Dolphins minicamp Joe Philbin: Dallas Thomas, Jamar Taylor have 'made significant progress'

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin spoke with the media following yesterday's minicamp practice.

(Opening remarks) - "I thought we got a lot of things accomplished. We took a lot of time to cover end-of-half and end-of-game situations that are really important. Some of them have happened to us. Some of them have happened to other teams in the league and we kind of do our best to simulate that with the guys. As we all know, a lot of games are going to be decided in the last couple of minutes in this league. That's just the way it is. We devoted a lot of time to that. (We) did some red zone and a little bit of pressure as well."                        

(On how he feels the offense responded today) - "I think pretty well. I thought our pass skelly was a lot better. Again, it's a little bit hard to tell. We didn't have as many really naturally competitive snaps if that makes any sense. Some of the stuff, like in the end-of-the-game stuff, you have to fabricate a little bit you know what I mean because you want the clock to keep moving in certain situations. I think, overall, well. I just don't think the sample was as big. Yesterday, we had 103 competitive snaps. I don't think we were really close to that today."

(On if the team won't be in pads tomorrow) - "No, no pads."

(On if the team can't practice in pads in minicamp) - "Right, correct."

(On what he expects out of the ‘Spring Game' tomorrow and if he's going to split up the team) - "We're looking for competition. We're going to mix it up and kind of throw the guys into a pot and stir it around. I think we're looking for guys to communicate potentially with guys maybe that they haven't lined up next to and gotten a ton of reps. That may happen, it may not. Just see how they respond. We're going to just kind of put the ball down. We're going to use special teams. Again, we're not going to be able to gauge live-tackling on certain things, but I think it'll be good. The main things are the competitive nature, the ability to communicate, the ability to play the calls with everybody kind of off to the side and go from there."

(On if he has a ‘Spring Game' every year at the end of minicamp) -"We did it last year. We didn't do it my first year here, but we did it last year. We thought it was a positive to end the offseason program."

(On if you can clearly see a difference in players from year one to year two) - "Two guys you could talk about would be like Dallas Thomas and Jamar Taylor. (They) are two guys that, for all intents and purposes, didn't participate a lot in the OTAs last year and they've made significant progress. Certainly, that's the expectation that year one, some guys, things click right away, they're off and running, they play 16 games, they contribute, they do a great job. Others might take their time. The development might take a little bit longer. Those are two examples of guys that are certainly making progress between year one and two."

(On if CB Jamar Taylor's progress was just a matter of getting him healthy) - "Getting healthy so you can practice for an extended period of time, it's hard to really show a lot of growth and gains when you're on, you're off, you're on, you're off. You're missing a lot of the install. That's hard for guys that have been in the league sometimes. Throw in you're a rookie and that's happening, I do think it makes it tougher."

(On if he looks at CB Jamar Taylor like he's a rookie since he didn't play much in the offseason last year) - "Yeah, not necessarily. Again, we're just giving him opportunities to get out on the field and compete for playing time. So there's not really the looking through the eyes of a certain year or certain level of experience, but more get him out there (and) let's see how he plays press man, let's see how he plays cloud corner, let's see how he plays off, let's see how he plays the fire zones. And get a look at him on tape and see how he's moving and adjusting and competing, and evaluate from there."

(On DE Derrick Shelby saying he's been working out with DE Cameron Wake in the offseason and if he sees a difference in him)- "I think he's a little bit bigger. He's a little bit more physical at this stage of the game. I'd say probably five-to-six pounds would be me guess if we looked at the records from last year. The thing about Shelby is you watch him on film and the cut ups at the end of the season and then you probably gain a better appreciation for him than you do during the year. He's very very disciplined. He really carries out his assignments and his technique well. He's a disciplined (guy). He's smart. He's in the right spot. So he's made a nice contribution over these couple of years. I'm excited about what he can do for us this year as well."

(On the defense having a lot of pass rushers and if that takes some pressure off of DE Cameron Wake so he doesn't have to play every snap) - "Oh, I think if you talk to any coach, any defensive coach, they'd love to be able to rotate guys and keep guys fresh for the fourth quarter. You anticipate going into games that you have to be ready for a close game in the fourth quarter and you want guys to have fresh legs. We're not at the stage to divvy up snaps quite yet, but the more good players you have at a certain position, the better."

(On LB Jelani Jenkins and what he likes about him) - "He does have good play speed and I think part of that is because he's an intelligent player. He's a guy that, if you're teaching a concept or scheme or blitz or a coverage, he's not what we would call a high-rep guy. He picks things up quickly. I noticed him today, one time in punt protection, working with (Mike) Gillislee on a twist and (it was) kind of effortless, kind of smooth. He's athletic. He's another playing that's making good progress."

(On the new right side of the offensive line and how G Shelley Smith and T Ja'Wuan James have done) - "I like them. I like the way they practice, both guys. I think they've both picked up the system really well. I think Ja'Wuan James, for a rookie, displays very good awareness. He's a bright guy. Shelley's played for (Offensive Line Coach) John (Benton) in Houston a couple of years. He has some familiarity with the techniques that John teaches. But I like Shelley, he's kind of a guy that doesn't make a lot of noise, real hard worker, very strong guy and he's done well."

(On what he's seen from DT Earl Mitchell) - "He jumps in the front of the lines in individual. (I) love the way he works. He shows up on pursuit on plays away from him. He's hustling to the ball. He would probably be one of those guys that you might classify as a quiet leader. He's not necessarily the most vocal guy, but shows up every single day (and) really puts in an honest day's work. (I'm) really pleased with him and I like what he's done so far."

(On how LB Koa Misi has done transitioning from outside to inside linebacker) - "Yeah, I think he's stepping out his comfort zone a little bit and I think he's, again, a guy that really put a tremendous amount of time into this transition. He's here early, very early in the morning. He's working with (Linebackers) Coach (Mark) Duffner, so he's very diligent about his preparation. Obviously, he's got to communicate more now that he's on the inside as opposed to being on the outside. I think he has a firm grasp of what we're doing on defense. As I said, I've said many times about him, the thing you like about him as a football player is he does the fundamentals of football well, getting off a block, pursuing to the ball, tackling, knocking the ball loose. He's a physical guy, plays the game right way. So far it's been good. We'll see when the bullets start flying."

(On what RB Knowshon Moreno has showed him so far) - "As I said yesterday, he's a guy that comes into the building every day with a sportive attitude. He brings a lot of energy to the room and to the team. Again, he's picked up the system well. I think he's right where he needs to be and we'll see how things go. Obviously, we want it to be a very very competitive situation in training camp at every single position. With the pads on, we'll have a better grasp of the evaluation at every single position and then we'll gradually move into preseason games and take it from there."

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