Transcripts

Kiko Alonso – March 10, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Linebacker Kiko Alonso

(On whether the trade took him by surprise) – “Yeah, it definitely took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting it, but at the end of the day, it’s business. Football is football, and I look forward to playing there.”

(On how he feels physically) – “I feel great.”

(On whether he anticipates participating in the offseason program) – “Yeah, 100 percent.”

(On his level of confidence in having a productive season) – “I have all the confidence in the world in me. I know what I’m capable of, and I’m just looking forward to getting down to Miami and having a great year.”

(On whether he will play inside or outside linebacker) – “(I am) not exactly sure. I anticipate (playing) inside, but I feel comfortable anywhere in that (position).”

(On playing with DE Mario Williams and CB Byron Maxwell) – “I can tell you they’re both great players – Mario and Maxwell. Mario is a beast on that edge getting after the quarterback. And Maxwell is my kind of a corner and those are two things that you need in this league to have a good and successful defense.”

(On playing with DE Dion Jordan at Oregon) – “Dion, he’s one of my best friends. He’s a great player, a great guy.  I talked to him recently. I hope everything works out with him and I look forward to possibly being his teammate.  He’s a great player, so I’m definitely looking forward to playing with him.”

(On how hungry DE Dion Jordan is to play football again and what Jordan’s mental approach to the game is right now) “I can only imagine. I fought through it and it sucks missing time like that.  I bet he’s going to come back and have a chip on his shoulder.”

(On how he would describe his playing style) – “I feel like I’m a versatile linebacker. I can drop into coverage; I play the run. I feel like I can do a lot of different things, which is why I think I can carry any of the linebacker duties.”

(On how much his injury situation hurt him last year and if he feels that it is behind him) – “It’s definitely all behind me. I feel great. I don’t make excuses on my knee. I didn’t play very well, but that’s how it goes, and I just try to get better. But I feel great.”

(On why he was surprised by the trade) – “I think because I wasn’t thinking to myself ‘Oh, I’m probably going to get traded.’ I definitely wasn’t as surprised as the first time it happened (in Buffalo), because when it happened I was like ‘Oh, I guess anything can happen,’ because I had no idea I was going to be … I thought I was staying in Buffalo. But obviously, that’s that … (inaudible) … It just shows you that anything can happen.”

(On if he has talked to any Dolphins players since the trade happened) – “When I was down there yesterday I met a bunch of the players. A couple of players have reached out to me.”

(On if there were any Dolphins players he met in particular) – “Yes. I got to meet (C Mike) Pouncey. I had known him before. Obviously, I had played against him a few times in Buffalo and with the Eagles.”

(On if being traded to Miami appeals to him because of his Hispanic background) – “Yeah, for sure. As you said, I speak Spanish. My parents are Spanish. I’m definitely going to feel right at home.”

(On if he has any family in South Florida) – “Yeah, I have some cousins, some aunts, a great aunt. But most of my family lives in Puerto Rico and Colombia.”

Mario Williams – March 9, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Defensive End Mario Williams

(On what attracted him to signing with the Dolphins) – “I think the biggest thing (about) my decision to come to Miami was the coaching staff; to learn the faces there, being able to meet the new guys, the new coaching members and everything. I was able to have a lot of information on a lot of our guys that are there from other players who played underneath certain coaches and things. But the direction that the organization wants to go in from top to bottom was huge. Meeting with the owner (Stephen Ross), it was really shocking to me… I can say I’ve never… I’ve never ever been in the room with an NFL owner and it was like talking to somebody who is 30-years old. He was cool to interview with. I want to say he’s 75? 65, 75? I know it was something like that. But to be part of something with someone who has so much enthusiasm – so much energy and passion towards the team and then it trickles straight down to the last guy – the outlook is definitely determined as far as every coach that’s there, every player. Everybody knows where they’re going and what direction we want to take it. So, that was huge in having a mindset that we are definitely in this to win. We’re making moves; we’re doing this. We’re going to get that, definitely, if they came for me.”

(On playing with LB Kiko Alonso) – “I think the biggest thing with Kiko… I definitely look forward to playing with Kiko again. He’s a natural football player. He can keep that ball up. There was no problem at that. I think the biggest thing is the plays he’s calling in the huddle. It’s kind of funny, because we always gave him a bunch of crap when I played with him before. He had that mouthpiece in and we might be on a long drive or something like that and he’d try to call a play. We were like, ‘What? What?’ It was really funny actually. I definitely think he has a high motor, and he’s definitely going to be going after the ball.”

(On whether he talked to current Dolphins players before signing with the team) – “Yeah I got to touch base with (DT Ndamukong) Suh for a second. Things were moving pretty quick and fast. Everything happened as far as timing, it seemed like it blew by. But getting to understand how things are done in Miami, I feel the mindset and where we want to go, what we’re planning on doing, obviously, I felt like I could be a big part of that. I had the opportunity to talk to a player that I played with before in Houston – (DT) Earl Mitchell. He was actually coming back from a trip, and I was fortunate enough to catch up with him on the phone. Collectively, we’re all in and just ready to get after it.”

(On his time in Buffalo and if it came up in his discussions with the Dolphins) – “I think the biggest thing in talking to the Dolphins has been they kind of give you confidence because they bring the excitement and a level of energy that I feel like I’ve never had before. When I look at being a Dolphin and knowing that wherever somebody is from, it’s going to be shown who Mario Williams is. Obviously, we got to talk about certain things, and we all have to come to an understanding. There’s nothing better than knowing, now, that I’m a Dolphin and how things are going to play out and (how I will) be used in the system… with my fellow teammates that everything is going to be fine. It’s going to be right back to where it needs to be.”

(On what his attributes to the Bills’ low sack numbers) – “Speaking on my behalf, I had a lot of good years, had a lot of good coaches and good teammates and (have) been on a lot of different teams and been fortunate enough to be able to get after the quarterback and so forth. As far as anything else goes, I feel like, obviously, last year was… There were a lot of setbacks. But nothing feels better than knowing that as a Dolphin, I’m going to be able to go out there and have an impact and be a piece of the puzzle to help the Dolphins get to a better place and to win games and be in good situations.”

(On if he feels he has a lot to prove in his NFL career) – “Every day I wake up I feel like I have something to prove. Like I was saying, you have bumpy roads. We all do. There’s nobody that can go out there and have a smooth path that is perfect. But I can honestly say that road is still going. We haven’t hit the end in the road and that’s what gives me so much excitement. It’s beyond believing. I can’t wait. It’s almost like one of those things where the first time you came to college, the first time you played NFL football, it is that same feeling. I don’t even look at age or whatever. I actually think I’m young. And I feel that way and I know as far as my body, every year, I’m stronger and faster than I was. What comes along with playing in the league for this amount of years is the knowledge. It’s almost unfair for certain… to a certain extent whenever somebody has the mental of what’s going on and understands those things but still has the same attributes that they did before.”

(On the level of his conviction about coming to Miami and why he did not take his visits with other teams) – “I had a lot of things planned and places to go to after. I’ve come to Miami before, of course, but whenever I came on a visit and was able to put down what everybody – the owner was in town – and the level of excitement and confidence that I had from them, it was one of those things that was almost a no brainer. It’s a great place to be for a defensive player to get after the ball, to get after the quarterback. It’s a great group of guys. It was almost like there was (inaudible). Fortunately I had to pull for some things and live some things but at the end of the day, everything got done and I’m a Dolphin now.”

(On how playing in a 4-3 suits his talents as opposed to playing in a 3-4) – “Honestly, when you get down to it, to what they have me doing, I think for a 4-3, it really doesn’t… to me I think they are both beneficial in their own ways. It’s just all about utilization. And I know (Vance Joseph) and his mindset as that coordinator. It’s going to be… the dogs are going to hunt. Guys who get after the quarterback are going to get after the quarterback.”

(On if he has talked to DT Ndamukong Suh or DE Cameron Wake yet) – “Yeah, I talked to Suh earlier. I talked to him about the transition when I was up there, as far as defensive players go. I actually got to talk to (QB) Ryan (Tannehill). That was the first time that I’ve actually spoken to him without being on the football field against him. But that was the first time I have actually spoke to him in person so that was cool too. And then of course, (C Mike) Pouncey and that was another… that was on the offensive side of the ball so it’s kind of one of those things that you can pick their brain about the general flow of things, as far as being there in Miami. Whenever you get a chance to actually sit down and talk to more defensive players that have been there and are in the same situation you kind find out a little more.”

Vance Joseph – January 28, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph

(On if he plans on keeping the 4-3 defense that the Dolphins ran last season)  — “Yes. This defensive structure is 4-3. When you come into a new job you don’t want to so call change the structure of the defense, so 4-3 is what they’ve been. That’s what we’ll go forward with.”

