Mario Williams – August 6, 2016 Download PDF version

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Defensive End Mario Williams

(On how he interprets what he saw from the defense) – “It’s just the mentality. Whenever the lights come on, we got to train ourselves to just go out and attack and not worry about anything, not worry about mistakes or messing up (and) just flying around.”

(On what he has seen from the defensive ends throughout training camp) – “(We are) getting better day by day. Our coaches, they really focus on fundamentals. They focus on working and going out every day and trying to execute to get better at what we know is our weakness in the defense. If you know your weakness, you have to play to that, so it won’t be a weakness anymore. I think the biggest thing for us is going out and working on those things and trying to make sure we take care of those little things – (the) fundamentals of it – and get better.”

(On whether the defense made a statement during the scrimmage) – “No. I think the biggest thing is that you make a statement to yourself day by day. We’re out here competing; that’s it. At the end of the day, you’ll win, you’ll lose. That’s part of competing. That’s part of being a competitor. I think the biggest thing for us is (to) keep building on top of that and trying to get better (and) push ourselves to get to where we want to go.”

(On whether the players were disappointed about practicing indoors) – “Yes. Unfortunately, the biggest thing is for the fans. People were trying to come out and see us practice. This is two days straight. I don’t know what’s going on with the weather, but it seems like every night (it rains). (This is) the second practice at night (where) it just wants to storm. That’s the biggest thing, because we know the fans really want to see us out there. We definitely want to be out there on the grass as opposed to being on the turf, because it’s better on your joints and things.”

(On whether he was surprised with the defense’s dominance during the scrimmage) – “It doesn’t surprise me, because I know the guys that we have on our side of the ball just as well as on their side of the ball. Any given night, that’s why you play the game. You don’t go out here and say, ‘It’s going to be a stalemate. This is going to happen. You’re going to get blown out. You’re going to dominate.’ That’s why you compete. That’s why we play. Fortunately for us, on our side of the ball, we came out and we executed what we needed to. It might not have been perfect technique, but the intensity was where it needed to be at.”

(On the defense enjoying themselves after practice) – “That’s what it’s all about. I think the biggest thing for us is at the end of the day, we’re all (Miami) Dolphins in there, so we all won.”

Mike Pouncey – August 6, 2016 Download PDF version

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Center Mike Pouncey

(On graduating today from the University of Florida) – “It was an exciting day. I was excited to go back up (to Gainesville) and walk with my class. It meant the world to my parents for me to graduate from college. It’s another accomplishment I can say that I earned.”

(On his motivation to return to school) – “My mom. It was something she was really big on (when) we left off for school. I promised her before I left out of school (early that) I was going to be a college graduate. I was one class away, and this was the first semester that they offered it online in the summer, and I took advantage of it and ultimately got a degree from the University of Florida.”

(On what he earned his degree in) – “Sociology. That’s the easy way out, you know that! (laughter) I’m a football player!” (laughter)

(On taking his last final exam) – “Actually, yesterday I took my final exam. (I) ended up passing my final exam. I called the University of Florida and told them that I wanted to walk with my class, so they were very accepting of it. (I am) very appreciative they let me walk with my class. It was a fun time being up there with my family.”

(On when his brother Pittsburgh Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey will graduate from Florida) – “My Brother? He has a full year. He has a long way to go.” (laughter)

(On how the offense played in tonight’s scrimmage) – “It’s one day out of training camp. Obviously, it doesn’t affect our mindset going into the season, how we feel (about) the (type of) offense we can be. Obviously, today, we didn’t come out with the right mindset to compete against these guys, and it showed. The defense played really well today and they deserve all the credit.”

(On how he hopes to use his degree) “We’ll see. Right now, (I am) focusing on my career in the NFL. (I will) see how long it takes me (and) see how long I can play. After that, we’ll see how it goes. I haven’t put too much thought into it. I haven’t even gotten the degree yet. All I did was shake a few hands and walk across a stage.” (laughter)

(On studying for a final exam during training camp) – “It was kind of tough, but I got through it. I had the advantage of taking (the class) a few weeks before training camp started. It was just the last couple weeks into training camp (where there were) a few assignments and then my final exam. It was pretty easy to get through it.”

(On whether he thinks it will take a while for the offense to grow) – “I don’t think so. I think our offense is going to be okay. I think this is just one day. You guys have been out at training camp all training camp and seen the progress our offense has had. Obviously, we only ran 10 plays today, and I hate to judge our offense off 10 plays.”

(On QB Ryan Tannehill having the ability to audible at the line of scrimmage) – “It means we have a lot of trust in him. Obviously, he’s going to put us in the right play. (It is) something that Ryan (Tannehill) has wanted to do his whole career, and he’s finally got the opportunity to do it. I think he has been doing really well at it.”

(On when he plans to start his wrestling career after talking with WWE wrestler Big Show following practice) – “When I get as big as the Big Show.” (laughter)

(On whether he was a fan of Big Show growing up) – “I was a big fan. Like I said, we watched (wrestling) my whole childhood growing up. We used to always look up those guys. Wrestling was like the biggest deal when we were kids. To see these guys – and finally meet them – he’s everything I expected to be.”

(On Big Show being bigger than an offensive lineman) – “He’s probably one of the three dudes I’ve ever met in my life that’s bigger than me. I was happy to meet him. Like I said, I was a big fan my whole life. He’s a very kind guy. You can tell why he was very successful in the sport.”

