Miami Dolphins Transcripts – November 22 – Head Coaches and All Players

Head Coach Brian Flores

(Why the switch to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and was QB Tua Tagovailoa injured?) – “No. No, Tua wasn’t injured. We just felt like it was the best move at that point in the game. We had to get to two-minute mode and we just felt like he gave us the best chance to win the game which we had an opportunity at the end – to tie it, I should say.”

(What do you think Denver’s defense did so well to make QB Tua Tagovailoa look uncomfortable and then obviously force that change there at the end?) – “We knew this all week. It’s a good defense. [Broncos Head Coach] Vic Fangio is one of the top defensive minds in the game. They’ve got good players, they had good scheme, they pressured us, they mixed the coverages and they did a good job defensively. We’ve got to execute better. We had some opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of them. In a tightly contested game we’ve got on the road, we’ve got to play better.”

(Do you leave this game needing to make any wholesale change at the quarterback position? Is QB Ryan Fitzpatrick going to be in line to be a starter or…?) – “No changes.”

(Was there anything – I know QB Tua Tagovailoa came in with the foot injury – did that have any factor in his mobility or anything that he was able to do today?) – “No, he played against a good defensive group. They did a good job. I think they ended up with five or six sacks, they pressured us, they did a good job on the back end from a coverage standpoint, and we just struggled to get going. When that’s going on throughout the course of a game, you’ve got to try to do something to create some momentum. That’s why we made the switch. He’s (Tua Tagovailoa) healthy.”

(Are you concerned at all what this might do to QB Tua Tagovailoa’s confidence?) – “He’s a confident kid. No, not at all. I think he’s dealt with a lot of adversity. He’s a confident kid and I think he’s fine.”

(I wanted to ask you about your run defense today. What were they doing particularly that gave you guys issues?) – “It wasn’t good enough. We’ve got to do a better job on the edge, we’ve got to do a better job tackling, we’ve got to do a better job fighting pressure with pressure, defeating blocks. I think we started the game decently, but they made some adjustments and we’ve got to make better adjustments as a staff and our players have to play better.”

(They had six sacks. I’m wondering if you thought some of those were on the quarterback and that was part of the switch or was it all protection?) – “I’ve got to watch the film. It looked like it was a combination of the protection and maybe holding it a little bit too long, guys not getting open. I’ve got to watch the film, but at the end of the day if we weren’t moving the ball effectively. We just felt like we needed to give ourselves a spark.”

(What did you see from your team from the moment that LB Andrew Van Ginkel caused that fumble on the 1-yard line and the play he made there obviously after the penalties? What did you see from that point and then on the drive, what was going right for your offense on that drive starting with that terrible field position?) – “This is a resilient group. Things looked bleak there on the goal line, we make a play, we get on the 1-yard line, we start to make a drive, we put it into the end zone and we get an opportunity to punch it in and perhaps tie the game there. This game comes down to two or three plays and the most critical plays are normally at the end. I think ‘Fitz’ [Ryan Fitzpatrick] was trying to fire a ball in there and they made a good play. [Broncos S Justin] Simmons is a good player, we talked about him all week. Hopefully we learn from it. I think there are other plays throughout the game that we didn’t make from dropped balls, from a protection standpoint, defensively in the run game. It looked like we came clean on a punt block and we didn’t make that one either. We’ve got to take advantage of our opportunities. That’s the way it is in this league. I think this is a resilient group. We’ll keep our heads up, we’ll get back in there and prepare for our next opponent. We’ll try to – I don’t want to say turn it around – but try to get a victory next week.”

(I was also going to ask about. Coming in you guys were riding on a five-game win streak. Some of your deficiencies were showed in this game. I guess moving forward what are some things you guys have to do to get back on the win again?) – “I think there are always things you want to improve. I think we talk about that regardless of the outcome of a game. Good, bad; I think there are problems – there’s never been a perfect game. There are problems in different areas of offense, defense and special teams every week. Whether you win or lose, you try to make those adjustments and make those changes and fix things regardless of the outcome. This week’s no different. The only difference is that we didn’t win the game as opposed to previous weeks. Every week we know there are things we can improve on. We try to improve on them on a daily basis, and we’ll continue to do that.”

