Kenny Stills – November 11, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, November 11, 2016

Wide Receiver Kenny Stills

(How cool was it driving around? This is your hometown.) – “It’s always great to be back home.  I didn’t come home last offseason – or this past offseason – because I was out in Florida trying to train and get ready for this season. So, it’s nice to be back and close to my mom. I got to see my dog yesterday for the first time in like a year and a half. It’s fun showing all the guys where I went to high school and showing them the beach and just showing them around.”

(How’s the acclimation so far coming out here?) – “What do you mean?”

(Like time change and just having to set up different … Turning a hotel into meeting rooms and coming out here and everything, it’s a lot of changes.) – “Whatever my phone says – whatever time it is – that’s what time it is. When we went to London, whenever I woke up, (and the) phone says it’s eight o’clock, it’s eight o’clock. I feel like it’s more of a mental thing than we think. And it’s different for me, because I’m home. I woke up today with the biggest smile on my face, because I know I walk outside, and it’s a familiar place for me. I haven’t heard anything from anybody else about it. I feel like guys are adjusting well.”

(Do you feel back to normal by the way? Like running around and everything. Do you feel physically 100 percent? No lingering effects of whatever it was?) – “Yes.”

Adam Gase – November 11, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, November 11, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(I know most guys probably woke up today like at 5 in the morning. I think most people did. It’s good to get out here a couple days early just because of that reason.”) – “Yes. It’s just the sooner we got out here and got that flight over with and getting our guys into this schedule, learning the lay of the land – that was good for our guys last night. And now we go about business as usual getting out here and practicing. It’s good weather. We had real good energy at practice. It seems like guys are glad we came out on Thursday.”

(So I was going to say, so practice reflected that?) – “Yes. There was a great energy level. It didn’t seem like anybody was overly tired from the flight or anything like that. Guys did a good job of crashing last night and making sure that they’re trying to get as much rest as possible.”

(Do you expect to have TE Dion Sims on Sunday?) – “Things are looking good right now for us. We got a good chance for him to be active. He’s out of the concussion protocol, which is good. He seems … Everything seems to be okay. We just want to keep going through our process.”

(What kind of impact does TE Dion Sims’ presence in the lineup bring?) – “I think he’s a guy that can do all three phases of the tight end position. Obviously, he’s also a guy that has been around the block here for a little bit. Just having another veteran presence in the huddle is always good.”

(Just to clarify on that, then TE Dion Sims is cleared? Medically?) – “Yes.”

(So, it would be up to TE Dion Sims at this point?) – “It’s basically if we felt like, or he felt like, or if one of us didn’t feel like he was good. We’re just going to make sure we get all the way to Sunday. Right now, you never know what’s going to happen. We’ve had weirder things happen lately.”

(With RB Kenyan Drake, what do you think now teams might do because you have two guys back there that can probably take one to the house?) – “I think everybody knew that we had two guys back there to begin with. He’s no stranger to explosive plays in the return game. Teams know what he can do on offense as well. I think, for the most part, a lot of teams probably had plans in place to begin with. Just that one time, the ball went to him.”

(Is your thought over this week and next to duplicate what you would normally be doing in Davie, or as much as possible, replicate it?) – “We’re trying to make it as normal as possible. It is different, because we’re all together. But it’s also good. There’s a little bit of a training camp feel.”

(How’s the resort?) – “It seems to be nice.”

(Have you seen anything outside your coach’s room?) – “No.”

Statements from Don Shula and Nat Moore on the passing of Bill Stanfill – November 11, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, November 11, 2016

Statements from Don Shula and Nat Moore on the passing of Bill Stanfill

Don Shula:

“Bill was an outstanding player and a key contributor to our Super Bowl championship teams. He was quick and he was strong, and it was almost impossible to block him. His constant pressure on the opposing quarterback helped make our great No-Name defense even better. I enjoyed coaching him, and I want to extend my condolences to his family on his passing.”

Nat Moore:

“We were saddened to learn of the passing of one of our greatest players, defensive end Bill Stanfill. His gentle demeanor hid a ferocious competitive streak, and he became one of the team’s greatest pass rushers and a mainstay of the No-Name Defense that helped the Dolphins win back-to-back Super Bowls, including their “Perfect Season” championship in 1972. With his intensity on the field and his wit in the locker room, He was a leader on a team that was composed of a host of unique personalities. He will be missed by everyone who was fortunate to know him, his teammates, the Dolphins organization, and the team’s many fans. We want to express our condolences to his family.”

