Adam Gase – November 17, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cameron Wake – November 17, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Defensive End Cameron Wake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laremy Tunsil – November 17, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Guard/Tackle Laremy Tunsil

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

DT Ndamukong Suh

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

G/T Laremy Tunsil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jarvis Landry – November 17, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adam Gase – November 16, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(With the news that T Branden Albert is out for Sunday, do you have a timeframe? Is there any chance he might need surgery?) – “I haven’t really … I haven’t gotten into that with those guys. I’m probably avoiding asking anything right now. The fact that I know he’s not going to play this game, I know that for a fact. So I’ll get into more discussions with those guys as the week goes on.”

(But you’re not concerned about the surgery or anything?) – “We’ll handle what we need to handle. We’ll take care of everything and we’ll go through what process the trainers, doctors, he feels like we need to go through.”

(Does he have any breaks or fractures?) – “I don’t want to go into the details of everything because I’m not … I don’t know all the little ins and outs of everything right now. I’ll be getting back with the trainers here soon, after today, and kind of get caught up with everything.”

(Obviously, because he’s not put on IR, the hope is that he could come back this season?) – “That would be fair to say. Nobody has told me anything different yet.”

(With G/T Laremy Tunsil, what’s this transition going to be like for him? I know he’s been practicing at left tackle throughout the season but now to play in a game, a full game.)  – “Yes for him it’s … he has no concern. We feel comfortable with him out there. Obviously, that’s a position he’s very comfortable with. I think the transition of playing left guard compared to tackle for him is a lot harder for him, as far as just being comfortable. But he’s done a great job as far as what he’s accomplished and what’s he’s done throughout the season. I know when he bumps out to left tackle, that’s like riding a bike for him.”

(Can you explain how T Branden Albert was okay to play Sunday but not this Sunday?) – “I think he really just gutted it out. I’m sure that wasn’t comfortable by any means. But he did not want to leave those guys; he didn’t want to leave that group. So they went in there and kind of got him straightened up and casted him up and he came back out there and did everything he could to try to keep his guy off Ryan (Tannehill) and do everything he could in the running game. Obviously after the game, the body’s going to react to kind of what had happened to him. It swells up and it changes things for the next week. It happens a lot of times with other kinds of injuries as well.”

(With the decision for who plays left guard – C/G Kraig Urbik got into the game – but how much of a consideration is it to give C/G Anthony Steen some action at guard?) – “I think everything’s up in the air right now. You have a general idea starting a week and then as we go through the week and how comfortable we feel with Urbik in there. We feel great as far as what he’s shown us so far and what he did in the game. We’ll just kind of see how it plays out. Sundays are always strange. You never know how it’s going to go down and hopefully we can stay healthy throughout the game. I know we have a big test ahead of us, especially with this front. It’s going to be a challenge considering we’ve played four teams that have really good fronts and this might be the best one that we’re about to face.”

(What do you like most about what C/G Kraig Urbik showed you last game?) – “The fact that when you have a guy that’s played as much as he has and been around for the time he’s been around, knowledge of just general football is always something that always stands out for me when you have guys that are backup linemen. Being able to go and play multiple positions – obviously, jumping in there playing center – doing things like that is critical for us and showed a lot about where he is mentally with what we do. He’s got a toughness about him and grit that you really like as far as offensive linemen go.”

(What are some of the areas of improvement that you’ve seen from CB Tony Lippett this season?) – “I think his confidence has grown as the season has gone on. Any time that you make that transition from being a wide receiver to a DB, it’s a lot more difficult than maybe it seems. I think he does have some advantages. It’s just understanding route concepts and maybe the why – why offenses do certain things. But at the end of the day, when you start going against some of these guys that are top tier wide receivers that have been doing it for a while in the NFL, they know all the little tricks of the trade and they take advantage of the fact that you’re trying to learn how to play DB properly. The way the rules are set up nowadays, it’s not easy for DBs to battle. You have to be careful how hands-y you get. You’ve got to be careful when you’re playing tight coverage. Obviously they can see every little thing and you get called for holdings and PI’s (pass interference) and illegal contacts. You have to do a great job as far as anticipate what might be coming, kind of understand route concepts and being able to shadow guys and redirect quickly.”

