Transcripts

DeVante Parker – November 27, 2016 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Sunday, November 27, 2016
Postgame – vs. San Francisco

Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver DeVante Parker (transcribed by David Norwood II)

(You’ve been playing for this offense as far as being the guy who stretches the field, and kind of come back on passes if they’re a little bit off target, things like that.) –  “I feel good with that. Anything that helps out the team, gets the wins. It’s going to be out there.”

(Your last three games were so back injury aside today, you looked like pretty good. How have you been physically as far as being full speed, being able to leap, things like that.) –  “I’ve been feeling good. Just been getting treatment every day, come in early for treatment, I’ve been staying on top of that. I’ve been getting it done.”

(And then the play you landed on your back, what exactly happened there?) – “Just jumped up and landed on my back, my back was just hurting.”

(Were you able to come back, were you wanting to come back, or was it clear to you that you wouldn’t be able to?) – “I wanted to come back, but I just couldn’t.

Jay Ajayi – November 27, 2016 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Sunday, November 27, 2016
Postgame – vs. San Francisco

Miami Dolphins Jay Ajayi (transcribed by David Norwood II)

(What can you say about this team just the way the team has been winning – now defense, last week offense last minute?) – “Resilient, at the same time we definitely don’t want to put ourselves in those situations. We need to find ways to close out games better but we still find a way to win and that’s all that matters.”

(Been a bit of a struggle running the ball today, what was the difference?) – “Just got to go out there and get what you can get. They did a good job. They got good players over there. It’s tough but at the end of the day we got the win.”

(What’s it like seeing this team take on a six game winning streak? Seven hasn’t been done since 1985.) “It’s huge. We know the goal we want to get to at the end the season and we’re taking the steps to do that, winning these games, stacking them up so I think we have a really good mentality, good mindset, we just have to finish the year strong.”

Leonte Carroo – November 27, 2016 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Sunday, November 27, 2016
Postgame – vs. San Francisco

Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Leonte Carroo (transcribed by David Norwood II)

(Was that something you dreamed of growing up scoring an NFL touchdown and did it feel like the way you thought it would?) – “Of course, it’s everybody’s dream who wants to go to the NFL and soon as I got in there I actually thought there was a flag on the play or something. Because I actually looked back and I didn’t see anybody running towards me. I was like, ah I hope it didn’t get called back and then Kenny (Stills) was the first person to greet me in the end zone and he gave me a hug, and I was just very excited.”

(That made the score 31-14 at the time. It looked like it was comfortable as it turns out it was a big touchdown. Does it make it even more special?) – “That just goes to show you never know what can happen in this league. You have to continue to go out there and make plays and like I said just have that next man mentality, just go out there and finish. We did a great job, credit to the offense, defense, and special teams. We all worked off each other and played hard.”

(Seem like it’s been a while since you got significant action on offense, what were your emotions like when DeVante [Parker] went out and you went in?) – “Just go out there and continue to help the team, continue the success. The offense was rolling. Just because DeVante went down doesn’t mean that we have to stop as an offense or Head Coach (Adam) Gase has to be afraid to call plays my way. That’s exactly what we did, he got the ball in my hand and I was able to make a play.”

Kiko Alonso – November 27, 2016 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Sunday, November 27, 2016
Postgame – vs. San Francisco

Miami Dolphins Linebacker Kiko Alonso (transcribed by David Norwood II)

(First off, talk about that last play. What did you as you were tracking 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick down?) – “I was just sticking on my guy, and then it looked like he was going to take off and run, so it’s just vice tackle with me. I think it was me and Jelani (Jenkins).”

([You] made a couple of big plays today – the interception, the fumble recovery. Talk about your day today.) – “People are going to say I have a big day, but those … (Byron) Maxwell stripped that fumble, so that was a great play by him. I think it was (Bacarri) Rambo who broke that pass, which was a great play. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

(Talk about this turnaround – after this 1-4 start – where you guys are at right now.) “We’re just taking it one game at a time. We know that, obviously, it’s not going to be easy, and we just have to keep grinding.”

