Transcripts

Mario Williams – December 20, 2016 Download PDF version

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Defensive End Mario Williams

(What feelings have been running through your head going up to Buffalo?) – “Win the game. That’s the biggest thing. We need to win one game at a time, no matter who the opponents are. I’m not the type of person to be hooting and hollering about anything else other than us winning the game.”

(Have you gotten comfortable with your role with this team yet?) – “Yes. Well, not really in the sense of: I’m used to being completely healthy and not having hiccups like that but it comes with the territory. It comes with the NFL. A lot of people have been asking what’s going on with my body, ankle, foot or whatever. I don’t want to know, so I can’t give anybody an answer. With the way things are going, the team is playing great. We definitely could be better. We’re definitely not satisfied with anything we’re doing until (it’s) 100 percent; but the biggest thing I can say is the camaraderie. It’s my 11th year (in the NFL) and I’ve never experienced anywhere in my 10 years. The biggest thing for me is just being able to go out there and just do what I can. The coaches, trainers, everybody knows the situation and what’s going on. So I just have to go out there and try to push it.”

(What makes this different, or this atmosphere different compared to the other 11 years?) – “That right there [players having a good time in the locker room]. You have guys that have fun, don’t get me wrong. Then you have guys, or teams with guys, that don’t have fun. But this, everything we do is fun. You’re into it. You look forward to playing for this coach, that coach, whatever – this player, that player. It’s not just two players, five players, 20 players. I can account for probably at least 35, 45 or 53, which is what you need. I think that’s why the feeling is so different, because everybody’s always around, besides guys who might have surgeries who aren’t around here. But everybody is … We’re all in it.”

(Is that why … this staff has made some pretty tough decisions throughout the year and veteran guys might be like ‘Dang,’ but everybody has accepted it) – “Yes, because I know at the end of the day I can trust ‘Coach T’ (Defensive Line Coach Terrell Williams), ‘V.J.’ (Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph) and (Head Coach Adam) Gase. My biggest thing is that they are understanding. It’s one of those things that you have communication or a talk with somebody and you feel like, ‘Alright, I don’t understand what he’s saying. Or he doesn’t understand what I’m saying.’ But it’s just totally different. Across the board everybody is 100 and straight up with what’s going on in the situations. I think that’s why, not just myself, but a lot of guys are understanding how everything is rotating around and how things are going.”

(Do you think it might feel strange at all walking into that stadium on Saturday as a member of the visiting team?) – “It could be. I’d probably go into another locker in the situation, or another locker room. I’ve never even seen that (visiting) locker room; but other than that, like I said, just like everybody else and myself, we just want to win this one game. That’s all that really matters. There’s nothing else that can tie into it.”

(What can you do to improve the season that you’re having?) – “I’ve just got to keep pushing. At the end of the day, like I was saying earlier, I don’t know what’s what physically with the situation. I don’t want to know because I don’t want to be thinking about it more or whatever. But I’m just trying to find a way. That’s the biggest thing. Just keep pushing, just keep going. We’ve tried different things, obviously – not playing,  playing. I’ve just got to keep going. Otherwise, it’s the end of it.”

(Did they ever think about maybe shutting you down?) – “I did. I didn’t play … What game was that?”

(I meant for the season.) – “No. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to do that. No matter what – the role or whatever – right now, I don’t want to … No, I don’t want to just bail out of that because … No, I’m not going to do that.”

(How do you rate your satisfaction level right now? Is it where the team success is the overriding thing?) – “Regardless, it is. You can ask me that any season if you were with me, it wouldn’t matter. I’m not a stat guy, personally. It could be … You could say I have a great year this year. You could say I had a bad year or whatever. If I had a good year and we won one game, that’s what matters. I’ve always said that. Stats are definitely somewhat representative of situations, but the atmosphere and what’s going on, that’s the most important thing.”

Adam Gase – December 20, 2016 Download PDF version

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(CB Xavien Howard played 68 snaps Saturday. I’m sure that’s more than you anticipated. How did he respond afterwards?) – “He seems to be good. We didn’t have any setbacks. He looked good, at least from my perspective. We were happy that there wasn’t next day, (he didn’t) have any kind of issues. There’s nothing that came about it. I think we’re in a good spot with him.”

(What did CB Byron Maxwell’s MRI show?) – “We’re still looking at that right now as far as what we want to … kind of where we’re at. I haven’t really sat down with our guys. We’re just trying to figure out if we’re going to have the ability for him to go this week. So we’re working through that right now.”

(How about LB Jelani Jenkins? Are you optimistic that he can go?) – “I think it would be tough. It’s just, every game he’s trying to battle through things, and we just have to be careful putting him out there where he really can’t defend himself. We could obviously tell his change of direction wasn’t what it’s been in the past. I know he’s trying to give us everything he has and put the team first. We probably just have to be very careful with that.”

