Miami Dolphins Transcripts – July 28 – QB Tua Tagovailoa, TE Mike Gesicki and DB Jason McCourty

DB Jason McCourty

(First impressions with a new team, new facility? What did you think Day 1 overall?) – “It’s hot. I’m still catching my breath. (laughter) It’s weird, I started my career in Tennessee and it was really hot there. Then the last four years, Cleveland and a combination of New England – it’s just different. You prepare all summer. You come out here – the heat, the sun is different – but I’m loving it here. I just think it’s a great environment. I’m getting to know my teammates better and better each day. It’s exciting. Obviously the new building is first-class. You walk in that place, there’s glass everywhere, state-of-the-art, all the new gadgets and stuff you want to have. They’ve done everything first-class, so I’m just excited to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

(Is your expectation that you’ll play more safety than corner at this point for you?) – “It’s kind of just go and see. Wherever they put me at on any given day, I’ll put my best foot forward at whatever role that is whether it’s corner, whether it’s safety, whether it’s special teams. I doubt they’ll let me get a role on offense; but wherever they put me, I’m more than willing to go out there and do my best at it. (laughter)”

(And you’re able to do so many things. Your comfort level with safety? Obviously having played that a lot less than corner in your career.) – “Obviously out here in training camp, getting reps at different things will build comfort, build confidence; but from a knowledge standpoint, I feel very comfortable kind of with just the defense in total of being able to not only execute my role, but be able to help guys whether that’s out on the field, whether that’s in the locker room talking about a given formation, a certain defense. I feel comfortable of having experience since I’ve been here and also having experience in the past with both ‘Flo’ (Brian Flores) and (Josh) Boyer.”

(And one last thing, you’ve started a lot in your career obviously. Would starting be important to you? Obviously there’s a safety job open with a very talented rookie, but you’re intensely in that mix. Is that important to you?) – “I think what’s important is coming out here and competing. I think at the end of the day, I’ll leave that up to ‘Flo’ and Boyer and ‘G.A.’ (Gerald Alexander) and those guys to put in whoever they feel is the best man to fill whatever role that is. If that’s myself, I’ll go out there and give everything to make the team better when I can. If that’s not me, I’ll do everything for whatever role that is. So I think for me, I’ve started a lot, so obviously you get accustomed to that; but at the same time, when you’re going on your 13th year and you’ve been able to kind of start from the sixth round all the way up, you know not to take anything for granted and be very grateful and appreciative to whatever it is just to continue to be in the league at the age of soon-to-be 34 in a little while.”

(With CB Xavien Howard having requested a trade last night, I’m curious, what were the interactions like for you and your defensive backs teammates with him today?) – “For me, it was exciting. I’ve never met ‘X’ (Xavien Howard), so this was the first time between yesterday and today of getting a chance to laugh with him, joke with him in meetings and get a chance to know him. So for me, that’s the most important part. Obviously from the outside looking in, I know how good of a player he is having to go against him in the division and obviously the man had double-digit turnovers last year, so you know how special he is as a player and how much better he makes not only the defense, but the team in total. When it comes to his contract, I think that’s personal. Those things have to be dealt with between him and the team. It’s not for any player or anybody else kind of to butt in. You respect the fact that it is a business and he has to take care of himself and his family and you just wait for all of those things to get figured out. But for me, I think – and the rest of the guys – you just get comfortable and you get happy about having a really good player next to you and having him here in the building and meetings because when he’s out there on the field, it’s going to make us a better team.”

TE Mike Gesicki

(How was it today?) – “It was good. It was fun. It was a lot of fun, just getting back out there. Obviously some new guys, some new coaches, that kind of stuff. But for the most part, the same old stuff. It was just fun to get back out there, Day 1 in the books. I’m ready to learn from it and move forward.”

(In what ways does QB Tua Tagovailoa seem like a veteran quarterback?) – “I think in all of the ways, in all of the aspects. Leadership being one and then decision-making, just seeing things that happen. And then just kind of the communication aspect of it, being the quarterback out there, getting guys in the right spot. You can tell that he’s super prepared both mentally and physically. He did a great job today and just continue to build on it.”

