Jay Ajayi – April 27, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Running Back Jay Ajayi

(On whether becoming a starter is his goal this season) – “Absolutely. With Lamar (Miller) moving on to the Texans, it gave us a chance to compete for his position. That’s basically what I’m here to do is compete to be that guy, to be a starter.”

(On how excited he is heading into this offseason) – “I’ve been excited since I found out that Lamar (Miller) was going to be moving on and that the position would be available. I’ve just been pushing myself through this offseason to prepare myself to have a great sophomore season. I was able to get a lot of opportunities last year when I finally started playing, and I felt comfortable. Now, I’m ready to elevate my game to a new level this season.”

(On whether he has thought about the Dolphins possibly drafting a running back) – “I’m not worried about that stuff. That’s out of my control. I can only control my mentality every day and my work ethic. And that’s what I’m going to do.”

(On what he would like to improve upon this offseason) – “(I) definitely (want to) try to lose some weight so I can be a little bit more shiftier this season. (I am) just trying to prepare myself mentally to be able to take that role up as a starter. I think that I’ve been doing a great job so far, and it’s just about constantly progressing all the way up to the season.”

(On how much weight he would like to lose) – “I played last year around 228 (pounds), close to 230. This year I want to be closer to 220 – 218 to 222 – around that range.”

(On working with Head Coach Adam Gase) – “I (felt) really good about Coach Gase from the first day that we talked (about) how he’s such a young guy who’s really excited about being here. He’s excited about working with me and the rest of the team.  He made us feel very comfortable from the first day. We’re excited about this new offense that he’s implementing. It has been really great to get out on the field and actually be able to work with him now day in and day out.”

(On Head Coach Adam Gase running around with the team during practice) – “He’ll be fine. He’s young, and he has been doing a great job of keeping our intensity levels up while we’re out there in practice.”

(On whether he will sacrifice any strength with weight loss) – “No, because I’m working with (Team Nutritionist) Mary Ellen (Bingham) on nutrition and all that. Really, it was just cutting out a lot of the junk food and (about) trying to eat (well), cook more at home to (the point) where I feel healthier. I’m still working out really strong with the physical training coaches – (Head Strength and Conditioning) Coach (Dave) Puloka and all of them. So, I feel strong. I don’t feel like I’m losing any strength. So, that was really (about) cutting out the bad diet in my dieting.”

(On what food he misses while dieting) – “It’s the junk food. I don’t eat at McDonald’s anymore. (laughter) You’re not supposed to eat there anyway. You get a cheat meal every now and then, but it’s more about cooking at home and trying to watch my fast food intake.”

(On Head Coach Adam Gase commenting that he is a shifty running back and if that is how he sees himself going into the season) – “Definitely.  I know that I can be a powerful runner (who) prides himself on breaking tackles and stuff. But I wanted to add another arsenal to my game of being quick, being able to make those quick cuts, getting that one cut and getting down the field fast. That’s kind of through my training in the offseason. That’s what I was working on: to try and be a little bit shiftier so I can make more people miss and also break tackles as well to create more yards on the field.   “

(On whether he has proven that a prior knee injury is not a concern) – “To be honest, that injury occurred my freshman year of college, and I didn’t miss a game after that. So, those concerns were from whoever was putting that out there. I was never concerned about it and I feel great. I was able to play last year at a high level and I’m playing right now at a high level. That’s what I’m focused (on): continuing to come out here on the practice field and put some good work out there and prepare myself for this season.”

(On whether he has set specific goals for this year) – “No, not yet. I’m – right now – working out here, learning this new offense and trying to contribute on this field here while we’re practicing, make big plays and set myself up for a great season this year.”

(On whether he has been focusing on his hands) – “Yes, definitely.  Just seeing Coach Gase’s offenses and seeing that he likes to throw the ball a lot and knowing that we’re going to have to be weapons out of the backfield, it’s definitely something that myself and the other running backs … We understand that we’re going to need to know how to run good routes, know how to catch the ball out of the backfield and be able to do that when we’re called upon. That’s really what we’re working on besides everything else about being a running back.”

(On whether he has nervous curiosity about whether the Dolphins will draft a running back) – “Not really, because at the same time, I can’t do anything about it. I’m just here working on myself. If the Dolphins do that, then that’s what they do. But, I’m really just worried about myself and controlling my work ethic – my mentality – out here on the field, which is to be the starter this fall.”

(On whether it is weird to think he was drafted a year ago) – “It’s weird. It has been fun for me though just because I have a lot of guys I went to school with at Boise State, because I left a year early, that I came in with at Boise State, and now they’re going through this draft process. It has been really fun to go back and watch those guys. They’re working hard. They’re chasing their NFL dream, and I’m there to give them any advice that they need and be a good friend to those guys.”

Adam Gase – April 26, 2016 Download PDF version

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(On how his day went) — “It was good. It was fun to get out there. Feels like forever. Obviously, for myself it’s been since January, late December. I know the coaches were itching to get out, having two weeks of meetings. And then getting an opportunity to do this, it’s just a good feeling to get outside, especially in this weather.”

(On what he feels is the biggest difference now that he is the head coach) – “I don’t know, I kind of went through my same routine I always did. I went over and talked a little smack to the defense and let them know how many times we were going to throw over their heads. The thing that was a little different for me was (Offensive Coordinator) Clyde (Christensen) was running a lot of the drills with the offense during individual. So it was fun to be able to be kind of be bouncing back and forth and seeing what’s going on with special teams and not working with the quarterbacks on some of those drills. It was a fun experience just kind of seeing everybody coach and get to observe what was going on.”

(On if he feels adding an extra minicamp because he is a new coach will help) – “I think so. I think it gets a lot of the anxiety out. For our players, they understand how we want to do things. The tempo is what we’re really trying to make sure we do a good job of, just in between periods and where we’re going, what we want to do. If you can get that done before you hit OTAs, it just makes OTAs a lot smoother.”

(On what he can share about some of the missing personnel) – “It’s a voluntary camp and the good thing is, I know where everybody is at. That’s just what it is with the Players Association and the league and the deal that they’ve worked out. This is voluntary. I learned very early and when this thing went down, there is no reason to get upset about guys not being here – it’s voluntary. We all know that right from the get go and we’re appreciative of the guys that have shown up and that are working hard and that are with us. These guys are here to get better and we’re here to help.”

(On whether the players who didn’t show up gave him advance notice of their absence) – “Yeah, we knew who was going to be here and who wasn’t going to be here.”

(On if everyone on offense has the entire playbook or if it’s given in small parts) – “We install it a little bit at a time. Those two weeks before this were nice to have. We were able to kind of give them a little bit of a pre-install to what we were going to do here. And then once we started with this minicamp, we kind of condense that and say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to focus on in these camps.’ We try to be smart because you don’t want to run certain things in these types of camps. You don’t want pile ups. You don’t want situations where DBs and wide receivers can get tangled up. So we’re really smart about what we’re actually practicing.”

(On if it would be an issue to him if S Reshad Jones’ absence lingers beyond the spring) – “It’s voluntary. Every day I’m coming in this thing and when guys show up, we’re going to help them and we’re going to help them get better. But right now it’s a voluntary camp. It’s a voluntary program, so guys can come and go as they please.”

(On if he would be more upset if S Reshad Jones missed one of the mandatory camps) – “I’m not going to get upset about anything right now. It’s the first day of voluntary vet mini-camp. So we’ll see how everything goes once we get to June.”

(On if he feels that it helps or hurts with him being a new coach and the new players) – “I never worry. It’s the NFL. These guys learn things very quickly. I mean you don’t need a lot of time. When you’re a veteran player, you jump right back in. A lot of times it’s just change in terminology. These guys are sharp. That’s what NFL players get paid to do and that’s to learn playbooks.”

(On his feelings of having DE Cameron Wake on the field and how his recovering is progressing) – “We’re day to day. He’s just going to keep grinding and figure out every day we come in and we see what he can do and if he’s sore and where he’s at for that particular day. He’s working close with the trainers and the sports science group to make sure that we get him as close to 100 percent (as possible). The big goal for me is that I just want him ready to go for training camp. The offseason – this is a great time to make sure that he is as close to 100 percent heading into training camp as possible.”

(On if the timing is hard having veteran mini-camp at the same time as preparing for the draft) – “I was a part of it last year. We did this same schedule in Chicago with our first year being in that situation. And I feel like our time was managed well leading up to this. (General Manager) Chris (Grier) and (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) Mike (Tannenbaum) have done a great job of making sure we finish with what we needed to do with the coaching staff. And then for me, it’s just going to be a quick transition. When we get done Thursday, it’s a shorter day, and then I’m going to roll right into some draft things.”

(On how he feels about two new acquisitions: DT Chris Jones and CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who is recovering from an injury) – “We’re still working through to see how far we can bring (Ekpre-Olomu) around, as far as where his injury was. Once again, these injuries, it’s time. We’ve got to figure out what’s going on with him. And then when we’re claiming guys, we’re trying to get better. And we feel like Chris was a guy we were interested in and our scouts and our personnel guys were really excited about the fact that we had a chance to get him. We’ll see how he fits in the group.”

(On CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu) – “I know he was a high guy on a lot of people’s draft boards and unfortunately he got injured and we’ll just see how that one progresses.”

(On LB Kiko Alonso’s play and if he can return to his 2013 form) – “I would say it’s tough for me to predict anything. I mean, it’s been one day. We’ve had eight meetings. Time will tell. We have a long ways to go and we’ll see how it goes for the rest of the offseason.”

(On some of the things he tries to focus on the practice field) – “I try to get into the rhythm for myself, for one. Coaches, they all have their individual responsibilities. I’m trying to kind of see where my place is a little bit, as far as (Offensive Coordinator) Clyde (Christensen) has such a great handle of what’s going on in the offense. I know I’m going to be calling plays. I kind of might be spying on the defense a little bit to see what we can take advantage on that from an offensive perspective and just kind of being around the o-line and d-line. Those are two positions you don’t get to spend a lot of time on them when you’re an offensive coordinator. You’re working with the quarterbacks a lot times. So I really enjoy going down there and watching (Offensive Line Coach) Chris (Foerster) coach and watching (Defensive Line Coach) Terrell (Williams) coach the d-line. It’s just kind of … for me to be able to observe a lot of these guys that I haven’t been able to watch in the past.”

(On if his mind starts racing on day one when he has a guy like WR Jarvis Landry on his team) – “It’s pretty early for me to get too crazy with what we want to do with him. But, I mean right now we’re installing our base stuff and just trying to get guys used to that up-tempo style on the ball. We’ll start working on where everybody fits in but we’re a ways away from that.”

