Transcripts

Mike Pouncey – January 9, 2017 Download PDF version

Monday, January 9, 2017

Center Mike Pouncey

(Talk about the year from your perspective with your injuries and everything else.) – “It was a tough year but I’m just proud of the guys the way the season turned out. I felt like the way we started off was real slow and we got a chance to get going and prove a lot of people wrong and kind of change the culture around here. It was good to be around. It was our first playoff game in my career and it was just great to be out there. The atmosphere was crazy and it was just an unbelievable feeling.”

(Do you feel like the year was a success?) – “I do. I do feel like this season was definitely a success. Obviously we didn’t win a championship like our goals were set to; but this … We’ve been dying for a long time to get in the playoffs and it was just a good feeling to be there.”

(Compared to past offseasons, how much do you feel like the arrow is pointed upward? Talk about the future of this team and what it’s like compared to previous ones?) – “I think it was great. We started over. We got new coaches in and they did a great job with us this year. We played together as a football team throughout the whole year, no matter whether we were at our lowest or at our highest. We stayed together, stick the course. We had a lot of guys step up and play that were unexpected and played great. It was good to see.”

(How about the confidence going forward? Do you feel that…) – “It will be good. We’ll be in this program for two years now. We’ll get to work on different things that we couldn’t work on last year. We were trying to basically just learn the offense. It would be good to know it now and then kind of work the ins and outs of it.”

(What is this day like today as opposed to in seasons past, leaving here?) – “It’s always tough ending the season, because we’re going to be sitting at home on the weekend and watching other teams play for championships. It’s going to be real tough, but the camaraderie that we built on this football team – the togetherness that we have on this football team – it sucks seeing everybody having to separate and go their different ways. Even though the season didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, there is a lot of stuff to be proud of this season.”

(What’s your level of confidence that you can get out there in July, be healthy and stay healthy?) – “Injuries happen. It’s a part of this game. But I feel great right now. I know I’m healthy. I’ll be healthy in a minute or so. It was tough the way the season played out for me. I didn’t expect it to go that way and no one ever does, but I got to see this thing from a different perspective and watch these guys work and it was just amazing to see. I’m proud of this team for sticking with me. I’ll try to stay as healthy as I can next year. I’m ready for this season, ready for this offseason. I’m going to attack it just like I do any other offseason to be the best player I can be possibly and I just can’t wait to get started back.”

(How frustrating was it for you yesterday knowing that you couldn’t be out there?) – “I got over it. I wasn’t really worried about it yesterday. Yesterday I was just trying to be there for the guys when they were going out on the football field and just being out there, seeing the way they were inside of the locker room before the game, the way they played. It was exciting to see. It was something different – nothing I had ever experienced before in the National Football League. I was just happy to be a part of it.”

(But you’re optimistic you still have a lot of good football left?)  – “I’m not retiring until 10 years. Trust me. (laughter)”

Andre Branch – January 9, 2017 Download PDF version

Monday, January 9, 2017

Defensive End Andre Branch

(On how he would sum up the season) – “At the end of the season, our goal was to win the week but we didn’t have that, so that’s disappointing. We knew we could have won that game, but we didn’t make enough plays to make that happen.”

(Would you like to be back here? I know you’re a free agent at the end of the season. Would you like to be back here or have you gotten that far?) – “Yes. I love this place. They believed in me when not too many people did. I appreciate them for that. So we’ll see how it goes. I don’t know what the future holds, but I had an amazing time this year.”

(What’s the frame of mind today? There’s got to be a lot of processing.  You guys had such a good season in so many ways by turning things around here. Yesterday was obviously a very tough day. Where’s your head at?) – “Yesterday was disappointing. But everybody’s mindset today was positive and we know what we have to do to fix it going into the offseason. It just makes you work harder.”

(What’s your most vivid memory of the season?) – “That’s a tough one. I can’t just pinpoint one. I had a great time all season, whether it be we stayed in Seattle for an extended amount of time to going to the West Coast for 11 days, and that’s where I think we really … where people really saw how much of a brotherhood we had. To the end, where we had a lot of injuries and players just stepped up, and we didn’t blink. We didn’t let that get us down. We just kept fighting. We’ve just got to keep that going into the offseason.”