(How far along would you say QB Ryan Tannehill has come from the beginning of the year or even from training camp to now?) – “I think any time that you start over on an offense, you want everything to progress quickly, and it doesn’t always work that way. I think a lot of times too it takes that full unit to kind of get comfortable with each other, and even though we’ve played together, it’s a different system. You’re being asked to do different things. They’ve all been through different experiences and I think the strides we’ve made as a group have been positive. Obviously we’ve had a lot more success here the last four games. I think he’s really gotten comfortable as far as what we’re doing schematically in the passing game. He has a big hand in what we have to do in the running game as well because a lot is put on his plate to make sure that we’re in the right play. He does have a lot on his plate and the longer we’ve been together and doing this and getting used to how I call it and how we set things up, the better he’s gotten.”

(What is it about this team that plays to DT Earl Mitchell’s strengths? Obviously he flashed on Sunday.) – “I think anytime you allow a defensive lineman to attack, that’s what most of those guys want to do. I don’t know if you’ve seen or heard too many defensive linemen say ‘Hey, I like kind of sitting back and seeing what the offense is going to do. I’ll react off of them.’ They want to get up the field. They want to get after the quarterback. They want to be disruptive and for what Earl (Mitchell) likes to do, that’s what this defense is. I think you saw a guy that was really excited to get back out on the football field for sure.”

(How is DE Mario Williams?) – “You know, we’re day-to-day right now. Hopefully he’ll feel better by the end of the week. Right now he’s still not where he wants to be. We’ll see how this progresses as the week goes on.”

(How about LB Jelani Jenkins and DE Jason Jones?) – “Same thing.”

(Is DE Jason Jones hurt?) – “He’s banged up. Usually, we give him Wednesdays off. Some of the guys are still sore from the game. That was a physical battle that we went through against San Diego, especially with the defense. They had quite a few plays. They were trying to run the ball, and it was a hard-hitting game. We got a lot of guys, especially on the defensive side … Because we are a little bit older on that side, those guys … This part of the season, this is when guys start getting banged up a little bit, and it takes a couple more days to recover.”

(Is playing a quarterback – a rookie quarterback – who has never played before in the NFL a good thing, a bad thing?) – “It’s tough. It’s tough, because you really … You don’t know what to tell your guys as far as, ‘Here’s what he does well. Here’s what he struggles with. Is there anything we can take advantage of?’ There are all those questions that a lot of times at least you can ask and give answers to. Right now, we have limited film. We can dig into the college scouting reports and pull up college tape and all that stuff, but really, you always want to go off of NFL tape. We have very limited stuff on him. You don’t really know what they’re going to do offensively. You don’t know if they’re going to lean on one part of their game over another. How are they going to play with him? Are they deciding to move their scheme around? Are they going to do something different? It’s one of those games where we have to go in there and do a great job as far as our sideline adjustments, get a feel for what’s going on in the game, try to play as aggressively as you possibly can. But at the same time, we have to be aware that we don’t know him. We have to make sure that we’re taking in that information as the game goes on.”

(How close is CB Chris Culliver to being game ready?) – “It’s hard for me to give an exact timetable. I think we’re going to keep going through practice and keep giving him reps and trying to get him feeling as great as he can possibly feel. When myself and (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) feel that things are where we want them to be, and we feel like there’s somebody that we want to replace with him, then we’ll head in that direction. Every week is a new week. No decisions have technically been made yet. I know we always outline things a little early to give ‘Rizz’ (Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi) an idea of who needs to practice on certain special teams, but a lot of times, our decisions go all the way up to Saturday.”

(What is CB Xavien Howard able to do right now?) – “He’s still rehabbing and doing a lot of the strengthening things. It’s one of those processes when you see him working out and running and things like that, (and) you’re excited that you see him look like he feels good. But we know we have to be smart with what we do. We don’t want any setbacks. We’re going to make sure that if we get him back, it’s at the right time. We are not going to put him out there too early. We are not going to rush him back. We are going to make sure this timetable is right. We feel like this guy is going to be one of those guys that is going to be here for a long time, and we want to make sure that we handle this correctly.”