(On how beneficial it is to a look at the players on the field as opposed to the film) – “It’s a completely different ball game. When you get out on the field, you start seeing things and … you might not actually see it on a game tape. I wasn’t here last year for practice. So I mean you see a guy rep after rep, then practice after practice, and you get a really good feel for what that guy can do and what he can’t do. This is like the first opportunity to see a few things where I might not have seen in a game situation. So this is a great opportunity for our coaching staff to really get into that evaluation stage to figure out what guys can and can’t do.”

(On what he likes about RB Jay Ajayi) – “When I watched him coming out of college and then now I see him in person, I guess I never realized how shifty he was, and today was a great example. Just seeing him stick his foot in the ground and change direction, you didn’t see him do that a lot in college. Just being able to see him move around, it was very impressive for me to see him in person. The way he cut in some of the run game schemes … I mean I’m really excited to see what we can do going forward.”

(On CB Byron Maxwell) – “There’s been a lot of talking going on between me and him. He’s got my number right now so I told him we’re going to try to go at him as much as possible. But, you know as long as he is and as physical as he is at the line of scrimmage, I’m just glad he’s on our side. It’s great to see, when I went down there in individual, just to see him smile and having fun. (He) really looks like he’s ready to go and enjoys the defense that he’s playing in under (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph). He’s a guy that we’re expecting to really excel in our scheme.”

(On if that was a walkie-talkie in his hand during practice) – “Yeah.”

(On who was on the other end of the walkie-talkie) – “I hope the quarterbacks. We like to start kind of that game-type mentality; and, for the quarterbacks, getting used to hearing my voice. I mean that’s just something – the way that I call plays and the way that they can hear it and kind of understand – that I probably talk too much. And I’ll give them tips and things about what to look for. So it’s just getting used to hearing me on the other end.”

(On if he likes what he has to work with on the roster heading into the NFL draft) – “I like what we have already on the roster. I’m excited to see what we can build going forward and then what we can add. And I’m excited to see what takes place coming up here in the draft. (General Manager) Chris (Grier) and (Executive Vice President, Football Operations) Mike (Tannenbaum) have done a great job in kind of getting that board set and Chris (Grier) and the scouts have really worked hard to make sure that we have everything covered. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.”

(On what CB Jamar Taylor needs to do to become a starter or play in the cornerback rotation) – “He’s no different than every other guy. When we had our first team meeting, the statement was, ‘It didn’t matter who you were before this.’ You’re getting a fresh start. Everybody’s walking in the building (with a) clean slate. So if you were lazy and didn’t try hard last year, you could be the hardest-working guy walking through the door and I won’t know any different. We’re encouraging guys to just come out here and give us everything they have and see how it shakes out for them.”

Andre Branch – April 26, 2016 Download PDF version

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Defensive End Andre Branch

(On his first impressions of the defense) – “We are an attack defense. We have a lot of great players. It was the first day out and a lot of people had some cobwebs. We knocked them off. It was good to be back on the field, though.”

(On if it was a good experience the first day out there) – “(It was an) amazing experience. I just pay attention to me and getting better each and every day and then we just go from there.”

(On his experience playing at both defensive end spots and if it will be good to lock in on one) – “It’s great. Whatever they want me to do, that’s what I am going to focus on and just keep getting better each and every day.”

(On what the Wide 9 is) – “Go get the quarterback. That’s what it is – go get the quarterback. That’s exactly what it is.”

(On how much he has played in the Wide 9 system) – “I’ve never played in that system. Ever. There are a lot of things that go into certain defenses and certain schemes but this one, it fits into the strengths of the players that we have.”

(On why the Wide 9 fits into the strengths of the players) – “Because we have a lot of (players) that can rush the passer and that’s what they want us to do.”

(On how he would describe the tone that Head Coach Adam Gase is setting) – “Very positive. (He has a) ton of energy. I mean he’s young. He wants us to be the best players that we want to be and he’s the type of coach that you want to win for.”

(On seeing DE Cam Wake getting some work in six months after his injury) – “That’s awesome. He’s definitely a vet in this league. He’s been playing at a high level for a very long time and he just shows by example. He leads by example. He’s the type of player that you follow.”

(On if he’s had a relationship with any Dolphins before he joined the team) – “CB Byron Maxwell – we played at Clemson with each other. I knew T Branden Albert before coming here. He’s another ACC guy. Other than that, everybody is pretty much new but I’m getting pretty acclimated.”

(On what this experience is like to start over with a new team and coaching staff) – “It feels good. I’m a Dolphin now and (I’m) just going forward from here.”

(On being used to the Florida heat and humidity) – “Always, so it’s not a big deal to me.”

(On how the heat is going to get a lot worse) – “Way, way worse than this. You’ll see me out here with sweatpants and sleeves on, though. I can’t fight that heat.”

(On if it is different to have an April minicamp with a new head coach) – “I’ve had a new coach (before) but I don’t remember doing (a minicamp) this early. It was different but it’s good to get that work in.”

Kiko Alonso – April 26, 2016 Download PDF version

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Linebacker Kiko Alonso

(On what the process has been like playing for his third team in three years) – “Like you said, I went through this process last year. Football is football. You just come here, get to know everybody and play some ball.”

(On the scheme’s similarities to his rookie season in Buffalo) – “It’s similar. Like I said, football is football. You go out there and run around and hit some people.”

(On his comfort level in Miami) – “I feel really comfortable.”

(On why he feels really comfortable in Miami) – “My body feels great, and I feel great.”

(On how he would describe himself as a player) – “Versatile. I just like to run around and hit people, in a nutshell.”

(On how he would describe his NFL career) – “That’s a good question. I don’t know. I think it is yet to be said. All I’m worried about is getting better and using this time to get better and learn the defense.”

(On how often he has called plays in the past) – “I’ve been calling (plays) my whole football career.”

(On if there is a great comfort level about calling plays) – “Yeah.”

(On what stands out to him about Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph’s defense thus far) – “It’s aggressive.”

(On what makes the defense aggressive) – “The scheme. The scheme and the players.”

(On his first impressions of Head Coach Adam Gase) – “(He’s a) great guy. It looks like he wants to get better every day. (He is) always looking for ways to get better, and I think that’s what makes a great coach and a great team.”

(On if this is a fresh start for him) – “Yeah. At the end of the day, it’s football.”

(On if he has physically regained everything from before his injury) – “Yeah.”

(On if he felt that he was not 100 percent back from his injury last season) – “I don’t like to fall back on that. I just didn’t have a good year, and that’s just how it was. I just have to get better.”

(On if he has watched tape from his rookie year to try and get back to that type of play) – “Occasionally I go back and look. I just like to watch (tape from) back then, last year, other players around the league – any way that can help me in my development.”

(On if the player who was named PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year is still in him) – “He is still there.”

(On if he is feeling much better now than he did at this time last year) – “I would say so. Usually coming off an injury, the more time, the better.”

(On if he feels he can go full speed with no limitations) – “Absolutely.”

(On if he feels comfortable with what has been installed and whether it will suit his skill set) – “One hundred percent.”

(On if there was a time he felt he was going to be able to build on his rookie year) – “That is the ultimate goal – to keep getting better. At the end of the day, we are just trying to get better. Today, the day is not over. We have to go have meetings, watch film, watch what we did good today, watch what we did bad and try to improve on it.”

(On what first stood out to him about Head Coach Adam Gase) – “Just his desire to try and get better (and) try to find ways to get better.”

(On Head Coach Adam Gase’s youth and enthusiasm and if it occurs to him that Gase is the youngest head coach in the NFL) – “It doesn’t occur (to me). I think it doesn’t matter. I think age is just a number.”

(On if he stays in touch with DE Dion Jordan) – “Yeah.”

(On how DE Dion Jordan is doing and if he thinks Jordan will be back) – “We’ll see. That’s not up to me. I’d love for him to be here. He’s a great football player.”

(On if he thinks DE Dion Jordan will apply for reinstatement) – “That’s between you guys and Dion Jordan.”

(On what he does really well when he is at his best) – “I like to think at the linebacker position that I can do it all. I think to be a great linebacker now – in this day and age – you have to do it all. You have to be able to stop the run. You have to be able to play in coverage. You have to be able to play man-to-man.”

Byron Maxwell – April 26, 2016 Download PDF version

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

CB Byron Maxwell

(On the tone Head Coach Adam Gase is setting for the team) – “He’s aggressive. He’s in your face, but he wants to have fun and compete and wants to win some games. So, that’s always fun.”

(On Head Coach Adam Gase’s overriding message to the team right now) – “Compete and have fun. That’s what it really is about.”

(On whether he believes he is a No. 1 cornerback) – “I’m definitely a No. 1 cornerback.

(On why he feels like a No. 1 cornerback) – “Because I feel that way.”

(On mentoring younger players) – “It’s not really (about being) a mentor. (If) they want to do that and go that route, I’m definitely here. If they want to knock some things out, ask me some questions, and I can give them an answer, definitely I would (do that). We’re just trying to win a game. If that’s my role to them, that’s fine.”

(On Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph’s system) – “Basically, he wants us to press and play man coverage and be aggressive with the receivers on the line and re-route them, get them off their route.”

(On seeing LB Kiko Alonso in a Dolphins uniform) – “He looks good to me. That’s my impression.”

(On Head Coach Adam Gase’s coaching style) – “He’s a competitor. He seems like he’s looking forward to competing and making us better, bringing a winning culture to Miami.”

(On speculation that he could not do a pushup before being traded to the Dolphins) – “I don’t know where it came from. I don’t want to speculate or anything like that, but I definitely could do a pushup. I did pushups. It’s cool. I’m here. My shoulder is good.”

(On how his shoulder feels) – “It’s 100 (percent). A ‘hundo.’”

(On getting back onto the field) – “It was tough, but it was good though. It felt good to get out here and have some fun and actually play football again. That’s one of the things you get paid to do, but you look forward to doing (and) you have fun doing. It’s definitely good. Lifting and running gets a little boring. (Being) out here catching balls and throwing is good.”

(On players that may not be participating in the voluntary veteran minicamp) – “I’ll worry about that … They’ll worry about that later on. I’m just here to play ball, and we’ll figure that out later on.”

(On playing in Miami) – “I love it, man. Everybody wants to play ball here. It’s fun. The sun is out. It’s cool. I love it down here. I got a place down here already, so obviously, I love it.”

(On whether this is a bounce-back year for him) – “That’s one of the things … I don’t even want to call it a bounce-back year. It’s a year where I can put it behind me and move forward (and) make some plays.”

(On whether he would’ve had a bounce-back year regardless of where he played) – “I think, either way, it would have been a bounce-back year for me. I don’t want to call it a bounce-back year, but I would’ve had a better year than what I had last year. That’s just how I felt. Approaching this season, I felt like it was going to be my time.”

(On if he felt this season would be “his time” because of the scheme) – “Nah. It just felt like my mindset was completely different going into it. I had it clear like, ‘This is what it’s going to be.’”

Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier – April 22, 2016 (Pre-Draft) Download PDF version

Friday, April 22, 2016

Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum and General Manager Chris Grier (Pre-NFL Draft)

Mike Tannenbaum:
(Opening Statement) – “Hello everybody. Thanks for coming. I just want to start today by acknowledging something. We recently lost a member of our family. Neville Hall, who was known as known as Mr. Neville, was a valued member of our organization who recently passed away. Neville worked at our facility for the last 12 years. He had an incredible smile, great attitude and big heart and he will be greatly missed by all of us. I just want to turn attention now to our roster. We really feel good about where we are (and) the energy in the building. We’re really happy with the offseason program that started. It’s voluntary but we’ve been really pleased with the attendance thus far. Currently we have 78 players on our roster, 24 of which are new, which is approximately a third of our roster. Our average age is about 25.6 years old. We also have 16 new coaches on our staff. While we’re please where we are, we feel like we have a lot more work to do and next week is the next opportunity for us to add a few young players to our roster. In terms of the dynamic with Chris (Grier), Adam (Gase) and I, it has been terrific. We’ve worked together since January and again there’s great energy in the building. We got a small glimpse of that, we had a local day – Miami Day – and to see the new staff out there was great. I’m really excited to see them start working with our players next week (at) next week’s minicamp. Chris (Grier) has done a tremendous job. (Chris) and his staff have worked incredibly hard and importantly they’ve worked hand in hand with our coaching staff to identify the needs and the fits for our organization to make sure the players fit the scheme that we’re trying to build on in all three phases. So I really tip my cap to Chris (Grier) and his entire staff. They’ve done a great job. So again, we see next week as the next opportunity for us to add players and Chris (Grier) is going to tell us who we are going to pick next week. (Laughter)”

Chris Grier:
(Opening Statement) – “Thanks, Mike. First, I’d like to wish continued success in the playoffs to the (Miami) Heat and (Florida) Panthers organization. It’s an exciting time to be a South Florida sports fan. You guys know I follow hockey. So it’s good to see hockey getting back on the radar down here a little bit. Echoing what Mike (Tannenbaum) said, I’m excited for the draft because our process has been outstanding in terms of communication with the coaches and our player personnel staff. From day one, the discussions, the collaborations and the debates have been outstanding. It’s been a pleasure to work with Coach (Adam) Gase and his staff from day one, when we all got together in early February for the first time, and they laid out the foundation for what they were looking for and our guys have done a great job of doing that. Coach Gase, (Defensive Coordinator) Vance Joseph, (Offensive Coordinator) Clyde Christensen and (Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator) Darren Rizzi have done a great job communicating what they want our team to look like – in terms of every position from speed, height (and) weight. You guys are going to ask some questions here in the future, as we get going, on what we are looking for. We have what we like, but again you have to be flexible in terms of the types of players that we want. The scouts have worked tirelessly throughout the Combine, Pro Days and over meetings to identify the prospects that we like for the Dolphins. I’d like the thank Chase Leshin, our Player Personnel Coordinator, for all of the work that he has done behind the scenes, from Miami Day to the Combine, organizing all of our lists and everything. He’s an asset to our organization. And I’d like to thank (Director of Analytics) Dennis Lock and (Football Analyst) Tom Pasquali for their analytics contributions, as well. Overall, it has been a good, thorough process. I’ve enjoyed working with Mike and the coaches, and I feel we are very prepared for the draft next week. Any questions?”

Chris Grier:
(On if the Dolphins have zeroed in on a position that they will take in the first round) – “No. I said right now we’re going to take the best player for the Miami Dolphins. There are a lot of good players in this draft. A lot of prospects will be there. We’re picking 13th, so we will just follow our board and let the process play out.

Mike Tannenbaum:
“And really our thing here has been, we are coming off a 6-10 season and all through the offseason we feel like we’re not one player away. So there are a number of things we’d like to accomplish at the draft and we’ll see how the board falls to us.”

(On how far in advance they are in contact with other teams regarding trades) — “Yeah, some of those foundations are laid days before. Typically we’ll reach out to teams just to have preliminary conversations, but sometimes the phone rings out of the blue or there’s a strong conviction for us to make a move. You have some preliminary conversations but by and large, at this point, you have to see how things unfold.”

(On if there has been any update or indication from the NFL about the status of DE Dion Jordan) — “(There are) no updates on Dion. He’s not on our active roster. He’s still on that reserve list and if something changes again we’ll let you know.”

(On if he knows if Jordan has applied for reinstatement) – “I don’t. I don’t know where things stand. That’s something that you’d have to check with him or his representative.”

(On if they are more likely to trade down and stockpile picks since they are not one player away) – “As Chris (Grier) alluded to, we are going to let the board dictate that for us. If there’s a player we have a strong feeling on, it’ll be hard to move back; but yeah, if the phone rings, we’ll evaluate that opportunity.”

Chris Grier:
(On if one of their draft picks needs to be a cornerback) — “No, I would say really, you just have to trust your process and working through the board and how you rank them. The story I always tell is that my dad was in Houston with the Texans, and a defensive end wasn’t a great need but they took DE J.J. Watt. They got booed mercilessly (for taking him). But would you pass on J.J. Watt if he was there, knowing that it was maybe a need that people perceived? We are confident that we can go out and play with who we have on our roster right now. I would just say our board will dictate who we’ll take at that pick.”

Mike Tannenbaum:
(On if there is much interest in free agent CB Josh Norman) – “Anytime a free agent becomes available, we’ll look into it and we’ll make the best decision for us. We have nothing imminent with any player right now.”

Chris Grier:
(On whether they are looking for a different cornerback prototype compared to previous years) – “We always take the best player. At the end of the day, every staff really has what they’re looking for in terms of prototypes, etc. You also have to be flexible. If a guy is an exceptional player and an exceptional athlete at that position, maybe you’ll make the exception and take that player. Really, it’ll be whoever the best player on the board is at that time.”

Mike Tannenbaum:
(On how the change in coaching staff affects their draft approach) – “Again, philosophically, I just believe our job is to serve the coaches. As Chris (Grier) alluded to, to have sustained success, you have to have a really good idea of what each scheme is looking for. And then within reason, we have to do the best job we can each year to try to get those players to look perfectly. Now, candidly on opening day, in a salary cap system, is every person going to look identical to what we’d like in a perfect world? Odds are probably not, but we believe in the staff to maximize the strength of each player. They’ve been really fun to be around and to listen to them, to hear them problem solve. So, we’ll keep working hard. We had a guy in DT Chris Jones last week that Vance (Joseph) knew from Houston. Sometimes those (players) aren’t household names, but DT Chris Jones may make a play in the fall that could be meaningful and that’s the part that … Our approach is anytime we have a chance to improve the roster, we will.”

Chris Grier:
(On whether this year’s draft preparation differs with a new coaching staff) – “I would just say that every coaching staff has been thorough in detailing what they want. With this staff – with Coach (Adam) Gase from Day 1 – they came in, they told us (what they were looking for). Vance (Joseph) is a tremendous communicator. Obviously, Adam knows what he wants on offense, and Coach (Darren) Rizzi, as you know, has been here for a while. He’s one of the best special teams coaches in the league. So, they’ve been very clear and direct, and it has been an easy process for our scouts.”

Mike Tannenbaum:
(On who will be the starting cornerbacks in addition to CB Byron Maxwell) – “Ultimately, Coach (Adam) Gase and Coach (Vance) Joseph will decide who will play, but we have guys that have played meaningful snaps. CB Jamar Taylor has played a lot of snaps in this league. CB Tony Lippett is a player we’re encouraged by. (CB Tyler) Patmon has played. Are they all household names? No. And again, we feel like we’re more than one player away. We want to take the best player, and that could be a position we add to. But again, there are players in this building that we feel good about. That’s why they’re here. They’re working hard. Over the course of the season, those players will play. You need depth at that position given the fact that teams are passing the ball more and more.”

Chris Grier:
(On whether they are comfortable at the running back position) – “I think we’re comfortable. I think (with) Coach (Adam) Gase’s history of what he has done with running backs, these guys all fit what he’s looking for in terms of their skillsets. But again, we’ll take any opportunity we can to add at any position if it’s a good football player.”

(On whether trading up in the draft is outside the realm of possibility at this point) – “All options are on the table for us. I wouldn’t rule anything out.”

Mike Tannenbaum:
(On how many “players away” the team is) – “We’ll answer that a week from Monday. (Laughter) Look, every team is (players) away. You can start with Denver. They’re the defending champions. For us, I think it’s a tireless commitment to constantly improve the team. Again, the part that’s exciting for us is we’re going to add a whole bunch of players next week, and hopefully they’re going to help. But a lot of the improvement on our team in 2016 is going to come from within. To me, that’s always the most invigorating part of the process, because you get to see the (Head Strength and Conditioning Coach) Dave Pulokas and the (Sports Performance Director) Wayne Diesels impact our players as much as our position coaches. We’ll have to go prove it in the fall, but I think we’re all very optimistic about where we’re headed, and I couldn’t put a number on how many players we need.”

Chris Grier:
(On the offensive line’s depth) – “I think we feel good about it. We added (OL Jermon) Bushrod and T Sam Young and some other pieces (so) that we feel good (with) where we are right now. Again, (I) don’t want to sound like a broken record, but if there’s a good player at that position, we’ll take them. But we feel good (about) what we added in the free agency process.”

(On RB Ezekiel Elliot) – “He’s a good player. He’s a good football player. There are a lot of good football players in this draft. I know you guys all know he came in here to visit. He’s a good kid, so we enjoyed spending time with him. There are a lot of good players in this draft, and he’s one of them.”

(On whether there is anything they learned from RB Ezekiel Elliot’s visit) – “It’s like with all (of) the visits – that and from the combine visits. And our scouts have done a lot of visits with players offsite, at campuses, at their school. (We are) trying to get a feel for the kid and the person just in terms of if they’re made up of what you want in your organization.”

(On the prototype of the player they want to acquire in the draft) – “Really, you just want guys that are competitive, that love football, have passion for the game, are football smart and are driven to succeed. Coaches can’t always push guys. You want guys who are going to push themselves and basically just love to compete. It’s what we’ve talked about from Day 1, just bringing competitive players (in that) we love, that love football.”

Mike Tannenbaum:
“Just taking that a step further, we’re incredibly fortunate that (Chairman of the Board/Managing General Partner) Steve Ross has given us so many resources that other teams don’t have. For us (with) that axiom of, ‘The tape sets the floor and character sets the ceiling,’ we want guys that want to be here and take advantage of all these resources that we have to make them feel better, play better, become more flexible, become stronger, become more explosive. So, I think it’s up to us. And again, I think Chris (Grier) and his entire staff has done a great job of … They’re going to come at different shapes, sizes and backgrounds – four-year players, players that have come out early – but do they love football? Do they want to be in the building? Do they want to avail themselves to be as good as they could be? That’s really what a big part of our process is and how they handle adversity, because things in pro football never go perfectly. But that’s really important to us, because again, you’re never going to have the perfect player at every position. But if they can maximize their ability, that’s going to give us the best chance year-to-year to win.”