(Do you think that bond played a role in the success?) – “No doubt about it. When you feel like you’re letting your brothers down, that’s when you start seeing successful play on offense, defense and special teams. For us, that’s what the culture is now. (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase brought the culture and all of the players bought into it and (they were) great things to happen.”

(How would you assess your season from an individual standpoint?) – “I’m always, ‘Yes, I can work on my game.’ So for me, it’s constantly watching film on myself and other players at my position, adding things to my toolbox and going into the off season full steam, full speed ahead. I’m getting better and coming back even better than I was this year.”

(How much do you enjoy so many players in this locker room saying that you brought energy the time you were on the field?) – “Amazing. I feel that from them. I can’t bring energy if they didn’t trust me to bring energy to them. I appreciate them for that. From Day 1 they welcomed me with open arms and allowed me to be myself.”

Kenny Stills – January 9, 2017 Download PDF version

Monday, January 9, 2017

Wide Receiver Kenny Stills

(On if there was a mentality change that just making it to the playoffs isn’t good enough.) – “I tell guys how I really feel. A majority of the time when I talk to you guys, we talk about the talent that we know that we have on this team and the potential that we all could see in each other. So us not being able to get a victory yesterday is something that we feel like we had a good opportunity of doing and we didn’t. We truly believe in this room that we could make a run – a serious run – and we still truly believe that. We feel like we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”

(Considering you were 6-10 last year and 1-4 to start the season, do you think – whether it’s days or weeks – you’ll be able to appreciate just how far this team did come, even though you didn’t reach your ultimate goal, to appreciate what was accomplished?) – “It doesn’t take days or weeks to appreciate that. I’m sick about the game yesterday, but I still understand where we’ve come (from). I told the guys before the game, ‘Look how far we’ve come.’ It’s something that you can be proud of, but it’s not something to hang your hat on. We know what we expect out of each other, and we know the potential of this group. We’ve got to come back stronger next year and do it again.”

(Do you think weather played a factor yesterday?) – “It didn’t play a factor for me. I can’t comment on everybody else’s ability to play the game, but I don’t feel like it affected me at all.”

(Many of the guys talked about not feeling this feeling again. What needs to be done going into the offseason to try to correct some things and make sure that you guys can go a little bit further next year?) – “A lot of people say that we’re young and that we need to mature, but it’s knowing when you get in the playoffs, you can’t start slow, you can’t turn the ball over, you can’t have penalties. The way that we played yesterday wasn’t good enough. Sometimes things like this have to happen if you’re going to learn that lesson that needs to be learned. I definitely think that happened. Guys understand the way this feels and we don’t want it to happen again.”

(How much do you want to come back here with the way this organization is going?) – “I don’t know how to say how much I want to come back here. I want to be back here, yes. I love this team; I love these guys. We did something special after starting 1-4. We did something really special. We’re going to do whatever we can to try and make that happen.”

Jermon Bushrod – January 8, 2017 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Sunday, January 8, 2017
Postgame – at Pittsburgh

Miami Dolphins G Jermon Bushrod (transcribed by the Pittsburgh Steelers)

Was this a successful season?

No. Our goal was to be the last team standing, and we were not the last team standing. Where we came from earlier this season you have to be proud. I’m proud of everybody in this organization from the coaches down to the players. Things were not looking great for us. We were banged up. We were losing games but we found a way to look inside of ourselves and come out of a tough situation. This could have been a really tough season but like I said I’m proud. No, this is not where we wanted to be. We wanted to get into this dance and you never know what could happen. It is just unfortunate.

What was it like to play in that cold?

I still cannot feel my fingers. Like I said earlier in the week when it comes to the cold you either do it or have someone else do it. I do not care if it feels like negative five or zero. You have to do whatever you have to do to keep yourself warm. At the end of the day you have to do what you have to do.

