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3 posts from November 1, 2013

November 01, 2013

Flex game PLUS Joe Philbin speaks

The Dolphins game against the San Diego Chargers Nov. 17 has been flexed by the NFL and instead of a 1 p.m. start will now begin at 4:05 p.m. That's actually something of an advantage for the west coast team whose players are more accustomed to later starting times for games.

Coach Joe Philbin, meanwhile, met with the media Friday. This is what he said:

(Opening statement) – “I thought it was a real team win last night. We talked to our players in the meetings before the game at the hotel that the real key was going to be how we played the game, not necessarily whether we played under or over or whether we ran the ball or threw the ball, but the play speed and that we would have to stick together and find a way with all three phases contributing to win the game. I thought that happened.”

(On if the coaching staff was able to get any sleep with the late night) -   “Yeah I think so. I think guys got some sleep. We came back a little bit later than normal. Yeah, when I got home I would like to get home a little earlier than that. Given the circumstances, I’ll take it.”

(On if running the football is the new blueprint for the offense or if it’s a product of matchups) - “I think we always felt like running the ball against (the Bengals) was going to be a good option. As you know, they have an excellent front-four. They have an excellent pass rush. They had an excellent blitz package. We wanted to keep the sticks in a manageable situation. So running the ball was part of that, and we had some success doing it. Usually, again, you have to adjust during the course of the game, but if something is working well typically you stick with it.”

(On Will Yeatman’s role as a third offensive tackle) – “I thought he made a nice contribution. Again, I think part of it would be how productive we were. We had some success with him in the game. We got a fair number of snaps.”

(On if the idea of a safety was even in the back of his mind before it happened) - “You are always optimistic and always thinking possible takeaway. I was thinking maybe a takeaway in disrupting the quarterback’s rhythm and timing, tip the pass or hit him while he’s throwing the ball. I can’t sit here honestly that I was thinking we were going to get a safety right then, but I’m glad we did.”

(On if there is a bullying problem in the locker room) – “Again, I’ll repeat what I said. I’m aware of this report. I can say without question that we emphasize a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another. Any behavior that deviates from that is inconsistent from the values of our organization. That’s all I’ll say in regards to that.”

(On if he has seen anything first-hand that he would consider bullying or harassment) -  “Again, this is something we take very seriously and will not be tolerated.”

(On if the bullying problem is a matter the coaching staff is looking into) - “I think I’ve responded to those questions already.”

(On if he thinks there will be any discipline as he looks into the locker room situation) - “Again, this is something we take very seriously and will not be tolerated. I’ve responded to those questions.”

(On if he was concerned about the field condition last night) - “I walked the field before the game. It seemed very good. In warm-ups everything seemed good. A couple of their players slipped a few times, and a couple of our guys slipped. I’m not exactly sure why. It looked like it was in very good shape.”

(On how he assess where the team is right now) - “Well there’s been a lot of good things on film, and there’s been things that aren’t so good. The big thing we have to stress moving forward is more consistency and more completeness in our play for 60 minutes or 67 minutes or 68 minutes, however long it was last night. We have to find a way to plan more consistently throughout the course of the game.”

(On the play of the defensive line other than Cam Wake) - “We had good contribution from a lot of guys up front. They did a good job. Obviously the second half we had a hard time getting off the field. Some of that was them. Some of that was other guys. Some of that’s a credit to Cincinnati’s offense. They executed well. I thought overall it was good.”

(On how Tyson Clabo played) - “He did a nice job. He did a nice job, yep.”

(On if it was nice to see Tyson Clabo play after everything that had happened) - “Absolutely, yes.”

(On if the leadership council will talk about Jonathan Martin) - “Again, any of those discussions that would take place with the leadership council would be between myself and them.”

(On if a win fixes or puts a band-aid on a locker room issue) - “I think we talked last Monday when we got together as a team, we talked about a family atmosphere. You are part of a family when you are on a team. You mentioned it. There’s 61 players, 20 coaches, and you have to have each other’s back. The theme for the week was we have to stick together and play like a team. The scheme wasn’t the important thing we wanted to emphasize last night. We wanted to emphasize playing like a team, sticking together and having everybody’s backs. I think the film bore that out. That’s what happened.”