(Can CB Xavien Howard run full speed?) – “I don’t think we’re at full speed, yet. He’ll probably tell you, ‘Yes.’ But I think he’s pretty close. But I still think we got a ways to go as far as making sure that he’s close to 100 percent.”

(Is there a cut off when you guys want to get that roster spot?) – “We’ve got plenty of room to take care of him right now. If it was a concern, then that’ll be brought up. It hasn’t even been discussed.”

(With C Mike Pouncey, he has played guard at some point. He played guard in 2014. Is there any consideration to maybe working C/G Anthony Steen at center, or you just don’t want to move Mike?) – “I like Mike where he’s at right now.”

Ryan Tannehill – November 16, 2016 (Conference Call) Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

QB Ryan Tannehill Conference Call with Los Angeles Media

(What do you think of the challenge of going against a defensive line like the one the Rams have?) – “They have a great defense. It’s definitely a challenge for us. They have a really good front. They do a lot of things to put pressure on the offensive line, get a lot of five-on-five matchups and let their guys work. They have a lot of faith in the guys and for good reason. They’re really talented upfront, and they do a good job of getting pressure on the quarterback, whether it’s pushing the pocket, affecting throws, making the quarterback move – all those types of things to just disrupt the passing game. I have a ton of respect for this defense and how they want to affect the game.”

(The Rams have a rookie quarterback starting for the first time. Do you have much recollections of your first start?) – “Yes, I obviously remember my first start. It was a rough first half and then we got things going in the second half. But that was a long time ago.”

(What kinds of things helped you get through it after that first half, and what kind of things happened that enabled you to run a little bit more smoothly?) – “You just have to keep playing. I think no matter whether you’re in your first game or your 101st game that’s football. You just got to keep playing.”

(What you do think has been the difference for you guys as a team and for you as a quarterback with Head Coach Adam Gase as head coach?) – “I think he’s done a great job of establishing a mindset, building a culture around our building, a belief in each other. We’ve done a good job of pushing each other in practice, practicing really hard. We’re practicing efficiently and trying to get the most out of our time. I think establishing the culture has been the biggest thing (and) his mindset, competiveness in practice and pushing each other to be better. And we see that payoff on Sundays.”

(You made some pretty big leaps in your career from Year 1 to Year 2. What kind of things were you able to draw from that first year as an NFL starting quarterback, and how big was that for you to have that season where you were under center, and how much did it help you moving forward?) – “Obviously, the more reps you get, the more experience you get, the more comfortable you get and you learn. You learn from the good reps; you learn from the bad reps. You learn from game reps and practice reps alike. The more reps you get under your belt, the better you should be.”

(From your vantage point, can you talk about what DT Ndamukong Suh has done for the defense as well as your team and field position and things like that?) – “He has done a great job. He’s very disruptive, whether it be in the pass game or the run game. He’s a talented player who’s playing really well right now. He’s making a lot of big plays for our defense.”

(What think has been the key in RB Jay Ajayi’s sort of jump and his leap in maybe his development?) – “I think he has done a really nice job. I think he learned a lot from Arian (Foster) in the run game whenever Arian was here. I think the biggest deal over the last month has been the offensive line doing a great job up front and giving him those creases. Jay runs hard. He runs hard every down. He’s going to break tackles. He’s going to run through arm tackles and make it tough and then get to that second level consistently. That’s trouble for a defense. I don’t care, really, what defense it is. You get a 240 pound back – or however much he weighs – running full steam ahead, you don’t want to have that matchup several times over the course of the game. That’s really our goal – to get him to the second level, get him to the secondary clean and let him work from there.”

(Do you think part of the reason for the run that you guys have been on is maybe you all just getting more used to each other from a coaching staff perspective and then also from the player perspective, building that chemistry there.) – “There’s definitely a learning curve with the new system, new head coach. There’s definitely a growing process, and we’re still on it. We’re still on that path. We keep growing as a team – growing as an offense – and building that chemistry together. That’s definitely a big part of it, and I hope to continue on that path.”

