MARVIN LEWIS (with Cincinnati media)
ML: “(The Dolphins) have lost the last two weeks in very close games that they were basically ahead in. They got tied up late in the game and ended up eventually losing in overtime. They’ve been more productive than a team that’s at 1-3 right now. They’re running the football very well, and obviously last week they had a big week throwing the ball. So they’re doing good things.
“On special teams, they’re very sound. They have an effective returner in (Marcus) Thigpen.
“Defensively, they’re stout up front. They’ve made some plays in the secondary, and obviously (Cameron) Wake had a big game as a rusher last week.
“The young quarterback, (Ryan) Tannehill, is doing a good job for them. They’re moving him around, getting the ball out of his hand. So they’ll be an effective group. They’re a very physical team.”
You’ve already prepared for and seen two rookie QBs: Robert Griffin III of Washington and Brandon Weeden of Cleveland. As you watch film, where does Ryan Tannehill rank?
ML: “I don’t rate players. I can’t do that. It’s not fair. He’s doing a very good job for them. I’m sure they’re happy with him.”
Miami’s defensive coordinator is former Bengals defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle, and they run a similar defense to what is run here in Cincinnati. When you look at the Dolphins’ defense on tape, do you almost feel as if you are watching film of your own defense?
ML: “There are similarities to the things that we’ve done, and that Kevin is doing there. They have good players. They’re very effective, and they’re doing a good job.”
Are there any differences you see in Cameron Wake playing in this scheme, as opposed to how he’s played in past schemes?
ML: “I’ve not studied him enough in the past. I know they’ve had a couple different coordinators. Mike Nolan was there before then. So he’s played for a couple different people. It’s hard to compare to what I don’t study.”
Even in comparison to when you played Miami in 2010?
ML: “Two years ago, he was a young guy just getting going. He has a lot more experience now.”
Is their offensive line and front seven on defense about as physical a group as you’ve faced so far this season?
ML: “They’re good players. They’ve got some guys that have been picked very high in the draft, particularly on the interior of the offensive line, and (Jake) Long as well. So they’re a big, physical group.
“Defensively, guys are coming into their own and doing a good job.”
What kind of threat does Brian Hartline pose to a defense?
ML: “He’s been very productive this year. He’s getting his opportunity to play, and he’s taking full advantage of it. He’s catching balls on the outside, he’s catching vertical balls, he’s making tough catches. (Davone) Bess, who really hasn’t had an opportunity to play much outside, is playing the other spot, and he’s got 20 catches himself. So they’re both doing a really good job for them.”
Turnovers, particularly late in games, have been an Achilles heel for them:
ML: “Yeah, it’s hurt them. It was a close Houston game even, in the opener, then they had some balls batted up in the air and I think a fumble. So basically on three drives in a row they had turnovers right before the half. It ended up being a completely different game before halftime. They lost that game, and they beat the Raiders in Week 2, and they’ve lost the last two in overtime. Really, they’ve been in every football game.”
Arizona’s defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, said after last week’s game against Miami that they were trying to pin their defense’s ears back and put pressure on Tannehill. A sack, fumble and a couple of blitzes – is that the kind of stuff that rattles a rookie QB?
ML: “Miami obviously screwed up a protection and they were able to get to the quarterback, and he dropped the ball. That doesn’t happen every day; you don’t get quite that lucky every time. They did an effective job of pressuring him, but he also did a good job of protecting, standing in there and throwing the football. He’s done that throughout the year. He’s obviously very comfortable playing in this offense – he’s been playing in it for a few years. He’s just doing it with different guys now than at Texas A&M. You see that. He’s had the same coach – Mike Sherman. So you can see his comfort level with this.”
As far as your secondary, how are you health-wise?
ML: ”We’re good.”
Are you “partly cloudy” or “mostly cloudy?”
ML: “Partly sunny (laughs).”
So we’re likely to see
What are you looking for from
ML: “He has to just get back in to practicing football, back to learning. He’s still a young, young player who didn’t get to play last year. He’s had a couple setbacks in his career thus far. He just has to get back to playing and practicing and getting some snaps in. It’s good for him. He’s a conscientious guy who really wants to do well. It’s unfortunate the setbacks that he’s had, but I expect this to be a good week for him, and we’ll see what happens later in the week.”
Do you see him as more of a linebacker or defensive lineman?
ML: “Any outside backer kind of has to have the flexibility of going the other way. And sometimes the other way has to have the flexibility of being a ‘backer. But I think he’ll continue to work with the linebackers and he’ll continue to have a role as a sub-rusher and emergency defensive end at all times.”
What is the state of the defense coming out of the Jacksonville game?
ML: “Again, we keep doing things better, and that’s what you’ve got to do. You have to do your jobs on defense. It takes 11 guys working together, just like it does on offense. They have to be in concert all the time, stay on their feet and tackle. If you do you those things, usually you’ll end up pretty good at the end of the day. If we keep doing that, and be more consistent with that, then we’ll be fine. But the recognition of things through the same eyes is really important all the time.”
What is the impact of the signing of
ML: “Any time you bring a new guy in, other guys pick up on it, because none of this is guaranteed for long, for anybody. Sometimes you have to do it through addition. Sometimes you do it through subtraction. I think in this case the addition was helpful because it makes other guys look around and say, ‘Oh, geez, there’s another guy sitting in here. Maybe my seat is not guaranteed for very long.’ You’ve got to look at it that way as well. It was good.