(On if everything he had to deal with in the past week was the toughest test for him as a coach) - “Again, it’s not a comparison. You deal with reality as it is. I don’t necessarily compare this week to last week or this year to last year. You deal with the situations that pop-up one day at a time. At the end of the day, the way my brain works you think about why you are in coaching and the privilege and responsibility you have to represent the Miami Dolphins and to coach this football team. It’s an honor to do it, and you deal with things as they come.”

(On if there is a relief for the team after the victory) - “Not necessarily. Again, it’s one day at a time. It’s one game at a time. You keep things in perspective. You remember why you are in coaching, why you are doing these things. You go to work every single day. The idea of getting this team better and playing up to their potential, that’s what your job is as a coach. Sometimes stuff happens. Stuff happens in a family. Some of it is not always great, and you have to deal with it. That’s what we do.”

(On if he is satisfied with the chemistry on the team) - “I told (the team) again in our team meeting on Monday, the thing is I’ve never been on a team or a part of a team where there wasn’t respect among the players amongst themselves in the locker room, the staff amongst themselves, the players respecting the coaches and the coaches respecting the players. If you don’t have that in this league, in Pop Warner, in high school or college, you don’t have a chance. You have no chance. I believe strongly in the men we have in the locker room. I believe strongly in the staff. I don’t think you get a performance we had last night. It’s not perfect. There’s a lot of stuff to work on, a ton of it. However, I think the character of the football team was revealed.”

(On Lamar Miller’s performance) - “He’s been very productive as of late. He’s a guy who’s got very good ability, good vision and he’s starting to make more people miss. Early in the season I think he was kind of getting what was there. Now you are seeing some things where he is breaking some tackles. He’s kind of showing that illusiveness you kind of want to see out of a running back. Yeah, aside from carrying the ball a little too loose down there I think he’s doing some very good things.”

(On what the team’s wide receiver trio contributed in last night’s game)  – “I thought those guys made a nice contribution. Let’s call it what it is, it wasn’t the biggest day we’ve ever had throwing the football from a yardage standpoint, yards-per-catch, all of that stuff. But I thought they contributed to the game-plan well."

(On if the sack for the safety was an impactful play for the season)  – “It was a big play. We talked to the guys about if you analyze the season (and) look at the three wins early. We made plays in the fourth quarter. We made plays that decided the outcome of the games. If you look at the next stretch we went through, we made some but we didn’t make enough. Again, we had to come back. We had to put together a drive to force the game into overtime, which showed a lot about our offense. We kicked the ball and punted the ball back down there deep. Then our defense came up huge. It was a big play.”

(On what Caleb Sturgis showed rebounding from the missed field goal in the first half)  – “Just like we talked about with the rest of the team, (Caleb Sturgis) showed some resiliency. He showed the character of the individual that he is. I just watched again this morning on tape. (It had) all the qualities of a good kick, good fundamentals, the plant, the timing, the operation were all there. It was a big kick.”

(On if Bengals’ running back Giovani Benard’s 35-yard touchdown run was a great play from the runner or fundamental issues from the defense)  – “Yes and yes. Again, I don’t want to oversimplify the game of football. You can overanalyze schemes. I think Cincinnati has an excellent coaching staff, but if you just analyze the play call you would say, ‘Is that a great play call or is that a great individual effort?’ It certainly wasn’t a bad play call, but that was a tremendous individual effort by a football player making a play. That’s really what football is all about. Can we tackle better on that play? Absolutely, 100 percent. We have to tackle better. However that’s really what the game of football in the NFL is all about. It’s about guys stepping up and making plays. We have an obligation to put them in a position to make plays. But there’s no magic plays out there. Teams are well-coached on both sides of the ball. Teams have good players on both sides of the ball. That was a heck of a run. It was a heck of a run.”


