Adam Gase – November 18, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, November 18, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(With WR Kenny Stills, obviously he had that one bad moment early, but he’s been kind of nails since. What has he been like for you this season as one of your top three options on the outside?) – “He’s been consistent. I think the longer we’ve gone and the relationship that crew has with the wide outs and the tight ends and the running backs and quarterback, I think they’ve all had pretty good chemistry going right now. We’d obviously like to get him more involved as far as attempts, at least. I know a lot of times his throws come down the field to where the percentages will go down for the completion percentage, but I like the fact that when he is in there, that gives the defense a lot to worry about. They know they’ve got to protect versus the deep ball. We all saw what happened that one game that he goes out; now all of a sudden everybody’s kind of sitting on everything and not really worried anything coming down the field. He’s a key to a lot of things that we do in the game.”

(How much does he clear out for you guys and the underneath stuff opens up?) – “Yes. He does quite a bit of that. I know there’s a little bit of a ‘take one for the team,’ as far as what he has to do sometimes. That’s not easy to do for a wide out because every wide out is the same: they all want the ball and you know sometimes you have to do what’s best for the group.”

(Now that the California experiment is kind of over in terms of practices, what went even better than you might have thought or what was challenging that you guys didn’t really think of?) – “I think guys did a good job as far as sticking with the schedule that we had, bringing the same times we had from Miami with our meeting times (and) practice. I know we lost some time on travel and guys did a good job of taking some liberties of their own of spending extra time together, watching film and studying to where we didn’t have any setbacks as far as guys not knowing what to do. They did a good job as far as making sure that they were on pace for the game … leading up to the game. Hopefully that will pay off for us on Sunday.”

(How close to normal was the week that you were out there?) – “It was as much normal as we could possibly get it. Obviously we lost 20 minutes going to the hotel and back throughout the week; but, for the most part, it was pretty close.”

(With this offensive line, you’re probably going to maybe have three guys starting at different spots that they’re not familiar with or you are not familiar with. Does that force you to scale back anything that you have to do on offense?) – “The one thing, at least in the running game, it’s not like a secret what we’re doing. It’s not like we’re going to be able to do anything different. That’s the NFL for you as far as run game. Once you kind of establish who you are, everybody in the league knows what you are and they’re going to have their base game plan and it becomes more of an execution thing for us than anything. Pass protection wise, obviously versus this group it’s where this is a different challenge for us this week. It’s probably the best defensive line that we’re going to go against – as far as run and pass – and we’re going to have to be on it as far as assignments sounds. But at the same time, our physicality has to be great because these guys are very talented and they play very fast and their scheme’s very good.”

(Did LB Jelani Jenkins hurt his knee during the game on Sunday?) – “I think it was a combination of still (being) banged up throughout the whole year basically and then we got in the game and I think he took a  couple of shots to where it just tightened up on him and he became stiff as the game went on. Then after the game, we did our evaluation and he didn’t feel right. The next day out, it showed up to where there was something there to where we had to let him sit out the whole week. Today, obviously, he could do some stuff.”

(With WR Jakeem Grant, he had a handful of mistakes in the game Sunday. Why did you come out so strongly in favor of him afterwards?) – “Because we all know how effective he can be when things are going right. Sometimes it takes a game like that to realize what you can do and what you can’t do. Obviously, when he had that dropped punt return, that was a great example of he had a long way to travel. The guy had a great punt, and he has got to let that one go. That’s a learning experience for him. Obviously, it came at a very critical time for us, and it could have hurt us bad. The defense did a great job as far as going out there, fighting every play. It didn’t go exactly the way we wanted, but we ended up with the ball at the end of the series, and we didn’t give up any points. He has got to learn from that, but at the same time, I have a lot of confidence in the fact that when he does catch the ball and gets going, he has actually got a chance to score. When you have a guy like that, he’s going to have as many opportunities as possible to return balls, whether it’s on kickoff or punt return.”

(With RB Damien Williams, when you were evaluating what you had with him, did you envision when you first got him that this would be such a multi-pronged role, or how did that evolve for you?) – “When I first got here, that was one of the first things Ryan (Tannehill) said to me was, ‘This guy can do a ton of things, and we’re going to have to work some things during the week, because he was specialized in things in the past.’ He goes, ‘There’s more there. And trust me, on Sundays when the lights come on, you’ll see a completely different guy, too.’ The more we’ve expanded our offense, he has been really able to show me he can do everything. It’s about putting him in the right spots at the right time, getting him in the game. When it’s crunch time, he’s the guy you want in there, because he makes things happen. It’s one of those things (where) it’s hard to explain. You talk about ‘it’ factor, he has an ‘it’ factor to him. The ball finds him in the most critical parts of the game, and he makes plays.”

(QB Ryan Tannehill told you that back in the spring?) – “I think it was one of the first times I ever met with him. I asked him … I want to say I asked him about, ‘Is there anybody that you would say that probably might not show up on tape as much that you know of throughout practicing,’ and that was the first name he brought up.”