Adam Gase – August 6, 2016 Download PDF version

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(On if he can get a good read on the offense or the defense inside the practice bubble) – “The first thing you notice is the intensity level. I think the last time we were in it, we had probably the best practice that I had seen in a while as far as intensity, just the way the guys were flying around (and) the hitting. This (practice), the defense went to another level. They took it even more than what they did last time. And then offensively, there was just no juice whatsoever. It was almost just like a walkthrough.”

(On how he explains the offense tonight) – “It will be interesting when I go back and watch it. (I’ll) just kind of take a peek at it tonight and see assignment-wise first, but there just was no juice.”

(On if he was frustrated by what he saw tonight) – “It irritates me. You get to practice one time a day and you get a limited amount of practices and how many times you get to be in pads. I think it’s like 22 (padded practices) for the whole year. To not take advantage of that, that’s bothersome.”

(On how he changes the attitude of the offense) – “I think when you get smacked in the mouth, you got to have guys step up. Not all the time is it going to be vocally, but somebody’s got to either make a play or we’ve got to stop the defensive line from penetrating, we’ve got to pop a run, we’ve got to complete a ball – something.”

(On his thoughts on the defensive ends tonight) – “It seemed like all four of them were (getting pressure). I don’t even know if (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) needed to pressure if he didn’t want to. Those guys were coming off the ball – they have been all camp. That’s why ‘T’ (Defensive Line Coach Terrell Williams) and ‘Wash’ (Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn) do a great job with those guys and they work on getting off the ball all the time. Obviously all that time in individual pays off because we go out there today and they’re playing at basically a different speed than anybody else on the entire field.”

(On DT Chris Jones) – “The guy flies around. The way he comes off the ball, whether he’s just basically striking a guard or having to penetrate a gap, the guy is 100 percent effort all the time. His ability to run sideline-to-sideline is pretty impressive for a guy that’s in the interior defensive line.”

(On S A.J. Hendy having an interception tonight) – “He was making a lot of plays in OTAs and in the minicamp and he was a guy (whose) his name was being talked about in the spring. In training camp, he’s been around the ball a little bit but I think today, that’s good for him. For him to be in the right position, he did his job properly and then made a play.”

(On if he could tell if any other young players did well today without watching the film) – “It’s hard. It’s hard to see from where we’re standing on the sideline – everybody is kind of creeping in a little bit. Being in (the practice bubble), it changes the whole environment as far as where everybody is at. We had the whole Green Bay setup there, trying to let all the people that came be able to see. It was hard to keep everybody back and then see what’s going on at the same time.”

(On if CB Tony Lippett has done anything to improve) – “I think Tony (Lippett)’s just working to get better every day, as far as, whether it’s in press or when he’s playing off. He’s seeing a lot of different routes. Between going against Kenny (Stills) and Jarvis (Landry) quite a bit – because every day he gets a different guy, which is good for him because he’s seeing different routes because we’re starting to get to that point where we’re trying to use Kenny and say, ‘Hey, these are the routes we really like with him.’ (It’s) the same thing with Jarvis. (Lippett’s) getting a different sample size every day. I think he’s really heading upward, as far as improvement. I know that for himself, he’s not going to stop at wherever he’s at right now. He’s going to keep working to get better. He knows that with ‘X’ (Xavien Howard) being out right now, he’s got a really good chance of taking these reps and seeing where he’s at. After the preseason it’s going to be a lot more telling for us.”

(On where WR Jarvis Landry ranks among the receivers he’s coached) – “He’s rare because he is a guy that can play outside and inside. Normally, the guys that I’ve been around have been either strictly an inside guy or strictly an outside guy. His ability to do both and the variety of routes he can run is very impressive. I don’t think I’ve ever been around a guy that has as much grit as him. There’s something about him where he wills himself to be … he’s at a different level when he’s going against that secondary. There’s something inside him that’s different than anybody that I’ve really been around. He’s a fun guy to coach. He’s a fun guy to watch compete. I know he’s really hard on himself; he’s a perfectionist. I love how he just keeps striving to get better every day. I think (Wide Receivers Coach) Shawn Jefferson, he’s like the perfect guy for him. That intensity between those two guys is a fun thing to be around all the time.

(On if anyone is pulling away in the kicker competition) – “I think we’re just going to keep evaluating. The preseason games are your best indication. We can (practice) all you want, but the environment completely changes for those guys when you get into a real game. You would love to get into a situation where it comes down to the end of a half or end of a game – even though it’s not as big of a moment. But just when you’ve got that kind of pressure and everybody is watching you and you know you’re basically at the last play of the half. That’s really a great indication of how a guy is going to be.”

(On RB Damien Williams in the scrimmage) – “He’s been doing a great job since he got back. I appreciate you pointing out that there wasn’t a lot of positive plays. That makes me feel better. (laughter) But he’s done a great job. He’s been the one guy when he’s been back, he brings that juice you want. When he gets a rep, he makes every one count. That was something when he was on PUP and when he got back, (Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren) Rizzi told me, ‘I promise you this, if you give him two reps, you’ll get everything he has.’ He’s proven ‘Riz’ right 100 percent.”

(On when he talks about the offense not being ready if he meant across the board) – “I think it was just the whole group. It just seemed like everybody was just sleepwalking a little bit. It was a little surprising to me. That was something I did not expect from our offensive players.”

