The Miami Dolphins lost to the Carolina Panthers on Friday night, the second preseason game for both teams. Today, head coach Joe Philbin spoke with the media about the game. Here is the full transcript from that press conference:
(On what the team has accomplished since training camp started) - "We've got our entire, 98 percent of our offensive, defensive and special teams systems in place. We've covered a myriad of situations from backed up, two-minute, four-minute, goal line, red zone, short yardage, last plays of the game... hurry up, third-and-one, quarterback sneak, run-on field goal, onside kicks. I think we've done a good job situationally. I think our team is in relatively good physical condition. I think they've practiced extremely hard. We've accomplished an awful lot - three-quarters of the way, two-thirds of the way through an evaluation process in terms of how we're going to formulate this roster. Certainly, we haven't had the tangible results in the on the field success in the competitive games that we would like to have that we anticipate having. I think we've had a very productive camp."
(On if the goal this week is to treat the week of preparation like a regular season game) - "To a large degree. It's not totally, but to a large degree, yes. Today, for the players, is like a Monday. For the coaches, it's kind of like a Monday and a Tuesday. We're combining things because we got back so late from Carolina. We didn't want to bring the players in yesterday. We wanted to give them a day off. We brought them in here this morning as if they had played a game yesterday, much like we'll do September 10th. They've lifted already or in the process of, actually they're done lifting. We're going to have a team meeting at 12:30 where we're going to begin the process of re-visiting the Carolina game and making the corrections that we think, obviously there's a lot to be made. We're going to begin that process. Then, they're going to watch the whole film with their coaches from A to Z. We're going to clean up the Carolina (game). We'll just touch touch briefly on Atlanta. We'll have kind of a walkthrough, jog-through type practice, much like they would the day after a game. It's a little different cause tomorrow obviously can't be a Tuesday for the players when they'd be off, but then we're going to kind of go through a typical game week for the most part. It's not going to be totally, exactly the same, but it's going to be relatively close."
(On what three areas of the team concern him the most) - "Our slow start number one as a football team. That's the number one concern to me. Our inability to get off the field on defense has been a concern to me and I would say our inconsistency on offense in terms of, I thought number one in our first game, in terms of just games, we moved the ball relatively well. We knew we had some red zone issues, etc., but I think we've been inconsistent there. Probably those would be the top three right now."
(On his evaluation of the quarterbacks and if he's close to naming a starter) - "The good news was...you know what's amazing, we kind of do the, we really believe in the give-away take-away margin is probably the number one indicator and the number two indicator is explosive plays. We had five explosive plays the other night. They had 12. To think that we were even in the ball game, I don't care who's playing, first-string, second-string, third, I don't care if it's your fifth-string is playing, that we were even in the game, the only reason that we were is because we didn't hand them the ball. Leading into our quarterback play, do we have to be better? Yes. Were there some accuracy issues? Sure. Was there a time or two our quarterbacks could have stepped up to avoid pressure? Absolutely. At the end of the day, they didn't throw the ball to the opposition until the last play of the game and they did do some good things. I think we had almost five drops I think, which impacted our ability to move the football. I thought they, overall...the management of the game, we didn't run a lot of bad plays. We didn't run a lot of plays where we had no chance. We didn't throw the ball in double coverage an awful lot. A couple times, we got lucky, but I thought the game management was pretty good. Obviously, we need to be more productive. There's no question about it. But to think we were even in the game, at least offensive, the credit was we didn't hand the ball to the opposition a whole lot. Point being, you can hang in some games if you don't give the games away. I'm not standing up here telling you we played well because we didn't, but you can compete and you can hang in there if you're a sound team and you don't turn the ball over."
(On the positives he was able to take away from the game other than turnovers) - "It's a positive and a negative. Again, I'm disappointed in the start of our football team. I think some of our younger guys are showing more energy and zip and enthusiasm on the field than the older guys are. That's a concern. We're going to address that. We've got to let them know that. They're going to know that. We've got to get off to a better start. I said to the team after the game, ‘You can't start games down 17-0.' I'm not a huge stat guy, but I bet if you went back and investigated and looked all that stuff up, you're not going to win a lot of games doing that - preseason, regular season, postseason. I don't care when it is. We can't come out the gate like that. We've got to play better early, no doubt it."
(On if he will determine who will be the starting quarterback this week or next) - "It could be. We're in the process right now, we watched the game obviously, we discussed our personnel obviously and now we're starting to formulate some thoughts on Atlanta. We're certainly going to do more game planning this week than we have the first two. There's no question about that. I was in a run game meeting earlier this morning and we're going to start narrowing down our personnel. We may have a decision soon, but we may not until, we my play it out another week. That's still up in the air. We certainly haven't come to any decision on that."
(On the play of offensive tackle Jonathan Martin) - "He did some good things. He had a bad penalty the one holding call on the run. It's not a good looking play on film . One of the sacks that was attributed to him, we felt Ryan (Tannehill) could have stepped up. It's a seven-step drop and there's a guy open. The middle was very firm in the pocket if you watch it on tape. That being said, he still has to block it better, but it wasn't like, I've seen young rookies offensive tackles get run over and get beat like that (snaps his fingers). I don't think that was the case on that particular play. Where you clearly...the sack is his, but we also thought there were contributing factors to that. It's a growing process. I don't think anybody makes that kind of transition without a couple bumps in the road. The big thing will be to see how he plays this week. Can he learn from some of those mistakes? He clearly made a couple and we'll see how he does, but I'm not disappointed in him at all."
