The Bryant McKinnie trade sidetracked this blog from the pursuit of answers from Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman about his work and his unit's work in a loss to Buffalo on Sunday. Indeed, when Sherman entered the interview room Monday, I was on the phone with a source about McKinnie.
But, unlike Ryan Tannehill, I have time to gather myself and get back on plan.
So here now is Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman answering questions:
(On if he knows anything about a trade for Bryant McKinnie) -- “No, I don’t talk about personnel stuff. I leave that up to Jeff (Ireland) and Joe (Philbin)."
(On if Bryant McKinnie would bring if he did come to the team) -- “I’m not even going to comment on it right now because I don’t know the where ifs or what nots. Ask Joe (Philbin) and Jeff (Ireland)."
(On if he feels there needs to be changes on the offensive line) -- “If we had…believe it or not, we got out there every single game and evaluate our personnel. Every week we put the best guys in the best position. If we thought we had better at certain positions, then we would go in that direction, right or wrong. That’s how we look at it. Take that for what you can."
(On Tyson Clabo’s season so far) -- "Tyson came in as a veteran player. (He has a) tremendous attitude, tremendous personna and work ethic. I thought he brought a lot to the table in relationship to team chemistry and being a part of that group. Certainly we’ve faced some pretty good pass rushers, (Elvis) Dumervil, (Terrell) Suggs, Jordan and no less Mario Williams. We’ve struggled. Mario Williams is going to be a Hall of Fame player at some point of his career or life, I would imagine. They are tough challenges. The first three ball games we didn’t quite face those types of challenges, those types of pass rushers, in the last couple of ball games we had. Obviously, we’ve struggled. We just have to figure out whoever is playing those positions the best way to help them. I can do a better
job of that. At times we do, at times we can’t. You just can’t based on certain parts of it. At times we are good and at times we aren’t so good. Tyson has had his struggles at different times, but he’s brought something to the table as well."
(On decision to pass in the fourth quarter with 3:37 to play) -- "The first play was a run. It was against Bear defense, and they were 100 percent trying to stop the run. We have a lot of confidence in the two receivers, Mike (Wallace) and (Brian) Hartline on the outside. We felt comfortable with that. It was a five-step pass. Obviously the result isn’t what we were looking for."
(On passing the ball during the fourth quarter before the fumble play) -- "I don’t think you can protect a 21-20 lead in this league. I think you have to be fairly aggressive. I’ve been in situations myself trying to protect a 21-20 lead, and I’ve lost those games 27-21. We are going to be aggressive with a one-point lead in the fourth quarter. We aren’t going to sit on it. The difference between winning and losing in this is so much right there. It’s one play that can make the difference in a ball game for you or against you. With a one point lead, my philosophy and Joe (Philbin’s) as well has been to be aggressive. If we got the first down, the game would have been won and we wouldn’t be having this discussion at this point. Certainly it’s a valid question, without a doubt. At the same time the what-if factor is, ‘If you get it, do you have this conversation?’ No you don’t, and it would have been a great call. Those things happen."
(On what portion of four-minute offense is pass plays versus run) -- “That’s not four-minute offense. That’s trying to win the football game. Four-minute offense for us would be under four minutes on the clock. We have a nine-plus lead, probably 10 point lead in the game. You put your two tight ends out there. You try to burn your time outs or time off the clock. The part of it is most of those plays they are different type of plays. They aren’t drop-back plays. That was not a four-minute offensive play. That was a play to win the game. With the ball at midfield and Joe (Philbin) is the best at doing research on opponents, and in our research they had a two-minute drive last week to tie
the ballgame. We wanted to win the game. We wanted to get that first down. We knew the front they were going to play. They played the exact front and coverage we thought they were going to play. It just didn’t pan out."
(On if the amount of sacks to Ryan Tannehill is affected him) -- “Let me just say this about Ryan Tannehill. He’s normally very resilient and physical. If you ever notice how he takes a hit, he’s giving to it. Do I think he’s banged up a little bit? Yes, probably. He wouldn’t be human if he wasn’t. At the same time knowing him, he’s very resilient physically and mentally. I think that is what is going to make him a very good quarterback in this league."
(On if a player would come in via trade, could they conceivably start for the team) -- “Do you want the filibuster? As far as personnel goes my comments are directed to the general manager and the head coach, who are more in-tune with that. The what-if part of it, I’m just dealing with what-ifs today. I have to get through today and get ready for a great football team up in New England. That part of it I’m not going to address, thank you. I appreciate the question though."
(On if he remembers ever having a player brought in before and starting the same weekend) -- “I don’t recall not. I don’t recall doing either."
(On how long it would take someone to learn offensive linemen technique in this system) -- “Are you guys just passing the ball around here? Let’s get this game over with so we can move on."
(On the possibility of giving Tyson Clabo block help on the play that resulted in the fumble) – “I think there’s always ways. It’s a different style of play. (Mario Williams) is going to line-up somewhere, usually on the edge to the open side. He’s going to be a problem somewhere. In hindsight, yes, I think you can always do that. It’s a different call, it’s a different structure. It was a run-pass option, and they showed the pass look. That’s what we went to. We very easily could, if they didn’t play that front, could have went to the run. There are different variables. It would have made it a little bit complicated. In an ideal world, that is a possibility."
(On if there could be a variable where Mario Williams is double-teamed wherever he lines up) -- "We did some of that in the ball-game at different times. We banged him. We thumped him. We did different things to him. To do that consistently throughout the ball game and negate the fact that sometimes he’s not where you think he’s going to be. That happened once or twice. Then we moved to him. That’s another thing. You negate the structure of your pass offense in some ways because your route distribution is out a little bit. Now can you do it? Yes, you are limited a bit from what you can do but you have a chance to bang him in those situations."
(On if the pick-6 against Buffalo was a bad throw, bad read or a good defensive play) -- “All of the above probably."
(On Ryan Tannehill having more turnovers than touchdowns as part of the learning curve) -- “I think we always want to get better than where we are, and I think he’ll be the first one to tell you that. Sometimes on some interceptions he made a bad decision on one. He got hit on the fumble he had no chance of getting out of. It happened rather quickly, and the interception for the touchdown by Buffalo he was hit as he was delivery the back. He probably would have pulled it back if he had time to. I’m hoping that’s what he would have done. There’s a lot of variables to those things. To put them all on the quarterback I think is unfair. I think we all share that responsibility."