Miami Dolphins Transcripts – November 15 – Head Coach Brian Flores, WR Isaiah Ford, G/T Jesse Davis, TE Mike Gesicki, DT Zach Sieler, S Jevon Holland and DE Emmanuel Ogbah

S Jevon Holland

(I was talking to Head Coach Brian Flores about your maturity level and he said you are mature beyond your years. What are you, 21 years old? Where do you think that comes from? At what point do you feel like you had to mature?) – “In life or just in football?”

(In life.) – “I would have to say it’s my parents, really, giving me leeway to grow up, take care of my sister and drive her to school. Little things like that kind of pushed me forward to grow up quicker than I am. Then having my brother, he’s four years older than me, he’s close in age. Close enough to where I can learn from him and his mistakes and the things that he does good and then far enough where I can correct them myself or avoid something. Same thing in football with my brother also. That’s basically it.”

(What are some of the things you think you have shown for Head Coach Brian Flores to have that opinion of you in such a short time?) – “Maturity level? Just being confident back there. Speaking loudly, communicating with my teammates and things like that. Simple things. Nothing crazy.”

(When you were in London and Maurice Jones-Drew was there and he gave a shoutout to you in the pregame referring to you as a little brother. Didn’t he coach you in high school?) – “Yeah, KT – “Kenyon Training” was my seven-on-seven team. He was a coach on that team. He basically took me under his wing, taught me a whole bunch of stuff along with a lot of other coaches over there, but he was probably one of the main ones. But yeah, he’s a good guy.”

(You don’t see many former NFL Pro Bowlers. It’s probably pretty cool to learn from them. What are some things that stuck out about Maurice Jones-Drew from early on?) – “Really just his knowledge of the game and how important it is to have a knowledge of the game. That’s really what it was. For me it was like, ‘Man, that’s Maurice Jones-Drew’ because I watched him growing up. I was really just trying to absorb all of the knowledge that he’d give me about whatever position, whatever situation because there are like 2,000 things that happen in football but a coach can only tell you like 200.”

(Your dad played football. Have you had a chance to ever watch the old CFL footage? Any of the interceptions? I’m wondering how you think your ball skills compare to his?) – “My ball skills are way better than my dad’s, by far. (laughter) I played receiver in high school. I lowkey went crazy in high school at receiver. (laughter) Nah, his finger is cut off too so he really couldn’t play receiver. I’ve seen some of his old tapes and whatnot, he was balling. But yeah, my ball skills.”

(Growing up in Canada, obviously you moved to Oakland when you were around eight. How much do you remember from Canada?) – “I remember quite a bit. I’ve got fond memories, friends up there playing soccer and whatnot. Where I lived, how to get to school and things like that.”

(How’d you end up from wide receiver to safety?) – “My dad played DB, my brother played DB so, I was trained to play DB also, but I wanted to play receiver and my dad wanted me to play quarterback. I was learning offenses and things like that and I was like, ‘Nah, I’m playing receiver freshman year of high school.’ So, I played receiver and my dad was like you got to play defense too, so I played safety. I’ve always been the guy to be back deep if we are playing out in the street or something like that. That’s basically how I ended up playing safety. Then I just got better and better at safety and receiver, but I chose safety because teams wanted me more for safety.”

(Was it coming out of high school or in 2020 last year when you opted out, where Mario Cristobal told you to get ready to play come receiver?) – “It was both. When I came out of high school, it was more Coach (Marcus) Arroyo. He’s the head coach at UNLV right now. He told me ‘Yo, get ready to play some receiver.’ Then last year, Coach Cristobal told me.”

(You were still going to be a defensive back, just get some offensive snaps?) – “Yup.”

(So you never got a chance to catch a ball in college?) – “No.”

(How does your first half of your rookie season compare with your expectations?) – “They’re by far better than what my expectations were. I really just wanted to help the team in any way. That was my goal. Once plays started coming to me where technique meets opportunity, like ‘Coach G.A.’ (Defensive Backs Coach Gerald Alexander) says, splash plays happen. That’s what I’m trying to replicate every week, make sure I’m prepared, over-prepare, so that when I go out there I play free, empty-minded and just go out there and react.”

(So WR ‘Hollywood’ (Marquise) Brown is nicknamed after the Florida, Hollywood. What is the origin of your nickname and is that something you have to live up to?) – “My dad’s nickname was Hollywood when he was in the CFL and in college, and a couple of his friends started calling me Hollywood too. I just put the 2.0 behind it because obviously my dad is 1.0. I just put that on my Instagram. It’s been my Instagram for like four or five years now, so people start calling me it. That was basically it.”

(Have you ever gone to Hollywood, California?) – “Yeah, plenty of times.”

(How did he get the nickname?) – “That’s just the way he played. He had blonde hair, flashy. DB. (laughter)”

(Is your father a role model for you that he helps you during the start of your NFL career or do you have someone else that you talk to that helps you maintain your head on your shoulders?) – “It’s definitely my dad and my brother. They’re like my two. Those are my role models all my life. My dad played in the league, my brother was four years older than me, getting the opportunity to play in the league. I was basically just following their tracks. That’s what got me here, really. My dad is a trainer and everything too.”

