Miami Dolphins Transcripts – May 28 – TE Mike Gesicki and S Bobby McCain

S Bobby McCain

(How are you handling all of this? How has it been to be quarantined and how has it been to get on the same page as some coaches you may have never met before, because they are new to the staff?) – ”We do a fair job with the Zoom meetings. It’s tough that we can’t be in the building right now with everybody; but we do a real fair job with the Zoom meetings and understanding that it is what it is and we’ve got to make it work and we’ve got to make it happen. So meeting the guys virtually and through text messages, through Instagram, talking to them, it’s all been fairly simple.”

(I want to take it back to last year. I think you played in nine games last year, but basically through your first few years, you played in about every game. How tough was it for you sitting out that much time being injured?) – “It sucks. No one wants to be hurt. Everyone want to play, everyone wants to get on the field and help their team win. Everyone feels like they take the necessary steps to be ready for the season and sitting out that long, I’m itching to get back. I just can’t wait for the season to start myself. I try not to dwell on the past and just look forward to what’s coming.”

(You always say the right thing when it comes to doing what the team asks you to do; but tell me why you think going to safety or staying at safety is the right call for you as opposed to playing nickel or cornerback?) – “I’m a guy that can play any place in the backfield. With practice and with time, everyone gets better. It’s not my decision to make decisions. My job is to just play football. I love playing football and I love doing what I do, and I’m able to do it all.”

(Last season, mentality was so much of what made this team successful, buying into what Head Coach Brian Flores preached. I’m wondering, how do you pass that on to the newcomers now when for the most part, all you have are Zoom meetings? You don’t have those team meetings. You’re not in the weight room. You’re not on the field. How do you pass along kind of the Flores way right now?) – “It’s tough being that we are not around each other, but we know that we’ll come back hopefully sooner than later. You’re just going to have to be ready, and you’ve got to hold yourself accountable to being a pro. You’ve got to be a pro and if you’re not, you won’t last.”

(There’s been some reports that practice could resume as soon as a couple of weeks. Would you feel comfortable coming back to the facility and practicing in a couple of weeks?) – “Yeah. I feel comfortable. I know they’re going to take the necessary precautions to keep us safe. I’m no doctor, so I can’t tell you too much about the coronavirus, but I do know it’s dangerous. I know they will take the proper steps to make sure that when we come back, we don’t contract the virus, and we don’t come back and we’re sick. I’m definitely excited for that. Or I’ll be excited for that.”

(I know you had a year of it, but I know from the draft, it was visible for a lot of people seeing Head Coach Brian Flores and General Manager Chris Grier – two black guys – at the front of your organization. What is it like from a player’s perspective to have two leaders that kind of look like you heading your organization?) – “For me, it’s not so much black and white. I’ve had black coaches, I’ve had white coaches, I’ve had mixed coaches. There’s no such thing as black and white; it’s just people trying to win football games. Chris Grier and ‘Coach Flo’ (Brian Flores) are black, and I guess for the culture, that is dope; but I don’t see black and white because you have to be able to adjust and you have to be able to adapt in this league, regardless if they are black, white, Asian. No matter what they are, you have to be able to do what you’re told.”

(I noticed that ESPN had some computer rankings that came out and said that their expectations for the Dolphins would be six wins and a 13.8 percent chance to make the playoffs. I know we haven’t even gotten back to practice yet but with all of the free agent additions and all of the draft picks, how does that align with what you think is possible?) – “I think we’ve made some good picks. I think we had some good picks in free agents as well. I’m not too big on looking at ESPN and what they are talking about in March, April and May. We’re just going to take it one day at a time and try to get better as a team, and hopefully by the time January and February rolls around, they’ll be able to put their foot in their mouth.”

(You’ve been here before with Head Coach Brian Flores. You’ve been in the mix with the team last season during the first year of the rebuild. With the new additions, the excitement around the team and the new players, what do you think the rest of the franchise’s efforts have in store for now, next season and in the future?) – “This is an exciting time of year for every team. For all 32 teams in the league, this is an exciting time. It’s a new start or a restart. No matter if you’ve got a new coach, you’ve got new players, you’ve got a new scheme, you’ve got a new playbook. No matter what it is, it’s a new start. Whatever you did in 2019 doesn’t matter. With ‘Coach Flo’ coming in and implementing the things that he wants, as a team we’ve got to understand that if you want to win, they want it done this way. To end the season how we did last year, hopefully like I said, last year doesn’t matter. People talk about the momentum we had and how we were doing so well, but it’s going to be one game. When that ball kicks off, no one is going to be thinking about the last game we played in 2019 that we got momentum from. We’re going to think about that game and be in that moment.”