Cameron Wake – November 25, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, November 25, 2016

Defensive End Cameron Wake

(You were always very selfless in being a team guy when you were coming off the bench earlier this year. But has starting again – obviously during the whole duration of the winning streak, it’s been five games it’s not new – is it fun for you, is it rewarding, is it fulfilling to be a starter after starting the year on the bench?) – “No.”

(It genuinely makes no difference to you whatsoever?) – “No. Winning is the only thing that matters. Never has being a starter… It makes no difference. Contributing to the game makes a difference. Winning the game is what makes a difference. Starting is kind of silly to me. Starting the first play of the game, what significance is that to the outcome?”

(Snap counts have been a discussion this year with you. Is there a certain level that you feel like energy begins to decline? If you get to 45, 40.) – “I don’t know the number, but I’m sure there’s a number there. That’s no different for any other football player on the planet. That’s just the nature of football. What that number is, I don’t know but I enjoy playing.”

(Have you felt the energy depleted at all at any point, late in the game?) – “Yes, for sure. My rookie year, I felt depleted – last year, this year, this game. I don’t know any player who plays with the same level of energy on the first play and the 85th play. I’m not different than any other football player.”

(With a guy like 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and the kind of athleticism he brings to the game, how much is edge setting and containment a priority?) – “It’s always going to be a priority. We’ve played some mobile quarterbacks over the season. Making sure we contain them is always going to be a high priority, but to change our focus, or to change what we do, that’s not going to happen either. We’re still going to attack, we’re still going to go after it, and you’ve got four, or five, or six guys at the point of attack. The goal is to get him on the ground. We’ve done our job in the past and I wouldn’t expect that to change this week.”

(When they have a designed run for the quarterback, how much of a challenge is that?) – “I would enjoy getting after him, and getting a chance to hit the quarterback. He’s running, it’s no different than any other guy who gets out of the pocket. Their veil that they have in there is now no longer in place. I think a lot of guys are looking forward to that. Whoever has the ball – running back, quarterback, wide receiver – on this defense, we’re going to attack.”

(Is it actually easier to stop a quarterback on designed runs as it is when a quarterback is not really … when it’s not scripted?) – “I don’t know if it’s any easier or harder. To be honest, he’s a good athlete. An athlete with the ball, whether it’s planned or not, their job is to try to get yards and make you miss and it is difficult football. That’s what it is, you’re playing against the best in the world, and he’s one of them. We’re also the best in the world. It’s just one of those situations where we’ve just got to do our job better than they do.”

(What would you say to DE Dion Jordan who returned to practice this week and looks like may have an opportunity in front of him still?) – “I’m a guy who is a large advocate of grasping the opportunities that you have. Obviously my story has been spoken about many times; but you have a chance, whatever it may be, you have to have a laser focus on taking that bull by the horns – whether it’s off the field, studying in the classroom – when that opportunity does present itself, you are going to have to be as ready as possible. I’ve spoken to him many times and I think he knows that. I wouldn’t expect anything but for him to be ready when that chance comes.”

(Do you see the same athlete in past years that you saw in DE Dion Jordan’s [first week of practice]?) – “We haven’t seen much, obviously, aside from a couple drills in practice. He knows the situation. Getting the opportunity to get out there I think is great for everybody – him and us as a team, as a defense, a d-line. Knowing him and knowing what he can do and what he can bring, he’s a tremendous asset. Again, I hope that he gets all the details worked out, whether it’s rehab – again, I don’t know all the stuff – but whatever he has to do to get back on the field, I think he’ll be able to help us.”

(Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph has talked a lot about talking to the defense about speaking truth to power and holding everyone accountable. Do you feel like that message of truth on every given play when you reevaluate things has helped this defense become what it is now?) – “Definitely. This is not a place for sugarcoating and feelings and emotions. It’s the reality. If you’re good enough on the play, you’re good enough. If you’re not, you’re not. You should want to hear that as a man and as a professional. When you do good, you should want to know about it. When you don’t do so good, they should be able to tell you. I think that from the coaches – and from other players as well – has been something that has gone on for weeks and weeks now. You have to be man enough to hear the truth and correct the mistakes you’ve made and move forward. I think that’s something, again – you said that coach has talked about it – but that’s the only way to be, and that’s the only way to be successful.”

(The 49ers coach Chip Kelly, he has this vast interest in nutrition, health and sleep and all those sorts of things. Coach Gase actually mentioned that he visited with him, talked about some of that stuff. Is there something that the Gase administration has brought in that you think is different or new or helpful in terms of helping the players have maximum peak effort?) – “We have a whole sports science department. Those guys are not really football gurus, but their whole job is to maximize your output on Sunday, whether it’s nutrition – we have nutritionists – sleep – we have guys come and talk about that – and even a guy who talks about max-load, and we wear a monitor. We have a lot of stuff going on, but at the end of the day, you’re a professional. You have to know what’s best for you on Sunday. Nobody can tell you more than you can tell yourself. Obviously, you guys know me, I’m a big advocate of all those things. I think those are untapped resources as a whole. We all go and lift the heaviest weight we can, and we run on Sundays, but are you going to bed on time so your body can recover? Are you putting the right things in your body? This is your vessel, so (it is about) making sure you put the right fuel (in) and don’t poison your body. Those (are) things that maybe guys don’t take advantage of, and we’re trying to make sure that we do that so we can gain those advantages on Sunday.”

(The whole thing about – it’s a bit of a cliché – but creating a winning culture. Do you look at that as a cliché or do you feel that that has happened here?) – “It’s to be seen. We got a lot of football left to play. I think, obviously, we have made steps in the right direction, obviously, with the way things have been going the last few weeks. I think guys will continue to get the confidence and notice that, ‘Listen, when I do X, this is what happens,’ or ‘This is what creates a win,’ or ‘This is what helps me feel better on Sunday, so that in the fourth quarter, I can go out and close out games.’ I think with that knowledge, hopefully the snowball gets going, and that’s where you get those things. But that’s probably a question you can ask me maybe at the end of the season. I look forward to this week, playing and putting another win in the column for the good guys.”

Jarvis Landry – November 25, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, November 25, 2016

Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry

(We know that red jersey wasn’t your decision this week, right?) – “No, definitely not.”

(How are you feeling?) – “I’m good. (I am) taking it day by day, taking all the necessary things that I need to do to make sure that I’m as close to 100 percent (as possible) for Sunday.”

(Did you fight them on the decision to put the red jersey on?) – “No, I wanted to. I wanted to, but obviously, (we) just want to make everybody aware. Obviously, for me, when I get out there, my competitiveness takes over, and it would be silly to hurt it or whatever again.”

(Did you have to stop yourself at some point this week and remember that you’re wearing that jersey?) – “No. The coaches did a good job of reiterating that to the guys who were guarding me and who I potentially run past or something like that. They did a good job.”

(Was this the first time in your career [you’ve worn a red jersey]?)- “Yes.”

(Going back to LSU?) – “Yes, first time ever.”

(How much do your teammates give you crap about it?) – “They give me a little bit. But for the most part, they didn’t mind it.”

(QB Ryan Tannehill said that you used the word “fun” this week to talk about Head Coach Adam Gase’s offense. What do you think about Coach Gase’s offense that makes things fun?) – “The way that we attack teams, the way that we try to scheme on teams, and it allows every guy to be in a different spot. You can never really pinpoint … I can speak for myself particularly (not) being the slot (receiver) always. There are plays where I’m the outside receiver or the third guy inside. It gives you that free range to be put wherever, and it allows you to run a lot of different routes. That’s the best part about it.”