(On if the offense was as frustrated as he was) – “It seemed like it – just talking with a couple guys afterwards. They knew something did not go like what we thought, for sure.”

(On if he chalks up the offensive struggles to going inside the bubble) – “I don’t think so. If that’s what we’re going to try to blame something on then that’s terrible.”

Terrell Williams – August 5, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, August 5, 2016

Defensive Line Coach Terrell Williams

(On the defensive line) – “It’s early. We have a lot of work to do. We’re only six practices in. It’s just about gelling and getting guys playing together. Right now, I can say that we’re doing okay, but we have a lot of room for improvement.”

(On whether he has seen this kind of depth at defensive line) – “No, not at least in my experience. We got some guys (that are) experienced guys. Cam (Wake and) Mario (Williams have) played a lot of football. Andre Branch with Jacksonville played a lot of football. ‘J.J.’, Jason Jones, has played a lot of football. Then we got some young guys – (Terrence) Fede and Chris McCain is having a good camp. It’s going to be interesting when we start playing these preseason games.”

(On how Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn has been with the defensive line) – “Excellent. ‘Wash’ (Jim Washburn) and I are friends. We were friends before he got here. We got two good d-line coaches, and we’re excited to work together. But it was an easy transition because him and I were close before we even started working together.”

(On DT Earl Mitchell and DT Jordan Phillips competing for a starting role) – “Every guy has got to come out here and compete. They’re both going to play. Earl, (Ndamukong) Suh and Jordan – we’re going to rely heavily on those guys along with some other guys. On the defensive line, I think sometimes you look and see who goes out with the starters. It doesn’t really matter because when we were in Oakland, we had guys that didn’t start that played more than the starters. At the end of the day, it’s finding the right guys and how many snaps they can play.”

(On DE Terrence Fede and DE Jason Jones having the ability to play inside) – “Any time you have guys that have position flexibility – which those guys do – the more positions you can play, the more valuable you are to the team. ‘J.J.’ (Jason Jones) has played for ‘Wash’ (Jim Washburn) in Tennessee and in Detroit, and he has played (defensive) end and tackle. Both of those guys can do it. Then we’ve got some big guys that can go outside if we need to. The better and the more depth you have – the more position flexibility – I think it gives you some opportunities to do some things.”

(On whether DE Andre Branch will rotate with the other defensive ends) – “What is it, August 6, or something like that? Right now, the plan is get to the first preseason game and play these games (and) see where guys fit in. Again, ‘Dre’ (Andre Branch) is a guy that’s a speed guy. He’s got some edge rush ability. Right now, we’re still in … It’s early. I know for some of the players it may feel like we’ve been at camp a long time; but we haven’t been at camp a long time, so we’re trying to figure out where all these guys fit in. He’ll be a part of the plan somewhere.”

(On there being a gap in the middle of the Wide 9 defense) “There is no big gap. Here’s something – and listen, you can report it or write it, whatever you guys want – I think sometimes when people watch football, especially on TV, they see things that aren’t necessarily true. We know exactly what we’re seeing, and there is no big gaps in the middle. The only difference between playing a 9-technique and a 6-technique – which means you’re head up on a tight end – is one guy is a little bit wider, and now they just switched gaps. The off-the-ball linebacker now has the inside gap; the other guy has the outside gap. The Wide 9, there’s no big deal about it. We just want our guys to play fast. You look at ‘Wash’s’ (Jim Washburn’s) history playing this defense – which he has done a good job (with) – they’ve played great run defense. It’s not what people think. It’s kind of an illusion a little bit. I hear about the Wide 9 and stopping the run. In (Ndamukong) Suh’s last year in Detroit, they were in the top five in the history of pro football in run defense. You can stop the run, it’s just about attitude. I don’t care if it’s 3-4 (defense), Wide 9, 6-2,  whatever it is, it’s just about who’s lining up and kicking the guy’s butt in front of them.”

(On if the advantage of having depth on the defensive line comes in the fourth quarter) “It comes early if you can rotate guys early. And we know in this league, most of the games are won in the fourth quarter. If we can score some points and get up on some people, then we can roll them in, in waves and see. Again, it’s so early in the process that we have no idea who’s going to be out there. You can pretty much bank on (Ndamukong) Suh being out there and a couple other guys, but we’re still trying to mesh all these guys together.”

(On who has made the biggest strides since the end of last season) – “It’s hard to say, to be honest with you, because I’ve tried to put … I’m retained (as the defensive line coach), but it’s a new staff. We got new players. I’ve moved on from last season. But I’ll say that from the end of the spring until now, I think as a group we’ve all made some pretty big improvements. As far as last year, it’s over. We’ve moved on. But as far as from OTAs to now, I would say if you told me to give you one person I’d say the defensive line, because everybody has made some improvement.”

(On stopping the run) – “I think we’re good. It’s funny because we’re not tackling, we’re not hitting the quarterback, so sometimes what you see – (like) a guy break across the line of scrimmage – we got to do better. There’s so much we got to get better at. But I don’t think we’re going to have any problems stopping the outside runs. We’re out there playing with guys that are big, physical guys, so they’re forcing everything inside. We shouldn’t have any problems stopping outside runs.”

(On whether an advantage of the Wide 9 defense is better angling for players) – “It does. It gives them some angles as far as pass rushing, but it also gives them some angles in the run game as far as coming off and being physical with tight ends and tackles. We have the personnel to run that defense, and it’s smart for us to do what our personnel is capable of doing.”