(On what he sees as the building blocks for this defense and where the defense is right now and what are the immediate needs)  — “My philosophy is it’s built with rushers and corners. If you can rush the passer and cover outside it helps the schematics during game weeks. Rushing and covering is the bottom line of playing great defense in the NFL. If you can rush and cover, that’s the key.”

(On how far he is in evaluating the players)  — “It’s early. We’ve watched probably half the season from last year and most of the pieces are in house. Obviously acquiring more pieces, it’s always important for your schematics. But in-house right now, we’ve got some pieces to work with. Obviously DE Cameron Wake and (DT Ndamukong) Suh and S Reshad Jones, that’s front line NFL starters.”

(On what this job means to him personally)  —  “Well it’s been a long time coming, obviously. I had the chance to interview two years ago for coordinator jobs and it didn’t happen. And in my mind that was probably a good thing. I was ready two years ago but leaving Houston, going to (Cincinnati), being a part of a new system, that’s always a good thing for a coach – going from a 3-4 to a 4-3 in Cincy, that’s important in your coaching background.”

(On what this job means to him personally and how certain he is that this is the place and time for him)  — “It’s obviously a great opportunity and I’m ready for it. Again, it’s my first time being the sole coordinator in the NFL but my mentors, Wade Phillips, Gary Kubiak, those guys years ago had kind of informed me I was ready for the job. So that gives you confidence when your mentors kind of give you that assurance.”

(On his thoughts about Denver being interested in hiring him and now they are in the Super Bowl)  — “At first, disappointing. But you know (I’m) obviously happy for Wade (Phillips) and happy for Gary (Kubiak). I mean they’re friends. They’re friends of mine. So (I’m)  happy for those guys but it was a tough year last year, being blocked from that job, knowing that Gary (Kubiak) was going to be the head coach and that team having great players on defense. As a first time coordinator you want an experienced head coach, obviously, and have good players on defense. So that was a hard one to swallow last year.”

(On the opportunity to work with DT Ndamukong Suh and what does a player like that mean to a defense and what should his role be)  — “He’s obviously a dominate player in this league. He’s an inside player so that’s always tough because offensively they can kind of double team him every play. So it’s tough for him watching the film. He’s requiring two or three blockers every play so sometimes it’s hard for him to kind of have an impact on the game. But obviously he’s a dominant guy. We can use his reputation to kind of help us on defense. But you know watching a guy, he’s big, he’s fast, he’s explosive but he’s requiring double teams every play. So for him to get off, it’s tough.”

(On if he sees ways in which he can get more out of Ndamukong Suh than in 2015) — “Sure. We’ve got some ways but I can’t share those obviously. We can help him to get some more single blocks, more one-on-one opportunities because if not, he’s going to get doubled every play. So we have some ways to do those things but I won’t share those right now.”

(On what he’s seen so far on film and what things that need to improve)  — “You watch the group and they play hard. They play really hard. Being in the bottom of the run defenses, that’s troubling because if a team runs the ball on you constantly, you’re constantly in third and shorts, third and mediums. So stopping the run is always going to be our first priority and it starts from there. If you can stop the run and make them one-dimensional, now you are winning on defense.”

(On if there are any numbers that he pride more than others)  — “You know stats can be misleading but I think there are three or four stats that are obviously important. Obviously points allowed are very important. Third down defense, red zone defense, turnovers, (those are) definitely important. Overall yardage, that can be misleading but those four or five areas we have to be good at to play top 10 defense.”

(On why he kept Defensive Backs Coach Lou Anarumo on the staff after he was the interim defensive coordinator last season) “Well, he’s a good football coach. I didn’t want to come in and just assume that everyone here was a bad football coach. So I interviewed Lou, I’ve known Lou for four or five years now through Kevin (Coyle) and those guys in Cincy. He’s a good football coach and it helps to have a guy who has been on staff to kind of be a bridge between the old and new. I’m excited to have Lou, the players really enjoyed playing for Lou and that’s important to me. It’s a players game. It wasn’t about me coming in with Lou, it was more about what’s best for our players and best for our team.”

(On if he has spoken with DT Ndamukong Suh and how important it is to establish a relationship with him) – “We’ve talked the last couple of weeks here and he’s a bright guy and he wants to be involved in our overall scheme. My opinion with that is this, every player is going to have a voice, from the top to the bottom, every player is going to have a voice. If the player puts the work in, if he’s studying daily to help us win, then I’ll listen. If it’s Suh or if it’s (S Reshad) Jones or if it’s (CB Brent) Grimes, whoever puts the work in and brings me ideas then I’ll listen. It’s the NFL and you want players to have ownership of it. If it’s a closed door all of the time as a coordinator, then that could be a problem for a defensive coordinator. It’s going to be an open door policy, but open to ideas that have been thought through.”

(On if he sees CB Brent Grimes coming back next season) “I hope. That’s obviously in the future, but I hope because he’s been a really good player in the past. Again, having corners who can cover outside is vital to playing great defense. He’s still a corner in this league that can compete with the best receivers and that’s important for us to have.”

(On if he felt responsible for how Cincinnati Bengals CB Adam Jones reacted in their playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers or if it’s on the player) “I think it’s both, but with that being said Adam Jones played a hell of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. His guy didn’t catch the ball all night. Obviously towards the end of the game we had two penalties that cost us the football game and that’s both on coaches and on players, its grown men. Adam is an emotional player and he’s made some mistakes obviously, but I feel responsible and I feel bad for (Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach) Marvin (Lewis) and I feel bad for ownership that it happened because that was going to be a historical win for the Bengals. But obviously as a coach you feel responsible for that, that’s my guy and that shouldn’t have happened. That’s wrong.”

(On what he did as a defensive backs coach to help the Bengals secondary have an outstanding season) “With Adam Jones, he’s always been a guy with great talent. We kind of just harnessed that a little bit and played more technique. (Cincinnati Bengals S) Reggie Nelson is also a first-round pick that we did some small things with him and he made the Pro Bowl for the first time. But that’s great players and that’s more of the player than the coach.”

(On if he is a more aggressive or more conservative as a play-caller) “I think every game is going to be different. I grew up with (Denver Broncos Defensive Coordinator) Wade Phillips and he is aggressive all of the time. That’s Wade’s deal. Every game is going to be different and I’m going to call the game to win the game that day. It can be conservative, it can be aggressive, but it’s more about team and how the team can win the game that day.”

(On how important the middle linebacker is in his 4-3 scheme) – “The middle linebacker has got to be a guy with great leadership. He’s the signal-caller; he’s the quarterback on defense. He’s got to be a physical, great tackler and a tone setter. In the 4-3 you’ve got three backers and the Mike backer is more of the tough, signal-caller leadership guy and the Sam and Will are more of the athletic guys who play in space.”

Clyde Christensen – January 28, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen

(On what he sees from QB Ryan Tannehill) “I really enjoyed watching him. I haven’t seen him a bunch. I visited with him and his wife when I came in for the interview and I had a great breakfast with them and as much you can do in an hour there, but I’ve been extremely impressed with him. He’s been extremely productive and he’s played some awfully long stretches of good football. He seems like a guy that has all of the things that you’re looking for. A guy who wants to be good, who has it in perspective and (I’m) really looking forward to seeing him on the field a little bit.”

(On if his role as an offensive coordinator is to be an ally to the quarterback) – “I think so. I’ve always thought that. From every level of coaching that I’ve ever been at and especially this level, I think that’s a lonely position. That’s a lonely position in this league. It’s lonely in the locker room, it’s lonely on the street, it’s hard to find friends and it’s just a unique position. I’ve always felt like the number one job that I have is to be an ally, to be a safe place where a guy can talk and communicate and have a relationship where you can bounce things off and generate ideas. I’ve always thought the quarterback position is unique that way and I’ve always approached it that way.”

(On Head Coach Adam Gase being a former offensive coordinator and how he expects that to affect their relationship) “He was one of the main reasons I took this job and was interested in this job because I thought it was really kind of a support position to him. It’s an offense we ran for a long time in Indianapolis and then he took to Denver and I’m sure they tweaked and improved it a little bit. So it was interesting to me because of his youth and how sharp he is. He’s young and energetic and it gives me a chance to just kind of come in in a support position and kind of help in any way that I can, as he’s got a lot of new responsibilities. He will call the games. It was probably a position that I was interested in because of that and the things that maybe; I probably wasn’t interested in just coming in and ‘Hey, it’s all yours and just go take it and run with it.’ It was much more attractive to me to come in in a support position and I’ve really been impressed with him. I’ve dealt with Coach Gase pretty extensively when (Denver Broncos QB) Peyton (Manning) made his move to Denver and just talking about the offense, talking about handling Peyton and talking about all of the different things like that. That’s kind of where the relationship started and we’ve had a lot fun talking football and sharing Manning stories, etc., Manning experiences. So when this thing happened and when he invited me to come down and visit with him about it, I kind of felt like it was a role that I enjoyed, that I liked, and that I felt like I could help and be a contributor in. I had an awfully good job where I was and I wasn’t interested in just coordinating somewhere for the title. It was more of ‘What is the role? What are the responsibilities? What am I going to contribute?’ And this one was attractive that way.”