“Chris obviously was able to come in, and without overreaching and trying to do too much, to just relax and play. And he had some good snaps last week. I think having another week of practice will be better for him as well. He’s getting different coaching with Mark (defensive backs coach Mark Carrier) and Hue (assistant special teams/assistant defensive backs) back there than he previously had. Schematics are the same, but you’re hearing it a different way maybe at times, and we’re doing things differently than you know. In his case, he had to listen, too.
“But obviously as a veteran player, it’s easier for you to listen and understand and know, ‘Okay, that’s the way we want to do it. ‘There’s a lot of different ways to slice it up. He did a good job of that. It’s good to have him. As I said, we’re ‘partly sunny’ (health-wise) back there this week. So it looks like we’ll have some other hands on deck, and that will be a good thing. We’ll have to sort it out on how the best combinations of guys are.”
ML: “He’s not on our team right now, so I can’t really talk about him.”
You’ve defied the odds of winning games despite losing the turnover battle, which is pretty rare:
ML: “Unfortunately, too many games thus far.”
Have you stressed that at all this week?
ML: “I stress it every day. It’s important. If you look at the history of the National Football League, if you can end up in the top 10 or 12 in differential, almost three-quarters of those teams are going to qualify for the playoffs. There’s no other stat that you can point to that is that prominent year after year after year. So you have to get the ball back. You have to possess the ball on offense.”
Is it hard to stress that when you’re still winning games?
ML: “No, it’s not at all. They understand that if you don’t take care of the ball you won’t be playing. That’s a plain and simple fact. If we can’t get turnovers on defense, we’ve got to find somebody else to do it or change what we’re doing. Because it’s important that we turn the ball over on defense. The more you’re out there, the more likely to be exposed you are. The best defense is when you’re sitting on that bench drinking Gatorade. That way the offense has the ball and you minimize your opportunity. We’ve got to get turnovers. We have to maintain. We can’t fumble the ball. We can’t have interceptions. We can’t have balls go off of our hands. We have to protect our quarterback. We have to do the fundamental things that we know are right.”
ML: “It’s physical when you fumble the football. There’s no mental thing. Guys fumble the ball, it’s a physical act. You’ve got to possess the ball. We’ve got to keep the ball covered up at all times. All the time. And that’s important. That’s sometimes more important than the extra half yard or yard is, that we maintain the football.”
How have you felt about special teams play overall?
ML: “We’ve got to just keep going. Every week is a new challenge. This is another good returner (Marcus Thigpen). It seems like every week in the National Football League, I think everybody is understanding how important that hidden yardage in returns can be. Everybody tries to find an effective guy (punt/kick returner). With the changeover of rosters and the young players and so forth, you know how important covering these kicks are. And there’s the fact that if you give up a big play in the kicking game, it can put you behind a little bit.
“Obviously we’re blessed to have three guys that have scored on kickoff returns in the NFL (
On 10 years of the Marvin Lewis Foundation:
ML: “We’ve been blessed to do what we’ve been able to do with the foundation. Locally, with all the corporate partners and CEOs of the companies – and obviously you see the biggest one being the Bengals, both with the use of facilities and in their own financial contributions. We couldn’t do what we do – the scholarships, and the things that we’ve done, and the Learning Is Cool program in the local schools, and just rewarding the academic achievement -- without our players and the team’s involvement in it. So we’ve been blessed.”
“It's gone by quickly. I was thinking about it today. I remember the first time kind of sitting down with Gregg Darbyshire and Anthony Munoz and I began to think about those things. It’s incredible how quickly it has gone.”
ANDY DALTON (with Cincinnati media)
When you look at the Dolphins defense, what does it remind you of?
AD: “Reminds me of OTAs and minicamp and training camp (laughs). Obviously there's a lot of similar stuff to what we do here with Coach Coyle (Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle) being here for a while. There's going to be pressures. They're big, strong and physical up front, and we've got to be able to handle it.”
Is this front seven as good as any you've faced so far?
AD: “Yeah. They're really good. They're going to be some of the best guys that we've gone against so far, and it's how we handle it. We feel we've got the guys who can match up. We've just got to go out and execute. That's what it comes down to.”
What about their defensive secondary?
AD: “They play really hard. With all the zone blitzes and all the blitzes and stuff that they show, they've got to trust those guys to go out and play. We feel we match up well with them. Obviously I feel we can match up with anybody with the receivers we have, the tight ends, the backs, everybody. We feel like we can compete with anybody. Like I said, it all comes down to execution on our part.”
They're coming off a couple overtime losses. You have to figure that they’ll be hungry for a win on Sunday:
AD: “It's got to be tough. To be so close and fall short in overtime like that, it is tough. But there's a lot of emotions that go into that. We know that they're hungry. They've been close. They could easily be 3-1 right now, rather than 1-3. So it shows that they're playing all the way through the fourth quarter.”
They’re No. 1 in the league in run defense, but near the bottom in pass defense. Is that because teams have to throw on them because they can't run, or are they exploiting a weakness?
AD: “They've done a really good job against the run, and people are taking notice of that. There have been some lanes in the passing game – that's where the big plays have come from. We know they're stout against the run. To lead the league, they're obviously doing something right. We've got to be balanced, got to be able to throw the ball, and still got to find ways to run it too.”
Rookie QBs the last few years have been putting up big numbers. Why do you think that's possible?
AD: “I think it comes down to the type of guys that are playing, the guys that are coming in. It comes down to what offenses are doing in the NFL and what we're doing in college. I know it was easier for me because we're doing a lot of the same stuff I was doing in college. So I think that has something to do with it. And we're just getting these opportunities. I don't know how many times it's been where there are 10 first- or second-year quarterbacks starting for teams. It's just getting an opportunity and making the most of it.”