(On how the draft process will work among the staff) – “Chris (Grier) is running the draft. Chris has put a grade on every player, and we’ve already hashed out where we want to go with things for the most part. We have some more tweaking to do, but we’re really going to let the board dictate, and that has really been based on the final grade that Chris has put on each player.”

Chris Grier:
(On if General Manager Chris Grier will be on the phone with other teams) – “Yeah.”

Mike Tannenbaum:
(On the margin for error with this draft) – “It’s really important. Every draft is important. You want to come out of the draft every year with three, four or five players, because – on the other end – you’re going to lose three, four or five players, because you can’t keep everybody in a salary cap system. You constantly have to manage your indoor and your outdoor. That’s why adding players like OL Jermon Bushrod or S Isa (Abdul-Quddus) … All those guys we’ve added is just part of the narrative. Again, Chris Jones may impact us more than a fifth rounder. I’m not saying he is (going to), but that’s why we’re constantly looking at where they are in contracts (and) what our expectations are. But obviously, the draft and the cost certainty you get – starting with possibly five years in the first round – it’s critical to have sustainability. It’s really hard to win if you don’t hit on a number of picks each year.”

Chris Grier:
(On if the coaches have emphasized certain characteristics they want in prospects more than previous coaching staffs) – “No, I think every staff has always been pretty self-explanatory in what they want and what they are looking for – height, weight, speed, what positions, etc. in terms of makeup and character. So no, this staff, again, they’ve done a great job. I’ve said they’ve hit it 100 miles per hour right from the start. Again, I just have tremendous respect working with Coach (Adam) Gase, Coach (Vance) Joseph and Clyde Christensen. Those are guys that I didn’t know before but I had heard people say great things. Just watching them work every day has really been exciting.”

Mike Tannenbaum:
(On if there was a philosophical change to approach this offseason focused on value) – “Yeah, I think going back to when Chris (Grier) joined the senior management team, talking with Steve (Ross) – and then Chris, Steve, myself, and when we brought Adam (Gase) on board – we’re trying to build something long term and sustainable. Again, we want to be measured and take advantage of opportunities when they are there. I think it is how it played out this year. I think our sense has been that we are going to need a number of pieces, especially with a new (coaching) staff. Again, 24 new players, as of now – that’s a high number. If we sat here in February, that wouldn’t have been the number I would have thought that we would have gotten to. But I think that’s a result of being 6-10 and having a new staff.”

(On if there are any changes with analytics under the new general manager and who will be in the draft room) – “Chris (Grier) has done a great job. Dennis Lock and Tom Pasquali, they run our analytics department and they help with everything. They helped in the coaching search. Really, they help with everything. They help with actuarial projections on cap and cash, trades and players. They are really good and they have been helpful. I think Chris has done a great job of trying to even integrate them more into our process in terms of when a player gets a final grade, they have a say in it. So that’s been one of the things that Chris has brought to the table. In terms of the draft room, it will be pretty small and pretty tight. That’s just something that we both believe in.”

Chris Grier:
(On what will make this draft, led by him, different than past Dolphins drafts) – “I just think at the top – with Adam (Gase), Mike (Tannenbaum) and myself – the collaboration and the communication. You’ve heard me talk about that stuff from day one – the three of us are kind of inseparable. You see us and we are everywhere together. I think (we share) the vision we all have for the team and what types of players we want to bring in. I’m very confident in our process and I’m confident that we will do very well in this draft.”

(On if it is safe to say this will be a defense-heavy draft) – “Like I said, the board is going to play out for us. I think we can go out and play with people right now and compete. But we need to keep adding good players. People say it is a strong defensive draft and I’d probably agree with that. There are a lot of strong defensive prospects; but say for us, again we are just going to take the best player available for us.”

Mike Tannenbaum:
(On if potentially trading up indicates the studies that told the team to trade down were wrong) – “No, it just means that a new set of opportunities present itself and the price and the risk was reasonable. But I’m not sitting here saying that’s what we are going to do. I feel great that CB Byron Maxwell and LB Kiko Alonso are in the building and they’ve been great and they are two players that we project will play meaningful roles for us. We’re going with eight draft choices, two players that we’ve already added, and we’ll just make those best decisions when they are presented. I’ve been around long enough to hear trades that I would have never dreamed of, even going up or back, because people’s perceived values will always be different than ours.”

Chris Grier:
(On how much draft preparation goes into playing out possible situations during the draft) – “There’s so much misinformation out with (mock drafts) as well. For me, I’m just focused on the Dolphins and what we do and the players that we like. You can’t help but see it here; it’s everywhere. It’s how big the draft has become. But for us, we’re just really focused on our process and the Miami Dolphins.”

(On if the second day of the draft holds any significance in building a team) – “I think they’re all very significant. I think – as Mike said – when you’re trying to build something long term for sustained success; you really need to hit on those picks. We’ve done that in the past on occasion. We’ve hit on some guys that’ve been really good players in those third, fourth rounds. We’ve just got to make sure we hit on those first, second (rounds) and just be consistent through the draft. Our scouts, led by (Player Personnel Director) Joe Schoen and (College Scout) Adam Engroff, have done a good job in free agency of finding players through free agency here over the last ten years. And you guys that have been here know that. So I think all the picks are valuable. I don’t think you can win without building your team through a draft.”

(On how much he pays attention to locker room personality in building a team) – “I think it’s important. You want guys that have character. Again, like we talked about, (we want) guys that love football. (We want) the guys that are not playing just for money. They’re playing because this is the game that they love and it’s important to win. So yeah, we do put an emphasis on it. We’ve done a lot of studies on that and it’s very important to us.”

(On his first draft as a general manager and how he feels) – “I’m excited. I just feel heavier because I’ve been eating more and gaining (weight). I haven’t worked out as much as I should (laughs). But seriously, I’m excited. Honestly, I’m not nervous. I’ve been doing it, been in this business for so long, and I think we’re prepared going through our process. No, I’m excited. I thought I would be more nervous than I am, but honestly I’m not. This is how I am every day.”

(On where he would stack up this draft on talent and does that impact how he conducts business) – “No, at the end of the day the drafts the last couple years have all become junior heavy in the first couple rounds. Then after that, you’ll always find value throughout the draft. It’s just a matter of – again, getting the right players for your system and what your coaches want; what you’re looking for. So, at the end of the day, people always say it’s a strong or weak draft. But there’s been so many good players in this league that have come from mid to late rounds on every team that you can find guys that do the hard work.”

Mike Tannenbaum:
“And I think it’s true that three years from now, you can go back and truly evaluate any draft. And that you can really see the strength of it and what it looks like today could be different in a year or two.”

Adam Gase – March 22, 2016 (Annual Meeting) Download PDF version

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase (Annual Meeting)

(On his thoughts on free agency and what the team has done thus far) — “Well, it’s been a whirlwind for sure. I like the additions we’ve made. I know we have lost some good players. That’s part of the challenge of free agency. When guys make it through and get that opportunity, the way the money is structured and the way free agency is now, the money gets up there pretty quick and it’s tough to keep really good players, to get the deal done early.”

(On losing young players) – “That’s the struggle, that’s the tough part about being, at least for myself being in year one, there’s nothing that I was able to do as far as moving forward. We were in that situation. We had three good players that were wanted by other teams. Obviously we would have loved to keep them but it was too late. Once they hit the market, it was going to be a challenge to keep them on our roster.”

(On if he looks at his team and can point to what they will do well) – “It’s still the evaluation stage, at least (for me). Defensively, it’s a little easier for them because they look at that tape and you can see a lot of the attributes that fit into the system that we are going to run. On offense, I feel like that side of the ball we’re actually going to have to go out there (to the practice field) and experiment and kind of figure out where we’re at with Ryan (Tannehill). There’s some of the routes that this group does really well that I haven’t been a part of in a while. Every quarterback likes different things and watching a lot of our film from the past, Ryan does excel at some concepts that I haven’t run in a while that the last two quarterbacks I had didn’t really like. We’ll be a little bit in the experimental phase as far as the offensive side. We have a ways to go on that side of the ball. I feel like on defense, those guys have a good feel for what we have on the roster and where we need to go from there.”

(On his enthusiasm and building relationships with his players) – “That’s the hardest part right now about where we are at in the dead period. You can’t talk football. The thing you can do is you can at least, if you see a guy in the building, you can have a conversation just about general topics. You avoid any kind of football conversation but just kind of getting to learn those guys as people.

‘Hey, what do they like to do? What are they about? What kind of guy they are.’ So, that’s really what, at least, I try to do is try to learn these guys, which is a first step – developing a good relationship with our players. That’s the nice thing about being in Miami is we have a lot of guys that they don’t leave. They stay here. I think it’s good to know that our guys are at least in the area.”

(On whether his enthusiasm helped him become the Dolphins’ head coach) – “I don’t know. I just try to be who I am. I don’t try to be somebody else. If that’s what comes across to players or people I work with, then that’s great. That’s my personality, I guess.”

(On the running back position) – “I know that we’ve kind of gone after a few guys in free agency with C.J. (Anderson) and then C.J. (Chris Johnson) – both C.J.s. The reason we were trying to do that is we’re looking to having more than one guy. Jay (Ajayi) is going to be a big part of what we’re doing. I’d like to have multiple backs. Right now, we don’t have a lot of guys on the roster. I think we only have three guys on the roster right now. We’re going to need to really develop that stable of backs. Options will present themselves. We just need to stay patient, whether it’s through the draft or somebody gets cut free or there’s somebody else out there that we need to take a look out. We’ll just keep investigating that. I guess for me, I feel really comfortable with Jay. I saw a lot of good things on film last year. I’m fired up to get going with him. The problem is, we can’t do anything until April 11th. But really, those two weeks are meetings and weightlifting. Really, that minicamp will be our first good look to see where we’re at with our running backs.”

(On evaluating RB Jay Ajayi’s play from film) – “I remember watching him when he was coming out (of college) and what I see now is I see a guy … He looks lighter to me on tape, and he’s a shiftier guy than I ever thought he was. His elusiveness – when defenders are coming at him – I think that kind of surprised me. I didn’t see it back then. So, I’m really excited to kind of see what we can do with him. He is a bigger guy though. I thought he was … It’s hard to explain. I just remember him being more of a power guy. I didn’t see him being as elusive as he has been (as) I’ve seen on film.”