(On his thoughts about Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning getting back to the Super Bowl) “I’m thrilled. I really couldn’t be more excited, at the risk of being corny. Like I told him, the last playoff game against New England and one thing I do share with this city is a lack of affection for New England through the years, but (I) just had a knot in my stomach. It wasn’t like the offseason, I just wanted him to win that game, so just was thrilled. And, just to have been upfront on his journey, to have seen the journey and to know what he’s fought through physically and to know what he’s fought through mentally, know what he’s fought through with the moves and then even this year just going through some of the adversity and battling. So I think it makes it even more special, you see him run out of that tunnel at the Super Bowl just knowing what he did to get there and for a decade-and-a-half, watching how the guy approaches the game is pretty darn special to see him. Now we just have to see him finish this thing.”

(On what he thinks about how it may be Manning’s ‘last rodeo’) “Knowing him pretty darn well, I wouldn’t count on that. I wouldn’t count on that. I don’t know many people who enjoy their job as much as him. There have probably been several chances and who knows? But I sure wouldn’t count on that. The guy has kind of amazing that way so I’m not buying it quite yet. I’m not buying it. I know how much he loves doing what he does. He sometimes forgets and still gives me projects and forgets that he has a coach there. I still get a glimpse of how much this guy enjoys football like he does, enjoys the quarterback position like he does and I wouldn’t count on him bowing out too early.”

(On what he thinks of the offensive line) “The number one thing I see us doing approaching this thing is evaluating our own. That’s the number one thing; we can’t miss on our own. We spent a good day today just talking about our own guys, and we’re learning more and more. It’s hard to have a complete evaluation because you haven’t met them; you haven’t looked in their eyes yet and seen them work. You haven’t seen them rehab. You haven’t seen them do all of those things, but as best we can to get a preliminary evaluation of those guys is the number one thing before we move on to other people’s players and college players and stuff. Just trying to get a good feel for what our players are, the offensive line certainly is the beginning of the evaluation process and we have to find some way to find some consistency and some continuity. I think that is a position that the more they play together and the more games together, the better they are going to be. That’s always a fine line with injuries and all those different things. So we’ll go and evaluate it. We do have some good players up there. It’s not an empty cupboard. And then we’ll just kind of look and see how it fits into what we’re trying to do and with what Coach Gase wants to do with this offense. That will be an ongoing evaluation, but we’ve got the process started and again, there are a couple of good young guys.”

(On his thoughts about head coaches calling plays in the NFL) – “I think it’s how (Gase) got the head coaching job. I think a lot of those guys rise to the top because they have a knack for it. (Arizona Cardinals Head Coach) Bruce Arians, who I’ve worked for a couple of times, just has a knack for calling games. I think some of the head coaches make a mistake not doing it. The reason that they kind of go up the ladder if you will, is because they have a knack for doing it and then all of a sudden they become an administrator, or a guy from the sideline. So I’m for it. Some guys just have a knack for it and I think Coach Gase is that, the (Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach) Andy Reid’s. Some guys just have a great knack for calling games and I’ve always thought Coach Gase does. So I’m kind of for it.”

(On how he would feel about calling plays in the future) – “I hadn’t thought about it. That’s down the road. Again, I think that he has a great knack for doing it. So I see him doing it and I see our staff kind of supporting it. He’ll have to have some help, just because of the other responsibilities. But I also think just the process of getting it onto the call sheet; those are the things that we can help with. And then how it comes off the call sheet through the game, through the play-caller, probably gets overrated a little bit, but there is this knack that a play-caller has. When to take a shot? When not take a shot? When to get the ball into (WR Jarvis) Landry’s hands? When to run the clock? All of those things. I don’t see that coming and I’m not worried about that quite yet, we’ve got a thousand things to worry about before I start worrying about that.”

(On his preference of the style of offense that he wants to bring to the Miami Dolphins) – “I would probably say, again the attraction to this job was that I really enjoyed those years in Indy when we were aggressive. We were no huddle and the players had fun. That’s a big thing, that the players enjoy the system. It’s hard to keep players interested and it keeps getting harder and harder to keep players interested. I think the no-huddle and this style of play where you’re mixing it up and you have the ability to – I think Chicago last year led the league in time of possession – but you’re also taking shots and there’s kind of new stuff and you’re keeping them stimulated. I would say this is the way I like to play. We did it for an awful lot of years in Indy and it’s kind of fun. There is always something new. There are always new codes, there are always new concepts and it’s a wide open, you spread them out, and you still can pop some runs in there, etc. But I do, I like this style of play.”

Darren Rizzi – January 28, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Assistant Head Coach and Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi

(Opening Statement) “I just want to say I’m obviously thrilled to be back for my eighth season with the Dolphins. It’s a pleasure to work for this organization and it’s really an honor to be back and to be asked to be back by Coach (Adam) Gase. Again, (I’m) just thrilled to be back. I’m always excited to work with these players here in Miami. It’s been a thrill to be here for as long as I’ve been here and I’m as excited to be here right now as I have ever been. With that said, you guys can fire away.”

(On if there was any serious consideration to moving on) – “I was under contract for another year. In this profession, when you get to that time of year at the end of the season, you get into a situation where, when the head coach gets fired after the fourth game, you never really know as an assistant coach what the end of the season is going to bring for you. You’re always keeping your options open and you’re always looking but again, I was under contract and all of that stuff has been resolved now and (I’m) just glad to be back, very happy to be back.”

(On if something will change on the way the coaching staff will operate with the players) – “It is early. It’s very early in the process right now. Obviously, I can just speak from Adam (Gase)’s standpoint but obviously a fresh face in front of the room, with fresh ideas and a new way to do things is certainly going to change. We’ve obviously changed the coaching staff dramatically. I know there has been some talk about a lot of people coming back but from where I sit, there are 17 coaches that were here last year that aren’t going to be back. There’s going to be a lot of new faces in front of the players, a lot of new coaches in front of the players, different ways to do things. So from that standpoint, when the players come back here in April and they see that, naturally there is going to be change. There’s a new offensive play-caller, a new defensive play-caller, a lot of new position coaches so there’s going to be a lot of change that way. So the players are going to see that from the start, for sure.”

(On having so many assistants returning to the staff) – “I think it’s a little bit misleading, to be honest with you. Obviously, one of the three coordinators, myself, stayed. And I think two position coaches stayed on – Terrell Williams and Lou Anarumo. I think the rest of the guys that stayed on, two of the coaches that were here last year were moved off the field into off-the-field roles. I think one of our strength coaches stayed on and then three guys that are really more of quality control type coaches. they do a phenomenal job in their area and really deserve to say. I think the mix that Adam (Gase) has put together is quality. I got a chance, obviously, to meet all of the new guys that have come in. I know all of the guys that were retained and I think they all deserved to be retained in certain ways, so I think it’s a good mix. I think that maybe the general public doesn’t realize how many people are actually involved and the way I look at it, again, I look at it like 17 guys aren’t here from last year. More than the nine guys that stayed. But the nine guys that are here, I think, deservedly so. They’ve all done a great job. I think any turnaround like this, you have a fresh start, I think there will always be guys in the building that can really lend a hand to the new head coach and really help him. So I always think it’s a good blend. I think it’s a good mix to have some guys that were previously here and again, obviously bringing in a bunch of new, fresh faces. So from where I’m sitting, I think Adam’s done a great job of putting the staff together.”

(On what being an assistant head coach entails and whether he will be involved in game management) – “It’s a really fluid situation. I think obviously we are going to get to all of that. Adam (Gase) knows my skill-set as a coach. Obviously, I’m going to coach the special teams, we all know that. I think the assistant head coach title is more of a thing on a daily basis, being able to help out within the building on a day-to-day basis. Obviously right now, we are dealing more with the personnel and free agency and the draft and those types of things. We really haven’t explored the game day thing to the n-th degree. We’ve talked about it on the surface. I’m sure that, again, Adam knows what I have done here in the past and will lean on me for certain things but as far as specifics go, we really haven’t gotten to that quite yet.”