(The Pro Bowl announcement is tonight and I trust that’s the furthest thing from you mind, but which of your players do you think has played at a Pro Bowl level this season?) – “That’s hard for me to … it’s hard to say. I feel like so many guys have played at a high level. There’s a reason why we’re in the position we’re in right now with winning games, and especially the last nine games. For me to stand on the table for just one guy, that would be hard to do because there has been so many guys on both sides of the ball and special teams that have done a great job. A lot of times, it’s really your peers is really what a lot guys do care about, to find out where other coaches and players feel like where they rank. I know guys feel like that’s an honor when they are selected.”

(How much does that matter to you when … especially in free agency, when you’re going after … If a guy has that Pro Bowl designation, does it make a difference?) – “It’s hard to rely a lot on that because when you do get voted in, in that first wave, I think there is something to that; but when the way that it kind of has gone – in the last I don’t even know how many years – where you have so many alternates going, it’s hard to really determine where really that value is and to say, ‘Hey that guy is a Pro Bowler.’ I don’t know how much you really weigh on that. You go so much off of film and really what you see and the production the guy has had over the years.”

(Regarding all of the big plays your team has been hitting. First, does it surprise you that you’ve hit so many this season? And second, are you seeing a change in the way people are defensing you because of that?) – “I don’t think it surprises me, just considering the skill guys we have. We do have some speed on the outside and DeVante (Parker)’s a bigger body that can go down the field and go get balls and Kenny (Stills) has got unusual speed. I really haven’t had too many guys that can do what he does. That last game was a prime example. When Matt (Moore) threw that ball, I wasn’t sure really if (Stills) was going to get there; but he took it to another gear. You can actually see it on the film of he’s rolling pretty good, but when he saw that ball up in the air, he went and really accelerated on that. We’ve had some run-after-catch as well. Jarvis (Landry) has created some explosive plays on some short throws. It has been a little mix of everything and I think guys have done a good job as far as when they have an opportunity to make plays, we’ve made them. We’ve missed out on a couple at the same time, but the quarterbacks have done a good job of giving our guys a chance to go get the ball.”

(In takeaway/giveaway differential, you’re plus-5. I think over the last nine games, you’re plus-11. What does that allow you to do as a coach? Does that give you comfort? Does that allow you to say, ‘I know we’ll produce a turnover,’ or how do you use that?) – “I think every team is trying to accomplish the same thing, and that’s get turnovers and protect the football. That’s really the starting point for all of us. When you do have a defense that seems to have a knack for getting the ball, creating short fields and really stealing a possession, that’s how you have to look at it. That’s ideal. When a team does get on a roll, you get flooded with them. When you go through those streaks where you don’t get as many, you really feel it, because the game has a different feel to it. On offense, it’s that unselfish mindset of being aware of where you’re at in traffic, how are you protecting the ball, what are you doing, what’s best for the team at the time. Sometimes you get towards the end zone and guys want to reach the ball out, and we’ve seen plenty of times when balls come out and you get touchbacks or turn the ball over. I feel like our guys have done a good job of being mindful of holding onto the football and protecting it. At the same time, when a ball has gone on the ground – you saw last week – we put a ball on the ground, but we had four guys around the ball. That’s what you want. These guys, they’re pursuing the ball.”

(We talked since the spring about the transition from tackle to guard, guard to tackle. C/G Kraig Urbik is swinging between guard and center. What are some of the challenges of those two positions inside?) – “You’re controlling everything when you’re at center. You’re the starting point, and there’s a lot of communication that goes on. You’re dealing with both sides of the line. When you’re at guard, you’re really focused more on what what’s going on, on your particular side. There’s a lot more on his plate. You have to think very quickly. When the quarterback does change something, that changes what you’re doing, and you have to have a response to him very quickly. There’s not a lot of time. When the quarterback changes something on you, usually it’s very low on the shot clock, and you have to move quickly.”

(How did C/G Kraig Urbik do?) – “He did a good job. Anytime that you get a guy that hasn’t done it a ton and gets thrown out there, that’s really the first thing that you’re looking for, ‘How was the communication up front?’ And then you go to the next stage of that, which is protection, run game – those types of things. He did a good job.”

(What can you tell us about LB Trevor Reilly – who you signed yesterday – and what he can bring?) – “We felt like he was a guy that would fit into our program and contribute, whether it be on defense or special teams. He was a good fit for us. Our personnel guys are always looking throughout the league and seeing if there’s anybody that could fit into what we’re doing this late in the season. We felt like he was a guy that could help us out.”

(In the run game, C Mike Pouncey hasn’t been there, I guess, the last five weeks. RB Jay Ajayi’s yards per carry has gone down. I know one man isn’t responsible, but is that a big hole in the run game not having C Mike Pouncey there?) – “Anytime you lose one of the best players in football at their position, it’s never easy to replace that guy. We all have to do a good job of stepping up. We have to do a good job as far as what our scheme is. We want Jay to consistently do what he has been doing, and he hasn’t changed one thing that he has done. We don’t want him to get frustrated, because we haven’t quite got the results we’ve been looking for. He has stuck with what we’ve been telling him, which is big for him to do, because it’s easy to go off on your own and try to gain yards on your own, but we need him to consistently do what he has been doing. We need everybody to keep doing their job. We’ve run into some tough defenses. That’s not one of those things that’s a hidden secret. We’ve got another one ahead of us this week, and I’m sure they’re going to be ready to do whatever they can to stop the run. Rex (Ryan) has always done a great job as far as making sure his guys are ready to go. That’s going to be the No. 1 priority. They’re going to try to stop the run and make us one-dimensional. That’s what most teams have tried to do to us throughout the last nine games.”

