Clyde Christensen – November 3, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen

(This game, we know how well you’ve been running the ball. How much of this game comes down to your run game versus their run defense?) – “Probably the same as every week. I always laugh, because every staff meeting to start the week, the offensive guys go, ‘We got to run the ball this week.’ It doesn’t matter who you’re playing; you got to run the ball. And every defensive coordinator if you’re playing Brett Favre – or whoever you’re playing – starts off with, ‘We have to stop the run.’ It almost in a weird way … But that’s the case. It always starts with that. It always starts with the offensive line. Same thing. Third week in a row we’re playing a really, really good run defense. (Jets Head Coach) Todd Bowles is a defensive head coach. He’s a tough-minded guy, super guy. Here’s a little-known fact: I coached him at Temple. (I have a) long history with him. (He is) really a smart, bright guy. He’s going to be physical. He’s going to have them ready to go. I think the other thing, too, is if you want to play big games and you want to be relevant – as we head toward the second half of the year – you’re going to get people’s best shot. We’ve had a little bit of success running the ball. This league has a way of turning the tide on you when you think you’re doing something well. So, it’ll take a great effort for us to run the ball at all. It’ll be a battle of wills again just like every week. We’ll have to commit to it. We’ll have to keep pounding it up in there and have to be okay with a couple 0-, 1-yard runs and hopefully land some body blows as we go.”

(What makes that rush defense so stout? 74 yards a game.) – “In an oversimplification, they’re big, girthy guys. They’re big guys. They’re committed to stopping the run. That’s kind of the (Bill) Parcells, that whole fraternity … They’re big stout guys who are going to try and build a big ol’ wall across the line of scrimmage, and they’re good at it. They take pride in being a good leverage team. I think this fraternity of defensive guys, they play with great leverage. They get underneath you and stop you. They’re not as much in your backfield and flying up field, et cetera, et cetera; but they’re really good at stopping the run, because they get ahold of you, they stand you up and they play with leverage, and they get off blocks and they’re big, physical guys.”

(T Ja’Wuan James obviously played a lot better in the last few weeks. What spurred his turnaround in your mind?) – “I don’t know. I don’t know what it is, but he really has (played better). He’s improving. He hasn’t been earth shaking, but all we want is for him to keep improving, and he has really done that. I think, probably, he would … Being a part of the whole group that everyone’s buying in, you have a little more success – all those things are good. I think he’s part of it, a large part of it. I think that line being together, I think there’s some pride. I think they’re starting to have some fun blocking and playing together. I think he has probably jumped on board, got caught in that wave of momentum as far as, ‘We can be good. We can be a good offensive line before this year is out.’ We said from last offseason all the way through last week, ‘This can be a good offensive line. We’ve got to stay healthy. We’ve just got to keep going. We’ve got to keep doing the same things over and over and over again.’ All of a sudden, you do get a little bit of confidence – some success – and you breed a little confidence and then your practices get better and your meetings get better and everyone is buying in a little bit more, and you keep improving by inches. It’s still about us. It’s still about how we do things. It’s still about worrying about the Dolphins more than it is the opponent. That’s what we’ve tried to stress, and he has been improving. He has been making good, solid improvement the last two, three weeks, which has really been great. I think I’ve said it all along: we think he can be a top right tackle in this league. That’s what we believe he can be. Maybe he’s buying into that, too. But he is playing better. He’s playing better and improving and working. It’s all about those workdays during the week. The games are the games, but you get better in practice. You win games during the week in practice and how you do things there. Then the game is just a reflection of what you’ve been doing in practice (and) how you practiced. That’s improvement. We’ve stressed it, and that’s improving some.”

(How did the unbalanced line come about, because I don’t remember seeing that earlier in the season?) – “It was just a little bit of a changeup. It was a little way for us to get a little bit … You give them a little bit (of a) different formation. It’s just a way of getting bigger people at the point of attack. Sometimes it’s a way to set up a play-action pass. It’s a fourth or fifth pitch, if you will. It’s something they have to prepare for. It’s something that maybe you get an extra 40 pounds at the point of attack. We had the tight end situation where we were down a couple bodies, so that’s another way of getting a little bit of girth grouped together on one side of the line. It wasn’t any gigantic thing as much as it’s something, a little bit of an adjustment with the tight end situation the way it was. It’s always a good changeup to have people prepare for.”

(The Jets have been first against the run. They’re 32nd against the pass. I think they’ve given up 14 passes of 30 yards or more. How much do you balance when you’re doing a game plan of attacking a team that other teams have attacked, against the past two weeks you’ve run the ball?) – “Less than think, right? Really, it is more about us. It’s more about, ‘What can we do? What can we be good at? What is our personality? What is our deal?’ It’s much more that than it is, ‘They’re 32nd, so let’s go become something we’re not,’ and try and do this or that. You’re always looking at matchups. This league is a game of matchups. I think you get off track if all of a sudden you read those statistics and you go, ‘Look what so and so did to them. Let’s put that in.’ All of a sudden, next thing you know, you got a little designer offense going, and that’s not what we want to be. We want to be what we – what the Dolphins – are and do it well and do it better and better every week, do it faster and faster, do it harder, then it doesn’t matter what other people do. We try not to fall into the trap of that. It’s hard sometimes, but you really don’t want to do that.”

(I guess within your formula then, you’ll have shots, maybe?) – “Sure. We’ve been taking our shots. We’ve been really good on first and second down, on yards per first and second down. We want to continue on that. We want to … You do want to build it off of … We’ve had some success running the ball. You want your counters off of them. You want you nakeds (bootlegs), you want your play action, you want a couple shots as extra guys come into the box, sure. But that, again, is more by philosophy than it is we’re playing this team or that team. It’s more about us. It’s more about, ‘Here’s how we’re building this thing. We’re going to pound the ball. We’re going to play action off of that. We’re going to get a shot when they get their safeties too involved.’ It’s offense by the numbers, if you will. That’s when you have a system. That’s when you have a chance. That’s when you can be unpredictable. That’s when you got something going. We’re a long ways from that. We’re a long ways from being where we want to get to. I think everyone is encouraged that we’re improving and that we’re practicing better, and we’re doing some of those things better.”

(You have a lot of versatility on your offense, a lot of players that can do a lot of different things. Personnel-wise, are there things that you can do to keep defenses honest by putting different guys in the lineup?) – “I think keeping balance keeps them off balance. I was looking out there today, and you really do … All of a sudden, you’ve got three talented receivers. Jarvis (Landry), it has to start with Jarvis. He’s kind of the energizer, the battery of this thing. You do have three guys. Kenny Stills all of a sudden runs past you. Now you’ve got the running back running. Now we’ll get our healthy tight ends back, hopefully. It has happened from a lot of different positions, different places. It’s a quarterback run here, it’s a drop-back pass and then it’s a naked (bootleg). So, all those things should be to our advantage. We do feel like we have some skill guys who the ball can get spread around (to), and it’s not a, ‘Here’s our bell cow. If he doesn’t go …’ There are a lot of people that can make some plays. That’s important. That’s really good. That’s when you are a good unit instead of just ‘a guy’, featuring ‘a guy’ or this or that. That’s what we would like to be.”

