« A trio of Dolphins responding well to challenges; NCAA/UM news; Canes, Marlins, Heat tidbits | Main | Buzz will return »

Joe Philbin addresses depth chart, other issues

For a look at highlights from the Dolphins depth chart released Monday, see The Herald's story on the sports home page.

Here's a look at what Joe Phibin had to say Monday:

(On the main evaluation behind the depth chart) –“It’s a little bit of everything. We’ve been at this since April 10th and then we can back July 27th and today is August 6th, so it’s a little bit of everything. I talked to the team after practice and I informed them that we were releasing a depth chart. I also told them that in no way, shape or form have the decisions been finalized or made. I said to the team that the last time I checked we were playing a game September 9th at Houston, today is August 6th and there is a lot of time in between there. I also told them ‘look if there is an issue,’ I don’t expect there to be issues, ‘if there are, come see me, and we’ll talk about it.’ I don’t anticipate that there will be any. So it’s a starting point. We have to line up someone, and Harvey (Greene) said I have to turn something into him, so that’s what I did.”


(On why Vontae Davis is listed as a backup on the depth chart) –“I think that he has actually practiced well the past couple of days. It looked like he made a couple of plays today again, and he is practicing well. I think he is doing well, but there is good competition there, and that is a good thing right now. But certainly it’s early, and I don’t think anybody should be concerned. The whole ball club needs to show a lot of improvement, and he is no different from anyone else in that regard.”


(On how the decision to start David Garrard was made) –“Yes. I went down to the quarterback room yesterday and we told them exactly what you (media) see on that piece of paper. I went through it and told them about it, and as I’ve said many times and I’m confident about it that we are going to get very, very good quarterback play out of that group. I believe we have talented players with good arm strength, good mobility with good leadership qualities. I couldn’t be happier about the four men that are in that room and I told them the same thing. This is what we’re going to do right now, today. It’s a fluid situation and things could change, but this is where we are today.”


(On if he evaluated everyone from a blank slate or if he took into account players’ previous play) –“Well obviously we peeked at the film and we looked at some things from last year, and a lot of guys performed well last year. So we looked into that, but this has been more about what’s happened since April 10thand maybe more specifically what’s happened since July 27th.”


(On if David (Garrard) will be the starter for Friday’s game) –“Not necessarily. We’ll see how practice goes. We still have a couple more days of practice, but as of right now that’s where we are at.”


(On his frustrations with fumbles at practice) –“I think we had it on the ground one of the first drills we did. If I remember correctly, we were in a situation there and the ball was on the ground. I was just watching some of the half-line stuff that we did that wasn’t even team oriented and the ball was on the ground there. It’s very disturbing. You can’t win football…we said that to the guys last night. We didn’t have any true giveaways in the scrimmage, and that’s a real positive. However, center-quarterback exchange, quarterback-running back exchange, if you start giving the ball away on those, it’s hard to overcome that.”


(On what John Jerry needs to improve in order to make an impact for this team) –“I think consistency and sustaining blocks, whether it be run or pass. Finishing on an aiming point in the running game. You know, Pass protection is a pretty simple game, once the scheme and the person gets identified in terms of who you are blocking. We often times refer to it as man-to-man defense in basketball. In basketball, your job is to try to keep the player as far away from the basket as possible, because the chances of him scoring decrease the further he moves away. Our completion percentage increases if those guys on the defensive line are far away from our quarterbacks. It’s really the same concept. So whether it’s in the running game staying on his feet, finishing on an aiming point or in the passing game handling those twists and being able to redirect against second moves of the defender and just keeping his body in front better. Those are the main areas we are looking at right now.”


(On how the weather impacted practice today) –“It altered it a little bit. We actually had a little something different planned for those one-on-one stations that we’ve done. We were actually going to do the (5:38) tomorrow but we did it today because the field is big. We were actually planning on doing three different drills, so yeah it had a little bit, not a lot, to do with the practice schedule change. We’re fortunate to have a tremendous facility inside. It’s the best bubble I’ve ever been in. I’ve worked at schools that have bubbles that were nice, but not as good as this. We have space on the side and with 90 players we can still function relatively well inside.”


(On if he thinks the proximity of the first game has anything to do with the extra aggression at practice) –“Yes. I was looking for that. This film kind of cut off and I had my back turned and I saw the ref. I was down at that drill and I had my back turned, so I don’t know how it popped up, but inevitably at camp, especially now that today was the ninth heavy practice, you’re usually going to get into something.”