(RB Jay Ajayi is obviously still running hard. Do you think his body has held up as well now as it was earlier, where you could rely on him for 20-plus carries if you have to like the 200-yard games that he had?) – “He does a good job of making sure that he’s maintaining his health. He does a lot of things extra. He has taken some big shots, but he’s built for this. He’s a big man. When you stand next to him, and you realize how thick he is, he’s a strong guy. That’s how he runs. He’s a physical runner; but at the end of the day, that’s what he has been doing. This is his job, and he understands the impact he’s going to take. I think that’s the part of the game that he likes.”

Mario Williams – December 20, 2016 (Conference Call) Download PDF version

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Defensive End Mario Williams Conference Call

(Any thoughts about making a trip to a familiar place up here in Buffalo and facing your former team?) – “Not really. It’s not like … We played the first time already. I think the biggest thing is, my only thoughts that are going through my mind as well as everybody else’s is just trying to win one game.”

(Bills CB Nickell Robey-Coleman says they are a better team than you and they’re going to prove it Sunday. What do you think of that?) – “I don’t think anything of it.”

(What has the experience been like for you playing on a team now that is contending for a playoff spot?) – “The first and foremost things that I have experienced here is the players, the coaches, just the camaraderie and everybody being open and just having fun. I think the biggest thing is buying into the whole situation – the whole scheme – and just having fun with it and just getting after it. Like I said, it all boils down to just trying to win one game.”

(Is that to suggest that maybe it wasn’t fun last year? Or that people weren’t buying into everything?) – “No, I’m not suggesting that. I can’t suggest stuff for anybody else or even anything in the past.”

(Is it any different there? You seem to be upbeat about your situation in Miami. Is it any different there than it was in Buffalo?) – “Here in Miami, the biggest thing is it’s just a great atmosphere. It starts from the top to the bottom with our coaching staff all the way down to our players. We really enjoy coming into work every day and we enjoy being around each other and going out there and practicing and everything else that goes with it.”

(What can you put your finger on as to why your production hasn’t been maybe where it was in the past?) – “I think the biggest thing is starting off in the year, I had a concussion. I had this and that. I had certain things come up and dealing with things now, just like everybody does. That’s on me. At this point, I’m kind of in a position to where I have to push through to get out there and mix it up and try to help the other defensive ends and so forth – the defense – as far as going out there and playing a football game right now. It’s something that everybody has to deal with certain things throughout the season and this is just the situation I’m in.”

(How do you expect fans in Buffalo to react when you go on the field for the first time?) – “I have no idea. My biggest thing is I can’t expect anything or point my finger on what anybody’s going to do. That’s not me.”

(It seems that maybe you – you talked about it – you don’t feel that some of the personnel last year fit Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan’s scheme. Was there any rift between the two of you?) – “I can’t really recall any of that as far as a rift or whatever, because that situation is in the past, and I moved on from that a long, long time ago.”

(Is there any part of you going into this game … As you said, it’s important to get the one win, but a win here would eliminate the Bills from playoff contention, and whether you’re aware of it or not, Rex’s job is very uncertain. Would you take any pride in contributing to that – knocking the Bills out of it and possibly him out of a job?) – “No. I would take more pride in winning the game for us, for the Dolphins fans, for this organization, for the players who come out here and put in work. I’ve seen it with my own eyes the dedication that they’ve put into this whole thing. That’s’ the only thing I would like to see.”

(How excited are you at the prospect of playing a playoff game for the first time? How motivated are you by that possibility?) – “I’m motivated just as much as I would say I’m motivated to go to the playoffs the first game of the year, because in order for us to get there, we have to win the game we have right now. We have to take care of this one game, no matter who the opponent is. Like I said before, we want to win this one game and so do I.”

(What do you miss the most about Western New York?) – “I can’t really say. I’m engulfed in Miami and engulfed in what we’re doing down here.”

(So you’ve just cut Buffalo out of your mind? Any different than you would have when you left Houston?) – “Say that again?”

(So Buffalo is no more part of your life any more than what Houston was when you were with the Texans?) – “I can’t say that, but you’re asking me this question right now during football season. That’s not a time to sit there and think about something else. It’s like (asking), ‘How many ex-girlfriends have you had?’ Are you going to tell your girlfriend that? (laughter) ‘I miss that girl. I miss this girl.’ Come on, man.” (laughter)

(How many of the guys here do you keep in touch with?)  – “Jerry (Hughes) and Marcell (Dareus) for the most part. Every now and then, I get a chance to talk to them and talk about life. Jerry and Marcell, they talk about their children and things like that.”

(You’re on the other side, but what do you make of the season. I don’t know how familiar you are with LB Lorenzo Alexander and what he has done for the Bills pass rush.)  – “I have no clue.”