(On his concern over the lack of a big-time wide receiver on the roster) - "Again, part of your job as a coach...I think I've said before, part of the fun, part of the challenge is developing players. I'm not (going to label) this guy's a three, a two, a one, a four, a five, a six. We have to find some guys, as I've said before. What are you looking for; we're looking for guys that can separate versus man coverage, make plays on the ball down the field, catch the ball consistently. They come in all shapes and sizes. If you had asked me in March, boy I would have liked a bigger target down the middle of the field than Davone Bess, but you know what, the guy is a football player; he finds a way to get open. It doesn't matter if it's man or zone, he seems to have a knack. We're looking for good football players. They come in all shapes and sizes. I'm not concerned about the lack of star power right now, but I will be concerned if we are not able to develop some of the players that we have on our roster. Then I will be concerned. But I have optimism that we will be able to do that, and I'm confident we can. That remains to be seen."
(On how the players that filled in for injured starters on defense played on Friday) - "OV (Olivier Vernon) did a really nice job. The kid did a good job on special teams. I remember early in the game, I mean the kid was lathered up within the first five minutes. He covered kickoff, he was on the punt team, he was playing every snap on defense, and he was playing hard. He's a football player. I think it was him on the opening kickoff if I'm not mistaken, who came down and made the tackle. I like the way he plays the game; I think he did a good job. (Jason) Trusnik and (Gary) Guyton stepped in and did some good things at linebacker. Overall, obviously the first play of the game, you can't start a game like that (with) missed tackles. We had a couple of free hats, as we like to say. I'm not saying the play design for Carolina was very good; it's a good football play, but if you watch the film there's guys there to make the play and we didn't. You know Richard Marshall didn't make it, (Chris) Clemons didn't make it. Trusnik really didn't have a hat on him, but he got caught up in the trash a little bit. The game is still about tackling and pursuit and you have to get 11 guys around the ball. We have to do a better job of getting our color jerseys around the ball on defense, even on offense. We have to cover the ball better on offense, we have to cover the balls down the field better, and that's something we're going to emphasize here as we move forward."
(On if he is worried about not being able to evaluate his starting defensive unit together before the start of the regular season due to injuries) - "I'm more concerned that we're not playing fast. Again, we talked as a staff yesterday as we watched the film and we said ‘look, Kevin (Coyle) didn't spend an awful lot of time trying to figure out Carolina's formations and substitutions and who is in the game and who is out of the game.' That being said, we don't really know how much time Carolina spent on our guys either. So at the end of the day, it's still, you make a call on defense and you have to have guys that execute the call. The thing that's really disconcerting is we had too many mental errors, too many missed tackles, stuff that beats you in football. It doesn't matter if you game plan for three days or you game plan for 30 minutes, you've got to tackle, you have to pursue, you have to have guys in the right gap and you have to have 11 guys on the same page. Some of those big plays; we didn't have that, and it's tough to overcome that."
(On if he has any more indication on which of the young receivers will play a prominent role this season) - "We're still working through that Joe (Rose). Part of the reason that our run-pass ratio is a little out of whack is, if you look at the team and you look at the running back pool, we feel like we've got some guys that, a) we've got some established players who have had some success in this league, we also feel like we have some young players that have a chance to be very good there. Now we're in a position at receiver where we don't have as much information on those guys, we don't have as much quarterback information, so we're throwing the ball more than we anticipate throwing in a quote unquote "normal game". With all that being said, yeah you're right; things have changed. As I like to say sometimes the computer has changed a little bit week to week in terms of, this week (Rishard) Matthews played a bunch of special teams, week one didn't get a ton of reps, but had some production that we liked the other night. (Roberto) Wallace had a lot of production the first week, not so much this week. (Julius) Pruitt didn't really factor into the game plan. (BJ) Cunningham didn't get a lot of opportunities, so we still have some work to do in that area. It's not a finished product by any means."
(On any added pressure to win games in the preseason for the sake of the fans) - "Sure, but the stage that we're at, we can't necessarily be focused on the outcome right now. We have to be focused on watching the film and seeing development. So that's a concern; when you have more MA's (missed assignments) in week two than in week one. I'm more concerned about that. I love our fans, and we need every single one of them, but the seat I'm in, I have to be more worried about that stuff than I do if our fans want this guy to play more or this guy to play less, or if they want us blitz more or blitz less. Hopefully as a coach you have to stay true to the film and what you see, and there are some things on the film that are concerning that we need to get straightened out quickly. They're (players) going to hear about that in 15 minutes. We're going to start that process. There's no magic wand; just because I say it doesn't mean (it's going to happen). Let's be honest, none of us are miracle workers. It's going to take a lot of work, but that's what we're here for."
(On his perception of the pass interference call on Sean Smith in Friday's game) - "It looked like a good play, but again, that's part of football. You're not going to get every single call. It looked to me from where I was that he was in relatively good position, but the referee, the official saw something and threw the flag. There's nothing to whine about because you're not going to win that argument anyways. Hopefully you can keep them out of the end zone and hold them to a field goal. We had a real bad first drive, but we held them to a field goal. We had a chance to make that, but for whatever reason they called it a penalty, so the next thing you have to do is keep them out of the end zone."
(On how much Marcus Thigpen helped himself with Friday's performance) - "He played well. You know you feel him out there, he made an impact. We thought his special team returns were good; we liked what we saw there. He did some good things. Now let's see if he has some consistency, and some improvement and development. That's what we're looking for this week."