The Dolphins adjusted their schedule this week so players and others could have Christmas Day off and celebrate the holiday with their families if they wish.
So the team practiced Tuesday and will return to work Thursday.
Coach Joe Philbin talked to the media today.
This is what he said:
(Opening statement) – “I thought our players had a good practice today (in) our normal down-and-distance preparation for the Jets. We talked to the team this morning about playing our best game of the year. There is nothing to wait for or hold back for. We have to play our best game of the year Sunday at 1 p.m. It should be a great atmosphere. We get to close out our season at home. That’s where we are.”
(On where he would rate his one-two receiving combination of Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline at this point) - “I think they’ve both made a good contribution to the offense. I think they’ve been consistent throughout the course of the year. I like what they’ve done. I think they can do different things, complementary skills to one another. I think they’ve been good.”
(On if Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline’s production is what he expected out of them) - “I think it’s good to have balance as an offensive unit and have more than one guy that you can go to throughout the course of the season or a game for that matter. I think it’s been great.”
(On what Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler have done well against the run) – “I think they’ve played downhill. I think their play-speed has been good. I think they’ve done a good job attacking the line of scrimmage. I think overall they’re tackling has been good. Not unlike other teams, our defense at times, we’ve got to continue to work on our run fits as a unit, not necessarily just those two individuals.”
(On what does a sack do to an offense besides jeopardizing a quarterback’s health) – “The objective is to move the ball into scoring position and ultimately score points, touchdowns hopefully. Negative plays are something you as an offense you coach against. You don’t want penalties. You don’t want negative yardage runs or sacks. We approach it kind of from the opposite that we want to teach good pass protection fundamentals, good schemes that are sound and protect our quarterback. At times we protected our quarterbacks well. At times we haven’t.”
(On the 65%-35% ratio between passing and running on offense) – “Again each game is a little bit different. I know after 15 games that’s where we are in terms of the run-pass ratio. As I said the other day, I would like to have run the ball more than 12 times the other day. I also would have liked to have a longer run more than three yards. I think game-to-game you are in different situations, and the scoreboard dictates some of the play-calling. I think in a perfect world we would like to be running the ball more.”
(On what number he would strive for per number of rushes) - “I haven’t really thought about it, but yeah more than where we are at now”
(On why the team doesn’t run the ball more on third down) – “There is no opposition to it. They hadn’t really done a lot of that prior to this game. To their credit they had a couple of good looks and executed their plays well, but we are certainly open to any way we can move the chains. It’s not like we are not going to run the ball. It’s just the defenses we anticipate we don’t think it is real advantageous to do that.”
(On what is the cost benefit of running the ball) – “Usually football is a game of leverage. If you have leverage or advantage numbers wise, you may want to run it as opposed to pass it. If they have more than you got, it becomes a little bit of a dicier proposition. You just have to weigh those factors when you are putting your plan together.”
(On if the Jets have progressed the three games since they’ve played) – “I think their quarterback’s playing better. We knew (Chris) Ivory was a good player, he seems to be more productive. Their sack total is down a little bit so they’ve been staying out of the situations we were in the other day. Offensively when you’re in better down and distance, your second down is more manageable, you’ve got a bigger playbook, you have more play action, you have movement passes and those type of things that we were kind of out of. I think they’ve just been doing a better job managing the sticks and playing sound football.”
(On what he can take out of the first meeting) – “I thought we executed relatively well. Our guys made a couple plays. We broke some tackles especially in the second half. Certainly want to do a better job in the red zone, we kind of went down the field a lot we got a lot of yardage, we need to score more points the second time around. I think we’ve got to take advantage of our field position and the opportunities we get when we’re in the red zone. I thought we moved the ball consistently well but we’ve got to score more.”
(On how the players who have played with a one year contract have performed) – “They’ve done a good job. I thought (Tyson) Clabo played a very good game the other day, Brent (Grimes) has been consistent all year long.”
(On what the pressures are while playing on a one year contract) – “I think those guys are professionals, they’ve been in the league for a long time. They are professional and come into work every single day looking for a way to contribute to the success of the team. I think when you’ve been in the league for a while you understand, really the fact of the matter is most everybody that plays or coaches is (on a one year contact), your paper might say different, but that’s kind of life in the NFL.”
(On the decision to give players Wednesday off) – “I did make it a little while ago as I looked at the whole season and how we do things. It is a little bit of a change for us, we talked about it. We’ll do something things a little bit differently on Thursday than we typically would do. I just think Christmas comes once a year and when you have an opportunity to spend Christmas with your loved ones you should do it. I think it’s a doable thing, sometimes we may not be able to do that, but I think when you can do it you should do it.”
(On how he promotes playoff atmosphere through the holiday week) – “We talked to the team today about it. This is truly a one game season and it’s going to be December 29th and we need to put together our best effort in all three phases of the game. It’s as simple as that. There are nine millions scenarios that everybody can get into and worried about but our players need to be worried about preparing well and playing the game at one o’clock.”