(WR Jarvis Landry is well known for him fire, and RB Damien Williams has a little bit of that too, doesn’t he?) – “I think it’s different. It’s different. One thing about Damien is (he is) very confident. That’s a guy that loves this sport. He really loves competing. He loves Sunday. He loves practice. When you find a guy that loves practice the way he does, it’s hard to find that combination, because sometimes practice – especially this deep in the season – gets a little monotonous. We try to change things up, but he always seems to be the same guy. He’s always fired up. He’s always competing. He’s always talking – talking a lot during scout team periods, giving the DBs a hard time, the linebackers. He’s a fun guy to be around every day.”

(When you called that play for him on the touchdown catch, did you know it as soon as you broke the huddle that he had it?) – “I was pretty excited when we had a chance to call that play. We knew what we wanted to do if we got that specific defense. It was all about were we going to be able to keep that ball in play? Because I think there were 11 guys on the field and a couple coaches on the sideline that knew where that ball was going. It was about not getting too excited.”

(How long have you had that in your pocket?) – “That’s part of our plan a lot of times is if we get certain defenses and we get matchups that we like. That was one of the matchups we really liked going into that game.”

Clyde Christensen – November 17, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen

(We obviously got the word about C Mike Pouncey having the setback he has had. If he can’t go – you’re already without T Branden Albert – what’s the plan for the offensive line?) – “It would be (Anthony) Steen would come back in at center and (Kraig) Urbik would go to (left) guard. We’d have to look at the backups. You always with the center have to make sure that we’re set in case of a catastrophe. That would be the starting point, and we’ll keep messing with the lineup a little bit. We’ll see. The way this year has gone, we still got a couple more showers we’ve got to take and stuff, so there still could be more changes. Who knows? (Laughter) You thought it was coach talk that first week when I said we’re going to have some versatility with our offensive line, because we got guys we’re going to have to play them in different positions, and that has turned out to be the case. We’ve banked some deposits on guys playing different positions, and I think people have to step up and go, whoever that is.”

(You were on such a hot streak with that offensive line – all the starters playing together. How do you try to keep this momentum going?) – “Hopefully, from (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase has set the tempo … The philosophy has always been, ‘Next man up,’ right? It has always been that whoever goes in has to keep playing. That’s the way it is. We have to rely that … I really do think – I tease, but I do think – that those deposits we made playing a lot of people at a lot of different positions, that was frustrating to them and to you (the media) and probably to everybody, but there’s going to be some dividends from that. It’s not a shock that our (left) guard will go out to (left) tackle. He has been playing out there. We repped him. We kept him honed up in there. Urbik and Steen have played both guard and center in there. I think that it’s not ideal – it’s a curveball – but it’s the hand we got, and we’ve got to go. I really do think we’ve prepared that way mentality-wise with Coach Gase and also practically by playing all those guys at all those different positions.”

(C/G Anthony Steen has been banged up. His ankle, he’s listed as a neck. I think he has had a leg. How do you feel about where he is health-wise and ability to perform at a high level?) – “My confidence is really high. I think he has been treating that thing. He’s sore. I really hope that it’s just like every offensive lineman in the NFL in Week (11) that (in) the second half of the season, you’re not going to feel good. That’s part of it. You’re not going to feel good again until February or March, and that’s the way it is. This will be live bullets again for the first time for him in a while, so hopefully it won’t aggravate it. Hopefully, nothing shows up there. But my confidence level right now is extremely high that he’s going to be fine (and) that he has been treating the thing. I think it does fall in the soreness category that almost everybody has something right now. I don’t discount it – it’s real – and hopefully he won’t aggravate it going up against the ‘Fearsome Foursome.’ (laughter) You guys are too young. You don’t remember the ‘Fearsome Foursome?’

(The L.A. Rams, right?) – “Yes. I grew up out here, so I grew up with the ‘Fearsome Foursome’ and Roman Gabriel and Merlin Olsen. Deacon Jones. Lamar Lundy. Rosey Grier. There you go.”

(G/T Laremy Tunsil at tackle – not much of a worry there?) – “No, there’s always a worry. Don’t get me wrong, we’d love for everybody to still be in their position and this group stays right where … We had gotten some momentum. We did have some good things going on, and we can’t get derailed. We’ve got to go. That’s the only way you can look at this thing. I have complete confidence in Tunsil. He’s a confident guy. He’s a smart guy. We’re really fortunate that he has such great football IQ that he can go back and forth, which we talked about throughout the year, that he’s really a bright guy, especially football-wise. He really does get it. I really think he’ll do a good job. This is a heck of a line to get tested on. These guys are for real. They are really good, and they’ll move people around, and they rush the passer. They like to rush five and they all turn them into one-on-ones as much as they can. So, it’ll be a test for whoever, whatever five we have out there, it’s going to be a test. It’ll be a great challenge.”