(How do you compare the feeling of an interception versus a sack?) – “At one point, it’s just like blind excitement, really. That’s all I can really say. An interception is like the best thing because I’m a DB. But nah, a sack is kind of new for me. But I enjoy it though. I really do.”

(You answered this when you first got drafted but how tough was it to opt out of that 2020 season?) – “It was difficult, definitely.”

(Where were you and what were you doing during the time? I know you were training but what else were you spending your time doing?) – “It was difficult, like I said. I stepped away from the game for the first time in a long time. My teammates, I wanted to play with them. They went back-to-back Pac-12 Championships so that was dope. I was training and playing video games and watching anime. That was basically what I was doing the whole time.”

(I read some articles in the Vancouver newspaper and the Edmonton newspaper. They’re very excited about your success. They’re claiming you.) – “They should. I was born there. (laughter) Shout out to them. Shout out to y’all.”

(I wanted to ask you a question about Canada relative to you still hear form folks in Canada. Are you aware of how closely they’re still following you?) – “I’ve gotten more familiar with how close they are following me, but really I just talk to family friends that are from there. Sometimes on Facebook. I get messages from on Instagram from people too. That’s basically it.”

(Lacrosse and soccer as a kid but no hockey?) – “Lacrosse, yeah. But no hockey. I tried to play hockey. I fell like one time and I was done. I was like nah, that’s not it. (laughter)”

(When did you stop playing soccer? When did you make that change?) – “I stopped playing soccer in like third or fourth grade. One day I was at practice and the kids were juggling the ball and I was like what is your record? They were like 115 (juggles). I was like nah, this is not for me. I only got like 15 and I would lose a ball. (laughter) I was like nah, y’all too good so I stopped.”

(Talking about Canada, do you watch their soccer team now with all the stars that they have?) – “I haven’t been able to tap in. I really have not but I heard that they’re pretty good. I might have to go up there and check them out.”

(Did you blitz much at Oregon and what was the key moment where Head Coach Brian Flores or anyone else identified this?) – “I didn’t blitz that much at Oregon. Maybe like three or four times. Honestly, I’m not really sure. It was just like one of the times me and Brandon (Jones) in practice switched on a blitz where he was supposed to go but I went and then I don’t know. You’ll have to ask coach that. That’s not really a question I can answer.”

DT Zach Sieler

(I feel like I saw a video of Hannah lifting. Tell me how good is she?) – “Yeah, Hannah is my fiancé. She played college basketball at Alabama and then she played overseas in Greece and Iceland. That for her is her kind of escape and stress relief. We have a little gym back home and that’s where she did that at.”

(Do you guys ever have any sort of athletic competition against each other?) – “All the time. She smokes me in basketball. We got pickleball. We like playing that a lot, especially in the offseason. That’s kind of a 50/50 toss up. We love playing that. It’s get’s kind of heated and she won’t talk to me sometimes and I won’t talk to her. But it’s good. It’s all healthy.”

(Did it feel good to stick it to your former team on Thursday?) – “It was a great team victory. I think both sides played well, us and them. We came out with a win. It felt great but I think we’ve got to move on to the Jets and start preparing.”

(Did you feel good about where the defensive line is? You’ve obviously played well, DE Emmanuel Ogbah is getting a ton of pressures, DL Adam Butler is doing his thing – had his first sack the other night. We see the impact of DT Christian Wilkins this year and DT Raekwon Davis is back. Do you like this group and where you are heading into mid-November?) – “Yeah, I think we have a great bond as a d-line. We all feed off of each other very well and our play styles. All of us besides Butler were here last year. Just kind of learning how to play with him and him play with us I think has been really progressive and beneficial.”

(How do you feel like the pressure packages that have been utilized the last couple of weeks, how does that help the team reach it’s defensive goals?) – “I think it plays to our benefit and I think it’s just how we play. It’s how we want to show here as a culture, as a defense, and as a team – physical. I think it’s good.”

(It was mentioned to DE Emmanuel Ogbah that it’s unfair you guys are busting your butts in the trenches, punching and getting punched in the head, and here comes the d-backs with clean looks. What do you think of S Jevon Holland and how he had 20 blitz chances in the last game?) – “We’re all happy for him. That’s why we do it. We don’t play d-line for the glory – yeah, we love that stuff, like the tackles and sacks and stuff but if the team is winning and the defense is doing well, I think we’re all winning.”

(What did you do with your weekend off to recover your body?) – “We have a place in Sebring, Florida about two hours from here. So we just had a nice weekend there in the middle of nowhere. It was a mental release. Just hung out and played with the dogs.”

(What kind of dogs do you have?) – “Two Dogo Argentinos.”