(On his thoughts on the roster and how he foresees the young guys playing a major role in the 2016 season) – “I’ll speak from a special teams point of view. I think we certainly didn’t have a perfect season but we were productive in a lot of ways. I know special teams wise, we were in the top 10 in five categories, so that was obviously a good thing. There were some other categories that we have to get a lot better in. Again, I deal with obviously the whole team, with the exception of maybe the quarterbacks, so I get a pretty good view of it like you said. From where I sit, to be honest with you, I think we got a lot of production out of the reserves. Obviously the guys I’m dealing with on a daily basis are a lot of the guys that are not starters. A guy like S Ced Thompson, you bring up that he didn’t get on the field. But you look at the guys in front of him, guys like S Mike Thomas (and) S Walt Aikens. Those guys had tremendous seasons as special teams players. So it is hard for a guy, like S Ced Thompson, to maybe break in. LB Chris McCain I know had a little bit of the injury bug going on. He was a little bit up and down. It’s tough to sometimes get certain guys to the 46-man (roster). So my job is to make sure to get everyone ready so when they do show up to the 46-man (roster), we can get some plays out of them. Overall, I think that certainly we are never going to bat a thousand on personnel. Everyone knows that, that’s every team in the league. But to be honest with you, from my seat, the special teams guys that have come here, I think RB Damien Williams, S Mike Thomas, S Walt Aikens, this year LB Spencer Paysinger, I thought LB Neville Hewitt had a real good season. We got a lot of production out of a lot of guys and really we got a lot of production this year from undrafted free agents. You look at LB Neville Hewitt, you look at LB Zach Vigil, you look at K Andrew Franks, P Matt Darr. I mean there were times out there we had five or six undrafted free agent rookies on the field on special teams and I think that’s something to be said for our personnel. Although some people may focus on the guys that didn’t do well, I’m really going to keep the focus on the guys that did do well and I thought that we got a lot of positive plays out of our reserves.”

(On what P Matt Darr added to the team) – “It’s no secret that a lot of people criticized that move because we got rid of a Pro Bowl punter in Brandon Fields and understandably so but we saw something from Matt right from the beginning. He was just very consistent, had a very cool head about him. It was one of those deals where through OTAs and training camp I kept asking myself ‘What am I missing here?’ This guy, we obviously got him as an undrafted free agent. I went in and worked him out and liked what I saw, but he really exceeded our expectations. (He) did extremely well to finish third in the NFL in gross punting, I think he had 30 punts inside the 20 and probably could have had a few more. The crazy thing is that he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet so he can still get better. Really can’t say enough good things about him. He had a phenomenal year.”

(On how he sees WR Jarvis Landry’s role on special teams moving forward) – “It’s a fine line. It’s a little bit of a double-edged sword. Jarvis is one of the best returners in the league when he has the ball in his hands and you want to give guys like that opportunities. The one thing that Jarvis can’t complain about the last couple of years is opportunities with the ball in his hand. He’s gotten plenty of those. The thing I always compare it to is a guy like Antonio Brown with the Steelers. He’s also their punt returner and arguably, you hear people say he might be the best receiver in the NFL. It’s that fine line, where do you get those opportunities? I think Jarvis ended up having 36 punt returns and (13) kick returns so he had another (49) opportunities. So when a guy like that, you can get the ball in his hands and be a game-breaker, you like to do it. But obviously you like to keep the risk out of it of him getting hurt. I’ve said this for seven years so I will continue to say it, I’d love to get as many return options on the team as possible. We had a bunch going into camp and then some guys get cut, some guys move on, or whatever. With where we were this year, we just felt like we kind of attacked each week on a single-case basis and said ‘Alright, this week we are going to try to get (him) opportunities.’ Jarvis obviously handled most of the punt returns the whole year. We tried to give him a little break on the kick returns. So moving forward, again you have a Pro Bowl-caliber athlete like that so you’d love to get him involved but at the same time you’d like to have other options on the team so he’s not your only one.”

(On what he has learned about Adam Gase in the past few weeks and what makes him optimistic) – “I really love his personality. I really love his presence with our coaching staff. Obviously he is a very, very smart person and clever guy. He’s obviously done a very, very good job with offense no matter where he’s been. He’s very energetic and enthusiastic. We have a lot of the same personality traits, to be honest with you, so we get along great. Again, I’m just excited to be here now going into this season with him and this new coaching staff as I have ever been. I think we have a lot of great things in place. To me, he brings a lot of enthusiasm every day. In the time so far that I’ve been with him, he’s obviously a very good offensive coach. And like I said before, in my estimation so far, he’s put a great coaching staff together. So I’m very, very pleased with where we are.”

(On if he has seen enough out of K Andrew Franks despite only having 16 field goal attempts last season) – “That’s a good question. I think we would have loved to get more attempts out of him, that’s for sure. When you look at his three, he was 13 of 16 with three misses – one was 60-plus yards at the end of the half at New England; one, the grass slipped on him on our home turf, the last miss he had of the year; and then he missed the one in Jacksonville, which he should have made, it was a makeable kick. For an undrafted Division III guy that really was not on anybody’s radar, I’d have to say that I’m pretty pleased with what he did. I think he did an admirable job. Our touchback percentage went up tremendously this year and that was a big thing. I think we ended up being (11th) in the league in touchbacks or touchback percentage. I think he had (43) touchbacks out of (62) tries or something like that. So I was really, really pleased with where he was there. He has an NFL leg, I’ve always said that. We’d love to have gotten him more reps in games but I saw enough from him out at practice where we know that he can do it in this league. Listen, I’m a big believer that you have to bring in competition at every position. I think if we sat here last year and if anybody thought that Brandon Fields wasn’t going to be the punter in 2015, we all thought he was going to be. But we brought in a guy that beat him out. We’re always going to be looking to bringing in competition at every position and so I think it’ll be the same thing with Andrew. But with that said, I think Andrew did a great job. I think moving forward, the sky is the limit for him. He’s only just begun. I really believe this guy can play in the NFL for a long time with his skill set.”

(On why Bobby McCain never had a shot to return kicks last year) – “Again, it was a week-to-week basis. There were times we went into the game saying ‘Hey, Bobby may get a couple shots this week.’ But again, I think we had (eight) different guys return kicks this year. That’s not really the way I’d like to go moving forward, I’d like to kind of get one or two guys. So whether it was RB Damian (Williams) or WR Jarvis (Landry), we had RB LaMichael James, we had RB Raheem Mostert, we had a bunch of different guys, S Reshad Jones back there. So Bobby was definitely in the conversation and, just whatever it was, week-to-week just sometimes he ended up being the second or third guy and never really got those chances. But he was definitely in the mix.”

Adam Gase Introductory Press Conference (Adam Gase, Mike Tannenbaum & Stephen Ross) – January 9, 2016 Download PDF version

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase Introductory Press Conference

Opening Statements

(Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum Opening Statement) “I want to thank everybody for coming out today. Obviously this is a really exciting day for the Miami Dolphins franchise. Personally, I just want to thank Dan Campbell one more time publicly for all of his hard work and dedication he gave us over this past season. Today marks the culmination of an incredible amount of work by a lot of people that, we believe, has reached a great conclusion for the Miami Dolphins. We made over 237 phone calls as an organization researching candidates. We had over 42 hours of interviews and spoke to countless coaches, players, personnel and staff members. I want to thank (Vice Chair) Matt Higgins, (President & CEO) Tom Garfinkel, (General Manager) Chris Grier and obviously (Owner) Steve (Ross) for the countless hours we just spent together. In our search, we didn’t have any preconceived notions about offense, defense, special teams, first-time coaches, (or) multiple coaches. We wanted to be as open-minded as possible. But what we kept resonating to is we wanted to get the right leader. Someone that could relate to young and talented players that we believe we have, and somebody that was high energy and competitive. Somebody that could build a great coaching staff, develop them and hold them accountable. Somebody that was open-minded, who had great football acumen and intelligence. And when we looked at Adam, we felt like he had all of those attributes. Somebody that’s been an inspiring life-long learner, somebody that looks at the strengths that they can get out of a player. And we couldn’t be more excited that we found Adam as what we think is going to be a great head coach and a great partner to help move this program forward. Moving forward, we looked at a lot of things philosophically on how can we do things better – how could we get the most out of our program? So moving forward, in terms of player procurement, it’s still going to be led by Chris Grier, in terms of trying to get players to add to our roster. But as it relates to the final 53, ultimately – while we will work collaboratively – ultimately those decisions will rest with Adam. This way our players know that they are ultimately held accountable to him and that’s who they will be answering to. Philosophically, we will control the indoor and Adam will control the outdoor, obviously as we all (will be) working in a partnership. There are a lot of reasons that Adam told me that he chose to become a Miami Dolphin, but the number one reason was our owner, a man that gives us some incredible resources so we can go out and do what we have to do to put the best product on the field. And I would like to introduce him, Mr. Steve Ross.”