(With DeVante Parker, you guys have seen him flash spurts, a healthy Devante Parker. Where is he from a talent standpoint when he is 100 percent?) – “We think he can be one of the top guys in the league. We’ve always liked him. He shows enough … you guys get an extra opportunity, you see some of it at practice and in training camp. We see it every day, a big catch here and a big catch there. A big thing is his health, and keeping him healthy, and keeping him up at full speed, and just the consistency. We need a consistent DeVante Parker, where it’s week-in, and week-out where people fear him. He took over the game in his way last week and gave us a huge lift with that catch, and even earlier in the game. We’ve said it all along, I think he is really key to us going from solid to good on offense. I think he’s the guy, his big plays. Those are the plays that take you to whatever that next level is, one notch better. And minus those big plays makes it harder. I think we all have felt all along that if we get the running game going and then now your play action (is more effective). Jarvis (Landry) is going to make his plays – he makes them every week – and then all of a sudden now, you’ve got the two guys outside that can really run and DeVante jumping up and making a big catch. Now you’ve really got something; you really do have something. You’ve just got to get all the parts functioning at the same time and working at the same time week, after week, after week. Then we’re going to get this franchise … this offense, where we want it to go. You see bits and pieces and you see how it should happen and that’s kind of encouraging. That’s encouraging. I do think it’s helped us that all of a sudden the players, you kind of see it work. You kind of see ‘Boy, here’s what they’ve been preaching; this is what (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase has been preaching.’ We’ve all seen that this team has come together and rallied and developed a little bit of confidence that we didn’t have those first four weeks and through training camp and the offseason. It all kind of feeds off each other and we’ve kind of got to keep that going – get to where we can do it every day. That’s what pros do. You do it every single day at a high level. It doesn’t matter who you play, where you’re playing, what the weather is or any of those things. You just keep doing your deal, but we’re not there yet. We’re going to fight to get there.”

(We saw earlier in the season, when the offensive line was together, they played well, and when it wasn’t, it didn’t. Where’s your level of confidence that it’s going to be different this time?) – “I don’t know that it was the offensive line as much as we just played some bad football early. It wasn’t just them. It was the whole unit. they were certainly a part of it but they weren’t any worse than any of the other parts, any of the other components of this thing. None of it was good early. None of it. There was some bad football played. I don’t think it was them, and hopefully now everything is a little bit better. We are a little more mature. We’ve gotten (10) weeks (into the season), a few more months in this offense, where people understand what we’re trying to do. That’s huge. When you insert a new offense – I know I’ve said that to you before – but it does take time. Hopefully, there is more of a maturity level as football players (and) there’s a deeper knowledge of what we’re trying to do. I think there’s also a deeper knowledge by (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase of what everyone can do, what we’re good at, what we can be good at, when we can be good at it. So it goes both ways. I think players learning, ‘Hey, here’s what Coach Gase wants to do,’ and then Coach Gase going ‘Hey, I didn’t know we could be such a good outside zone team or this guy can do that.’ I think both of those two things together are really important. It’s both. It’s not just the players learning the offense but it’s the coaches learning what the players can do also.”

(How important is it regardless of who you put out there on the offensive line, that RB Jay Ajayi gets his touches and you don’t just give up on the run game?)  “Critical, critical. We won’t change what we’re doing I don’t believe. We’ve got a good game plan, and we know it may be the best defense we’ve played this year. We won’t change the philosophy. That part of it won’t change. Guys got to jump in and they’ve got to do their job. We’ve got to be on our mess and if we are, we’ll be right in this thing, and if we’re not, we’ll be out of it. We’ll have trouble with them. We won’t change that; that game plan is in. We’ve practiced it. We’ve had really good practices here. Guys have … it’s been not surprising, because I expect that; but it’s really been great. With the time change, we haven’t gotten worn down. There’s good energy. Coach Gase has given them a lot of free time and they’ve managed it well, responsibly. We come out there yesterday and they were humming. So we’ve had two good, fast, high-energy practices. That’s really encouraging. It’s the same as every week. We play good football, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is, and we’ll be in good shape. If we play bad football, we’ll be in some trouble no matter who the opponent is. That’s kind of how we’ve approached it.”

(Do the issues on the offensive line put more of a notice on QB Ryan Tannehill to be sharp with his decision making?) – “I think so, yes, and I think this game does. We know that, that ball has got to come out quick. We know how they rush the passer and we know their philosophy is to get their guys rolling up front. We know that we have to protect him well. He has to be a part of that protection process and get that ball out (or) pull it down and run. (He) had a huge run last week and that continues to improve slowly, but surely. Sure, we have got to get the ball out of his hands, absolutely. The best way we can do that is to run the ball well, where we can call the play-actions, where we can have the manageable third downs and don’t have to drop back there seven steps and pat the ball twice while we try to get past the sticks.”