(When you line up across different parts of the formation like that, what kind trouble does that cause for a defense when they have to find you and have to locate where you are first and foremost?) – “It can be a problem. It can be a problem if they prepare for me to be the number two, and I end up being the number three. But obviously, those teams find ways to make solutions and adjustments. And that comes when other guys like DeVante (Parker), Kenny (Stills) – the way Jay (Ajayi) has been running the ball – those guys start making plays, and it allows them not to be able to do that anymore and then come back and start get it going again.”

(Would you call it a difficult offense to learn?) – “It is difficult, but we have great teachers. (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase is a great teacher. (Assistant Wide Receivers Coach) Ben Johnson and my position coach (Wide Receivers Coach) Shawn Jefferson – those guys are great teachers. This whole staff, they do a great job of making sure that everything is set and ready to go – every detail – when we get in here on Monday and Wednesday.”

(Is it terminology that makes it tough or a lot of details?) – “Things are constantly evolving. We don’t really do much that translates to the next game. We have a different game plan every game.”

(When we saw you on Sunday, you were having trouble walking because of the cramps. How was that flight home?) – “It was good. (I) got a couple IVs in me before we left, and they made sure they filled me up with water and Gatorade and stuff like that. The training staff, they took care of me.”

(How long did for that to subside? When did you start to feel better?) – “About to the plane. Probably when we got off the bus to get on the plane is probably the time I started walking straight.”

(Has cramping been an issue before?) – “No, not really. Not really.”

(And it wasn’t even that hot on Sunday.) – “No. I think it was the grass from the rain, and I was drinking less, because it wasn’t as hot and still running the same. So obviously, things happened there.”

(Obviously, you’ve been around for a while. What can you put that is the difference with this team as opposed to other Dolphins teams?) – “The mindset. (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase came in, and he’s trying to establish a culture here, a winning culture. When you go into games not hoping to win, but expecting to win, it breeds another type of confidence through the guys that take the field. We’re definitely extremely confident and motivated right now.”

(At what point was the first point you saw that difference?) – “The difference probably came after the Titans game. I think we got the bye (week) to self-reflect and look at what we have done. Being in a tough spot – obviously, a spot we put ourselves in – and looking back over it, we knew we had to try to take a different step. We started taking the right steps, and it has been working lately.”

(You mentioned that you had great teachers as far as teaching the offense and things of that nature. The guy is not here all the time, but Chris Chambers, what has he brought to the table whenever he’s out here with you guys?) – “He came in training camp and through OTAs, and he helped out a lot. He helped out a lot just with releases, technique catches – little things that made him special. My thing with him, he was a fun-loving guy, and he continued to push us. He took time out of his day to come and make sure that we were straight, and that says a lot about him.”

(When you talk about technique catches, what exactly?) – “Over-the-shoulder catches. A lot of the times, you look at receivers (and) they always leave the ball inside. That’s when DBs have the opportunity to make plays. So, technique catches, protecting that throw and catching over your outside shoulder. A lot of people don’t work on it.”

Adam Gase – November 25, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, November 25, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(We noticed G/T Laremy Tunsil practiced again today. How has his week gone and how likely do you think he’ll be able to play tackle?) – “It’s going to be a game-time decision. We’re going to have to wait until Sunday and then we’re going to have to work him out and just see how he feels. At this point it’s more, like I said yesterday, it’s a mobility issue. It’s going to be a pain tolerance issue. We just got to keep going with the trainers and the doctors, everybody just checking their box and he’s got to feel good about it.”

(If G/T Laremy Tunsil were to play, would it be at the tackle position?) – “Yes. I mean it looks like it, unless all of sudden ‘B.A.’ (Branden Albert) feels good enough to where he can go. It’s just like one of those things. He hasn’t even been out there yet. It’s hard for me to say, ‘Yes, all of a sudden we’ll have a miraculous recovery.’”

(Is T Branden Albert one of those players where – you put C Mike Pouncey in that category – where you wouldn’t need to see him in practice to play him?) – “Absolutely. When you have a guy that’s a veteran player and he’s been through this quite a bit, he’s able to take the knowledge in the classroom and just go out and apply it to game day.”

