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2 posts from August 22, 2013

August 22, 2013

Joe Philbin answers all your questions

You have questions about the Miami Dolphins. Coach Joe Philbin is the man with the answers.

These are his insights from Thursday's post-practice press conference:

(Opening Statement) – “I thought we had a good week of practice in our preparation of the game against Tampa Bay. I’m excited to see our guys compete. As I mentioned to you guys earlier in the week, we formatted the week much like we will do in the regular season in regards to lifting, meetings and practice. I thought we had a good week of preparation.'

(On if Saturday’s game will give any separation with the tight ends)– “Potentially. We are going to have to see how the various tight ends perform during the course of the game. Certainly every game gives us a chance at another 50 plays, depends on how many each tight end plays..but it gives us more information on decisions about play time. Certainly I think it will help to a certain degree."

(On if he worries about negative off-the-field stories reflecting on the team) – “As I’ve said many times, I’m concerned at all times that our players represent the organization the right way on and off the field. At the present time, my entire focus is on Tampa Bay and getting our football team ready for the 2013 NFL season."

(On if he talked to Richie Incognito about the reported incident) – “As I’ve said, my focus is on Tampa Bay and preparing my football team for the 2013 NFL season."

(On how he would gauge he will get on the team after Saturday’s game) – “I think again you learn about your team every single week in the NFL. That’s kind of the beauty, challenge and the exciting part about it. As a coach and a player, you are never quite sure what’s going to happen during a course of a game. They kind of each have their own storylines. I’m sure we are going to learn more about our football team. As I’ve said, I think we had a good week of preparation, and I’m excited about seeing us compete against a good Tampa (Bay) team."

(On position battles and how Saturday’s game compares to a week of practice) – “We have devoted more time. Again, if you look at the schedule we have invested more time in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and this particular game plan than the preceding practices and the preceding games. We want to see cleaner, faster, better execution from everybody who steps onto the field."

(On if Dustin Keller’s injury gives him pause of how long guys will play in preseason games) – “Not necessarily. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of football. We do our best to put players in a position to condition them well enough where they can go through and play a game without getting hurt, but it’s a hard thing for a coach to control or a player to control, for that matter."

(On if he puts more stock into practice or game performance) – “We look at the total picture. We’ve roughly averaged 115 snaps a day out here on a typical day. A particular player may only get 15 in a game. He may get 30 in a game. I think we look at the whole spectrum of things, and hopefully by the time the end of next week rolls around we’ve got enough information to make good decisions."

(On how Brian Tyms has performed in camp) – “I think he’s improved. There’s no question about it. I like his play speed. He’s doing a better job blocking. He’s trying to be more aggressive in that area. I think he’s caught the ball better. There’s definitely signs of improvement."

(On what he is looking for with Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas versus Tampa Bay) – “They are skilled athletes, both of these guys. They are versatile. They can run the ball. We both feel like they have good hands. They are good route-runners, and we obviously want to see them pass-protect when the time comes and when there number is called in a particular blitz or pressure, those type of things. We are looking for good solid, sound overall performances from those guys, and ball security as well."

(On how both running backs are doing in pass protection) – “They’ve done well so far. They haven’t been challenged a ton, but they’ve done well."

(On how Mike Wallace’s run blocking) – “He’s improving. I think you should use his words as opposed to mine (laughs). No, he’s improving. There’s no question about it. We spend time on it, it’s an important part, especially the way the safeties play in the NFL. Maybe a few years back maybe it was different, but you have to get good blocking from your receiver position if you expect to get explosive runs.  It’s hard for running backs to make two people miss on a play. "

(On who are two or three players in particular who need to show something in the next week) – “I don’t know that there’s any particular individual who needs to show it. Again, we’ve devoted a lot of time to this ball game.  As I said to the staff and I said to our players earlier in the week, we’re looking for us to get lined up, for us to execute our assignments quickly and confidently and for us to be able to make adjustments in game by the players, not necessarily waiting until the sidelines.  If there is a different formation that they line up in offensively we have to be able to make the adjustment, if it’s a different front that they line up in defensively that we didn’t anticipate, we have to have our players make the adjustments.  You’ve been to practice and sometimes here coaches yelling, do this, do this, it’s time for our players to really take charge."

(On how much he needs to see John Jerry in Saturday’s game) – “As coaches we’d always love to see players play, we’re going to make final decisions in regards to play time before the game. We haven’t come to that conclusion yet.  It’s always good to have additional information, I don’t care how many years you’ve played football, it’s still good to get some game snaps under your belt before the season starts."

(On how tough it is for rookies who miss most of the preseason when the regular season begins) – “It’s tougher, there’s no question about it, there’s a lot of value in the practice field, there’s no doubt about it.  There’s a lot of value in the snaps you can get in preseason, as I’ve said many occasions, we spend a lot of time planning practice and we do it  with the expectation and the hope that every player will be able to practice.  We know that’s sometimes unrealistic but, missing practice reps, I don’t know that it benefits players."

(On if he’s seen rookies be successful despite missing some of preseason) – “Oh I’m sure there have been, again nothing comes to my mind at the present time, but yes it’s possible, sure.”

Concern about Jordan missing opener grows

Dion Jordan continues rebab work on that troublesome right shoulder and as the regular season draws closer, sources within the team tell me there is a growing concern the rookie first-round pick may not be ready to play in the regular-season opener.

Jordan will miss Saturday's preseason home-opener against Tampa Bay, which is the most important game of the preseason for the Dolphins. He has already missed several weeks of practice and last week's game at Houston. He missed this week of practice, as well, including today.

Publicly, the team continues to put as optimistic a spin on the issue as possible.

Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle on Wednesday tried to be positive about the likelihood Jordan would be ready for the Sept. 8 opener at Cleveland when he was asked if he doubted Jordan would be available.

"Um, I don't have doubt," Coyle said. "I hope if he stays on target with what we're hearing and what we're seeing, he'll be ready to help us come opening day."

But privately, there has been discussion about whether it is better to keep Jordan out of practice longer than anticipated until there is certainty he has fully strengthened the shoulder beyond any doubt. There has also been discussion with trainers about the chances Jordan could continue to re-injure the shoulder as he plays.

The reason for that discussion is that Jordan must use the shoulder extensively in pass rushing -- with swim moves and under moves -- to get past offensive tackles.

The Dolphins are concerned enough about that issue that they're making contingency plans for not having Jordan available against Cleveland, along with their hopeful plans for using him if he's ready.

“There’s always going to be a plan A, plan B, plan C as you approach the season," Coyle said. "We have a plan in place to utilize Dion, provided that he’s up and ready to go. I think he’s making strides with his rehab and working with our trainers and strength coaches. So we are ready to implement that plan if in fact we get the green light.

"If not, we are proceeding as if we wouldn’t have him in another plan. That’s just part of
football where a guy goes down you’ve got to have a plan. One person doesn’t necessarily completely alter your game plan, so there are other people who can play the role we originally had planned for Dion as well on the current roster. That won’t keep us out of doing certain things that we think are going to help us win the game."

Jordan originally injured his shoulder in college and had surgery in February to remedy the problem. He re-injured it in the Dolphins second game of the preseason against Jacksonville Aug. 9.