(How would you describe C/G Kraig Urbik’s game? He’s gotten some reps this year?) – “Yes, I think he’s gotten better and better. He’s gotten more comfortable. He’s learning the offense more. We’ve moved him around. He’s played some center; he’s played some guard for us. I think he’s the steady veteran we were looking for. The good thing about these guys … (Anthony) Steen the same thing. He’s been at Seattle opening day, right? So it’s not going to be too big for them. That’s huge. That’ll end up being a blessing in disguise that he’s got some reps under (him). All of a sudden this happens and he’s got to jump in and go. But he’s been in some huge games. He’s been in some huge games for us already. Urbik the same way, he’s gotten some reps here and there, and we’re kind of into this thing. I think he’ll jump right in and really do a nice job, I really do believe that.”

Vance Joseph – November 17, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph

(What are some of the specifics you see with regards to CB Byron Maxwell. He seems like he has turned his season around. What has looked better lately than it did early in the season?) – “I think what’s better is he’s playing to the system. He’s understanding where his help is. He’s doing a better job with his technique and leverage. It’s a corner-friendly system if you play to it, and he’s kind of figured it out.”

(How do you feel like your corners have played in the last month or so?) – “They’ve played solid over the last month. Both of those kids have worked hard. They’ve improved with technique. We’ve given up very few big plays at the corner position. It’s been more concept, coverage stuff that has been exposed sometimes to force the big plays; but they’ve played solid and they’ve competed well. They’ve tackled well, both of those kids have for the last month. So I’ve been pleased.”

(Where’s the biggest area of growth you’ve seen in CB Tony Lippett’s game?) – “I would think his confidence. He’s a young corner and he hadn’t played much corner. He was a receiver in college. His confidence has gone up a lot. He believes now he can make plays. Not only being close, but going up for the ball and make the play. All spring and even some of the fall, he would be in a spot to make a play and he wouldn’t make it but now he’s trying to make plays. That’s the biggest thing with him. He’s gained confidence.”

(S Bacarri Rambo got himself some significant playing time very quickly. What did you see from him that gained that trust from you?) – “He was a very similar pick up to Donald Butler. He was a veteran player that’s played in this league, so I knew he could play, especially as a high safety on third downs for us. Once we lost Reshad (Jones), it was kind of toss up who’s going to be our high safety in a third down zone. Watching his film in the past, he was really good at that – playing the ball, having range in the high zone. He’s a smart guy. He makes very, very few errors. He’s been good for us. Same with LB Donald Butler – he’s been good for us in base downs as a Sam ‘backer once Koa (Misi) went down. So they’re very similar players – veterans who have played at a high level in the league at one point in their career.”

(With S Bacarri Rambo, he learned your defense according to your players, in one week. How does that happen?) – “Well I think it happens because he’s played some ball. In this league, we’re all playing the same stuff. We just call it different. Most veteran players come in and once they figured the certain words out, they can play. In a secondary, it’s four major coverages. It’s man. It’s zone. It’s Cover 2. It’s Cover 3. So for a safety it’s easier than a linebacker would have coming into the system. He’s played some ball. He’s been good for us. He’s made very few errors. He’s been good.”

(How did the injury affect LB Jelani Jenkins and might his injury affect who plays linebacker this week?) – “Jelani (Jenkins), he’s been beat up a little bit but played well last week. He had a club on his hand for four quarters and played well, and now he’s got a knee. If he can’t go then Neville Hewitt would play most of the base downs and Spencer Paysinger would play the sub downs. Neville has been splitting time with Jelani in base the last month and he’s played well, so I’m pleased with Neville. If (Jenkins) can’t go, Neville will play for him and we have Spencer playing the sub downs.”

(What do you think of the penalties in the defensive backfield last week? Do you think they were all legit?) – “I would say two or three were. And again, I don’t mind corners being close and playing with their hands. Sometimes it gets to be too much but I think two or three calls were the right calls. Maybe two could be … they were questionable; but again, I want guys close. I want them competing and that’s part of competing at corner. I’d much rather that than guys that are 5 yards off and not making plays and not trying to make plays. I’m okay with that. Some of it I’m okay with, not all of it.”

(DE Mario Williams and DE Jason Jones, were nursing some injuries. If you have an issue there, is DE Terrence Fede the next guy in line?) – “Absolutely. Jason practiced today for the first time this week. He should be okay. I think Mario will try to go tomorrow. If one guy is out, Fede would be up. Absolutely.”

(On LB Kiko Alonso’s game-winner the other day, what’s something that impressed you on that play that we might not have noticed?) – “Kiko, he’s a hell of an athlete. He’s popping from the A-gap and he’s playing zone coverage off a two-to-one read. If two’s up, he stays up. If two’s up and one comes under he has to drop two and come back to one. So he’s kind of carrying two a little bit and he sees one stop, so he comes back and picks the ball off and runs off with it. I mean he’s … that was a special play – a special play. The catch was really special and the run afterwards was obviously big-time. He’s been great for us. The last month, he’s played really at a high level. The Jets game to me was his best game all year. Obviously last week he had a productive day. He’s played really well for us.”

