MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 16: Head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins looks on during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin met with the media yesterday. Here is the transcript of the press conference as provided by the team:
(On new coaches believing that in a sense their first victory validates their philosophy) - "Yeah, I think there's some merit to that. I mean, we talked a little bit as a coaching staff, maybe some legitimacy to all the things these... and the other point is we feel like these guys, since April 10th, have been giving us excellent effort and it's nice to see the players get rewarded. Hopefully some of the things that we've been coaching on the tape, we've been talking about the turnover margin since the day we got here. Now, we have some evidence of, ‘Okay, we were plus-one, here's the final score.' We've been talking about running the football and defending the run, making a team one dimensional and now you can see a team that really called 12 runs and 48 passes. I think there's some, hopefully some evidence behind some of the things that we've been talking about. I do think there's some validity to that."
(On what pleased him the most about the performance of the offense against the Raiders) - "I think we got off to a fast start, which was good. You always want to start a game fast, so you have an 80-(yard) drive and you get the ball in the end zone on the opening possession. I think that's excellent. There's no question we hit a lull in there for the vast majority of the rest of the half and then I thought our guys fought through that and I think , if I'm not mistaken, our opening drive of the second half, I don't think we scored on that if I'm not mistaken and, anyway, I thought our guys just kept battling, kept the faith so to speak, kept playing hard and then obviously Reggie (Bush) gave us a spark on that short yardage run where he popped it and broke three or four tackles on his own with an exceptional effort. Then, we started making some more plays and guys all pitched in. Obviously, Reggie had another big one, but there was other guys that made some plays along the way there offensively. So I think just the way they kind of kept battling, they kept hanging in there and I thought overall they controlled the line of scrimmage. You don't usually get a 250-plus yard rushing day in the NFL. It's hard to come by."
(On if there was one thing that stood out about the defense, whether it was holding the Raiders offense to one conversion on third down as well as holding their offense to 23 yards rushing) - "Probably those two things and I'd throw in the red zone defense. I thought our red zone defense was good. I thought third down was excellent. You know how you are as coaches. Kevin (Coyle's) ticked off cause they were one-for-12. We thought with that one, we didn't play, in our minds, correctly or we thought we maybe could have pitched a shutout on third down. But I thought the red zone defense was good. We made some plays down there. Overall, the good news is there's still a lot of room for improvement. We felt like we've got to tackle better. The tackling's still not good enough, not where it should be relative to the amount of time that we spend on it. We tell the players all the time, ‘The things that we emphasize, the things that we practice on a daily basis, those things have to show up on tape.' To a large degree, a lot of them did, but not all of them."
(On what makes running back Reggie Bush so effective) - "I think he's had good patience, believe it or not. I think he's been disciplined in his aiming points number one. I think he's been patient number two and then he's shown the ability to break a tackle. It's hard to scheme up a run, I don't care what level of football you're at, where you can get everybody blocked and there's not a free hat so to speak at some point in time. Every offensive coach is going to see if they can get the closest, if they've got seven guys blocking, the closest seven to the ball they block or they have an assigned blocker too. You can't get them all and so, when you're a running back, part of the paycheck that you're earning as we like to say is how many guys can you make miss? How many tackles can you break? Can you finish a run off, which obviously he displayed all that yesterday, which was huge for us."
(On if he's surprised that Bush has the ability to break tackles) - "No, I'm not overly surprised. Again, he's a good football player. Yesterday, he showed a kind of a blend of elusiveness, which is make a guy a miss, but also not necessarily run a guy over, but break a tackle. Again, you know how football is - everybody, I'm sure in Oakland today, they're saying, ‘Look, we can't, where's the wrap or where's the acceleration on the contact once you hit Reggie Bush?' You can't just hit a guy and expect him to go down. There's two sides to every play, but, again, he's been productive in both games. He's run the ball hard and physical and I think his effort, he's been practicing hard. The guy's, he's a hard worker."
