Sam Young – March 11, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, March 11, 2016

T Sam Young

(On how many options did he have on the free agent market and why he chose the Dolphins — “Absolutely, yeah there were a couple of options. Really what it came down to is I thought Miami would be a really good fit. You know with Coach Gase and just the organization and not to mention being my hometown team, I thought it would be a really good place – a really good situation for me and my family.”

(On having the opportunity to play for his hometown team and what that means to him) — “I mean it’s the team I grew up watching. I remember growing up, our family would go out to the Dolphins training camp and getting autographs from O.J. McDuffie and I remember Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor and just the, to kind of realize that to have it come full circle I should say is just a dream come true and I’m very excited about the opportunity.”

(On how he sees himself fitting in with the Dolphins) — “I’ve been told ‘You’ll get a chance to compete for the swing tackle position,’ and that’s a role that I’ve had before and it’s a situation where you have to be ready at a moment’s notice and anything in this sport can and will happen and I just have to be prepared for anything. But I’m excited for the opportunity to compete and help this team really make strides.”

(On if he plays both tackle positions or if he is primarily a right tackle) — “I’ve played both and made starts and filled in on both sides, yes.”

(On if he plays any guard at all)  —  “I have played guard a couple of years back in Buffalo.”

(On if he plays special teams and expects to be a special teams contributor) — “I haven’t gotten that far in the conversation (with the team) regarding special teams but I imagine there will definitely be some sort of role in one form or another for me.”

(On what the Dolphins have in DE Mario Williams) — “I got my fair share of one on ones and reps against (DE) Mario (Williams) – talk about a freak athletically and a really just gifted athlete. He’s a talented player and you know you’ve seen in his career, I mean he’s been able to pressue the quarterback and really pin his ears back and make things happen. It lets the defense to play a little bit more free knowing that the quarterback has less time to sit back there and think.”

(On if he has a connection with any Dolphins coaches and if he has played for them before) — “No. There’s a couple of connections, just, I guess six degrees of separation. No it’s, I mean there’s like (C/G) Jacques McClendon that’s on the roster. I played with him in Jacksonville and obviously with (DE) Mario (Williams) and (LB) Kiko (Alonso) being signed, I’ve spent some time with them in Buffalo, as well. There are some connections. I know some people, I guess in the front office in various roles whether I went to high school with them or sons or daughters or whatever it may be. Like I said going back, for me it was more I like the direction the team is going. I like knowing what Coach Gase brings to the table with the energy and enthusiasm and I’m just excited to be able to help any way I can.”

(On how he would describe his style as an offensive linemen) — “Really, I’m a hard worker. I’m gifted with size and I just try to play a four-quarter game, trying to do my best. I guess the ultimate compliment you could pay an offensive linemen is he’s a grinder, a guy who is going to get after it every play and that’s really what I aspire to be when I play. I’m just kind of a guy that’s going to line up and work for 70-odd plays a game and just going to give it his all. You know, open holes for the running back and keep the pass rush away. I think really that’s what offensive line play is when it all comes down to it, you have to protect the passer and you have to move the line of scrimmage to run the ball.”

(On the reaction from friends and family about him coming back home) — “Everyone is very excited. I’ve had a bunch of friends, former teammates… I talked to Coach (George) Smith at St. Thomas (Aquinas) and everyone is very excited for me. They’re already, people are like ‘Hey, we have to go to Georgia Pig, we have to go to Flannigan’s, there’s LaSpada’s,’ you know all the local spots and catch up. It’s been fun just to see the support from, like you said from my friends and family.”

Isa Abdul-Quddus – March 11, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, March 11, 2016

S Isa Abdul-Quddus

(On why he signed with the Dolphins) – “I love the new energy that the staff is going towards. They were really enthusiastic in getting me there, so I kind of just embraced them as they embraced me.”

(On what he can bring to the team) – “I can bring some energy. I can help the defense play a little bit better. I always like trying to get everybody on the same page, so I know that my duty will be to try to get everybody playing on the same page and working together.”

(On if he played strong safety last year and some free safety the previous year) – “Yes.”