(When you get recognized in public as a Dolphins player, how often will people – has it ever happened when they bring up the RV history? Even though you’re no longer living in one, how often does that come up from the public?) – “(laughter) Here and there. Not all the time, but people do ask, or plays. I know when (Adam) Butler came in or someone came in when they first got here and was like, ‘do you still live in that RV?’ I’m like ‘nah.’ People here in there because a lot of guys haven’t done that or a lot of people don’t do that. I try to tell them you should always try it once. I think it’s a really great experience.”

TE Mike Gesicki

(Last Thursday was one of the rare games where you didn’t have a reception. I know you’re happy with the win, but outside of CB Marlon Humphrey, what did you see from the way the Ravens defended you?) – “It’s just one of those games. Like you said, it’s a team win. It’s a team game. Now we’re stacking good weeks on top of each other and that’s the most important part. I’m very pleased with the way that we’re progressing as an offense, as a defense, special teams together in all three phases. Now another great opportunity to continue to improve and get better throughout the course of this week. We had essentially an extra day today. We’ve got several more opportunities this year and just take them day-by-day and try to continue to improve.”

(We know about QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s aura in terms of how he is in the huddle. With QB Tua Tagovailoa, is there something unique about his aura? Obviously he was such a winning player at Alabama, his personality is infectious. What’s the Tua aura when he comes into the game and helps lead you all to a win?) – “I don’t really know specifically what – I mean he’s obviously a great kid, a good leader, gets in there, the crowd went crazy and all of that kind of stuff. But he’s cool, calm and collective. He gets in the huddle, does his job, and does it at an effective rate. Everybody is excited to play with him and all of that kind of stuff. I love having him back there and I’m happy to have him in there.”

(Do you still feel like you had an imprint on the game because they didn’t alter what they would normally do to counter you? It kind of led to some breakdowns in their secondary.) – “Yeah, sure. I don’t really care about that, honestly. (laughter) It’s not like I’m trying to walk away from the game like ‘oh, that was a moral victory here.’ Together as a team, we got a win and that was really the most important part. I said the same thing after Week 1 when I came in here and everyone wanted to know if I was ready to pretty much hand in my helmet, go home and call it a season. I’m most focused on helping this team in any way, shape or form that I can. Whether that’s supporting the guys, playing my role or making plays in the pass game, or whether that’s attracting some coverage or whatever it is, we’ve got plenty of guys on this team that can make plays and I think we proved that on Thursday night.”

(I know you said that your spirits had been high after the previous losing streak, but after winning two games and getting the big win in front of the entire country, and having a few days off, when you came back, do you see that maybe the spirits are even more boosted?) – “I think that is probably the most important part for me personally, the way I carry myself. Obviously in the moment, you make a play and you get excited. But after that, never too high, never too low. You play great, it’s on to the next one. You play not so great, it’s on to the next one. That’s how I carry myself and I think for the most part professionally in this league, that’s how you have to carry yourself, and I think that’s how this team carries itself. I’m already excited to have another opportunity this week. Obviously there is positivity and happiness and all of that kind of stuff, but at the end of the day, we’re still 3-7. We’ve got to come in here each and every day to fight to get to 4-7. Then we’ll talk to you guys next week about new goals.”

(Do you look at the standings personally? Do you think you guys have a possibility looking forward, or do you stay day-by-day like Head Coach Brian Flores?) – “Day-by-day. Right now we have a squad meeting at 4 o’clock, so that’s our next focus. Then we go to O/D (offensive/defense meetings) from 4:30 to 5:30. Then I’ll probably roll out, stretch, get into the hot tub, the cold tub, leave here around – let’s call it 6:30. Go home, see what Durham (Smythe) is doing, maybe hang out with Durham. Then before I know it, wake up tomorrow, come back in here and do it all over again. I try not to look too far ahead, just take it day by day and be where your feet are.”

(How important is it to lead by example whether you get plenty of catches in a game or not? How important is it for you to be the same and be an example for the rest of the team?) – “It’s a team game. It’s not Mike Gesicki versus the other 11 guys on defense. When you see a guy like Isaiah Ford go out there and have four catches for 84 yards or whatever the heck he had, and you see Albert Wilson make a huge play at the end of the game for 60-plus yards, and Adam Shaheen go up and make three catches for however many yards he had, and then Durham (Smythe) put on the jets there a little bit and made a big play. Contributions from both of our quarterbacks. ‘X’ (Xavien Howard) on defense made a big play and returned that for a touchdown. Some guys in the kicking game. There is so much more to it than yourself and there are a lot of games, and I’m going to play a lot more games in my career, and I will have another game in my career where I have no catches. And, if we have a win, I will be ecstatic.”

(TE Durham Smythe was much faster than I expected.) – “Yeah. I don’t know what the numbers came out to be, but he was moving. I’m not going to give him too much praise. At that point, it looked like he was the only person on the field. There was nobody around him. He pretty much just ran his 40-yard dash from the Combine. I am happy for him. Maybe he hit his – whatever he hit, 4.95 at the Combine, or whatever he hit.”