Ryan Tannehill and Brian Hartline are in a similar situation to you and
AD: “I think so. For Ryan, it's just going through OTAs and minicamps and training camp. He's had time to work with his guys. They should be on the same page by now. For us, it was a little bit different situation where we didn't have the OTAs and minicamp. It was just coming into training camp. As the season went along, that chemistry kept getting better and better. You have to find it. I'm sure they've worked on it enough where he feels comfortable with his guys.”
Tannehill is in an offense that's like the one he ran at Texas A&M, and his offensive coordinator was his head coach in college. That's got to make the transition easier, right?
AD: “Yeah. He went into a good situation for knowing an offense. Not very many people get to do that. It is nice for him. You're not thinking about, This is what I did in school.' He's going in right away with great knowledge of what they're doing. That's really nice for him. He came into a great situation.”
Do you follow Tannehill very much?
AD: “I watched him play in college. I haven't seen too much of him. Shoot, he throws for 400-some yards last week and no one's even talking about it. It shows he's talented, a big guy who can make all the throws.”
Your offense has been very productive the last nine quarters. Is there anything that sticks out that you've done well? Is there anything you improve on?
AD: “We've just got to be more consistent. We can't have the three-and-outs. I know we had a couple of them last week. But our emphasis is to find ways to move the ball, to keep the ball moving, and last week we weren't very good on third down. We've got to get better at that. So yeah, we've played well, but we haven't played good enough yet. We've won these games, but we still haven't played our best yet. So it's good to know we haven't played our best and have still won, but we've got to put it all together.”
You've also won despite turnovers and having a minus turnover differential. That's hard to do in the NFL especially on the road:
AD: “Yeah it is, and we've got to take care of the ball. A lot of that's on me. I've got to do a better job of not letting them get it. And it just shows we aren't worrying about the turnovers, we're going out and doing whatever it takes to win.”
What are your thoughts on BenJarvus Green-Ellis' three fumbles over the last two games?
AD: “He's going to be just fine. Obviously it's not like him. He hadn't fumbled 500-some carries before. But he knows what he's doing. He knows how to protect the ball.”
Have you said anything to him about it?
AD: “Just what I said to y'all – ‘You know what you're doing out there.’ I think last week it was just being soaking wet, and with him sweating and stuff like that. He can't make that an excuse, but he's going to be fine.”
Is it nice going against a defense that's a little familiar, because of how Kevin Coyle was here?
AD: “It's nice knowing that there's a lot of similar stuff to what our defense does and what we've been going against. It's good for us. We're just familiar with everything they're doing.”
So there are a lot of similarities?
AD: “Yeah, there's a lot of similar stuff.”
Kevin Coyle can virtually give his players a scouting report on every player here, right?
AD: “He has been around us, but we've got some new guys this year that weren't playing last year.”
DOLPHINS HEAD COACH JOE PHILBIN (with Miami media)
On how Ryan Tannehill has progressed in his game management:
“I think he’s doing a good job. I think his decision making has been very good, he’s good on the sideline when he comes off the field, he sees things well, and certainly I think you can tell by the way he has performed on a weekly basis that you can see improvement and development there.”
On how much he involves himself in the day-to-day development of Tannehill:
“Not a lot. Again, I think we have a great staff that I have a lot of confidence in, that I believe in. It’s what they were hired to do. I spend my time thinking about how we can get the football team better, and he's part of the team. He’s one of the 53 guys and the eight practice squad guys. Beyond that I have great faith in the staff.”
On whether he sees the team making progress in their execution of late game situation plays in practice:
“Again, that’s part of our job as a coach is to put them in those situations and require them to make split second decisions. We do the best you can because you can’t control everything; you’re not in control of the call the opposition is going to make. So you’re doing a little bit of projecting so to speak. To the degree that we can we’re doing our best to put those guys in those positions, but we’re making progress.”
On whether he thinks that his receivers have changed people’s perceptions with their play this season:
“I think they’re doing a good job, but I’m not worried about what other people thought about our receivers. What I’m worried about is are they getting open, are they catching the ball consistently, are they helping us move into scoring territory and ultimately score points. So I think they’re developing.”
On what Jabar Gaffney can bring to the team:
“We’ll see. We’ve just been with him for a couple of hours, so we have to see what he can do. We still have to see how quickly he can pick up the system, how well he can get open, catch the ball, block and all those things. So we’ll just learn a little bit more about him.”
On whether Brian Hartline’s production has surprised him considering that he missed all of the preseason:
“I mean not necessarily. He’s made plays. We tell our guys all the time, look there’s opportunities to make plays in every game. When we tell them that on a Saturday or a Friday we’re not exactly sure how that’s going to unfold necessarily but he's taken advantage of his opportunities. He’s made some plays that are there that have presented themselves to him, and he's capitalized on them.”
On what he’s seen from John Jerry:
“I think he is in better physical condition. I think he has better endurance and stamina. He is more serious about his profession and I think he has made a nice contribution. He's developing nicely, but I think some of it is a reflection of Coach Turner and (Coach) Mosley and the staff working with him. A lot of it is on him. He's in better shape and he is ready to roll more.”
On whether he has noticed if Tannehill feels more comfortable with his surroundings:
“Yeah specifically on Thursday and Friday I thought he practiced extremely well. And so you hope as a coach, you’re never sure, but you’re hoping and you sell to the team that preparation leads to good performance. That’s certainly our philosophy here and for him that was true last week.”
On how he would assess Jake Long’s play thus far:
“I think he is playing well. I’m overall pleased with the offensive line. There’s not a player on the team that I’m satisfied with, but overall I think he has contributed nicely.”