(You’re going up against the Rams, obviously, this week and you’re going up against Rams QB Jared Goff, but being part of the quarterback fraternity, if you had any advice for Jared coming out and playing his first game – getting his first snaps – what kind of advice would you give him?) – “I’m not really big on giving him advice before we play him. I’m just focused on doing everything I can to help this team win.”

Adam Gase – November 16, 2016 (Conference Call) Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase Conference Call with Los Angeles Media

(It looks like your winning streak here has coincided with QB Ryan Tannehill’s ability to avoid the interception. What have you seen over the last four games that has led him to clean those turnovers up?) – “I think most of it has to do with the fact that we’ve gotten our starting five offensive linemen back – getting that group back together – and then the running game coming around. He didn’t have to … We had some games at the end of the game where we had to lean on him quite a bit. He had to take some chances as far as trying to get us back in the game and that had a lot to do with some of the interceptions that we had earlier in the season. The last four games, we’ve played a lot more balanced football, and he hasn’t had to really force anything. He has made a lot of really good decisions the time it has been crunch time on third downs and things like that. The development of the offense as far as us being together for a little longer period of time has really helped us out as well.”

(When you’re going to face a quarterback that has never played in a regular season game, how does that affect your preparation?) – “Obviously, our information is limited as far as what he has put on tape at this level. So, our ability to at least tell our players strengths and weakness is very limited. We have to be very sharp within the game of trying to figure out what they could possibly lean on or go to that he does really well and maybe try to figure out what possibly could give him problems. It makes it tough when you have this limited information. You can always try to go back (and) look at college tapes or go back to our college scouts evaluations of him, but it makes it tough, because you’re so used to having so much information on almost every player that you go against no matter what position they play. And right now, obviously, our information is very limited.”

(You mentioned college film, but his preseason, does that provide any value to you guys in scouting him as well?) – “Once again, it’s just so limited. A lot of times in the preseason, you’re not really getting too exotic, and you’re trying to run basic things to try to … Not only him being a young player and him trying to get his feet wet in the preseason, but the guys that he’s playing with – a lot of those guys are probably not even on the roster or younger guys themselves – that are trying to get a feel for what they were doing offensively. So, it is tough to just look at that and be like, ‘This is exactly who he is,’ because once again, you don’t have a lot of information.”

(I would imagine putting pressure on a young quarterback would be a plus for your squad. Can you talk about that and how well your defense has played in the last several games?) – “I think any time that you can apply any kind of pressure to quarterbacks in this league, it obviously makes a big difference throughout the game. Some of the guys that we’ve … Last week playing a guy of the caliber of Philip Rivers, you try to apply as much pressure as possible, whether it be by pressuring him or with a four-man rush and then collapsing the pocket. Some of these experienced guys do such a good job as far as being able to stand in there, and it doesn’t really phase them, because they’ve been through this so many times. The way that our defense is playing right now, I feel like the guys are really playing good assignment football. They’re doing so much right as far as everybody being on the same page. I think the games that we’ve struggled in, we’ve had some miscues with guys on different pages. I don’t want to say freelancing, but more … It’s almost like busts. We’ve had too many busts early in the season which cost us.”

(How much did you look at Rams QB Jared Goff coming out of the draft, and what do you remember about your impressions of him?) – “It was very brief. I looked at enough just to be familiar. A lot of times when you’re not in position to take a guy – and obviously this year being my first year as a head coach – I had a lot of other things that I was looking. Being somebody that admires that position and always wants to make sure that you’re up to date on all the guys coming into the league, I tried to look at it a little bit. But I didn’t look at enough to really have a great opinion one way or another as far as an evaluation standpoint.”