Matt Moore – December 20, 2016 Download PDF version

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Quarterback Matt Moore

(What is it like to know you control your own destiny?) – ”That keeps the message simple. We’re just focused on one week at a time. That’s the message again this week. We’re in here and working to win one game. That’s kind of the mentality we’ve had. I’m sure it’s the mentality we’ll keep.”

(You’ve been here long enough to have a Rex Ryan team ruin your season. Are you familiar with all of those opportunities that he’s played spoiler?) – “I’m sure if you bring them up, I can recall; but, that’s this league. The league is competitive. Anybody can ruin or make a season at any time. Again, we’re focused on ourselves and working to get better for this week.”

(What did you learn about yourself in that last start – your first start in five years?) – “It’s been awhile and you can go out and still play and execute and make the plays that need to be made. There was some good stuff. There was some stuff to learn from. Stuff like that.”

(What surprised you about that game last week?) – “I don’t know. I felt pretty good. We were pretty prepared. I don’t know if anything really surprised me.”

(You had former Dolphins RB Larry Csonka tweeting about you Saturday night, drawing comparisons to the perfect season team when QB Earl Morrall came to the rescue. Are you too young to be flattered by it?) – “I know enough about it and that’s obviously a nice comment, for sure. That’s pretty cool.”

(Was there a part of your game where you felt more of the rust than any other part of your game?) – “Maybe early on. I think we completed the first ball but we started a little slow, I think. I wish that wasn’t the case, but we kind of got into a rhythm there, I think in the second quarter.”

(So mentally there was no rust?) – “I really felt good. (It’s a) credit to the coaches for the preparation and practice. I really felt good. The guys around … The guys on the offense were doing a good job executing so it went pretty smooth.”

(This team hasn’t had a lot of success in Buffalo. I think the last time you won there was the 2011 season. What do you remember about that game and why is it so hard to win up there?) – “It was snowing that game, I remember that. You’re right. Somebody just told me that today, it’s been awhile. Look, it’s a competitive division. That’s a tough place to play. It comes down to execution. In the past, we haven’t executed very well. Hopefully that’s not the case this time.”

(It’s been kind of a road block for you guys. In 2013, if you beat them, you’re in the playoffs. Would it be all the more rewarding to get through them to get into the playoffs?) – “Again, it’s a one week at a time mentality. We’re not worried about the past; not worried about the future. We’re worried about right now.”

(How do you assess where this team is in terms of big-play capability?) – “Well, we had a couple of them the other night so I think the opportunities are there whenever. Again, it comes down to execution. When you get the chances to take those shots, we have to hit them. I think we have the guys that can make those plays and hopefully we see more of that.”

(How much has the respect-the-run factor, when they stack a bunch of people up there, allow for the big play?) – “Credit that to the o-line and the guys running the ball. They want to load the box and it only gives the guys outside better opportunities. That’s a big part.”

(Is there a key to throwing an efficient and effective deep ball?) – “I have no idea. I don’t know. You have to have the right coverage and the right matchup and let it go. If you’re talking mechanics, I’m sure there is; but I can’t break that down for you.”

(You seem to put a lot more air under the ball…) – “I’m sure a lot of coaches will tell you that. ‘Give them more air and it gives the receiver time to adjust.’ That’s all I’ve got for that.”

(Do you expect Buffalo to do anything crazy different, or Head Coach Rex Ryan just does what he does?) – “He’s always had good teams – good defenses. They’re going to have a package, I’m sure, that they’re going to believe in and they’re going to execute it well. Then again, it falls on us to execute and answer. (He’s a) good coach (and they have a) good defense.”

(How do you like the fans up there?) – “The fans? They love their ball up there. It’s awesome. It’s a great atmosphere. It always has been.”

(I imagine your phone must have lit up on Saturday night. What was the message that had the most special part in your heart? Like is there somebody who reached out that you hadn’t heard from in a long time?) – “There was a lot. It was good to hear from old coaches. (Former Oregon State Head Coach) Mike Riley texted me, which was nice. My old high school coach (Dean Herrington) texted me, which was pretty cool. Then, obviously, friends and family and everybody was excited, so it was good.”

(Did you get to talk to former Dolphins and Jets QB Chad Pennington on Saturday? He was at the game.) – “I did not. I heard he was at the game but I didn’t get a chance to see him.”

(You’ve been around TE Dion Sims for a while. Is he the same player he was when he arrived or how has he improved? Where have you seen the progression?) – “I think just all around, he’s gotten better. He was put into some positions last week, obviously, where he could make some plays; and that was good. But the guy is a grinder. He works, so it is no surprise that he’s only getting better and is going to get better.”

Adam Gase – December 18, 2016 Download PDF version

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(I believe you are No. 2 in the league right now in terms of point differential from halftime through the end of games, including overtime. What do you attribute that to?) – “Slow starts and then picking it up. (laughter) I don’t know. It’s something that we actually talked about. What if we actually got something going in the first quarter, how different maybe some of these games would be? A little bit has to do with our coaching staff doing a good a job of making some adjustments. Our players are coming out energized and taking advantage of anything that they saw in the first half. (We’re) just really playing four quarters. I think our guys are in great shape and they stay aggressive and they don’t let a couple of bad things early affect them.”