(One more from me on WR Jaylen Waddle. What do you think he can become? What do you think – how good?) – “Yeah. I don’t want to put expectations or anything on a guy, but I think Jaylen Waddle is a special player being himself. He can get in and out of cuts, he can make catches where he knows he’s going to get hit like the one at the end of the third quarter on Thursday. He’s extremely quick, has good hands and he’s a good teammate. He’s young and he has a lot of potential, and I think that’s something he’s going to continue to work on and get better each and every day to reach his full potential.”

(You’re a Jersey guy. Do you always look forward to this week going home to play the Jets?) – “Yeah, it’s fun. Obviously you walk out in the stadium and you hear a lot of people ‘hey, I’m from Manahawkin, hey I’m from Toms River, hey I’m from da-da-da.’ I’m like ‘alright yeah, good seeing you,’ and all of that kind of stuff. It is good getting back in New Jersey and seeing some family. It’s easier for them to get to some games and all of that kind of stuff. It’s cool, it’s exciting. But like I said, our number one goal is to go up there and get a win.”     

G/T Jesse Davis

(How was the mini-bye?) – “It was nice. It was refreshing to get a couple of days off and kind of work on your body more. It was nice.”

(Did you have any time just to reflect the last few days just on your play over the first half of the season? Just your views and thoughts on how things have gone?) – “I didn’t really think back on the previous games. I just thought of the recent one. I think I’ve been getting more confident with my hands. I’m just trying to improve each day out here.”

(How is the hand?) – “Good. When I say confident I mean like throwing it and trusting my – not like it’s hurt. I think every o-lineman’s hands are probably hurt but nothing serious like that.”

(What went well for you in pass pro in the last game? It seemed like it was solid.) – “I’m not really sure. They had some good edge rushers. Like I said, throwing my right hand a little more aggressive and not leaning on it or just trusting my technique, I think that kind of helped me more. I think they’re a good team. They have good edge rushers. If we can hold up in protection more and give our quarterbacks time to throw, obviously it will be more confidence throughout the whole team.”

(Do you guys feel some momentum coming along now, closer to what you guys felt at the start of the season?) – “I’m not sure about momentum but yeah that’s definitely the thing. Our team, I think we’re just starting to click a little bit better. I’m just focusing on our room and trying to get us clicking as a whole unit. I think that will help with the whole team. I think the team has been pretty solid. The defense played a really good game.”

(Have you ever caught a touchdown pass?) – “Me? No. I have not. And I wouldn’t attempt to catch one on a screen. (laughter)”

(Did you guys have some fun with G/T Robert Hunt after that?) – “Yeah, we obviously laughed about it and stuff. Every time an o-lineman catches one of those, it never ends well. That’s why usually I try to bat them down I guess. He’s really athletic. I was surprised. But I think personally, I wouldn’t have caught that. (laughter)”

(After Thursday’s win, S Jevon Holland was saying that the locker room was a really, really fun place to be and that you guys were excited. As you came back from kind of this mini-bye week, have you seen some more revitalized energy to know that you guys can string these weeks together and start to turn the season around more?) – “Yeah, I think maybe the energy in the locker room is a little bit more up. I think they’re always – the guys are all usually up. We don’t really sit down and dwell about each week or we lost seven games. I think we’re focused on this week coming up and how we can improve. I think the relationship in the locker room has been great all year. There hasn’t been any rift or nothing. I think the guys have been pretty solid.”

(As a leader of the group, have you felt at all that you need to try to lift T Liam Eichenberg’s spirits? Obviously at Notre Dame he went two-and-a-half years without giving up a sack. This is a different level. There are going to be sacks. Have you had to work on his mood or spirits?) – “No. I think usually Liam is pretty upbeat. I know we all have struggles and stuff but I think Liam, just the confidence he needs to gain in the league as a tackle. He’s bounced around too. I think it’s just him versus himself sometimes. I think he’s been growing. I think he’s getting better. But as a leader, I just try to help work with him and he works with me.”

(You were a Jet once, right?) – “Yeah.”

(Did you play in a regular-season game?) – “No.”

(What do you remember about your Jets experience?) – “I got in there in 2016 during OTAs and then got cut in camp. I liked it. Nick Mangold was there. He was a really good guy. A couple of other guys I still talk to this day were there. The experience was good. That’s when I was trying to transition to guard and I couldn’t really quite get it until I got here and worked with the previous o-line coach. I like it down here better.”

(It will be nice and chilly.) – “That’s right. It will be nice.”

(Are you looking forward to a football game in the 50s?) – “Yeah. I think we had one in Buffalo it was about that. I always enjoy the cooler games.”

(Not that many of them this year. Buffalo on Halloween instead of later this year. Jets in November. Tennessee might be cold.) – “Yeah, that might be a cold one. I was hoping it would be cold on Thursday when we played but that might have been the most humid one we’ve had. (laughter)”

(So I know everybody is kind of banged up at this point in the year. It is nice to have the extra weekend but I was wondering your impressions of QB Tua Tagovailoa having played through some obvious discomfort and pain and whatnot. How do you think he handled himself playing through the finger injury?) – “I think he’s always been like that. He knows how to win games, like I’ve said before. I think Tua, he prepares the right way. He’s always done that. He’s always understood everything. He knows how to communicate to us too so that’s really big. For him to come in off of a short injury from Jacoby (Brissett) or whatever, hats off to him. He did a good job.”