(QB Tua Tagovailoa said he spoke to the offense after practice. Can you tell us what kind of message he said?) – “Just giving his evaluation of practice. Things that were done well, things that weren’t done so well, what to improve on, just the basic stuff like that. I think that that’s the stepping stone that you’re talking about – that bringing the whole offense together after practice, being a leader. Just continue to build on stuff like that. I’m happy he’s taking that role.”

(Is that something new or did QB Tua Tagovailoa do that a lot last year as well?) – “I think last year he was building on that and now he feels comfortable and now it’s his show. I’m happy that he’s in that position and comfortable enough to pull the whole offense together after practice and give his whole evaluation. It was just a good day.”

(While we’re talking about QB Tua Tagovailoa, we heard he took up golf. Can you describe his golf game?) – “He did take up golf. I’ve also taken up golf, in case anybody was curious. I stink at golf. I thought I was bad at golf. I was like ‘Tua, when did you start golfing?’ He was like ‘two months ago.’ I said ‘Oh, I just started golfing last year. He said ‘yeah, I hit a 91 the other day.’ I’m like I’ve been golfing for a year and still haven’t broke 100. (laughter) So I guess Tua is a better athlete than me. He did pick up golf, so maybe me, him, and Durham (Smythe) will go hit the links. It’ll be exciting.”

(What did you think of the Tight End University while you were there?) – “It was fun. It was a lot of fun. It was cool. Just kind of being around different guys around the league. Some guys who have already retired like Greg (Olsen) and you have some guys that are at the top of the league right now. So, just being able to pick some guys’ brains, learn some things, ends and outs and all of that kind of stuff – how they read defenses pre-snap and how they’re going to run this route and blocking techniques and all of that kind of stuff. It was a lot of fun. It was cool. It was very productive. It was worth it.”

(Did you graduate with honors or what?) – “With honors? Yeah, absolutely. With flying colors, absolutely. (laughter)”

(Are there any tight ends that you look up to or try to watch their game during the year?) – “There are a lot of talented guys in this league. When you do come across guys like Travis Kelce, guys like Darren Waller, George Kittle, talented guys across the league. The list goes on and on. It’s not just those three. Yeah, you can definitely take things from everybody’s game. I think when you’re around guys like that, and you’re surrounding yourself with talent like that, it’s only going to help yourself improve. Hopefully I can take some of that and implement that into my game.”

(What’s it like to share Co-Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends George Godsey with the rest of the offense? You’ve had him for yourself for awhile.) – “Yeah, I’m pretty jealous now. (laughter) But George is doing great. Obviously, him and ‘Coach E’ (Eric Studesville) as OCs, George is still in the tight ends room with us and helping us out, coaching us up every day. It’s good. I love George. He’s done a lot for me on the field and off the field and helped develop me day in and day out. I owe a lot to George.”

(Are you excited to see how that dynamic works between the two of them – Co-Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends George Godsey and Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Eric Studesville?) – “Oh yeah, absolutely. I think they are going to do a great job. They are both professionals. I think that all of the offensive guys have bought into it and we’re excited for the opportunity.”

(What’s the rehab been like for you for the shoulder, and where do you feel like you are strength-wise?) – “The shoulder is good. Got it all fixed up and been 100 percent probably since like April or late March. I feel good. I don’t even think about it anymore, honestly. No more brace, no more nothing.”

(What’s the best part of the new facility?) – “Well, there is no air conditioning outside, so not that. (laughter) I mean look around, this place it great. (Stephen) Ross and everybody did a phenomenal job putting this thing together.  I love it here and excited to get this thing rolling down here in Miami Gardens.”

(We talked to you in the spring about your contract, and obviously CB Xavien Howard went public with his issues last night. As a teammate, as a friend, when you hear something like that, what’s your reaction?) – “Obviously you wish ‘X’ (Xavien Howard) the absolute best with whatever that situation is going on. I don’t know all that much about it; but as a teammate, as a friend, you do wish him the absolute best no matter what happens. For me, I just try to keep to myself and just go about my every day.”

(How do you hit the reset button when you had such a great year last year, and kind of come in with a new team, new players? What’s your mentality?) – “I think as a professional, every single year, it doesn’t matter what you did last year, good or bad. It’s time to move on. I’m just ready for a new year. I think collectively as a team, we did well last year. Collectively as a tight end unit, we did good last year and individually, we did good last year. But it’s all in the past now. So no matter the good stuff, the bad stuff, don’t get caught up in it. Now I’m ready for 2021.”

