Miami Dolphins Transcripts – June 2 – S Eric Rowe and WR DeVante Parker

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

S Eric Rowe

(What is going on with the blonde streak? And since I’m the hair expert, what’s the thought process behind this?) – “Well, really it’s my wife’s idea. She was like, ‘let’s change it up.’ I said no at first. But she was like ‘no, no. I want you to change it.’ So I was like ‘let’s just do it.’ Now it just kind of stuck to me.”

(So you liked it after you initially did it. This isn’t a serious question, but yes?) – “Yes, so after I did it, I was like, ‘oh, I’m feeling it.’ And she was like, ‘I told you.’ I was like ‘ok, ok.’”

(I wanted to ask you about your evolution as a player. Obviously when you came here from New England in 2019 you were a cornerback. Now you’re a safety. You’re kind of emerging into that role as a tight end coverage guy. When other players look at you and revel in your development as a player, what do you tell them that can help them get there?) – “It just takes time. I’d tell them it just takes time and patience. Obviously you need to learn the defense, but then kind of within that, kind of just know your role, kind of who you are as a player. I always tell people, if you’re a DB, you can always get better at man-to-man coverage. Even if you’re a free safety that you play the post 90 percent of the time, if the coaches know you can cover man-to-man, there is always value in that. I always tell them no matter what, just always work on your man-to-man skills.”

(I’m curious your reaction when they moved on from S Bobby McCain, and obviously now there is a good possibility you will be playing alongside S Jevon Holland. What’s your initial observations of Jevon athletically, and from a mental standpoint in terms of how he’s observing stuff?) – “The Bobby decision, that’s just how the NFL goes, right? At the end of the year, teams are always switching out players, adding players, letting go of players. That’s just the business side, so I really can’t say much on that. I’m not upstairs making roster moves. But as far as Jevon, I’ve worked with him the past couple of weeks. He is athletic. He has nice size; and then I’ve talked to him and he’s a smart guy. He’s picking up the defense pretty fast. We’re just doing walkthroughs right now, but I see him picking things up pretty quick.”

(Has S Jevon Holland tried to form a bond with you? Obviously it’s going to be important to establish the same level of connection and communication that you and S Bobby McCain had.) – “Yeah; but that comes with time. I think right now, he’s just trying to get the playbook, get the play calls, get the adjustments, get all of that down. That just takes time.”

(Just piggybacking off of that, obviously you and S Bobby McCain were veterans in the backfield and now if he wins the job, S Jevon Holland would be a rookie. Does that put more pressure on you to maybe have a bigger vocal or communication role in the backend? Or how do you guys kind of balance that?) – “To balance that, obviously we all have to know all of the coverage adjustments. But as far as Bobby, he was a great leader, very vocal and he was a huge piece of our defense. Now that he’s gone, and if Jevon wins the job, either way, you’ve got to just step up, right? I need to be more vocal out there, but also there will come a time with Jevon, once we actually start running reps and he gets to know the defense, he’ll be more vocal and kind of bark out the calls., adjustments and whatever. We all just have to pick up that role.”

(Going back to that earlier comment of just walking through right now, I was curious because last year in the midst of the pandemic, you talked about how you can’t go out in your backyard for instance and work on simulating fitting the run for instance. Now that you are in OTAs, I’m wondering how much value is there, even in just walkthroughs, in having the offseason program to go through stuff like that, like fitting the run and whatever else it might be?) – “Yeah, yeah. Last year, you can’t work on run fits when you’re by yourself. Even though we’re not doing full speed reps, it’s still a lot of the mental game. Doing shifts, kind of seeing shifts and adjustments and missiles, and kind of the calls that at least at the backend at safety, we have to give. It provides a lot of value rather than just sitting at home, kind of going over the Zoom calls, going over the playbook. That’s always different than when you’ve actually got people running at you, things moving fast. That’s the value – at least this year – it provides. We’ve got a couple of new calls and the first day, I kind of struggled with like shifts and adjustments, getting your mind thinking again, rather than just sitting on a computer looking at the screen, looking at the film. It does provide a lot of value that we’re actually here doing walkthroughs.”

