Miami Dolphins Transcripts 12.31

Head Coach Brian Flores

(I believe since WR Albert Wilson and G Solomon Kindley were placed on the COVID list Sunday, I believe under the new five-day rules they can come out today unless I’m mistaken. Will they be at practice today?) – “Yes, both guys will be at practice.”

(I imagine Head Athletic Trainer Kyle Johnston is keeping in close contact with the guys on the COVID list. Without asking you anything about symptoms or how anyone is feeling, I will ask you this, with S Brandon Jones and DL Adam Butler, they are obviously eligible to come off tomorrow. Are you feeling optimistic that either or both will be available Sunday?) – “I’m not sure they’re eligible to come off tomorrow. My understanding is it’s potentially the next day. We’re just going to have to see how that goes. That close to the game, we’ll basically have to see how it goes. But we’ll take it day-to-day with those guys. If it was tomorrow, that would be different but it’s the day after for the earliest after the five-day deal.”

(You do have the option of what you did with S Jevon Holland, where you activate him just in case they are able to play Sunday, right? That’s an avenue that you have available.) – “Yeah, that’s obviously on the table.”

(I wanted to ask you about when you have a coordinator background from a defensive standpoint and when you have a body of work against a guy like QB Ryan Tannehill, do you keep files and notes on them or is it something that it just evolves and develops as the year progresses?) – “I think I try to take the approach that every week is different, every year is different and try to look at it with a blank slate. The players are different, the coaches are different, scheme is sometimes different, concepts are different. So I just try to look at it from that lens. We have different players, who we have up, who we have down. I just try to, it’s a blank slate across the board. When there is some familiarity with a particular player, you know their strengths and weaknesses from playing them in the pastthen you have to get another look at it and see if what used to be something they struggle with, they’ve gotten better at. I think that’s certainly the case with a lot of players who develop and get better over the course of their careers. I would say that’s the case with weaknesses. Ryan has done a great job for those guys from a leadership standpoint, from a communication standpoint. He’s throwing the ball well, he runs it well, he’s a good runner. He’s got great command of the offense and he’s doing a really nice job for them.”

(I was just going to ask you about the dynamic of how fans think compared to how coaches and players think. I know fans and a lot of us are constantly thinking about “okay, what do you have to do to make the playoffs looking ahead?” You obviously and your players are solely focused on the next game. You’re not polluting your head with playoff thoughts, which takes great discipline, I would think. So I was sort of curious – do you have to train people in your life outside of the building not to look ahead with you? Like are there any close friends or family members who are tempted to ask you about the playoffs? Could you win out? And you have to train them not to ask you about stuff that goes beyond the next week’s opponent?) – “No, I understand that thought process and why those questions are asked. I think we all do. I also know that the fans and our family members, they’re not going to be out there trying to block Jeffery Simmons or trying to cover these receivers. That’s not in their future either, so they don’t need to spend all their energy on that. I think our guys do. I think when you look at it from that lens – you’re not the one out there blocking (Bud) Dupree or covering Julio (Jones). I think if we had to do that – if everyone else had to do that – I think they’d try to focus on that. They wouldn’t be looking kind of down the road. I think that’s pretty reasonable. So no, I don’t try to tell anyone ‘don’t talk about to me about this, don’t talk to me about that.’ I think my energy and my focus is where it is and other people’s energy can be where it wants to be. But I think people can respect and understand why we want to put our energy on the Titans and no one else, and we respect and understand why people are thinking differently or thinking past that.”

(I wanted to ask you also about S Eric Rowe – just the value of having him on your team. Obviously if you don’t have S Brandon Jones Sunday, he’s shown he can step in and play every down. Even if you do have him, he’ll play a lot, I’m sure. Just his value to your team over the last three years and now having someone like that to step in and play every snap if needed?) – “Yeah, Eric (Rowe) is obviously a big contributor to this team. He’s got leadership, experience, obviously talented, tackles well, game is important to him, he’s smart. So it’s great to have him on our team. He just wants to help us have success. He’s been great to the young guys and he’s done a nice job for us.”

(I wasn’t sure if you saw the bowl game last night in Nashville, but there were some players slipping on that playing surface and there’s supposed to be rain all weekend in Nashville. I know you’re a detailed guy. I was just curious how much attention does the playing surface of the upcoming game kind of get across your radar and is there anything that goes into that for you as far as how the playing surface for the game might be on Sunday?) – “Yeah, I think – I watched some clips from that game and saw that there were some guys slipping, so I made mention of that to our team. I think it’s more focus on shoulders over knees, knees over toes – those kind of base fundamentals that you’d hear in Pop Warner. Coming to balance, playing on the inside of your outside foot. Things like that. Just reminders and things we’ve got to pay attention to really on any surface, but definitely on a wet or slick surface. Those are just reminders that you give to your players. I think every coach is – when you’re dealing with a surface or elements like that – it’s something that you have to make mention to your team so they’re at least aware of it.”