Jarvis Landry – November 10, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry

(How about you guys? Are you guys looking forward to this business trip?) – “(We are) looking forward to it a lot. Having the opportunity to be playing the way that we’re playing and have this road stretch and go out there a little early to get conditioned for the time change and the weather perhaps. Like you said, business as usual.”

(A lot has been made of your fire. Head Coach Adam Gase says he likes it. He’ll never try to change you. What’s your relationship like with him? I see you go to the sideline and you’re fired up and he’s like ‘okay now’ and he talks to you. What’s that like?) – “It’s funny because we’re kind of the same person. We kind of both are very passionate about what we do and we spend a lot of hours making sure that we’re the best at what we do. He always does a great job of, if you have to calm me down, if you have to amp me up, he kind of has his hands on my tuner a lot and it’s something I definitely appreciate especially from him.”

(When you have a coach like that, that appreciates that, you wear your emotions on your sleeve. Do you think other guys make react a different way to the coaches? The fit that you have with him here seems to be a good one.) – “Yes and it’s rare. It is rare and I think that’s kind of what you’re seeing. But again, fortunately for us, this whole entire staff is like that. This whole entire staff is passionate about what they do. They love what they do. They love the guys that play for them and it makes it that much easier to go out there and be yourself and show that passion within the rules of the game, of course, and nothing that really hurts the team. But it’s definitely something that they like to see us roll.”

(Because you’re not a diva wide receiver, right?) – “No.”

(Are you?) – “No, I’m not. For me, I like to play with passion. I like to play with passion.  I like to again wear my emotions on my sleeve and sometimes you can tell. And for me, just staying as positive as I can for the guys around me and being a leader when things are good and bad has definitely been my challenge for this year.”

(To have that balanced offense that you guys have right now, how big is that? When RB Jay Ajayi is running like that and other guys are getting involved, what does that mean to an offense?) – “It means everything. I mean, the success we’ve had is not solely come on the back of one guy. It’s come on the back of all 11 guys, which I spoke on when we started this winning streak. For us, we’re going to go as far as the guys we take to dress will take us. It’s not going to be one guy. It’s going to take all of us.”

(TE Dion Sims says he’s about ready to come back. How big would….) – “We’re about ready to have him back. We’re about ready to have him back. We’ve been missing him for a couple of weeks now. And it’s always good to add another weapon – to add another weapon to the arsenal and again, it’s going to take his contribution as well to keep what we got going.”

Adam Gase – November 10, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(You said since September that your team has practicing well. Any theories of why it didn’t translate on the field earlier, but now it’s starting to carry through?) – “I think a little bit of it is being comfortable with the schemes we’re running. It’s always tough when you start – both sides of the ball. You’re learning new techniques and new routes. It takes a second to kind of mesh together. On defense, when you were on the field as much as we were, you have to be so on it with the run fits, because you have to play as a full group. And then offense, we just had so many moving parts – guys in and out. We had I don’t know how many different offensive lines and, (we were) trying to get used to all that. Sometimes it takes a second. That’s why the season is as long as it is. You do have time to fix things. It’s about really more mentally staying with it and keep going back to work and not getting frustrated by necessary results of early in the season.”

(I didn’t notice WR Jarvis Landry out there. Is there anything you can tell us about that?) – “Yesterday him and (WR) Kenny (Stills) both … After practice they were not right as far as what we put on the injury report. We held them out today. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes, see if we can get them back in practice. Right now, it has been a day-to-day thing.”

(Illness or injury?) – “It’s injury. I think we had Kenny (Stills) with a calf and Jarvis (Landry) with a shoulder.”

(How did WR Jarvis Landry get the shoulder injury?) – “I think when you play the way he does … Obviously, for him, I’m sure he hasn’t been 100 percent every week. When you’re a guy like he is, you don’t really say anything, you just keep playing. When we’re in practice, he plays physical. If a ball gets thrown up in the air, he goes and gets it. He treats everything like a game. A lot of times, he ends up hitting the ground pretty hard or colliding with somebody. I just think it’s that part of the season where he’s banged up.”