(You suffered two separate shoulder injuries last season. Obviously injuries are a part of the game of football; but do you think that contributed to the fact that you were playing safety or that wasn’t a factor? Do you think that playing a more physical position, playing safety, was a factor in the shoulder injury that you suffered?) – “No.”

(Why so?) – “It’s football. You can get hurt doing anything – making a tackle, a simple tackle. Sometimes the most – sometimes the easiest plays to make are the ones that hurt the most. It’s just football. Things happen. I went down to make the tackle and ended up hurting myself. That’s just football, and I’m not too stressed about it.”

(I think you were out in the community yesterday. Can you share with us what you did?) – “Yes, I was putting on an event with Farm Share. We did a drive-through food pick up. The cars came through with their trunks open. There will be enough food for a week. Fruit, rice, chicken, orange juice, chips – it was enough food for a week. That was a really special event. There were a couple of people sitting there from midnight on. It started at 8 a.m. It just shows you the people that are in need at this time. It was really heartwarming and I was thankful to be able to do it. I was with (Miami-Dade) Commissioner (Jose) Diaz and the mayor of Hialeah (Gardens, Yioset De La Cruz), and we were there for an hour and a half, maybe two hours, until we filled up all of the cars and got rid of all the food. It’s just something that I wanted to do. I wanted to give back and find a way to do something throughout this time.”

(How are you going through this offseason period? Being on the field and doing your own work is not the same as being at OTAs. Are you worried about what shape people will be in or what people can do on their own versus having the typical team OTAs?) – “It’s definitely going to be a little different being that we are not in the building and guys are training at home, guys are training with their trainers – and even those weight rooms and trainers maybe closed now for a little while. It’s definitely going to be different; but like I said, you are a pro no matter if it’s your first year, your sixth year or your 10th year. You have to be a pro and hold yourself accountable, because when it comes and training camps hit, the sun isn’t going to hold back.”

(How do you feel about not having to play against QB Tom Brady twice a year?) – “Oh, man. He’s one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. No one is going to take that from him. Him moving out of the division, everyone knows it’s a big deal; but they’re still going to play football. They’re still going to be New England, they’re still going to be Miami, they’re still going to be Buffalo, they’re still going to be New York. You’re going to have to beat teams – good football teams. They unfortunately lost one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game; but we know it doesn’t matter who the quarterback, who the running back (is). It doesn’t matter. It depends on what we’re doing and how we’re going to be focused going into every game.”

(I wanted to make sure that I remembered this correctly. I think that you had shoulder surgery since the last time we saw you. Is that right?) – “Yeah.”

(So where are you in your recovery from that? Are you completely back? What have you been able to do in terms of workouts and football training?) – “Just about everything. It’s been about – I had surgery in November so you’re looking at about six months – five or six months now. I’m coming along very well. We’re doing the right things with the rehab and taking the precautions for the season to make sure that I’m ready.”

(As a player, how do you strike a balance between QB Tua Tagovailoa and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, knowing that Tua is the exciting, new player and perhaps the future, but Fitzpatrick did so many good things for you last season. How do you strike that balance?) – “I wouldn’t say to strike that balance. It is a good balance because ‘Fitz’ is a good player and is also a good leader. He helps everyone. He’s a guy that’s been around a long time. He’s seen a lot of football. He’s going to do nothing but elevate that room and elevate the quarterback room. Being that we drafted Tua, he’s a good player, as well. He’s going to come in, there’s going to be a learning curve – it’s the league – and hopefully he learns fast. Regardless, I feel like ‘Fitz’ and Tua – that whole entire room is a good room with Josh (Rosen) and everybody. It’s going to elevate everybody’s game.”

(I wanted to get your thoughts on the additions of CB Byron Jones and CB Noah Igbinoghene to the secondary. What do you know about Byron and how good can the secondary be with the guys you now have in place?) – “I know they’re two good players. I’ve seen Byron for years. He’s my class – my draft class – so I have seen him over the years play really good football. Even with the rookie coming in, he’s going to have a lot to learn and it’s going to be tough because there are no OTAs (off-season training activities) and everything, but he’ll get it done. He’s a smart kid. I’m not going to make any accusations or any predictions on how good our secondary is going to be. We’re just going to take each and every day and try to collect them, gain chemistry with each other and try to be the best version of the Miami Dolphins. That’s all. We don’t want to just sit back and say how great we’re going to be. We’re just going to try to get better each and every day, and we’ll just let it fall into place.”