(On if there is anything that surprised him offensively) – “I’m really excited to get to being around (WR) Jarvis (Landry). To me, the way that he plays and seeing what he does on film … He’s around (the training facility) a lot. I see him in the weight room a lot. There’s an intensity there that I’m really excited to be around this guy because he’s such a competitor. It’s interesting to me (that) he’s one of those guys that a lot of people didn’t see this coming. He felt like, ‘I’m going to prove a lot of people wrong.’ I like being around guys like that, that have a chip on their (shoulder). You can tell he still feels that there’s a respect factor that he doesn’t get that he’s looking for and he plays like that.”

(On how WR Jarvis Landry can continue to develop) – “He has done everything really well up to this point. That’s going to have to be … That’ll have to be something that when I see him in practice, it’ll be, ‘Okay, maybe we can help him with this,’ or ‘We can get better at this.’ As of right now, that’s hard for me to put my finger on.”

(On DE Mario Williams’ 2015 season) – “It’s hard for me to speak on what happened somewhere else. I just know that I’m excited that he’s with us. We went against him two years ago when he was rolling pretty good and that defense was tough to go against. We’re excited to get him back to playing like he did in 2013 (and) 2014. I feel like he’s in a good place. We had a great visit with him. He was really excited. When I talked to him when we signed him, you could tell he was ready to get last year, that taste out of his mouth. He’s a good addition for us. We need some veteran leadership in that locker room. I think that the guys that we’ve signed so far are going to be good additions in that area. We’re so young. We are so young in that locker room and we need some guys to come in there (and) if things don’t go right, we got guys that can pull guys up to be like, ‘Hey, this is the NFL. It’s not going to go smooth. You’re not going to go 16-0. It’s tough.’ We need some veteran presence in that locker room and I think Mario is going to bring that.”

(On DE Mario Williams’ last season in Buffalo) – “Like I said, I feel like you’re going to see a different guy with us. I feel that way. I really felt great about our visit. (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) has worked with him before. Getting the guys that he’s going to be playing with, I feel like he feels comfortable with that group. I think we’re going to see a different player this year.”

(On whether CB Byron Maxwell can be a No. 1 cornerback and if he believes in the No. 1 cornerback concept) – “To be honest with you, I just want whoever is out there playing corner for us to play well. I don’t care if you’re a No.1, a No. 2, a No. 3, it really doesn’t matter to me. I’m not looking to label anybody as a No. 1 or No. 2. I’m looking for guys that are going to play well. I feel like Byron is going to fit well into what we’re going to do on defense. He’ll be able to do more of what he has done in the past where he had success. I’ve competed against him a couple times when he was in Seattle, and he challenged us, and we had some pretty good receivers. I feel really good about him coming in. I’m excited that … I could feel his excitement (about) getting down here.”

(On the depth of the cornerback position) – “I think at that position, you can never have enough. I know right now it’s probably an area that a lot of people are looking at that we need to improve on, and we probably need to add some depth. We’ll keep looking. It’s not an easy position to find. I know there are 31 other teams doing the same thing no matter who is playing corner for them. When we were in Denver, we kept trying to add (players). They got three pretty good ones right now, and that’s tough to do. They’ve done a good job of that. We’ll keep working to do that. We’ll just keep trying to find a way to add depth at that position and find good players.”

(On LB Kiko Alonso’s play from last season) – “Coming off his injury, we feel good about it being another year removed from that. We see a guy that runs well, that he hits, he strikes. He’s going to fit into what we do really well. Him being back in a 4-3 defense, that probably suits him a little bit better. We’re really excited to get this guy going and getting him in our program. Having that kind of speed at linebacker is really going to be helpful for us.”

(On his coaching philosophy) “You know what? I feel like I’ve changed over … I think last year changed me a little bit in the aspect of … In Denver, it was like basketball. ‘How many points can we score? Score on them as fast as possible. Wear them out.’ And last year, we had a different situation in Chicago where we were trying to shorten the game up, and that’s what that situation called for. Really, it’s going to be I have to learn our team. It’s kind of nice being the head coach and the play caller, because on offense, you can kind of dictate what you’re looking to do for that game. So, whether we want to shorten the game, whether we want to play fast, whether we feel like, ‘Hey, we’re going to have to outscore a team. Or we’re going to have to hold on to the ball.’ Whatever we decide to do, it makes it a little easier on myself to where I know exactly how we should play that game. Sometimes, when you’re just the play caller and you have somebody else trying to tell you how they want to play, that’s not as easy as you think sometimes, because you have to … When you’re told, ‘Hey, let’s go eight, nine possessions,’ it’s hard to hold back sometimes when you’re trying to eat the clock keeping (Green Bay Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers off the field.”

(On evaluating last season’s film) – “I guess I never … I haven’t watched it as far as trying to critique what happened last year. It has been more of a personnel evaluation. I can’t really speak on all the little ins and outs. I wasn’t here, so it’s hard to know every little thing that occurred. There are a lot of things that play into when things don’t go right. That’s a tough one for me to answer.”

(On his vision of OL Jermon Bushrod and where he is going to play) – “The good thing with me being with (Jermon) Bushrod last year was I saw a guy that played five spots in practice. He was our starting left tackle at the beginning of the year, he gets hurt, (Charles) Leno steps in and plays really well. By the time Bushrod got back, he kind of lost his spot because of injury, which it’s unusual. That usually doesn’t happen. But we found a role for him. We put him as our big tight end, and he did a great job. And then in practice, he just kept trying to learn different positions. He played guard. He played center. He played right tackle. Him developing that flexibility last year, that was very intriguing for us to say, ‘Hey, here’s a guy that we can add to our team (who) gives us some flexibility, gives us some depth at a lot of different spots.” We’re going to give him a chance to compete and see how he fits in. Right now, (if) you look at our situation, we feel really great about, at least the depth we’re bringing in. I think our guys are going to be ready to compete. They know it’s going to be starting in OTAs that we’re going to get after it a little bit. I feel like Bushrod is a good addition, especially being a veteran as well, he fills that void for us a little bit.”

(On whether OL Jermon Bushrod will get his first look at playing guard) – “To be honest with you, I haven’t really thought about it like that. I want him to be healthy right now. Once he gets healthy, we can sort everything out, see how OTAs go. Once we hit training camp, then we’ll have a better feel of where the pieces fit, who’s where and how we’re going to approach this.”

(On QB Jay Cutler cutting down on interceptions in 2015) – “I think a lot of it … I know you’re not going to believe me on this. He did such a great job of being patient. I know that was hard for him in the past, but he really had a great mindset going into the season. It started in training camp. I think he went 11 practices before he threw an interception in practice. So, he did a great job of practicing and taking care of the football. He didn’t force throws. For him to do that, that made me feel like, ‘Alright, we’re heading in the right direction.’ When we got in games, he really did a good job. He very rarely made mistakes. I felt like as the season went on and the more comfortable he got in the offense, it just really came together. He knew exactly where he was supposed to go with the ball. He knew the timing of it. He didn’t hold onto it long and found the back. Obviously, having Matt (Forte) was big, because it was a guy he trusted. He really did a good job of knowing exactly where that ball should go and how quickly he should get it out.”

(On whether Chicago made a big deal out of QB Jay Cutler not throwing an interception in 11-straight practices) – “I don’t remember us making a big deal about it, but I do remember when we got (to) eight or nine (practices), I know you guys were making a big deal about it. But once we got pretty deep into it, I started feeling really good like, ‘(Jay) understands what we’re trying to do here.’ He carried it over to games. I know the narrative there was, ‘It’s practice. We’ll see what happens in games.’ And it did. It carried over.”

(On whether QB Ryan Tannehill and QB Jay Cutler have similar playing styles) – “They’re different. It’s hard for me to compare Ryan and Jay. They’re at different stages in their career. I think my job is going to be to help take a little bit off of Ryan as far as not letting him get hit, getting sacks down, get him comfortable standing back there in the pocket.”

(On utilizing TE Jordan Cameron’s athleticism and what stats he would like to see from him) – “Predicting anything is impossible. I don’t know what to tell you on that one. I’m excited to see where we can go with it. The tight end position in this offense has been one of the strengths as far as matchup issues with safeties and linebackers. I’m interested to see what we can do with him (and) what his strengths are. I feel like … right now it’s so hard because you can’t practice, you can’t see guys run routes. I need to see him live. I need to experiment. I need to flex him out and see what he feels comfortable doing, what routes he likes to do. That’s going to be a learning experience for our coaching staff.”

(On WR DeVante Parker) – “He’s a talented player. I’m glad that we’re going to go into the season and that he’s going to be healthy. For him to get the end of the year and be able to play, that was big for his development. I know we have to bring him along and get him to grow at a rapid rate. We need him to be a good player and I think he will be. Coming out (of college), we felt really good about him. When we were in Chicago, he was being talked about with (Chicago Bears WR) Kevin (White). I feel like going forward with DeVante, I love the skill set, love what he can bring to this offense. For me, it’s just going to be about developmental, making sure we bring him along as quickly as we can.”

(On his comfort level with his offensive weapons right now) – “I feel really good about it, at least from what I’ve seen on tape. It’s just going to be about putting all of the pieces together. How are we going to use these guys and make sure that we are using them to their strengths? The thing that we are going to have to do a great job of is that we don’t want to try to force guys to do something that they aren’t good at. And it’s trying to do it at a rapid rate. You’re trying to figure out as fast as possible, what everybody does really well. That’s why those 10 OTAs and the two mini-camps, you have to speed it up as fast as possible so when you hit training camp, you’re really grinding on the things that are important to each individual guy.”

(On how he impresses on his players that this is a process) – “It’s easier said than done. Standing up in front of those guys, you have to show them examples about why you have to stick with it. The good thing about moving from Denver to Chicago last year was kind of going through that process and now it’s starting all over for myself again at a different place. Now, you kind of saw some of the things that we screwed up last year at the beginning of the offseason program and the adjustments that we need to make to help these guys understand ‘Okay, here is how this is going to work.’ I’m going to explain to them that some of this is going to be trial by error. We’re going to have to figure out, DeVante (Parker), we might run something with him and he might say ‘That’s not my thing,’ and we can make some adjustments. It’s not hard to do, there’s just a little bit of patience you have to have in the offseason. But once you get to training camp, you really want to have a good feel for what’s going to go on and what we do well.”

(On if QB Ryan Tannehill has an area or two that he wants him to improve on) – “That’s going to go back to I need to see him live. I think I’ve seen him play live two times in my life – in 2014 when he came into Denver and he played well in that game and then I saw him last year in a preseason game and he was in for like nine plays and they walked down the field and scored on us. The times I’ve seen him play live it seems like he’s had pretty good games. We’ll see. I just want to see him in practice.”