(On whether athletic defensive ends are preferable for the Wide 9 defense) – “Big, athletic DEs. If you’re going to have big, athletic guys across the board, you got a chance to be good upfront.”

Matt Burke – August 5, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, August 5, 2016

Linebackers Coach Matt Burke

(On the advantages of having a veteran linebacker corps) – “Anytime you’ve got guys that have played football in the league – conceptually and stuff like that, that can pick up things easier – it just helps. Obviously (we have) guys that have seen plays and seen reps and played some of the defenses that we’re playing so it’s a pleasure to work with those guys.”

(On if he is seeing the rookie version of LB Kiko Alonso) – “Absolutely. He’s been great. He’s really taken to what we’re trying to do. I was telling somebody earlier, to me he’s a modern-day Mike (linebacker). He’s a long, rangy, instinctive kid. He’s got a great feel in space for us and getting in throwing lanes. He covers a lot of ground. He’s really picked up on what we’re trying to do. It’s a new scheme for him. He’s never really played this style of football so that’s kind of one thing about … but he’s picked up on it. He’s been really great to work with.”

(On LB Kiko Alonso being a three-down linebacker and how common that is in today’s NFL) – “To me, that’s ideal. It’s ideal, especially with little things like having the guy that has the headset (being) a guy you can keep on the field for all three downs and can play and you’re not worried about it. So that’s why we feel, again like I said, (he’s) kind of a modern-day Mike (linebacker) where he’s not a two-down thumper and you’re worried about his matchups in space. We feel just as comfortable with him playing on third-and-10 as we do on first-and-10 so that will be helpful for us to keep him going like that.”

(On the depth at linebacker and LB James-Michael Johnson taking first team reps today with LB Kiko Alonso getting a rest day) – “He (James-Michael Johnson) has been (taking first team reps with Kiko Alonso missing today’s practice). ‘JMJ’ has done a great job. Honestly, he probably prepares better than anybody in the room. It’s important to him. He’s in asking questions every day. He comes in the morning first thing and literally has a list of ‘Alright, here’s the five things I saw last night that I need you to tell me about.’ He’s done a great job of preparing and filling in there. Like I said, the rest of the guys are just working. We’re just trying to mix them up, mix some groups up and put some guys in different spots. Ideally in terms of depth-wise, it helps to have guys that can play multiple positions for you so we’re trying to mix and match some guys in that sense. So as you move forward into the season, you have some versatility there where you’re not stuck with just one guy can only play one position because that hamstrings you a little bit as you move forward.”

(On LB Koa Misi playing the run well thus far during training camp) – “Oh yes, he’s a man child. That’s a big 6-3, 255 pound linebacker that can run and with his history of what he’s done… It’s funny, I coached Koa in the Senior Bowl. We were with the (Detroit) Lions when he was coming out and that was his first experience playing stack linebacker, so I started training him a long time ago. We feel in the run-game specifically, I really feel there are not a lot of tight ends that can match up with him in the run game – strength-wise, explosion. He’s obviously played on the ball as a 3-4 guy and some rush stuff. He’s got a versatile skill set that we’re trying to take advantage of but he’s showing a lot.”

(On if the starting linebackers should be above-average in the NFL) – “I can’t speak for any other teams in the league but I always have high expectations for everybody in the room. They’ve been playing well, like I said they’ve been buying in. So yes, I don’t know about a ranking, but I have high expectations for them to perform. And they do too. That’s part of the way we run our group. That’s the way I run my room. We have high expectations for all of them so when we’re in there watching practice film, we’re coaching up the little things and the details. If it’s not good enough, they’re going to hear about it and they know it. It raises their bar and everyone (else’s). I think we have high expectations as a group. That’s the only way to do it here.”

(On if any of the undrafted college free agent linebackers have caught his eye) – “They’re all working – I’ll give them that. It’s a tough spot to be in; probably very typical as a rookie. They’re all inconsistent. They flash some things where you’re going, ‘Okay, he’s kind of turned the corner,’ and then they have an error. With those guys, it’s consistency of getting everything down and doing it play-in and play-out and it’s not good enough to make one flash play. All of them have had their moments and all of them have had times where I’ve wanted to (knock) them to the ground sometimes.” (laughter)

(On if he feels obligated to give his backups snaps during the season so starters can rest) – “I think it’s situational. Ideally, yes, you’d like to be able to… Two-fold: To me, I’ve always felt that you keep guys involved. If you’ve got a guy like Spencer Paysinger and you can give him a role and keep him involved and give him some plays, not only giving the other guys maybe three or four plays off in a game but keeping him into the game plan. I think it’s hard when you have three guys that just take every rep the whole year and then something happens, now a guy hasn’t played much (is on the field). So yes, ideally you’d like that, but you can talk to (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph). His philosophy has always been since Day 1 when we got here, this defense is going to be about players, not about scheme. We’re going to utilize the skill sets of the guys that we have and if we feel comfortable with someone fitting a role or taking 10 reps a game or 12 reps, then we’ll do that. If not, then we’re going to go with what we go (with). Obviously we’ll make those decisions as we move forward once the roster is set and (once we know) what the talent level and skill set is that we have at the position. There’s a lot of ways to handle it and again, you have guys like Koa (Misi) who has a different skill set than Jelani (Jenkins) and Kiko (Alonso). So there may be different spots where we can roll those guys through.”