TE Mike Gesicki

(Obviously you had a promising second season. What was that journey like for you in terms of one, learning a new offense and two, getting to the point where you could contribute in the passing game?) – “I think it’s just part of how you kind of grow and develop in this league. I think that I was able to learn a lot throughout my first season in the NFL and then kind of learn from those experiences to kind of know what I had to improve on in my game, and then make the most of my opportunities moving on to my second year; so when those opportunities were able to present themselves and I was able to kind of show what I was capable of doing, I think I was able to make the most of my opportunities and help our team win a few games and kind of build towards the second half of last year.”

(You had such a good relationship with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick last season. Obviously you guys drafted QB Tua Tagovailoa. How do you view that quarterback battle? Because it seems like Ryan would really benefit you like he did last season. How do you view the quarterback battle?) – “I think obviously there’s a lot of talent in the entire quarterback room. I think that it’s going to be exciting for those guys to go out and compete and make each other better day in and day out. Honestly, there’s a couple guys in that room that – like I said, there’s a ton of talent in there – so I’m super excited about the future of that room and I’m excited go out there and work with everybody in that quarterback room and help those guys make some plays and just go out there and honestly just do my role and make the most of my opportunities.”

(Tell me about the video where you were throwing the football over the house. Was it real? Tell me about it.) – “Yeah, it was real. I was honestly just super bored and I was at my girlfriend’s beach house – pretty close to where I live – and we were just kind of hanging out and I think we saw something similar to that on the Internet and we were like, ‘hey, I might try that,’ and ended up taking a couple tries, a couple of turns at it; but ended up doing it and obviously it kind of blew up a little bit. A lot of people were able to see it and just kind of entertain some people. Honestly, I was just kind of bored and just kind of put it together and we ended up going out and doing it. It was fun.”

(I know a lot of times this time of year people make a lot of their predictions about what individual players or teams can do. What do you think is a realistic expectation for the 2020 Dolphins and 2020 Mike Gesicki?) – “Honestly, I think that for me personally and for our team, I think that we kind of just take this day-by-day approach. I think that the season is a long time away. I think that right now is the time to kind of just be kind of selfish in terms of focusing on how you can improve and develop your game to help the team and then collectively as a team, how we can – whenever all this quarantine and coronavirus and all that kind of stuff kind of settles down and we kind of get the okay to get back and work together – if you guys know anything about ‘Coach Flo’ (Head Coach Brian Flores) and how he runs our team, we’re never looking too far ahead and kind of just focus on the task at hand; and right now, this is just kind of focusing on ourselves and getting better, kind of creating that camaraderie in the locker room and just go out there and try to make the most of our opportunities when they present themselves.”

(What’s been the biggest challenge of learning a new offense when you’re not in the same room as the offensive coordinator?) – “That’s just kind of the times right now, honestly across the league. Everybody’s kind of doing these Zoom meetings, and everybody doesn’t have a new offense to learn; but we are installing a new offense and just kind of learning the ins and the outs. It’s been super productive to be on those Zoom meetings and be able to talk to our new offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey, and kind of be able to talk with ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick), being that he’s played in this kind of system before, and then being in our meetings with George Godsey, our tight ends coach. He’s done a great job talking us through the run game, the pass game, our role in pass protections and run game – all the phases that come with playing tight end. Honestly, it’s been really productive and I think that a lot of guys have been able to grasp the information that’s thrown at them so far.”

(I know you paid a lot of attention to college football throughout your years here. What were your impressions of QB Tua Tagovailoa in college, I guess the lead-up to the NFL draft and if you’ve had any contact with him, what’s he like so far?) – “Obviously, I think his performance in college speaks for itself. I think he had a super successful career at Alabama and made a ton of plays and obviously did everything in his power to put himself in a position to be successful and get to where he is right now, so I’m really happy for him and the opportunity that he now has with us. Obviously once you get drafted, your phone starts blowing up and you’ve got everybody congratulating you, so I kind of let that cool down for a little bit and I was able to just kind of reach out and tell him that we’re excited to have him and obviously just talked to him real shortly. But I think that what you guys see from him – just kind of being super positive and a great kid and excited to be out there working – I think that’s kind of the same thing that I’m able to grasp from him as well.”