(On how to approach the play where Bush scored on a 23-yard touchdown run, but ran the wrong way) - "No. No. No. Yes. That happens and it happens. Sometimes, you can't be too dogmatic as a coach. There's certain core principles of running the ball, but, at the same point in time, when a runner has to, you have to trust their natural instincts at times and he's certainly an instinctive player."
(On what quarterback Ryan Tannehill's improved in from Week 1 to 2 and what he still needs to work on) - "Well, there's a lot of things he needs to work on. Again, that lull in the second quarter, end of the first quarter-second quarter, there's a couple... and, again, I don't know that we're ever going to go through a game and say he made every throw, perfect location and the right timing. There's always going to be some things to work on, but we hit a stretch there that he was a part of, it wasn't all him, but he was a part of, that we've got to do better. He's got to do better. There was a couple accuracy issues. There was a couple timing issues in there, but we thought his decision making was good and the thing that I like about him at this stage of his development is that, let's be honest, he's had some tough stretches in both games okay and he battled back in the second half of both games and kind of, again, just kept playing and showed some resiliency as an individual player and kept playing the game and didn't pout and say, ‘Oh, my God, I've made four bad throws. Let's make seven bad throws.' Okay, you make a couple bad throws, let's get back on track. Let's get some first downs and just see if we can get the ball in the end zone."
(On Tannehill's ability to play rolling out of the pocket) - "He threw the ball well on the move. Threw the ball very well. He finished a urn off obviously for the touchdown run there that we had on the opening possession, which there was a great picture of Anthony Fasano, tremendous effort cutting a guy, getting a guy down, which enabled him to get in the end zone untouched, but I thought he threw the ball accurately. He threw a real nice ball on third down to Brian Hartline I believe on the right away from our bench. He threw a real nice ball to Davone Bess on the move toward our bench there going in that I think we ended up with a touchdown on that possession. I thought he threw the ball well."
(On if he thinks throwing on the run is one of Tannehill's strengths) - "Sure and it's an added dimension. Yeah, absolutely. Let's face it, if you can move the quarterback around the pocket, especially if you have some concerns at various points in time against great pass rushers, it's a benefit. There's no doubt about it."
(On if he would like to see Tannehill slide more) - "Yeah, there was one or two picture in the pocket, yeah. The one with Lamar (Miller), I think he came outside. Lamar Miller, we thought, could have done a little better job, maybe slid his feet a little better, but he certainly, Lamar, picked up the blitzer. There's some definite pocket awareness, stepping up as opposed to bailing out on occasion. Again, that's not unique to him in the world of quarterbacks, but, yeah, there's definitely some room for improvement."
(On who has excelled most at run blocking to this point in the season) - "I thought Richie Incognito played a really good game, better than he did in Houston. We've been impressed with (Mike) Pouncey both weeks. I think he really plays the game the right way. There are a lot of pictures of him finishing plays, blocking people to the whistle and staying engaged on blockers, which is really encouraging. A lot of guys did some good things too, but I would say yesterday, those two guys probably stood out the most."
(On Lamar Miller first game) - "I thought he had good patience for a young player. Sometimes you get a young player in the game for the first time and he plays a little too fast. You know he's a little too eager, wants to do well, and may be nervous or anxious. I don't think that was the case with Lamar yesterday. He kind of had the right speed and tempo for the plays that he was running, and had a little bit of elusiveness; he wiggled through a couple of cracks there, and had some nice runs. So for his first time out there, I thought he got off to a good start."
(On some of the things Mike Pouncey has done to draw such high praise from the coaching staff) - "Just the way he finishes plays. It's hard to move a guy and stay on a guy in the National Football League. I know they (offensive linemen) don't like to hear it, but defensive linemen are usually better athletes than offensive linemen, typically. And so when you see a guy stick and engage and finish and drive his knees, he really plays the game the right way, he really does. He plays hard; I've been impressed with him. I don't want to give him too much or he'll start getting a big head, but I thought he played well. He's played well two weeks in a row."