(How concerned are you about the pass protection of your offensive line? That seemed to have been a bright spot for that group.) – “You’re right, that’s been okay and it hasn’t been something that’s been spotlighted in weeks prior. Obviously we’ll address it. I have a lot confidence in all the players on this team – offense, defense and special teams, as well as our coaches. We’ll go back, watch the film, make the corrections and try to improve and get better over the course of the week, and hopefully play better next week.”

QB Tua Tagovailoa (transcribed by Denver Broncos)

(On what Denver’s pass rush did well to force six sacks) – “I think they were very well-prepared coming into this game. We knew they were a tough front and we knew we facing a tough defense at the same time. We’ve just got to execute better on our side of the ball. That’s been the biggest thing, just execute.”

(On his reaction to being removed from the game) – “My thoughts were whatever was going to be best for the team. When I was in, we couldn’t really get things going and Coach felt like it was the best decision to put ‘Fitz’ (QB Ryan Fitzpatrick) in to give us a spark. When I heard that–it’s really what’s best for the team. If we were to win with Fitz in there, the locker room would be a lot different and everyone would be a lot happier. It just sucks to lose.”

(On how he’ll try to improve based on today’s experience) – “I think you look at the entirety of the game and you learn from a lot of what defense the Broncos have shown. They played a lot of base to our normal offense. We tried to get them out of their base look. What we were doing, we just couldn’t execute. For me, it was a great learning experience. I felt like I was holding the ball a little too long. I’ve just got to get completions and we’ve got to get the ball in the hands of our guys to make plays for us.”

(On if he felt like he deserved to be removed from the game) – “To be honest, with everything that I’ve said, to me it’s really about the team. I don’t take that lightly with what I say as far as it being about the team. Like I said, we didn’t execute the way we wanted to offensively. We had many opportunities, we just didn’t execute when we needed to.”

(On why he didn’t try to stretch the field more with longer passes) – “I think it goes back to what I said. Completions, for me, are the biggest thing. I think for any offense, to get drives starting–I couldn’t get the ball in the hands of our playmakers and our guys consistently to get a rhythm going. When Fitz got in, as you could see, he got completions right away and he was able to lead our guys down to put points on the board and then towards the end of the game as well.”

(On if there was anything he saw from Fitzpatrick late in the game that he can learn from) – “One-hundred percent. There are a lot of things. I would say, it’s one thing hearing from Fitz when I come to the sideline, ‘Taking completions, it may seem like he’s covered but you’ve just got to get completions.’ It’s another seeing him go out there and doing it. For me, a lot of the time I see guys who are covered, but they’re not necessarily covered, if that makes sense. Just being able to see a lot of what Fitz was doing when he got in, a lot of it was a learning lesson for me. Even when he came to the sideline I got to ask him questions too. It was really good.”

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

(When you got the word, I saw you on the sideline obviously warming up and speaking with TE Mike Gesicki, to WR DeVante Parker. Just what were those conversations like and what was going through your head before you came in there at the end?) – “’Flo’ (Head Coach Brian Flores) – we all came up and just said we needed a little bit of a spark and we’re going to kind of do the up-tempo deal. He said I was going in so I talked to those guys and just let them know that A., I was in there; B., some of the stuff that potentially we could do. But just trying to get a little bit of juice going with those guys and unfortunately we came up short there, but again, that was a tough game that their defense played really well and I wish I would have hit that last throw.”