(QB Ryan Tannehill said the other day that your offense is really fun to play in. I’m wondering what you think of the attributes of a quarterback-friendly offense?) – “I think because that’s the guy that really has to steer the ship. Not all of the time where he’s the main focus as far as have to make every play and do everything within the game. Obviously, when you get the run game going and you can get the ball in the receiver’s hands quickly, those guys really take over the game and you don’t have to do as much. A lot of people say game-manage type things. But when you have the ability to be flexible within the week, maybe from week-to-week, depending who you play, and the focus does start becoming on the passing game and controlling the line of scrimmage. Maybe it’s a no-huddle, whatever it is, 2-minute operation. That’s when that guy really has to step up and make plays and when a guy feels comfortable in that – in the system that you’re running and the scheme you have up for that week – it makes my job easier. Obviously if they enjoy playing in it, it makes life a little easier because guys are always looking, ‘Alright Wednesday, what do you got for us this week?’ And then they feel like they’re a part of it, which our guys are very … They’ve gotten to the point where they’re not afraid to make suggestions. They’re not afraid to say, ‘Can I run it like this?’ The more we can get that going, the better chance we have to improve.”

(What’s one thing about QB Ryan Tannehill this year that surprised you and would surprise us?) – “I don’t know if it would surprise you guys. I think his toughness, his ability to stand in there. It’s almost like a no-fear attitude where he knows he’s going to get hit and just, he’ll stand back there and make the throw. I think that has been a very impressive trait. I know it cannot be easy by any means to just know you’re going to get whacked pretty good and you still have to make an accurate throw. Really, at the end of the day, nobody cares when you do get hit. They just expect you to make the throw. That’s a quality that you’ve got to have something internally to be able to do that.”

(That’s something that doesn’t obviously show up when you look at his numbers in the paper. Can you see just how much better he makes this team by having that inate quality?) – “I think there’s been some – whether it be a touchdown pass or a third-down conversion that kept us going or kept us score points – that if he doesn’t do some of those things where he stands in there and takes a shot, we don’t get those plays. I think guys respect the fact that he’s sacrificing for them – a little bit of his body – to make those throws.”

(Do you not cringe at times?) – “There have been a couple that were pretty … Any time anybody gets around his legs, that’s a little … You just never know what’s going on there because if you bend a certain way … We’ve seen it in the past, right? You’ve seen quarterbacks not be able to get up from some of those. Any time you see a defender go at somebody’s head, especially with the quarterback – you’re defenseless – that can be a little scary there.”

(You’re going to say I’m jinxing you but the fact he has never been concussed is something that’s astounding to us because of the hits he’s taken. You would think at some point he would get a concussion.) – “Yes. It’s just one of those … You just never know in this game. Sometimes guys have a long streak of nothing ever happens to them and then I’ve seen guys that once it happens … We’ve seen that once it happens once, if you don’t take the proper time to recover and go through the proper protocol steps, that’s why they’ve changed the rules. That’s why the rules are what they are now, to make sure that there’s not multiple (concussions). That’s why we go through all the tests and we take the precautions we do to make sure if something does happen to a guy, we can get him back at the right time; but that it doesn’t occur again. I think that’s a good thing for our players to just know we’re trying to put their safety first and then worry about the football second.”

(Where does this team’s chemistry compare with other teams that you’ve been on and how do you read that year to year when rosters change in and out?) — “It’s hard to say we’re all the way there because I think every day’s a learning experience for a lot of our guys. This is our first time we’ve gone this route together – all of us coaches, players, front office, staff members. It’s hard to compare to anywhere else that I’ve been, because like in Denver, we were together for a while and we got some things going. We had some changes in personnel and that kind of changed some things as far as the dynamics of the team chemistry. It’s always hard to compare because it is, it’s such a year-to-year deal in the NFL. That’s what makes this league as interesting as it is and that’s why so many people love it is the fact that once you start the new season, last year is wiped away. No one cares. No one cares that you won a Super Bowl last year because the next year you’re expected to do it again and you have to develop the same chemistry. So you have to start over almost. Are there some familiar faces? Absolutely, but it’s still new guys coming in. You’ve got to bring those guys along. You’ve got to find a new bond with that group.”