(Where is WR DeVante Parker in his development? I know he’s been slowed by the hamstring injury. Do you feel like you’re getting the most out of him right now?) – “I don’t think he’s been healthy. I don’t think he’s been 100 percent. There’s something about just not feeling great. It’s hard to play that position when you don’t feel great. Your body just isn’t 100 percent, but I told you last week, I think he’s really improving. I think he’s practicing better. I really do think his number hasn’t come up quite as much but he’s made a couple big plays and I’m encouraged by him. I think he has a chance to be a great player and (he’s) very talented. I do think it’s one of those where you don’t feel good for a couple days early in the week and that’s no fun. You’re in the training room, you’re getting treatment, you have to watch you reps at practice. Some of it is just learning to play like that. Everyone feels that way. For the next eight weeks, the whole NFL feels that way. No one wakes up feeling very good or physically fresh or any of those things. I think he’ll grind through it and he’ll have some big games. We’re encouraged with him, we think he’s improving, we know what kind of talent he has and he’s been excellent. He’s really been excellent.”

(What does he have to do to get his number called more?) – “Yes. I don’t know that it happens quite like that. I think you guys … where does the ball end up going? Right now it’s been going to the running back. Who knows what this Sunday will be? They’re all different. They’re all different, but we are conscious of it. We took a shot last week and we lost it in the air. That has the chance to be another 50-yarder that was a good ball and he just never picked it up. Sometimes his number is called more than you think and it just doesn’t hit. I would say this: I think we’re comfortable with how he’s playing and his role and stuff and you’d love to … He’s going to have some breakout games. Last week it was Kenny (Stills). This week, who knows who it’ll be? Does that make sense? Does that answer your question? So I think we just (have to) keep doing what we’re doing. We don’t see any big changes there or any panic or we’re lacking ways to get the ball to him or he’s not … He’s fighting through this thing injury-wise and that’s no fun. But I think he’s going to be fine. I really do think he’s going to be fine and have some big, big days in this second half of the season.”

(Has it been his hamstring that’s still bothering him or does he have some inflammation?) – “I wouldn’t speak on injuries. But yes, he’s recovering from that and sometimes when you’re nursing that, then other things don’t feel quite right. So yes, I think it is all back from when he did have the hamstring; but just an overall feeling good and just feeling fresh and fast and those things, I don’t think he’s fully there quite yet, but he’s getting there.”

(Going back to you and Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles at Temple, was he like a coach on the field?)  – “Yes, he was. He was. Kevin Ross was in that secondary. That was really a good secondary back there. Bruce Arians was the head coach and that was really a fun … those were fun years and those were good guys. Kevin Ross and Todd Bowles were working for ‘B.A.’ (Bruce Arians) out there in Arizona, and then Todd got his head job. So that ended up being kind of a special group of guys. Some coaches came out of that and still kind of a tight bond. Arians is extremely loyal to those guys from those years. We were all just a bunch of young guys. I think Coach Arians was 27 or something and we’re working down in the inner city of Philadelphia and it was special stuff. We’ll still text when the Owls have a big … when they beat Penn State, that was something that will always … all those things are special things. So Todd … that was kind of a little special fraternity from back in the ‘80s there. We all had a special bunch of guys and great relationships from it, and (I) have an unbelievable respect and fondness for (Jets Head Coach) Todd Bowles as a man and as a coach.”

(Regarding your offensive line, we’ve seen what they can do, those five when they’re healthy the last couple of weeks. Are you at the stage where you’re believing that they’re going to be healthy every week or are you still kind of crossing your fingers and hoping that they’re going to be healthy?) – “I have believed in them from the very beginning. Now the health, I would say this: I never fully get comfortable that someone’s going to stay healthy, right? We talk all the time, there’s no guarantees, right? The percentages say that someone’s going to have to stay up, right? We talked a lot about ‘Q’ (MarQueis Gray) last week. MarQueis at tight end, right? That’s huge. That he comes in there as your third tight end, he has to go in and start a game. Who would’ve known that was going to happen? He comes in and plays extremely well. (He) played extremely well. So that’s part of our emphasis that the chance of those five staying healthy, I hope it happens. But probably the percentages would say, ‘Hey. sooner or later (Anthony) Steen’s going to have to come back in there and deliver.’ Some of those other guys are going to have to play some … come out of the bullpen and give us some relief help. That’s just more … it is more like those baseball games we’ve been watching. It’s the whole unit. It’s all 53 guys and they’re going to have to step up at their time and deliver, and you hope it goes as you script it, but very seldom does it – that everyone stays healthy, everyone’s 100 percent. But it just doesn’t work that way very often.”

(Do you see a different, maybe not different is the right word but a different view or shade of QB Ryan Tannehill when he’s not getting hit?) – “Yes. Yes, I do. Sure. I always laugh because … I’m just telling you when you stand in that pocket and you get hit – and he’s amazing because he’s a tough guy. I’ve always … coming here I was impressed with him that he kept standing in there. A lot guys don’t. A lot have fallen by the way-side along the way in this league. Then all of a sudden you get hit and you just can’t do it. Someone raises their hand and gosh, you cower and it’s hard to keep looking up the field and those things. The guys like Tannehill, who are tough guys – one thing that I don’t think anyone has ever questioned about him is his toughness and that he hangs in there and keeps looking up the field even knowing he’s going to get hit and been hit. There’s nobody, nobody, that isn’t affected by just getting hit early in games and that all of sudden, you’re not sure how long you have. You’re not sure … you know you’re going to get hit but you’re not sure when or where or by whom. And that’s a bad feeling for playing the position. So I do think that, and I do think that’s really a foundational thing to him becoming really a good player is that he’s really an extremely tough guy. That, his worth ethic, those things are things you can build on. Those are things you can build on that maybe you can’t teach. Some guys after they get hit a few times for a couple years, or their rookie year, never make it back. (They) never can come out of that thing or come back from an injury or something. So I think that really is one of the traits that’s something to build on with him.”

(Do you expect a full workload from TE Dion Sims this week? This game?) – “It wasn’t a full workload, but we’re still being careful with him. Even early in the week, we had to limit his snaps a little bit. So he hasn’t had the full week but we do feel like each day it’s gotten more and more. Sunday, hopefully he should be darn close to 100 percent, but he didn’t get the full work week as far as just a green light on everything. It was limited, build it up, a little more reps, four snaps per team period, five snaps per team period, (and) all of sudden … I do think by Sunday and then certainly past Sunday, he should be back to full speed. (We’re) hoping again, obviously, that we wouldn’t have a setback of any kind, and he hasn’t had one. So we have been able to increase his reps as the week has gone on. So he’s getting back into the flow, but he’s not been just 100 percent where he takes every rep, like he was doing before the injury.”

(I noticed in the Bills game, QB Ryan Tannehill ran for a first down.) – “Yes.”

(You’ve told QB Ryan Tannehill to do that, to run for first downs.) – “We’ve certainly told him that teams that convert third downs in this league are teams where the quarterback runs for one or two a game.  That’s a fact.”

(There was also a critical play late in the fourth quarter where QB Ryan Tannehill sensed DE Shaq Lawson behind him…) – “A huge play in the game.”

