is all I know. When you’re around guys like Steve Mariucci, Nick Saban, Josh McDaniels, John Fox, when you’re around guys like that, it’s hard not to learn. It’s hard not to watch what they do and figure out how you’re going to do it when you get in that spot. I guess, for me, this is … I don’t know anything else.”

(On putting together a program after becoming a first-time head coach) – “You have a plan coming in, and a lot of times you have to be able to react. There are some things that you have to learn on the fly. The good thing is you do have resources like a John Fox. For me, having (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) Mike Tannenbaum in the building, who has worked with some of the previous head coaches that he has worked with, those guys have had success with him. Having him to lean on is valuable for me.”

(On his philosophy on going for two points) – “I think every game is different. To me, the first thing I think about is weather. Is that going to change how we’re going to do anything? If it’s a real windy day, are you better off going for two in those situations? It was strange, that rule change happened last year, and I felt like we kept … We were in all these weird situations where we had to go for two a lot. We went into the game with more prepared two-point plays, and then it kept coming up for us. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey, we’re just going to go for two to start out this game.’ It just kind of worked out that way. As far as like a philosophy behind it, I think every game is a little bit different. It’s more of, ‘What does the situation call for?’”

(On how personnel decisions are made) – “I’m telling you, Mike (Tannenbaum) and (General Manager) Chris (Grier) are sick of me, because we spend so much time together. They might as well move my office by their office. The way we go about it is … Let’s say we’re dealing with free agency, our pro scouting department does a great job of doing their evaluations. And then our coaching staff has input as far as what we’re doing. And then we get together as a group, formulated our plan, and then we spend a lot of time watching the film together between Chris, Mike and myself. When we got to that part of where we had to make some moves and go after some guys and where do we feel comfortable paying guys, then (Executive Vice President of Football Administration) Dawn (Aponte) comes into the fold as far as, ‘What are we going to do salary-wise?’ The evaluation process – once we laid out our plan – it’s us three really hammering it out and making those decisions.”

(On how personnel decisions will be made if everyone is not on the same page) – “Well, the good thing for us is that there’s always good dialogue. Personally, what I do is I tell them what our protocol – what we’re looking for – as far as a player, and that’s what these guys do well. This is why they’re in the positions they’re in is to go out and find those types of players that fit what we’re looking for. For us, it has been … It has always been healthy discussions. I feel like we’ve been on the same page on everything we’ve done.”

(On whether he views this as a rebuilding team) – “I don’t see us as a rebuilding team. I think we’re a team that has talent; we just have to put it together. We need to figure out a way to play as a group. Talent alone, that does nothing. We have to make sure we do a great job of putting three phases together and figuring out how to win games as a group instead of just one or two guys that are really exceptional. It just doesn’t work that way. This is such a team game. We got to do a great job of making sure we’re all on the same page.”

(On WR Griff Whalen and TE Dion Sims) – “(With) Dion, I’m interested to see how far we can bring him along. I know (the word) potential has been used a lot with Dion. I’ve told him, ‘Hey, this is probably the year that we get this thing rolling. Let’s get the consistency going.’ That’s what we’re looking to do. I expect him to be an important piece to what we’ve doing this year as far as him and Jordan (Cameron). Griff … It was funny, (Offensive Coordinator) Clyde (Christensen) has experience with him in Indy. He’s a guy that I feel benefits from what we do as far as that slot position. He’s a guy that can play special teams. Him understanding coverages, that’s the first step if you’re a slot player. He does have some flexibility to go outside, but obviously, his big thing was third downs in Indy. You want to make sure that you fill your roster up with … Whether it’s, ‘Hey, these guys are specifically just outside or they’re an inside guy.’ This was an opportunity for us to bring in a guy that we felt like is a good football player that plays special teams, who has done some returning in the past. We’ll see how he kind of fits in, but I think it’s a great opportunity for him.”

(On signing S Isa Abdul-Quddus) – “For us, he’s a good complement to Reshad (Jones). We feel great about what he brings to the table. He’s a guy that can do all aspects of what a safety needs to do, whether it be playing in the box or playing in the middle of the field. We felt great about getting him in the building. We feel like he adds a lot of value to our back end.”

(On whether there are key players he does not anticipate participating in OTAs due to injury like DE Cameron Wake) – “When we get to that point, I’ll probably have a better answer for you on that. I haven’t really been holding myself up worrying about who’s going to be available for OTAs. I know Cam, he’s working through that right now. We’ll see how far we can bring him along. I do not want to rush him back. I know that. As long as … I just want to make sure that he feels great going into training camp or whenever we end up starting him. I’m not going to rush him at all.”

