The Miami Dolphins completed their rookie minicamp over the weekend, and head coach Joe Philbin spoke about the three day orientation on Friday. The full transcript is below.
(On the first day of Rookie Orientation) - "It was good. I think the first play of team period we had about three guys fall down, like we could have predicted, but I thought overall the guys practiced hard. Sometime it's hard for guys, I don't care if they were first round draft picks or fifth round draft picks, as much as you work out it's hard to simulate football practice. So I think some of them got gassed a little bit early, but I thought overall the tempo was good, I thought the effort was good. We told them in the meeting room our expectation wasn't that the execution was going to be perfect and I am sure the film will verify that when we take a look at it. But I thought overall it was a good start."
(On Ryan Tannehill's first practice) - "I like the way we threw a couple of double moves, we threw a couple deep balls. I thought he threw those relatively well. It looked like he threw the ball on the move well. In general, and I think that even our quarterbacks who are veterans, our play speed at that position is something that we are going to need to work on. Given the fact that its day one, practice one, I thought he did some good things."
(On what you want his role to be starting off more of a leader or just one of the guys) - "I haven't had any singular one-on-one discussions with him in that regard. Part of the fun process in coaching is to get a sense for how these guys handle themselves on their own, obviously there is going to be a lot of time to give specific instructions, but we are just letting the guys go out there and compete. We told them last night that they are a part of the Miami Dolphins, unfortunately in this profession, for how long we don't know, and so we asked them to give a great effort out here today and do the best they possibly could, and there will be time to hone everybody in. But today we just wanted to see how everybody competed and see some of the things that they were capable of doing."
(On if he noticed any comfort level today between Ryan Tannehill and Jeff Fuller who were college teammates) - "I don't know if there was anything specific that I noticed, obviously Jeff's a fantastic target, he's a big individual at that position and it looks like he did some good things, but I don't know if there was anything special about (their relationship) today."
(On the play of B.J. Cunningham during today's practice) - "Well going back to the scouting process, we liked his productivity as a player, he played in one of the best reigns of Michigan State football that they have ever had at the school. It has great tradition and history and he was a part of that and he played very well. We liked the way that he caught the ball over the middle, we thought he was a guy that was courageous. Again it was one practice, but he showed some things out there."
(On Ryan Tannehill's familiarity with the playbook and how much it will speed his process) - "I think initially it's going to help him, no question about it. At some point that knowledge, and I would say that David (Garrard) and Matt (Moore) have been around the system for three weeks or four weeks, so at some point that is going to even itself out and the difference is going to be the decision making and the accuracy, the playmaking ability at the quarterback position. So I am sure, as opposed to some of the other rookie quarterbacks that are practicing today, he probably feels a little more comfortable when he puts his head on the pillow at night. But the bottom line is the productivity once you get on the field, so we will see how that goes."
(On Jonathan Martin playing right tackle during today's practice) - "I like the way he looked like when he bent his knees, he bent his knees very well at the position. I like the way he did that, I thought that his initial footwork was good. We really liked the way in his pass protection he used his hands when he was coming out in the draft. He's got very good length and he got very good timing on his punch. I think again, Jimmy (Turner) worked those offensive lineman pretty hard, I think some of them were a little bit gassed, so what happens then is your technique goes a little bit and gets a little bit shaky. But I was encouraged with what I saw from him."
(On what some of the undrafted players can do to catch the coach's eye during these practices) - "One of the most important drills that I am looking forward to watching is that cover drill, because we mentioned to the guys, the whole group in the meeting, that one of the ways that a young player can make an impact and make a difference is on special teams. That one particular drill that Darren (Rizzi) and Dave (Fipp) were doing, simulating a condensed kickoff coverage drill I think will be very valuable to watch. You are looking for guys that can play in space that can move and have balance. That's a drill, again it's not a live tackling, but hopefully get a handle on maybe some athletic ability and you have got to get noticed somehow, someway. So our coach's scrutinize the film very closely. We watch it closely. In football a lot of things show themselves, maybe not in five practices, but hopefully we will get a good gauge on what these guys are capable of."
(On if he noticed any added excitement from the University of Miami players) - "Were delighted that they are all here, the way that Jacory (Harris) is here and obviously Olivier Vernon and Lamar Miller, the two draft picks, again I was kind of watching the whole thing, I don't know if I saw anything specific in that regard."
(On if Lamar Miller will help the team returning kicks) - "I think he has a chance. I think he has a chance, there is a possibility. We will have to see, give him some opportunities and see how well he does."