(Since last year was kind of a shotgun of information with training camp and all of that kind of stuff being rapid fire in August, since you’ve been here since Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer and Head Coach Brian Flores’ first year in 2019, have you seen an accelerated growth in everyone’s knowledge of being in that same mindset, in terms of having the playbook and the checks and everything down?) – “Yeah, for the players that were kind of here with me since ‘Flo’ (Brian Flores) first got here. Obviously everyone adds a play or two or a couple of new adjustments, but kind of like the core plays, you know them like second nature. Then it’s on us to get the new guys – either rookies or free agents – and bring them up to speed with whatever playbook plays that we’ve got going on. Yeah, you can say it’s a pretty accelerated growth.”

(I have to ask you about DB Jason McCourty and being reunited with him. Are you guys not going to stop until every Patriot comes down to Miami or what?) – “(laughter) I think it was today that somebody asked me ‘how many former Patriots are on the team now?’ I was adding it up and  I think it’s five or six. I think there are quite a bit of us. Two of them left last year. There was still a good amount last year. I guess that’s the deal going on right now.”

(What do you think DB Jason McCourty will bring to this defense?) – “Playing with him, and I know him pretty well outside of football, he brings a lot of knowledge and a lot of wisdom of the game. I still ask him questions – football related and stuff. He brings leadership. I remember playing with him in New England, when he got signed it was like instant leadership from him. I didn’t know him at the time. I just knew his brother Devin (McCourty). They are pretty much the same. Obviously (they are) twins. He’s the same guy. He will bring instant leadership to the back end and just a lot of wisdom to the game.”

(In terms of the carryover, how much different does this team look than the 2019 team that you came here and were a part of?) – “It’s a lot different. In 2019, we had I think before camp like half the roster change before Week 1. We had new guys trying to learn the playbook on both sides in five or six days to run a game. Now, we’ve got a good core of people still from that team, but then also last year, even though we were still young, more kind of like older guys and vets that have playing experience coming onto the team. In 2019, we had practice squads and first- and second-year players come. So it’s a big jump from 2019 until now.”

(When you went up against TE Travis Kelce and TE Darren Waller, those were two really big games for those tight ends. What did you learn from that experience, or just going up against those guys? What can you take away from how you defended them and how they performed?) – “Obviously those are two of the best tight ends in the league, along with (George) Kittle. What I learned is – I knew the mistakes I had because right after the game, I was watching film like ‘what did I do wrong, what can I do better?’ With both of them, I just got to step my game up. With them, they are not really tight ends. They are just big receivers that can run. I know this year, I know we’ve got the Raiders in Week 3 back in Vegas. I’m ready for that. I’ve been waiting for that all year because that one got me, so I need a rematch on that. But just with them two, you’ve just got to take your game to another level.”

(I think we all collectively like you, that we didn’t criticize you too bad for those games, jut because those guys are all-world tight ends.) – “I don’t know. Even though we got the win, I was like, thank God we got the win; but God that was a tough game.”

(Do you see a sense of guys who are upbeat right now? What I mean by that is it’s more open. We are seeming to get back to a sense of normalcy and your OTAs are getting back to a sense of normalcy. In general, what do you notice right now as you guys go through this? Everything seems to be opening up a little bit more, there’s more freedom now. When you guys are out there, do you have a sense of we’re going to get back to normal now as we practice and get ready for season?) – “In that sense? Yeah, with the new rules the NFL keeps putting out, if you’re vaccinated or not, it’s creeping there. I think the one thing guys are excited for is having the fans back. I’ve seen some reports of stadiums kind of going back to full capacity or at least having some sort of fans in there. I think that’s the thing guys are most excited about.”

(In light of you guys going 10-6 last year after the 5-11 season in 2019, I’m wondering what kind of difference, if any, are you sensing from everybody as an overall vibe in terms of the confidence of the team?) – “I think with last year, we knew we were really a game away from the playoffs. This year, the guys that were here last year, we all know that it obviously starts in training camp and it starts at the beginning of the season. Last year we went 1-3, kind of a slow start and we all know our focus this year is coming out and having a better start. It’s tough when you go 1-3. You’re kind of digging from the hole. Kind of from there, you want to jump out, 2-0 or 3-0. Those games could’ve been the ones that put us in the playoffs. We all know what we’ve got to get done though.”          

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

WR DeVante Parker

(What were your thoughts when you heard the Dolphins drafted WR Jaylen Waddle?) – “I was excited. It brings another guy, another weapon, to the team. That’s another guy that can help us.”