On how the challenge of stopping A.J. Green compares to Larry Fitzgerald:
“They’re both excellent football players; game-changing type guys that make big momentum plays. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a challenge no doubt about it. He’s an impact player no question.”
On whether he is inclined to use Sean Smith solely on Green as he did with Fitzgerald:
“We’ll see. I don’t think you can do one thing. I firmly believe that coaches on the other side are smart people and if you do the same thing that you did for 70 plays last week and you do the same thing continually, I think people catch on. I’m sure Kevin (Coyle) will have a good plan for him.”
On the downside of having one guy shadow a particular player:
“I can only speak from being an offensive coach in the league for nine and a half years. I don’t recall, and I’ve been around some good players, I don’t recall defenses doing the same thing every play with a specific player. Now they may travel with him, that may be there thing, but I highly doubt that they’re going to play the same coverage every single time.”
On whether he thinks RJ Stanford will be ready to play if he is needed on Sunday:
“I like the things he's done since he has been here. I think our staff has confidence in his ability. I’ve watched a lot of his one-on-one tape; he's a competitive guy and I like what he has done on special teams. Again you’re never sure until they get out there, but I like what I see.”
On the Bengals defense:
“Very athletic, they have an excellent pass rush; they have 17 sacks. They’re physical, they’re working through some injuries, but it’s a good defense. Good scheme. Coach Zimmer has been in this league a long time and is an excellent coach. They’ve got a god staff there. So it’s a challenge. They’ve got some guys with a lot of length and quickness up front that are going to be a great test for our offensive line.”
On how much Coach Coyle can help the offense game plan against the Bengals defense:
“We’ve certainly visited with him a little bit. But they’re probably sitting over there in the offensive staff room in Cincinnati saying, ‘Kevin is doing this, this and this.’ I don’t know: it’s probably a wash.”
On how tough it is not to think that this team could easily be 3-1 instead of 1-3:
“I don’t really spend any time thinking about that. The focus has been… I told the players in the locker room after the game that this was going to be a great challenge. It is going to be a test for our staff, it is going to be a test for our players, and I’m excited about playing a very good football team.”
DOLPHINS RB REGGIE BUSH (with Miami media)
On how his knee responded after the game:
“It felt fine after. It felt better after. Today, it feels a lot better, huge difference. During the game, I was hurting. I’m not going to lie, but I tried to fight through it and did the best I could. Either way, we’ve still got get a win and I’m not going to make excuses. I’ve got to play better. I didn’t play well at all. We’ve got to get back to the basics this week, just get back doing the things that we do well. This week, I think is going to be a huge test for us as a team to see how we respond cause it’s no time to hit the panic button. It’s still a long season, still a lot of football left to play. We’ve just got to focus on doing the little things right, fundamental things correct and just worry about getting one win one week at a time.”
On the four or five plays every game the team misses on:
“When you find those four or five plays, I honestly think we just have to, I don’t know if it’s four or plays or what, but it’s just about it’s the mentality. It begins with the mentality in practice of finishing plays, finishing runs, finishing catches, finishing tackles and that kind translates over into the game. The way you practice is the way you’re going to play. Obviously, there’s some little fundamental issues that we’ve got correct and we’ve got to get better at and we’re learning. We’re a young team and I think there’s a lot of upside to this team that you can see every week. We put out a tremendous effort every week and that’s one of the things that we can take away, one of the positive things that we can take away from this team is that we’re giving them 110 percent effort every time we step on the field. But it’s the fundamental things that are getting us in trouble and the turnovers. Those are things that we’ve got to correct and we’ve got to correct them now.”
On the team’s struggles in the fourth quarter and if it is a result of a young team getting tight towards the end of games:
“I don’t know if it’s a little tight, but I think maybe just our fundamental awareness, situational awareness is maybe kind of wearing off a little bit. We still have to carry that same awareness and physical play and emotion and everything that we put into that first quarter has to match the fourth quarter, all four quarters really. We have to be able to still focus just as if it’s the first quarter in the fourth quarter, probably even more because now it’s crunch time, the game’s on the line. That’s just one of the little things that we’ve got to work on, but I think we’ll be fine.”
On keeping focus after having lots of ups and downs and if the moment is getting too big:
“No, I don’t think it’s any harder to focus. I think it’s just about us doing the right things fundamentally throughout the game, not for three quarters and then, in the fourth quarter, you kind of brain freeze. It has to be the same all throughout the game and I think when we can get to that point, that’s going to come over time. Obviously, this is a new team, new coaching staff and we’re kind of still learning on the fly, but now we have four games in and we’re not rookies any more. It’s not a young team any more. We have to learn and we’ve got to learn quick.”
On how much the success passing against the Cardinals will benefit the offense:
“I think it’s going to benefit us a lot as an offense because it’s going to, now, I don’t think teams are going to be so adamant about putting eight-nine in the box to stop the run. They know they we have an aerial assault that we can use and (Ryan) Tannehill showed that he can step back and he can throw the ball from the pocket and under pressure and whatever else. I think it’s definitely going to help us if anything.”
On if he still measures the success of the team as simply in wins and losses:
“I think, at the end of the day, that’s how we’re all measured is wins and losses no matter what. No matter how young or old you are, that’s how you’re measured in this league and there’s no other way around it. We’re measured by wins and losses and you can easily sit here and say we should be 3-1 right now, but we’re not. We’re 1-3 and there’s a big difference. The margin for error in this league is that much. If you look at those last two losses that we’ve had, it’s been close, but still a loss is a loss. We have to, at the same time, measure ourselves by wins and losses too because, at the end of the day, that’s the only thing that matter is winning and losing.”
