Yesterday, the Miami Dolphins held a press conference introducing new head coach Joe Philbin. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, general manager Jeff Ireland, and Philbin all made opening comments, then answered question from the media.
Below is the full transcript of the press conference, as provided by the team:
Stephen Ross Opening Statement:
"Good afternoon. I'm Steve Ross for those of you who don't know me. I really wish you a good day and happy that you're here. I am also happy that this search that we had is over and more important I am happier for the person we selected to be the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. As we told you initially that we would have a thorough, incursive, and totally transparent search process and that's what we have done. I especially want to thank Jeff Ireland and his staff for all the work that they've done before we started this search and the research that they've done and for the work that they've done in the process and the plan that we followed. We interviewed six people in person. Many who will eventually be head coaches in the National Football League. I want to thank all those six individuals. They were all outstanding candidates and with the exception of one, they were all excited about wanting to join and lead the Miami Dolphins. We narrowed the list down to three people. We interviewed those three people in New York. After these interviews, we felt that each one of them would be an outstanding head coach. But in the end, we felt that Joe Philbin was the right person to lead the Miami Dolphins at this time. Joe, I believe, has a lot of the same attributes that the most successful coach that the Miami Dolphins had in the past, Don Shula. As I mentioned to you, those are the types of attributes I was looking for in selecting a head coach for the Dolphins. His intelligence stands out. He has a winning background, which I think is so important. His leadership skills that we found out were unparalleled. He's a man with integrity. He has a tremendous work ethic. He has a commitment to excellence and he has a tremendous, innovated ideas. In addition, you can't help but be impressed by Joe's accomplishments in the past. The track record of the Green Bay Packers is unparalleled. Not only he has a history of developing a productive offense, but he also developing players to work within that system. We appreciate the interest of all our fans and the input that they given us. And I know they are looking forward and we're looking forward to their continuous support of our fans. I guess I can sum it up is Diane Philbin told me when I first met her today. She said something I took to heart. You hired Joe to win because that is what he's all about and I think that really sums it up."
Jeff Ireland Opening Statement:
"I just want to go through the search process. Before I do that, I would like to welcome the Philbin family here and we so glad to have you part of our Dolphin family. Also, I would like to thank Steve (Ross) for making the commitment in finding the right football coach for this franchise. He was involved in every aspect from the interviews, to the evaluations and to making the final decision. We put a plan together and we stuck to the plan. We covered a lot of ground. The plan included a number of head coaching candidates through the NFL, video process, we considered college head coaching candidates as well as those with NFL head coaching backgrounds. It included candidates' with backgrounds in all phases of the game coaches with different skill sets on offense and defense. We even looked outside the box. We looked at the John Harbaugh model, which has been established and very successful with the Dave Toub interviewed. We did an extensive amount of background search on every candidate. We looked behind the scenes. It was a lot of behind the scenes work that went through this process. A lot of different resources that were used, a lot of different people Steve used and I used, reached out to a lot of people that knew Coach Philbin and the other candidates that were involved. We concluded a thorough search by meeting the three finalists this last week in New York for a second interview. We took time to further evaluate their plan, their vision. And we conclude that each of those guys were going to be a great football coach. We were going to have a good football coach regardless, but we wanted to coupled that with a unquestioned leader of men, an unquestioned amount of high integrity and one that had a plan and a vision that would continue to utilize the foundation of personnel that is here on this football team and one that has a creative mind to take us to new heights. Joe Philbin best fits that description. Joe and I have very similar philosophies regarding on what it takes to be successful in this NFL. He has experience winning a Super Bowl and he did a big part in developing a roster through fundamentals and technique and those, I think, are imperative to building a consistent winner in the National Football League. He's a leader, a man with high character one that embodies a spirit of a winner. All those intangibles Steve and I thought were important for this football team. So without further ado, I would like to bring up the next head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Joe Philbin.