(What’s this training on your own process been like for you? What have you been doing and how often and what’s it look like?) – “It’s been unique just because from the time that I was at Penn State and then my two years in Miami, you always kind of have that structure and a coach kind of telling you what time your workouts are and everything like that. So right now it’s been a lot of accountability on yourself, but I think it’s been cool. It’s been something different and probably something that we’ll never have to experience again hopefully, so I’ve just kind of been taking advantage of this time to focus on myself and getting in great shape to come out there this summer or whenever training camp rolls around, and be able to compete. Honestly, I think I’ve made the most of these circumstances. I think a lot of guys have around the league. You see guys just kind doing what they can and working out in very unique ways back home or wherever they are, so it’s been cool. It’s been unique, like I said, but whenever this kind of stuff ends, I am excited to get back and get around the guys and get working out and kind of have that structure of coaching and schedule – all of that kind of stuff – back.”

(From your conversations with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick that you mentioned, and what you’ve seen of Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey’s offense, what do you think that will present for you as far as opportunities? Maybe more? Are you excited about it? Where are you at with that?) – “I’m excited just for another opportunity to go out and do what I love to do and I’m sure every guy … Whatever scheme you’re in, whatever system you’re in, I think that you earn the opportunities that you’re presented with; so regardless of what the X’s and O’s are and the play calls and that kind of stuff, I think that what you do in practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and what you do in training camp or what you do before the game starts on Sunday, I think that those are the opportunities that you earn for yourself. I’m excited for whenever practice rolls around to just kind of go out there and kind of prove myself to a new offensive coordinator and a new guy calling the plays, because it’s exciting. As a competitor, it’s something I look forward to.”

(I noticed that some of the fantasy football experts – and I don’t play fantasy football – but the experts, they’ve started to list you as a top 10 fantasy tight end, which I guess is kind of cool. How do you feel like the perception of Mike Gesicki is different right now compared to a year ago?) – “That’s kind of something that – not the fantasy aspect of it, but the outside perception – that’s something that I kind of try to ignore just because the opinions and the perceptions of everybody outside of our locker room, our building, it doesn’t really mean a ton. I could go out there and have a good game and everybody’s happy and then the next week not produce as much and people that had the same opinion about me the week before, had kind of changed. So it’s not something that I really pay a ton of attention to. I do appreciate those that do believe in me and do give me that trust and support me and our team and our organization, because those are people that I appreciate; but for the most part, I’m just trying to – like I said earlier – just kind of take this thing day-by-day, focus right now on myself because that’s kind of the situation that we’re in, to get better and improve and make sure that I’m ready and compete whenever training camp rolls around. I am excited for this upcoming season and we’ll just continue to work and get back there whenever we can.”

(How comfortable would you feel from a health/coronavirus standpoint returning to the facility and I wanted to ask how do you think it would be received if a teammate may not have felt as comfortable returning?) – “I think everybody, for sure, is entitled to their own opinion. These are very interesting circumstances, something that nobody could prepare for or kind of expect going into this offseason, so it’s definitely going to be different and unique, whenever we are allowed back in; but I have trust in the NFL and our health officials and everybody that is way higher up than myself and all of those guys, that are making these decisions, to allow us to come back in the building, whenever that time may be. Whenever that is checked off (and) it is okay for us to go back, I won’t really be too scared or nervous about anything, just because I feel like the league wouldn’t really put us in harm’s way. I think they’re going to make sure that everything’s very safe and 100 percent ready for us to get back in there when they allow that.”

(I wanted to ask you how many times you’ve seen the replay of your game-winning touchdown in New England since it happened and what it meant to you, beyond just the fact that it was the game-winner of an awesome ending?) – “Obviously that’s a clip that has kind of surfaced throughout this offseason and is something that kind of excited our fans and gives them a little bit of something to hold onto; but for me and what it kind of meant to me, it was a cool moment. It was great for our team to finish the season on that note and everything like that, but it’s something that, at this point, is just another play in the past, and (we) are just kind of more focused on hopefully helping this team win more games in the future just because that’s kind of where I’m at right now, just kind of focusing on this offseason and moving forward to whenever training camp rolls around and to be ready to go in there and compete. I’m excited for this next opportunity.”

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