(On if he feels well suited to play free safety in Miami) – “(S) Reshad Jones is a great safety. Honestly, I’m ready to play anything opposite of him, because I know he had a great year last year. I don’t want to get him uncomfortable doing something different. I’m just open to playing wherever.”

(On playing with DT Ndamukong Suh in Detroit) – “It’s exciting. The guy works so hard. On game day he’s going to give you 100 percent effort and I can’t wait to see that again. He made defense so easy (my) first year in Detroit, because he stopped the run so much. I can’t wait to get that back.”

(On what he thinks about the Dolphins secondary and if the unit can be productive) — “Oh yeah. I think everybody is going to come in hungry and going to learn and just ready to work. I’m excited to see what we are going to do.”

(On what intrigues him about Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph’s defense) – “It’s going to be similar to (what we did) in Detroit so it won’t be too much crossover. It will just be different language. (Joseph) is a great young coach and I can’t wait to play for him.”

(On how he would describe his playing style) – “In the run game, I try to get to the line of scrimmage before the running back gets there, pretty much. In coverage, I just try to read the quarterback and make sure that I’m there where he is when he throws the ball. I’m really versatile, I think, and I just try to do whatever it takes to win, honestly.”

(On if he set up any other visits or had other teams in the running for him) – “The Lions were for a little bit; but the ball got rolling on the Dolphins so fast, that’s how everything just went. I started talking to them and we got a deal done. (Inaudible)”

Jermon Bushrod – March 11, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, March 11, 2016

OL Jermon Bushrod

(On why he chose Miami) — “I think this is a good opportunity for me. At the end of the day, the way the season went for me last year wasn’t how I’m used to it going, being the previous five or six years before; but I feel like this is a great situation for me. I’ve been in Coach Gase’s offensive system last year. I was able to learn it to the best of my ability and go out there and execute. So I just felt like it was the right fit. It gives me a chance to compete and at the end of the day as a football player, that’s really all you to do and I want to win games.”

(On if he’s open to player guard and if he’s ever played guard in the NFL) — “No I haven’t. It’s kind of like whatever needs to be done. I understand what they’re bringing me in there for and kind of going back to what I said earlier, I’m going to compete. The good thing is though, I have an offseason to compete. I have an offseason to get used to different things, different positions, if need be. For the last nine years I’ve been strictly a left tackle, so I’m going to be out of my comfort zone trying to learn, and do this and do that. At the end of the day I’ll be learning, I’ll be getting better and I’ll find a way to contribute to this team.”

(On if he’s played guard at any level)  —  “No. No. No. I have not. I mean like I said, I have practiced it before and that’s really it. I mean you’re really only sliding one position. You just have to get your timing down and things like that. I mean the fight happens a little sooner at guard, so I don’t really see it being too tough of an obstacle. It’s going to be hard but playing in the NFL is hard. It’s not an easy task. I’m up for it.”

(On where he thinks this franchise is right now and where it is headed) — “I think we’re moving in the right direction. (Head Coach Adam) Gase and those guys, they’re getting their pieces and parts.  We have to be excited. But you know we won’t really know until we get here for OTA’s and get out here to training camp to really see what we got. I’m excited about the moves they’ve made. I’m excited that I’m there and I’m looking forward to this year.”

(On how his shoulder is doing) — “It’s doing better. It’s feeling better every single week. The great thing about this opportunity is that I’ll be able to get down there. I’ll be able to get around the guys and I can rehab with the tremendous staff that they have down there. It kind of works out. It kind of works out in everyone’s favor that we were able to get this done now. The shoulder will be better. It will continue to get better week in and week out, month in and month out. By training camp we’re going to be ready to ride.”

(On why Miami was appealing to him despite T Branden Albert playing left tackle) – “I’m going to go back to the first question. I understand that Branden Albert has that spot and he has worked hard for that spot. At the end of the day, it’s a whole new situation for me. I’m not going to go into an organization and they’re just going to feel confident just throwing me in there (after how) being out last year went. Financially, it won’t work out like that and situationally it won’t work out like that. So, I understand the situation. If something happens, I’m going to fight to be ready at whatever position is needed. This is a whole new situation for me. Last year was a whole new situation for me. I grew up a lot last year, because when you’re used to certain things – used to certain ways – and you know your work ethic and you know how you get after it, it’s tough. I’m going in here to a new situation, and I’m going to be open. I’m going to be ready for whatever. This is year 10 for me, and it’s a good situation. It’s Miami. I’m moving to better weather. The wife is happy. Everybody’s good.”