(On if he keeps his linebackers at specific positions or if he cross-trains them) – “We cross-train them. To be honest with you, in our scheme, the two outside guys are fairly interchangeable. And again, depending on some of the schematic stuff that we’re doing, a guy like Koa (Misi), who has a skill set of sort of an on-the-ball guy, maybe we move him up there (to the line of scrimmage) and we move some guys around. But ideally they’re interchangeable, especially with the way the league is going offensively and what you have to defend. You need three guys with fairly similar skill sets – guys that can all play in space, move and cover and come downhill and whatnot. We’re trying to cross-train some guys just to have position versatility.”


Darren Rizzi – August 5, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, August 5, 2016

Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi

(On putting a lot of time into special teams during practice) – “Yes, (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase has been great with that in terms of giving us a lot of time to prepare. He certainly realizes the importance of it. We’ve got a lot of young players, so that obviously factors in as well. We’ve got a good mix though with the vets, as well, some guys that have been around. It’s been good. We’ve probably gone about three periods per day along with our field goal stuff, so the guys have put in a lot of hard work in this first week, for sure, in those periods.”

(On what K Marshall Koehn needs to do to catch up to K Andrew Franks) – “He’s got to be consistent. That’s really the thing. It’s kind of like where Andrew (Franks) was last year at this time – just trying to get that rhythm. (Koehn) had a good day yesterday. He went 6-for-6 yesterday. I know he struggled the first couple times out a little bit, but (it is about) that consistency. He has plenty of talent; he’s got great leg strength. It’s just kind of finding that rhythm. We’ve got a couple of new snappers that he’s working with. Obviously for him, it’s the first time, first year with them, (and) a new holder. Getting into a rhythm and being consistent, that’s going to be the big thing for him.”

(On his thinking about kickoff and punt returns) – “(It is) wide open right now. Obviously, we have these four preseason games coming up. Jarvis (Landry) we know can do it. Obviously, he’s done a fantastic job (and) has played at a high level – a Pro Bowl level – In the return game the last couple years. We’re really trying to work with the guys that haven’t been here, namely the rookies and the guys like Griff Whalen, who has done it before in games, but hasn’t been here necessarily in our system. Again, we’re going to see how those guys perform in the preseason games. Obviously, everybody talks about Jakeem (Grant) and what his history is. We’re, obviously, out here and you see us working every day with him in the punt return game to get him comfortable. He hasn’t done it in games before. I think these preseason games are going to be important for that aspect of the game. We know we have a proven guy (Landry) on the roster that’s going to be here. We’re trying to work with some of these other guys that haven’t.”

(On how eager he is to see WR Jakeem Grant in live action at full speed) – “I am eager. I’m not going to be surprised by anything, because I know what he can do with the ball in his hands. He’s proven that here in practice; he’s proven it in college. To me, it’s more of (getting) to the game part of it and (getting) the game experience. He’s caught 10,000 punts – (and) he’s got to catch 10,000 more here in practice – but getting him in those game and live situations is really going to be what it’s all about. That’s going to be where he gets the most learning experience, and that’s where we can really get a better evaluation of him, for sure.”

(On if RB Kenyan Drake will have a role returning kicks during the preseason) – “Right now, we’re working a bunch of guys back there. You guys saw us today on that aspect. We’re working four or five guys back there. I mentioned Jarvis (Landry who) we know can do it. He’s really not in the mix right now in practice, because we know he’s a proven guy. Whether it’s Jakeem (Grant), Kenyan (Drake), AJ Cruz, Griff Whalen – all those guys are working back there so all of those guys at some point in the preseason are going to get a look.”

(On where WR Jakeem Grant stands in terms of ball security) – “It’s a great question. Until the live action… We stress that all the time. It’s funny. I’m going on my eighth year here with the Dolphins coaching special teams in the NFL, and I’m going to tell you that’s probably the No. 1 thing we coach is ball security in the return game. Those guys that are elusive, fast guys, sometimes tend – I’m not just talking about Jakeem (Grant), I’m talking about a blanket statement – sometimes tend to get careless with the ball. So, we’re going to make that a major emphasis, and we’re going to make that the most important thing. Decision-making in the return game is also another huge factor. All of those things we want to see in the preseason game. We want to see guys making good decisions, Jakeem included.”

(On if WR Jakeem Grant has had a large number of drops on returns in training camp) – “He’s had a couple. Matt Darr has done a good job of making him work too in practice, kicking him some knuckle balls and some balls that are hard to catch. He’s had days where he hasn’t dropped any, and he’s had some days where he’s dropped one or two. Again, (it is) the consistency thing. It’s not for lack of work. If you get out here early, he’s out here catching punts. He catches punts during practice, before practice (and) after practice. The guy is really putting the work in. He’s definitely ahead of where I thought he would be at this point for a guy that didn’t return punts in college – or at least in game action. It’s certainly not for a lack of effort on his part. He’s really working on it. He’s his own worst critic. (With) all of those things, you love to work with a guy like that. Again, we’re kind of anxious to get to next Friday and get him live action and see what he can do.”