(On Legedu Naanee’s training camp performance) –“I think he’s doing well. I think he had a little bit of a lull early on, but he’s really come on as of late. Sometimes receivers production is a function of a lot of different things, especially when you’re in an install where we’re still not at a stage of putting plays in, and for the offense to feature this guy or this guys against a certain coverage. We’re putting in concepts that we’re going to utilize during the regular season and post season and we want these guys to teach those guys and get them familiar with it. So he was quite there for a little period of time, and I’m not saying it was because of him necessarily. Sometimes when you get up there for a rep you’re running an out breaking route and they’ve (defense) got a cover 2 look, you’re probably not going to get the ball regardless of how well you ran the route. I do think he has come on as of late. He’s made a couple more plays and he made a couple today.”


(On if he reached out to Andy Reid amid the news regarding his son) – “I made a statement, and I’ll leave it at that.”


(On whether Rey Feinga’s absence from practice was excused) – “Yes it was.”


(On if he can provide an update on Kelcie McCray’s injury) – “No.”


(On Clyde Gates having to catch up after missing some time with an injury) – “Any time a player misses a lot of time it’s challenging, especially when your installing plays. Its’ a liitle bit different if you had gone through the whole install and then compact. Now there’s routes that he hasn’t run since May or June, now it’s August. So I think there’s a little bit of truth to him having to play some catch up, sure.”


(On any evaluation of Brian Hartline and where he fits in the offense) –“It depends on when he can practice.”


(On if there is any timeline for Hartline’s return) –“When the medical staff says he ready. Again, you guys know that we’re not the medical position and we’re not in any position, nor should we be, to tell players when they’re ready and when they’re not.”


(On his philosophy about starters playing time in preseason games) – “Well I’d like to see them move the ball, if you’re talking about offense, I’d like to see them move the ball effectively, put together a scoring drive. So maybe the first quarter, 15 plays or 20 plays. And Jonathan Martin might be a different case than Jake Long; You’re not going to have a blanket statement. If the defense goes out there three times and shuts them down and doesn’t give them a first down then nine plays might be perfect for them. I think you have a plan in place. We had a plan in place when we left in June for the preseason and we kind of revisited it yesterday. This week of practice will determine if we revisit it again Thursday. Again, we just have to stay flexible and say look, he did a great job, let’s get him out of there. Conversely if the offense goes up there and doesn’t get a first down; I remember my first year as a coordinator I think we played in Pittsburgh the first preseason game, and I think we went three-and-out four or five times in a row. We kept trying, let’s just go one more, but it didn’t work out, so you never know, and that’s the fun part of the game. You never know what’s going to happen and we’ll see. We’ll have to play it by ear a little bit.”


(On how difficult it is for him being a first-time head coach to make the decision on how long players should play) –“Yes, the game management part is huge. That’s why today we worked on a drill where we had third-and-two with 1:59 left in the game and offense was up by a point. We wanted to simulate the running back breaking free, but going down so we don’t score a touchdown and it’s 28-20 and we’ve got to kick the ball to the opposition. They have a chance to tie the game. Ultimately, it’s my responsibility and I have to do a great job of that and that’s certainly the plan.”


(On what it’s like watching an offense score a touchdown in goaline drills just about every play) –“Like I said, there’s two ways to look at it. You can walk off the field and never be happy. You can walk off the field and always be happy as a head coach. The first team in the goaline I think defensively did a nice job. They had a stop there. The two-point plays obviously we struggled a little bit from a defensive stand point on. Today, I thought…I haven’t seen the film yet, but my guess is that our third-down defense looked very very good against the offense. Obviously, I’ll be checking that here soon. There are two sides. Again, I think you’ve just got to and you’ve got to trust the film and study the tape and let your eyes do the evaluating, not necessarily  your emotion when you’re out on the middle of the practice field.”


(On how he would grade the red zone offense) –“I would say the defense is a little bit ahead in the red zone. We didn’t do a great job in the scrimmage the other day. We had a little bit in pass skelly today, not a ton of red zone. We’ll have more snaps tomorrow. We’ve been working hard at it, but I’d say it’s got to get better, it’s got to get better. We had a chance for a touchdown the other day with a dropped ball we didn’t convert, but I think it needs to improve.”


(On tackle Jonathan Martin’s transition from left to right tackle) – “I like what I, again, I really like what he’s doing and I think he’s fundamentally starting to catch on better and better and better. I said something to him in the locker room after the scrimmage. We’ve said it here in this room before that, with Cam Wake going against him a majority of snaps, not every single time, that’s a great benefit to him and I think it is. It’s still an education for him out there, but I like what I see. I think he’s intent, he wants to do the way you’re coaching him to do it. Luckily, he’s athletic enough that you can see him working towards that end. I think he’s going to do well. There’s still probably going to be a learning curve there, but I’m excited about him.”