(On C Mike Pouncey) – “We’ll see where he’s at. I know that he got his M.D. from Florida so I didn’t realize he was such an expert on medical science. We’ll bring him along. We are going to be smart about this. These are two really important pieces to our team so I want to make sure … The most important thing to me is to make sure that if we have a guy that’s injured that we get him right for training camp. That’s the most important thing for me.”

(On where the leadership will come from for this team) – “That’s a great question. I know that’s something that everybody has been kind of talking about a little bit. I feel like with some of the pieces that we’ve added coming from outside of the building, some of these veteran guys are going to have to help us out. I know I’m going to lean on some of our guys that are already here that are some veteran leaders. And then Ryan (Tannehill) is going to have to be one of our leaders. At the quarterback position, that’s what we are going to need out of him. The way that he leads and the way that quarterbacks I have been around in the past lead, it’s going to be different. Leadership styles don’t look the same. I’m excited to be able to help him and kind of see how he goes about his business. That’s the hardest part right now is you can’t … like I can’t evaluate anything right now because I don’t know. I haven’t seen Ryan around the other players. I haven’t seen Cam (Wake) around his teammates yet. I’m excited to see how he interacts with everybody. Once we get into those phases – really the OTAs and training camp – that’s when you really find out who is kind of … what they are all about (and) what their leadership styles are. It’s just one of those wait and see type things. I wish I could say it’s going to be this guy, this guy and this guy. I know there are some expectations from me and I’ll be very vocal with those guys (about) what I expect from them.”

(On how much Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn’s relationship with DT Ndamukong Suh played into adding him to the staff) – “(Washburn) is more of an addition because he is an expert on this defense. That relationship (with Suh) doesn’t hurt, I know that. I know that our defensive line, working with (Defensive Line Coach) Terrell (Williams) and (Washburn) – those two guys together – I feel like we have a good combination together working in that defensive line room. But (Washburn) is an expert on this defense that we are running. Like he says, this is like his baby. He’s going to be able to give (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) a little bit of insight from his perspective and it’s a different role for him. He gets to step away from just the defensive line and kind of help in an overall philosophy; and that’s, to me, what he brings to the table for us and that’s why we are excited to get him on board.”

(On if this season is about playoffs or progress) – “You can’t predict these things. You don’t know what’s going to happen … Injuries, weird things happen in this league. Last year, we were 6-10 in Chicago. I’m telling you that thing could have been 9-7. It could have completely flipped around. We had a couple things not go our way and all of a sudden you’re 6-10. For us, it’s going to be about sticking with our process (and) doing a good job of not looking ahead. The most important thing for our guys is going to be when we (begin our offseason program on) April 11th, we have to worry about getting better today. If we are going to start worrying about what’s going to go on in Week 6 and we haven’t even had an OTA yet … Our guys are going to be focused on a one-day-at-a-time mentality and then when we get into the season, it’s going to be one game at a time. We’re not going to look any further ahead than that.”

(On how much tape he’s watched of QB Ryan Tannehill from last season) – “It’s been real sporadic for me. Like I said, there are a lot of things going on. I went back through and watched all of the AFC East games. I just wanted to kind of see what was going on as far as the division (and) how we played against those teams. That was kind of my starting point. I’ll watch a game here and there. It takes time to grind through all that tape when you have free agency and then you have the draft. The good thing is, now things are kind of slowing down a little bit. I’m able to kind of speed that process up. I’m going to keep watching … because I want to go back and kind of watch what he’s done throughout his career. It’s one of those things where you start to put cut ups together, ‘Hey, let me watch all the touchdown passes. Let me watch all the interceptions.’ It’s a process. It takes a minute. It took us a long time to get through … we did all these five-year cut ups of Jay (Cutler) last year. We watched five years of interceptions. It can depress you fast. But that’s what you have to do. You have to figure out, where are the trouble spots? How can you help him? How can you put him in a better position?”

(On what the Dolphins defense is going to be) – “We are going to be a 4-3 penetrating, attacking-style defense. We’re looking to be aggressive on the outside. That’s what we are looking to be. We want a front that’s going to get after it. That’s why we keep bringing in all these guys on the defensive line. We’re looking to be a defense where we’re bringing it in waves. When we can keep guys fresh and moving them in there … We want fresh pass rushers in the fourth quarter. As far as our linebackers go, we want guys that can run and hit, find the ball.”

(On if you build a team to beat the New England Patriots or just build the best team you can) – “I think you build the best team you can. If you do that, at least (it) puts you in a position to where you can compete with those guys. To win the division every year but two years since (Tom Brady and Bill Belichick) have been up there is an amazing task. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We have to make sure that we put the best team we can together. When we get towards that last month and a half of the season, just putting yourself in position to where those games are relevant.”

Page 1 of 11

Search Transcripts

Weekly Archives