On if this season can still be salvaged:
“Yes, definitely. Like I said earlier, this is not a time for panicking at all. I think the vibe that I get from the guys on the team, the coaches, nobody’s panicking. We know that we have a physical tough team here and nobody's questioning that at all. We’ve just got to learn how to play together as a team for four quarters. We’re working on that one day at a time.”
On if he saw ESPN’s 30-for-30 “Broke” last night:
“I didn’t see it, but the title is “Broke,” so I knew what it was about and I’ve heard plenty of stories and I actually know a lot of guys who’ve obviously been in situations of life after football. It’s a scary thought, but, again, it’s tough when you see guys go from the top to the bottom that fast.”
On if he’s had to tell people “no” about lending them money and how hard it is:
“Oh my God, I still tell people no. It’s very tough. It’s hard. When I first got into the NFL, speaking to some veterans and just some guys, they said one of the hardest things you’re going to learn to have to do is how to say no. It’s not going to be so much to people bringing you business opportunities, it’s going to be to the people closest to you – family members, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, moms, dads. Those are the people that are kind of entitled and may feel more entitled than they are, but, at the end of the day, they’re not the ones out there putting in the sweat and going through the surgeries in the offseason and grinding every day, day in and day out to make the money that we get. It’s tough and one of the things I try to do is I try to just put a plan together and I think you stick by that plan and you’ll be okay.”
DOLPHINS QB RYAN TANNEHILL (with Miami media)
On if he noticed before Sunday’s game a difference in how he practiced and handled the blitz last week in practice in light of the fact that offensive coordinator Mike Sherman remarked about that:
“I think I’m getting more comfortable. I don’t know if it was like an instant where I said, ‘Oh, it’s so much easier now,’ but I think I’m getting more comfortable the more reps I get. (I’m) just getting more comfortable with the offensive line adjusting things. They’re kind of seeing things and are expecting for me to say something, so whenever I do it, we make the decision quickly, they get adjusted quickly and then we can go. I think the pace and everything is picking up as far as identifying things, getting adjusted quickly and then running the play.”
On if he finds that he’s getting into a groove in practice during the week:
“I think so. The first kind of, the first couple weeks you’re kind of feeling it out. This is all new to me, so feeling out what’s you’re routine going to be, what days you watch what film and so on. Finally, getting into a groove after a couple weeks and have everything established. Now, it’s just about going out and playing well.”
On the perception shifting of this offense that it can be more of a threat passing:
“I think we are who we thought we were. Our record doesn’t … I think that our record doesn’t reflect how we feel about ourselves. We haven’t capitalized on some opportunities the last two games we had. At the end of the day, we’re two plays away from being 3-1. You are what your record says you are, but, at the end of the day, we’re confident in who we are. We know that we’re two plays away. We just have to find a way to step up and make those two plays.”
On the team’s struggles in the fourth quarter after a strong start to the games in the past two weeks:
“I wouldn’t say it’s an overall sloppy play. There’s just a couple plays that you’d like to have back that we did have mistakes on. It’s not one thing. It’s been a couple different things and so it’s not something you say, ‘OK put your finger on this, we fix this and that’s it.’ It’s a couple different things. Collectively, as a group, I think we just have to come together and make the plays.”
On preparing to not make some of the same mistakes over again:
“You just go out and play your game. You can’t think about every play, ‘Oh gosh, can’t make this mistake.’ You go out, you play your game confidently and trust the guys that are around you. As a group, if everyone has that mindset, everyone does what they’re supposed to do, then you’re going to make the plays.”
On if he’s had a strong response form people after throwing for 431 passing yards):
“No, not really. Just going about my business, getting ready for Cincinnati.”
On how much does the deceptively fast label Brian Hartline gets bothers him:
“He is deceptively fast. I’ve had that label before too. It’s just kind of a stigma that comes with it. If it helps you, then it helps you. I don’t know if teams underestimate or anything, but he’s making plays for us and doesn’t matter what color you are. If you can play football, you can play football. It’s not a racist game. Once you’re out on the field, everything’s the same. I’m excited about what he’s done for us as well as other receivers - Davone (Bess) stepping up, having a big game as well.”
On how long it took him for him to establish chemistry with Hartline who missed the preseason and if the long pass play against the Texans opened his eyes about what he could do:
“I think so. I think we’ve just gotten more comfortable with each other the more reps we’ve gotten. Like you said, missed the whole training camp, so getting into the first week, got some reps, got a little bit of a connection at the end of the game and then just building more confidence as the weeks go on.”
On if he was encouraged by the way Bengals quarterback
“Yeah, I think it’s interesting to see anybody come out and take the team to the playoffs the first year. You’ve got to respect his game. You’ve got to respect what he came in and did and he’s played well for them.”
On how quickly he can get on the same page with wide receiver Jabar Gaffney:
“I think he’s gotten off to a good start. He’s had a few chances at hand signals today, just quick things and he’s picked up on them. I think it’s going to take a little bit of time for him to get completely adjusted, but I think he’s off to a good start.”
On an area he has improved in since the preseason:
“I don’t know. I think I’ve tried to get better in everything – my play speed, identifying pressures, identifying coverages, ball location. There’s a lot of things that go into playing quarterback and just try to improve all of them.”
On the Bengals defense:
“They’re a good defense. I think they’re leading the league in sacks right now. Most of those sacks are just with their front four guys. They get good pressure with their front four. They have some long, quick players up front that are able to rush the passer well. (They) have a lot of first round picks in the secondary. They can make plays there. Just overall, they throw some different things at you, a lot like our defense does with the double-A (gap) pressures. They’re a good overall defense.”