(Do you ever go Knute Rockne on them at halftime?) – “Not really. That’s not my style. Guys do a good job. They get themselves juiced up pretty good.”

(How far along would you say CB Tony Lippett has come as a cornerback from the beginning of the season to now?) – “He’s done a great job as far as staying with what he’s being coached to do. He’s fought through little adversities. He had some rough games and he’s had a couple of times where people want him out of there, outside our building, and kind of given up on the fact that he was a wide receiver that went to the other side of the ball. He struck with it. He practiced hard. He practices hard every day and he tries to get better and he competes and then every week he’s gotten a little bit better. This last game was a good indication of why we like him over there. His ball skills are unique for a corner, and when he gets his hands on the ball, he usually brings it down.”

(Did the game tape show you anything about QB Matt Moore’s game that by the naked eye you didn’t realize or appreciate?) – “No. I think it was pretty much what we thought it was going to be as far as we were going to get some unscheduled plays and he did a good job staying with what we talked about all week. They did do some things that surprised us a little bit. They were a little more aggressive on third down than I think we anticipated; but we took advantage of it.”

(Speaking of that, Bill Parcells, he used to always speak about when a team wants to bring heat on third downs or they want to blitz you, you make them pay every single time, as teams actually relish that. Is that kind of the mindset that you’re instilling over here as well?) – “A little bit. Every game is different. Sometimes you can be aggressive because guys are sitting on the ball or sitting on the sticks or they’re pressing you. Sometimes guys, they bring everybody, but they play soft and they’ll let you catch a ball in front and just hope they can tackle. They’ll get you underneath the first down. But yesterday was a great example of they were being aggressive and playing tight enough to where we had an opportunity to go over the top.”

(How did C/G Kraig Urbik’s play at center compared to what you’ve been getting with C/G Anthony Steen?) – “He did a good job. It’s hard to compare one game. (Anthony) Steen did a lot of good things for us in the games that he played. Yesterday was just … There are some growing pains there and guys are getting used to playing with each other.”

(We’ve seen examples of guys that become special teams demons and make careers out of it. Was that a conversation you ever had to have with S Walt Aikens in terms of saying you might not have a lot of defensive snaps but if you focus on this or did he know that naturally?) – “Walt (Aikens) just … Basically whatever opportunity he gets, he’s going to take full advantage of it. We encourage all our guys, whether they’re on special teams or defense, to make sure they can contribute as many ways as possible and Walt’s (Aikens) the kind of guy that if he gets an opportunity on defense, you’ll get everything he has. If special teams is his role for that week, then you’re going to get something from him.”

(As far as the run defense is concerned – obviously, you’ve had some difficulty there – what are some things that need to be done to make sure that’s right?) – “You have to keep working on your fits and (have) all three, basically – the d-line, linebackers and the secondary – everybody fitting it together. We’ve had a lot of moving parts going in and out, especially the last couple weeks. We get starters back and then we lose a guy. Sometimes it becomes difficult. It’s no different than when we talked about the offensive line trying to get those guys some chemistry. It’s the same thing on defense. You’re just trying to play off each other, and we keep having all these moving pieces. That’s one of the reasons why we struggled. We’ve got to try to find a way to play together. Sometimes it becomes tough. When you’re playing a team that has us covered up pretty good and then they get to that next level, we have to make sure we get them down the first time.”

(LB Jelani Jenkins spoke about communication. Do you think guys moving in and out of the lineup is a big part of why the communication might not be …) – “Sometimes. Every play is like its own little story, and it’s hard to say it is just one thing. You try to clean things up as far as fast as possible. I think at the end of the day, if we can get better at making sure we’re consistently tackling on the first hit – and we get that guy down – you’re going to see a lot of these yards, really, go away, because now you don’t have yards after contact. Now all of a sudden 4 yards, it’s becoming 12. If we can avoid some of that, we’ll be in better shape. We have to make sure that we get that first guy down. It’s tough, because I think we set a record yesterday for most guys playing in hand casts. (laughter) It has kind of really affected our tacking ability. (laughter) But I love the fact that our guys are … They’re selling out. They’re giving us everything they have. We have to make some improvement here in the last two games and prevent these guys from getting shorter gains becoming larger gains.”

(Has TE Dion Sims shown you anything different than you saw in September or early August?) – “It has really been the same. Every time he has been out there, he has contributed. Yesterday, he really lucked out a little bit on those touchdowns. He wasn’t really primary, but he was (in the) right place at the right time and made a play. He made a great catch on that third down in the corner of the end zone and then did a great job as far as what we were asking him to do on the route with … That ball was supposed to go to Damien (Williams), but he did a good job as far as being in the right spot after the initial read was taken away, and Matt (Moore) did a great job of finding him. Then he made a great adjustment on that ball down the field. Once again, that wasn’t really what we planned on throwing. When I saw him turn over there, I was like, ‘Where’s this going?’ That’s the fun part of calling games. When you get some new guys in there, it kind of becomes some street ball sometimes, and it’s fun to be a part of.”