(There were times last year where I recall when QB Ryan Fitzpatrick would come in and players would talk about the jolt of energy when he came in. What was it like when QB Tua Tagovailoa came in the other night?) – “I guess ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) would bring in himself and ‘Fitz’ was ‘Fitz.’ Tua is Tua. Tua comes in and he’s confident. He looks you in the eye and he gives you the play with confidence. He doesn’t stutter. He doesn’t tell you ‘Hey, I need you to hold up,’ or something. He comes in with confidence and he shows the confidence to his players. Hats off to him. He’s done a good job of doing that all year.”

WR Isaiah Ford

(It was good to see all your hard work and resilience pay off on Thursday. Does anyone ever mention to you jokingly about having nine lives here? Are those words that have ever come into your mind with your Dolphins career – nine lives?) – “(laughter) Yeah, I’ve heard that a few times. I’ve also heard the ex-girlfriend that keeps coming back. I’ve heard that one too. (laughter) I think it’s a testament to the way that I carry myself and the way that I work when I’m on the field, in the classroom and around here.”

(I know you were traded, released, came back and I’m sure that at times it has been tough for you, but in terms of legitimately getting settled, what does that look like when you can’t really invest in a spot because you know you might be going somewhere else? What has that been like for you?) – “I’ve been here for the better part of the last five years. I’m here in the offseason too, so this is pretty much my home.”

(What was the backstory to the long passing play in the last game?) – “Yeah, so it was a busted coverage. I think it was a miscommunication on their part. I slipped the guy outside and I’m running down the sideline. That’s usually one of those plays that we’ll see but maybe Jacoby (Brissett) or Tua (Tagovailoa) haven’t had enough time to see it or make the play and that’s something you watch with the other guys like ‘dang, I wish we could have hit that.’ You see the other guys hitting busted coverages and stuff like that. Jacoby got flushed outside, he happened to see me, threw a great ball and I made a play. I wish could have made the guy miss a little earlier and gotten into the end zone, but it was a good play.”

(Gave him a little shimmy shake, right?) – “Yeah, a little bit. (laughter)”

(Did you think you were going to retire this at some point or were you waiting for the right moment?) – “I was just waiting on the right moment, the right play. It’s all a feel thing. I even joke with my girlfriend and my mom about not being able to do it on the spot. It’s like, ‘How you do that?’ I’m like ‘Man, I got to be in the moment to do it, you know?’ It’s just my thing.”

(How much work needs to be done behind the scenes for you to stay ready when it’s your time?) – “A ton. I think the biggest thing is mentally. Mentally, you have to prepare as if you are going to play 80 snaps even though you might only play one or two, or you might not play any. But you have to continue to prepare as if you’re going to be the guy because you never know when that opportunity is going to come. When it does come, you want to be as ready as you possibly can. I think mentally is the biggest challenge, and it’s not easy but it’s something that I have a really good support staff around me, I have really good mentors that I talk to on a daily basis to kind of keep me taking the baby steps and stacking those little victories and keep putting on foot forward.”

(How did QB Tua Tagovailoa look to you today?) – “He looked like Tua. He looked good. He looked like he had no problems or anything like that. He looked good.”

(Taking into account QB Tua Tagovailoa’s entire season, from the first game through Week 10, what has impressed you most about those 10 weeks?) – “Him just being himself. I think that he’s still his natural self in terms of off the field, being a goofy guy, having fun, enjoying being here and enjoying the game of football. Then you see the confidence that’s growing the more reps he gets. It’s what – has he played 16 games yet? Or maybe right around there? So he’s still getting confidence and he’s still learning as he’s going, but you can see the confidence and the belief in his arm and in the throws that things are starting to slow down for him.”

(I know it’s been three months since August 24th when you were released after training camp and the second preseason game. Do you remember if Head Coach Brian Flores or General Manager Chris Grier said to you then, ‘You know about our relationship, you’ll probably be back?’ Did one of those two guys say something like that to you?) – “I think it was mentioned in our conversation.”

(By General Manager Chris Grier or Head Coach Brian Flores?) – “I don’t remember exactly who it was but I do remember it being mentioned and it being a possibility. I always wanted to re-focus and see where it went. I was fortunate that they wanted me to come back and thought I could help the team out.”

(Was there ever a time that you departed from here and were convinced I’m probably never coming back?) – “I don’t know. Even with me being traded last year, I remember having the exit meetings with ‘Coach Flo’ (Brian Flores) and (Chris) Grier and them saying, ‘You never know, we may cross paths again.’ I didn’t know it would be later that season but I think it’s a testament to my parents who instilled those characteristics in me. I think that if you leave a good impression, a lasting impression, that you can cross paths again and you never burn those bridges. I’m thankful for that.”