(Managing General Partner & Chair of the Board Stephen Ross Opening Statement) – “Thanks, Michael. It is really a great day and an exciting day for this organization, and for me, and you know we’re here to announce Adam Gase as our new head coach. I would like to thank Mike Tannenbaum for leading the search. We’ve spent hundreds of hours really talking about it, really looking under every stone and trying to figure who would be the best type of coach to lead the Miami Dolphins in the future. As I have told you before, I bought the Miami Dolphins and I own the Miami Dolphins because I want to win Super Bowls, not just make the playoffs. And I think Adam Gase puts us in the best position to win Super Bowls and becoming the winning organization that people expect and want from the Miami Dolphins. We really talked to a tremendous amount of candidates and we narrowed it down to probably six or seven that we had extensive interviews with. As I said before, when I was looking for someone, and what I was looking for was really the most intelligent person I could find, who had the greatest amount of passion, great energy and who would become a great leader. These are the type of things that I look for in running the organizations that I’ve built and have put together, that today are really best-in-class organizations in the fields that we’re in. And that’s what I always said I wanted in the Miami Dolphins. We really have turned this franchise around in every way. I think Tom Garfinkel and the work he’s done with the organization has really put us in a great position. But we haven’t performed on the field in the way that I or the fans want to see us in the future. And I think in Adam Gase we have found that person that will lead us to many, many Super Bowls in the future. I am not predicting this year. It will take time and so there is no big prediction here because I know what you guys want to say; but I’ve got to tell you, I’m excited to have him. For a Michigan guy to hire a Michigan State guy to lead the organization, that tells you that we have really found the right guy. I would like to introduce Adam Gase.”

(Head Coach Adam Gase Opening Statement) “I’m going to start off thanking a few people, I won’t take forever here. Mr. Ross, Mike Tannenbaum, Tom Garfinkel, Matt Higgins, Chris Grier and the hard work they put forward as far as this search went about. I know that was a long process for them, very thorough, one of the longer processes that I went through with a group. It seems like I’ve gone through quite a few the last few years and this one was very thorough. I would like to thank my wife, who left because my son was crying, and that’s my fault; but I know she’s happy this process is over. It’s been an interesting two years in my life to get to this point. I would like to thank the Chicago Bear family, the McCaskey family, John Fox, Ryan Pace, all of the players from that organization, (and) how much those guys mean to me. They battled. And to move on to a new organization, it’s a great step in my family’s career and to be a part of the Miami Dolphins organization. The focus for us is going to be about the process. You never want to come up here and make predictions. We’re going to focus on one day at a time and those are the type of players that we want. That’s the type of organization that we’re starting to build here and, moving forward, that’s going to be our complete focus. It’s going to start with the right people. It starts with the players, but it also starts up top and we think we’ve got the people in place that have the passion, the work ethic and the unselfishness we need to compete to be a winning organization, and that’s what we’re working on, starting today. We’re looking for guys that want to invest in winning. It’s going to be critical that guys come in here day-in and day-out and understand that’s what we want. We’re looking for competitors every day we step into the building when we start in the spring. And we feel like that’s what we’re building right now, starting today.”

Adam Gase:
(On if he will call his own plays) – “Yes, I’ll call the offensive plays. I feel like I’ve been doing it for the last three years. I really enjoy it. I really enjoy that aspect of putting the game plan together with the offensive staff. So going into this season, that’s how we are going to start, with me calling them. And then as soon as we can shake through putting a staff together, talking to guys here, if I end up finding the right offensive coordinator that eventually I feel like I could turn the play calling over, then that’s the direction we’ll head. But as far as right now, I will be the play caller.”

(On his offensive and defensive philosophy and if he will run a 4-3 defense) – “We are going to look at the roster we have right now and build our schemes around our players. So as a starting point, you look at what my background is on offense, we’ve run multiple things. We are a very fluid offense. But we are really going to base this thing around the guys that we have on the roster and what we add on there. So we are at the very beginning stages obviously with that. And then on defense, we’ll wait until we decide what we’re going to do as far as a staff there, and then we’ll talk about scheme once we get to that point.”

(On what makes him confident he is ready to be a head coach despite being the youngest coach in the NFL) – “I look at it as: I’ve been in this profession since I was 18 years old so that’s really more than half of my life right now. The last three years, being a coordinator both for the Denver Broncos and with the Chicago Bears, it’s an accelerated growth. In this business, age is only a number but you get older really quick, because every week’s a growing experience. You learn and I feel like the last three years have really prepared me for this moment.”

(On who will have the greatest influence on QB Ryan Tannehill) – “I think it’s going to start with me. I think he needs a guy that’s going to have his back; that he feels comfortable with right out the gate. And I’m going to be working directly with him. And then I am going to hire guys on the offensive staff to also help him develop. I feel like when we do put a staff together we are all going to be able to help him get a little bit better.”

(On if he can go to the playoffs and win a Super Bowl with QB Ryan Tannehill) – “Well this is where we’re at right now with Ryan (Tannehill), I’ve seen him play very minimal games. I’ve seen him play live once, not counting a preseason game where we played him at Denver. I know he had a pretty good game against us that game. We’re going to go back. We’re going to evaluate everything from the quarterback on down as far as offensive personnel. So really, at this point, we’re not ready to make any kind of predictions. I think we’re just going to have to see where his strengths are and really emphasize that.”

(On the primary difference in a head coach and an offensive coordinator) – “You’ve got to have the overall vision. You’ve got to make sure that you have the entire, as far as coaching staff goes, (that) everybody is on the same page. Really, the complimentary football part of what you want to do as a team is probably the primary thing. When you’re the offensive coordinator, you really are giving more direction and then you’re doing your part of that. As far as last year, being under Coach (John) Fox, you get those so called orders that you need to do for that week, between working with the offense, defense and special teams, and then you do your part in that. Now it’s going to be my job to make sure I formulate that as far as putting all three phases together.”

(On how far he is on putting together a staff and when he expects that to be completed) – “Well I’ve been here for about two hours so I would say we haven’t made much progress. We’ll be working on that today. Obviously there are a lot of teams still playing in the playoffs. We’ll see how things shake out here in the next few days.”

(On if he was confident he would get a head coaching job this season and what makes him ready to lead a room full of 53 men) – “Well as far as going with the team, when you do run an offense, it was something that (Denver QB) Peyton Manning used to say this to me all the time. He said, ‘You’re the head coach of the offense.’ And that was probably when I really realized there’s going to be that next step: in treating the way that we handled the offense, day-in and day-out, as though you were the head coach and that you were the head coach of the offense. I feel like that development over the last three years put me in a good position to where now that it is time to step up in that role, I feel like I’ve been prepared. I’ve been trained by some of the best coaches that you can be trained by between John Fox, Nick Saban and Mike Martz. I feel like I’ve been around some of the best. I’ve seen some of the best do it and I’ve been put in the position to where now I’m going to get an opportunity to show that training in front of the 53 guys that we are going to have on this roster.”

(On how a guy who didn’t play in college or in the NFL gets respect from the players) – “I learned a long time ago it’s about what you can teach players, the knowledge you have (and) the work ethic you have. (Former QB) Jon Kitna told me in 2007, he said ‘Players don’t care what you’ve done in the past. They want to know how you can help them on the field, how can you make them a better player and how can you get them paid.’ If you can do those types of things, guys will respect that.”

(On what his approach will be with this team) –“I’m not sure. No one’s ever really described me. Nobody has really said, ‘Hey, you’re a player’s coach; or a disciplinarian.’ I’m not really sure. I just know (that) walking in the office, putting a staff together, all of us working together, that’s going to be the key to as far as us having success with our roster.”

(On if he has met with DT Ndamukong Suh and QB Ryan Tannehill) – “I met Ryan (Tannehill) when he came in the building the other day. I was in here for an interview. He came through the building. I talked with him for a little bit. And (Ndamukong) Suh was also in the building. I was able to speak with him and just kind of really introduce myself to both of those guys. It was more of just a personal introduction than anything else.”

(On how far he thought coaching could take him when he first started as a graduate assistant) –  “I think I was more on a month-to-month tour at that point. You’re never really sure how far you can go. I know the process at that time is slower. You’re never really sure, when you become a graduate assistant, you see a lot of guys fall out. You see a lot of guys give up on that dream. I know there was a point where I went back to Mount Pleasant and I’m looking to sell insurance. Thankfully I had three great friends that talked me out of it. I went back to LSU and got another opportunity in Detroit and the ball kind of got rolling for me. So you just never know how your journey is going to turn out. You just keep battling.”

(On his thinking Thursday after finishing his interview) – “I think everything was happening very quickly, as far as bouncing around from one team to the other. I was heading to New York. I felt good after I left here. Like I said, it was a long day and a half. I came in the night before. I had dinner with everybody. Coming in the next day, grinding the entire day, and then having to leave later that night and going to New York. It was hard to really process how close anything really was until probably later last night.”