(You spoke in March about wanting to see consistency from TE Dion Sims. Has he sort of exceeded your expectations at all?) – “No. It’s basically what he has been all year. We lost him there for a little bit with some injury, but he has been consistent. He has done a really good job run blocking. He does a really good job (in) pass protection. He has really excelled in the passing game, because I think it’s opportunity. He has gotten some opportunity. He hasn’t been used as just a blocker. Ever since that New England game when he caught that one ball where he was going across the field and made a great catch on third down, he showed everybody, ‘I can run. I can catch.’ There are a lot of things he can do to contribute.”

(You get a convincing win on the road, in the cold, new quarterback, stakes higher than this franchise has been around much the last few years. With all that, what pleases you the most about what you saw?) – “I think the fact that our guys, they stay with our process. Once again, somebody goes down, everybody rallies around them, and they step up their game. You have a guy that comes in that hasn’t played in five years – hadn’t started in five years – (and you have) a guy like Jarvis (Landry) taking a 5-yard pass and going 66 yards for a touchdown. Just little things like that swing the game so much: Special teams stepping up, blocking a punt and scoring a touchdown; defense finding multiple ways to get turnovers; a guy like ‘X’ (Xavien Howard) coming in and absolutely playing as well as I’ve ever seen him play since he has been with us. (There were) just guys stepping up all over the place. You don’t hear our guys putting our head down and being upset if a guy goes down. It’s that rallying cry of next-man-up, and guys have embraced it, and they have done a great job with it.”

(Do you find yourself marveling over DE Cameron Wake, or do you just come to expect that you see it every day?) – “It’s one of those situations where … I hadn’t been on the other side of the ball against him a lot over my career being in a different division in the AFC. I had always heard about him, but being able to see him day-in and day-out, watch how he prepares, watch how he takes care of his body, watch how he practices, and then when you watch him in a game, in my head, I almost feel like he has got like 30 sacks, because I feel like I see him doing his sack dance like five times a game. The guy is unbelievable. He finds a way to make huge plays at the most critical situations of the game. He’s one of those great players that has that ability to where he knows it’s the right time where something amps up in him and he makes a play. That’s what you need out of your playmakers.”

(You mentioned about calling the game for QB Matt Moore. Did it turn out to be the game you expected to call for him?) – “Yes, pretty much. It felt right. It was … There are still some things that I’m trying to learn with him that’s different than Ryan (Tannehill) and it does take a second. Trying to figure out the little ins and outs of how he thinks and how fast he can go or wants to go, how he calls plays, what he does at the line of scrimmage. Every guy is a little different. Some guys process things in certain plays different than another quarterback, so you’re always trying to figure out what’s the best thing to allow him the most amount of time. Do shifts work? Do they not? There’s a whole bunch of little tiny things that you’re always trying to figure out what’s best for that quarterback.”

(WR Jarvis Landry, the cornerback on the touchdown, the cornerback is playing inside leverage and he’s still able to get where he wants to get across the DBs face. How is it that he’s able to get where he wants to on the field whenever he wants to?) – “He knows where the guy is supposed to be. He’s supposed to be outside. So he forced the guy to jump outside, panicked the DB and once he crossed his face, that was basically, if he broke that tackle, then it was him one-on-one with the safety. We were waiting for that one. We were hoping we’d get that coverage and we did. I think everyone on our offense knew where that ball was going. It was just a matter of how far he was going to take it.”

(I’d like to ask you a two-part question on replays. First, what is your process for determining when to throw the red flag? And second, at one point, actually for most of the game last night, you were 2-for-2 in challenges and yet you had one challenge remaining. The Jets were 0-for1 and they had only one challenge remaining. Do you like that system or do you think that should be tweaked?) – “Whatever the system is, it is. I’m not one to really worry about changing rules and things. Whatever they say it is, it is. I’m not here to waste time on that. As far as the challenge goes, we have a pretty good system. I have a lot of confidence between (Assistant Special Teams Coach Marwan) Maalouf and (Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren) Rizzi, as our discussions. It’s really easy for the access that we have to where they kind of follow me on our lines to where I’m able to call plays, and especially on offense, that’s where it can get a little dicey for me to where I’m trying to call plays and at the same time, I’m trying to figure out what’s the right thing to do. You’re trying to do two jobs at the same time, so your mind can be going a little bit all over the place. Those two guys are great to be around because we constantly are communicating during the game, but we talk about it a lot outside of Sunday or Saturday, where if something happens to somebody else, we’re always having those discussions and it’ll be brief but Maalouf does a great job of keeping me updated on situations around the NFL to where, ‘Hey, did you see this happen? Hey, I’m going to send you a cut up. So take a look at this. Just so you know if we’re in that situation, what we’re looking at.’ So those guys do a great job as far as keeping me on track during games and that communication has been critical for us this year.”