(What has impressed you about WR Jaylen Waddle and the time that you have spent with him on the practice field so far?) – “He’s a very quick learner. He listens to what you have to say. We just coach him up and he listens to you. He texts the coaches.”

(Have you had a chance to kind of picture how much WR William Fuller V and WR Jaylen Waddle will be able to open up maybe some one-on-one coverage for you?) – “(laughter) Nah, there’s none of that yet. I’m just taking this one day at a time, really. I’m not looking to the future or anything yet. Just one day at a time.”

(Do you have – I know last year when we talked to you, a big goal was playing 16 games and doing that. Do you have any goals for this upcoming season that you want to put down?) – “Nah. I have the same goals I always have. That’s it. Except now we’ve got another game.”

(I noticed you working before OTAs, before all of this voluntary stuff, with QB Tua Tagovailoa. Was that right?) – “Yes.”

(How did that come about? And how beneficial was that? Because obviously you didn’t have any of that this time last year.) – “I would say – Tua, we’re all in a group chat. Tua put us in a group chat and texted us and we’ll just meet up and start throwing and try to get the rhythm down early.”

(Have you seen benefits already on the field?) – “Yes, I have.”

(How so?) – “His mechanics looks different.”

(With Co-Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends George Godsey and Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Eric Studesville being the new offensive coordinators and putting their minds together to come up with a new playbook, what have you noticed is different? What’s changed about the new plan?) – “I don’t really know. We’ve just been moving around in different spots, I would say. That’s really it. We’re just moving around more than usual.”

(Do you envision your yards per catch and the number of yards that you run on each route, do you think that’s going to increase this year? Do you think there will be more downfield plays?) – “I’m not real sure about that. We’re still early. I’m just focused on right now and when that comes, it will come.”

(I wanted to go back to the offseason workouts that you guys have been doing – the receivers and the quarterbacks. Just the chemistry that you guys can build on the field, just from joking with each other and going through plays and just spending that time together, how do you think that really can make a difference for you guys?) – “I’d say it can help out a lot. Just spending time with each other, even if it’s off the field, just getting that camaraderie going. Everybody knows each other better than what we had before.”

(Last year, I asked you about what’s something on the field that you’re working on during the offseason and in training camp, and you told me comeback routes. Is there anything specific on the field that you’re working on this offseason to get better at?) – “I would say just routes, period. Just getting out of my break quicker.”

(Is that something that’s more mental? Physical? In the classroom? How do you go about making that happen?) – “It’s just more mental. That’s all.”

(Last week, when we were talking with QB Tua Tagovailoa, he kind of surprised us when he said that he didn’t feel he had the playbook down really well last year. What do you make of that statement?) – “I’m not sure. He’s his own guy. That’s just how he felt about it. I have nothing to say about that. That’s just how he felt.”

(You talked about QB Tua Tagovailoa and his mechanics, that they look different. I guess they feel different. What about them, if you could explain to a novice reporter, is different from your perspective?) – “Footwork. (Getting) the ball out quicker. All of that.”

(Last year, obviously you didn’t have a full offseason with QB Tua Tagovailoa or anybody. What about the extra reps with just him as the guy – QB Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t around – and what does it do for your chemistry and his chemistry with all of the guys on the starting offense?) – “It just comes down to getting a lot of reps in with him and just taking it to the game. That’s all it comes down to.”

(Do you feel like you guys know each other’s way to go about things now? The way he throws a certain route, the way he runs a certain route, have you all gotten a better grasp of that?) – “Yeah, we talk about that a lot. Yeah, we have. That’s something that we’re looking forward to.”

(Is there anything you want to talk to us about? I always love doing these medias with you because you’re really short but very nice. Is there anything you want to talk about with us?) – “No, I’m good. (laughter)”

(This offseason, what are some things that you’re working on personally for yourself to improve?) – “I’m just trying to get quicker, faster and more explosive.”

(I had to look this up and when I did, I couldn’t believe it. This is Year 7. When you hear that, what does that say to you? You’re clearly one of the most tenured players on this team. You’re one of the leaders I’m sure now. One of the guys that’s been around. What kind of an accomplishment is it to have seven seasons with any one team? That’s very rare in the NFL.) – “I would say there’s something for being – it doesn’t happen very often. I’m just proud that I’m still here and be able to do what I’m still doing.”

(Was there a time where you though that having this kind of longevity might not happen for you here?) – “I never had that in my mind at all. No.”

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