(QB Ryan Tannehill ran to his right, made an accurate off-balance throw. My question is about Tannehill’s enthusiasm about running, feeling pressure vacating the pocket more quickly. How have you seen that evolve?)  – “Yes. I think … it’s a hard teach. It’s a hard teach; but I think (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase has done a good job of just encouraging him. ‘Hey, you’re a good athlete. Don’t be afraid. One, two (seconds), pull that thing down and … you don’t understand how valuable your legs are in this whole thing.’ Stuff doesn’t go like it’s set up very often in this thing and off-schedule plays are critical. We have to make off-schedule plays. So he runs … those two plays were huge. We were trying to burn some time and ice that game and he slides out of there on a third-and-12 or something, third-and-long, and he hits Jarvis (Landry) on a huge play, so that’s really, really important. I think he’s getting more and more comfortable. It’s a fine line. It was always a fine line with (Colts QB Andrew) Luck. When do you protect yourself? When do you not protect yourself? When do you put yourself out there? When do you sit in there and hang and see if your third read comes open? When do you pull it down and go run for a first down? That’s the hardest teach, in my opinion, with quarterbacks, is how do you teach that? How do you teach that? I think I shared with you that first year, I went out to where we train our fighter pilots because I was looking to, ‘Hey, how do you teach when to engage?  When not to engage? When to sell out? When to put yourself at risk? When do you …’ Those things are hard questions and I think as he gets more and more comfortable with this offense, that’s again where I think continuity and being in the same offense, doing some of the same things over and over and over again, that’s where you develop. It’s not on a chalkboard and you just teach, because you can’t give them every scenario. I don’t know which guy is going to spin free or which twist is going to come clean or which edge is going to get tightened up and which guy is going to come open in the progressions. ‘And I got flushed to my left, but the guy on the right comes open.’ You can’t hit all of those so some of it is just a school. I think (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase is really doing a good job with him of just giving him some parameters, just continuing teaching and emphasizing it, and I think we saw some results from it. I think we saw some benefits, some profits from those deposits. I think that’ll be an ongoing thing. It’ll just keep getting better and better and better, and a feel for ‘Hey, when? When?’ Those are tough questions and you (have to) learn the hard way. Those aren’t taught on a chalk board.”

Vance Joseph – November 3, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph

(You guys are ranked No. 1 in third-down efficiency. It kind of spiked the last three weeks. What has led to that level of success?) – “Well, I think that stopping the run game helps, because now the third downs are longer. With our pass rush, if we can get them into third-and-long downs, we can rush the passer and play coverage. So that helps, stopping the run on first and second down, forcing long third downs helps.”

(What have you guys done to improve the run stopping?) – “I think just gap integrity, guys staying in their gaps, tackling better has helped. The linebackers fitting the run game at the second level helps. The overall focus on the run game, that’s helped. Upfront playing blocks better, not rushing the passer every down, but rushing the passer when it’s pass and playing the run when its run. It’s as simple as that.”

(With LB Neville Hewitt, we’ve seen you now insert him into the base package, which basically makes him a starter. What kind of growth have you seen from that young player?) – “Well, he’s a guy that can run and hit. Obviously, he’s a young player. With Jelani (Jenkins) being out from time to time, he’s stepped up in the base package and played well for us. Jelani’s back now so he may not play as much, but he’s a guy that we can count on, on base downs to play at a high level for us. That’s been good to see.”

(Jets WR Brandon Marshall had some words to say about CB Byron Maxwell, I don’t know if you are aware of it or not. Do you talk to Byron? Do you talk to the team about that? Do you want Byron to pay attention to use it? What’s your approach in general on something like that?) – “No. We don’t talk about singular players at all. We have a game plan to defend the offensive philosophies or route concepts. But, we don’t talk about one guy that much. Obviously, he’s a great player. We can’t ignore him, but we are going to play team defense and that’s what it’s going to come down to. We don’t talk about stopping one guy, but obviously have calls to help us win the game. Again, he’s a great player. He’s an explosive, big receiver that we can’t ignore; but we can’t focus our entire week on one guy.”

(What do you remember most about your one year as a cornerback with the Jets?)– “(Laughter) What do I remember most? That I wasn’t ready to play. I probably should’ve been on the practice squad for a whole year, but I was pushed into a starting role early on, and my first start was against (former Raiders WR) Tim Brown. That was … I got baptized pretty good. It was the old TNT Sunday Night Football, so everyone saw it. So, that’s my memory about being an NFL corner with the Jets. Not good. (laughter) I’m a better coach than I was a player, I must admit that.”

(How will you utilize S Bacarri Rambo?) – “Well, he’s in the same boat as Donald Butler’s been for us. He’s a veteran player that’s played. He’s going to play some safety for us obviously in some sub packages. It allows us to play Michael (Thomas) at some nickel and dime this week. He’s a guy that’s played at a high level. He’s smart; he’s tough. He’s got some range in high zone, so losing Reshad (Jones), it kind of gives us a guy who has showed range in high thirds and high halves and quarters. It helps to have a guy like that.”

(You had mentioned earlier in the year that DE Camerom Wake was ‘your specialty pass rusher.’ In the past couple of weeks, that role had evolved a little bit as the defense has improved so much. What can we expect moving forward in regards to how you are going to use Cam?) – “Cam’s a starter now, but his play count won’t go beyond probably 40 snaps a game. I think Cam and Andre (Branch) has given us great energy as starters, and it’s allowed Mario (Williams) to play less snaps and to play harder. It’s allowed Jason Jones to play less snaps and to play harder. I think the flip of those two guys has given us more energy, but the play counts should not be out of whack. Even though Cam’s a starter, he shouldn’t play 60 snaps a game. He can still play his 35 snaps, but from a starting role. I don’t see it any different from him being a starter or a pass rush specialist. He’s still playing about 30 snaps a game, which we kind of targeted early on.”

(Has DE Cameron Wake proved something as far as his run stop ability?) – “He proves he’s back to being Cam. When he’s healthy, he’s a special player in the run and pass game alike. He’s proved to be healthy and he’s playing well for us.”

(If you keep DE Cameron Wake around that 40 snaps or whatever, do you try to shade it towards pass rush situations later in the game?) – “No, he’s just going to play. He’s going to play. He wants to be out there first, second and third down. He’s just going to play. It’s a new NFL. It’s always pass. it’s always pass. Cam’s playing well in the run and pass game alike, so he wants to be out there. It helps our defense when Cam’s out there more often.”

(What has CB Chris Culliver shown at practice thus far and where can he help if activated?) – “Chris had worked hard. He’s had a couple of leg injuries that were serious injuries, but he’s worked hard to get back to this point. In my opinion, he’s not totally ready to play an NFL game yet. Maybe it’s a week, maybe its two weeks away, but he’s not ready yet. When Chris is ready, I’ll definitely put him out there. But he’s not ready right now. He’s working hard, he’s in every meeting, he’s upbeat, he focused, he’s engaged. But he’s not physically ready to play an NFL game at NFL corner yet.”

(It can be very tough for an interior defensive lineman and with DE Mario Williams’ limited snaps on the inside, do you feel like that is something he can handle?) – “Yes. He’s a defensive end. That was a move (inside) we made in the fourth quarter to get our four best guys on the field. If he’s playing inside for 10 rushes, that’s fine for Mario. He can handle that. He’s a big enough man to handle that. That was not the plan going into the game, but if it happens, it happens. He can go inside and rush. It’s just rushing right? So, he can go rush inside.”

(Sometimes there’s a difference between a hot defense and a good defense. Are you guys a good defense right now, do you feel?) – “I think we can be a good defense. We’ve got to obviously play more consistent each week. The Buffalo Bills game was a nice win, but how we finished the, I wasn’t happy about that – the penalties, the big plays. I’m never satisfied. Obviously the win was fine, but we can always play better. If you’re not striving to play better every week, you get worse. I think we can be a good defense. Are we there yet? We’ve shown signs of being a good defense, but I’ve been a part of a lot of good defenses, and you don’t give up big plays toward the end of the game. You don’t leak yardage. You don’t give up a big play a week. The Pittsburgh game we played solid, right? The reverse went for 62 yards on four missed tackles. The Bills game we played solid. We gave up a 65-yard touchdown in a Cover 2. Until we rectify those things, I can’t say we are a good defense yet.”

(We’ve touched on CB Chris Culliver and S Bacarri Rambo. The third new guy would be Bene’ Benwikere. What’s your view on if he’s ready to go?” – “He’s working. He’s working to be a good player for us. He’s a nickel player. As a nickel player, it’s like being a linebacker sometimes but being a defensive back sometimes. It’s a lot more learning for him, so he’s not there yet. He’s working towards being ready. Hopefully in a couple of weeks he can get up and show us what he can do.”