(A little off track, but going back to when you put your staff together, you and Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph don’t have any background together do you?) – “Yes, we were in San Francisco together in 2008.”

(So you got to know him then?)- “Yes, we were both … I was an offensive assistant. He was a defensive assistant.”

(Did you guys sleep last night?) – “A little bit. Not much.”

(When did you guys get in? 4?) – “I think it was 5 (a.m.). So, (it was) fun.”

(You’re so focused on the next game, the next task at hand – laser focused. Your team seems to have taken that firmly, but the same time is there any excitement over what you’ve achieved? I mean to be 9-5 after 1-4, is there any moment of, ‘This is exciting!’) – “I think you know what my answer is going to be right now. (laughter) It’s just wasting paper here, the internet. Whatever. (laughter) That’s been a great thing that our players have just embraced is let’s just focus on what we’re doing right now. We play until somebody tells us not to. We just need to stick with that mantra.”

Matt Moore – December 18, 2016 Download PDF version

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Quarterback Matt Moore

(On the team’s performance yesterday) – “We’ll see from the tape, like I said, coming up in about a minute or so; but it’s good. The vibe in the locker room and the vibe with the guys is good and we just need to keep it going.”

(Was there a sense, at some point, where you thought this is going to work out really well?) – “I think the blocked punt kind of sparked everything. It kind of got us rolling as a team. I just knew at the point we needed to kind of keep the gas pedal down and keep going. So that was probably the point.”

(Did you wake up feeling fine? Physically?) – “I feel good. Yes. I got hit a little bit, which hasn’t happened in a while; but it feels good to feel that way.”

(Is it possible your best pass last night was 1-yard to TE Dion Sims?) – “(laughter) Yes. It was a heck of a job by him in making the play and scoring. But that was good, yes.”

(What did QB Ryan Tannehill say to you after the game?) – “He was just fired up. He just said, ‘Congrats. Good job. Go get another one.’”

(How does high end speed, like WR Kenny Stills has, help an offense?) – “Yes. It’s big to have a guy like that. It’s hard to score from long distance and he seems to make a habit of it, so it’s good. But it causes trouble for the defense. You love it when you get those opportunities to throw it downfield that you have a guy that can go get it, so it’s good to have.”

(Is part of the fun here now that the stakes are ramping up every week, especially when you win?) – “Yes. I said it last night, we’re focused on one week at a time. I think guys understand the opportunities that we have, but we’re one week at a time, moving forward.”

(Why is this team so successful in the second half of games?) – “Guys just keep playing, keep fighting. I think they do a good job … we do a good job of adjusting, both offensively and defensively. I think we’re well-conditioned, that’s kind of been a theme all year for us. (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase has kind of preached that. So I think all of those things play into it.”

(Does it help that this team, and your teammates have said this during the week leading up to this, that they believed in you? Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen called you the Pied Piper, guys follow you. Was there a sense of, ‘These guys believe in me, I can get this done, I’ve been out there before, it’s not going to be an issue?’) – “Yes, I was confident. I think I have a good pulse of the guys and how they feel, and even if I didn’t, I’d probably fake it. You know what I mean? (laughter) That’s just kind of how I went into it. But I felt really good and I knew the guys felt good, so it was a good way to start it.”

(What’s the significance for the team having clinched a winning record? If anything.) – “I don’t know. I don’t know how to answer that. The season’s not over so like I said, we’re one week at a time. When it’s all said and done, we can figure out the significance of the season then.”

(Because it is late December and you’re in the thick of the playoff race, how different is this for you than the other times you’ve been a starting quarterback?) – “I don’t know. I don’t feel any different. I can’t think about the outside world and the numbers and the matchups and whatever it’s going to be. Again, I’m just focused on reviewing this game and moving on to Buffalo, and that’s my focus.”

(Do you want to keep it the same as always?) – “I do.”

Byron Maxwell – December 18, 2016 Download PDF version

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cornerback Byron Maxwell

(With the ankle, do you feel any better?) – “Yes, it feels better. It feels good.”

(Are you hopeful that you’ll be able to play next Sunday or is it way too early to tell?) – “It’s way too early to tell. We’ll know more as we get more information. I just had the MRI, so we’ll know more today.”

(Is there concern that it could be more than just a sprain?) – “I have no idea. I’m waiting for the information.

(Do you need any help in terms of walking like a crutch or are you able to put pressure on it when you’re walking?) – “It’s a little tender right now but I’m able to walk on it.”

(What did you see from CB Xavien Howard in his first game back?) – “I saw a kid that wasn’t afraid of the moment. He understood what he had to do when he got in and he was ready. When his name was called, he was ready to ball.”

(What did you tell him after the game?) – “I was just proud of him. He stepped up. That’s what the team needed and that’s what you need, though, when you’re trying to go where we’re trying to go.”

(You definitely need that depth at cornerback anyway, don’t you?)  – “You need it everywhere; but, yes, especially there. I look at the Denver Broncos, they’ve got three or four guys that can be called upon – as far as in the secondary – that can play. So we definitely are trying to be that type of team.”