(Because Rams QB Jared Goff is so young and it’s his first game, how much or how tempted are you to mix things up defensively to try to confuse him?) – “A lot of the times the way that we go into these games is we’re always trying to affect the quarterback, really, no matter who it is back there. (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) does a great job as far as giving different looks and different types of pressures. Once again, we don’t know how he’s going to handle certain things, and just because he’s a young player doesn’t mean that he hasn’t grown since he has left college. I know the defense that he gets to practice against every day is not a defense that just lines up and plays one or two coverages. You’re talking about being able to develop quickly, he’s probably going against the best defense to go against because Coach (Gregg) Williams has so many different looks and does such a great job as far as with his pressures. If you can handle what he’s doing, and if you can show that you’re practicing well against his defense, then you’re probably ready for the NFL-caliber type game.”

(Do you get any sense from the locker room that they’re maybe chomping at the bit to get after a rookie quarterback?) – “I think our guys are focused about doing their job and making sure that they’re on their assignments. We focus more on kind of what we need to do and less on the opponent. Our weeks are about what we need to do and not necessarily about what our opponents are doing.”

(Did you guys stay in Southern California for this week?) – “Yes. We’re still up in San Diego.”

(How does RB Jay Ajayi’s breakout through these last four weeks allowed you do the things differently on offense?) – “Anytime your running game really explodes like ours had the three weeks before this last one, you start getting a lot of single coverage on the outside, and it opens up some opportunities for some play-action throws down the field. He has made a big difference as far as our mentality, and a lot of it has to do with him. A lot of it has to do with those five offensive linemen. Those guys basically put this offense on their back. They dictated to me, basically, what they wanted to do. They didn’t say it; they did it by action. When you’re a play caller and you see you’re ripping of 8 to 12 yards a clip on the run game, that’s enough for you as a play caller to realize that they’re making a statement to you. They want you to run the ball, and that’s basically what our guys did. As a coaching staff, we’ve stuck with what our guys really think they’re good at.”

(Was there anything you saw from RB Jay Ajayi this past offseason that maybe gave you a hint that this kind of performance was coming?) – “I think the only thing I can really say about this offseason that he did a really good job of (is) he was the fastest to learn our system. He probably adjusted quicker than anybody else with the schemes that we were trying to do. I know he didn’t have exactly the preseason games as he probably wanted to. I know when we signed Arian (Foster) we had a plan as far as what we wanted to do with a one-two punch with those two guys. It didn’t quite work out the way that we had pictured it when we got going in training camp, but at the end of the day, it has worked out. We’ve gone through some bumps in the road, and Jay has fought through some adversity. A lot of the things that have happened to us have been for the better. I think it has made us a better team and a stronger team, especially on offense.”

(Can you put into words what this first year of head coaching has been like for you so far, challenges and maybe some surprises along the way?) – “That’s a tough one to answer. I think there has been very few things where I can say I’ve been surprised, but I think the amount of time that you have to spend on some of the non-football related issues. You never realize how much actual minutes you lose per day when you’re dealing with things that really have nothing to do with game planning for your next opponent.”

(How do you expect T Branden Albert’s absence on Sunday to affect the continuity that the offensive line has formed?) – “I think anytime you lose the player that has been as good of a leader as he has been, it’s always tough to replace a guy like that. I think we are strong enough though though with (Mike) Pouncey and Ja’Wuan (James) and Jermon (Bushrod) as far as veteran guys that have been working together here for a little bit. Obviously, (Laremy) Tunsil, even though he’s a rookie, you would never know it. He has got a little bit of that veteran presence. Obviously, he’s very confident in his ability. I feel good as far as how those guys will work together. Obviously, they probably have their toughest test that what we’ve had so far. We played four really tough fronts the last four weeks, and they’ve done well, but at the end of the day, this is probably going to be our biggest challenge. These guys bring a totally different element, because they do have an entire front that’s playing at a very high level, and then you start mixing in Coach (Gregg) Williams’ scheme with that. It makes it very difficult for those front guys.”

(Will G/T Laremy Tunsil move over to left tackle then?) – “Yes.”