Adam Gase – November 2, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(Could you say that the passing game has benefitted from the success of the run game the last two weeks? If so, does anything illustrate or define that statistically or certain plays that you’re seeing?) – “I think we’ve had a better feel. When you’re running the ball well and doing a lot of the things that we’ve been doing, the play-action game pops open a little easier (and) there are less guys underneath, because they are attacking the run. There have been a couple times where we’ve had some good movement plays and sometimes we haven’t – where it hadn’t been there – but one of those breather passing plays to where it takes a little bit off the line, takes a little bit off the quarterback and puts it really on the receivers. But it makes a big difference when you’re more (in) third-and-manageable instead of third-and-long.”

(You’ve said in the past you like going game by game with matchups and crafting an offense. When you run the ball like you are now, does that change at all? Do you feel like, maybe, you want to stick with your hot hand even though the Jets have such a good run defense?) – “I think you do what’s best for that game. Obviously, we feel pretty good about what we got going on with the chemistry of our offense right now. This is going to be a very challenging game for us as far as being able to run the ball. It’s going to be about physicality and execution kind of all wrapped up into one. (N.Y. Jets Head) Coach (Todd) Bowles has always had a very stingy run defense. That hasn’t changed, at least from the time that I’ve either competed against him or known him. It’s going to be tough for us. There will not be an easy yard to be had against these guys.”

(Two-part question on the penalties: 1) What have you done to address it since the bye week? And secondly, is it easier or more difficult to get through to players with that when you’re winning?) – “I don’t think it’s difficult, because when you show them examples of why you can’t do certain things and how it can cost you games … The fact that you’re receiving onside kicks and then when you do get them and it’s all said and done and then you start thinking, ‘Well, that could’ve been really bad.’ What happened the last game was something that we absolutely have to eliminate. We can’t have taunting penalties and personal fouls. I don’t care who’s right, wrong, indifferent. It doesn’t matter. We’re getting flags thrown on us for things like that, and it’ll burn you. I think all of us have seen enough games to where that Monday you’re talking (and) going, ‘What were they thinking?’ You don’t want to be in that conversation.”

(RB Jay Ajayi, he rushes for 200 yards in back-to-back games, it has got to be a head-expanding experience. He’s even a big deal back in England now. How’s Ajayi handling it you’d say?) – “I feel like he has come in every week and done exactly what he has done the week before. I keep watching the way he practices, I keep watching the way that he’s operating in meetings, (and) it hasn’t changed. He’s the same guy that when you walk into a meeting, he has got his notebook open, he has got his game book open, and he’s taking notes, he has asks questions. When we go out to practice, you don’t see a change in speed. You almost feel like it’s a little bit of a game. And it’s tough sometimes, because when you’re not in full pads and he’s running the ball in practice, he’s coming through there at a good clip. He’s really trying to work at what he’s going to do in a game. I don’t think he’s worried about what happened last game. I see a guy that’s resetting it every week. At least the last three games that we’ve played, the next week he’s come in and been the same guy, and he has gone to work.”

(How is T Branden Albert? His play looks good from our perspective.) – “He’s doing a really good job, besides being a guy that has been there before – been through a lot (of) ups and downs – an experienced guy that has played in meaningful games at this time of the year and passed this. He has really been one of those guys where unless you know him and you’re around him a lot, you don’t really see so many of the leadership qualities that he does have. The fact that (Laremy) Tunsil gravitated to him so quickly, and he really went out of his way to make sure that he has helped our younger players – not only Tunsil, but some of the other guys. I know that probably takes a lot off of Pouncey, too, because Mike is a vocal guy. Mike is very aggressive as far as his passion for this game and what he wants to do to try to put us in a position to win. Having ‘B.A.’ (Branden Albert) there, that’s very helpful to him. ‘B.A.’, he gets it done. He finds a way to show up every Sunday and gives everything he has.”

(If you were to have TE Dion Sims and TE MarQueis Gray available this week, how do their blocking compare to the average tight end?) – “I think with Dion, I think what he brings to the table is a little unique kind of for what the NFL is right now. You usually have a guy that either does one or the other. He does have the ability in the passing game, probably to do more than what we’ve really given him the opportunity to do. Anytime his number has been called, he’s made plays. I think ‘Q,’ (Marqueis Gray) he’s been … I don’t want to say surprising. He’d probably kill me if I said surprising, but I guess I didn’t know that he was as aggressive at blocking in the run game as he’s been. Obviously, he’s been such a good special teams player whenever he’s had his opportunities on other teams. We knew that coming in, and he’s really translated that physicality to offense. He’s done a lot to put himself in position to go in there and execute and be an effective player.”

(With TE MarQueis Gray background as a quarterback, do you think that helps him as a tight end?) – “Absolutely. Anytime that you’ve played that position and you’ve moved to another position, you have an idea of what the quarterback is thinking. It allows you to make subtle adjustments where, some players, they run what’s on the paper. He doesn’t think like that. He thinks of, ‘Hey, if this happens, I might have to make this adjustment.’ He’s kind of one step ahead as far as just route running of knowing how to get open, and then knowing where the quarterback probably wants him.”

(What stuck out to you in your one year of working with N.Y. Jets RB Matt Forte and how might that apply coming Sunday?) – “I don’t even know if elite-pro is the right word. It’s something I’ve very rarely experienced with a player. Just watching what he did from, when the first time I was around him to the last day I was with him, he … that guy’s a stud man. I can’t express how much I appreciated the way that guy prepared, the way he practiced. We’d try to hold him back, and he didn’t care what we thought. He was like ‘I’m getting my reps. You can yell at me all you want for being in there.’ He didn’t care. That guy … he was a work horse. He’s a guy that if you’re around him just one year, you benefitted from it.”

(You’ve coached WR Brandon Marshall, not for a long time, but is it easier to play a guy when you’ve been in meeting rooms with him?)” – “Not him. Not him. It doesn’t matter, we could’ve been together for 10 years, it doesn’t matter. He’s a big guy that makes explosive plays, whether it’s down the field, underneath. One year with him, I saw him do some things where the guy’s got an internal fire to figure out a way to get it done. I saw him take a hitch 60 yards and win a game for us. I don’t know how many tackles … multiple guys missed tackles, and I think he made a couple of guys miss twice. He is phenomenal. When he gets the ball in his hands, he is very hard to bring down. It’s almost like he has that mindset of, you’re not going to tackle me. He knows how to do it. The longer he’s played, I feel like the better he’s got.”

(With him, they move him around so much to try to create favorable mismatches. A lot of times he’s in the nickel, in the slot. Is that a challenge to your slot defensive back?) – “It’s a challenge for whoever lines up on him. It doesn’t matter if he’s inside, outside, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to have your work cut out for you, because he knows how to run all the routes. He knows how to take advantage of coverage. He understands what the defense is trying to do. He understands leverage; he knows how to work off of that. There’s a reason why he’s had as much success as he’s had. He knows how to do it. He knows how to play the position.”

(K Andrew Franks, did he practice today?)– “Yes. We don’t usually have him kick on … today would be considered a Thursday for us. So we usually have him do his deal on Wednesday.”

(Your offensive line, has anything surprised you about them? I don’t know if you can say, did you expect them to do as well as they’ve done the last two weeks? Does anything surprise you?) – “Not really. I think I said this either last week or the week before. It was almost kind of like we were searching for an identity and they basically said, ‘Well this is going to be our identity, whether you like it or not – whether you want to throw the ball 100 times, it doesn’t matter. You better start calling runs because we’re going to get you yards.’”