(It looked like the secondary was really aggressive in reading where QB Bryce Petty was going and jumping on some things.) –“Yes, there were a couple times where if he just threw it, Xavien (Howard) probably would’ve had a pick. I remember on a slant, if he just threw it and let it go, it was probably going the other way.”

(How much better a player is CB Tony Lippett than the day you arrived here to now?) – “He’s leaps and bounds better. You can see the game starting to slow down for him. I think him having that offensive background is definitely helping him. He knows our guys running routes. He knows splits. He’s a guy that you can tell, just by talking to him in meetings, that he’s starting to understand the game and it’s starting to pick up for him.”

(Speaking of Denver, are you going to find yourself watching their game today since obviously it affects you guys in terms of playoffs?) – “Yes, I’m not sure. I think it’s like … What did they say? It was Denver? We need Denver to lose or something like that?”

(At some point, yes.) – “I’m just going to watch a whole bunch of football this Sunday to just get to relax.”

(So are you a New England fan today?) – “No, I’m not a New England fan.” (laughter)

(For three hours you might be.) – “I don’t know. Could a tie help?” (laughter)

(You guys are playing more vision coverage. How has that helped you guys to be able to read the quarterback’s eyes and react to the football?) – “It’s definitely better. It’s a chance to make plays and break on the ball. So it definitely helps to get your eyes back to the quarterback. Things happen. You’re thinking very opportunistic when you get your eyes back.”

(And when the defensive front is getting pressure on QB Bryce Petty like that and the ball has to come out quickly, is that also a help for you guys?) – “Definitely. I went back and looked at (Ndamukong) Suh and guys like  Cameron Wake, I’m just amazed at them. I was looking at Suh, it was on … You go back and look at the TV copy, and he reminds me of a Reggie White-type. He was just so … I’m looking at him and I’m like, ‘This dude is huge.’ So it’s great to be a teammate of these dudes. They’re great guys. You know they’re going to get pressure on the ball. You know what they’re going to bring to the game every week. I feel great to be behind them playing with those guys.”

(I believe you guys are +53 in point differential in second halves and overtimes, which is No. 2 in the league. Why is this team so successful in second halves? What’s going on at halftime or whatever that gets you where you need to be?) – “Yes, I think it’s definitely halftime adjustments. We just focus on finishing better than the other team, and we train harder, I think. We’re smart when we’re training but we definitely … At least me, I try to take it to the edge every time I’m out there at practice. You can tell it is starting to pay off. We’re more conditioned when we get to the fourth quarter and we feel stronger. It’s like, ‘Time to finish.’”

(I imagine sometimes over the last few months, you’ve been up against WR Kenny Stills in practice. What does he do for an offense, not only in terms of having a deep threat, but what he can do to make defensive backs of opposing teams maybe not be able to concentrate on shorter routes against WR Jarvis Landry and WR DeVante Parker?) – “Yes, like I said, he’s the deep threat. So it’s good to always have that guy in your back pocket. You can throw it 40, 50 yards down the field and change the game in the blink of an eye. So that’s always good for offense to have that threat and be able to change field position.”

(Is he one of the few fastest you’ve covered in practice or games?) – “Yes, when he goes, his top end speed is up there with the best.”

(Is there a sense the stakes are getting greater with every week now?) – “Yes, that’s definitely what it is. But you embrace that. That’s December football. That’s where it’s at. That’s normal for a team that’s trying to go where we’re going. So we embrace that. That’s cool.”

(So with that in mind, to see the way the team responded last night, how much confidence does that give you going forward?) – “It’s a lot of confidence. We have one … We have Buffalo right here, an away game. We have to take care of them.”

(More cold weather.) – “More cold weather. It’s not true. It is what it is. They have to play in it too.”

(You’ve played in cold weather quite a bit. Was there any talk about it this week?) – “No talk. We’re not making giants of small stuff. We didn’t worry about it. Like I said, they have to play in it too. It wasn’t an issue. (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase didn’t bring it up one time.”

Jay Ajayi – December 17, 2016 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Saturday, December 17, 2016
Postgame – at New York

Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi (as transcribed by the New York Jets)

On how it feels to reach 1,000 rushing yards on the season…

I think that probably after this season when I look at it, it’ll probably sink in a little bit more than it is right now, but just knowing how much it takes to get to 1,000 yards, I’m appreciative of the hard work that everyone has put in collectively, o-line, receivers, tight ends and myself included, just to be able to get to this point. So, I’m grateful.

On whether it was frustrating to run the ball against the Jets’ defensive line…

Yeah, it was tough today. I mean, it’s not excuses. I don’t really care if they stack the box or not, I always try to produce and that’s my mindset. It wasn’t what we are capable of on the ground, but we got the win and that’s what matters.

On his teammates having to calm him down when he got frustrated…

Like I said, I don’t really care. All I see is just trying to make plays and make things happen.

On how good it feels to come to New York and get a win…

This is huge. These are games that are very meaningful right now, division games, trying to make the playoffs and we’re in the hunt for it. We need to win games like this and we handled our business tonight. Now we’re onto the Bills and we’re going to make sure we do the same next week.

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