On if he happened to see ESPN’s 30-for-30 documentary “Broke” last night and his thoughts on it:
“I did. I think it’s all stuff we’ve heard before through rookie symposium, meetings here with (director of player development) Kaleb (Thornhill). Just kind of put out there for everyone else to see.”
On how many cars he bought:
“I didn’t buy any cars.”
DOLPHINS HEAD COACH JOE PHILBIN CONFERENCE CALL (with Cincinnati media)
On the mood going into this week:
“I thought we had an excellent practice today. We talked to our guys about (the fact that) we’ve been together now for four games. We’ve got some 250 minutes on tape and there are certain strengths we have as a football team and certain weaknesses. We’ve got to address the weaknesses and accentuate the strengths. The one thing that has been clear is that we have shown up every Sunday. We are 4-4 in terms of our guys giving excellent effort and being ready to play, and I expect we’ll be ready to play Sunday against an very good Cincinnati team.”
On what jumps out at him when he watches the Bengals on tape:
“I think on offense the skill that they have is outstanding, it’s just outstanding. They’ve got skill on the perimeter, they’ve got skill at tight end, they’ve got in the backfield, their quarterback is good and their line is good too. But I think the skill is what jumps out at you, and then obviously the athleticism of the defense, especially the front guys. I mean they move extremely well. I know their secondary has been banged up here and there but it’s a very, very athletic group and it’s a well-coached football team. But I would say the skill on offense and the athleticism on defense. It’s a young and talented team and well coached.”
On whether he would compare AJ Green to Calvin Johnson:
“I’m not really good at the comparison game. As a coach I don’t really spend a lot of time thinking in those terms. AJ Green has had a huge impact there, he is an exceptional football player, and he’s very competitive. He's got all the traits you’re looking for in a wide receiver, plus he seems like he is a very passionate individual. He seems like he loves the game, and he's done a great job. He's going to be a handful.”
On whether he thinks the Bengals defense is schematically similar to his defense:
“Well, to a certain degree. There are some similarities, no question about it. Mike Zimmer has been an excellent coach in this league for a long time and he has a very good scheme. Obviously Marvin Lewis is an outstanding head coach and has a great defensive background, so they will present some challenges no doubt about it. Some of the things we’re familiar with, but we’re going to have to spend some extra time preparing because they are very multiple with what they do on defense.”
On how good he thinks Tannehill can be:
“I think he is off to a good start. The thing we like about him as much as anything else is that, not surprisingly, as a rookie he has had some rough spots in each one of these games, some periods at a time where the ball hasn’t bounced his way, and he has still found to keep competing and bounce back. He has played well in the second half and fourth quarter of some games, and we’re excited about his future. But as you guys know, in this business it is a week-to-week proposition.”
On what kind of job Kevin Coyle has done with the defense:
“Outstanding. Exceptional. He was a guy that I knew that if I was ever fortunate enough to become a head coach in the NFL he was a guy that I wanted. He was the only guy that I interviewed for the job, and I wanted him here for more than just his schematic knowledge of football. I think his leadership skill, his passion for the game of football and his professionalism are all qualities that we are lucky to have here. I think that he is doing an outstanding job and expect the defense will improve as the year goes on.”
On the dynamic between him, Coach Sherman and Coach Coyle:
“One of the things guys, and especially under the circumstances that I came to Miami under, one of the things that you hope you can have on your staff is loyalty and trust. Those two guys specifically on offense and defense, you can put your head on the pillow at night and have faith that these two guys are going to do the job to the best of their ability. They’re going to be loyal and they care about the players, and hopefully they do it better than you can do it. So yeah I’m really delighted that both of them are here.”
On how he feels Hard Knocks went now that we are six weeks removed:
“As I’ve said too many people, I was very skeptical about doing it initially back in late May. Then the people from NFL Films came down and spoke to us and after an hour presentation if you will, when you meet with NFL Films you quickly figure out why this is probably the greatest film making company in sports history. They’re professional, they’re quality people, and they’re dedicated. We asked them and said, ‘look we have some interest in doing this so long as, number one you treat our players with great respect and number two you don’t compromise the relationship that our staff has with the players. We think that both of those objectives were met, and I really enjoyed working with them.”
On Chad Johnson and his release being broadcasted on Hard Knocks:
“I haven’t seen the show. I didn’t watch any of the shows, kind of purposefully because I didn’t want to have to answer questions about it. Chad is a good person. It was an unfortunate situation and we had to do what we felt was in the best interest of the organization at that point in time. We wish him well.”
On whether Jabar Gaffney can help the team this weekend:
“We’ll have to see. We’ll have to see how quickly he can come along. That’s a good question. We’re going to see if we can figure that out in the next couple days of preparation.”
On Brian Hartline stepping up:
“Well he has made some plays as of late. One of the things we tell our guys all the time to the degree that they can, is that football and any other sport is about making the plays that present themselves. Over the course of a 60 minute game, usually there are a bunch of opportunities to make plays and Brian has taken advantage of those opportunities. So we’re pleased with the production he's had to this point in time. But as you guys know, this is a long season and we still have a long way to go, but he's off to a good start.”
On Cameron Wake:
“I’m really impressed with him as a football player and an individual. He's got tremendous practice habits and even though in the first three weeks he had a number of quarterback hurries, knockdowns and hits, obviously he didn’t have any sacks but then had a breakout game. I’m not surprised that he had that kind of production. The guy is just a worker. He's a football player. He shows up every day and gives you great effort on the practice field and that translates to the game field. So as a coach I think you’re happy to see a guy have a day like that when you see how hard he works on a daily basis.”