(In your opinion as a coach, how much does good chemistry, bad chemistry have to do with winning and losing?) – “I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that when guys love playing for each other, that gives you that little bit of an edge in a good way. When things aren’t quite right, that’s when you see things get torn apart. That’s why I love where we’re at. We’ve gone through a lot of struggles early in the year and some of it was that we played some good teams; some of it was we didn’t perform the way we needed to. Just to see our development throughout the year and watch guys try to fight for each other and do everything they can to give ourselves a chance in the fourth quarter to win, it’s been great to see guys who really embrace our process.”

(Do you think those struggles are what molded you as a team?) – “I think at the end of the day we’ve still got six games left, but I think it did. It did help us get to where we’re at least at right now. We went through a lot of adversity. I think last week was a great example of what we did earlier in the season and built through those beginning games was able to help us go through this last game where the defense was doing a good job of just holding those guys as much as they could and the encouragement we saw from our defense to the offensive players and special teams, they constantly (said), ‘Hey, keep this drive going. Get a first down. Let’s get this thing rolling.’ I think that helped because when we did get in a situation with 6 minutes left, there wasn’t frustration on the defense’s part. They had confidence that the offense was going to score, we were going to stop and get the ball back and we were going to give ourselves a chance.”

(A question on CB Xavien Howard. How did he look in his first week of practice in about six weeks and how encouraged are you that at some point this season maybe he’ll be able to help out?) – “To start, I can’t predict when or if he’s coming back some part of this season. Obviously, we’d all love for that to happen; but we’re going to really lean on our medical people and him to let us know when the right timing is. As far as how he looked, I thought it was about right for what he has had to do the last few weeks. You get out there, you start doing some different things movement wise and anytime that you start getting around other players and you’re going against a guy, it’s just a different feel for him. I know he’s one of those guys that he’s always going to work as hard as he can to try to get himself back. He’s trying to get that feel back and we’ll just see how it goes here in the next few weeks.”

(WR Jarvis Landry wore that red jersey all week. Is there a concern?) – “We were just trying to be cautious as far as guys not – him and Spencer (Paysinger) we did the same thing for. We didn’t want any unnecessary contact. Obviously the way Jarvis – you know how he plays – he gets enough contact during a game. We’re just trying to be smart. It just seems like the way he practices and the way our scout team defense practices, which is very … They try to make our guys feel like it’s a game. It’s very competitive, which is what we want, and we were just trying to make sure that we didn’t have a setback there during practice and not have him available for the game.”

(So you’re not overly concerned for Sunday?) – “No, it was more of cautionary thing for us.”

(What has enabled S Bacarri Rambo to come in and contribute the way that he has and know so early on?) – “I think experience and the fact that he’s a very smart player. I think there was a hunger there. We’ve talked about it. The great thing that he has brought was he hadn’t played and just when he came in there and just the way that he talks to the other guys on the team about, ‘Hey, I promise you. You don’t want to be on the other end of this thing. You don’t want to be on the street. You don’t want to be a free agent looking for work. You want to be on a team.’ I think he’s done a great job as far as not being shy about expressing the fact that he’s happy to be here. He’s happy that he gets an opportunity to compete and I think he’s made the most of every opportunity that we’ve afforded to him. We gave him a shot to get in there and show what he could do and he took advantage of that.”