(On why he chose Miami as opposed to another team) – “When I came in here, the one thing that I had heard a lot about from someone that was very close with me, who had experience with Mr. Ross, he said so many positive things about him. I was very excited to get in this position as far as getting in front of these guys. And then my relationship, as far as knowing some people that had been in this organization before, knowing Mike (Tannenbaum) from way back, earlier in my time in the NFL, it was very attractive to me. Getting back in the AFC was something that I was really interested in, as well. I’ve been in this conference six of the last seven years, so there is just some familiarity in this conference that I really liked.”

(On who has been the biggest influence on him and why) – “I don’t know if I can say one guy has been my biggest influence. I would say I was lucky enough to start off under Nick Saban as a student assistant, graduate assistant. I think that being raised under him, that’s probably the best way to say it, it’s a unique situation to be in. To be able to go with him from Michigan State to LSU, I’m pretty sure I was the only one. It was a task that wasn’t easy, but it was worth it at the end of the day. And then being able to get around Mike Martz. I was lucky enough to be around him for those three years and following him to San Francisco, him really letting me grow as a coach and as a person. He didn’t need to take the time that he did to try to teach me, as far as how to game plan, how to attack a defense, how to watch film. He really started me from the ground up as far as an offensive coach. And then obviously the last five years being with John Fox, his record speaks for itself. To work for a guy that has had over 100 wins in his career, who’s been to multiple Super Bowls, who’s made a living on walking into an organization and absolutely turning it around in the attitude. To be under him, that’s a career changing move as far as learning how to do it the right way.”

Stephen Ross:
(On what drew him to Adam Gase and what gives him confidence that this is the right pick) – “Well I talked to a lot people, in the football (world), in the National Football League. People had familiarity with him. We looked at a lot of people and of course there was a reoccurring theme of who was really one of the brightest young guys out there. And Adam’s name always surfaced to the top of that. And also his passion and his drive for football, and just talking to the people who he’s worked with and hearing other players who played under him, (how they) felt about him, and (I) really felt that this guy would be a great head coach and that he was ready. I mean that was the most important thing, was he ready? Certainly when you hire someone that’s 37 in the National Football League, people kind of question you. But I felt that, knowing my organization and how I’ve grown my organization with great people and, really, I’m a builder of organizations. Seeing that and having young people with the passion that they have, the energy, and have really put in the time, I really thought Adam, in the long term, is really the best thing for the Miami Dolphins.”

Mike Tannenbaum:
(On why not having previous head coaching experience matters) – “We really studied it quite a bit. Unfortunately there was a decision made earlier in the year about moving on from our head coach. That was the bad news. The good news, it gave us an opportunity to spend an incredible amount of time and resources just looking at it, and candidly (we) looked at more than one sport. And we have some incredibly great minds here with (Analytics Director) Dennis Lock in analytics and pro personnel people, and we just kept looking at it. And there’s really no correlation between first-time coaches and second-time coaches. We got our list probably down to about 25 and we wound up interviewing seven. But we looked at 25 people pretty seriously – college, pro, former Super Bowl winners, new – and we just said if we were going to be committed to a process, we’ll get a great result. And not to speak for Tom (Garfinkel), Matt (Higgins) and Chris (Grier), but I think we all felt like telling Steve (Ross) what our thoughts were. We all felt, unanimously, to recommend to Steve (Ross) what we felt was the right decision. So that’s kind of how you want it as an organization: when the hardest decisions and the biggest decisions turn out to be the easiest ones. And as long as we stayed committed to the process, we felt great about the result.”

(On what he’s looking for in guys getting their first chance to be head coaches) – “You guys asked me that the other day and I don’t think my answer has really changed. I think it comes back to leadership and knowing how can you inspire young players to achieve their potential? How can you attract great coaches? How can you develop them and hold them accountable and manage your staff? Those players come in all shapes and sizes with disparate backgrounds. Adam is a person that’s inspiring to be around – not only his story, but all the passion he has to make himself better. He works with a Hall of Fame Coach, a Hall of Fame Quarterback, it’s not good enough. They want to get better. They go around the country just to pick up one or two little things to get better and that’s inspiring. That’s what leadership’s about. So the fact that he hasn’t been a head coach before, obviously we talked about it and Steve (Ross) was comfortable with that. But it was really the attributes that we felt that Adam possessed, that we felt great about that choice.”

Stephen Ross:
(On if there are any plans to keep Dan Campbell in the organization) – “I mean, that’s really up to Adam. I mean I love Dan Campbell. He’s done a great job. I’d love to see him in the organization but Adam has really the free hand to hire his assistants. And the question is, he’ll probably meet with Dan, and he can tell you that, but I don’t think any conclusion (has been made). But I think, the way we feel about Dan, as an organization, is fantastic.”

Mike Tannenbaum:
(On why he did not wait until after the first round of the playoffs to speak to more candidates) – “We looked at that. We felt, after seven interviews and all the calls and all the screening, we felt really comfortable about Adam. And, as we said the other day, we were committed to our process, and I’m really proud of the fact that we were disciplined to that, and we were going to go as long as necessary. As I told you, personally, I’ve been involved with searches that hire people well after the Senior Bowl, so that was certainly something we felt like we could do, if necessary. But we also wanted to move quickly if we felt like we could find the right guy and we were thrilled that we were able to come to an agreement with Adam. Now that allows us, obviously, I believe we are the first team done, that we can move as quickly as possible to fill the staff, which is obviously an advantage. So we, again, no preconceived notions. It was about the candidate, not the timeline.”

Adam Gase:
(On if he had offers from other teams to become a head coach) – “Right now, Jimmy Sexton is sitting at home, probably on the phone. That’s why agents are involved in this. My job was to go through the interview process and I got a phone call late last night and he said, ‘I think we’re pretty close with Miami.’ That’s as far as I really got into it with him. That’s why those guys get paid what they do. That’s their job and my job was to say, if he gave me choices, then I would have had to make a choice. And he said ‘Miami is your spot,’ and I was ready to go this morning.”

Adam Gase:
(On how his family feels about living in Miami after spending time in cold weather cities throughout his career) – “I don’t know how many times Mike said, ‘It’s 75 (degrees) and no state income tax.’ About a hundred?”

Mike Tannenbaum: “I wasn’t sure if you were listening.”

Adam Gase: “It is a change of pace for us, but I think it’s a good one.”

Adam Gase:
(On what qualities he believes he possesses that sets him apart from other candidates) – “I think my passion, my attitude, the way that I go about interacting with players and the relationship that I develop with players. It’s something that’s hard to explain when you can get in front of a group of guys, develop something as a staff and then actually get to a point where everybody cares about each other, they’re doing it for each other and not for themselves. Probably one of the proudest things that I’ve been a part of was last season in Chicago, seeing that group, injuries, nobody gave us a chance in any game. But the way those guys battled every game, came down to the wire and that’s something that is unique. I feel like when coaches and players can develop those kind of bonds and you are really doing it for each other and you’re not just doing it for yourself.”

(On the emotions he felt when he finally realized he was going to be an NFL head coach) – “I think it will hit me maybe in a couple of weeks, but right now I just keep thinking about what our next step is. We have to work on the coaching staff. We have to figure out what our next move is, as far Mike’s calendar. He keeps talking to me about ‘We’ve got to stay on schedule here.’ I’ll have time. Whenever we have downtime, that’s probably when it’ll hit me.”

Chris Grier Introductory Press Conference (Chris Grier & Mike Tannenbaum) – January 4, 2016 Download PDF version

Monday, January 4, 2016

Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum and General Manager Chris Grier

Opening Statements:
(Mike Tannenbaum Opening Statement) “I appreciate everyone coming. I’m sorry if we are a few minutes late. As Steve (Ross) said yesterday, we are obviously all very disappointed on how the season went and I can assure you that no stone will be unturned. We owe it to our fans; we owe it to Steve (Ross) to get a much better result. I also want to take a moment to publicly thank Dennis Hickey. Dennis did a great job while he was here and gave us everything he had and I wish him nothing but the best moving forward. What’s really important now moving forward is that we take a long, honest, sober view of what needs to be fixed and that’s obviously going to start with our head-coaching search. Dan Campbell is a candidate. We told that to Dan when he got the job; both Steve (Ross) and I told him that. I want to publicly thank Dan for everything that he did. And yesterday’s result was nothing short of remarkable in terms of his leadership and his ability to manage his staff and the players to give such a great effort all the way through the end of the season. That’s just a great reflection of him as a person and as a coach. The search will begin in earnest today. I will lead the search. Chris Grier, Matt Higgins, Tom Garfinkel and obviously, Mr. (Steve) Ross, will be involved. We will make our recommendation to Steve (Ross). Steve will make the final decision of who our next head coach will be. As it relates to the 53-man roster and final control, we just don’t feel like that’s a decision we’re prepared to make. We want to have flexibility heading into the search and we’ll be better able to answer that at a later date. When you look around, we feel like we have every resource here to be successful. We have a young team with a lot of key cornerstones and I’m really excited about what we can accomplish in the future. Speaking of our future, our future starts with our new General Manager, Chris Grier. (I’m) really excited to partner with Chris. Chris is a highly respected personnel guy throughout the league. He’s been shaped by countless football people including his dad, Bobby Grier, who is a long-time NFL executive. I’ve gotten to know Chris over the years as a peer, as a competitor, and over this past year I’ve gotten to know him as a person and as a worker with great football acumen. So without any further ado, I want to introduce the next General Manager of the Miami Dolphins, Chris Grier.”