On the rush defense being near the top of the league and the pass defense being near the bottom of the league) – “You know we’ve got to do better. We’ve got to balance it out a little bit. I think at some point in time a couple of team, Arizona being one of them, they weren’t getting the production they were looking for in the running game so they might as well just throw it. Now I think that happens to a little extent, but certainly we aren’t where we need to be playing pass defense yet. That’s evident and I don’t know if we’re 29th, 28th, or something in the league, but we’re down near the bottom and that has to improve. There’s no question about it.”
On his special teams players:
“Well we thought last week (they were) not as good as they usually have been. Obviously our punter we think is outstanding, however last week at Arizona he didn’t have a great week in terms of location, and our cover team kind of bailed him out of jail so to speak a couple of times. And then our kicker we have great confidence in, but we have to start making more on a consistent basis. We all have a job to do and there are 53 guys on a team for a reason and 46 up on Sunday. The field goal kicker’s job is to put the ball through the up rights, so we have to do that more consistently no doubt.”
On Reggie Bush:
“Yeah he has. I’ve been real impressed with him. I like his work ethic, I like the way he handles himself around the facility on a daily basis and he's got very, very good running skill. He's shown some toughness and elusiveness. I mean I don’t think anybody is surprised at the elusiveness. And you know we haven’t really unleashed him to the degree that we would like to in the passing game, but he's also a good weapon there. He’s been very, very productive.”
On whether he can bring anything to the team in terms of battling adversity with what happened in January:
“Well we talked to the team today about taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves, both on the field and in the game of life. I told them today that if you turn on a tape recorder on July 27th, the day we reported to camp, I probably said something to the effect of you know guys before you know it it’s going to be October and then it’s going to be December and January and you’re going to say where did that season go. So we’ve kind of felt our way through four games; I think we’ve been very competitive and each and every Sunday I think our guys are playing hard but we haven’t earned enough victories. I said let’s take advantage of our opportunities, the whole season is out in front of us and let’s just one day at a time get ready to play a good team in Cincinnati and have a great week of preparation. But that really was the message today.”
On what mentors helped make him the coach that he is today:
“Well I think Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson, both those guys who are in charge of the operation in Green Bay. Obviously their big thing was developing your own players. In my time in Green Bay I don’t really remember us acquiring, offensively anyway, a free agent of note. We kind of drafted our own guys and got our guys and developed them and brought them along in our system. And we had continuity from both a staff and a coaching standpoint. I think that’s one thing I certainly learned there. At the University of Iowa I worked for Kirk Ferentz who I think is one of the great coaches in college football. We started 1-10 in our first year, then we went 3-9, then we went 7-5, then we went 11-1 and learned how to have patience and persistence and build something that everybody could be proud of. I left the year after we went 11-1, but Kirk and all that staff has kept that program really up and running for 10 or 11 years, which is something special in college football today. I’ve been fortunate. Mike Sherman gave me my first opportunity in the National Football League, so I’ve been really lucky to, as you guys mentioned, be around some great teachers, great leaders, and just as important, great human beings.”
DOLPHINS WR BRIAN HARTLINE CONFERENCE CALL (with Cincinnati media)
On how it felt to get in a rhythm like he did against the Cardinals:
“It was good. I think it was just really, kind of all happened so quickly I didn’t realize anything was going on, but I think the biggest play was just trying to put our team in position to win and that big play was a big part of it. Unfortunately, we didn’t come away with what we wanted, so it kind of made it bittersweet.”
On where the offense is right now:
“We’re confident and I think we do a lot of things right. I think we’re pretty well balanced. We have some running backs that are running the ball really well. Reggie (Bush’s) running well, Daniel (Thomas), Lamar (Miller) and we’re throwing the ball pretty well. I think, overall, I think we’re always trying to go grow, we’re always trying to have more guys involved, but we’re definitely improving each week. That’s definitely the key to it all.”
On if it’s tough to get over two back-to-back overtime losses:
“Yeah, it’s tough because, however you want to call it, we felt a little more dominant in the game. We felt like we won the game physically, but we didn’t do that. They made more plays than we did, so credit to them, but it was definitely two rough ones. That’s the great thing about the NFL, this early in the game, we’ve still got 12 more to go.”
On the importance of ball security and turning the ball over late in games:
“Yeah, they hurt. Again, sometimes, I’m not saying it’s okay to turn the ball over, but if you’re getting a lot in return, you can kind of get a wash. We’re down, we’ve given up 10 and we’ve only taken away five, so that kind of puts us behind the eight ball. That’s definitely what’s shown the difference right now I think through a couple of these balls games and that’s definitely something we need to fix.”
On if he saw it as a challenge to step up because people doubted the receiving corps prior to the season:
“To an extent, but I think there was more of a in-house confidence that was obviously around. If it was a huge problem, again, we always want more guys to contribute and have total team success, but I feel like we would have went out and got someone if we were in dire need. Obviously, we didn’t feel that way. They struck with us. I was hurt for a lot of the preseason unfortunately, but, again, that came around, body came around and we were off to the races. It’s definitely somewhat motivating, but I think just the fact that just wanting to win in general is really the most motivating factor and that kind of overshadows everything else.”
On signing wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and if he can contribute this week:
“He’s a smart guy. He definitely felt the brutalness of the South Florida heat today, but I think he did a great job stepping in, learning. He doesn’t see a whole lot of missed assignments, even today. It’s only been one day. He’ll get himself ready play and, as far as this week, we’ll just have to wait and see.”