(You would seem to be the kind of selfless, smart guy who would be helpful to have around very young receivers like WR Jaylen Waddle, who’s third in the NFL in catches. Where do you think this guy is headed compared to where he is? Where do you think he can go?) – “The sky is the limit for Jaylen. He’s still learning. Some of the things that he’s seeing for the first time and he’s so naturally gifted at some of the things that he just does it without really kind of explaining it or knowing why he did it, but it’s the right thing to do. The more he understands coverages, finding those soft spots in zones and understanding and getting comfortable because this is his first year in this system as well. The sky is the limit for him.”

(What is it that you like living in Miami that you call this home even if you’re not in-season?) – “I think the weather is the big thing, right? Sunshine year round with the occasional rain. You can’t beat it. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, which is four-and-a-half hours from here. I’ve been a Florida kid at heart. I’ve been in Florida pretty much my entire life.”

(You had 84 yards receiving the other night. You had one game where you surpassed that earlier in your career. Do you remember that game?) – “(laughter) Yeah, I do.”

(Do you remember who it was against? What do you remember from that day?) – “I just remember coming in for Allen Hurns, getting a catch early in the drive. DeVante goes down with a concussion. Albert (Wilson) goes down later that drive and the next thing you know I’m in for the rest of the game. It was just that fast and it’s one of those things where if I hadn’t prepared that week, I wouldn’t have been able to play as well or even be able to function out there at all in that game. That game was pretty much the epitome of my career. Staying ready so you don’t have to get ready. Being ready for that moment and when it comes, try to make the most of the opportunity.”

DE Emmanuel Ogbah

(You’ve had pressures all year – you personally and the team were in the upper half of the league in pressures. It’s finally turning into sacks these last two weeks. At least four in the last two weeks. What has been the big change you where the group has gotten the quarterback down more often?) – “I wouldn’t say it’s a real big change. We just have to keep going. It’s the same approach we take every game – affect the passer whichever way we can. We just kept on doing what we’ve been doing and we’re finally getting home.”

(I know that Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer, Head Coach Brian Flores and Defensive Line Coach Austin Clark have all said the goal is to disrupt the quarterback more than sacks per se. But I’m curious, from a human standpoint, being in a contract year, do you think teams consider pressures or do you think you need high sack numbers to get the type of contract that any pass rusher of your quality would like to get?) – “I would say sacks are the flashy numbers but as long as you affect the quarterback whichever way you can and stop them from making a play with batted balls, pressures, hits. As long as you’re throwing them off the spot, you’re doing your job. That’s what I would say.”

(I believe you have a streak of going of five games with a pass defensed. Is that something that you’re making a point of emphasis or just they came along and you made the plays? What’s going on there?) – “I would say for sure practice and also I would say instincts, too. If you know you can’t get there and you know the ball is coming out hot, all you have to do is just put your hands up and hopefully you bat the ball down.”

(You made it sound so easy.) – “(laughter) I wouldn’t say it’s easy. Practice starts with practice. But if you know you can’t get there fast enough and the quarterback is throwing the ball in less than two seconds, the best thing you can do is put your hands up and affect him.”

(I read a statistic that said S Jevon Holland had 21 blitzes in the last game, which hasn’t been done in five years or something by a defensive back. How does all those blitzes help the team?) – “It does. It goes by gameplan. He’s doing a good job for us blitzing. It’s all 11 men on the field. Either you’re blitzing or you’re dropping in coverage. Just whatever you do, affect the quarterback. He’s doing a phenomenal job for us blitzing like he is doing.”

(Sometimes it’s a sight to see when a corner or a safety blitzes and they come in clean and they just smash the quarterback. You never get that option. What’s that like for you?) – “(laughter) I think my presence is more – they feel like I’m bigger. They don’t really see the DBs coming so that’s why it’s always a clean shot with them. Like I said, I like when they’re doing it. It feels good. I like when they hit the quarterback. It makes my job easier. Now he’s worrying about that and won’t see me coming.”

(Don’t you ever say to yourself, just one time let me…) – “Don’t see me coming? (laughter) It’s a team game. If he gets it, I’m happy for him. If another person gets it, I’m happy too. It’s making a play for us.”

(I know the gameplan won’t be the same every week and you won’t blitz as often as you did, every single week. But is a gameplan like that fun as a defensive lineman to know how many are going to be rushing, and that it’s going to happen a lot with a lot of guys rushing?) – “It throws the offensive line off. They don’t know who to block. They might block me one play and then somebody else is coming free. They might block another person and I’m coming free. They don’t know who to block so it throws them off the spot and makes our job easier, I would say.”

(When you get to the line of scrimmage, sometimes there’s three players on the line, sometimes four, sometimes seven or eight. Do you very quickly know how many guys are going to be around you or does sometimes more guys just start appearing?) – “It’s practice. I know who is coming and I know who is not coming. When we line up, I know who is coming but they don’t know who is coming.”