(Did you catch LB Kiko Alonso’s strut after he scored?) – “On TV I did. I didn’t see it on the field.” (Laughter)

(Did you know what it meant?) – “No, I did not. The boys told me it’s the Conor McGregor, I guess, right? It’s his postgame fight thing, I guess. He loves that stuff. Kiko loves the UFC and all of that stuff. It fits his bill.”

(Has LB Kiko Alonso surprised you at all?) – “No. I think this: as a rookie, he’s rookie of the year. That’s no accident. After that, he had two years of injuries and he wasn’t healthy, so he didn’t play as well. We got him healthy, so this is what he should have been the last two years but he wasn’t healthy to do it. Obviously we’re lucky to get him. He’s a young player still. He’s still learning how to play the position. His future is bright.”

Darren Rizzi – November 17, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi

(When you have a young player like WR Jakeem Grant go through instances and moments like he went through last week, how do you get him to clean the slate and respond?) – “I think the first thing you do is you have to make sure he knows that we have confidence in him; his teammates have confidence in him. I think sometimes a mistake by a young player can snowball at any position, not just as a returner. One of the things I said to him – once I knew he was getting kind of hard on himself – was, ‘Listen, we all believe in you. You’ve already made plays. You’ve already shown what you can do. We have to correct, improve, move on.’ That’s really the biggest thing. One of the things I always said to people is, ‘Some of the best returners in this league of all-time have put the ball on the ground before.’ Really, it’s learning from the moment, learning from the situation. It probably wasn’t a great decision to field the ball on the one that we lost. Really, that’s the biggest thing is learning from the situation, moving on, knowing that the head coach has confidence in him, his position coach has confidence in him, his teammates have confidence in him. Just keep reassuring him that, and that’s really all you can do. As I told him, there’s no one that has worked harder at that craft – that skillset – than him since he has been here. It’s going to keep paying off for him. Just like Matt Darr dropping a snap, or a guy missing a field goal – any of those things – a guy missing a tackle or a block, you have to learn from it, correct it, move on and keep going. That’s really the biggest message to him so far.”

(When you guys initially put WR Jarvis Landry back there inside the 20, was that just a comfort thing until WR Jakeem Grant gained comfort level, or was that because you felt more secure with Jarvis doing it?) – “If you look at it, we’ve really actually used Jarvis in a bunch of situations. I know a lot of people have said to me, ‘You always use Jarvis on that going-in punts.’ It’s actually not true. We actually used Jarvis a few times as a changeup. There’s no doubt we’ve used him in those going-in situations, but we have had Jakeem (Grant) back there a few times. We tried to use it a little bit of a changeup. Listen, there’s no mistaking what Jarvis has done when he has been back there throughout his three years. He has been very productive and productive this year. He was productive his first two years. We feel like any team that has multiple returners, (you) want to try to use both guys. It definitely helped the learning process for Jakeem. I think Jarvis has been a great, not only sounding board, but a great example for Jakeem as a returner, because he did it as a rookie. Here’s another guy that hadn’t done it in college, and they had very similar backgrounds. Listen, if you remember back, Jarvis wasn’t perfect either. He lost a couple fumbles early in his career as well. Again, I think we talked about this last week about learning from other people’s mistakes, and Jarvis has been great for Jakeem and vice versa. Again, it’s great to have both. At some point, we have different packages where we have them both in together. We haven’t really done that, yet. That’s coming down the road. Again, I think using Jarvis on the going-ins, using Jarvis … There have been a couple times where people have punted out of their end zone, (and) we’ve had Jarvis back there. But there’s no doubt that I have confidence in Jarvis to make the right decisions, because he has been doing it for longer, more reps, more experience, just the natural stuff.”

(How did CB Lafayette Pitts do on special teams in his first game?) – “He had a good day. He had a really good day. We slow burned him in there a little bit, but as the game went on, we played him more and more and more. I think he ended up with 17 or 18 snaps. He had two really good gunner reps. He had a couple of really good kickoff reps. I was very pleased with him. He was in on our punt returns as well. We’re going to continue to expand his role, because he really showed … The one thing that really showed up on film for him was him playing fast. It was kind of neat; we watched the game, obviously, on Monday right here in the meeting room. To watch the older guys see him on film and congratulate him like, ‘That’s a hell of a job,’ I pointed out to the younger players, here’s a guy – and I might have mentioned this last week – that has really taken practice reps very, very seriously throughout training camp, throughout all these practice weeks as a practice squad player. He got the opportunity, and he showed in the game that he could do it. I was very, very pleased with him. We recognized him; we recognized his effort. He was playing fast, and hopefully, he can continue to do that, because he can certainly be some help to us.”

