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Lewis News Conference Transcript 9/26


Opening comments...

            "It's good for us to move forward. A summation of yesterday is that we have to make critical plays in critical moments. We had opportunities, and we let some get away earlier in the football game. But in the fourth quarter, when you've got the lead, we've got to do things to win the game. Just get them stopped on defense and get the ball back to the offense, and give us an opportunity to win the game. We didn't do it well enough. So we've got to make the correction, understand right and wrong and then move forward very quickly."

What were you able to see from the defense on Denver's long drive in the fourth quarter?            "We didn't make any critical plays in critical moments."

Did you have to make a roster move today to activate Vontaze Burfict?

            "No. We have an exemption until Thursday."

What does it mean to get Burfict back?

            "It'll add depth to the football team. You're adding a good player back in, so that's a good thing. It'll add depth to the linebacker area. Obviously some of the guys who have been playing will have a little bit of change in play time as we move forward the next couple weeks."

What was his demeanor upon his return today? Did you talk at all about changing his style of play?

            "No. I haven't talked with him. He's had enough talks."

I assume he was pretty excited to be back...

            "Yeah. I saw him briefly this morning."

How much do you think you can get out of him? You did this last year, when he came back...

            "Like he never left. It was amazing."

But now he only has about two walk-throughs to get ready for the game, whereas last year he had a week of practice...

            "No, he did not. Last time, he showed up on Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday he was in Los Angeles seeing a doctor. He had half a practice. He got off the plane, came to practice.

            "But this is about the Miami Dolphins, not about Vontaze. We've got to play better. This is a football team that is excited. They got a win yesterday. Offensively, Ryan Tannehill is a good athlete, a very accurate passer, strong passer, good athlete and can run. Right now, he's leading them in carries. They have explosive guys. (Jarvis) Landry is playing very well. He's tough with the ball in his hands. He's a tough runner, good with the catch. (DeVante) Parker and (Kenny) Stills. They added good outside people. Jordan Cameron is an excellent athlete at tight end. We know his abilities from when he was playing against us in our division (with Cleveland).

            "You flip it over defensively – (Ndamukong) Suh, Mario Williams, (Cameron) Wake. They have very good guys up front. Good rushers. (Kiko) Alonso, the linebacker, is a really good athlete. The secondary is learning some new things. The safety, No. 20, is a very good player back there. So there are a lot of good players on this football team. We've got to play really good football. It's good. It's a short week. We've got to get better, and it's a good week to get better for us."

What's the biggest key in a quick turnaround week?

            "It's just about understanding that we've got to execute. Understanding that we've got to learn the opponent and execute and go out and do the best we can. It becomes the mental focus, and getting our minds and bodies right physically."

Is there any familiarity with going against a Vance Joseph-coached defensive group?

"Yes, there's carryover from some things we do. Yes there is."

They use Cameron Wake the same way the Broncos  used DeMarcus Ware before he got hurt, in situational snaps …

"They roll some guys in there, there's no question about that. I think Ware was playing different because they're in a different process. I haven't gone in depth and counted snaps. We just know it's going to be about us as much as anything in how we do things."

Was Sunday a step in the right direction for the running game?

            "We had a minor short play with the holding, and that just killed us. That's the difference. You only have one thing to do; you either or run or pass it. We didn't win the football game, and that's the key element. Whether we run, protect, throw, catch, all those things have to work together.

            "We did some things early in the game that we wanted to do, and we did some things late in the game that we set out to do. We got off kilter with the holding penalty, and that sets you back, and then you have to come find a way to overcome that. We have to move forward and keep doing things better, whether it be protection or anything. Every time I come in here, there's something not up to snuff. You'll point it out to me, which I appreciate. But the key is to win the game."

How important is creating an offensive identity at this point in the season?

            "I think you need an identity as a football team. Right now, ours isn't where it needs to be."

As a coach, you like to take deep shots at a defense …

            "You're not going to throw the ball into coverage. When coverage dictates, you take shots. If not, the quarterback knows that he's not going to throw the ball down the field just to say he took a shot. It's not going to work for us. You're not going to stay at quarterback very long if that happens. Our quarterback does a very good job of knowing what he's supposed to do with the football. That's the key thing. If the opportunity in the game dictates certain things, that's the way it's going to be."

How rare is Vontaze's skill set, where he can jump in and be the defensive centerpiece after not playing all preseason?

            "He's going to be one of our 11 players at some point, probably likely, this football game. We'll try to determine that over the next four days and make that decision come Thursday."

More than most players, he has the rare ability?

            "I think his rare ability is as much mental as it is physical. I think he understands this defense at a very high level. He understands where guys fit. That's important. As for coming back, he needs to focus on himself, and his opportunities and be right for himself right away."

How close is Tyler Eifert?

            "He's close."

How well did Vinny play in Vontaze's absence, and does his play help your linebacker depth?

            "Vinny has played very well at every opportunity he gets. That's why he continues to be one of our core players all the time, no matter what it is. You ask Vinny to do it, he does a great job of it. We feel very fortunate to have Vinny as a part of this defense."

Does the short week affect Eifert's progress?


What does he need to do to progress? Will he play Sunday?

            "We'll make a decision when the time comes."

Vinny Rey was replacing Vontaze, but can they be on the field a the same time?

            "Yes. They can."

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