(What’s intriguing about 49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly? Going back to Oregon, and I’m sure you looked at a lot of different concepts and some folks have tried to use some parts of it throughout the NFL, but what do you think when you look at what he has done?) – “He has always been a guy that I’ve looked at and admired from afar. I spent some time up in Oregon after he left and came to the NFL. (Former Oregon Offensive Coordinator) Scott Frost is a good friend of mine, so I spent some time with him going up there and talking through a lot of the things that they were doing up there and an idea-exchange thing we put together between me and him. I always liked, not just what Chip did as far as a schematic deal, but how their whole operation was as far as the sports science thing. I was starting to get interested in that. So, we tried to take a few ideas in that aspect of, ‘How do you take care of players? How do you get guys fresh enough for the game, but still practice hard?’ and things like that. Even some of the teaching methods that they have and how they go about keeping guys engaged. That’s the hardest thing in this league now is we do have a lot of young guys. The game has changed over time, and there’s a little bit of … It’s a different style with the iPads and phones and all these things. The way guys go about their business nowadays, it’s completely different than at least what I remember when I first got in the league. So, you have to find different ways to teach guys. I thought they did a good job up there as far as finding those ways and getting their guys going through, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s the phone,’ (and) doing things as far as their body goes (and asking), ‘Are you hydrated?’ things like that, ‘Did you sleep well?’ I thought all that stuff was very interesting to me.”

(San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly was in Oregon and you were where?) – “I was in Denver, but he had just gone to Philly. So, that was a little bit of an in there to go up there and talk to those guys (at Oregon after Kelly left).”

Adam Gase – November 24, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(We saw G/T Laremy Tunsil out there again today…) – “I won’t know … It’s going to be to the wire.”

(You got through well yesterday, though [with G/T Laremy Tunsil]?) – “We did what we could with him. We’ve got time. We’ll see what happens. We’ve got to see how he feels.”

(Can you give us a more specific idea of what was actually wrong with him? Is it like a strain?) – “I don’t know the exact details. I just know it’s painful for him right now as far as whether it be contact or movement. That’s why we’re a little questionable in that area.”

(When it comes to closing out games, do you think that this team knows how to do that? Or are you still in the learning process?) – “I think the last four or five weeks, somebody has done something to help finish it off, whether it be the offense putting another touchdown up on the board or special teams coming through with a kick return or (the) defense coming up with a turnover. Somebody has stepped up (and) made a play. At the end of the day, in this league in the fourth quarter, that’s usually what it comes down to is somebody making a special play at the end of the game, because everything gets real aggressive, and it really comes down to one-on-one matchups.”

(What was your expectation of S Isa Abdul-Quddus when you signed him, and what has he given you this season?) – “I think that we felt like we had a reliable guy both in the passing game and in the run game. We felt like he was a really outstanding tackler. We thought him and Reshad (Jones) would be a good marriage back there as far as both guys could be in the middle and both guys could be down in the box. I think he has done an extraordinary job as far as us losing Reshad and him stepping in and being a little bit of a leader back there – being vocal. The last few games he has been outstanding as far as making sure he has been really sound in his fits in the run game. He has been very physical as a tackler. He had some really nice hits last game. When he is back there, he understands – as far as in the middle of the field – he understands the angles and what to do. When somebody breaks free, he’s a really reliable tackler.”

(Staying on the secondary, there has been a lot of different faces out there – no S Reshad Jones, no CB Xavien Howard, CB Bené Benwikere, CB Chris Culliver, CB Chimdi Checkwa. Why is it still working so successfully?) – “I think between (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph), (Defensive Backs Coach) Lou (Anarumo) and Daronte (Jones), they do a great job of keeping their guys prepared. I think our guys that had been backups or new (to the team) have done a great job as far as understanding the why of what we’re doing on defense and playing to their strengths, and at the same time, doing their job down-in and down-out. When you have guys that are engaged like that and understand what’s going on with the full defense, that’s really the critical part, because when you have guys back there that aren’t really sure what other people are doing, that’s when you can get in trouble. Those guys really understand what the whole defense is doing, not just their job.”