(Was CB Lafayette Pitts a guy that caught your eye in training camp on special teams?) – “He was a guy that was … Every rookie made their fair share of mistakes early on, but the thing that flashed with him was athleticism, speed. He plays fast. One of the things that’s hard to coach is a lot of these younger guys will slow down when they’re thinking, and they won’t show their true ability. He’s a guy that plays fast. Even if he makes a mistake, he played fast. He wasn’t perfect in the game on Sunday – he wasn’t perfect in preseason games – but he plays fast. He’s disruptive. He has got a great temperament. He has got a great skillset. I was really, really pleased with what I saw, and we’re going to continue to up his reps.”

Adam Gase – November 17, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(Opening statement) – “I’ll start off here with, you guys probably saw on the injury report (that Mike) Pouncey didn’t practice today. He ran into some issues with the hip again. (It’s the) same one and we’re going back through the evaluation, getting him with the doctors and things like that. We haven’t ruled him out for this week at all. So we’re still trying to figure out the exact details of issues and where we’re at with that. That’s kind of where we’re at with him right now.”

(Is it something C Mike Pouncey suffered in practice?) – “I don’t know if it’s been bothering him for a while. He’s kind of one of those guys that just grinds everything out and you really don’t know anything and then yesterday he kind of pulled himself out and said he didn’t feel right. (We) pulled him out and right now we’re trying to get more information.”

(You’re already down obviously one starting offensive lineman. C Anthony Steen I guess at center?) – “We’re going to shuffle some things around. We’re working a couple of different lineups right now. We’ll try to figure out what’s the best way to go into this game with. Obviously we have a very big challenge this week with this group and we just have to figure out what’s the best lineup for us for this game.”

(Is this a situation where you could possibly rest C Mike Pouncey up until game day or would you feel comfortable playing him without practice?) – “Yes, I mean if he didn’t practice at all during the week and played on Sunday, I’d be alright with it. That’s where he’s at as far as a pro, where he can actually do that. In this case, obviously we still have some information to gather and try to figure out where we’re at for Sunday.”

(Is there any concern that this is career threatening for C Mike Pouncey in this situation?) – “I wouldn’t go that far. I mean just want to find out if he can go this Sunday and then, if for some reason he couldn’t, what’s the next step.”

(So you’re not at home, you don’t have all of your facilities and stuff like that. Do you have to go searching for an MRI place?) – “No. I mean that’s the one good thing about when you’re involved in the NFL, there’s a lot of resources and our training staff has a lot of people they know throughout the country and it’s fairly easy for us to know where to go and we have plans when you do go on the road like this of where you’re going to go if something does happen. So we have a lot of things at our fingertips.”

(With C/G Anthony Steen, where’s your comfort level if he has to start based on his performance earlier this season?) – “Very high. He did a really good job when he was in there. When you play that position, you’re really kind of the mouthpiece of the entire offensive line. You’re setting everything up. You’re an extension of the quarterback as well. He did a good job. He knows our offense in and out. Obviously for the period of time he was in there, he did what we asked him to do, and we had a lot of pieces moving in and out and he handled that fine. Now it’s a different challenge for us just because we had been on a little bit of a roll here with that group and now we’re going to have to make some changes and figure out what’s the best lineup for this week.”

(This kind of pales in comparison, but you’ve been asked a lot about CB Chris Culliver. He clearly thinks he can play, and you guys don’t seem to be at that point yet. What’s the disconnect?) – “When I’m ready to say he’s active, he’ll be active. I think that’s pretty much the last time I’m going to talk about that.”

(You don’t know right now whether C Mike Pouncey is in or out, needs surgery or doesn’t?) – “Correct. I’m talking … This is very early stages where we’re at right now.”

(With WR DeVante Parker, we’ve gone over this back and forth with the hamstring. Have you figured out what causes it to flare up?) – “I want to say he may have been a little inconsistent as far as his preparation throughout the week earlier in the season to where one week we’d have a really good week, everything was right on cue, he did everything right as far what was going into his body and how he’s practicing. I think the last three weeks, for sure, he has been very consistent. He has put himself – him and (Wide Receivers Coach) Shawn Jefferson and (Assistant to the Head Coach Jay) Kaiser has actually been involved in this too with the sports science guys – is they’re on a very strict regimen as far as what they’re doing every day. They set up his schedule to where he has been very consistent with that, and you can see that has really paid off for him, because every day looks the same. I think the fact that he has really embraced that – and he has done a good job of making sure the recovery, sleep, hydration, the way he’s eating – everything he’s doing is really paying off for him right now. He needs to continue doing that throughout the rest of the season.”

(When WR DeVante Parker is hot and cold, back and forth, does that prevent you from calling plays for him?) – “The only time that you’re trying to figure out if he’s healthy or not … That was earlier in the season, because we did have a couple games where we felt like we were in good shape leading up to the game, and then Friday or Sunday, something just didn’t look right and now all of a sudden you have to change gears to where last week, we felt good all week. And then when we hit Sunday, we were really confident that he was going to be able to be a guy that could impact the game. I feel like if we can consistently get that weekly performance from him, we script those openers or how we want to go through our red zone or third down (and) we can put him high up on the list as far as a guy that’s going to contribute for us.”

