Adam Gase gives insight into Leonte Carroo’s improvement

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 24: Head coach Adam Gase of the Miami Dolphins works the sidelines against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at New Era Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 24: Head coach Adam Gase of the Miami Dolphins works the sidelines against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at New Era Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) /

The Miami Dolphins continue their push towards the start of pre-season which will take place in two weeks. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase had some things to say about Leonte Carroo after practice today.

Miami has wrapped another day of camp and it seemed that this day went to the defense as well but one name that has popped a bit today is wide-receiver Leonte Carroo who has lost some weight. Coach Gase talked with the media today and Carroo was brought up.

Gase points out that while he doesn’t believe the speed for Carroo has changed he has noticed that Carroo is not getting worn out at the end of practice. That’s a big indicator that his conditioning is getting better.

Carroo wasn’t the only thing that Gase spoke about. His press conference was kicked off with a question about NBA champion Draymond Green’s visit to the teams practice today. He fielded questions about the turf, Jakeem Grants’ fumble issues and his nickname, “Goose”.

To be honest, I hadn’t heard the name “Goose” before today in terms of its relation to coach Gase but the history is somewhat interesting. While Gase didn’t go into a lot of detail he outlined a bit of where it originated from and admitted that some in the building call him by the name.

Miami is working hard to build chemistry and that is something that Gase has spoken about in the past but this year he seems to be allowing the players to take that role on themselves and it seems to be working. Getting the chemistry to translate to consistency however will improve the team and increase the chances of another playoff season.

Here is the full transcript of Gase’s post-practice interview.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Head Coach Adam Gase

(What went into the decision to let Golden State Warriors F Draymond Green talk to the team today and what was his general message?) – “He told me … I’m trying to remember what part of the summer I saw him up in New York. He was going to be down here for El Clasico and I asked him to come over to practice and a couple a days ago just texted him and said ‘Would you be alright if you said something at the end of practice.’ It’s kind of weird because of the way we do practice, some of our guys are … We don’t have that final call up, so we kind of had to stop there before we hit that special teams period. He had a great message just as far as guys being able to pick each other up and guys stepping up, especially in the tough situations. It just kind of gave them a little something to think about and talked about where they started and kind of where they’re at right now. I’m kind of trying to give those guys that thought process that where we’re at right now, that’s part of the process and keep fighting and trying to do it right.”

(Obviously my guess is that relationship is Michigan State based. Is that correct?) – Yes, it’s a little bit of Michigan State and he has some association with some of Mr. Ross’ people and obviously Mr. Ross knows him really well and it makes it easier for us to be around the same circles.”

(Did you do any recruiting of Golden State Warriors F Draymond Green for the red zone?) – “I think something must have happened at Michigan State where he went out there one day or something and somebody made a comment to him and he’s like ‘No. I’m not throwing any pads on.’”

(What kind of early camp has TE Julius Thomas had so far and has he gotten off to a slow start?) – “I wouldn’t say he’s gotten off to a slow start. I think a lot of the things that we’ve tried to do with him, we haven’t really gotten the matchup we wanted and the ball has kind of gone somewhere else. (Defensive Coordinator) Matt’s (Burke) has done a good job of running certain coverages to kind of prevent us from doing that. The thing about him is he’s been in this long enough, but especially in this offense, he kind of understands about just keep doing what I’m supposed to do and going out there and working in individual. His big focus is always going to be getting good in the run game because he knows that’s going to be something that’s bigger than what we did in Denver and the chemistry between those two guys in the passing game, I feel like is pretty good, and those two have confidence in it. Hopefully we’ll be able to kind of work a little more in the preseason when we start seeing other defenses and other teams. But we kind of come out and there’s a little bit of game plan feel between offense and defense to try to take away guys and not put terrible matchups out there. I think Matt’s done a good job of taking away some of the things, especially in the red area. I like what he’s doing right now. I like that he always knows how to stay focused and kind of just stick with what’s going on and just keep finding ways to get better.”

(How much does it help you from a confidence standpoint that you have pretty much a whole section of the playbook designed with him having experience in it?) – “It makes it very easy to go back and see what we’ve done in the past and what worked. I mean we had a lot of stuff that didn’t work too and it’s just being able to say ‘Cross that off,’ and that’s just not what he does well. It does save some time, but he hasn’t done a few of those things in a while and we just kind of got to get him back in the rhythm of some of those routes he hadn’t done in a couple of years.”

(Is there a preliminary diagnosis on CB Bobby McCain?) – “Yes, he’s fine. I pulled him out of practice. I just wanted to double check everything was good and then he was trying to go back in and I said no. So they were just kind of making sure everything was good after practice. I expect him to be out there tomorrow.”