(You guys have been pretty patient with the rookie receivers – WR Leonte Carroo and WR Jakeem Grant. Where are they in their development and are they ready to contribute in base packages?) – “We keep trying to put those guys in there and get them rolling a little bit, so they can get a feel for the game, because we know we’re going to need them both at some point. It’s hard to keep those guys healthy. Obviously, the last game it was obvious that DeVante (Parker), his body just wasn’t reacting the way that he thought it was going to leading up to the game. Kenny (Stills), he gets sick and basically was out. So, Carroo had to step in there and play more plays then he has probably played since college. Jakeem, we keep trying to move him in there, because it is good to get him on the field and let him get a feel for playing wide receiver instead of just being a returner. They’re doing a good job as far as trying to keep up with the older guys. It is harder though when you haven’t had as many reps and now all of a sudden you’re thrown into a game. We keep trying to develop these guys and get them ready to go. It takes time. It’s not easy being a rookie wide receiver.”

(How did they practice today?) – “They did a good job. I know there’s a lot of pressure on those two guys. They had to take a lot of reps. They’re still doing scout team, so it was a lot of running for them today. Right now, it’s going to be about getting their bodies recovered to make sure that they feel good on Sunday.”

(So, nobody’s really healthy at this point. Everybody gets beat up. But I’ve been hearing WR DeVante Parker  is not right or hurt or not 100 percent for like three months. What is it? And yet he’s practicing and playing? Why can’t he get healthy?) – “Sunday was little surprise for me, because he had a really … What did we go, Tuesday, Wednesday last week? Tuesday, it looked like he was feeling himself out. And then Wednesday, he looked like the guy that’s a first-round draft pick. So, we were feeling really good going into Sunday. And then Friday, sometimes it’s hard to tell. You don’t have … We were working on red zone and things like that, so it’s hard to tell anything. (He) didn’t really have to open up. For whatever reason Sunday, things weren’t working right for him. He tried to open it up, but sometimes he just wasn’t able to go. Sometimes it’s hard to explain things. I guess I’ve been in a few situations with younger wide receivers. With Demaryius (Thomas), it was the same way. It was like you couldn’t buy a break. It was just something all the time that was bothering him, whether it would be an Achilles, a hamstring, his hand. I think he broke his hand one time or his fingers. He couldn’t catch a break. And then sometimes it just takes getting a little streak going where you feel good two, three weeks in a row and then you start getting very confident and you feel like, ‘Alright, I blew past that part of my career.’ It’s going to take some time to say, ‘I’ve had a couple of good weeks in a row. I’m alright.’ When you’re coming off any kind of soft tissue injury, you can’t explain it. You keep trying to do things to make yourself feel as 100 percent as possible.”

(Have you decided on a curfew yet for this trip?) – “I have. I don’t have to tell you everything.” (laughter)

(As a follow up though, where do you draw the line between trusting the professionalism of your guys and giving them some freedom?) – “We’ve had a lot of things that we’ve done leading up to this point, and it started in training camp. I told those guys there’s going to be a lot of things I’m going to do to see if we can handle it. Really, there’s a lot of little traps to see if somebody screws it up. Guys have done a good job of making sure that any time they’ve had a chance to have some freedom – as far as when we’re either on the road or in training camp – they’ve handled their business correctly. I think that Seattle trip was a big test for us. Being the first game of the year, we went out there early, and guys handled it like pros. Any time we’ve done anything, whether it be here or on the bye week, guys did a good job. That’s a scary four days for a coach, because you just never know what’s going to happen, you don’t know where everybody’s at. And the same thing with this trip: they know we’re going to be out there 11 days. They know why we’re out there. This isn’t a vacation. You’re trying to make it as comfortable as possible like we’re playing a home game – especially when you stay there after the first game – but you do have to trust your guys to do the right thing. Hopefully, we got enough guys that are leaders that will step up and remind guys, ‘Don’t ruin this for everybody.’

(Do you look at this as sort of a bonding experience? They haven’t really been sequestered together since training camp. Could this be a time where maybe they come together?) – “We felt like that way in Seattle. We thought that was the first time where we started seeing some different groups hanging out with each other. We saw a lot of guys going out to eat together, and it wasn’t guys that you would expect to see gravitate towards each other. We did think that was a good thing for us at that time, because we really hadn’t had that opportunity in training camp – we’re here, they’re in the hotel – it was kind of back and forth, and they didn’t really have that opportunity. This is going to be something that’s probably going to be good for us. We’ve had four home games in a row, we’ve been here for quite a while, and getting away will probably be a good thing for us.”