(On if DE Cameron Wake is going to play closer to 20 or 40 snaps per game and if he’s going to stay lined up over the right tackle) – “I don’t see why we would want to mess with him at all. I’m going to put him where he’s most comfortable. I know our biggest thing right now with him is that we want him to get healthy. His role will define itself. We just need to get him back to where he feels good, he’s ready to go, he feels 100 percent. Once we get to that point, all that other stuff will sort itself out. The thing that I feel great about right now is that we have some depth in that room. That was one thing we went into this offseason saying that we wanted to do and I think our personnel guys, Mike (Tannenbaum) and Chris (Grier) have done a great job of adding depth in that area of our defense.”

(On where DE Cameron Wake is with his rehab) – “I don’t really want to get into specifics on it. I just know that he’s in there all the time. Seeing him, the more that I see him walk around and move around and seeing him kind of look like he’s feeling better, that makes me feel good I know that. I know he’s going through his process right now and we don’t have a tight timetable by any means so we just keep encouraging him, ‘You do whatever you need to do to get healthy.’”

(On what kind of scheme CB Byron Maxwell fits best in) – “I think Byron fits in our scheme really well. What he did in Seattle was, he’s aggressive on the line of scrimmage, getting up there and pressing and being able to play aggressive and that’s what we want to allow him to do.”

(On if he was okay moving back five spots in the draft in the trade with Philadelphia) – “Yeah. I was fine with it because we got two starters and we’re going to add a third at No. 13. So I look at it we moved back five spots and got three starters so I was all for it. I know this, one guy is not going to change our team so adding three starters for us is a big deal. We have a lot of needs we needed to fill so when we started talking with those guys and Mike (Tannenbaum) felt really good about the two players we were going to get it, I felt really good about it.”

(On what the team will do schematically to put CB Byron Maxwell in a position to succeed) – “Let him play on the line of scrimmage. Let him press. And we want to try to do that as much as possible. That’s the way that he likes to play so that’s what we are going to do with him.”

(On how tough it is to not be able to do football activities yet) – “It’s been an interesting process going through … I think this is the fourth year that we’ve had these rules, the dead period. It’s hard to see your guys kind of being around and they go in there and they can kind of lift, I guess; but the strength guys can’t really help them. It’s frustrating because you want to be able to help these guys, especially young players. For them, they can’t get instructed, they can’t develop at this time of the year. They have to do it on their own and it’s frustrating to sit back and watch. You want to do stuff to help these guys but your hands are tied.”

(On if his vision for LB Kiko Alonso is at the middle linebacker spot) – “So right now, unless something changes, we are looking to put him at Mike. It could change, I’m saying right now that’s in pencil. If something happens where all of a sudden we add somebody and then he has to bump over to the Will linebacker and somebody else is playing Mike, then that’s always a possibility. I don’t want to handcuff our personnel people or our defensive coaches. Right now he’s penciled in at Mike and we’ll see what happens between now and the start of training camp.”

(On what makes him confident that LB Kiko Alonso can return to the form he had as a rookie) — “I feel really great about our sports science department and our strength and conditioning program. I feel like those guys are going to be able to help him a lot. They’re going to be able to strengthen his lower body. We have a plan, as far as going forward with him, to help him out and to get him stronger in the lower (body). I feel like once he gets that lower body stabilized, which he played a year already under it; he’s just going to get better from last year to this year. So I feel great about what we are going to be able to do to help him and I think it’s going to show in his play.”

(On what he has heard about how DT Ndamukong Suh gets along with teammates and if Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn was brought in to help with him) – “See, I guess my experience, it’s hard for me to… like you listen to things that you hear but I’m going to judge things off of what I see and what people do around me since I’ve been here. And I know he’s been in multiple times to just come in and talk to me. I mean you can’t talk football; he just kind of talks to me about what he’s kind of up to during the spring. To see him be around the building and to pop in and out, I know he’s on the west coast a lot and it’s a long flight for him. I’ve enjoyed my interaction with him so I’m excited to see him practice. I know it’s going to be frustrating for me as an offensive guy. I just keep thinking ‘How are we going to block this guy in practice? He was tough in games.’ Now you go into a practice and you have no pads and that can’t be fun. But I’m excited to get a chance to work with him. As far as (Jim Washburn) goes, we brought him on because he’s an expert in this defense. To add a guy like that – who is probably one of the greatest pass rush specialists that has been around in this game – to get him to be around our coaching staff and our players, it’s exciting for me. I’ve known Jim for a long time, obviously his son (Asst. Offensive Line Coach Jeremiah Washburn) is with us too. I’ve known Jeremiah, we’ve grown up in this profession together. But to add Jim, I feel like that’s a great addition for us. I felt like we had a chance to get a special, special guy on our staff. When he said he was interested, I thought the smart thing for us as an organization to do was to go after him.”

(On the process about determining if DE Dion Jordan wants to be part of the program and if he wants him to be part of the program) – “Yeah, I mean I haven’t even got there yet. You know, I’m not going to think about it until somebody tells me that he’s off suspension. When that day comes, then I’ll worry about that.”

(On talk of moving S Walt Aikens back to cornerback) – “Oh, there is? That’s news to me. We haven’t even talked about it. You’re sources are terrible. You’re like 0 for 4.”

(On his opinion about being two weeks away from the offseason program) – “I think just getting in that … our first meeting. Having that first team meeting, kind of letting those guys know where we’re at (and) what we expect in that first phase. And then being able to start introducing the offense and defense and kind of what our special team philosophies are going to be and scheme-wise. To present those to those guys, I know personally I’m excited to be able to do that because it’s … you get over … it gets tiresome when you’re sitting there and you’re talking about it with just coaches. It’s almost that time where we get to implement it with our guys and I know a lot of those guys probably can’t wait either. I mean, it’s been a long, it’s been a long period. I mean they’ve had a long layoff so I know our guys are going to be ready to get back and get this thing rolling.”

(On his philosophy on drafting a running back in the first round) – “My philosophy is let’s draft the best guy. I mean I’m not going to… I would never hamstring Mike (Tannenbaum) and Chris (Grier) and be like ‘Hey, we need to have this.’ We want to draft the best player and everybody kind of looking at our running back position, we have some good players at running back right now. If we can add to that group, great. If we don’t, then we’ll find a solution to present itself, but I feel confident in what Jay (Ajayi) can bring to the table. You don’t want to put it all on him. You don’t want to make it a one-man show. We want to be able to have some flexibility to where we can have more than one guy back there.”

(On what he is looking for from the running back position) – “It’s really … it’s the best player. You look for … I mean I’ve worked with all kinds of different skill sets. So, for us, you know if it was a draftable … you know if a guy comes up in the draft, I mean it’s really, we’re going to adapt to what that guy does well. I mean what C.J. Anderson and Chris Johnson did were two completely different things. We were ready to go in either direction. And what Jay (Ajayi) does is different than what both those guys did. So we’re ready to go in multiple directions. That’s the beauty part of this offense. There’s some fluidity to it.”

(On if running back is one of the more interchangeable positions) – “Yeah, I mean we don’t hang our hat on one thing. So for us, I would say yes. There are other teams … if you’re just old school Denver Broncos outside zone, there’s probably a style they’re looking for. But for us, we are just looking for (the) best player.”

(On how deep of a dive the team researched the difference between picking eighth and 13th in the first round) – “We did a pretty deep dive. We did some research. I mean we didn’t just slap it out there. We did our research and we felt really comfortable making that move and like I said we had positions we needed to fill and we got two starters out of that trade and we’re going to add a third when we draft at 13.”

(On want he’s learned about the quarterback position in the last few jobs) – “The one thing that I keep, it just … the amazement part is how smart these guys are and how much information they can retain and how quickly they can bring it back to you. Obviously being around Peyton (Manning), that will probably never happen again. He’s such a special, special player. But when I did get around Jay (Cutler), I never realized how smart he was. Getting around him and (seeing) how quickly he picked up our offense and understood where we were going – the way that he communicated to the other players – that was impressive for me to see. And I feel really good moving forward especially with Ryan (Tannehill) because from everything that I hear, his intelligence level is off the charts. So I’m excited to get my hands on him and see kind of where we can go from there.”

(On if the ability to learn is given with a quarterback) – “I don’t know. My experience … I’ve been lucky to be around some very sharp quarterbacks. I don’t know. I guess if I don’t have that experience one time, I’ll let you know how that goes.”

(On what aspect of being a head coach has surprised him) – “I don’t know if it has surprised me. Just dealing with the daily personnel. I mean I spend a lot of time with Mike (Tannenbaum) and Chris (Grier). I’m sure they’re ready for the players to get back. They’re tired of being around me. I think just the amount of time that you invest in … watching players – talking about scenarios. I mean you talk about, ‘Hey if this happens, what are we going to do. If this happens, what are we going to do. If this happens…’ It’s almost like a different kind of game planning and it takes a lot of time. There’s a lot of discussion that goes into it and then there’s a lot of film watching. We watch a lot of film together and you know that would probably be the one thing that you go into this job and you always think it’s going to be, ‘Hey, I’ll be able to jump in on a meeting here and do this and do this.’ I know (Offensive Coordinator) Clyde (Christensen)’s ready for me to be in there more often. I want to do that but right now free agency is our top priority and we spend a lot of time working on that.”

(On how his discussions went with Don Shula) – “I met with him that one time and that was a great experience and just being around him, for me that was … and I was with (President and Chief Executive Officer) Tom Garfinkel and I told him, I said, ‘It just hit me,’ about where I’m at. And that was a great experience for me because to hear him tell some of the stories … I had heard a few stories before but to hear him talk about them, like with some of his older players, that was exciting for me.”

(On what he expects from WR DeVante Parker going into his second season) – “We’re looking for him to be a big fixture in what we’re going to do. I feel like we have a good group though, right now as a whole. And I don’t want to put any predictions on what he’s going to do or anything like that; but we are looking for him to just keep improving (and to) get better from what he did last year. But we are looking for him to make some strides this year.”

(On what his philosophy will be on splitting time between offense and defense with him calling offensive plays) – “I’m going to try to do a good job as far as splitting time but there’s a reason why I hired Vance (Joseph as defensive coordinator). There’s a reason why that coaching staff was put together because I have a lot of trust in those guys. That was one of the big reasons that I did want Vance (Joseph). I’ve worked with Vance (Joseph) before. I’ve competed against him. I love what he brings to the table as a coach, as a person. There’s a lot of trust there for me with him and I know he’s going to get our defense rolling and my job is to do my part on the offensive side and then kind of manage this whole thing at the same time. I’m not going to overdo it as far as spending so much time on defense where I can’t do what I need to do on offense. I’m trusting that Vance (Joseph) is, is going to do a great job. That’s why I hired him.”