(Is TE Dion Sims still in the concussion protocol?)  – “Today was the first day that we could actually get him out there and (fully) involved in practice and get him running around, so we’re … at least everything looks good. We’re still going to go through our normal process here as far as being cleared by all the right things. Now, it’s just basically us making the decision of, ‘Do we feel really good about this?’”

(How do you assess T Ja’Wuan James’ part of this overall improvement by the line?) – “He’s been really good the last two weeks. He’s been outstanding. He’s done a great job. Very rarely has he had any kind of missed assignments. He’s really doing a good job in the passing game. His pass protection has been very good and I think he’s been outstanding as far as his run-blocking, but (also) his pursuit down the field. He’s been one of the guys that you see every time that you watch the end of a run, he’s right there. His number flashes up on the screen, on those end zone shots, and that’s what you want. You want to try to get those guys around the ball as much as possible and if it’s down the field, that’s even better, because he’s looking for that extra block. One more block might free up Jay (Ajayi) for 10 or 20 more yards.”

(Has finishing runs and finishing blocks, has that been kind of a point of emphasis going up against a tough defensive front like the Jets?) – “That’s really kind of all we talk about no matter who we’re playing. (Offensive Line Coach) Chris (Foerster) does a good job, as far as, we have a couple meetings a week where he’s talking to the entire group as far as how our emphasis is in the run game and kind of how we want to play. He does a good job of keeping every position involved. The run game is not just about the o-line and the running back. It’s about the quarterback carrying out his fakes. It’s about the receivers blocking down the field. We talk about, let’s get it to the point that Jay (Ajayi) is dealing with the one guy that is free. So it’s important for every player on the offense to make sure they’re involved in the run game.”

(What do you attribute T Ja’Wuan James’ improvement to? Is it just technique or is it C Mike Pouncey’s return or is it something else?) – “I think it’s … it’s kind of the fact that we got those five back together helps. I think there was a little bit of a sense of chemistry there. It happened quickly, but you can tell those five are playing for each other and the rest of those guys on offense. I think one of the biggest things is some of the things that we were trying to do a little different with him that he was struggling with, I think it’s really sticking with him now. And he’s been able to apply those things. I think any time you change anything, no matter what position you are, sometimes you go through some growing pains. I think all of us try to do the best we can not to get frustrated. I’m sure any time he got beat before and he was trying something different, it was frustrating for him, but he stuck with it. I saw a guy that seemed to be around the building quite a bit, even when he didn’t need to be. He was working on things and doing things on his own to try to get himself better.”

(How did T Ja’Wuan James handle when he got yanked and then he came back?) – “He came back the next week. I mean, there was no conversation there. We went through the film; we made our corrections. The next week he came back, put the work in, (and) just kept trying to get better.”

(WR Jarvis Landry talked about Jerry Rice was somebody he aspired to be. When you look at him and his play and his run after the catch, the way he catches the football, do you see some parallels there when you watch him?) – “You’re making me reach back. I mean, I saw Jerry Rice play. I think he was … I don’t even remember, I might’ve caught the tail end of Oakland. I remember him in Seattle at some point. I mean that’s hard for me to compare. I wasn’t around when Jerry Rice was rolling. I mean, Jarvis (Landry), being able to kind of reach back to a guy like that, you can … We all heard the stories on how he worked so you see how Jarvis practices. You see how he prepares. I’d assume we all see how he plays on Sundays. I mean, he sells out.”

Jarvis Landry – November 2, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry

(The success of the run game, how has that helped you guys in the passing game?) – “A lot. It allows the play-action fakes to be that much more prominent and it also allows the safeties to be a little more aggressive. So it gives us the opportunity to run past guys a little bit.”

(Is it just producing big plays or does that success produce the typical 7- or 8-yard gain also?) – “Both. I think the key is just having the balance. When you have the balance, you pretty much can dictate the game (and) kind of do what you want. For us, that’s what kind of what we’re trying to establish.”

(Not to engage in hyperbole here at all, but when I look at your game, it’s hard to ignore some of the things with Jerry Rice — the movement skills, the run after the catch – how influential was Jerry Rice on that?) – “Very much. Pretty much … I don’t want to say all of my game, but obviously he was a lot taller than me, maybe a little faster. Maybe. (laughter) But the way he got out of his breaks, the way that he caught the football, the way that he finished, the way that he went about his business like a pro. I’ve heard numerous stories about him from coaches, from players, and I’ve had the opportunity to watch cut ups and really study him a little bit. I would say a lot of him is in my game.”

(Have you had the opportunity to meet with him and talk to him about how influential he was to you?) – “Yes. Fortunately for me, I made it to the Pro Bowl last year and I was a part of Team Rice, so I had the opportunity to talk with him and sit down, eat lunch, do dinner with him once, as well. Then I had the honor to see him again during the Super Bowl and just talk and hang out with him and Mike (Irvin). It was a fun time. Good time.”

(What’s the feeling coming back from the bye? Do you feel like guys are recharged?) – “I think guys are definitely happy to be back. Like I was telling … I told (Head) Coach (Adam Gase) today, it’s always good. It’s always good, especially when you have a streak going. You can feel the guys just love to be here, having fun at practice, joking around, clowning around; but at the same time, we want this taste to stay in our mouths. We want to continue to have success and build off of what we’ve done so far.”

(Talk about this opportunity that you guys have to get back to .500 against the Jets, a team that’s obviously a huge rival … just this opportunity in front of you.) – “It’s big. And (it’s) not only about that but it’s also a chance for us to win another division game. The more division games we can win, (it) puts us in a better position. So for us, having to play these guys another time after this, we definitely want to get this one.”

(Did you get a chance to take a peek at their defense? Any chance during the bye? Did you have a chance to look at them a little bit and what do you see from that defense?) – “They’re a good defense. They’re a good defense. They run to the ball. They have a good secondary. Their front seven, there’s definitely guys that can make plays. We’re going to have our hands full but also we’re going to come out there to compete.”

(What was your reaction to the fine?)– “I didn’t have a reaction.”

(Are you going to appeal?) – “Yes, sir. I will.”

(On what basis?) – “Just something that I’m getting with my agent about (and) talking about; but obviously (there is) not much I guess I can do, but it’s always good to appeal those things.”

(Since we last spoke to you, [Buffalo Bills] S Aaron Williams’ dad has said that his career is kind of up in the air and that he’ll decide after the season. I know you said earlier that you don’t go out to hurt anybody. Will this have any impact on the way you play? Can it have any impact on the way you play at all?) – “My physicality, no; but (as) far as my target area? Yes. But my physicality? No.”

(When you hear that someone might be retiring because of a hit, does that affect you as a person?) – “It does. It does, but obviously in this game, there are risks and it comes with injuries as well. Again, you never play the game to deliberately hurt somebody; but inside the game sometimes things happen.”

(Have you tried to reach out to Bills S Aaron Williams in any way since the game?)– “I have not.”

(Is that something you would do down the road?) – “Maybe so, but I have not so far.”

Jay Ajayi – November 2, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Running Back Jay Ajayi

(The Dolphins are going to play the Saints in London next year. What’s your reaction to that?) – “It’s exciting knowing that next year we’ll get an opportunity to go over there. It’s pretty cool.”

(What was your reaction … it must have hurt last time when you weren’t able to play with the Dolphins playing at Wembley Stadium.) – “It was tough for me, just being on injury at the time. I wanted to play in front of friends and family. Hopefully next year, that’ll be the case.”

(How did you spend your time off?) – “Just (stayed) here for a little bit. I went to New York on Friday and hung out with some of my boys that play for the Giants, because they were on a bye too, and came back on Sunday.”