(Can you comment on DT Ndamukong Suh’s play this year, and has anybody given him any static about his acting roles?) – “I don’t know if I can answer the acting roles question. I may be too much in a bunker to really realize what’s going on. I feel like my research department hasn’t really kept me up to date on this one. (laughter) But as far as his play goes, I don’t know if I’ve even seen a defensive tackle play as consistent, as hard, been available as much as he has been for us this season. You can see it in his preparation – the way that he works on his off day or the Mondays, the way he prepares himself. And then when he goes out on Sunday, he really sells out. He gives everything that he has. I don’t know if I’ve ever been around a guy that size that moves as well as he does and pursues the ball with a purpose. He’s a special player. I never thought I’d be around a guy that athletic, that big, that plays interior defensive line the way that he has been playing.”


Ryan Tannehill – November 16, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

 Quarterback Ryan Tannehill

(What has the week been like and moving on here? Is it more normal now? Has it slowed down a little bit?) – “It’s a different week for us just being away from home and being out of our normal facility. (We are) trying to keep the routine as consistent as we can with the meeting times, the lifting, and everything in practice. It’s definitely a challenge for us, but I think we have the focus to get it done the right way.”

(Has there been opportunities to bond, get to know one another, build camaraderie?) – “I think that’s one of the benefits of being out here together is we have time to spend together, to go to dinner, to hang out and build that team unity.”

(What area of your game would you say you’re most happy with in terms of the improvement that you’ve made?) – “Probably not turning the ball over. I think that’s the biggest thing for us right is taking care of the football (and) not giving the other team opportunities with good field position and keeping ourselves in the right spot. If we can continue doing that, I think we’ll continue to win games.”

(Is that decision making or there’s more to it than?) – “There’s definitely more to it than that. It takes everyone. It’s not just me. It’s the o-line giving me time to make good throws and receivers being in the right spot and making plays on the football. It takes everyone.”

(What’s an idea that Head Coach Adam Gase came in with as far as mechanics with you that you feel like you’ve adopted?) – “We’re constantly trying to improve. There’s always something, whether it’s feet, moving in the pocket – whatever it is. We’re constantly trying to improve and get better.”

(Anything specific though that you can think that you can mention that he has kind of urged you to tweak, and you’ve made that tweak?) – “There has been a lot of things, feet being one of them (and) doing it a little different way and trying to be more proactive.”

(Head Coach Adam Gase said that T Branden Albert is not playing on Sunday. So, can you talk about your confidence in G/T Laremy Tunsil and maybe C/G Kraig Urbik on the left side?) – “I have confidence in those guys. I think Tunsil has already played a game for us at left tackle. It’s a position he has got a lot of experience at in college and high school as well. Practice will be good for him this week to get back into that groove a little bit, and (Kraig) Urbik is stepping in. He stepped in a couple of times throughout the year for us, and we have a lot of confidence in him as well.”

(What changes though the most with having “B.A.” [T Branden Albert] out?) – “I’m not sure. I’m not sure exactly what changes. I think we have to have the next-man-up mentality of whoever steps in there – whether it be (Kraig) Urbik or if a receiver goes down, or whatever it may be – we have to have that next-man-up mentality that it really doesn’t matter who’s in there, we have to get the job done.”

(What are G/T Laremy Tunsil’s strengths?) – “First of all, I think his athleticism – the way he can move, his feet, strength. You see the guy move and you can tell he’s a really good athlete. Being a left tackle and having his type of athleticism is huge.”

(What is WR DeVante Parker as receiver when he is at his best?) – “He’s really, really good. I think we’re just scratching the surface of what he can do. We just have to get him playing at that high level consistently. I think keeping him healthy is the biggest thing. He has been banged up and nicked up throughout most of the year, and when you’re fighting those injuries, it’s just tough. If we can just keep him progressing – keep him on the right track – then we’ll be in good shape.”

(How tough is it to just gauge WR DeVante Parker’s speed or gauge timing with routes with him when he’s not going all the way 100 percent in practice?) – “It’s difficult, whether it’s practice or a game and a guy is nicked up. It makes it tough, especially when you’re facing a guy who’s 100 percent on the other side. Getting him healthy and running full speed is opening up a lot of things for us. We look to continue getting him the football.”