(On playing for head coach Adam Gase in Chicago) – “I like the fact that (Adam) Gase is there. Last year, he was able to do a lot of good things with the offense. (Gase) and our quarterback (Jay Cutler) last year were able to get on the same page. We were able to have some success. He’s going to bring that fire. He’s going to bring that energy. This is what this team needs. I think Gase is going to be a great leader and he’s going to put guys in the right position. That’s one thing that I liked when I saw (his coaching style) last year. He put guys in the right position to make plays. I have to be excited about that because I was in the system with him for one year. Hopefully we can grow, and we can continue to get better here in Miami and get this thing rolling.”

(On when the Dolphins first appeared on his radar) – “It was a couple days ago. It was a few days ago. They reached out asking about the situation, asking about me. They thought it would benefit me to come on down there and take a visit. Once I got down there, I liked where they’re going. I like what Gase’s vision is. I had a few teams interested, but this is the team that stepped up right here, right now. And they wanted to work with me from the jump – throughout the whole offseason – instead of waiting for me to get healthy. I’m going to get healthy, but they came out, and they made the move now. I’m appreciative of that, and I’m ready to get back.”

Byron Maxwell – March 10, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Cornerback  Byron Maxwell

(On the events that transpired from the time the trade was agreed to until the time the trade was finalized and the issues that nearly derailed it) — “It is, you know the physical, I guess. That was the issue but everything’s good now. I passed both of them. So, you know I’m here. I’m looking forward to being with the Miami Dolphins and playing for them.”

(On if it’s true that he told a Dolphins doctor that he couldn’t do pushups or bench press) — “No that’s not true. That’s not true.”

(On if he’s facing any offseason surgery or what does he need to do to get on the field) — “No, I’ll be fine. Like I said I passed physical both with Philadelphia and with Miami. So I’m ready to go.”

(On his reaction is to the trade and coming to the Dolphins) — “Oh man, I’m supremely excited that I’m here. I have a place here already that’s in the area so it’s like a second home. This is home now. So this is the spot, it’s like where I want to be. I thank Gase, Coach (Adam) Gase and Mike T. (Tannenbaum) and those for giving me this opportunity, so I appreciate them.”

(On how he explains his drop off in performance and what went wrong last year in Philadelphia)  — “You know it’s a lot of reasons. None that I feel like I need to go into. Just that it’s in the past. Right now it’s just all about moving forward and all about the Miami Dolphins and me helping this team win. When the chances are there, that’s what it’s about.”

(On if he thinks the Dolphins scheme is a better fit for him and is more of what he was doing in Seattle) — “Yes. They plan on using me to my strengths as a press corner. But mostly we are approaching this year with a positive attitude. We go into it together and we plan on doing special things here at the Dolphins.”

(On if he feels like there’s a lot to prove after last year, the big contract and then getting trading one year into it) — “With me there’s always something to prove. That’s just how football goes. Every year you can put your finger on something you’ve got to prove and somebody’s going to be doubting you. I mean there’s always something to prove. You never sit back and say ‘Wow, I did a good job. I’m done.’ That’s when you are done. So there’s always something to prove. You always can get better.”

(On if he anticipates being on the field without any restrictions for the start of minicamp — “Yes.”

(On if he restructured any parts of his deal at all) — “Yeah, but any of the details you can probably Google it and find out.”

(On what he knows about Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph, how his meeting with him went and what kind of defense does he think this will be) — “I think it’s similar to what he ran with the Bengals, the Cincinnati Bengals. It is big corners that can get in your face and be versatile and go get the ball. I mean I’m one of those guys… so the meeting went well. He’s a former player and he understands what goes through a player’s mindset. So yeah I’m looking forward to working with him though.”

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.”

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