Cameron Wake – November 17, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Defensive End Cameron Wake

(Are you healthier now then you were at the start of the season? Is it the same health as you were at the start of the season?) – “Is anybody healthier Week 14 than they are at Week 1? I don’t think so. Everybody’s beat up. If you’re not, then I don’t know what kind of football you’re playing at this point in the season. It’s one of those things that go with the job. It’s a brutal game – train wreck every Sunday – and you got to recover and get back ready.”

(How important is it for you to get to double-digit sacks? You’ve done it three times in your career now. You’re on pace for it again.) – “I don’t even know how many sacks I have. I don’t count. I don’t care, really. I care about winning on Sunday and part of my job is getting to the quarterback. Obviously, that’s going to play a role in it, but a number has never been a goal of mine. I’ve never had a (thought about), ‘This many sacks I need to get.’ It’s ‘Play very well on Sunday,’ and believe me, all the rest of the stuff will take care of itself.”

(Do you look at it from the standpoint you … Since you and DE Andre Branch have become starters, you guys are 4-0. Do you factor that in at all?) – “I don’t. We’re not the only two guys on the team. There are a lot of guys out there making plays and playing hard and doing a lot of good things. I don’t look at it as him and I being the reason. I think it’s a whole bunch of reasons, and there was a whole bunch of reasons why we weren’t successful early on in the year. This has been a good run, and hopefully I can continue to add to it, and I know (Andre Branch) feels the same way.”

(Are those California cool [sunglasses] or Terminator 2? What are we going here for?) – “It’s Cameron Wake. It’s me. California Terminator. Somebody has got to do it.”

(As you stand there, you don’t know how many sacks you have?) – “I have a general idea in all the games we played, but I don’t have a specific number. Again, this is not new. I didn’t count last year, the year before that, the year before that. After one, I don’t know. I try to keep going after it. That’s the way pass rush works. Every down you go out there (and think), ‘This has to be the down I get a sack.’ Whether it’s good, whether it’s bad, you have to erase your memory, go out there and do it again. So, I erase my memory after every play, after every game and go out there and start 0-0.”

(Besides the next game, does playing in the Coliseum mean anything?) – “No.”

(Throughout your career you’ve had spurts where you go four games with a sack, four games with a sack. You are one of those right now. What is happening when you go through one of those spurts like that?) – “It’s kind of like what we spoke about earlier. It’s (having) no recollection or emphasis, the pass game, or two games ago – I don’t have that in my mind. I don’t care, and I guarantee who you’re playing doesn’t care if you had 16 sacks for every week. They’re going to come out there, and they’re going to give you every piece of what they have in their ability to stop you. Every week, I erase my mind, go back and give it all I got the next week. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, but you can’t have that success or failure affect the next play or the next game, because if you do that, then you’ve already lost.”

(Does food taste better during a win streak?) – “No. Food tastes the same. Win or lose, you have to have the same kind of mentality, same kind of approach to the game. I don’t like up and down. I try to be the same guy every week, whether we won by 50, lost by 50. You got to have that same process, go out there and eat the same delicious salads, whether it’s a win or a loss.”

Laremy Tunsil – November 17, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Guard/Tackle Laremy Tunsil

(They’re moving back to your old stomping grounds at left tackle) – “It’s a nice opportunity like the Cincinnati game was. It’s a nice opportunity to play left tackle. They moved me to guard. But like I said, it’s a nice opportunity to play left tackle (and) hold it down for Branden Albert.”

DT Ndamukong Suh

“’L.T.’ (Laremy Tunsil) in the building! Turn up!” (laughter)

G/T Laremy Tunsil

(You go against this guy right there? Get a little work in?) – “All the time. (Ndamukong Suh is) one of the best at the game. It’s nice going against him.”

(Is it like riding a bike, like they say?) – “I don’t know why coach said it like that. It’s not that easy. It’s a lot of hard work and preparation to play left tackle. As a matter of fact, the whole offensive line – it’s not like riding a bike. It’s going to be a tough challenge. They have good players on the other side of the ball.”

(The techniques and stuff, you have to work on it to get it back?) – “Always. You always have to work on it. I’ve been playing left guard the whole season and moving back to left tackle, you’re kind of rusty. So, I have to get back in the groove.”

(Does your week of preparation change at all playing left tackle?)– “No, it’s the same way. I always prepare hard for (the) week of  (a) game. Playing against the Rams, like I said, they have good guys on the other side of the ball.”

(I forgot that you played tackle in a game this year. Since I don’t remember it, it must not have been too bad. How did you do?) – “I think I did pretty good. (There are) always mistakes you have to fix. That’s part of the game. You’re always going to mess up. I had a few mistakes, and I’m trying to work on fixing those mistakes.”

(When you learned that T Branden Albert was going to be out for a while, what was your immediate reaction?) – “I just have to hold it for Branden. I just have to hold it down for him.”