(Chargers DE Joey Bosa – four sacks and I think 13 quarterback hits. Why is he so effective? Why does he have those numbers?) – “I think a lot of it starts with the energy and attitude he plays with. He plays every snap – no matter the down-and-distance, time of the game – he plays every snap and treats it as a meaningful snap. There are no plays off for him. He has got a motor that keeps on going. I feel like whether it’s him or really that group together, it seems like they feed of each other. You don’t really see anybody as a weak link, because all those guys play so fast, and I feel like that’s why they’ve been able to do what they’ve been doing as far as they’re getting pressure with four. They’re hitting the quarterback; they’re getting sacks. They’re making it tough for teams to block them. Those guys consistently for 60 minutes play hard, and they sell out every game.”

(You’ve watched LB Jelani Jenkins now practice with a brace not necessarily a club. Where is the comfort level with him from a tackling standpoint?) – “I haven’t heard him really complain as though he felt like it would be an issue. I know anytime that you’re having any kind of restriction on your hand – and you’re at a position where you have to use your hands – I’m sure it’s not the easiest thing to do. But I feel like mentally, he seems to be in the right place, and he has his game plan of how he’s going to approach this. Hopefully, we can keep going through the rest of the week, and he feels good with everything and, he’s out there. We’re going to give him time to make that decision. It’s really going to be on him how comfortable he is, but it seems as though things are heading in the right direction for us, and he feels good about it.”

(LB Spencer Paysinger led the team in tackles last week despite coming in there as a sub. What has he brought to the equation?) – “He did a really good job. He was very assignment-sound last week. When he had opportunities to make plays, he made them. He put himself in good position, and then he finished the play. There have been a couple times during the season where he has had a couple rough games to where I’m sure he was frustrated as though he had some chances to make some plays and didn’t make them. He made a lot of plays last week. I feel like it started with the fact that his knowledge of the defense is so much greater than what it was early in the season. He’s really focused on being not just a special teams guy, but being a defensive player as well. Anytime that you focus like that and make sure (that), ‘I want to be part of the solution as far as if somebody goes down, I can jump in there, (and) we don’t miss a beat.’ I feel like he has created that mindset to be able to be next man up.”

Adam Gase – November 9, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(So TE MarQueis Gray was not out there today?) – “Yes, it’s more of a precautionary thing. He just needed another day to just kind of get his body right.”

(What’s your assessment of Chargers RB Melvin Gordon?) – “He’s made a lot of strides in a short period of time. Obviously he has been their bell cow this year and obviously that’s what they wanted when they drafted him. Now with a couple guys have gone down, it’s even more on him as the year’s gone on. He’s really risen his play and probably is exactly what they thought he was going to be when they drafted him. He’s tough. He’s a tough guy to go against. He’s got everything you want as far as speed, size. He can do all their protection stuff. He’s a tough guy for us to go against.

(Him and RB Jay Ajayi are from the same draft class. Do you see any similarities in their game?) – “I think they’re a little bit different styles for the most part. They do a little bit of a different scheme than us. But I think they’re similar in the fact that both of them seem to have found their groove as far as sticking their foot in the ground, getting vertical, and using speed and power to help them get through the line of scrimmage.”

(Anybody on that defense you recall from your days in Denver giving you a hard time?) – “Yes, I mean there are a couple of guys that are still there. Obviously their defensive coordinator, we’ve gone against each other like eight times over the last few years. So we know each other fairly well. They’re very disruptive up front, for sure. It seems like there’s great energy going on right now with their front. They’re playing a lot more coverage, so that front four is getting to the quarterback and they’re stopping the run and they’re making things difficult for teams going against them.”

(Are there things you need to do to Chargers QB Phillip Rivers beyond what you would do to a normal quarterback?) – “He’s always been a tough guy to go against. I know there’s been a few times that we’ve played him and had a lead on him you feel like … you feel good going in to the fourth quarter and then all of a sudden you look up and there’s four minutes left and it’s a one score game, or it’s three points or they’ve taken the lead. I just know he’s a relentless competitor and he seems to find a way to get his group playing well. He’s had a lot of changes especially the last four or five years where either guys have left in free agency or guys have gotten hurt. He’s had a lot of moving pieces and he makes it work.”

(What did you learn working under Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy in Denver the time you were together with him?) – “I think the thing I learned most of all was just about getting everybody involved in what you’re doing game-planning wise – how to handle the day as far as being a coordinator. He was very open with me every day (about) why he would do something – meetings, preparation for a game plan, practice, all those type of things. So I think he really did a good job of teaching me the day-in, day-out operation of being a coordinator.”