(Chris Grier Opening Statement) – “Good afternoon. First I’d like to start by thanking Steve (Ross) and Mike (Tannenbaum) for this tremendous opportunity. I am truly humbled but also excited to start the process of helping create a winning culture here in Miami. Each year we are reminded just how special this organization is by the ’72 Dolphins. They’ve set an incredible standard that we should all strive to achieve. Steve (Ross) is a great owner who wants nothing more than to bring a championship back to Miami. He has shown that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win both on and off the field. Anyone who has spent time around him can feel his passion for the Miami Dolphins. The passion bleeds into the people that work in this building and this organization. I love this organization and I feel that I am the right man for this job. South Florida is very important to me and my family. My beautiful wife, Paige, and our two sons love it here. They are in the community. We love interacting with fans. To me, this is home. I want to be a part of winning a championship with the Miami Dolphins. I’m fortunate to have grown up in a football family. As most of you know, my father has been in the NFL for the last 35 years as a coach, a scout, and a vice president of player personnel. He was the best role model a young person could have growing up. He turned me into a man and showed me how to be a professional. I was fortunate to have spent time learning football from Francis “Bucko” Kilroy. For you football historians, you probably know who he is. He is the father of the modern day scouting combine. He’s Bill Parcells mentor and countless coaches in this league. To me, the time I spent with him learning this profession is invaluable. My football beliefs and philosophy has been influenced by many coaches that I have worked with over the years. I could never thank them all but the lessons that I learned, both good and bad, have helped to create my core beliefs. I would specifically like to thank Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Nick Saban and my dad for laying the foundation of my football philosophy. Finally to the fans; the past decade has been unacceptable for this organization. Steve (Ross), Mike (Tannenbaum) and I will find the right coach to help this organization. The talk of dysfunction in this organization is over. We will be thorough in our search and create an environment where everyone is on the same page, with the same beliefs, talking the same language and creating a model of consistent winning for the Miami Dolphins. We will earn your trust back both on and off the field. Thank you.”

Mike Tannenbaum Q&A:

(On if it’s time for the organization to hire a coach with NFL head coaching experience) “We’ve done a lot of research on what makes a successful NFL head coach and kind of reversed engineered the last 20 years of literally ever hire from their degree to really, sort of, almost every variable and I can tell you that there are a lot of different permutations, a lot of different answers and we want to get the best coach and we’re not going to narrow it to any sort of background because he was a first time coach or not. I know there is one theory out there that some of the recent Super Bowl winners, Pete Carroll, (Bill) Belichick and Tom Coughlin all did it on their second hire, but we just want to get the best coach regardless of their background.”

(On why fans should believe the team should be competing for Super Bowls in the years to come) “I think on our best day this year, when you look at this past season, Houston, Washington, yesterday, we beat teams that were in the playoffs. We’ve played good football and we are a good team. We obviously weren’t even close to that throughout the year, we were too inconsistent, but there are a lot of good pieces here that we can build from. Being 1-5 in the division is completely unacceptable, we have to be better. We have to figure out a way to win in the AFC East being 1-5 is not ever going to get us to where we want. But with that said, there are a lot of good young players here, we’re a young team, we have as many players under 24 as any other team in this league, and that’s why I really believe that our future is bright.”

(On if he has an idea of how many coaches they want to interview) “Sure, being involved in a few other searches in my career, you just go through it, you want to remain flexible and our search is starting in earnest today and obviously we’d like to get that decision done certainly sooner than later. With that said, I was involved in a situation back in 2009 when we hired Rex Ryan. Rex was the defensive coordinator at the time of the Baltimore Ravens, they lost in the championship game that year to the (Pittsburgh) Steelers and you do feel a little anxious from the standpoint of putting your staff together. At the end of the day, our charge is to recommend to Steve (Ross) the best football coach and try to work through the rules, the geography, and try to make the best decision you can.”

(On if they enter the search with a wish-list of the top three candidates and go from there) “I think we just want to get the best coach. Certainly we’ve done a lot of research and have a sense of where we want to go, but I think we want to be married to the process and be disciplined to that and be open-minded and be great listeners and then ultimately what’s the best fit for us. I don’t want to say ‘Hey, it’s these two guys,’ and draw a line. I think we want to be open-minded.”

(On if they are looking for an offensive-minded head coach, defensive-minded head coach or just the most qualified) – “I think it’s the most qualified and the staff, in terms of we are looking for leadership, we are looking for somebody that can attract great talent, to manage a staff, to hold them accountable, grow with them, can they develop players, and sometimes it really comes down candidate X with these two coordinators and candidate B with these two coordinators, and what does that look like? I’m not really sure that’s written enough about. You’re hiring a CEO, you’re hiring a president. So it’s the president and his cabinet, and what does that look like. You’re not going to have every T crossed and every I dotted, but within reason, you want to have a very good idea that when that coach walk through the door, what is his staff going to look like? And does that marry up to what we need at certain positions?”

(On if the coaching candidates’ opinion on QB Ryan Tannehill will have an impact on the decision) – “Absolutely. We want their assessments on everything. We’re going to come out of this and I have in the past, better for it. We’re going to learn a ton. We’re going to hear things that we don’t want to hear, but that’s really frankly the only way that we’re going to get better and that includes their assessment of our quarterback. Some of the questions are: ‘How do we win our division? What do you see as our perceived strengths and our weaknesses?’ That certainly will be a factor.”

(On what has caused the dysfunction in the front office) – “I’m really talking much more about the future and I’m excited that Chris (Grier) is here. I think what’s really important is for us to hire a coach and say ‘Hey, how are we going to build a roster that will give us sustainable success?’ The best teams that I’ve been on, the best situations I’ve been in, it’s always been about (how) we all understand what we need at each position, how are we going to build a team and how are we going to be sustainable. And frankly, I believe in servitude leadership. We are here to serve the head coach. My football mentor is Bill Parcells, he gave me a one-line job description, ‘Go get the effing coach players,’ and that was it. You can boil it down, you get to deal with your good friends in the media all the time, probably a little bit more than we would like, but at the end of the day, our job is about getting the head coach players. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about dysfunction or who likes what. It’s about serving the head coach and getting the players that we can put the best product on the field. That’s really at the end of the day what our job is.”

(On if the new coach will have input on the roster going forward) – “Yes, 100 percent. I don’t understand how else you can do it. Again, we have to have a sense collectively of what our team needs to look like, again, to win the division. And once those decisions are made, it’s up to us and a lot good people that are behind your left shoulder, guys like Joe Schoen, to work our tails off and go get those players for our coach and our coaching staff.”

(On how much personal pressure he feels with getting the coaching decision right this time around) – “I feel it every day. I gave up everything to come down here. I’ve been to three championship games. It’s really not about me, but I came here to win a championship. I’ve accomplished everything in my career except getting a ring. I’ve got [my wife], two kids and the Miami Dolphins and that’s all I’ve got. I’m a real simple person and we’re either going to win or I’m going to die trying.”

(On how much the 2015 failures fall on him) – “We didn’t get it done. (I’m) part of it, without question. I had as high hopes as Coach (Joe) Philbin or Dennis Hickey or anybody else. I’m as disappointed as anybody. And candidly up until the Giants game on Monday night, we were doing everything we could do to stay alive. And I think what Coach Campbell did will never be understood, what he accomplished and changing coordinators where he did. Here’s a man that coached four players and the next day he’s the head coach of an NFL team. That’s really remarkable. We feel short. I was part of falling short.”

(On how much would you recommend the next head coach to retain Interim Head Coach Dan Campbell) – “Well again, I think I can give you a better answer to that next week. We’re going to go through the process. Dan is going to have his day in court. He’s been told that. We wanted to give him some days so he can put his plan together in earnest. I believe that’s what he’s working on now. If you hear Metallica or there’s a lot of dipping chewed upstairs, he’s probably taking a study break right now; but I’m sure we’ll get his best efforts in the interview.”

(On if he has talked to Mike Shanahan) – “I’ve talked to a number of people, but no interviews have taken place. Those start in earnest now. Jason (Jenkins) will try to keep you guys up to speed. I know there’s a lot of interest in the names and the candidates and we’re they’re going to take place. We’re going to try to be as open and transparent as we can, within reason. We’re going to get it off and running as soon as possible.”