Joe Philbin Opening Statement:
"I want to thank Mr. Ross and Jeff Ireland for providing me with the opportunity to be the head football coach of the Miami Dolphins. It's a privilege to be entrusted with one of the premier franchises in all of professional sports. In our discussions over the last two weeks it became evident to me of Mr. Ross' desire to build a first-class organization in every respect; one that I am honored to join today. The Dolphins have a rich and storied past as well as a bright, unlimited future. I want to take a moment to thank those who have helped me get to this particular point in my career, specifically my high school coaches, whose example inspired me to enter the coaching profession as well as the 12 head coaches, hundreds of assistant coaches and players whose friendship and wisdom I have benefited from. In the last nine years the Green Bay Packer organization has been like family to me and I want to wish them the best of luck going forward. Most importantly, I want to thank my family -- parents, siblings, and my immediate family, including my wife Diane, and my children Matthew, Michael, John, Kevin, Tim, and Colleen, whose sacrifices have not gone unnoticed to me. Today we are embarking on a journey to return this team back to the top of the NFL; a feat that hasn't been accomplished here in almost 40 years. We will attack the voyage with passion, energy, and enthusiasm in our quest to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to South Florida. To accomplish this, we must acquire excellent football players who are men of high character that possess an insatiable will to succeed. We then must develop them into a team that performs at an extremely high level on a consistent basis. Our team will consist of men who care more about winning and their teammates than they do about individual statistics. We will incorporate an aggressive, up-tempo attack in all three phases of the game. Our style of play will be built upon the precise execution of fundamentals. Our team will play with discipline, poise, and maximum effort. Our organization will become known for its commitment to provide the resources necessary to allow each player and staff member the ability to reach their full potential. This level of support will enable our team to enjoy unparalleled success on the field while also impacting our city and fan base in a positive manner by our humility and unselfishness off it."
Questions for Joe Philbin:
(On how will you select your offensive and defensive coordinators) - "Well, I told Steve (Ross) and Jeff (Ireland) in the interview process I'm 50 years old. I anticipated this being the last job I ever take. This is my first head coaching opportunity and the most part of phase one of the head coaches' responsibility is hiring a staff so I'm going to be hiring our offensive, our defensive, our special team coordinator, our offensive line coach, our quality control coaches on down the line. At this point and time, obviously we have some candidates in mind; however, we haven't made any decisions on who those people are. And as we move forward in the process, we'll be making those decisions."
(On running the West Coast offense here similar to the offense ran in Green Bay) -"Well, as I was saying earlier in the day, I've been in the West Coast system for nine years and I'm still not exactly sure what that means. With that being said, I think it's a mistake to just take the Green Bay Packers playbook and plop it out on the table here in South Florida. So one of the things in coaching, one of your responsibilities in coaching is to put your players in the best position to succeed. So we got to learn more about our players and learn what they do well. We got to hide what they don't do as well, extenuated the positives. Again, as we start to build our staff, as we evaluate the roster, as we look at their unique talents and abilities we'll start formulating a plan. There are certain characteristics obviously of the offense that's going to come down here, but I don't want to say that we're just going to take the playbook, copy it, and change Green Bay to Miami and move forward like that."
(On how much did your vision involve around a quarterback) -"We're going to build a football team, number one. I think obviously the play and performance of a quarterback in the National Football League is obviously very important. One of the things I believe in strongly when you analyze your football team is that you have to look at the quarterback rating differential. So how your guy is performing as oppose to the opposition. So it's certainly a key component in winning football games. But the focus wasn't on one individual or one player. I don't necessarily buy into the one player away mentality in anywhere I've ever coached at any level. I think you build a team. In this league, it's about the 53 players, eight practice squad players, your staff, you're building a team. Obviously, we got to have good performance out of our quarterback. Any good offense, especially in this league, has to have good quarterback play, which we will. But it wasn't a necessary over riding thing."
(On why do you believe you'll be successful) -"Well, I feel very confident in the preparation. I had Anne (Rodriguez), my secretary, pop up July 5, 1984. And that was the day I began in the coaching profession. It's been 10,061 days that I've been at this. I've been fortunate to work with a lot of good people. I've learned from every 12 different head coaches, 100 assistant coaches I've been around. And I figure if you look at the body of work at every different level of football I've been fortunate to be around winning programs, places where we develop players. We develop men. We had good teams and I'm just confident we'll be able to build the same thing here in Miami."
(On what does the Miami Dolphins need most) - "We got to build a team. There's not one area necessarily. I'm not going to sit here and tell you we got to better at red zone defense or our third down offense conversion rate has to be better. Or we got to operate versus pressure better. We're just building, I'm just kind of getting my feet wet sort of speak with the roster. I got a lot of work to do in terms of looking at what we do best. What our strengths are what our weaknesses are and together with the personnel, with the coaching come together, collaborate, find out the things we need to improve and get better and start building a team that way."