(Is there a way to balance the excitement of the success of last year with hitting the reset button?) – “Yeah, absolutely. I think you build off of the success. But you also build off of the stuff that didn’t go well. We’re just working to improve and just remembering the things that worked and improving the things that didn’t work. Like you said, that balance, because you don’t want to just forget that you were making plays and the team was doing well, and we won ‘X’ amount of games. That kind of stuff, you know that this team is talented, you know that you’re talented, you know that your group is talented, so you just build on it.”

(Was there a tight end that you spent more time with than others at the camp, be it Greg Olsen or anyone? Was there anyone to be friends with or to soak up some information from?) – “Yeah, I was on FaceTime with Durham (Smythe) the whole time. (laughter) I missed him, absolutely. No, all the guys were awesome. No specific tight end I was with the whole time. We were all kind of with a group the whole time. It was cool, it was fun and I’m happy that I went.”

(Do you hit it pretty big off the tee?) – “Last question and we’re talking about golf. I love it. (laughter) No, see when I hit it, it goes left. Obviously the slice. Then you’ve got to play it. It’s tough. I could definitely use some lessons. Any golfers out there that would like to help me out, I’d greatly appreciate it.”

(What’s the worst part of QB Tua Tagovailoa’s game?) – “Snuck in an extra question. (laughter) Everything is great about Tua’s game. I’m really excited about 2021 with Tua.”

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa

(What is this camp mean for you compared to last year’s camp?) – “This camp is different in many ways. We never had the media out here. We get to see each other face to face. We get to see some fans, some family. It’s a lot different. We get to be out here and actually go through practices. If I can recall last year, we were in the OTA-phase of conditioning. Right now, it feels good that we are getting right into football.”

(What about for you physically, the way you are feeling, and knowledge of the other players and the offense?) – “I think everyone feels good. I think everyone is ready to go. I think it’s really good that we got to come out and kind of brush up on the things we went over during the spring. We look forward to what tomorrow brings.”

(We saw a couple touchdowns, a couple picks. Can you assess some of your good and bad throws from today?) – “Yeah. I would say with the bad throws, a lot of miscommunication. On one of them, I think that’s definitely my fault. I was in a conundrum of throwing it up or coming back down to the back. Unfortunately, that’s how the cookie crumbled on that one. Its good that things like that happen right now. We can see it, go back into the film room, talk about it with our guys, the receivers, the tight ends and running backs and kind of get that fixed.”

(Having had that offseason working with your wide receivers, is there a noticeable difference in chemistry between you and them?) – “I would say I had a lot of them last year. A lot of the guys that are on this team, I had them last year. Not to say that being able to throw to them throughout the offseason didn’t help, but I would say just being able to get with them throughout OTAs, as well, helped.”

(Can you describe the energy of coming into the building, all being together in person? I was talking to some of the guys yesterday, this time last year there was so much uncertainty about the season and what was going to happen. Now, you guys get to all be together and talk about your goals as a team. Can you describe the vibe?) – Yeah, I mean coming in, we are very fortunate to have this new facility. Very excited that Mr. (Stephen) Ross invested so much into the football team. But I think just being able to see the guys, the camaraderie and being able to eat with them, sit down, talk with them. It’s so hard when you have to go back home after practice like this and you have to sit through a two-hour, two-and-a-half hour, three-hour meeting on Zoom. I don’t know if any of you guys can attest to doing a workout and then going back home and having to do a Zoom, but it’s pretty tough (laughter).”

(Near the end of practice we saw the long completion to WR Albert Wilson. A long, accurate deep ball. How do you feel about where you are right now in terms of the deep ball throw?) – I would say I am confidant with my deep throws. Really, it’s just getting everything down with the guys. Finding where guys are going to be, knowing how guys run certain routes, knowing their depth. Really that’s what we are trying to find out right now within these first couple days and brush up on those things.”

(For you here at training camp before week one, what are two things that you are really focusing on for yourself to get ready for the start of the season?) – “Two things? I would say there’s about three things. (laughter) I would say the film room, our walkthroughs and bringing what we got through the film room and the walkthroughs to practice. That’s really all I’m worried about right now.”