(On having Cam Wake healthy and if he was limited in previous games because of his injury)  – “He was healthy and ready to go in those games. You want to have a gradual return for a player. Certainly you can feel his presence a little more. You can’t deny that. You can feel his presence.”


(On Dimitri Patterson’s strong performance this season) – “He’s been very instinctual. The thing I think is he’s put himself into position in terms of reading the routes based on what coverage he’s in. He’s very good at the top of the route. He transitions very well. He can plant and break on a ball. You’ve seen some of that on some of those interceptions. He’s certainly made a difference when he’s out there.”

Dolphins talk stirring overtime victory

It was early Friday morning when the Dolphins got to their locker room and were able to start discussing their stirring 22-20 overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

It was early Friday morning when I filed this column that explains how the Dolphins saved their seasonn (for now) and helped keep multiple people I name from very uncomfortable questions and futures. (Please check out the column).

Back in the locker room, meanwhile, this is some of things the Dolphins were saying:

On Jonathan Martin, the starting right tackle who has been given a leave of absence from the team so he can seek treatment for emotional issues:

Joe Philbin: “I’d like to say, in regard to Jonathan, that any play with an injury or illness, our primary concern is for the health of the individual. And with respect to Jonathan, he’s been excused with a non-football illness. Our concern and support are with him, and really that’s all I’m going to say on the matter."

On Tyson Clabo, who returned to the starting lineup and replaced Martin seamlessly. He did not allow a sack:

Calbo: "I just want to do the job that I was brought here to do. I want to play at the level I’m still capable to playing at. You have to take your lumps and licks in life. When I got benched last week, I just said to myself if I got the chance to go back in there, I’m going to be ready."

On what a win does for the team's morale after suffering four consecutive defeats:

Ryan Tannehill: "It’s huge. We had our backs up against the wall for a couple weeks in a row, and we kept getting pushed further back and finally we got out of that whole a little bit.  This is a huge win for us.  Losing four straight, coming back and getting a team win.  The defense played great, made some huge plays, getting turnovers.  The offense didn’t score a lot of points, but we moved the ball when we had to there at the end of regulation, to get a field goal.  We kind of righted the ship, we’re back on track a little bit, it gives us a fresh start midway through the season.  We’re four and four, obviously it’s not where we wanted to be at, but that’s where we’re at.  Now we’ll have to build on this from here."

Mike Wallace:  "I think tonight was our first true, team win. I think everyone played great in all three phases of the game. We made some critical plays in all three phases, and it was just a big win for our team."

Phillip Wheeler: “It does a lot for us, not only record wise but our confidence, getting that losing streak off of us and I feel like we can start fresh at .500 and get some wins."


Dolphins beat Bengals 22-20 in overtime

Cameron Wake is back.

And so are the Dolphins.

The defensive end had a sack for a safety in overtime to give the Dolphins a 22-20 victory over Cincinnati.

It was Wake's third sack of the night. It was a bigtime player making a bigtime play.Dolphins01bb cameronwake jwr

"Most of you that know me know the past few weeks have been a little frustrating," Wake said. "But that's football. You get banged up. this game was a very important game for us. Losing games. Hard fought games. But finally having one come down to the end and guys showing up all over the place ... You couldn't win any other way."

It marked a night in which the Dolphins blew a 17-3 lead (sound familiar?) but rallied to tie the game with a 44-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal with 11 seconds left in regulation.

Then both teams were forced to punt. And with the Bengals backed against their end zone, Wake poured in over the right tackle, sacked Dalton in the end zone (barely) and sent everyone home happy.

The Dolphins are 4-4 now. They play at winless Tampa Bay in 11 days.

Suddenly things are looking up.

The Dolphins got multiple great individual performances.

Lamar Miller rushed 16 times for 105 yards. Ryan Tannehill didn't throw a TD but neither did he fumble or throw an interception. He had a 92.3 QB rating.

Mike Wallace caught six passes for 82 yards and drew a big pass interference penalty that led to the game tying field goal in regulation.

Brent Grimes returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown.

Good work.