(On whether he has an idea of what a good Dolphins team means to the city) - "Again, from coaching in this league for nine years and knowing the history of this franchise, I would imagine it means an awful lot to the people here. It means an awful lot to the people that walk into the building here every day. We told the team after the game that this is the 2012 Dolphins. We've certainly acknowledged the great history that we have here and the tremendous success that teams have had in the past playing in front of our home crowd, and I thought our crowd was great yesterday, but we also have to start our own legacy, our own identity. I think it means a lot to everybody; hopefully it has to mean a lot to everybody. Our players have to be passionate about it, our staff has to be, everybody associated with the players who touch the players in the building, and that's when it's fun. When everybody feels like they have a stake in it, and then enjoy and reap the rewards."
(On whether the mood around the building has changed) - "Not really. I told the team in the locker room, our message to the media should be that we have a long way to go, we have to show a lot of improvement. I said to the team yesterday, seven days ago we were in the locker room and we said that we have to improve and we have to get better. We've made a couple strides, but we've still got a million miles to go. There's a lot on tape. I said to the staff an hour ago, that the mood should be the same in the Monday meeting. We have corrections we show to the players and we have positives, and it should be no different from what we did last Monday."
(On whether he is glad the Jets are coming in this week because they are a natural attention getter) - "I'm looking forward to it. Division games are fun games to be a part of. Rivalry games are always exciting to be a part of. Again, we don't make the schedule, so this is the next game on our schedule. We're really not even there yet; we're still in a corrections mode from the Oakland game, but I know our players, our staff, our fans will be excited about the game this week when it comes."
(On who he thinks excelled against the run this week besides the defensive tackles) - "I think Cam Wake has been playing the run very well. Always much has been made about his pass rush, which is excellent. He had a couple quarterback hits yesterday. I think it was two or three, which is excellent. But I think he's been playing the run very well. He's been playing with excellent effort, and he's another guy that I think has done a really good job against the run, considering that you might think of him as a specialist or a pass rusher so to speak. But the guy is a football player."
(On how he thinks the coaching staff has improved) - "Yeah I think our staff did an excellent job yesterday. If you look at every aspect of the game, you know Darren (Rizzi) and Dave Fipp had our special teams well prepared. If you look at the field position we had in the first half, pinning them down. That was a great call they had on the field goal where we punted the ball and got the ball pinned down there at the eight yard line. I thought that was excellent. I thought Mike called a better game; we had better balance. And again, it's a little bit of the chicken and the egg. You've got to give credit to the players for getting us in situations where it's easier to call plays, and I thought Kevin and his staff with the red zone defense and the third down defense. Obviously they've demonstrated an ability to stop the run. I'd love to tell you that our coaching staff got a lot smarter in one week, but I don't know if that's the case. But again we're just trying to stay at it, keep an even keel. We want to be a team that gets better as the year goes along, make progress, and have that show up on tape. Sometimes the stat sheet can be a little misleading one way or the other, and we want our film to be good. We want our players to play smart, play tough, play sound."
(On Hartline's connection with Ryan Tannehill despite missing all of the preseason) - "Well I can't say anything good because then I'll have nobody here for OTAs. He's made a nice contribution, and it's good to see. It's nice to see those guys be on the same page so to speak in such a short practice time."
(On how much he and Mike Sherman communicate during the game about offensive changes) - "I've got a tremendous amount of faith in those guys. I whined a little bit in the first half and they told me to keep quite because I was whining, but I try not to say much. I try to keep my talk button off for the most part. If I see something I usually walk over during the TV timeouts. There's so many TV timeouts and they're so long that if I have something to say I usually walk back to the players and staff going over the pictures and do that. But you know having been in that situation, you want to have a clear mind and you don't want a lot of interference. Everybody has their own opinion, as we all know, but I have total faith in those guys calling the game."