(On if he plans to have any game management functions on the sideline during games) – “The thing I love about this coaching staff is it’s really a collaborative effort. You saw us today going through a 2-minute drill and right away, after the drill, myself, (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase, (Defensive Coordinator) Vance Joseph, (Linebackers Coach) Matt Burke, all of us kind of get together and say ‘Hey listen, this is what we’re thinking.’ Adam (Gase) has been great with that. I’m definitely going to have a hand in it. My job is to kind of stay in my lane, let them know the situations and go from there. But it’s definitely going to be a part of what I’m doing. That’ll be a great experience for us here in these preseason games, too. (It is) our first time working together (and) getting the timeouts and replays and the game management (down.) It’s good. (We’re) just getting comfortable out here. I think the great thing that Adam does in practice is he puts us in a lot of situations that make us think, and (we are) not just out here running plays. We’re doing a lot of situational football out here. You look out here today, (and) we were in 2-minute, we were in ‘backed up’, we were in goal line, we were in a ‘call-it’ period. It’s not just out here learning the offense, learning the defense; it’s about learning situations for the players and coaches, so it’s been real good.”

(On the difference in dynamics on this staff compared to past years) – “Every staff I’ve been on has different chemistry. I think Adam (Gase) has put together a great group of people. I think we’ve got a really energetic group. I think we’ve got a great mix of young and old (with) great experience across the board. Guys have come from a bunch of different places. To me, that’s great. When you get a bunch of guys that are thinkers and motivators in a room, I think the players feed off of that. I think there’s a great energy right now around the building. There’s a lot of positive vibes going on. Adam’s really created a great environment here. I think the guys love our preseason schedule right now, our camp schedule. There’s really a positive vibe going on, and I think that’s what we’re trying to build on. We have a lot of positives going on, (we are) creating a great atmosphere, and I think that’s what Adam has really brought to this building (and) what the staff has brought to the building, as well. Every year is different. Every head coach that I’ve been here (and) worked with – Adam is my fifth head coach when you count the interim guys – everybody has their own unique style and way of doing things. To just talk about what Adam does, all of those things I just mentioned, everybody else had their different ways of motivating. Adam is a great motivator. He’s very clear and concise with his message. The guys know what to expect when they come out here. It’s, ‘Hey, we’re going to work hard.’ You guys see these practices are great. The guys come out here and work hard. The rest of the day now we’re going to evaluate what we’ve done in meetings and everything else – in our walkthroughs. It’s his style. Not that it was better, it’s just different. Everybody else has their own flavor, if you will, and I think the guys are really catching on and really enjoying what he has brought to the table.”

(On how DE Dion Jordan can help on special teams) – “When you look at what Dion (Jordan) did when he was here in the past – obviously, I’m one of the guys who was here with him – just speaking about special teams, he excelled in that area. He made some really big plays for us in that area, both in the return game (and) the coverage game. Once we get him back, and we know when he’s ready to go, he’ll definitely fall right back in. He’s allowed to sit in meetings now, so he’s kind of catching back up mentally. Now he has to take care of the physical part and get back in. There’s no doubt about the fact that when Dion was out here and played special teams for us a couple years ago, he was a force. He made plays, and he was consistent – a consistent guy. We brought up about 20 plays up the other day and went back and watched the positions he played, and he did some impressive things on film. There’s no doubt about it.”

(On what he wants to see out of WR Rashawn Scott on special teams) – “When you’re an undrafted rookie at any position – receiver, running back, doesn’t matter, defensive back – that’s really where you have to make your first mark. I think he knows that. Rashawn (Scott) is out here working hard. Just like every other rookie, he’s out there swimming a little bit right now at the beginning of camp, but to his credit, he works really hard. He’s got great effort. He’s paying attention (and) taking notes in meetings. A guy like that, these four preseason games are going to be really, really important for him to prove what he can do both on the offensive side of the ball and the special teams side. As I met with the younger guys – and really the whole team at the beginning of camp – we stressed how important it was for these young guys to make their mark in this area. You can go through and name countless guys over the eight years I’ve been here that have made the team just in my area, and Rashawn Scott has got to do that. He’s got to prove to the offensive guys that he can be consistent, (and) he’s got to prove to us that he can be a four-core type of player.”

(On if he has been surprised with any player’s work ethic) – “I’ve been surprised by the overall work ethic of the collaborative group. I’ve been really, really impressed. Like I said before, (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase has been a guy that says ‘Hey, we’re not going to have a lot of rules. Be on time. Get out here and work your butt off.’ And that’s what our guys have done. I look around the field – I have a different seat than the rest of the coaches, because I can see everybody working at the same time a lot of times – and you look around and watch our position groups, and there’s really nobody that’s not working hard right now. Everybody out here is busting their tail. Now it’s a matter of getting ready for next Friday, get ready for that first preseason game and put it all together. I think that’s probably one of the biggest positives I’ll take away from the first week of camp is our work ethic and how hard our guys are working across the board at every position. Kudos to our position coaches. They work their tails off in their position groups and their individual groups and then it carries over into our team periods, for sure.”

(On what he expects out of P Matt Darr this year) – “Matt (Darr)’s got things he’s working on. I know there are a couple of things that he was really trying to hone in on in this offseason. The consistency thing with him was really important last year. He did a great job with that, and (he’s) building off that. Matt’s the kind of guy, even in the offseason between OTAs and training camp, he was out working. He was out at different camps across the country. In fact, he was actually at that camp where those two poor guys passed away in the car accident. Matt actually was at that camp that weekend with those guys. He was out working this summer. It wasn’t like he just took the time off. He’s a guy that works at his craft. He’s consistent (and) really mature for his age. He’s really a pro’s pro in that way. We just want to see him continue that. ‘Stay in your lane. Stay on the same path you’ve been going and really just keep working on the things that you need to work on.’ And those things were mentioned before. He had a great gross average last year. He had a lot of punts inside the 20. (He can improve upon) field position – our net punts have to get a little better – ball location, things like that. Those are all little things that he’s been working on, but there’s no reason to believe he can’t improve upon what he did last year.”