(Is the game beginning to slow down for you?) – “What is this, the tenth game? No, that’s not slowing down at all. It’s the same. It’s the same way. It’s just a little bit faster as always. But like I said, preparation always comes with it.”

(What’s the toughest transition going back out to left tackle as opposed to being at guard?)– “Your hand is not in the dirt, and you’re out there on an island with the defensive ends coming up the field fast. So, you just have to get back in the routine.”

(Which one is harder to play?) – “I say both of them. Both of them are pretty tough. A lot of people don’t understand that, but both left guard and left tackle are pretty hard to play.”

(We’re not sure if Rams DE Robert Quinn is going to play, but have you looked at some of his pass rush moves just in case?)– “Yes. Like I said, there are some good players over there on the other side of the ball. Their whole defensive line is stacked. There are some good players, so it’ll be a good challenge for me if he does play.”

(What is DE Robert Quinn’s go-to move?) – “Up the field. That man is fast up the field. He’s a good player. They have Aaron Donald; he’s a good player. Eugene Sims. They have a nice d-line unit up there – physical, fast. They’re tough.”

(What will be important for you and C/G Kraig Urbik – being as he’s right next to you during the game – with communication? What will you guys need to talk about?)– “Just communication – what we have on this play, what we have to do on this play, if it’s a drag call or not. It’s communication. We’ve played together before; we’ve played together in practice. Communication is the main thing.”

(How many snaps would you say you get at left tackle per week?) – “A week? Probably one. When ‘B.A.’ (Branden Albert) was there, I probably got one snap at left tackle. (I was) more focused at guard then.”

Jarvis Landry – November 17, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry

(How much confidence does the team have in G/T Laremy Tunsil at tackle?) – “An extreme amount (of confidence) in his capability and the hard work that he has put in to have the opportunity to play guard or tackle or wherever his team needs him to play. His versatility is what helps us.

(Do you have any curiosity factor about playing at the Coliseum?) – “No, it’s just any ol’ stadium for me. (I am) excited to see the venue, of course, but it’s just any ol’ stadium.”

(You, obviously, took the losses tough. You’re very competitive guy. Now that you’re on a four-game winning streak, how has your life changed? Is it better getting up in the morning? Is it easier going to work? How has it been?) – “I love what I do, so it’s always a joy getting up in the morning. But it feels that much better when you have a streak going like we have, and you’re a part of something special like this. I haven’t felt this feeling about a team that I’ve played on in a long time. To have the guys next to me and competing at a high level and winning like we are, it’s something that definitely picks you up out of bed in the morning.”

(What’s special about it?) – “The camaraderie. The chemistry. I’ve been on teams where you may win, but you still don’t hang out, the guys don’t hang out with each other, (are) pointing fingers. This team is definitely a team that sticks together, and we all have each other’s back. I think that has made us the team that we are.”

(How would you characterize the confidence level of the team right now?) – “Extremely high. We’re going to try and carry that momentum into the rest of the season.”

(On a team where you never know who’s going to be the star of the show, that does it matter. It doesn’t matter at all, does it?) – “It doesn’t, and that’s the beauty about this team. It doesn’t matter who’s the star. It doesn’t matter who’s making the plays. All that matters is that we win the games. When your number is called, you step up to the challenge.”

(How does that come about? Because like you said, you’ve been on teams where guys point the finger. How has that come about with you guys?)  – “You have to understand that it’s bigger than you sometimes. In cases, when you want to be part of something great – when you want to play on great teams – it is bigger than you. Sometimes it takes you sacrificing not catching 10 balls a game, not catching touchdowns or not having the opportunity to run the ball. But at the same time, when you unselfishly do these things to make sure that the team’s success comes first, eventually you’ll get yours.”

(So, you’re not coming back to the huddle like, “I’m open. I’m open. I’m open”?)– “No, it’s just next play. One-play mentality at a time.”

(You’ve been through injuries before, but nothing like WR DeVante Parker has been through. What’s it like to watch him in that journey back from the foot and then the hamstring?) – “I was a part of the whole process watching him try to recover, watching him come in early before everybody and try to get treatment, stay later and make sure that he got the right recovery and right hands on his body that he needed. To see him having the success that he has been having the past couple weeks, it’s everything. It means everything to our offense – but also to our team – that another weapon has transformed and stepping up.”

(What can a healthy WR DeVante Parker bring to this offense?)– “More big plays like we saw on Sunday, like we’ve been seeing for the past couple weeks. More big plays and another chance, again, to have another weapon on the field that will allow us – myself, Kenny Stills, the tight ends, the running backs – to get in the passing game and have success.”

(I know you play hard, but do you maybe want to stop trucking a couple of guys that are a little bit bigger than you, maybe try to do that little move that you did?)– “That’ll never happen.”

(You hit somebody like you hit Bills S Aaron Williams like you did last week on a run. What was different with that play?) – “I actually don’t recall that play, but I have no comment about it, honestly.”

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