(On how do you interact with players and do you model your style after anyone) - "I've always had a great relationship with players that wanted to be great players. I think one of the first attributes you look for when you identify prospective players is passion for the game. It's much easier to coach, to motivate, to develop a player that has a real strong desire to be good. And I've always got along well with the guys that are very passionate about the profession that I'm involved in. I love my job. I love working with players helping them reach their potential. And I've always had good success matching up those kinds of people. The relationship I've had some people say I'm a player's coach. Our teaching philosophy, our relationship with the players is going to be. We are going to be demanding, not demeaning. So we're going to coach these guys extremely hard, very detailed oriented. We're going to be thorough. We're not going to leave any stone unturned in our quest in helping these guys develop and get better. And at the same time, we want to enjoy the relationships and enjoy the ride while we're doing it."
(On whether you'll call offensive plays or will you're offensive coordinator call plays) - "Again, that'll be determined as the staff gets filled out. I would like to see happen is let our offensive coordinator the call plays. But that again, that'll be determined as we move forward based on who that is and how the structure of the staff fills out."
(On making the transition from assistant to head coach and what needs to happen in order to be successful) - "Well, number one, first I would have to say is the great trust that Mr. (Stephen) Ross and Jeff (Ireland) have placed in me. When I was a young coach starting out, one of my bosses handed me a little sheet, I told this to Mr. Ross and Jeff that every player deserves a coach that believes in him. Every head coach deserves an owner and a general manager that believes in him. You got to have faith in the people you hire and when I stand in front of the Miami Dolphins in 2012, the 53 guys and the 46 that's going to dress. You better have confidence in those guys. You better believe in those players. And I have a lot of faith in what I'm capable of doing. And I'm very grateful to the faith that Mr. Ross and Jeff have place in me."
(On who were your biggest influences) - "Well, the biggest influence I probably had was when I went to Worchester Academy in the Fall of 1979 and one of my classmates, my next door neighbor, State Senator (Jack) Hart from South Boston is over here today with my family. But there I was fortunate to be coached by Kirk Ferentz, who some of you guys know the head coach of the University of Iowa. Mike Sherman, who was the head coach at Texas A&M most recently, but was also the man responsible that gave me the opportunity to coach in the National Football League. Ken O'Keefe, the offensive coordinator at the University of Iowa. I worked with all three of those men at different places along the way. I worked with Coach O'Keefe at Allegheny College. We won a National Championship. I worked with Coach Ferentz at the University of Iowa. We were fortunate to win the only time in Iowa history that went undefeated in the Big Ten Conference. And then I worked with Coach Sherman where we won two division championships up in Green Bay. That was probably the most impactful year that I had and those were some of the men that inspired me in the coaching profession. And obviously, my last six years with Coach (Mike) McCarthy in Green Bay have been fantastic. He's an excellent football coach and a great human being so that's been a great experience for me as well."
(On what do you think made you the person for the head coaching position) - "I think they're better to answer that, but I think I thought we had a good chemistry between us. There was a good fit. When I left the facility I guess it was two weeks ago today. I just felt very comfortable. I felt very good about these guys. I felt very strong about the commitment Mr. (Stephen) Ross, the resources he's going to commit. The passion that he has to win and felt really good about meeting with Jeff (Ireland) and I thought we were very compatible working together, his work ethic, his professionalism. I felt very good about that when I left. I didn't know exactly where I fit on the whole top to bottom on the poll. I didn't really care, but I knew when I was flying home I felt very, very good about our first meeting."
(On how long will it take to win again) - "Well, we didn't talk about when the three of us sat down together. What we really talked about I think Mr. (Stephen) Ross use this term in his other businesses is he wants to be best in class. He wants to build championship organizations whether it will be professional football or the other endeavors he's involved in and so we didn't sit down and say ok in 2012 we're going to win six games, in 13(2013) we're going to win 12, and 14 (2014) we're going to win seven. Football is not built that way. It's tough to predict, but what we talked about was building a foundation, building a program, building a football team that could deliver, sustained success over a period of time. And I've coached in the National Football League for nine years and college for 19. I don't know if you ever go into a game where you don't feel like you have a chance to win. So our focus is going to be that week the focus is going to be on the New York Jets, or the Buffalo Bills, or the Indianapolis Colts or whoever we may be playing in that particular week. We got a lot of work to do. We're not going to sit around and put raw numbers in February or March or August for that matter with our players. We're going to be about focusing on the task at hand. We're going to be a developmental team. We're going to get better week-to-week and year-to-year."