(Speaking to G/T Jermon Bushrod, he talked about not getting locked into whether it be outside zone, inside zone, but also talked about some power. You guys had some success with that last year. Is that something that there’s more potential for that in Year 2?) – “I think the longer we keep working together, it gives us more flexibility in the things that we can do. It’s hard to go away from something that we did so well last year, but when teams start over-playing certain concepts in the run game, you’ve got to have some options to go and you’ve got to work on them. That’s really kind of where we’re at right now. We’ve got a lot in and we’re trying to work on a couple different things, but at the same time, we’re still trying to stay with our bread and butter and make sure that everybody’s kind of on the same page. And it’s always, for Jay (Ajayi) especially, he likes to feel kind of how they’re setting up their blocks and how it’s going to feel for him when we get to real games.”

(And if I can follow up here, given the type of backs you have, you have a lot of different backs that can do a lot of different things. How does that kind of play in to the type of things that you may be calling?) – “That’s probably the hardest thing to try to manage when your scripting of getting (Kenyan) Drake all the things that he can do. All those different types of things that we can do with the passing game, run game, protection. It’s the same thing with Damien (Williams). We’re trying to see what the younger guys can do and how far we can take them and at the same time, I’m always trying to get Jay (Ajayi) really feeling good about the passing game because he wants to be able to do a little bit more this year and it’s just you never feel like there’s enough plays. You’ve got really less than half a game during a practice. So it ends quick, and you’re trying to spread the ball out. It’s a little tough when you’ve got that many backs that can do all three parts of being a running back.”

(We saw DE William Hayes working on the side. Is there anything you can tell us about that?) – “We gave him a day off. We’re just trying to spread it out because between him and Cam (Wake) and (Ndamukong) Suh, we’re just trying to … We’re not trying to do it ‘Hey, all three of you guys are down on the same day.’ So we’re trying to spread it out a little bit.”

(How is your perception of WR Leonte Carroo evolving?) — “I think he’s done a really good job. There were a couple of things that we wanted to kind of change with him with his releases and kind of how he was running some of his routes and some of the things that we wanted to emphasize. We started in the spring and then he came back to training camp and he was really sharp right out of the gate. It’s funny, we were just having a conversation about the way he is running off the ball. He wants to be consistent with that and stay with what he’s doing because the DBs are struggling putting their hands on him and then trying to stay with him because he’s physical. He’s a big man. The way that he’s kind of angling the DBs a little bit, he’s making it very, very tough on them and I think we’re just going to keep pushing that and trying to put him in the position to make some plays and just keep developing him.”

(With his releases, is it taking more time at the line of scrimmage or is it getting…?) – “It’s just going. We’re trying to get him to go more. Last year was a lot of work in the line of scrimmage where for a guy that size, it’s hard to just like stop him because he can get going pretty quick and then he’s a big man. I mean he’ll run through you. So we want to emphasize that with him.”

(A number of your guys want to practice up on the near field because the fans are there, but you don’t get the field chewed up you think? – “It’s good for what we’re doing right now when we have our day off. The field recovers really fast. I mean you’d be surprised what one day of nobody doing anything would do. Not doing anything on there, it will come back pretty fast and our guys do a good job of day-to-day, being able to get it back to life for the next practice. I feel good with it. If there was an issue, they’d tell me right away. If there were any concerns, even if we had to move to the far field, it’s not ideal for the fans, but we’d do it if safety was getting in the way. But those guys, they do a good job of getting that thing back and like I said, they will tell me if there’s an issue.”

(How much has WR Leonte Carroo’s weight loss helped him in terms of speed and release?) – “I think it’s helped him more with his conditioning. I don’t feel like he’s … He’s not exhausted at the end of practice. I’m not sure how much the speed has really changed for him because whether he was a little bit heavier, I still felt the same speed. I do think him being able to go for longer, it’s help him. Like there’s not a part of practice where I see him laboring and last year I felt like he came in a little heavier than he is now and I think it was tough and the heat started getting to him and it would wear him down during practice. I don’t see that any more. “

(You’ve mentioned spreading the ball around. Are you going to have to talk to your players, playmakers and explain to them it’s not always going to be you?) – “We’ve had that conversation before where we keep talking about being where you are supposed to be. Everybody running off the ball. I mean the defense, it does dictate a little bit where the ball can go sometimes when a defense decides to cloud a guy and you don’t have the best route versus that or play Cover 2. You just have to be patient. You just keep playing and every game could be different. It should be a different guy every game. You just want to make it really hard for a defense to say take this guy away or take this guy away. If they keep thinking of who they have to take away and they select a guy and then the other guys have a big game, it’s kind of how you have to approach it. It all evens out at the end if you do it right. I’ve seen it before. I’ve experienced this before, especially in 2013 and 2014. I mean there were a lot of guys you had to get the ball and everybody just kind of did what they were supposed to do and it works out right in the end.”