(On Lamar Miller's pass catching ability) - "Well we liked it when he came over here, you know that we had the Miami Day, and we liked the way he caught the football. There's a couple pictures of him being spread out and I think there's a chance that down the road, once he get acclimated, he might be able to spread himself out and play as a receiver, to a certain degree. I'm not saying he's going to make a full position change, but I think that there is some flexibility with what you can do with the guy. I think he has some skills that we can utilize."
(On Nick Mandich) - "Well obviously his father was a great player here, but Nick came down through that same Miami day and obviously we brought him in because we saw some things there. The tight end position is one that has a lot of flexibility in this offense, so we're looking for guys that show good versatility, have good learning skills and play multiple positions... Line up different ways, go in motion and they have to be multiple in terms of both a pass catcher and blocker/pass protector. It's a lot on their plate, and he (Mandich) showed some good things when he came the first time, so we're going to give him some opportunities out there on the field."
(On whether he saw the deep pass that Tannehill completed in practice) - "Yeah I thought he hit two of them, if I'm not mistaken, the real deep one down the left sideline. Yeah it looked like a nice ball, it looked like it had just the right amount of air under it so the receiver didn't have to sit and wait for it. It kind of hit him in rhythm, which is important on those deep balls. Sometimes the timing is not right and it just turns into a jump ball, which obviously we coach (our players) to win that situation on both sides... Break it up on defense and come down with it on offense. But, I thought the timing on it was pretty good in terms of the amount of time it was in the air. Again I just think our play seed overall at that position, the quarterback position, is key."
(On tight end Michael Egnew) - "We like his size, and we like his ability to attack the middle of the field. In the NFL you sometimes get linebackers that are 6' and 6'1", and now we have a guy at 6'5" with good length, even if the linebacker matches him down the field sometimes you can get a back shoulder throw you can get the ball , those guys (like Egnew) have a big catching radius where they are big targets. So I think that hopefully in the Red Zone or other area of the field he can be a threat. I don't know if you are familiar with (Missouri's) offense, but they move those guys around quite a bit. He's not as comfortable yet playing next to an offensive tackle with his hand in the ground, which is something he's going to have to work on no question about it, but because he has played out in the slot, I mean they (Missouri) ran reverses with him, I'm not sure Sherm (Coach Mike Sherman) has that in the playbook yet, were not ready for that, but I think he has some versatility. We're going to see if we can line him up in a couple different spots."
(On whether he has talked with Matt Moore and David Garrard about the team drafting Ryan Tannehill) - "Yeah we've talked to those guys. Yeah those guys are professionals and I couldn't be more pleased with either one of those guys from what we've seen in the way they've conducted themselves. We made it very clear to both of them from the minute they stepped foot here for the offseason program that it would be an open competition between those guys. If you watch those guys on the field, they're very supportive of one another and I expect nothing different when this group, Ryan (Tannehill) specifically joins them. They all know what the rules are and they all know that they will have opportunities, so I think they know what the drill is."
(On what he wants to see from the rookies this weekend) -"We want to have a good evaluation of these guys from an athletic standpoint. We want to have a relatively good evaluation from a learning standpoint in regards to how quickly we feel like they can connect to our schemes. We want to lay the groundwork from a fundamental technique standpoint, and probably most importantly we just want to get them up to speed so when the OTAs start with the whole football team, our OTAs have got to be a lot faster paced than what we had in the voluntary minicamp, they will be ready. We had some good work, and we are not at all disappointed with what we accomplished during the voluntary minicamp, but we have to accelerate the curve now. It's getting close and time flies by, as we all know, so the OTAs are a very important time frame for us and we have to maximize those ten practices. We have to come together as a football team and integrate these guys with our veterans and get to work."
(On if it is accurate to say that Tannehill has a better grasp on the new offense than Moore and Garrard) - "I don't know about that. Those other guys have been studying hard now since April 10th, so we've installed quite a bit of offense, as you guys know, during that voluntary minicamp. We practiced Red Zone, third down, two minute drill, normal down and distance, screens and deceptives, so I don't know (that he has a better grasp) for sure. I don't want to say definitively yes or no, because we have exposed the other guys to a lot."
(On Olivier Vernon possibly playing at linebacker) - "Today is just day one. I think he's more comfortable at this stage in his career with his hand down (in the ground), and we're looking at him in that way right now, but I won't rule anything out because it is very early."
(On if a starting receiver could also return kicks and punts) - "We'll have to figure out the best ways to move the football, and punt returns are a big weapon in field position and impacts field position, so we'll have to evaluate the different candidates that we have for that position and come to the best decision for the football team. I won't rule anything out, and certainly we are not opposed to using a starting receiver."