(Moving forward do you see yourself kind of trying to compete for that playing time? Even a starting job here or do you still see yourself being a mentor to QB Tua Tagovailoa and maybe just being the backup?) – “It’s very clear that this is Tua’s team and Tua’s going to continue to get better and grow. So for me, my defined role right now is whatever ‘Coach Flo’ (Head Coach Brian Flores) and whatever the team needs out of me, and today was different than the last few weeks in that he needed me to go out there and try to move the ball and provide a spark. But the few weeks before that it really was just full support mode on Tua and even in a game like today when I’m out there, I’m still talking with Tua on the sideline and we’re going through stuff and just trying to get him to see what I’m seeing and why I’m doing the things I’m doing. This is such a tough position to play and you’re just going to continue to learn and it’s going to be a bumpy road, but you just hope that the things that you learn, you put them in the back and you make a catalog in the back of your head and you continue to get better.”

(QB Tua Tagovailoa talked about how appreciative he is, the fact that you continue to give in all situations and circumstances. Today was obviously very difficult for him with six sacks and not a lot of passing yards. I know you’re not a coach, but you are a pseudo-coach. What advice or what is something you noticed that might be helpful for him to hear right now?) – “Those are discussions I had with him on the sideline and stuff that we’ll continue to have as we watch the film, but without getting into too many specifics, it’s what I just said. It’s creating a catalog; even in the games that you win, things aren’t going to go right all the time, so what happened in this game, what could I have done differently. They seemed like they were getting some pressure up front, so what are some things that I can do as a quarterback to combat that? And you just keep putting these things in the back of your mind and as we go forward he’ll be able to lean on and continue to use some of those; and for me, I think my role here – I learned those things in 16 years – but is to accelerate the things that he’s going to learn and make sure that he learns it faster than I did.”

(You almost gave us the perfect storybook ending there. What happened on the pick?) – “I put us in a bunch set and in situations like that you want to give your playmakers a chance to make plays and DeVante (Parker) was on a post and the nearside safety came down on (Adam) Shaheen just like I thought he would. The backside safety really plays my eyes. Jakeem (Grant) was on the backside, so if I’m looking at Jakeem and Jakeem’s got a route that’s of interest to that backside safety, he’s going to stay put. Unfortunately I did not look him off and look him off as much as I needed to because that wasn’t how it was going to play out on the front side. But got everything I wanted with DeVante on the front side, and I needed to do a better job of holding that safety and really, that’s the game of football. It was milliseconds. If he would’ve been a step slower, maybe that ball gets in there and we’re having a happy press conference; but those are the type of things – even when I’m out there – things that Tua can continue to learn from. But I wish I could’ve had that one second to look off. I wish I would’ve done that better on the last play.”

(I wanted to ask you have you said anything or do you plan to say anything to QB Tua Tagovailoa about maybe how he should handle the benching and how to go forward from this moment?) – “Yeah, we talked about it on the sideline. We talked about it in the locker room. I think it’s probably a conversation that’s over with now. For him, he’s going to put his head down and keep working hard and keep trying to be a better quarterback, keep trying to get better every day; but we’ve got a great chance here and Tua has done a nice job, so it’s about putting it behind you and moving onto the next one. And I know that he’ll do a good job of that, so there’s no controversy. This is his team. He’s going to lead this team and continue to lead the team and we’ve just all kind of got to pull him in the right direction and get everybody continuing to get better.”

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

(When you got the word, I saw you on the sideline obviously warming up and speaking with TE Mike Gesicki, to WR DeVante Parker. Just what were those conversations like and what was going through your head before you came in there at the end?) – “’Flo’ (Head Coach Brian Flores) – we all came up and just said we needed a little bit of a spark and we’re going to kind of do the up-tempo deal. He said I was going in so I talked to those guys and just let them know that A., I was in there; B., some of the stuff that potentially we could do. But just trying to get a little bit of juice going with those guys and unfortunately we came up short there, but again, that was a tough game that their defense played really well and I wish I would have hit that last throw.”

