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Joe Philbin answers media questions

Joe Philbin believes the deep ball is coming for his Miami Dolphins. He thinks Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is very talented. He believes practice squad running back (and possible future third-down back) LaMichael James is coming along nicely although the player may not necessarily know the entire offense yet.

How do I know he thinks all these things? Because he said so today.

This is everything he told the media today:

Opening statement) “A couple of things that we talked to the team about really improving, today was our third down day. That’s one area of our football team that we’ve really got to coach better, play better, execute better all the way around. That was kind of the focus today and certainly something as we move forward during the season we are going to have to do a much better job at both sides of the ball.”

(On how troubled he is about the punt and kickoff return coverage) “I think there are a lot of factors that go into it. Just like we talk about the passing game, we talk about protection and spacing and timing and accuracy and decision making. The kicking game, there’s a lot of it. There’s the kick, there’s coverage, there’s defeating blocks, there’s tackling, there’s spacing, there’s reading the blocking schemes. There’s a lot of things that go into it and there are things of where we are at statistically that we have some things we need to keep working on, get better at and correct. I wish I could say it was one thing.”

(On what he has seen from Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles and if there is any comparison to QB Ryan Tannehill’s rookie year) “I haven’t sat around and thought about that, but I guess the one thing I would say is I remember he didn’t start the game, I don’t believe, but I know he played in the preseason against Tampa Bay in the first preseason game, and we played Tampa Bay in the second. I remember watching and I remember saying, ‘Wow, this guy looks pretty good.’ I think he’s very talented and I think he can make all the different types of throws. He’s elusive. He’s got good pocket presence, so he’s doing a good job. We are going to have to play well to defend him. I really was very impressed with him the first time and I’ve seen some additional film since then. He’s come along nicely.”


(On if he is happy with the offensive line) “You always want to see more. You ways want to see improvement. You want to see development. This group that we have out there that we’ve had out there the last two weeks has been together two weeks. There’s certainly some positive things. It’s funny, I think I said this to you guys and I believe it, if you look at the stat sheet we did have four sacks. That’s not acceptable. That’s too many. Yet at the same point in time a lot of the pass attempts are as clean of a pocket as we’ve had all year. There’s certainly a lot of room for development and that’s why we practice. That’s why we want it to translate to the game.”

(On what he likes about what the offensive line is doing now) “I think they are smart guys. I think they are tough. I think they are passionate about football. That’s what I really like the most about them.”

(On how important footwork is for a quarterback) “I think it helps. I think it contributes to them. Like anything else, you’ve seen quarterbacks that have had great success in this league that maybe don’t adhere to the same precise fundamental footwork. But I think as a starting point, I think it’s very important. I think for young quarterbacks it’s very important and it’s something we certainly spend a lot of time, Zac (Taylor), Ben (Johnson) and Bill (Lazor) spend a lot of time emphasizing with all the quarterbacks. I think it can only help you.”

(On if there are some quarterbacks that throw better on the move) “Oh, I’m sure. I think that’s fair to say, yeah. I think if you study different guys, I think just in my experience some do throw better on the ball on the move than others, sure.”

(On how encouraging it was to see QB Ryan Tannehill take adversity from a few weeks ago and channel it into playing at a higher level) “You want the players, as the season progresses, you want to see improvement and development out of everybody at all position. You want the units to improve. Again, I think that’s the encouraging thing about our football team the last few weeks is I think we improved in a lot of different areas. Certainly, his performance has helped that. Some of the guys around him, their performance has helped that. I think it’s good. I think he is playing well and we are looking forward to him playing well again.”

(On what it says about a quarterback that can get through a difficult time) “Inevitably if you are in the game long enough or you walk on the planet long enough, you are going to have things happen to you that maybe you didn’t plan on happening, didn’t want to have happen, and you have to deal with them. I think that happens, and that is part of the maturation of all us I think at various points in time. I’m sure you’ve had some in your career.”

(On the place the read option has in the offense at this point) “It’s a part of the offense. It’s something that can be a positive thing. It’s not rocket science. It’s not the magic pill, but it’s something that we’ve utilized game-by-game based on how our opponents line up and how we anticipate them playing that particular scheme. One week could be emphasized more than another. Some weeks may not be, but I think it is something defenses have to spend some time on tape to demonstrate the ability to at times run it effectively. I think that’s going to devote some practice time to it.”