(You got hit a lot on Sunday, and obviously, you were a little banged up. What’s the training like here? Because obviously, when you’re at home you have all your tools. Did you have to fill up your own tub with ice? Is that how it worked?) – “They have ice tubs here for us. They did a really good job of trying to adapt normalcy to Carlsbad as much as they could. Obviously, it’s a little different – it’s a different set up – but all the amenities that we have back at the facility, they tried to bring here and have at our disposal to get ourselves both mentally and physically ready to play.”

(You spend some time in that tub?) – “I did.”

(How much time?) – “I spent a good 30 minutes after the game.”

(What were some of your thoughts when you re-watched your performance from the San Diego game?) – “There are definitely some things I’d like to clean up, especially in the first half. It was little mistakes that don’t need to be made, and there was also some good things there. It’s like every other game – there’s always some good and some bad. You want to fix the things that you didn’t do well.”

(What was your favorite play in there? Which one of yours did you really like seeing again?) – “The touchdown to Kenny (Stills) was probably my favorite. It’s a play we’ve been working on for several weeks now and haven’t had the opportunity to get it called. We finally get it called and get the touchdown out of it. It’s great to see those reps pay off in a big way in the game.”

(Are you looking for some payback with DT Aaron Donald for the Xbox [charity tournament]? I want to ask you about that and also what makes him such a good defensive player.) – “Honestly, I don’t care about the Xbox thing. I don’t play video games. I don’t claim to be good. But he is a really good football player. You see him on tape, (and) he shows up week in and week out. He’s quick. He gets pressure whether it’s around guys, through guys. He finds a way. He has a high motor. He doesn’t stop playing. We have a lot of respect for him.”

(What do you remember about your first start as a rookie quarterback?) – “I remember it was in Houston, and the first half didn’t go well. It was a long time ago.”

(Why was it so tough to come in as a rookie quarterback and start?) – “There are challenges there. It was the first time. Also, we were playing a really good defense. J.J. ‘Swat’ (Watt), I think, had a bunch of batted passes against me, so it makes it tough.”

(Was your head kind of swimming out there? Is it a lot to process at once for your first start?) – “I don’t remember swimming. I remember getting blasted and thinking, ‘Welcome to the NFL.’ I don’t remember swimming.”

(What general advice would you give any rookie quarterback who … I don’t know, maybe you’ll even see Rams QB Jared Goff before the game at midfield. Do guys talk before [the game at] midfield or no? You don’t do that?) – “I don’t unless I know the guy.”

(But general advice?) – “I have no real advice for him (Jared Goff). Good luck. I’m trying to win the game. I’m focused on myself and what we can do.”

(Considering where you guys are at this point in the season, is it more gratifying after this start you guys had? Does it mean more? Did you learn more after you had a scuffle in there coming out?) – “I’m proud of the way that guys have battled and the way we faced adversity throughout our season, the way we stuck together and kept battling, kept staying on track, working to get better week in and week out. That hunger to succeed – that hunger to win – has been huge for us on our team. I’m excited about where we’re at right now. We just have to keep on that path of striving for greatness every day in practice.”

(How much different has your task been the last four weeks when you’ve had the offensive line? It appears as though you have more time.) – “It’s huge. You get the run game going – you get the Jay-Train going – it opens up a lot of things for us, and obviously, the time. Keep ourselves in third-and-manageable, you’re going to convert more of those third downs and have more opportunities in the pass game.”

(Do you realize you’ve only been sacked three times in the last four games?) – “I didn’t know the stat, but that’s good. We just have to get the ball out quickly and keep protecting well.”

(RB Damien Williams seems like an interesting guy. Where would you rank him in terms of entertaining personalities in your locker room?) – “He’s up there. He’s definitely entertaining, never short on words or laughing. He’s a great guy to have around, high energy guy and a football player. I think as soon as (Head Coach Adam) Gase got the job, I said, ‘No. 26 is a football player.’ Describe him one way, it’s a football player. [Those are] the type of guys you want to have on your team – guys that love the game, that want to be physical, want to do whatever they can to help the team, and he is that.”

(Does RB Damien Williams ever make you laugh in the huddle or on the field at all?) – “Practice field. In games, we’re usually pretty focused. But he is always good for a laugh.”

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