On the challenges the Bengals defense presents:
“It’s kind of early in the week. Me personally, I don’t have a huge grasp of what’s going on. I know roughly off the top of my head, I know you guys have got a good front seven, you guys pride yourself on the (defensive) line. You guys definitely do have some good guys leading the league in sacks and you’ve got some backers that can run around. A little banged up in the backend with the corners and safeties, but you’ve got a lot of players that can play. I definitely think a good test for us.”
On how many texts he received after the Cardinals game:
“I think 50-something. I didn’t know those numbers went that with the little bubble by the message app, but it did.”
On how it feels to have this much success in the first quarter of the season:
“Again, I think it’s just taking advantage of the opportunity. I’m always going to be the same guy. I’m always going to work hard regardless. I’m put in the position to make a play. I like to hopefully pride myself on making a lot more than I don’t make. I guess when it comes down it, we’re so engrained, me and Davone (Bess) and just speaking of the receivers, me and Davone are so focus don getting this thing in the right direction, which we’re really close to doing. The rest of it’s going to fall into place and I guess the biggest ways to be judged is winning and losing ball games and that’s what we’re most concerned about.”
On if he watches much tape of A.J. Green:
“No, I haven’t. I think a lot of what he does and how their guys are across the league, but, at this point, no. Just day-to-day defenses.”
On how good Ryan Tannehill can be:
“The sky’s the limit. He’s got all the intangibles - natural leader for one. Sometimes, you really can’t even coach. As far as the arm, he can make every throw. He’s got a good grasp of the offense. He communicates well, which is really important as far as what he expects from his receivers and the rest of the team. He’s doing a great job. I’m not saying I would tell you, but I don’t really have any, there’s nothing I can think of that will come into my mind to limit his range and what he’s capable of doing. It’s really encouraging. As a receiver, again, you go for a guy, you want a guy to work out, especially an early draft pick, but they did a great job of (getting) the quality of person he is and how he plays the game.”
On how much more comfortable Reggie Bush looks in this offense:
“I think a little more comfortable. I think he’s obviously doing a great job. He’s a heck of a guy and hard as heck to block for him because you don’t know where the heck he’s going to go, but I guess that’s credit to him. So it’s a lot of fun watching him play. I don’t watch the film at least, I’m trying to block for him, but he does a great job and I think he feels comfortable, he’s communicating well and, again, a lot of guys are playing football at a high level without mental mistakes and mental errors, which is credit to the coaching staff and the system we’re running.”
On if Hard Knocks was a positive experience for the team and his experience with Chad Johnson in the wide receiver room:
“I’m kind of indifferent on it. I think it can be fun, it can kind of get a little annoying. I know a lot of guys were kind of ready for them to leave just cause it’s a little added side note that really doesn’t help you win football games. So if we not trying to winning football games, sometimes it’s like why even do it? That’s what we’re here to do, but it was fun. They were great people. They were easy to get along with. It gave a chance to the fans to kind of check out us on the inside, but I’m really indifferent on it. Chad was a great guy. He wasn’t here for too long, but communicating with him and then kind of bouncing things off of him and his light heartedness definitely added something to the team, but we wish him the best of luck.”
On growing up in Canton, Ohio if he was a Browns or Bengals fan:
On who his favorite Cowboy was:
“I don’t know. I liked the triplets, but we were drawn to Alvin Harper… But Michael Irvin and Emmitt (Smith) and Troy (Aiken), those are the guys, but I liked Alvin a lot of the times.”
On what his brother who played football in Ohio is up to now:
“He’s actually down here He’s working for the Dolphins. He’s doing some stuff. He wanted to stay in this sport. He’s coaching down here at a high school and he’s working with them too. He was up in Columbus for a little bit, but he’s just like, ‘I love the sport, want to stay involved,’ so he’s down here working with Miami over at the stadium and working with the CEO and different things – as far as ticket sales to relations. He’s doing a good job. He’s really enjoying it.”
On if he likes Mike Sherman’s offense:
“Yeah, I love it. I think and I don’t know if it’s the offense or just him, I love playing for him. (He’s) a good communicator, really knows what he wants, really discussing and adjusting if he needs to for players, really a thrill to play for, absolutely.”
On leading the NFL in receiving yards:
“I think not really a whole lot, I think if it wasn’t for Twitter, I wouldn’t be so keyed up on it cause Twitter definitely lets you know everything. Turn that thing on and I’m like, ‘Holy, heck,’ but, overall, it’s kind of surreal, but really I’m just not letting it get to me cause we’re a 1-3 football team and that’s really hitting a soft spot right now.”
On if he went to the Hall of Fame much when he was a kid:
“Yeah, if you go to Y kids or any kind of like babysitting or what not, I guess the Hall of Fame is like every other week. They try to pitch it to you and you’re like a little kid. Now, it’s like I would enjoy it so much more. The theater there, I know they’re still expanding, but I definitely been there a handful of times for sure.”
On his best experience at the Hall of Fame:
“They have all the rings there, which were pretty cool just to see that. Obviously, the heads of the people that are inducted are pretty neat. As a kid, you like that whole theater experience when it kind of takes through camp and through a full season as you’re rotating through the theaters. Probably a handful of those things.”
On if the Hall of Fame called him looking for anything after Sunday:
“Some people were asking for something, I’m not sure who it was for, but it might have been either Miami or I don’t know, couldn’t tell you.”
On how many times he played in Fawcett stadium:
“That’s my old high school stadium. That’s where we played. We played there with McKinley, so we shared that my whole high school.”
On if he was not a North Canton Hoover:
“Nope, I was GlenOak.”