Vance Joseph – August 5, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, August 5, 2016

Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph

(On the defensive front) – “So far so good. It’s an experienced front, so I’m not surprised what they’re doing between Mario (Williams) and (Ndamukong) Suh. Jason Jones has been a nice surprise as an edge-setter, as an inside rusher. I’m pleased with those guys.”

(On the cornerback group) – “(Byron) Maxwell is playing really well. He came back in great shape (at) about 200 pounds, which he played at two or three years ago. He’s playing well. The right corner, it’s a competition position. We’ve got three or four guys who are working there, and the best guy is going to play. Right now, it’s more about experience and how to play to the system. It’s not about talent right now. So, we got three or four guys working, and we’ll find someone to play.”

(On whether CB Xavien Howard can be a Week 1 starter) – “Absolutely. He’s a second-round pick for a reason. He’s talented. What we saw in the spring, that gave us hope that he could be a starter. But again, he hasn’t practiced yet. He hasn’t worked. Until he comes back, I won’t know that answer.”

(On what Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn brings to the team) – “Coach (Jim) Washburn brings a lot of experience in coaching defensive line play. He’s a veteran coach that veteran players respect. In that room, that’s critical when you have alpha personalities who’ve been to multiple Pro Bowls. It’s critical to have a guy that can push those guys. (Reporter: “People like Cam Wake?”) Absolutely. He’s going to make Cam five percent better, so I’m looking forward to that.”

(On how many sacks DE Cam Wake will have this season) – “I’m not sure. Ask him. He’ll tell you.”

(On whether DT Earl Mitchell has surpassed DT Jordan Phillips for a starting role) – “I’ll tell you this, Earl (Mitchell) and Jordan (Phillips) have both worked hard. It was a pact that we came into camp (that) whoever practices best goes out up with the starters. But obviously we’re going to need at least four inside guys to play. Whoever starts – in my mind – does not matter. I want those four inside guys we keep on the roster to be all dominant players. I’m not down on Jordan, but I want Jordan to grow and become the player we think he can be. That’s why he has been pushing the way he has been pushed.”

(On whether DT Jordan Phillip’s past comments about taking plays off in college is haunting him) “I don’t think it’s haunting him. I think it comes back from time to time, but it’s our job to coach players. You get a player with that size and ability, we got to make him do it. That’s why you pay coaches. I’m not down on Jordan (Phillips). We’re going to keep working with Jordan, and we’re going to make Jordan the player he should be.”

(On the communication between S Isa Abdul-Quddus and S Reshad Jones) “When Reshad (Jones) got back in the spring, you could see his impact with the DBs from the corners to the safeties. He has played a bunch of ball. Formations, down-and-distance, little keys and checks that he gives those guys as far as disguise – he’s been amazing with those guys. Actually, (Byron) Maxwell playing better – in my opinion – is because of Reshad, because of the conversations they’ve had. He has been a major part of why we got better in the back end from the spring.”

(On the new terminology of the defense) – “Every NFL team plays certain coverages, certain styles. You just call it differently and you play it differently. (Reshad Jones) has played a bunch of ball. Any veteran DB that comes here, he’s going to have some experience with what we’re doing.”

(On LB Kiko Alonso playing middle linebacker) – “I think middle for him is his natural position. I think Kiko is a modern-day Mike ‘backer. Back in the day, you got those Mike ‘backers who are really A-gap run stoppers and big guys who can cover. It’s a passing league along with a little bit of one-back run. So, I think it fits him. He’s a modern day Mike ‘backer – a guy with size and length, but also the speed to run to the flat and run the seam.”

(On how LB Kiko Alonso has looked) – “He has looked great. I’ve been really impressed with him from the spring to now. (I am) more impressed with his football IQ and his ability to move. He has got great instincts in the pass game.”

(On whether he will coach from the booth or sidelines) – “I’m going to be on the sideline. That’s my comfort. That’s where I’ve been my entire career. I’ll be on the sideline.”

(On the pros and cons to coaching from the sideline) – “I don’t think there are any cons at all. I think as far as calling a game, it’s more about down-and-distance. I’ll have guys in the box who’ll be my eyes for me, but I want to be in the midst of it, so I can feel the tempo of the guys.”


Adam Gase – August 5, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, August 5, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(On CB Xavien Howard and his rehab) – “Every day’s going to be a new day for him as far as the progression. It’s hard for me to say like ‘Hey, we know this is going to be the exact date,’ but he’s been working really hard. I know the trainers feel great about where he’s at right now. It’s hard for me to say, ‘Hey he’s ahead of schedule.’ We’re still a little ways away but he’s done a great job. He’s around here all the time. He just keeps looking, what else can I do? What else can I do? He’s working hard. He knows ‘I need to get out there. I need as much experience as I can before this thing kicks, like the season kicks off.’”