(Where you are physically and mentally, how would you compare that to day one of training camp last year?) – “Man, it’s so hard to remember. I feel like that’s been so long ago. But what I can say to that is how I feel now, I feel really good.”

(When you have the headset on in your ear, who’s calling plays?) – “Well, it’s a mixture of both George (Godsey) and ‘E’ (Eric Studesville). They’re both giving me the plays.”

(What’s that like? Do you know the who’s calling when? I’m sure you know the different voices by now.) “Yeah, they rotate throughout series and throughout periods as well.”

(Did you enjoy the split practices with two teams? What’s the benefit to that?) – “Well, I think there is a lot of benefit. Everyone gets a good amount of reps. You get to see both sides – what this side did, what this side did. You can learn from it.”

(What have you been telling WR Jaylen Waddle about this process when you see him around the facility?) – “Well, I wouldn’t say I’ve talked to him much about process, about how things like this work. I have talked to him a lot about our chemistry and what I expect from him, things I’m looking for and really things we’re looking for as a quarterback room towards the receivers.”

(Where would you say your chemistry is with WR Jaylen Waddle? Is it Tuscaloosa, Alabama yet?) – “I don’t know what the Tuscaloosa, Alabama chemistry is; but I would say to that, it’s a different playbook, it’s a different feel, a different environment for him. And for me, I’m still kind of getting acclimated. It’s hot here, guys. It’s hot. (laughter) So yeah, it’s just things that we’ve got to talk about and work through out here. We’ll look at it and go into the film room and kind of go over it.”

(Did you do anything fun during your time off?) – “Yeah, I actually took up golf. I took up golf, yeah. I’m not a good golfer but I love it. It’s fun but it gets frustrating.”

(What’s the best part of your golf game?) – “Maybe the first four holes. (laughter)”

(You mentioned the playbook. What’s something that you feel most comfortable with, that you know that you’re going to like about it? What has been put together by Co-Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends George Godsey, Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Eric Studesville and others?) – “Well, I’d love to talk a lot about that but I’d love to kind of keep that on the low. I’m very excited about what we have in the playbook. I think a lot of the plays that we have in the playbook fit the skills of our guys that we have.”

(When you heard that it would be Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Eric Studesville and Co-Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends George Godsey together, what was your first reaction? Obviously you’ve spent a lot of time working with George the last year. What was that experience like?) – “Well, I wouldn’t say I don’t know George as much as I know ‘E’ (Eric Studesville) because I know both of them. I got to have both of them my first year. I think it’s really good. The knowledge that ‘E’ has and then the knowledge that George has as well, coming together, we’re all working together for the same thing.”

(What can you learn from QB Jacoby Brissett?) – “I can learn a lot. Jacoby has a lot of input within our meetings and then when we’re also talking about things, when we have break periods. He has really good input for us on kind of where to start, who to look at. You can take something from all of these old heads – with Jacoby and then for me also last year was with ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick). It’s a continuing learning process for me.”

(I know earlier this offseason, some of the guys talked about hearing your voice louder in the huddle. How are you balancing trying to be more vocal and more assertive with your own kind of personal growth?) – “Just being able to talk to the guys and tell the guys not always what they want to hear but what they need to hear and how we need to kind of build on that, and where we need to be from there. After practice, I got to get everyone together and talked to the entire offense and just talked about our evaluation of the day – how we started, how we looked throughout the middle of practice and then how we finished. I think overall we did pretty good. Obviously there’s always going to be things we need to brush up on and clean up, but it’s the first day of camp.”

(Just the beat around the team with CB Xavien Howard requesting a trade last night. As a teammate, what are you saying to him and how are you handling it as a group?) – “Well for me, I support ‘X’ (Xavien Howard) with whatever decision he has. He’s helped our team tremendously throughout the years. I’ve only been on this team for one year and I’ve been able to see what he’s been able to do. But that’s not in my control. But I support him.”

(What are you most looking forward to now that camp is back?) – “I think one of the most exciting things is when everyone is on the same page. When you know where your guy is going to be, when the line knows what they’re supposed to do. That’s a great feeling, when everyone is working together to accomplish what we need to accomplish on that play.”

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