(On his reaction to seeing QB Ryan Tannehill carry defenders attempting to tackle him on his long run against Chicago) “I loved that. I thought it was great. I think he, after contact, got contact at after 12 yards. I think he was smart. He had good ball security at that point in time and was able to drag guys. Those types of runs, we showed the whole team just the running backs, the tight ends and the wide receivers, when you break tackles or carry guys five, six, seven, eight extra yards, I think it’s a momentum building for the whole team.”

(On if QB Ryan Tannehill is under rules to slide whenever possible) “Not in that situation. He was fine. If somebody is coming straight on or what we would call a vice tackle where guys are coming at him from two different angles, then certainly we would want him to go down.”

(On if he hesitates using the word trap game when playing a team with only one win) “Yeah, I do. As I’ve said and I definitely said to the football team, it’s really you have to watch the film. The film says that this team is improving dramatically over the last three weeks that we’re playing. Again, I think their defense is averaging giving up 13 points a game the last three weeks. You give up 13 points a game in the National Football League, you are giving your team usually a pretty good chance to win every single time you go out. I think they have a tremendous red zone defense. They’ve got a bunch of sacks on defense. They have a young quarterback. They are the least penalized team in the NFL, if I’m not mistaken, or close to it. There’s a lot of indications that Coach (Gus) Bradley and his staff are doing a great job up there. Their team is getting better, there’s no doubt about it. I haven’t really brought up the record. What I talked about was watch the tape. There’s enough there on tape that we have to get ready and we have to play well.”

(On if he feels like he has to limit the times he calls the read option in fears of QB Ryan Tannehill taking a big hit) “Not necessarily. We have to do whatever we have to do to move the ball in the game. If we feel like that’s the best way to do it, then we will call it a bunch of times. If a team defends it awful well and we don’t seem to have the answers to get it going, we probably aren’t going to call it a whole lot. We haven’t put any restrictions, limits. It’s hard to predict. I said last week, if you would have asked me last week, I would have said we probably are going to be handing the ball off all day. Things change when you get to the game.”

(On if RB LaMichael James knows the offense yet) “He’s coming along. I think he’s coming along pretty well. I can’t speak to say that he knows 100 percent of it, all of it, but he’s a bright guy, he’s been diligent. He’s done a good job so far.”

(On how DE Dion Jordan looked today) “I was encouraged by the way he moved around again. I thought he’s had two good days of work so far. That was positive.”

(On if C Samson Satele has exceeded expectations since the team picked him up especially with moving Mike Pouncey to guard) “I don’t know if it was part of the plan, but I don’t know that it wasn’t part of the plan. I think you just deal with things day-to-day and you learn more about a player. We certainly didn’t know a lot about him. He’s come here. We like the way he goes about his business in the building. We like the way he’s performed on the field. He’s a good guy in the locker room. We’ve just kind of taken it one day at a time and he’s done a nice job so far.”

(On if there is anything that has changed about WR Mike Wallace’s game that has made him more of a possession receiver) “The biggest thing I’ve noticed is just his work ethic around here, his comfort around here, I just think he feels better about being a Miami Dolphin. I know that sounds crazy, but I think it’s translated and helped him on the field. I really do. He’s got five touchdowns in six games. What did he have five all of last year maybe? Who knows what the future holds, but I like the way he’s contributing. I like the energy that he is bringing. He’s practiced hard. He’s been running hard in practice and working on the timing with everybody, with the whole passing game. I can’t really pinpoint one thing necessarily other than I just like the way he’s going about his business more and I think all of that stuff, at the end of the day, counts for something.”

(On if he thinks the deep ball is coming) “It’s coming, it’s coming.”

(On the moment in the Chicago Bears game where WR Mike Wallace made him smile on the sideline) “It was good, it was a good conversation. Again, his enthusiasm has been great, his energy has been great. I think I told him, I’ve got to cut this conversation off because I’ve got some other things to do. It was a positive conversation, it was good.”

(On RB Lamar Miller and his strong start and him not having as high a rushing average as he did in the first four weeks) “Let’s face it, our tailbacks, our running back I guess since we’re not in the I-Formation anymore, so I can’t call him a tailback, but our running back position, especially last week, I think averaging three and half between Daniel (Thomas) and he. Again, you’ve got to credit Chicago. We’ve got to do a little bit better. I don’t think it’s anything specific that Lamar hasn’t done, we’ve just got to pop him free a little bit more, give him some more opportunities. One of the things we’ve talked about is and one of the reasons I mentioned earlier that we showed the clip of Ryan (Tannehill) running is we want him to get to the secondary level, whether it be against a nickel back, a safety, a corner. I said it to him again on the field today, we’re going to get you to pop loose there and really break one and show your speed. It would be great for him, great for the offense obviously and the team. Hopefully that will happen.”