(On if the report that Mike Shanahan came to the facility and met with him on Dec. 22 is accurate) – “No. I have talked to Mike Shanahan. It was not in this building. I’ve met with a lot of people in a lot of different places, but I have not met with anybody in this bundling. I have a lot of friends in this league that I want to pick their brains. I met with Coach Parcells recently. I can assure that was not a head coaching interview.”

(On if Bill Parcells would take the job) – “Why don’t you ask him that question? Bill is not a candidate. We don’t need that on the ticker.”

(On how far away is this roster considering the team finished 6-10) – “Yeah, no question. One thing I do know is we are going to start next season 0-0 and I think in our league, you’re probably never as close — I don’t think we’re as far away as 6-10. If we were sitting here at 10-6 and not in the playoffs, you probably have to make more changes than you realize and candidly, I think some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made early in my career is sitting there, one game away from the Super Bowl, saying, ‘Man, we’re close.’ But you know what? The next season you start 0-0. That’s what’s great about our league and every year there’s the teams that go from worst-to-first and I think our window is right here. We’re going to have to make some changes, but I also think to be successful is well within reason for us.”

(On if his talk with Mike Shanahan was not an interview) – “Correct.”

(On if he is interviewing Shanahan tomorrow) – “And Bill Parcells was not an interview as well. And I’ve talked to many other people. As some of you know, I have a lot of friends in the industry, that’s part of my doing my job, and we will be interviewing Mike Shanahan tomorrow. That is true.”

(On what part of team was most underwhelming) – “I would say the whole. It was just extremely inconsistent. That was probably the most frustrating thing. When we played our ‘A’ game, we looked really good. We looked really good against Houston. We looked good yesterday. We looked really competitive. We looked fast and tough and there were other games we didn’t have it, for whatever reason. It’s up to me. It starts with me. Why is that? Is it how we train? Is it the heat? We’re going to look at everything. Our first-quarter scoring differential, (it’s) hard to explain. It’s hard to play balanced football when you’re being outscored by 40-plus points in the first quarter. It’s hard. It puts pressure on your offensive tackles. It puts pressure on your defensive secondary. There are a lot of things when you get off to these bad starts that hurt and we’ve got to look at all those things.”

(On if the new coach will have full autonomy on his staff) – “Absolutely. With that said, when you look at the great organizations like the San Antonio Spurs, the words you always hear are collaboration and partnership and organizational behavior and I believe in those things. I think when you’re really revving on all cylinders, your head coach is talking to your West Coast scout and your director of player personnel is talking to your tight ends coach. I think that’s so important. We’ve got to get to that point where we’re all in it together, we’re having candid discourse and we’re making the best decisions for us.”

(On how much is personality and ability to motivate factoring into the coaching search) – “Yeah, I think that comes in all shapes and sizes. People motivate in different ways. Curtis Martin was a great leader and never gave a team speech. I think there’s ways to impact people and it comes down to having attributes you can’t see. Greg Jennings really helped this football team, probably a lot more in the locker room than anyone will ever know, because he has attributes you can’t see. And I think that goes for coaching as well. I think you can impact, influence people in a lot of different ways.

(On what the added value experience brings and what are possible drawbacks for someone with experience) – “That’s a totally fair point. I’d like to think over time I’ve gotten better at my job, just based on experience. Clearly, when you cut your teeth, you’re going to have bumps in the road. Having experience certainly serves to help with that. With that said, there are great coaches, there are some great untold stories of great coaches that get the job and they go on 10-year runs. You look at Green Bay, Coach McCarthy wasn’t a head coach before. He’s still there. He was hired in ’06, I believe. For us, it’s about getting it right. You look at what Jeff Lurie and Joe Banner did a decade and a half ago. They hired Andy Reid. (He) wasn’t a coordinator. How’d that decision turn out? I think it’s just getting it right. And having experience, sure, that’s helpful, but I can tell you for us, it’s not going to be outcome-determinative.

(On what he sees in new General Manager Chris Grier that made him believe he was ready for the role) – “Just being around Chris every day. Again, he’s been around a long time, I’ve been around a long time, and he’s just extremely thorough. (He) has great instincts for players and coaches. I called around other people just to say ‘This is what I’m thinking, what are you thinking?’ and there are a lot people in the NFL that feel the same way I do, and if he wasn’t going to be the general manager of the Dolphins, I can assure you he would’ve been a general manager very soon, if not within the next 10 days. I’m really proud to be his partner and I think we’re going to accomplish a lot great things together. Chris is an understated guy but works his tail off and probably doesn’t get the credit that he deserves.”

Chris Grier Q&A:

(On his role in the head coaching search) – “I will be there with Mike (Tannenbaum), Steve (Ross) and Matt (Higgins). I will be interviewing all of the coaches. I will be there to talk football, philosophy. Again, it is all of our input. It is a collaborative effort. And I think it is important that you try to see that connection face-to-face when you talk to a guy with all of us, especially Mike and myself, with the relationship that I will have to have with that head coach.”

(On interviewing with the Jets last year and if he expected to be a general manager in the next 10 days) – “Yes. I interviewed somewhere else too. I had two interviews last year. And I was a finalist for the other one. I interviewed multiple times and I received some information from league sources that I was requested to interview this week.”

(On which other team interviewed him last year) – “I really don’t want to say just out of respect to that team… I don’t think that is fair to them.”

(On why he is confident there will not be any dysfunction in the front office) – “Really for me it boils down to, I’ve been around a lot of great team-building. The coaches I’ve mentioned from Coach Parcells to Nick Saban to Coach Belichick, Coach Carroll, being around them and seeing how they built the teams, how they interacted with their general managers and stuff, it’s been 20-plus years I grew up in a household with my dad doing that. Going forward, it’s all about communication, everyone being on the same page, believing in the same beliefs. Going forward today, I think it is a great day for the Miami Dolphins. I’m very excited to work with Mike in this process and getting us winning again here.”

(On his mention of dysfunction being over when he and Tannenbaum were both here last year) – “No. I’m not avoiding the question but today is about the Miami Dolphins going forward and our process of how we are going to work to build our organization, in terms of everyone being on the same page and communicating well. Today is about us and it sounds like I’m avoiding it but I really don’t want to talk ill of people on this day.”

(On his philosophy about identifying football players) – “Not to get into philosophy, I think once we start building this team, I think you will get a sense of the types of players that we are looking for. I think if you take a look at the people who have shaped my football philosophy, those types of players will be evident in what we are looking for. For me, you want to find guys that have passion, love the game and love being a Miami Dolphin. To me, that is going to be very important going forward that these players want to be here, want to be in this community, want to be in this locker room and want to win games for this organization.”

(On what he will have final say on) – “Right now it’s an organizational thing, in terms of the coaching stuff. For me, I’m a communicator. I like working with people. At the end of the day, I don’t really care who gets credit for what. I think it is more important that we get the right coach in here to help lead us and that we all come together and work together in the process to build the team the right way.”

(On QB Ryan Tannehill) – “I like Ryan. He’s our guy. I think yesterday is a great indication of some of the things that we can do. We can win with Ryan. I’m a firm believer that when you build a roster, you build competition. For me, I want competition, not just for Ryan, but for (Ndamukong) Suh and everybody on our roster. We can win with Ryan. We can do a lot of things to help him get better. I think Ryan would tell you that he’s not happy with a lot of stuff that has gone on. But us and an organization, we are moving forward with him and we are going to build a competitive roster at all positions.”

(On what part of the roster needs the most work) – “When you are 6-10, as Bill (Parcells) says, ‘You are what you are.’ At the end of the day, I think we leave no stone unturned and keep working. Like I said, to me, competition at every spot is key. I think that makes everyone better and grows them as a player.”

(On if he can fix the defense in one offseason) – “Yes.”

(On Bill Parcells and how much his fingerprints are still on this organization) – “Like I said, for me it’s about all of the people. I’ve kind of been shaped by so many people. Pete Carroll and Bill Parcells are complete opposites (in) how they do stuff. Nick Saban is a Belichick (disciple) and then Coach Belichick and Bill (Parcells), but they’ve all adapted. I think in this league, you can have your philosophy and how you think you should build your team but at the end of the day, you have to be flexible in your thinking and work with what wins in the league. I hope that answers your question.”

(On what his dad would say about where his son is standing right now) – “I talked to him last night when I was thinking about it and he was very excited. For him, it was always difficult for me in New England, going through that with him, because he and Bill (Parcells) did a great job with that roster. That first Super Bowl run was basically all of their players. So he is very proud, he is very happy. My brother is a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks and he got a ring last year when they won, so I was pissed. He beat me to one so I am hoping to get one down here soon.”

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