(Do you look at the standings at all? You’ve won two games and see how you’re coming back into the rhythm. Do you think maybe if you get this game and next game, you’re back in it? How do you manage that?) – “I just look at the next game. I take the game one game at a time. Like I said before, it’s a process. We weren’t getting the wins but we were always in there. I felt like we were getting better. A lot of people didn’t say we were getting better but I felt like we were getting better and it’s finally turning around so I’m grateful for that.”

(You guys have had 10 straight game weeks and now you had a mini-bye. Did guys come back fully refreshed, do you think?) – “Oh yeah, definitely. Any time you get three days off, it’s always a blessing. I feel like a lot of the guys feel good. They feel good, I feel good and we’re ready to get after the Jets this week.”

(Have you always had that mentality of day-by-day or is it something that Head Coach Brian Flores has instilled in you and your teammates?) – “I mean I’ve always had that, that mindset of just taking one day at a time and don’t think about the past too much. Just keep it moving. Also, Coach Flores harps on that every day at practice and in the meetings, too. Just keep it going, one step at a time. You never know when this thing could turn.”

(One of my favorite photos is DE Cameron Wake and DT Ndamukong Suh coming together to crush a Jets quarterback. Is that photo still in one of the rooms? Have you seen it?) – “No. I know the play you’re talking about but I haven’t seen any pictures of it here. I haven’t noticed it.”

(Do you have an extremely memorable collision? What’s your all-time favorite two dudes meet at the quarterback?) – “I’d say that has to be up there with Cam Wake and Ndamukong Suh. It’s for sure up there.”

Head Coach Brian Flores

(Have you seen QB Tua Tagovailoa to get a sense on his finger, if there has been any improvement? And then the three IR guys, I was going to ask you WR Will Fuller, C/G Michael Deiter and RB Malcolm Brown, are any of those ready to resume practicing?) – “My expectation with Tua is that he’ll start this weekend. Obviously he’s going to have some discomfort with the finger. He banged it the other day. We were trying to avoid that, but it happened. He’s had some time to rest it and practice today, and that’s my expectation for this weekend. Malcolm Brown won’t be this week. Deiter is getting closer, unlikely for this week though. And the same for Will Fuller – getting closer, unlikely though for this week.”

(One last guy to ask you about. Did DB Jason McCourty opt to have season-ending surgery?) – “Jason, he’s on IR. But it will be season-ending, yes.”

(How is QB Jacoby Brissett’s knee doing?) – “He’ll likely be limited today but doing better. It was kind of a scary situation, but thankfully it’s not anything serious. Let’s call him day-to-day. I expect him to practice on a limited basis today.”

(One of the concerns for the past couple of weeks with QB Tua Tagovailoa was whether he could make all of the throws. Where is he as far – I know you haven’t seen him for a couple of days, but as far as what you know, is he limited at all, do you think?) – “Yeah, he’s definitely limited. There is definitely some discomfort. He was limited in the game also. Again, he hit the finger again. We just have to monitor that as the week goes and try to get some of the swelling out of there. We’ll do the best we can from that standpoint. But yeah, limited.”

(It’s kind of silly to ask if big plays are good because that obviously goes without saying. But the fact that you guys hit on a couple of them Thursday night, I know one was kind of broken, but you guys made a lot out of it. Does an offense need that to reaffirm the belief that really big play is possible?) – “Any time you can create explosive plays, that helps you offensively. It changes field position, changes momentum in the game. So yeah, they always help. Any time you can get them – whether it’s run game, pass game, screen game, defensively, the kicking game – those chunk plays, they help you. Not necessarily just for that drive, but from a momentum standpoint, they’re big plays. We were able to create a few the other night and we’re always trying to find ways to create explosive plays. They definitely help. We want to limit them defensively and try to get as many as we can offensively.”

(When you don’t have explosive plays – and granted there was a lot going on the first eight games and all that too. There was a lot of reasons to be frustrated. But when the offense can’t hit the long ball, is that a source of frustration or do you guys not look at it in those terms?) – “Then it’s about execution. Not every drive has a big play in it. Sometimes it’s picking up three or four third downs. If you’re playing against a good defense, it’s five here, six here, two here, first down, convert a third down, convert a fourth down. That’s hard to do though. It’s hard to put a 12- 15 play drive together for any team. When you get an explosive and you cut the 15-play drive down to seven or eight plays, that helps the situation. But when you’re not getting them, you just need better execution on a consistent basis. That’s for every team.”

(Is left tackle undecided at this time, or are you gong to roll with T Liam Eichenberg for this week?) – “Liam will be out there.”

(How did the mini-bye treat you and the players this weekend?) – “I think when you get some time off and get a little bit or rest, recharge the batteries, I think the guys were ready to go this morning for meetings. Hopefully you see a rested, high-energy practice. That’s what we’re looking for.”

(With the number of times you blitzed defensive backs on Thursday, is that sort of the defense you envisioned when you accumulated so many safeties that are versatile like S Jevon Holland an S Brandon Jones?) – “I think it gives you the opportunity to do that. I think every gameplan is a little bit different. It won’t always be blitz heavy like it was last week. Sometimes it’s a coverage game, sometimes it’s a blitz game, sometimes it’s a mix of both. I think it’s specific to what kind of team we’re playing. To have the flexibility to play different styles is something that we want to be able to do that. I think what the young safeties are doing – we’re putting a lot on their plate and they are getting better every day.”