(Did you go through New York unrecognized? Or did people start to …) – “I think a couple of people at the hotel maybe, but I’m still just me, I guess.”

(The Jets are a team that likes to load the box. They play eight men every now and then. Are you a running back that gets excited when you see that eighth man in the box because you know that everyone is on one level and all you have to do is beat that guy?) – “There are definitely different ways of looking at it, as a respect thing if the defense packs the box, and stuff like that. However they line up, it’ll be interesting to see what they try to do. Like you said, when you do pack the box like that, it does leave the second level open if you’re able to break through the first initial wave of defenders and stuff. It’s all about, really, what we do – being physical at the line of scrimmage and just running hard and making plays.”

(Nobody has ever gotten 200 yards three times in a row. What would that mean for you?) – “To have that for ourselves, the o-line – myself included – I think it would be a great accomplishment. At the same time, that’s not our main priority and focus. We want to win the game. We know that as our running game goes, so does our offense. Our priority is just like it’s always been, set the tone at the line of scrimmage, be physical upfront and just run hard. At the end of the game, we’ll see what the stats are.”

(How about the effectiveness of the blocking, not only at the line at the point of attack but downfield by the receivers and how that has contributed to the last couple of games for you) – “That’s been huge. Just talking with the receivers and talking with Coach ‘Jeff’ (Shawn Jefferson), the receivers coach, we’ve been talking about it through practice – how we’re going to work on finishing runs, how they’re going to make it a big emphasis to finish their blocks and get me to the second level and the other running backs. We all know that we all work together as a team on offense. As our running game goes, we can also open up the passing game. As much as everyone is doing their job and working together, we can have a really good day on Sunday and that’s our goal.”

(How much are you getting recognized in South Florida?) – “It’s growing. It’s definitely growing. I just want to keep putting together good performances.”

(This is out in public, like the grocery store and such?) – “Yes, like I’ll start to get recognized a little bit more.”

(What’s your reaction to it? Are you surprised still or does it seem strange?) – “It’s cool because it kind of just tells you that you’re doing the right thing. People obviously are noticing you for good performance so just keep putting good performances together.”

(Do you have any funny stories like that, like you’re just trying to eat your meal or buy some apples and somebody comes up to you?) – “No, no funny stories.”

(How formidable is the challenge this week with the No. 1 rush defense facing you?) – “Yes, we’re playing a good team. The Jets, they have a really good front up there with their defensive line and those linebackers. We know we’re going to have a good challenge ahead of us. At the same time, we’re not worried about anybody else. We’re worried about ourselves. If we do our jobs and we go out there like we know we can play, I think we’re going to have a good day.”

(The last two weeks have obviously upped your stats. You’re over 500 yards rushing now. Is leading the league in rushing something within your grasp?) – “Down the line, maybe. Right now I’m just taking it game by game. I know I haven’t played as many games as the rest of everyone else, so I don’t even know how close I am to doing that. It would be something cool to strive for as the season’s getting close to ending and you see that; but right now I’m just focused on the Jets and playing a great game against them.”

(With the success of the run game, what are some of the things you guys can continue to do to keep defenses honest?) – “I think that just making sure that we have good balance on offense – everyone doing their jobs, at the same time executing and doing the little details. I think that’s what’s going to set us apart from what we’ve been doing so far, and just let us go to the next level. I think if we can add that to our game, cut out the stupid mistakes, the penalties, fix the little details and execute, I think we’ll be alright.”

(Can personnel groupings help?) – “Definitely. I think that we have a lot of variety on our team, versatility here and there, so we can do a lot of different personnel groups. I think that we can use that to our advantage as well.”

(If we had asked you six months ago – would you have thought it was possible for anybody to run for 200 yards three weeks in a row?) – “I know in the NFL, it’s hard to get 100 yards so for us to have done back-to-back 200 yard games is credit to the hard work that we’ve all put in – the o-line, the receivers, everyone including myself. If it does happen again, that’s going to be an amazing thing, an incredible thing, and we’ll just see what happens.”

(Is there anything about being a back-to-back 200 yard rusher that is not fun, that has become a pain in the neck?) – “No, because I think if we’re doing that, I think we’ll be hard to beat. I know it’s not logical to say you can rush for 200 yards every game, but if our run game is being as dominant as it has been these past couple of weeks, and if we can just keep playing like that, and adding that balance, and helping our defense out, I think we’ll be alright. I don’t see nothing wrong with having great performances like that over and over again.”

(Did you notice the difference physically with that amount of carries? Because you’ve never had close to that amount of carries.)  – “Yes, I mean you’re a little bit more sore; because you’re taking more hits. But that’s what doing the right things during the week, regeneration and things like that, to make sure you get back on the field as quick as possible.”

(With the bye, do you feel that much pressure?) – “I feel that the bye came at a good time for a lot of us – a lot of our injured guys are getting back healthy, so I think we’ll be good.”

(Do you have a hyperbaric chamber or anything like that?) – “I have an ice machine at home and I’m planning on getting the Game Ready stuff. One of my boys had that thing and he told me it works so maybe this offseason I’ll look into getting one of those.”

(Head Coach Adam Gase said that even when things weren’t going great for you, you went to him and said ‘If you let me run these plays, I’ll get you yards. I’ll get you guaranteed.’ What in your mind gave you the impetus to go ahead and tell the head coach that when you haven’t proven it?) – “I felt like he didn’t really understand what I was best at yet, because we were still getting to know how we will work in this offense during the preseason and everyone was kind of getting in the grove of things. I kind of felt like he still didn’t know what my favorite kind of runs in the scheme are and the things that I can be productive (at).  I felt like I wanted to let him know (that) given the opportunity, whenever you decide, if you decide to put me in there, these are the plays that I feel like I’ll be most successful at.”

(When you left that meeting, did you feel that at least you’ve gotten it across and off your chest?) – “Yes, he was very receptive and took notes down. That’s one thing about (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase, when it comes to our offense, he’s always receptive to advice (and) things that we’re saying, because we’re out there on the field and we know what’s going on. I just made an effort to reach out to him and let him know.”

(It’s working right?)  – “Yes, it’s been good.”

(The understanding between you two must be better than ever, right?) – “Yes, it’s improved definitely from the beginning of the year. I’m happy about it.”

Mike Pouncey – November 2, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Center Mike Pouncey

(Can the success in the past two games boost everyone?) – “I think so. I think when you find your identity as a football team, you can start working on those things a lot more during practice. That is what we’ve been doing as of late. We’ll see how it goes on Sunday. We’re excited to go back out there in front of our home crowd once again, and we’re looking for a great environment. They have a really good defense. This team is like number one in the NFL in stopping the run, so it’s going to be a really tough task for our offense.”

(When you do look at their defensive front, do you feel like you’ll still be able to execute and do the same type of things you’ve been doing?) – “We’ll see. Like I said before, they play the run really well. They put a lot of guys in the box. We’re not going to shy away from it. We’re going to see how it goes throughout the game, but we’re going to do whatever it takes to win the football game.”

(Are you challenging RB Jay Ajayi to get 200 yards this week?) – “Of course. We’re trying to be a part of the history books. But our main focus is to win this game, whether we rush for 200 yards or 1 yard. Our main goal at the end of the day is to win the football game, and it’s something we’re looking forward to.”

(You came in and the offensive line is now blocking real well – run blocking well, protecting QB Ryan Tannehill. What did you try to instill in the rest of the lineman when you stepped in here?) – “I never make it all about me. I feel like we’ve got all five of our starters back – the guys that we worked on all offseason going into training camp – and I think all five of us play really well together. If you noticed the last two games, we’ve had all five starters out there, and we’ve been running the ball really well. So, we’ll see how it goes, but we’re looking for a really good game. This team travels really well as far as fans, and they’re going to play us really, really tough.”