(Why didn’t you go with him?) – “Because I became the coordinator in Denver. We were pretty good.” (laughter)

(With WR DeVante Parker still battling that hamstring injury, what’s the expectation as far as him being able to play through that versus maybe trying to rest him for a week?) – “Yes, I mean that whole group, they’re all banged up out there battling through a lot of things. When you’re coming off an injury and then you feel good, and then you might have some minor setbacks here and there, it’s frustrating for a wide out because you want to be 100 percent. It’s just never going to happen. You just have to figure out the best way to push through and just try to give max speed as much as you can. I mean, for whatever reason he tightened up a little bit in the game and it made it real hard for him to get going down the field and really kind of cut. Today he felt better (and) was running around. Last week, we had a really good day – one day – where he almost looked like someone I hadn’t seen before. Right now, it’s hit or miss on every day and we just have to keep doing things that can help his body feel as good as it can when we hit Sunday.”

(Does WR Kenny Stills had anything lingering from the illness or is he back to full health?) – “I don’t know if he’s back to full health but he looked a lot better today than he did on Sunday for sure.”

(How did CB Chris Culliver look today?) – “He’s doing good. He’s progressing and he’s doing more and more every day. He’s taking reps with the defense instead of just doing scout team. I know for him it’s probably exciting to kind of get going with the real defense being called, not just working off of cards for the scout team or just doing one-on-ones. I’m sure he’s excited just to be in that fray of competing in a real period for that side of the ball.”

(Are you optimistic that CB Chris Culliver will play Sunday?) – “Yes, we’ll take a look at it. We’ve got to go the rest of the week and we’ll just keep evaluating what we want to do there.”

(When a player like Jay Ajayi says he gets stronger with more and more carries as the game goes on, how is that possible?) – “I think sometimes its rhythm. It was something I learned a couple of years ago – and I never thought of it that way with the o-line and the running backs – you start running similar schemes and they get a better feel of how the defense is playing their blocks and the running back has a feel of how he needs to start looking at how the linebackers are flowing, how the safeties are fitting, and you get in a little bit of a rhythm. I feel like with him, he is a big guy that, I think he can feel it wearing on the defense. I think it juices him up a little bit. I don’t know if it’s an adrenaline rush for him as the game goes on (or what). He seems to really get stronger as we kind of get going in that third quarter and when the fourth quarter hits, it’s almost like another gear that kicks in for him.”

(When you look at RB Jay Ajayi’s size and strength and also consider the tread. He didn’t play much last year, and he didn’t play much earlier in the season. How do those two things factor into his ability to potentially take on a consistent workload the rest of the way?) – “It’s hard for me to say. When you play that position, it’s such … It’s one of those things where it’s about recovery throughout the week. What are we doing with him at practice? How many reps is he taking? Is he taking a lot of hits on the days we have pads on? And how the game goes. We’ve been lucky that he’s come out of these last few games to where he’s felt pretty good. Leading up to Wednesday, I know he’s working hard to make sure that he maintains his body as far as how he feels when we get practice going again. Every guy is different. It’s really a week to week deal for how he feels. Obviously, we want to give him the majority of the carries; but at the same time, we probably need to be a little smart just as far as, if he’s carrying the ball 25 to 30 times every game, what’s that going to do to him?”

(I noticed that Damien Williams touched the ball on 50 percent of the snaps that he was on the field. How cognizant are you to utilize his skill set?) – “Well, a couple of times it’s just the ball went there because of what the defense did. On that third-down conversion, he was far from the primary guy. It ends up going there due to what they did on defense. He just seems to be a magnet for big plays. I don’t even know what the ratio is for every time he touches the ball; it just seems like something good happens. It’s nothing that’s by design. Obviously when you’re running the ball, sometimes I’m calling a play and I find out at the last second that he went in for Jay (Ajayi). Sometimes it’s just luck.”

(We talked at length about WR Jarvis Landry’s fire and your desire to get him the ball, and his desire to be involved in the game. We talked to QB Ryan Tannehill about it today a little bit. He said that he’s got to be careful because sometimes people look to him and maybe some of his theatrics draw focus to him a little bit. Would you agree with that? And have you ever talked to him about the fine line between intense and kind of out of control a little bit?) – “I think that there are a lot of us that have a certain way that we deal with things. I know there is some times that I know you can’t see it, that I’m losing a little bit of my mind. Everybody handles it different. We all want to sit here and be able to say we want everybody to act like everything is alright all of the time and you’re not frustrated or upset about anything; but everyone has a different way of showing it. I don’t want him to worry about that. I want him to be who he is. Over time, the longer you play this game, you start handling things different. That’s a young player who is competing and wants to do everything he can to help this team win.”

