The Miami Dolphins host the New England Patriots this Sunday in an AFC East showdown. Head coach Joe Philbin met with the media yesterday to discuss the game. Here is the team provided transcript from the press conference.
(On if there areas of the Patriots that he would like the team to emulate) - "Consistency. Turnover margin I'd love to (be where they are). I would imagine if you went back and studied since 2000 or 2001, my guess is, again I don't have this as a fact, I would guess they're the best in football. That would be my guess over the long haul. But I think you have to admire their consistency and their productivity. It appears from indications and I'm not very familiar with their program, but that they do things well on and off the field and that's great."
(On the versatility of the Patriots players and if he would like this team to be able to have that) - "I think in coaching you're charged with getting the most out of your players regardless of sometimes you have great control over what you have and sometimes you don't - injuries and so forth. I do think they adapt well. I think they have flexibility within their schemes and they utilize their players well. I think that's a challenge and kind of a responsibility of every coach regardless of where you are."
(On what makes Wes Welker such an effective slot receiver) - "He's a football player. He catches the ball well. He gets open, separates from defenders. It looks like he has good awareness of coverages and anticipates well. He's a good football player."
(On how often he goes out of his way to challenge the players) - "Every single day when they walk on the practice field. Every single day. We told them today (that the) most important thing they do is walk on that practice field. The meetings are important. The weight room is important. The training room's important. Mental preparation is important. But nothing is as important as the practice field in terms of us getting ready to play as well as we can possibly play. Every single day in those regards."
(On when he challenges them even more so) - "I'm not sure. They're probably better to ask. Again, I hope to... We're going to develop some consistency here of how we approach a game, how we conduct our business and believe in preparing the same way for every single game. This league, my experience has been in 150 or 170 games, you have to be ready every single week. You have to play well every single week. I don't know that I'm smart enough or good enough or crafty enough to get a team up here and then get them from there to there. I think you just have to be yourself."
(On how much different practices are now compared to Week 1) - "They're a little bit shorter, but the core of the practice is really the same. When we were practicing today, we practiced... Last week, we really did a ton of two-minute and we're going to do some of that tomorrow as well, but today we practiced - we had the ball with 1:30 left, the defense had three timeouts, we had a lead of four points and we're trying to run the game out. We're usually popping in new situations on a weekly basis, but the core of the practice really hasn't changed, but the reps have been cut down a little bit."
(On if the team has a Miami on Miami period every day) - "Usually there's some segment. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, certainly. Like today, we did some red zone like that. Some days we'll do pass skelly like that. Today, we did that. Defense, hey you guys have three timeouts (and) you've got to get the ball back (and) you've got to stop the offense. Offense, we've got get a first down and run out the clock. Those type of things we usually (d) unscripted as we like to say."
(On if this week's game is a good measure of how much the team has improved this season) - "It's absolutely going to be a measuring stick of where we are. There's no question about it, as will the game after that and the game after that and the game after that, but there's no doubt it will be a measuring stick, absolutely."
(On Chandler Jones) - "He's athletic. He's got great length. He (has) very, very good quickness. He's developing some good instincts and moves as a pass rusher. You can see those emerging over the course of time on film. It appears he's going to be a very good player in the league."
(On how the linebackers have done in pass coverage this year and who has stood out) - "I would say that the two guys that stay in in nickel are probably the two best. They're very similar, Karlos (Dansby) and Kevin (Burnett) really do a good job. And Koa (Misi) did a very, very good job, the one play that pops in my mind from the other day was a play where he kind of re-routed Golden Tate and then made a real nice tackle in the open field. He's coming along as well, but I would say those two guys are probably the best."
(On how much the defense will be able to substitute on Sunday against the Patriots face-paced offense) - "Well, we're prepared to do as much as we can or as little or none. I think our scout teams have been doing a good job presenting the look that we're going to see on Sunday to the best of our ability. Again, the biggest thing is some guys have mentioned over the course of time we have to find a way to play well on third down. We've got to find a way to play in the red zone. Absolutely have to. The better job we can do on third down, the less that's going to be an issue, but the more times they move the sticks, it becomes a challenge. There's no question."
(On where he has seen RJ Stanford's growth this season) - "Well he's been with us for quite some time now, and when you get a player initially, there's a little bit of an adjustment period, there's no question about it, but I think he's beyond that. Now he's playing a little more instinctively, a little faster, a little more decisively. I think that's enabled him to earn more opportunities."
(On whether he and Sean playing together at Utah helps them now) - "That might be a stretch. That might be a stretch."
(On whether the team is doing anything extra this week to prepare for the Patriots up tempo offense such as drinking pickle juice) - "Well we haven't gotten there, but maybe we should. No I think the practice environment is where we're doing the best job to simulate the things they are going to see in the game. That's really what we've been doing. We're reloading the next skill set of guys that are presenting the look as fast as we can. What typically happens in the week is there is somebody holding a card up and everybody is looking and then everybody is breaking. We're kind of working the next play ahead and getting guys going and using some of our own language on very similar plays so we can get guys up and running and just simulate that pace. I think it's gone well. We've had a couple snafus, but that happens."
(On how much stock he puts into coaches and halftime adjustments) - "Yeah I think it's an important time. It's a fast time. I believe there's 12 minutes in a halftime, so we want our players to go in and attend to their needs if they need anything physically or what have you. Then they sit down as a unit and our coaches gather, but it's quick. You know our guys are coming down from the box; our coordinators are upstairs. Our position guys are coming off the field. If I have any specific instructions, they're sitting in different spots, and (Darren Rizzi) Riz usually hits the guys before, then the coordinators offensively and defensively. You hope there's not too much. You hope there's not a whole litany of things that you have to cover at halftime. I'd say you have time for two, three adjustments maybe. Not that you can't communicate other things on the sideline, but it happens quick; it's fast paced. It's an important time though, there's no doubt about it. Usually my feeling is, let's get these guys re-focused on what the plan is. Let's not reinvent things unless the wheels are totally falling off."
(On how long it takes a coordinator like Mike Sherman to diagnose what the opposition is doing) - "I thought you were going to ask how long it takes Sherm to get down to the locker room (laughing). Well again we have to aid of those pictures and things like that, so those guys are continually looking at them and usually during a timeout I walk over to the bench and stick my nose in the pictures just to see what they are. Again and we have guys upstairs that are charting, ‘hey Sherm they're playing Okie this much or blitzing this much, or first and ten we've run it 10 times but only thrown it once.' So we're doing the best we can keeping up during the course of the game, so at halftime there's really not a lot of time to analyze that stuff. Hopefully they're doing that when the defense is in."
(On how Jimmy Wilson has developed as the nickel) - "There's no question he's developed. He's had some very, very good games. He's had a couple of games where we need him to perform better, but I like his development overall. I think he's progressed well. I really do. I like his competitiveness, but this will be, as you just mentioned, this will be a great challenge for him."
(On if the team is an ideal conditioning position to go up against the fast-paced Patriots offense) - "I was just looking at our weigh ins. We weigh in every Thursday. I don't think we've had a guy over weight in six weeks. It's been a while since we've had a guy over weight. I believe we're in good shape. I like the way that we practiced. I like the way that we've prepared on a consistent basis. I think we, for the number of players... We have 61 players typically practicing this time of year and I think our guys are efficient and do a good job and that should be enough. In between that and what Darren (Krein) and Dave (Puloka) do in the weight room, I think we should be in good shape (and) good to go."