(Moving forward do you see yourself kind of trying to compete for that playing time? Even a starting job here or do you still see yourself being a mentor to QB Tua Tagovailoa and maybe just being the backup?) – “It’s very clear that this is Tua’s team and Tua’s going to continue to get better and grow. So for me, my defined role right now is whatever ‘Coach Flo’ (Head Coach Brian Flores) and whatever the team needs out of me, and today was different than the last few weeks in that he needed me to go out there and try to move the ball and provide a spark. But the few weeks before that it really was just full support mode on Tua and even in a game like today when I’m out there, I’m still talking with Tua on the sideline and we’re going through stuff and just trying to get him to see what I’m seeing and why I’m doing the things I’m doing. This is such a tough position to play and you’re just going to continue to learn and it’s going to be a bumpy road, but you just hope that the things that you learn, you put them in the back and you make a catalog in the back of your head and you continue to get better.”

(QB Tua Tagovailoa talked about how appreciative he is, the fact that you continue to give in all situations and circumstances. Today was obviously very difficult for him with six sacks and not a lot of passing yards. I know you’re not a coach, but you are a pseudo-coach. What advice or what is something you noticed that might be helpful for him to hear right now?) – “Those are discussions I had with him on the sideline and stuff that we’ll continue to have as we watch the film, but without getting into too many specifics, it’s what I just said. It’s creating a catalog; even in the games that you win, things aren’t going to go right all the time, so what happened in this game, what could I have done differently. They seemed like they were getting some pressure up front, so what are some things that I can do as a quarterback to combat that? And you just keep putting these things in the back of your mind and as we go forward he’ll be able to lean on and continue to use some of those; and for me, I think my role here – I learned those things in 16 years – but is to accelerate the things that he’s going to learn and make sure that he learns it faster than I did.”

(You almost gave us the perfect storybook ending there. What happened on the pick?) – “I put us in a bunch set and in situations like that you want to give your playmakers a chance to make plays and DeVante (Parker) was on a post and the nearside safety came down on (Adam) Shaheen just like I thought he would. The backside safety really plays my eyes. Jakeem (Grant) was on the backside, so if I’m looking at Jakeem and Jakeem’s got a route that’s of interest to that backside safety, he’s going to stay put. Unfortunately I did not look him off and look him off as much as I needed to because that wasn’t how it was going to play out on the front side. But got everything I wanted with DeVante on the front side, and I needed to do a better job of holding that safety and really, that’s the game of football. It was milliseconds. If he would’ve been a step slower, maybe that ball gets in there and we’re having a happy press conference; but those are the type of things – even when I’m out there – things that Tua can continue to learn from. But I wish I could’ve had that one second to look off. I wish I would’ve done that better on the last play.”

(I wanted to ask you have you said anything or do you plan to say anything to QB Tua Tagovailoa about maybe how he should handle the benching and how to go forward from this moment?) – “Yeah, we talked about it on the sideline. We talked about it in the locker room. I think it’s probably a conversation that’s over with now. For him, he’s going to put his head down and keep working hard and keep trying to be a better quarterback, keep trying to get better every day; but we’ve got a great chance here and Tua has done a nice job, so it’s about putting it behind you and moving onto the next one. And I know that he’ll do a good job of that, so there’s no controversy. This is his team. He’s going to lead this team and continue to lead the team and we’ve just all kind of got to pull him in the right direction and get everybody continuing to get better.”

LB Andrew Van Ginkel

(If you could just tell me exactly what happened on that play where you got the ball out at the 1-yard line?) – “I was off the edge and I came back; I saw that there was a couple of guys on him, and he was about to score. I just wanted to do everything I could do to get the ball out and give us a chance.”

(From a defensive perspective, what do you guys need to do improve in stopping the run? Felt like they had several big gains there on the ground today.) – “We just got to come back and get to work because we got to take pride in that. Stopping the run, and getting off the field on third down and rushing the passer. We’re definitely not doing a good enough job, and we got to work on it to fix it.”

(There were some positives. You had an interception by CB Xavien Howard, a big fourth-down stop as a team, you had a critical forced fumble. But what are some of the things that sort of disappoint you in terms of a collective defensive performance today?) – “I would say stopping the run. Anytime the backs, they run like that and they get yards and we can’t defend it; that’s a lot of stress on our defense. I’d say that just overall and giving up rushing touchdowns. It’s something we’ve got to improve.”

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