(Any update on TE Dion Sims?) – “Yes. He’s still technically in the (concussion) protocol and until they give us the green light that he’s cleared to play, then we’ll just keep going about the process they have us in.”

(When you say you’ve got to run the ball this week and stop the run. Is that over-simplification or are those high priorities because of the specific opponent?) – “I think as far as the defense goes, we just have to play good defense. You don’t really necessarily know how they’re going to come out and play us. I mean we could say they’re going to run the ball but they’re going to do what’s best with what they feel like they can beat us. If that’s throw it 60 times a game, that’s what they’re going to do. Stopping the run is going to be important for us because it’s going to allow us to get ourselves in third-and-longer situations, which our defense does a good job when they get in those kind of situations. Then offensively, we just need to do a good job of making sure we’re staying on the field. The last thing we need to do is give Philip Rivers 14 (or) 15 possessions because we’re going three-and-out and our defense is out there 80-some plays. The biggest thing for us is, when we do run the ball, we just need to be efficient, and when we throw it, we need to be efficient.”

(With CB Lafayette Pitts, what did he do to get that promotion from the practice squad and how can you see him helping the defense and special teams?) – “I think he’s a guy that we’ve been really excited about since training camp. Really, probably even before that. He’s really shown up. He’s got a little swagger to him to where you feel confident with him and he competes every day in practice. I know he gives our receivers fits as far as any time we do any kind of scout team. He competes. And then when we do one-on-ones he shows the right things and he competes on balls and gets his hands on balls and attempts to have an interception. He’s a tough guy for our guys to go against and we like the attitude he brings and we feel like he has good knowledge of our defense. Going forward, we’ll just kind of see how this week plays out. I don’t necessarily know who’s exactly going to be the guys dressing for the game yet. As we progress forward, we’re going to try to keep getting him better.”

(The term game manager has been thrown around a lot in the NFL with quarterbacks. QB Ryan Tannehill has been mentioned as such. Just curious of what your thoughts are on that term. Do you think it is positive, negative?) – “I look at it as the quarterback’s job is to make sure he puts his team in the best position to win a game. I mean I’m sure Alex Smith really doesn’t care how many times he goes to the playoffs as long as he’s going. Call the guys game managers. Their job is to win.”

(With TE Thomas Duarte, what was his path to making the roster?) – “Well we got a little, obviously we were surprised last week as far as it looked like Dion (Sims) was heading in the right direction and wasn’t cleared. We felt like that was the best thing for us because both our … ‘D.J.’ (Dominique Jones) was fairly healthy but ‘Q’s’ (MarQueis Gray) been kind of on and off and we just want to make sure that we had options available because we did want to play a little bit of the two tight end package and not just lean completely on the three wide receivers. We felt like he was a good insurance policy going into that game, but he’s done a lot as far as getting better (and) nderstanding the offense better. We’re seeing improvement in the run game. We obviously feel really good about him in the passing game. His pass protection is getting better. He’s just shown signs of improvement for us and we want to do the best job we can to stay in-house and be able to move guys up and give them the opportunity they deserve as far as being on the active roster.”

Jay Ajayi – November 9, 2016 (Conference Call) Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Running Back Jay Ajayi Conference Call with San Diego Media

(What are your impressions of San Diego’s defense?) – “They have a really strong front. They do a lot of good things and make it hard for offenses with the unique stunts and a lot of movements, so I think we’ll be up for a good challenge this week.”

(To what do you credit your success to this season so far?) – “First thing is to the o-line. Them getting back together (and) being confident has been great for me. (For) myself, just focusing on my level of play, my attitude each day and working on being as consistent as possible I think has really helped my game improve.”

(I know you’ve worked out with Chargers RB Melvin Gordon, but how would describe your relationship?) – “That’s my brother. I look at him as a brother, and it’s going to be fun going up against him as the matchup this weekend. We talked yesterday, and we talk quite often, so it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait.”

(You and RB Melvin Gordon have been in touch since really the combine, you and the rest of the running backs coming out at the same time. What was the relationship like between all of you guys? It seems like via group messages you guys stay in contact.) – “I think just me training with Melvin helped build our relationship. That daily grind of we were working for the same goal, that helped us become even closer. Then when we all went to the combine, we knew we were in a strong running back class, and we knew how talented everyone was. With the group (text) message, it has been (about) keeping in touch with everyone (and) making sure everyone’s on the right track, because we all see ourselves as playmakers for our teams.”