(On how significant it was to get RB Jay Ajayi back) – “It was good. I was really happy that he came back as far as, I know he’s not 100 percent right now; but he did not want to miss anymore practice. He wants to get out there. He wants to make sure he’s getting the reps that he needs. A guy like that, fighting to get back, especially in training camp – as a coach, you appreciate the fact that he wants to be out there.”

(On injury updates for CB Chimdi Chekwa) – “I haven’t talked to those guys (the trainers) yet. They came over to me (and) talked to me a little bit, just to give me a heads up that certain guys are out of practice. It’s hard for me to sit there and ask a whole bunch of questions because we’re rolling in practice. I’ll have a better idea when we get back tomorrow.”

(On if WR DeVante Parker is close to returning from his injury) – “It’s hard for me to … When you have these hamstrings, some days these guys come in and they feel good and they want to get out there and start going. The hard part for our medical staff, sports science and trainers is you can’t have that setback. I know like yesterday (Isaiah) Pead was like ‘I’m ready to go.’ But if we put him out there too early and then all of a sudden he re-pulls it, now it sets us back. So we just got to make sure when we get these guys back they stay back.”

(On how the heat gets ready for the season and what tactics he uses to keep players motivated during this hot weather) – “I think we’ve been trying to be as efficient as possible with how we do practice. It might not seem like a long, long time frame but when we’re out there, we’re always running. We’re always moving around and we feel like the heat helps us. So that’s why we’re always … Receivers know we got to keep just conditioning. Even after practice, every once in a while you see guys start running gassers and stuff. It’s because they know this helps us as far as the long run. We go in different climates. Really, it’s a beneficial thing for us. It’s kind of like being in altitude. It’s the same thing. You feel when you get in a different environment, it is cool and you just feel fresh the whole game.”

(On his early camp impressions on DE Terrence Fede and WR Matt Hazel) – “I think as far as scheme-wise, it’s seems like, at least from our personnel meetings, that they’ve done a great job from understanding what to do. You know we’re not having, really as a whole team, we haven’t had a whole bunch of mental busts – which is good. We got a long ways to go. For us, with those two guys in particular, we want to get to the preseason games and we want to give these guys reps. We want to give them snaps and see what it looks like versus other teams. That’s the best indication of how guys are going to be in the regular season. It’s good to be in full pads and going through these periods; but, when you get in a game and the situations start presenting themselves, that’s when you can get the best evaluation.”

(On if he uses the preseason games and film to evaluate the punt and kickoff returners since they are not doing full speed collisions at practice) – “Yes. That’s the biggest part. It’s a very small sample size but those guys have to do so many little things right. You see a lot of times (Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren) Rizzi does these compete drills. Really, a lot of times, specials teams is all about effort and usually the guys that have the highest level of effort, those guys are usually the successful guys on special teams. When we get in the preseason, the guys that usually do good out there in those competition drills usually do well in the preseason games.”

(On if WR Jakeem Grant is holding on to as many passes as he wants) – “Yes. He’s been great as far as consistently catching the ball. I know he keeps working on that. I love the fact that he can catch every ball in practice (and) I always see him trying to catch balls (after practice). He’ll try to hit the jugs machine. He’s constantly working which, when you get a rookie player in there, you hope every guy is like that. That they don’t feel like they’ve arrived. They’re thinking ‘Okay, how can I make sure that I’m on this roster when we hit Seattle.’ So I feel like he’s really pushing himself and he’s trying to do extra all the time.”

(On how he would assess the overall state of the offense) – “We haven’t even played a preseason game. The guys are doing a good job as far as knowing what to do. Our biggest test is going to be when we go to New York and whatever reps we get and making every one count. That’s going to be critical for us. A lot of times our defensive players, it’s a different deal. Some of these guys have played in this defense before so they jump right in. Especially our front, right? They know how to rush. I don’t know how much more I need to see from those guys. But our offense has to get used to how I call plays, how we’re going to do personnel, how it’s going to feel on the ball during the game, the tempo of what we’re doing. So the preseason games, that’s going to be critical for us.”

(On if his offense might take a few weeks to really start clicking) – “I don’t know. Every year has been different. Some years, 2013 we come out and score 49 (points) the first game. In Chicago, I think we had like 21 (points). We were playing a different style of ball. We got to figure out who we’re going to be, how we’re going to play and we got a lot of time as far as figuring out ‘Who are we actually going to be?’”

(On if what he sees at practice reinforces the depth of the front four) – “Yes – at least it feels like it. When I watch, whether it be against the run, in the pass pro stuff, it feels like no matter what group is in there, they’re up the field challenging the offensive line. Yesterday I stood back there and we were doing a low red area period. I’m standing right behind the quarterback and I’m like ‘I don’t know how they see.’ Those guys are so long and tall and physical. You’re seeing like glimpses of color, as far as receivers, and to complete balls in that low red area is … This is so great. It’s great work for our quarterbacks because I don’t know if we’re going to see anybody as long as what our defensive line is right now.”

(On what role LB James-Michael Johnson will have this year and if LB Zach Vigil’s health play into it) – “You’re talking about a guy that’s actually played. He has game experience – actually playing on defense, not just special teams. His skill set, he’s one of those guys that just seems to be in the right place (at the) right time. He knows exactly what we’re doing on defense (and) does a great job of communicating and obviously today was able to jump in there, which was great for him. He had a chance to get out there and be with a different group and he had to be the guy making all those calls.”

(If LB James-Michael Johnson did a good job out there) – “I have to watch the film first.”


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