(On if he tried to build a staff with a mix of younger guys and those that have been around for decades) – “No we tried to find the right mix. I feel like our veteran coaches are … we got a good group. I think adding big Wash (Jim Washburn) to the mix … that was another key hire for us. I know it seems like we’re adding him a little late but he’s a tough negotiator. We have to keep the big man happy. I just wanted him to feel really good about our situation and I think he felt good and adding him now … it’s the right time for us.”

(On WR Jarvis Landry being a returner for this team or if prefers a guy who’s not a starter handling returns) – “I’m for whoever does it (the best). Whoever our best guy is, that’s who I want to do it. Would I like to get him to where he wasn’t doing that anymore? Sure; but right now he’s our best guy back there and until we find somebody else that can change that – to where they can do it to where we feel good about it and (Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi) feels really good about it – he’ll be back there unless we find somebody else.”

(On two or three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster) – “We’ll see how it plays out. We’ve talked about ‘What’s our general philosophy?’ But it’s a position to where you’re always looking to develop the next guy and I don’t what to say we’re going to keep three and then change my mind. So I mean right now it’s going to be … that’s a fluid one for us. We’ll see where we’re at, at the end of training camp.”

(On the process of getting the quarterback more comfortable in the pocket) – “This is something that you have to drill this and you have to practice this. It’s something that you have to get the quarterback to where he feels those bodies around and he’s moving around, and (you almost feel) like guys (are) just blowing past you. It’s something that you can work on (in) practice, in individual (drills), but then in the team settings, you have to find ways to get him comfortable in practice first, and then it will translate over to the game. But that’s going to be something that we’re going to work on a lot to where … it’s just getting used to finding and sliding. That’s kind of the big thing that you want to get practice and get really good at it.”

(On if he’s reached out to any other coaches after speaking with Don Shula) – “Yeah, hopefully at some point I can get with Coach (Bill) Parcells. I know that is something that’s on my list and the good thing is with Mike (Tannenbaum) having a relationship with him and obviously a lot of people in our building, hopefully at some point I can get with him. I know there are some other guys in the area that I’d really love to sit down with and pick their brain. Just everything was … we had so much going on. And now with – once we get kind of in these phases – my days (will be) more structured; to where it’s not like the Wild West, like free agency was, where it’s ‘Hey, we have to watch this guy real quick and this just came up, and this came up.’ So once (we get) that structure set going into Phase I (and) Phase II, then I’m probably going to be able to kind of do some of the things that I wanted to do since I came down here.”

(On what has Nick Saban told him about coaching in this market) – “I didn’t ask him that one. I had a very brief conversation with him and it was good. I didn’t ask him any questions about down here.”

(On S Isa Abdul-Quddus’ position and playing time) – “That one is going to just take a second for us to get on the field and kind of see how we want to play this thing out. I feel really good about (Abdul-Quddus and S Reshad Jones) back there. To have a guy to play with Reshad (Jones), that was a big addition for us. I feel like he’s one of those guys that kind of went under the radar. That was a big need that we needed to fill. I know especially the guys that played there last year, we have a certain role we envision for those guys as well. Adding him to the roster though, I feel like we have a nice one-two punch back there and we have some flexibility with those two guys. I mean they both can play in the box or in the middle of the field and having two guys with that kind of ability really gives us a lot of flexibility as coaches. I’m looking forward to seeing how this thing plays out (and) how Vance (Joseph), wants to move these guys around. I know we’re going do a lot of experimenting to figure out the best way to use those two guys back there.”

(On his finger and the bandage that is on it) – “I had surgery. I broke my finger last year so I had surgery – had to get a little bone graft there so I did that the day before free agency. It was great timing.”

(On spending time with Jim Bob Cooter and what about his style lends itself to players) – “He does a really good job as far as quickly figuring out what guys do well and implementing the plan around that. I think you saw last year when he took over play calling (for the Detroit Lions), things changed for them. He figured out a way to get (QB) Matt (Stafford)’s turnovers down. He got the ball to (WR Calvin Johnson) He did a really good job as far as using the talent that he had and then getting Matt (Stafford) to play at a high level. Unfortunately, we played them at the end of the year and I saw the end product. He did a great job and it was fun to watch.”

(On how he feels about the offensive line) – “I like that we’ve added some depth. I feel like we’ve added some competition there. I feel like I keep going back to our strength and conditioning program. That’s one thing that when we came in, me and Mike (Tannenbaum) and Chris (Grier) had long conversations about this as far as how can we get better in that area. And we feel like the first step we made was by promoting (Head Strength and Conditioning) Dave (Puloka). (We) put him in charge and we talked about it … we said let’s get back to some old, ‘Let’s lift.’ Let’s spend our two hours in the weight room. Let’s get these guys bigger and stronger and faster. That’s been a big focus. I want to try to give him as much time allotted that he is allowed to get these guys in the position to when we do start, we can see a difference. We can see a difference physically in our guys as far as their strength and being able to come off the ball and move people.”

(On if WR Kenny Stills will be more involved in the offense) – “Yeah, he will be. He definitely will be. I like Kenny (Stills)’ skill set. I mean I’ve said this before, we were involved in trying to acquire him when we were in Chicago. Being around those guys from New Orleans that came up (to Chicago), we tried to make a play for him before he got traded to Miami. I’ve always liked his skill set. I liked him coming out (of college). I’m excited to see what we can do to get him rolling in this offense. That’s why I feel really good about the group that we have, the skill guys. If we just figure out a way … if we can stay healthy, I feel really good about that group.”

(On if there’s a unit that should be the strength or that he would like to be the strength of the team) – “I’d like for both our offensive and defensive lines to be our strength. That’s easier said than done; because there’s a physical element to that game that we have to make sure that we do a good job of and develop those guys the right way. But as far as right now, I’m not looking at anybody and saying this is our strength. I just know that’s what I’d like our strength to be is those front guys.”

(On how comfortable he feels about the defensive tackle position outside of DT Ndamukong Suh) – “I know we got some … He’s a special player, and I know Jordan (Phillips) and Earl (Mitchell) are two guys that I’m excited to see get that thing rolling there. I think all the guys that we have – especially at the defensive end positon – it makes those guys better. I know those two guys are ready to come in here and compete. I feel like we have a good plan as far as what we want to do and our starting point. I’m really interested to see how far we can bring these guys and how much we can develop them.”

(On signing S Isa Abdul-Quddus and facing him twice last season) – “I unfortunately … I lost to him twice this year. I saw him quite a bit, and he’s one of those guys. He’s so consistent. He’s always in the right spot. He’s a really good tackler. To find a safety that you can count on as (far as) he’s down in the box … If he’s unblocked, he’s going to make a play. He has good ball skills. (When) he has opportunities, he gets his hands on balls. He’s a guy that can cover the tight end. To have those options for us, it’s valuable, because now we have two guys that we feel like have very good skill sets as far as being an all-around safety.”

(On whether S Isa Abdul-Quddus did anything to catch him by surprise last season) – “No. What they did in that game was they blitzed us a lot, I know that. He wasn’t really … He was down, and he was covering our tight ends for the most part. They heated us up pretty good though.”

(On CB Bobby McCain, CB Tony Lippett and CB Jamar Taylor) – “I’ve explained to … In our building, I keep saying, ‘This is a great opportunity for those guys.’ Somebody is going to have to step up. Somebody is going to have to come in here and play well for us. I think we have some young guys … On paper, there’s talent there; but this is a league where you have to go out there and you have to do it. We’re looking for somebody to step up. Opportunities are going to be given. We’ll see what guy rises to the top.”

(On the league issuing tampering penalties and if it has struck a chord with him at all) – “No. For me, I’m like … I stay in my lane, man. All I know is I have to make sure I follow the rules. That’s all I care about.”

(On whether he uses a particular statistic to measure running back success) – “No, not really. The biggest thing that I do is … I know a lot of people – at least (with) the running backs – they look at yards per carry. I’m more into efficiency. If it is second-and-2 and you get two yards, you did your job. Sometimes runs are built for things like that to get one or two yards. That’s probably the only thing that I really look at that’s different. At the running back position, I look more at run efficiency than I do yards per carry.”

(On his vision for LB Chris McCain) – “This is one of those ones where we’ve actually had this discussion. Right now, we’re looking to put him at defensive end. We’re trying to put him in a position to where he can stay in one spot and roll. That’s what we’re looking to do. I think for him, it’s going to be … At least he’ll know where he’s at, so he doesn’t have to worry about, ‘I’m going to keep bouncing back and forth.’ That’s what we’re looking to do to start. Hopefully, we can just stick with that plan. I feel pretty confident … When (Vance Joseph) and those guys, when they feel like they have a good plan, it resonates down to the players, and they’ll trust what direction we’re headed on that one.”

(On the defensive front’s depth) – “I feel like we got … That’s why I keep looking at that going, ’Man, a good player is probably going to get cut somewhere.’ We have some good depth. I’m excited to see how this thing plays out. If we’re healthy coming out of training camp, I think that front is going to be to be tough.”

(On whether the Dolphins use advanced metrics to evaluate personnel) – “Yes. We have an analytics department and those guys do a great job. The hardest thing about the analytic stuff is asking the right question. I know you added about the stats, something in college football that sometimes you want to try to take … How do the quarterbacks do? What do they do on third down in the red zone? That’s something that you can grab. It’s just another part of the process. It’s just (about) finding the right questions to ask to help the analytics guys say, ‘Hey, how do we look at this?’ That’s the hardest part is (asking), ‘What are the right questions to ask?’ Because those guys will give you whatever you want, you just have to ask the right questions.”

(On using advanced analytics versus evaluating a player with your eyes) – “I don’t know. It’s just another tool. You’re not just going to do something off of one thing. So, it’s just another piece of the puzzle that you’re trying to put together. You have all this information and you just kind of put it together and then you try to make the right decision.”

(On being a young, first-time head coach in the NFL) – “For me, I’ve been doing this (for) more than half my life. I don’t know anything else. I’ve been going through not necessarily this process, but some kind of football. This is all I know. When you’re around guys like Steve Mariucci, Nick Saban, Josh McDaniels, John Fox, when you’re around guys like that, it’s hard not to learn. It’s hard not to watch what they do and figure out how you’re going to do it when you get in that spot. I guess, for me, this is … I don’t know anything else.”

(On putting together a program after becoming a first-time head coach) – “You have a plan coming in, and a lot of times you have to be able to react. There are some things that you have to learn on the fly. The good thing is you do have resources like a John Fox. For me, having (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) Mike Tannenbaum in the building, who has worked with some of the previous head coaches that he has worked with, those guys have had success with him. Having him to lean on is valuable for me.”

(On his philosophy on going for two points) – “I think every game is different. To me, the first thing I think about is weather. Is that going to change how we’re going to do anything? If it’s a real windy day, are you better off going for two in those situations? It was strange, that rule change happened last year, and I felt like we kept … We were in all these weird situations where we had to go for two a lot. We went into the game with more prepared two-point plays, and then it kept coming up for us. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey, we’re just going to go for two to start out this game.’ It just kind of worked out that way. As far as like a philosophy behind it, I think every game is a little bit different. It’s more of, ‘What does the situation call for?’”