(What was that like last December when you came to San Diego? You scored that touchdown. What are your memories of that game?) – “It was great. I remember playing in that stadium. I’ve played in it in college before, so it was fun getting to play in there for the first time as an NFL player. Even though we lost the game, for me to have gotten my first career NFL touchdown was huge, and I’ll definitely remember that for the rest of my life.”

(RB Melvin Gordon seems like a guy who’s really happy for your success. What sort of feedback did you get from him after that game? I know you guys were talking on the field postgame.) – “He was extremely excited. He was talking about how he almost felt more excited than I was. That’s how we are with each other. We’re always happy for each other’s success. Just like he was able to have a great game this past week, I tweeted out about him and hit him up and congratulated him on a great performance. We’re constantly trying to push each other to be great. We’re competing with each other, because we play at the same position, but we want to see each other succeed at the end of the day.”

(To what degree have you followed RB Melvin Gordon and his play this season, and what’s your response and your assessment to kind of how he has done?) – “I’m always checking on Melvin every week to see how he does. I’m so proud of him to come back from last year, where he wasn’t able to score a touchdown and a lot of people were kind of starting write him off a little bit. Through talking with him, through the offseason and everything, he really put his head down and did a lot of things to set himself up for a great year. He’s starting to showcase the ability that everyone knew he had, and it’s exciting to see how well he has been doing.”

Ryan Tannehill – November 9, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill

(What challenges are there going out for 11 days – 10 or 11 days – and not returning here, or staying out on the road that long?) – “I think being away from home, obviously, is a challenge, especially for guys that have families. Maintaining focus. (You are) out of your normal element. To prepare and get your body and mind ready to go when you’re out of your normal routine. That’s going to be the challenge for this team is to keep our routine as much as we can although we’re not in this building and at home.”

(What do you see on the tape from the Chargers defense that’s a challenge?) – “I see a good defense. They’re playing really well. They’re a sound defense. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. Their secondary will make plays on the football. Up front, they’re doing a good job of stopping the run. You’re looking at a sound defense that, overall, that’s playing really well right now.”

(You’ve always said the only stat you care about is wins and losses, but with 149 passing yards last week, do you think that’s something that needs to grow for you guys to continue to play at this high level?) – “Whatever it takes. Obviously, that was plenty last week. If we need 300 this week, then that’s what we need. It’s just a matter of game by game (doing) whatever it takes to move the chains and put points on the board.”

(Is there a point in the game where you have a sense, ‘Maybe I need to carry this thing,’ or is it just kind of drive by drive?) – “I think as the game goes on, you get a feel for how the game is going. Drive by drive is different as well. We’ll figure that out as the game goes on.”

(Head Coach Adam Gase talked this week about how he does want to get WR Jarvis Landry more catches. Talk about how that happens. How important it is to make that happen and how does it actually get executed?) – “I think you can move him around a little bit to try to create the matchups you want. We’ve called plays to get him the football at times and whether it has been a protection or whatever, we haven’t been able to get him the football. It’s just a matter of as a unit, playing together as a group, getting the right defense, getting the right matchup when you’re looking for it. There were a few times last week where he got doubled whenever we were looking to give him the ball. It’s just a matter of how the game goes. Obviously, you want to get a player with capabilities like Jarvis the ball as much as you can – and get him involved as much as you can – but there’s a defensive element in there as well.”

(How well does WR Jarvis Landry express himself? Do you try to explain to him, ‘You’re doubled, so you’re opening up things for other people,’ when he comes off?) – “He gets frustrated at times, but he’s a competitor. I just think his drive to win is extremely high, and he’s very emotional. Sometimes he lets his emotions get up on him a little bit, but I think in the end, he just wants to win, wants to do everything he can to help this team win, and that’s what you want.”

(I see you go right over to WR Jarvis Landry. You guys sit and talk a lot during the game.) – “I think communication is key (and) being on the same page. (I) tell him what I’m seeing, what we’re seeing as an offense. Obviously, I have a little bit better seat of seeing exactly what’s going on out there. So, it is about being on the same page, communicating and finding answers, seeing what he likes and how he wants to get involved. It’s a two-way street.”

(Is that a fine line between being emotional but taking it a little too far? Is that ever something you’re concerned about?) – “You have to be careful. I think a guy like Jarvis (Landry) – when the guys are watching, people out in the stands are watching, the other team is watching – and you see body language, you see how guys are affected. So you always want to be uplifting to your teammates, to the guys around you and not ever pull away. I think there’s a constructive way to do that, and obviously, you don’t want to do it in a negative way.”