(Personnel-wise, what’s kind of scary about the Jets?) – “They got one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. They’re trying to trade guys, (because) they can’t pay them so much. (laughter) These guys, they’re really good, really active. They’re (a) strong, big front. And they’ve got a really good coach that was here before.”

(In the past you guys have played really great for two weeks and backslid. Why is this year going to be different?) – “I guess we’ll see. You thought last week we were going to lose and the week before, so your prediction hasn’t been too good. (laughter)  We’ll see how it goes. We’re just looking forward to it. I feel like our offense is really clicking right now. We kind of found our identity, and we’re going to see how it works on Sunday.”

(Everyone talks about DL Muhammad Wilkerson and DL Sheldon Richardson, but it seems like DL Leonard Williams has developed. What are his strengths?)  – “I think he’s a really good player, one of their best players on their defense. He’s a guy that really comes off the ball hard, he plays with his hands and he’s a young guy. He’s really active. He makes a lot of plays on their defensive front. You can’t count that guy out, because all four, five of those guys are really, really good.”

(The run game, what has that done for QB Ryan Tannehill and the passing game?) – “I think our run game has opened up the rest of our offense. We’ve had big plays off the pass game from the run. I think Ryan has been playing great. He’s a guy that goes up there and has a lot of freedom of checking plays and getting us into the right runs or right passes. For the past two weeks, it has been awesome.”

(They announced the game in London next year. Having been through that, what are some of the pros and challenges?) – “We’re excited about it. It’s always fun to go to another country and play. It’s something that a lot of guys don’t have the opportunity to do. The only bad part about it is we lose a home game. But over there it feels like both teams are the home team, because the crowds are so into it. We’re excited about it. It’s something our team likes to do is play in London. We’ll go over there next year, and we’ll be ready to play.”

(Are you the official team of London do you think?) – “I think it’s the Jaguars, isn’t it?” (laughter)

(With so much success in the run game, what are some of the things that you guys can do to kind of keep opposing defenses honest?) – “I think what we’ve got to do is stay on schedule with the sticks. We can’t get ourselves in second-and-long and third-and-long, because our offense isn’t effective that way. We’ve got to do a great job on first downs getting positive yards and on second down getting positive yards, and putting ourselves in situations on third down where we can have a third-and-short and try to complete it.”

Adam Gase – November 1, 2016 Download PDF version

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(The window for CB Chris Culliver is one week left. He says he’s ready to play in the locker room today. Just curious of where you see him right now in practice?) – “We have time still. We’re still going through our process and he understands that. He understands that we don’t have to make any decisions right now. We’re just going to keep going through practice and seeing where he’s at (and) see how he feels. Every day is a different day as far as how well he feels, how well he moves. I feel confident as far as where he’s at with the knowledge of the defense and things like that. Being as sharp as he is and the experience he has, that was never really a concern. It was just getting him as close to what you can be in the NFL of 100 percent, which is tough to do, especially when you’re going through what he’s been going through, trying to get his body completely back together. We’ve got time to make any kind of decisions that we need to make and obviously we’re going to take the full amount of time that we need to take.”

(Do you talk big picture with your team about if you win this game you’re back at .500, you’re in the race and then do you mention the word playoffs around the team?) – “I think we’re more focused on one week at a time right now. We’ve been talking that way since before we even started the season. It’s about winning one week – being 1-0 at the end of the week. (This week is) a division game, a team that obviously has a lot of really good players and a well-coached team. We’ve got a big-time challenge ahead of us.”

(That being said, did you watch the game yesterday and do any math in your head when you see some of the results?) – “No. You don’t worry about it. It’s a long ways to go.”

(You put together the front four that you thought were going to be the strength of the team. The guy that leads in both sacks and quarterback hurries is your defensive tackle. How would you describe the season that DT Ndamukong Suh is having?) – “Unique. I think it’s been pretty consistent as far as what he’s done over his career. When you have a guy that plays the position he plays and gets double- and triple-teamed as much as he does and still somehow finds a way to get through, it says a lot about him as far as one: his preparation, work habits (and) the way that he prepares his body throughout the entire year. His knowledge of the defense is really a benefit to him because he knows all the ins and outs. You talk about a guy that’s scheme sound and does his job a lot? He’s probably the guy that does it better than anybody. That’s why he has success. That’s just taking away his physical talent.”

(Has DT Ndamukong Suh’s play been consistently good throughout the season from game to game?) – “Yes. Unbelievable.”

(With DE Mario Williams and DE Jason Jones, they both move inside to defensive tackle from time to time. What is the downside to moving them, not moving them there full time, but playing them more instead of just pass situation?) – “It’s just the different … It’s like o-line, the same thing. It’s these different angles, different vantage points, views, how you set things up as far as your movement, patterns and things like that. I think sometimes it’s good to move those guys around. It’s hard to … Who’s doing what? Who’s going to be the guy that we would want to run around in stunts? Who’s picking? Who’s the guy wrapping around? Things like that. Who’s penetrating? Any time that you can grow the menu of things that you’re guys do, it makes it tough for the offense to get ready for. Hopefully you can try to pigeonhole them into a little box there to where they always have to do something the same. ‘Hey, we have to run this type of protection because at least we know we can pick everything up.’ When you have guys that are as flexible as that whole group is – I mean those guys can move all over the place – it makes it tough on the offense. I know (that) from the other side of the ball, just going through training camp and OTAs and just trying to figure out where everybody’s at. They do everything different but they can do a lot of things the same. It makes it really tough protection-wise to consistently pick up.”

(You guys have struggled pretty much on defense most of the season, but there’s one area – third down efficiency – that you guys are pretty dominant. How is it that you can struggle in so many areas but be so dominant on third down? That doesn’t make much sense to me.) – “I know (Miami Herald columnist) Armando (Salguero) is going to disagree with me on this, but I think if we would’ve done a better job on offense, we wouldn’t have been in the situation that we put our defense in where they’re having 75(-plus) plays a game. It changed the whole dynamic of why we put the defense together the way we did. We built it to play with a lead; we built it to where they can pass rush. Those first four or five games, all they did was play the run. The last two games, they haven’t had to do that. They’ve been able to get after it. Fifty-five plays to 50 plays makes a big difference for those guys, because their energy level is high. You get into the third and fourth quarter, and all of a sudden they’re still flying around, when you’re on the other side of the ball and every possession counts like that and you go three-and-out, it stings. All of a sudden you start pressing and you’re trying to pass the ball more to get bigger plays and score at a rapid rate so you can get the ball back. It makes it hard on the opposing offense. We didn’t do a good job earlier in the year on offense, which put our defense in a bad spot. That’s why you’ve got to take the full 16 games. You can focus on one thing right now, but we’ll see what happens over the rest of the season and see basically where we’re at, at the end of the year.”

(How much did TE Dion Sims do today?) – “He can do … basically he could do individual, and then he can’t have any kind of contact.”

(The NFL trade deadline is about 45 minutes away. Is there any chance that you guys do anything? Or is this the team you’re going to roll with?) – “I don’t know. When I get back in there, then I’ll have an idea of what’s going on. Obviously, it seems to be different than most sports, right? You don’t see (trades in the NFL) as much. It’s rare to be involved in trades in the NFL, it seems like. When something happens, it’s an explosion of news. Right now, we’ll see what’s going on in there, but I haven’t heard anything.”