(Are there any other o-line shuffling or combinations?) – “We’ll see how it goes through the week. We’ve had a couple of conversations about a couple of different positions, but Liam (Eichenberg) will be in there at left tackle.”

(We’ve all asked Offensive Line Coach Lemuel Jeanpierre about the possibility of flipping G/T Jesse Davis and G/T Robert Hunt. He said it’s something you talk about every week. At this point, what’s the thinking about having left them at the positions they’ve played all year? Do you feel Jesse at right tackle gives you the best opportunity to win than Jesse at right guard, and vice versa with Hunt?) – “We’re always going to try to put the best five guys out there and the best combination of those guys as well. I think when a guy is playing at one spot and understands what he’s doing there, to move him out – does it hurt him, help him, or does it hurt or help the other guys? Is that the best combination? I think we’ve gone through it pretty extensively. I feel like the group we’ve had out there has been the best group. With that said, there is always an evaluation postgame and there is always opportunity or possibility that things may change.”              

(WR Jaylen Waddle has been an effective, high-volume pass catcher and I’m wondering your thoughts about spreading the ball around, which coaches always talk about wanting to do versus having a guy who is among the league-leaders in catches and seemingly would be highly trusted by his quarterback. Ehat are your thoughts on those two concepts?) – “I think you can do both. I think you want to spread the ball around. I think everyone’s got, let’s call it ‘go-to guys,’ and I think between the quarterback and the play design, the go-to guys are going to get targets. They’re also going to get a lot of defense too. If that player is doubled, you can force it to him but that’s probably not where you want to go with the ball and once that happens, that’s when you need the rest of the guys to contribute because if one guy is doubled, then somebody is singled. If that person wins, that may be our best opportunity to get some positive plays. I think you can do both but from a play design – look quarterbacks they want to get the ball to those particular players who they think can make big plays for them or are trusted. From that respect, or from that perspective I would say, I think a player like that – you mentioned Waddle – is going to get a good amount of targets. I’m always of the belief that you spread it around and make the defense, speaking offensively, make the defense deal with the entire group and not just focus on one guy. I think that’s what you’re trying to do offensively. Trying to force a guy into double, triple coverage, it’s hard.”

(I’m guessing you probably spent much of your afternoon watching the Jets play the Bills. What are your impressions of them?) – “I watched that. I’ve been watching a lot of the Jets obviously. Young team. I think they play with great effort. They’ve beaten a couple good teams. I think we are going to have to do a good job in our preparation, getting ready for this group in all three phases. I think we are going to have to prepare well and play well to have success.”

(Can you talk a little bit about WR Albert Wilson and if Thursday’s game is going to help him moving forward in the season? He’s not been making plays consistently.) – “I thought Albert played well. He made some big plays for us in the run game and in the pass game. We talk about other guys contributing, I think that was something that definitely helped us in the game and hopefully that will continue.”

(How important is it for the team to not get ahead? You get two wins, you try to gain some ground back but just to concentrate on the one week and not to start thinking about what could happen in terms of getting back to the race?) – “I think it’s always let’s focus on today, let’s focus on our opponent this week, focus on getting better today, which we’ve talked about that in our meetings. Let’s make some corrections or things we could have done better from the other day, try to get that corrected, fixed today, and have a good week of preparation on the Jets. Really, that’s it. That’s the approach that I’m taking and that’s the message that the players are getting. Again look, I think the Jets have a good, young team. I think they play hard. I think they’ve beat some very good teams and we’re going to have to play well.”

(I wanted to ask you one question about S Jevon Holland. We’ve spoken a lot about how Jevon has versatility, he has ball skills, the ability to blitz, he’s a good athlete. I’m wondering about his makeup as a young professional athlete. What are you noticing in that area in regards to maturity and preparation for a young guy?) – “I think he’s mature beyond his years. I think he’s smart. I think he’s obviously talented. These are all the things that we liked about him coming out. I think he’s very much so a professional. I think from an intangibles standpoint, he’s got a lot of things we’re looking for. You combine that with his athletic ability, his ability to do multiple things. If he keeps up with the way he prepares, the way he practices, the way he is intentional about getting better, he’s going to be ok in this league.”

(We throw the word rivalry around a lot. Do rivalries really exist in the NFL? People talk about Cowboys-Eagles, Packers-Bears whatever. Dolphins-Jets has always been called the Dolphins-Jets rivalry. Whoever you’re playing that week is your biggest rival at that time I’m sure because you want to beat them all, but do rivalries really exist?) – “I think for me, like you said every week that’s our biggest rival. For fans, yeah that exists. For us and our team, I think there’s not more energy put into this game than every other game. There’s not more build up, excitement or preparation for what some may consider a rivalry game. Every game is important in this league so it’s really the same approach for me. That’s kind of my thoughts on that.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *