Miami Dolphins day 7 transcripts
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have been very gracious this year providing us with the post-practice question and answer transcripts. Today we have head coach Joe Philbin and running back Lamar Miller. Joe Philbin however brought up something interesting on free agent acquisition C.J. Mosley. Will he make the roster? Philbin isn’t saying 100% either way.
Here are todays comments from Joe Philbin and Lamar Miller as provided by the Miami Dolphins. You can read my thoughts on several of them below. My comments are highlighted in bold.
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Head Coach Joe Philbin
(Opening statement)– “I thought we had a good practice today. One of the big emphasis points today was, in talking with the team after the first six practices, I didn’t feel like we were doing a really good job before the snap of the football, whether it was getting lined up in the proper formations, getting the right splits and we had way too many pre-snap penalties. I thought today we looked more like a football team out there in that regard, so that was a plus.”
(On WR Michael Preston’s development) – “I think it’s a real tribute to him, he’s an extremely hard worker, he dives in feet first and both feet are in, he’s committed to being as good as he possibly can. The guy is a football player. He’s got a good mentality.”
Preston has looked good for the most part in camp this year and is one of the players that is really making it hard for the coaches at the wide-receiver position. Preston has a real shot at making the final 53 man roster and could force the Dolphins to carry six receivers into the season.
(On if anyone has stepped up to take the number two running back position) – “I think Damien Williams has had a really good camp. I think he’s done well. LaMichael James has done well as well. Jay (Ajayi) is picking things up and improving. I think it’s a good group. (Mike) Gillislee, I thought down here in the red zone the last couple of practices has been – I think it’s going to be a good competition. I think the preseason games will help iron it out a little bit, but I really like the group.”
Gillislee is a long shot to make the roster as James and Williams, as Philbin said have looked good thus far. The Dolphins can’t afford to keep all of their backs which makes Gillislee the odd man out. At best the Dolphins will carry four runners and three may be a possibility as well. James is the one that is pushing for the team to carry four.
(On the label on DT Jordan Phillips coming out college that he didn’t play hard consistently and if he has become self-motivated to prove that wrong or if he still needs a push by coaches)– “He’s been practicing hard. There’s always examples of players at various times during practice, players sometimes need an extra push and encouragement and so forth. I think overall he’s done well. I think his energy on the field has been good.”
Phillips has learned a lot in a short time from Ndamukong Suh and it has shown in practice.
(On a player not recording over 300 carries in a season since he’s been here and if that is a number that he sees is too high or if RB Lamar Miller could eclipse it this year) – “The ultimate objective is scoring points on offense and however we have to do to do that and whatever personnel we have to utilize. I haven’t really looked back and I’m sure you’re accurate, but whatever we’re doing to move the football and score points we have to do. If one person can help us do that and giving him 23 carries a game to get 350 carries, I have no problem doing that.”
(On if there are diminishing returns on running backs if they have too many carries) – “Every player is different though. I can’t remember, again, my first year in the league, Ahman Green, I think he rushed for 1,800 and some odd yards, he carried the ball a bunch, I don’t know how many times, but it seemed like he carried it a bunch. I think you’ve got to go case-by-case, really.”
(On the development of DT Anthony Johnson from year one to year two) – “The thing I really like about him is the way he plays the game first and foremost. I think he’s aggressive, he plays hard and fast. Again, he’s another one of those guys that I’d say loves the game. I think his technique has improved over year one.”
(On if there is any monitoring of DT C.J. Mosley’s snaps or if it’s based on performance where certain guys play on certain teams) – “A little bit of both. We kind of have a plan going in in terms of how we want to rep the guys each and every practice, and sometimes that fluctuates a little bit. But some of it is based on merit too. Sometimes younger players we want to get exposed to a little bit more than some maybe an older player. We kind of adjust the reps accordingly.”
(On if he expects DT C.J. Mosley to be on the team) – “We’ll see, we’ll see what happens.”
Philbin is normally non-committal when it comes to players making the team. He has stated that no one has made the roster yet. Regardless it’s interesting to hear that a guy like Mosley isn’t necessarily a lock to make the roster. The Dolphins do like the depth they have along the defensive line and Mosley could be out of the equation if he doesn’t meet the teams expectations.
(On what he’s looking for from veteran G Jeff Linkenbach to give him more comfort about the guard position) – “Like you said, he’s got that experience as a veteran. He’s played in a number of different NFL football games and he’s done well. I like his versatility, I like his approach to the game. I think his work ethic is very good and he’s competing, he’s in the thick of things.”
(On his impression so far in training camp of DT Earl Mitchell and his expectations for him this year) – “He’s another guy that I think – his work ethic and passion for the game are outstanding. His motor is excellent, pursuit to the football. There is little fundamental things I think we’ve got to clean up, little details and hand placement, and those type of things. Overall, I think he’s been very good.”
(On what he is looking for in the scrimmage tomorrow) – “We want to see a lot of different combinations of people. We want to get a lot of people involved, we want to get a good evaluation on really hopefully everybody on the roster that’s going to go. That’s number one. We want to get some situational work accomplished, continue to work on the red zone, continue to work on two-minute. Obviously, defensively, offense didn’t do much yesterday. They did quite a bit, first-team offense was successful. We want to do another two-minute thing. So a lot of situations and also just exposure, the younger guys will probably get a little bit more so we get a good evaluation so they get their feet wet before we go to Chicago.”
Tomorrow’s scrimmage won’t tell us a whole lot as it is more or less situational play but it will give fans a good glimpse of both sides of the ball in more physical action. As Philbin said the first real test will come next Thursday when they play Chicago.
(On if there will be some tackling in the scrimmage) – “Yeah, we’re going to talk about it. We’ve done it before in the past. We’ll do some. We’ll probably do a little bit of isolated tackling in drill settings here in camp as we get going too. I’m not opposed to that.”
Over the past few seasons the Dolphins, in particular the linebackers have had issues in season with consistently wrapping and driving opponents. Tackling is something that needs to be fixed and definitely cleaned up. Whether it’s in practice or the scrimmage it’s a drill the team needs to work on safely.
(On giving some guys off today and if the mindset is more about the long term) – “Yeah, most of it is long term, absolutely.”
(On playing the scrimmage at night compared to the morning practices) – “Yeah, I think sometimes a night atmosphere is good. Here, part of the reason in the morning is the heat, sometimes the thunderstorms. We’ve got a great facility over there we can go to at any time. Football is kind of, I think of it as an outside game and we’ve got great fields here. I think there’s probably something to that.”
(On if they have been lucky about the weather or if it’s been the 8 a.m. starts) – “Probably a little of both. I think the 8 a.m., I would think has something to do with it. I don’t even want to jinx myself (laughing).”
The Dolphins have been lucky with getting most of their practices outside. This will also help condition the players in the Florida heat. While the start of the season favors road games it’s still humid later in the season when most of the Dolphins home games will take place.
Running Back Lamar Miller
(On Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor saying he was quiet when the two first met and if he is more vocal this year) – “I’m the type of person that tries to lead by example. I really don’t talk too much. I talk to the running backs, but, as a team, I’m not the type of person who gets up and speaks. I just try to lead by example.”
Miller doesn’t need to be a vocal leader on the team. Offensively the Dolphins have Ryan Tannehill who is becoming more vocal, Greg Jennings, and Jarvis Landry.
(On if he would ever go up to Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor and ask him to give him the football more) – “Yeah, I’m going to start doing that. I’m a team guy, so whatever the coaches call, I just try to do my assignment. But if I feel like we can run the ball this year, I’m just going to try and open up a little bit more.”
If the offense is clicking Miller should be able to put up another 1,000 yards rushing with little problem. Health and the talents of the back-ups will play a big part of that. Miller has worked hard at catching the ball better and with pass protection so there is room for him to gain more touches by being on the field more often.
(On how the conversation would go if he asked for the ball more) – “I don’t know. I’m going to have to find a way to say it.”
(On if Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor is open with him about suggestions) – “Yeah, he’s always open. If we feel like something is open, he’ll be mindful of it – just try to help the team out any way possible. If we feel like we can throw the ball to win the game, he’s going to throw the ball. If we feel like we can run the ball, we’re going to run the ball as well. It goes both ways.”
(On what it’s like entering the season knowing he’s the number one guy) – “I still have that same mindset as I had as a rookie. I just come here every day and just try to get better, compete with the younger guys. I’m the veteran in the group now. I just try to push everybody, so when that guy gets that opportunity he’ll take advantage of it.”
This is the first season that Miller will be the uncontested starter. Last year Knowshon Moreno was inline to start the majority of the season. His injury led the Dolphins to use Miller who had a very good season.
(On if any one running back in particular in his group has stood out to him) – “I feel like all of the guys have been doing a good job. Damien Williams, he’s been doing a great job since he got here. LaMichael James, he’s a fast, quick guy. He’s been doing a great job as well. Jay (Ajayi), I feel like he’s doing a great job, coming in as a rookie just knowing the playbook, knowing the concepts and everything. Mike Gillislee, he’s running hard. He’s taking advantage of his opportunities as well. I feel like all of them guys are doing a great job.”
Mike Gillislee seems to be the last one that is mentioned by everyone unless directly asked. Gillislee might be a good option close to the goal line but again, I can’t see the Dolphins carrying him this season.
(On what this team can do) – “We just have to take the next step. Of course, we want to go to the playoffs, but we have to take it one game at a time. We’re in training camp right now, so we’re just trying to get better… just try to be mentality tough.”
(On averaging 14 carries per game last year and if he’s hungry for more) – “Yeah, of course. I feel like I can carry the ball as much as the coaches want me to. Whatever the coach calls, I’m willing to do anything to help this team win.”