(On the defensive line, you’ve had some very intriguing pass rush combinations, which I won’t name – I was admonished for that in the offseason – but, how many of those combinations do you know that you’ll use and how many are kind of still experimental?) – “I think it’s just going to be one of those things ever evolving. You try to figure out who works well together and it really comes down to a communication thing. It’s a brutal honesty thing, saying you guys don’t work well together or one guy saying, ‘I don’t like when I work with that guy.’ You want the best matchups because you only get so many times you can do that. You don’t want to waste a rep just because nobody said anything. I think our guys have done a good job. I don’t think there’s anybody right now I can say that says, ‘I don’t like working with that guy on a side.’ I think our guys all play off of each other really well.”

(That’s really a big factor then, if a guy says “I can’t play off of him.” You take that under advisement?) – “Yes, we’re always going to listen to those guys because it’s not like we are dealing with guys who don’t know what they are doing. When you have experienced guys up front and they’re honest with you and they give you their opinion, that helps you. You’re eliminating bad plays. You’re eliminating calling a defense where they don’t believe what they are doing. I think right now, these guys are doing a good job. They are mixing it up and guys are trying to work with each other and kind of get a feel.”

(How many people still call you ‘Goose’ and where did it come from?) – “I don’t know how many people still do. Probably quite a few.”

(On the team? In this organization?) – “Probably a couple of players that have known me for a while. A lot of the building does. Some of the guys in the building. I’m not mentioning any names. It was something from high school. It kind of stuck with me in college and just kept coming back around. I thought it was gone there, but then when I went to Detroit and T.J. Duckett signed with us. Then it started back up again.”

(Where does it come from?) – “I don’t know, I moved to Marshall, Michigan and some guy asked me what my last name was and he was like ‘We’re not calling you that.’ So he said ‘We’ll call you Goose.’ So I said ‘Alright.’”

(So there’s no Maverick right?) – “(laughter) No, not that I know of.”

(Do you like the name?) – “I don’t know. I’m just used to it, I guess.”

(C Jake Brendel, what does he bring to the table? I can’t diagnose center play but anecdotally it looks like…) – “We keep working all of these guys, whether it be center or guard. We like that whole competition going on up front because we do have multiple guys that can play center and at the same time, when they play guard, they can do what we need them to do. The position flexibility that those guys can have is critical. He’s just a young player. He’s going to keep learning and trying to find ways to get better. You’ve got great competition up front because our d-line, they are competing so hard because there’s open spots. Those guys are fighting to make the team. You’re not getting any down play from the other side of the ball so you’ve got to bring your A game every day.”

(What’s the personality of that receiver group? It sounds like even if some of those guys aren’t competing against each other for spots, they compete with each other every day for production.) – “I haven’t really heard them say much about production. I watch those guys. They kind of like coach each other. When we are in meetings they are really a tight group. They’re all trying to help each other get better. I haven’t heard anybody say ‘Hey, I caught this many balls today’ or ‘I did this.’ It’s more about they’re trying to help each other. ‘Hey, this is how I do this’ or ‘this is why I do this.’ It’s almost like they are trying to help each other get better all of the time. It’s a tight group. If (Wide Receivers Coach) Shawn Jefferson is your coach, that’s how it’s going to be.”

(WR Jakeem Grant seems to be very talkative in that group. He’s talkative in general but he doesn’t think of himself as secondary to those main three guys. He seems to think of himself on equal footing and he is comparing himself against them every day.) – “Jakeem is very confident. That’s what we need him to be. I think him having more success this spring and this training camp, he’s way more comfortable then he was last year. You can see it comes out in his personality, like you’re saying. He does. He’ll talk with the best of them. It is fun to watch all of those guys interact with each other. When we were doing our walkthrough I was watching them and they’re insane. I’m glad that they enjoy each other. It’s a fun group to be around.”

(Does WR DeVante Parker say anything? Is there a side of Parker that we don’t know that you could shed some light on?) – “Yes. He’s like the rest of them. All of those guys are all the same. They’re all the same. When they start going, they are all getting after each other. I think when he has to do interviews he’s just not very talkative.”

(WR Jakeem Grant had a couple of drops today on special teams that we saw. Obviously you don’t want to overreact to any one day but with him, what’s the key? Is it the body of work that he does this summer, the preseason games? What’s the most important thing that you need to see from him?) – “To learn from when he puts the ball on the ground and do everything he can not to let it happen again, and not get hung up on a dropped punt. If you sit there and dwell over it, ‘Oh, I can’t believe I…’ Just move on to the next one. Learn from it. That’s why we’re doing this. He’s not the first guy to ever drop a punt. Like last year, he had one in a game. The defense picked us up. We got a pick two plays later. That’s what your teammates are for. If somebody has a mistake, somebody else picks them up. That’s my biggest thing with him is move on to the next one. He’s effective for us. We know he can hit the home run and we need him to just keep working on being consistent.”

(I guess the upside with him being able to hit that home run negates the downside of him sometimes worrying about handling the ball?) – “I just don’t even worry about it. I’m just more worried about us doing our job blocking guys to give him some space to see if he can find the lane and hit it. My confidence level in him is extremely high and that’s the best thing about when you start a new year. Whatever happened in the past is irrelevant.”