(Are you the only one that talks in the huddle or do guys sometimes lobby you in the huddle?) – “No. Once you step in the huddle, there’s no lobbying. You can lobby me on the sideline or in between plays, but once we’re in the huddle, then we’re on to the next play, and that’s what it is.”

(WR Kenny Stills comes out of the game in the second [quarter]. How important is he to the running game and as well as the passing game?) – “Kenny is big. He does a great job for us both in the run and pass game. Obviously, he opens a lot of things up for us in the pass game and does a great job of coming into the box and being physical. He understands what we’re trying to accomplish offensively. Having him in there, knowing exactly what to do is huge for our offense.”

(I assume you went to sleep early, but where you kind of tempted to stay up and see what Donald Trump had to say?) – “I was definitely interested in seeing what happened, but knew I wasn’t going to change it last night at 10 o’clock, so I went on bed.”

(Your thoughts after you woke up and heard about what happened?) – “I was surprised. I was very surprised that [Donald Trump] was elected. I don’t think many people saw this coming on either side, really. But here we are, and I guess we’re getting ready to experience a new regime.”

(What do you remember about Donald Trump? You met him at Doral for that Adidas thing. How did he seem to you? What do you recall about him?) – “(I had) just a brief interaction with him. He was very nice, very polite. But it was extremely brief – just a handshake and a quick hello.”

(You never thought at that moment he’d be the next President of the United States?) – “No, I didn’t think so. I remember after I went to that event, I came back and someone was like, ‘He’s running for president.’ I’m like, ‘No way.’ But here we are.”

(Can you talk about the importance of sustaining what you’ve done over the last three games moving forward?) – “I think it’s all in your preparation, all in how you handle your business throughout the week, keeping the drive, keeping the hunger alive on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday as you prepare for the game. If you do that, if you stay hungry, if you stay on top the details and keep improving, then you’re going to like what you see on Sundays. But it all comes down to attention to detail throughout the week.”

(You’ve been upright the last couple of games, the last few games. The running game we’ve seen in the last three games. How important was finally getting the projected five starting offensive linemen healthy and playing together?) – “It’s huge. I think you’ve seen the results of what can happen when they’re out there. When those five guys are in, I think we have a ton of confidence in our run game and our pass game as well, as well as being able to do play-actions off of the run. It’s huge having those guys in there. We just keep them healthy and keep them rolling.”

(What did the Chargers do to you guys last year and what do you remember about that? On defense what did they do?) – “They got a lot of pressure on us. I’d have to go back and watch the game. I’ve been studying this year’s tape, because they are playing a little bit differently this year than they did last year. I’ll go back and take a look, a quick look at that. I just remember getting a lot of pressure. We were banged up, up front. We had a bunch of guys in there that weren’t normally in there and they took advantage.”

(You guys are 0-3 on the road right now, but do you feel like you’re a different team than you were for those previous three road games?) – “Definitely. I think you just keep building as the season goes on. You keep learning, you keep growing as a team. I think right now this team has a mindset (of) we’re going to find a way to persevere (and do) whatever it takes to win. Last week it was a big play on special teams, a big stop on defense and then a big drive at the end with the offense to close out the game. As long as you have that mindset as a team of, ‘If things aren’t going well, we’re going to keep fighting, keep fighting and just find a way to win. Whatever it takes.’ That’s what you want.”

(Besides the confidence in winning, how much more has the confidence been increased going up against the No. 1 rush defense, taking them head on and go over 100 yards rushing?) – “It’s big. I think we faced three really good rush defenses in the past three weeks. At times it was tough against the Jets. We were having some tough yards there. We were getting 1, 0 yards a carry, and we just kept sticking with it, kept finding a way to move the ball. Eventually at the end of the game when we needed it, we got some big runs. I think it does build confidence for this team that we’ve rushed the ball well against three really good rush defenses. It’s just a matter of, like I said, staying on top of the details and keep improving and we should be able to run the football all year.”

(Is there a kind of a brotherly sense of getting on each other’s nerves between you and WR Jarvis Landry at different points? How often do you guys get frustrated with each other? I imagine that you get frustrated with him as well.) – “That’s part of the game. We’re both competitors. We’re both doing everything we can to win. There’s going to be times – just like you said, brothers – where he’s frustrated about something, I’m frustrated about something else. That’s just part of the game. You just have to find the way to keep working together and find ways to complete the ball and get the ball in the end zone.”

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