(On how did you handle your personal situation) - "Yeah, it was obviously heartbreaking. As you said, I flew home from Miami two weeks ago. It was 30,000 feet in the air. I felt great about things. Obviously, as a family we have endured a heartbreaking loss and to be honest with you we had a beautiful service on Friday, a week ago, about eight days ago, phenomenal. We got 60 immediate family members. Just a tremendous out pouring from the community, former players, former colleagues can't tell how touch we were as a family. And then I coached in the game on Sunday. And still can't that believe that Mr. (Stephen) Ross and Jeff (Ireland) called me back after how poorly we played (laughing). But I was dejected. I came home Sunday night and really the TV haven't been on in our house for a week. The Miami Dolphins maybe have hired a coach, I had no idea. And I walked down and I was talking to my son, Tim, and I saw he was kind of dejected and he asked me, ‘Dad what are the Miami Dolphins doing?' And I said I have no idea what they're doing. You're going to go after the job are you? I said I don't know what I'm going to do. I was dejected on a lot of different fronts. He looked at me and said, ‘You better go after that job. Your son, Mike, would want you to go after that job.' And so that was kind of the start of me kind of getting back, get moving again."
(On the transition from Green Bay to Miami) -"We're like the Griswolds. I mean, my son John flew in from Philadelphia. Someone from the Dolphins had to pick him up. Diane's sister is coming later on a different flight. We were going to put her on the toilet on the plane, but they wouldn't let us (laughing) so we're an all in family. We put our heart and soul in what we do. We're not perfect. We're excited as we could be in coming to South Florida and getting involved in the community and really anxious. We're going to get them down here real soon. On a normal year, I would stay here and work until July and the kids would come next year in school, but we're going to get them down here and immersed in the community as quickly as we possibility can."
(On which defensive scheme, 3-4 or 4-3) -"Defensively, the vision of the defense would be based on fundamentals and technique. I want to be known for a great tackling team. I want us to have the best pursuit in the National Football League. I want us to take the ball away from our opponent. And I want us to put pressure and disrupt the quarterback. The rhythm and the timing of the quarterback, that's the vision of our defense. What you're going to learn from me is that I believe in fundamentals, execution, discipline are primary, schemes are secondary. We're going to take a look again as I said we're going to study the roster. We're going to study what we do well. We're going to look at possibilities. We're going to hire the best leader of men, the best teacher, the best communicator, the best motivator that we can find to be our defensive coordinator and it's going to be a collaborative effort. It's not going to be one individual's defense. It's going to be the Miami Dolphins defense."
(On what message do you give fans) -"Well, just kind of what I said in my opening statement. I don't think football is an overly complicated game. As the offensive coordinator in Green Bay, we use to stand up in front of the offense and ask them if they could count to four, because if you could count to four you could play in the Packer offense. Football is a people game still. The objective is obviously we're all chasing the same prize. Everybody wants to bring the Lombardi trophy back to their particular city or their particular fan base. But I think we have to stay focus on, we have to get excellent football players, high character individuals, and men that have a strong, strong will to succeed. That's the plan. When you get those kinds of individuals, we get a staff in here that's going to teach with enthusiasm, with clarity with simplicity and accuracy and we're going to be able to accomplish some great things together."
Questions for Stephen Ross:
(On why did you select Joe Philbin) - "Well, I think you just heard Joe (Philbin) and I think you can kind of make your own decision. I think he really impressed me just listening to him, his organization, his plan, how he would execute it and make us a winner as fast as possible. I really believe that people that work in great winning organizations learn how to win and that's what it's all about. That's the primary reason and who he is as a person and what he'll do for this organization the reasons why Joe Philbin is the coach of the Miami Dolphins."
(On Joe Philbin bring the Packer mentality to Miami) - "I don't know. Right now, we don't have any Packers on our roster. We're not allowed to talk about that. That wasn't the reason. We didn't spend a lot of time about that. We talked about creating a winning football team and it's not just one person that's going to make us a winning football team."
(On how involved was Carl Peterson in the interview process) - "Carl (Peterson) is a friend of mine, been an advisor for a long period of time. He sat in all the meetings with the various candidates and we got his perspective. But the decision was made by myself working with Jeff Ireland."