(One more question on G/T Laremy Tunsil. Is it a matter of pain management or is there a question whether he can do something worse to it?) – “It’s more of how much movement does he have. That’s the hardest thing. When you play that … If he has to play left tackle, he has to be able to get his hands on guys. You’re getting hit every play. It’s a little bit of everything. It’s movement; it’s mobility. You’re going to have to really play through some uncomfortable circumstances.”

(CB Byron Maxwell has said that traveling with wide receivers across the field has really helped him. Are you viewing it the same way? Do you feel like that’s something that has kind of helped him kind of improve his play?) – “Yes. Sometimes when you stay on one side, you have a specific view of how you see things. With our guys kind of moving around with certain wide receivers in certain games, I think it is helpful. It opens up their skill set. It opens up how they see things as the full defense. He’s done a good job. That whole group has done a good job as far as when we do matchups of getting lined up quick, finding their guy (and) understanding what the call is. It’s not really as easy as you think sometimes because now all of a sudden the calls start switching, you have some kind of motion or shift, now assignments change, coverages change because the way defenses are played nowadays, there’s double, triple calls coming in, in certain personnel (groups) and there’s a lot of little tiny details that you have to be on. When you’re on one side and you expect certain types of calls, it’s a little easier than when you’re traveling all over the place and all of a sudden it can get a little much as far as volume goes.”

(You guys are being outscored by a pretty significant margin in the first quarter. You’ve been very good in the fourth but struggling in the first. What’s going on there as far as…) – “I think every game is different. I mean a lot of times you see that we’re deferring, so the other team has the ball first. We’ve had some games where we’ve started out okay on offense and then there have been some games where we’ve just been absolutely inept. When you start as poorly as we did on offense in the beginning of the season, it piles up. Then we’ve had a couple games here and there where we haven’t started off real well. That’s why it’s a four-quarter game, though, and that’s why you can never panic early in the game. Sometimes that first half, it doesn’t look as smooth as you want it to, but you make your adjustments at halftime, then you come out in the third and fourth quarters and those are the most important ones.”

(Yesterday was kind of a lighter practice. And today were you guys back to normal?) – “Yes. Back to normal today.”

(We saw CB Xavien Howard out there yesterday, which again, as you were saying, wouldn’t require too much of him. But then he was also out there again today. Has there been some development on him?)– “I think this is kind of where we’re at right now with his rehab, where he can practice. He was doing individual. I know when he feels comfortable, we’ll get him out there as far as really competing in practice and going against the wide outs. I know next week, when we’re able to do one-on-ones and things like that, I’m sure he’ll start jumping in on things like that. We’re just going to keep progressing along and, like I said before, we’re not in this rush phase of, ‘Hey, let’s hurry up and get him back.’ We’ve had two injuries here in a short period of time so we just want to make sure that when we get him back, we get him back as close to 100 percent as possible.”

(And then DE Dion Jordan also practiced again today?) – “Yes, he did. He did individual today. It’s a little bit of … when you haven’t done anything in a long time and all of a sudden you get thrown in there and you have ‘T’ (Defensive Line Coach Terrell Williams) and (Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim) Washburn down there doing their drills, it gets pretty intense pretty fast. We just have to take it day-by-day right now and see how he feels. Obviously tomorrow, that’s really the first time he’s actually had to do this type of work so we’ll obviously evaluate tonight and tomorrow, and just see how he feels and see where we’re at in that process.”

(I was wondering how you evaluate him because I know you have a standard but you know that he’s been out for two years so what’s your criteria for a successful practice for him?) – “A lot of it is communication with him, just how he feels. It’s really the next day that you want to figure out where he’s at. So we just keep collecting that information and with the amount of time that we have, we can kind of each day track where he’s at. That’s why it’s nice to have the amount of people we have that track all of those little details with the GPS and how it is he feels, his workload for that day and how it looks like he’s moving the next day. We just constantly keep track of these things and then we have a good idea if we’re trending upward, if we’ve kind of plateaued or we’re inconsistent. We really do have a good amount of information as we get through, and the days pile up. We’ll see. It’s going to take time, obviously.”

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