(On how personnel decisions are made) – “I’m telling you, Mike (Tannenbaum) and (General Manager) Chris (Grier) are sick of me, because we spend so much time together. They might as well move my office by their office. The way we go about it is … Let’s say we’re dealing with free agency, our pro scouting department does a great job of doing their evaluations. And then our coaching staff has input as far as what we’re doing. And then we get together as a group, formulated our plan, and then we spend a lot of time watching the film together between Chris, Mike and myself. When we got to that part of where we had to make some moves and go after some guys and where do we feel comfortable paying guys, then (Executive Vice President of Football Administration) Dawn (Aponte) comes into the fold as far as, ‘What are we going to do salary-wise?’ The evaluation process – once we laid out our plan – it’s us three really hammering it out and making those decisions.”

(On how personnel decisions will be made if everyone is not on the same page) – “Well, the good thing for us is that there’s always good dialogue. Personally, what I do is I tell them what our protocol – what we’re looking for – as far as a player, and that’s what these guys do well. This is why they’re in the positions they’re in is to go out and find those types of players that fit what we’re looking for. For us, it has been … It has always been healthy discussions. I feel like we’ve been on the same page on everything we’ve done.”

(On whether he views this as a rebuilding team) – “I don’t see us as a rebuilding team. I think we’re a team that has talent; we just have to put it together. We need to figure out a way to play as a group. Talent alone, that does nothing. We have to make sure we do a great job of putting three phases together and figuring out how to win games as a group instead of just one or two guys that are really exceptional. It just doesn’t work that way. This is such a team game. We got to do a great job of making sure we’re all on the same page.”

(On WR Griff Whalen and TE Dion Sims) – “(With) Dion, I’m interested to see how far we can bring him along. I know (the word) potential has been used a lot with Dion. I’ve told him, ‘Hey, this is probably the year that we get this thing rolling. Let’s get the consistency going.’ That’s what we’re looking to do. I expect him to be an important piece to what we’ve doing this year as far as him and Jordan (Cameron). Griff … It was funny, (Offensive Coordinator) Clyde (Christensen) has experience with him in Indy. He’s a guy that I feel benefits from what we do as far as that slot position. He’s a guy that can play special teams. Him understanding coverages, that’s the first step if you’re a slot player. He does have some flexibility to go outside, but obviously, his big thing was third downs in Indy. You want to make sure that you fill your roster up with … Whether it’s, ‘Hey, these guys are specifically just outside or they’re an inside guy.’ This was an opportunity for us to bring in a guy that we felt like is a good football player that plays special teams, who has done some returning in the past. We’ll see how he kind of fits in, but I think it’s a great opportunity for him.”

(On signing S Isa Abdul-Quddus) – “For us, he’s a good complement to Reshad (Jones). We feel great about what he brings to the table. He’s a guy that can do all aspects of what a safety needs to do, whether it be playing in the box or playing in the middle of the field. We felt great about getting him in the building. We feel like he adds a lot of value to our back end.”

(On whether there are key players he does not anticipate participating in OTAs due to injury like DE Cameron Wake) – “When we get to that point, I’ll probably have a better answer for you on that. I haven’t really been holding myself up worrying about who’s going to be available for OTAs. I know Cam, he’s working through that right now. We’ll see how far we can bring him along. I do not want to rush him back. I know that. As long as … I just want to make sure that he feels great going into training camp or whenever we end up starting him. I’m not going to rush him at all.”

(On C Mike Pouncey) – “We’ll see where he’s at. I know that he got his M.D. from Florida so I didn’t realize he was such an expert on medical science. We’ll bring him along. We are going to be smart about this. These are two really important pieces to our team so I want to make sure … The most important thing to me is to make sure that if we have a guy that’s injured that we get him right for training camp. That’s the most important thing for me.”

(On where the leadership will come from for this team) – “That’s a great question. I know that’s something that everybody has been kind of talking about a little bit. I feel like with some of the pieces that we’ve added coming from outside of the building, some of these veteran guys are going to have to help us out. I know I’m going to lean on some of our guys that are already here that are some veteran leaders. And then Ryan (Tannehill) is going to have to be one of our leaders. At the quarterback position, that’s what we are going to need out of him. The way that he leads and the way that quarterbacks I have been around in the past lead, it’s going to be different. Leadership styles don’t look the same. I’m excited to be able to help him and kind of see how he goes about his business. That’s the hardest part right now is you can’t … like I can’t evaluate anything right now because I don’t know. I haven’t seen Ryan around the other players. I haven’t seen Cam (Wake) around his teammates yet. I’m excited to see how he interacts with everybody. Once we get into those phases – really the OTAs and training camp – that’s when you really find out who is kind of … what they are all about (and) what their leadership styles are. It’s just one of those wait and see type things. I wish I could say it’s going to be this guy, this guy and this guy. I know there are some expectations from me and I’ll be very vocal with those guys (about) what I expect from them.”

(On how much Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn’s relationship with DT Ndamukong Suh played into adding him to the staff) – “(Washburn) is more of an addition because he is an expert on this defense. That relationship (with Suh) doesn’t hurt, I know that. I know that our defensive line, working with (Defensive Line Coach) Terrell (Williams) and (Washburn) – those two guys together – I feel like we have a good combination together working in that defensive line room. But (Washburn) is an expert on this defense that we are running. Like he says, this is like his baby. He’s going to be able to give (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) a little bit of insight from his perspective and it’s a different role for him. He gets to step away from just the defensive line and kind of help in an overall philosophy; and that’s, to me, what he brings to the table for us and that’s why we are excited to get him on board.”

(On if this season is about playoffs or progress) – “You can’t predict these things. You don’t know what’s going to happen … Injuries, weird things happen in this league. Last year, we were 6-10 in Chicago. I’m telling you that thing could have been 9-7. It could have completely flipped around. We had a couple things not go our way and all of a sudden you’re 6-10. For us, it’s going to be about sticking with our process (and) doing a good job of not looking ahead. The most important thing for our guys is going to be when we (begin our offseason program on) April 11th, we have to worry about getting better today. If we are going to start worrying about what’s going to go on in Week 6 and we haven’t even had an OTA yet … Our guys are going to be focused on a one-day-at-a-time mentality and then when we get into the season, it’s going to be one game at a time. We’re not going to look any further ahead than that.”

(On how much tape he’s watched of QB Ryan Tannehill from last season) – “It’s been real sporadic for me. Like I said, there are a lot of things going on. I went back through and watched all of the AFC East games. I just wanted to kind of see what was going on as far as the division (and) how we played against those teams. That was kind of my starting point. I’ll watch a game here and there. It takes time to grind through all that tape when you have free agency and then you have the draft. The good thing is, now things are kind of slowing down a little bit. I’m able to kind of speed that process up. I’m going to keep watching … because I want to go back and kind of watch what he’s done throughout his career. It’s one of those things where you start to put cut ups together, ‘Hey, let me watch all the touchdown passes. Let me watch all the interceptions.’ It’s a process. It takes a minute. It took us a long time to get through … we did all these five-year cut ups of Jay (Cutler) last year. We watched five years of interceptions. It can depress you fast. But that’s what you have to do. You have to figure out, where are the trouble spots? How can you help him? How can you put him in a better position?”

(On what the Dolphins defense is going to be) – “We are going to be a 4-3 penetrating, attacking-style defense. We’re looking to be aggressive on the outside. That’s what we are looking to be. We want a front that’s going to get after it. That’s why we keep bringing in all these guys on the defensive line. We’re looking to be a defense where we’re bringing it in waves. When we can keep guys fresh and moving them in there … We want fresh pass rushers in the fourth quarter. As far as our linebackers go, we want guys that can run and hit, find the ball.”

(On if you build a team to beat the New England Patriots or just build the best team you can) – “I think you build the best team you can. If you do that, at least (it) puts you in a position to where you can compete with those guys. To win the division every year but two years since (Tom Brady and Bill Belichick) have been up there is an amazing task. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We have to make sure that we put the best team we can together. When we get towards that last month and a half of the season, just putting yourself in position to where those games are relevant.”

Andre Branch – March 18, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, March 18, 2016

DE Andre Branch

(On if he had any other offers on the table and what appealed to him about the Dolphins) – “I had about seven other offers. I think the Dolphins were the right place for me. The coaching staff is full of energy. I get to learn from a lot of vets that I never got the chance to do (in my career) with (DE) Mario Williams, (DE) Cam Wake and (DT) Ndamukong Suh. I’m just ready, man. I’m just ready for a new beginning, a new start and getting this thing rolling.”

(On what the Dolphins told him his role would be and how he would be used this year) – “A very prominent role. Basically, (I’ll) be opposite of Mario Williams and then on rush downs, when Cam Wake gets back, it will be me, Cam (Wake), (Ndamukong) Suh and Mario (Williams). Those guys have been playing at a high level their whole career and I’m ready to learn from those guys.”

(On if he will shift inside on passing downs) – “Nah, I’ll let (the coaches) handle that. They just told me the four names. I don’t know who will be inside and who will be outside.”

(On if he agrees reports that he is really strong against the run but needs to work on his pass rush) – “Is that what someone said? I’m strong against the run? That’s not what the coaching staff told me and that’s not the type of player that I am. I feel my pass rush is a strength of mine but you can never be the best pass rusher if you don’t continue to work and that’s what I am ready to do. From day one, I’m going to keep on working. I’m going to work my tail off.”

(On what the deciding factor was to sign with the Dolphins) – “I just felt like the Dolphins were the most comfortable team. I felt like when it comes to coaching staff, the atmosphere in the building and the way they are taking this team. I know it’s the first year for Coach (Adam) Gase but at the same time, I’ve had coaching changes but his energy, he’s the type of coach that you want to play for and you want to give your all for. A lot of people have their own type of motto and their own traditions of how they go about things and I feel like the way the Dolphins are going about things is the right fit for me.”

(On if he knows any players on the Dolphins roster) – “I know (T) Branden Albert. I think that’s it. But I know a few new guys.”

(On how he knows T Branden Albert) – “I mean he played in the ACC. We have a lot of mutual friends. We met a few off-seasons ago. He’s just a good dude.”

(On what specifically about Coach Gase’s enthusiasm makes Miami an attractive place to play) – “He’s a young coach, of course he’s going to be full of energy. When you walk in the building and your coach has energy, as much energy as you do, that’s exciting. Because you know that’s the type of coach that when he wakes up in the morning he’s ready to go to work regardless of what day it is. When we talked, it was just very, very positive and very straightforward and the rest of the staff is just like that.”

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