 

Jay Ajayi – January 8, 2017 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Sunday, January 8, 2017
Postgame – at Pittsburgh

Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi (transcribed by the Pittsburgh Steelers)

Re: Feeling in this locker room right now:

It’s tough. We put in all that work. It’s really the fact that this team won’t be together and it won’t be the same. We won’t be able to reach that goal that we wanted to achieve. That’s tough. I do not know anyone that is just content with being in the playoffs. We wanted to win the whole thing. I know I did. It hurts.

Why was the running game not able to get going today?

The run game was tough. They stacked the box and we did not execute how we should have. It’s as simple as that.

What was the weather like?

It was cold. They had to play in the same weather as well. It does not matter.

After the time passes will you be able to consider this season a success?

From a team standpoint, it is not a success. Individually, maybe later on. As a team we did not achieve what we wanted to do.

Does this team understand what it takes to get here?

Yeah, we will be able to understand what this feeling is one of not moving on to the next round. A matter of taking this feeling and use it as motivation to never have this feeling again

 

Mike Pouncey – January 8, 2017 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Sunday, January 8, 2017
Postgame – at Pittsburgh

Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey (transcribed by the Pittsburgh Steelers)

Re: Stephen Ross says he likes direction of the team despite the loss:

No question. He sees the difference. He’s around all the time. He sees the direction this team is headed in and it’s headed in the right direction.

How tough was it to watch today instead of play?

I said before it was going to be tough to watch. I was excited to be out there. The atmosphere was unbelievable. I just wish these guys could have pulled it out. It was a tough loss for our football team.

Do you expect to be back here next year?

We will see. I don’t want to make any expectations at this time. Obviously we feel good about our football team.

What would make this team continue to be a playoff team?

We just need to keep doing what we did this year. We stuck together. We had a lot of team chemistry and we had guys play well that we did not expect to play well. That’s what happens when you are a team that turns the corner, guys step up and make plays.

 

Cameron Wake – January 8, 2017 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Sunday, January 8, 2017
Postgame – at Pittsburgh

Miami Dolphins DE Cameron Wake (transcribed by the Pittsburgh Steelers)

What do you think was the problem on defense with stopping Pittsburgh? Tackling, poor run fits in the run game, what do you think it was?

It sounds like a little bit of both. Obviously at this time of year, this level of football, the stakes will get magnified. So whether it is one guy, either gap or missed tackle missed communication or whatever it may be that can turn into a big play miss.

The two long touchdown passes to Antonio Brown, were you guy’s matter of fact about that because you did come back a little bit. How did you take that?

Matter of fact isn’t a phrase I use. You can’t come out and start slow. There is no pass on the back for fixing the problem after it already happened. You have to go out there and know this is the play you have to go and fix before it happens. Prevention is better than cure. That’s the way it works in this league and this time of year. I’m sure we changed some things and fixed some things but the bleeding had already started.

Matt Moore – January 8, 2017 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Sunday, January 8, 2017
Postgame – at Pittsburgh

Miami Dolphins QB Matt Moore (transcribed by the Pittsburgh Steelers)

Re: Experience of the day:

It was tough. We had a difficult time running the ball. Again, it kind of took us a little bit to get going early on. We eventually found some ways to move the passing game, which is good. But it was difficult for most of the day.

Tell us about the hit and how you were able to come back into the game

I just got popped. I just needed a second there. I got checked out. I felt fine. It was more of my jaw than anything else. I felt good. I came back in and I was fine. He got me pretty good.

Re: Scoring points before halftime

It’s hard to win when you turn the ball over. In the playoffs, you can’t have those mistakes and that’s on me. I have to hold on to the ball. Two fumbles and a pick, that’s not the recipe for success. It hurts. Especially the one before halftime. We are going down and getting a big play, DeVante Parker makes a big play. To have that happen, took the wind out of us a little bit. You just can’t do that against a good football team and in a big game.

Can you give us a little snap shot of how this season was and has turned around for the franchise?

Obviously, the frustrations are there from today, no doubt. How we started and what we did after the first five, I’m proud of these guys and proud to be on this team. I’m proud of Coach Gase and what he did. Holding it together and moving forward. With that said, we aren’t satisfied but proud to be a part of something like this with this team.

 

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