(On what were you looking for in the second interview process) - "Well, I mean, I thing I found out, never have been at it before and hopefully wouldn't have to go through it again, but when you speak to six different candidates and at the end of the day you kind of reflect. It kind of all runs in together how to differentiating who said what. You know who impressed you, but it wasn't the specifics. So we wanted to really be fresh because usually in those cases the last person you meet with is the guy you're going to hire. So I wanted to meet them all at one time that in a short period of time and go through some of those questions again, hear them, and have that follow up with them and so you can really make a decision then on what you heard and you really had those thoughts in your mind."
(On if how Joe Philbin handled his personal situation influence your decision) - "I mean, you certainly have to admire Joe (Philbin) is a very strong person that came out in the first process and my heart goes out to him having gone through what he's gone through, but I mean I think you find out what a person is all about in times like that and the stress that he went through. So I think he's still going to have a lot of problems going through that, but I think he's a strong person. He's a family person and he has a lot to look forward too. And I think this opportunity and probably this change of scenery is great for him."
(On how difficult was hiring a head coach compared to your other businesses and what have you learned) - "In football, one thing I found out early on, football is a lot different than business. The differential of winning and losing is so small. And it's really, business is a question of detail is just as much. But I think the idea of winning and winning in such a define moment is something you really have to know what that's all about. It was really important to me that one of the aspects is that you're used to winning and you expect to win and you've shown you've been a winner. I don't think any of our candidates showed it like Joe Philbin."
(On this decision being the most important decision you've made) - "Every time I make a decision, that's the most important decision at that time so this was the most important. But in terms of the Miami Dolphins I know this is probably the most important decision. We spent an awful lot of time talking about the pros and cons of each individual and we really believed at the end of the day nobody was really, really more capable of doing this job and bringing the Miami Dolphins back to being a winning organization than Joe Philbin."
Question to Jeff Ireland:
(On what stood out from the interview with Joe Philbin) - "Well I think after our first meeting, I knew about 15 minutes into the interview this was a guy that we should seriously take a look at, his vision, his core beliefs, his principles that he believes in, a lot of the objectives that were so apart of what Joe Philbin is all about, his passion for it obviously. You do a lot of due diligence going into a coaching search, a lot of phone calls to people around this business. This is a big fraternity of people that know people and that's the one thing going through this process that I learned about Joe Philbin, there is not one person out there that doesn't respect this person, not only as a coach but as a person. But it was those core beliefs, the beliefs that I believe in, the fundamentals, the technique, details. Being aggressive. Some of the things he talked about his offense being tempo related. Obviously looking at an offense that he produced very low turnovers, things that were keys to success with the Green Bay Packers, those were all things that were key to making this decision."
(On if Joe Philbin will have final say on the coordinators) - "100 percent. Joe Philbin has total authority to hire his coaches."
(On what type of team Joe Philbin is inheriting based on what he built) - "Well, I think he is inheriting a good football team. Doesn't reflect in the wins and losses, but I think there is some foundation, some pieces here that he can work with. Obviously we are going through a new coach process, so there are some pieces that are missing. That falls on me to help get him get those pieces and I am a scout at heart, I am going to go find players for the head coach. That's what my job is going to be, that is my ultimate job for this head coach, is to eliminate distractions from him and let him coach the football team and I have to fins football players for him."
(On how much continuity he is looking for in terms of the coaches) - "That's Joe Philbin's job. He's going to decide on the coaches, I am sure he has a process that he has in mind, were going to discuss that here, we discussed that thoroughly through the process. I am sure that he wants to talk to a few guys on this staff, he'll probably talk to every coach on this staff. But ultimately its Joe's decision on what offense he wants to run, what defense he wants to run, but that Joe Philbin's job."
(On how much of Joe Philbin's experience with quarterbacks impact the decision) - "We talked about pretty much, we talked about corners, we talked about outside linebackers, we talked about quarterbacks, we talked a lot about the offensive line. But it was Joe's vision and his core beliefs and his overall values about and vision for building a football team that was most important with this hire."
(On if there was ever a moment where you and Mr. Ross didn't agree during the coaching search process) - "These are tough decisions and Mr. Ross and I we went through plenty of debates in this process. Ultimately we found the right guy and that was a collaborative effort between Steve and I, we had Carl's help, Dawn Aponte was a part of the process. Like I said, we went through a very thorough process and ultimately it was Steve and I sitting down together and making this decision."
(On if there will be an open competition for the starting quarterback position) - "That's Joe Philbin's job, he's going to decide who we have as a quarterback, so I can tell you that we are going to try to find players for this man here and give him the best chance to lead this franchise into new heights and a new era."