(The Jets are rated last in pass defense and CB Darrelle Revis is uncharacteristically giving up a lot of big plays. Just curious of what you see of him on film compared to the Darrelle Revis we know of the past few years?) – “Well, last year I didn’t see him. Actually the year before, he was a nightmare, at least when we played him. I mean, he shut down a pretty good group of receivers that we had and the guy I see on tape is still a guy that plays physical and when he figures out what you’re doing concept-wise, you better be careful because he’s a smart player. He has seen a lot of things in his career. You put that ball anywhere near him, he’ll have it. So I know when you’re in a position he is and you go against a number one every week, it’s not always going to look the way everybody wants it to look – zero catches for zero yards. I mean, there are good players out there and he has won his fair share. I know that. And over his career, he has been one of the best ones probably ever to do what he does and play that position.”

(How has the frequency of eight-man fronts you guys see changed, say maybe from even the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers to all the way through?) – “It hasn’t changed. I mean it has been pretty much the same. We’ve seen the same stuff throughout the entire season.”

(Your offense is among the league leaders in yards per play and yards per rush. You’re last in the AFC in first downs, which would say lots of big plays. Is that what this offense is or do you think it’s going to change?)  – “I would say it was a lot of three-and-outs early in the year. I mean, we got … we were so bad early. The last two weeks have been different. You have 25-plus first downs the last two games, it makes a big difference. We went through some growing pains. We had some things happen that obviously we wanted to be better at what we were doing (and) we weren’t. So we made improvements, we’ve made changes. We’ve got a couple things going that has put us in a better position to be in third-and-manageable and then convert on third down. You just want to keep that going as much as possible.”

(Has DT Earl Mitchell been practicing and what could his return mean?) – “Yes, today is the first day that he could actually go out there and practice; but I think we still have some time here before he can actually have a chance to be activated. So we’ll go through our process on that just like the rest of those guys as far as the date that he can come back and everything’s good to go and we don’t have any setbacks.”

(How much did DT Earl Mitchell do today?) – “We just tried to get him going. I mean, I don’t remember the last time he practiced. You don’t throw him out there and say, ‘Hey, take every rep at practice.’”

(DT Earl Mitchell can’t play until two more weeks right?) – “Yes.”

(You’re going to London next year. So philosophically, is that something you like, hate, don’t care about?) – “I’ve been involved in it one time. To me, it happens so fast it’s just kind of part of what you’re used to in this league. Whether it’s flying to the West Coast, going to London, you just know you’re going to travel. Obviously being down here, anytime you go near the West Coast, it’s a hike. We went to Seattle this year. I mean, whether we stay here or go to London, it’s just part of what the NFL is now. It’s more worldwide and we’re one of the teams that are going to go over there. So we just do as told.”

(Does it bother you to lose a home game?) – “I think looking at this (with) us having the Super Bowl here and things like that, there are certain things that we ended up … We’re going to London. It is what it is. That was … We know that was possibly going to happen. For us, like I said – players and coaches and staff – we just roll with the punches.”

(Panthers QB Cam Newton complained about taking a lot of hits and treatment of quarterbacks. Your quarterback has taken a lot of hits. Has there been anything excessive? Do quarterbacks in general need more protection in this league?) – “It has changed since I started, and it hasn’t been that long. But I do remember when it seemed a lot more violent, so I guess it has toned back a little bit. That’s a tough job. You can’t always see everything (when) you get all those guys around the quarterback. I know he’s in a position where being a bigger guy sometimes, he takes some shots, and he hangs in there. But at the same time, when they miss it – when you’re in that position and you get hit, whether it be around the knees or you get hit late – it frustrates those guys, because there are certain rules in place, and you just want them enforced. It’s a tough position to play. You take some shots and eventually your body … You start feeling it.”

(With LB Kiko Alonso, is there anything about his game that, maybe, you didn’t know – or about his preparation – that surprised you?) – “I think the intel that we got before that whole trade went down was pretty solid. We had a good feel when we made that deal as far as what we were getting. It was about keeping him out there and figuring out what was the right position for us at the time. I think that was the biggest evaluation process we went through is, ‘Is it Mike or Will (linebacker)? What do we want to do with it? What do we want to do with him?’ That was really our biggest thing we had to go through with him. But he has been pretty much as advertised of what we thought.”

(With the linebacker unit, you’ve made some changes where now LB Jelani Jenkins is now exclusively the nickel and LB Neville Hewitt and LB Donald Butler are the base guys. Has that altered how that unit has performed?) – “I think it has helped us as far as we feel confident as far as trying to spread those snaps out. I know Jelani is coming off of a few injuries here, and we just want to make sure that we have him for the rest of the season. If that means we take a few snaps off of him – and he’s not banging around in base defense – I don’t think that hurts us to the point where we’re deficient. The guys that have stepped in, in that base unit have done a great job, and they’re assignment-sound, and they’re making plays. (Linebackers Coach) Matt (Burke) has done a good job as far as getting those guys ready. Whoever’s available … He has had a couple situations where we’ve gone into some games where we’re one guy away from really having some issues in a game. Those guys have toughed out some things that a lot of position groups would be frustrated with and a lot of coaches would struggle with.”

Ndamukong Suh – November 1, 2016 Download PDF version

Monday, November 1, 2016

Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh

(You guys can get back to .500, put yourselves in good position for the postseason with a victory, is that a consideration? Is that thought out there about playoffs and getting in position right now?)– “The most important thing is just focusing on the game at hand, which is the (New York) Jets. I think to be … we would understand the implications and things of that nature, but the biggest thing we’ve got to do — which we’ve done the last two weeks before the bye week – was focus on the game that we had at hand, take care of business and everything will fall in place where we want it to be.”

(How are you guys feeling, as a defensive front, front four, as a playmaking unit right now?) – “I think we all understand that we have the ability to make a lot of plays and be effective on the game. And that’s what we want to go out there and do each and every week. Just going out there, having opportunities and making the most of it.”

(As far as the bye week, how important was it for you to just kind of go away from football and just kind of relax?) – “I think it’s important. I try and do it every single week – clear my mind of football, get prepared for the upcoming week and go from there. So it’s important to have a bye week. I think it came at a good time, being in the middle of the season and go from there.”

(How do you feel coming back? Do you feel pretty good, pretty refreshed?) – “You feel as much as refreshed as possible. But I mean, you still (have) seven or eight weeks and (training) camp on you so at the end of the day, it was a good break. Like I said, (you) catch it in the middle of the season and get prepared for the long haul. We’ve got, I think eight more games, nine more games. Then we (have) a West Coast trip, so first and foremost, you (have to) take care of the (New York) Jets.”

(Are you able to forget about football for that week as much as you try?)– “Forget about football? That’s pretty much impossible but it is life. You find ways to keep busy and at the end of the day, spend time with friends and family, and get prepared at the same time.”

(Did you watch any [football] over the weekend?) – “No, I actually didn’t watch any. No.”

(Better feeling in this locker room right now? I know obviously with two victories there would be but … and if so, is it a tangible thing or more of a subtle confidence?)  – “I mean, I’m not really sure. You’d (have to) ask each and every person but for me personally, I think we, like I said, finished the last two weeks off going into the bye (week) really well. Obviously, (we) have a lot more room to grow. Now it’s important for us to make sure we come back home and take care of business against the (New York) Jets.”

(How do you grade the season you personally have had so far?) – “I haven’t graded it and probably won’t until the end of the season.”

(And why is that?) – “It’s not important to make a grade midway through the year. It’s about what you can do each and every week to be successful and find ways to help this team win.”

(The past couple of games, the offense has been able to control the ball pretty good amount of time as opposed to what was going on earlier in the season. How have you felt physically, like in the fourth quarter in those past two games, have you felt that much fresher?) – “I felt no different between Week 1 and Week 7. (I’m) ready to go, eager to play in the fourth quarter (and) have an opportunity to obviously win the game, and go out there and produce and play my part.”

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