Miami Dolphins Transcripts – November 3 – Coordinators and Offensive Position Coaches

Offensive Line Coach Steve Marshall

(Sorry to put you on the spot with this, but I was curious what your thinking was when T Austin Jackson is healthy and returns, is he immediately your left tackle again or does this become a difficult decision because the way G/T Jesse Davis has played at left, G/T Robert Hunt has played at right?) – “Austin (Jackson) hasn’t put a helmet on for a month. We’ll make that determination when he gets out there (and) he’s cleared. He’s working hard. He’s in all the meetings. He hasn’t missed a beat mentally, but you’ve also got to make sure he’s healthy and full-speed. So that’s the least of my concerns right now. We’ve got these Cardinals we get to deal with right now, but whenever Austin is ready – he’s chomping at the bit. I talked to him yesterday and whenever that time is, then we’ll go from there.”

(I’ve asked you this so many times during the season in terms of a run game identity. Do you feel like you’re getting enough surge at the line of scrimmage to sort of help the run game?) – “I think we have – let me say we’re not as consistent as we all would like to be. We’ve made strides in a lot of areas, but we need to be more consistent on a down-after-down basis. And that just comes with a plethora of things that – I could list 15 things as we go, so we want to keep – every week is a new challenge as we’re just coming out of meetings talking about the Cardinals. The Rams presented a certain challenge, as did the Jets and San Francisco. So yeah, do we need to be better? Absolutely. But we’re doing some good things. We’ve got to continue to build on what we’re trying to get done.”

(I’m curious about maybe what we can’t see on game day – the protection calls and whatnot. How much did that change from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to QB Tua Tagovailoa as far as identifying blitzes and where the o-line goes and how much does it…) –  “Not really. Not as probably much as you think. The one thing as you know, we went from ‘Fitz’ who is probably the most experienced – one of the most experienced – quarterbacks in the NFL to Tua who’s obviously Day 1, first game. The calls or anything really don’t change. Understanding what they’re seeing in front of them, understanding and making sure that we can get the right guys blocked, which we’ve done a heck of a job of this year and I’m sure we’ll continue to do that and get them protected. But the calls really haven’t changed any. Obviously Tua’s first time through getting a pro pass rush coming at him every minute obviously is a thing that he’ll get better and better at, and obviously the young guys we’ve got up front on offense have continued to get better and better at knowing the different and the variety of blitzes they get, especially on third down. Arizona is going to be no different. They’ve got a really dynamic third down pressure package that we’ve got to get ready for.”

(I’ve got sort of a technical question for you. Just generally speaking, what are some of the keys or coaching points you have when it comes to staying on blocks in the running game and how would you evaluate your group with regards to hitting blocks and staying…) – “You’ve asked really the same question before. It’s something we work on every week, something we continue to strive and get better. We have a Frankenstein drill, we have an eight-second drill, we have different drills that we do every week that are part of the process of getting on blocks, knowing the angles, getting our hands to the appropriate area. So yeah, every week that’s one of those things that we do. Our Frankenstein is how do we block linebackers, how do we block down linemen, things like that. That’s a fundamental part of what we try to do.”

(Something I’ve noticed that I’m just curious about. I think I noticed that G Ereck Flowers is often in a two-point stance when sometimes his line colleagues there have their hand on the ground. Obviously he’s played tackle…) – “You’ve just noticed that? That’s been going…”

(Is that a personal preference and what goes into making sure that it doesn’t impact the tells…?) – “No, when we’re in the shotgun – it’s more tied to shotgun and under center really, and it’s all orchestrated in how we want to do it and things like that because he’s not the only one that’s in the two-point stance quite a bit. There’s a lot of guys that are in two-point when we’re in shotgun. It’s really based on a lot of different factors, so it’s just not ‘E’ (Ereck Flowers). Rob Hunt will be in it a lot quite a bit and Jesse (Davis) and Solomon (Kindley) sometimes and things like that. All those guys – we have different ways to handle those things.”

Tight Ends Coach George Godsey

(TE Mike Gesicki is not getting quite as many targets as he did last season when he showed the league he was here and he arrived. Are teams defending him more closely? Is there anything that has changed from that point over this season?) – “I think they are more aware of him for sure. The last three games have gotten to the point where – in the San Francisco game, we had an early lead right away. Similar to the Jets game in the first half, and then similar last week. I think there is a lot of that that goes into it. It’s hard to really just point your finger at one thing. Certainly from our perspective, there are some routes we can be better at. We’ll just continue to do it. It’s a long season and we’ve still got a lot of games still to play.”

(Obviously TE Adam Shaheen was extended last week and I assume that’s a sign that he’s blended well in that room with TE Mike Gesicki and TE Durham Smythe. I just wanted to get your take on the relationship those three have kind of developed and how their bond contributes to the way they work together?) – “It’s excellent that you pointed that out because in that room there is a lot of communication that has to go on, especially when you’re in as a Y and then you have a wing and then another wing and all of those guys are tight ends, and we’re trying to communicate from inside out. So one of them has to get the call from the offensive line or the center and then it gets relayed out to the last man on the edge. We talk a lot in that room. There is also the dynamic of a new player coming into an organization where two of the guys had been here for a couple of years. So just the acceptance from Mike and Durham’s standpoint, and the obviously from Adam’s standpoint, opening up. I think the more we get to know each other, the better off we’ll be as  unit. They’ve worked at it. It’s not easy to do, especially by the time Adam had gotten here there was an offseason that had already taken place. It’s not really just plug and play always. Those guys have worked at it and I commend those guys.”

(Going back to the TE Adam Shaheen extension, what has stood out to you in the short time you’ve worked with him?) – “He’s done a good job of finishing plays for sure in the run game. He’s basically taken a new offense, learned it real quickly. Mentally, that’s nothing easy to do either. He’s done a good job when he’s gotten his opportunity to catch the ball. He’s obviously had a couple of touchdowns here, and we expect that trend to continue as far as improvement. The more versatile we can be at that role, not just on the line, maybe extended, maybe as a move tight end, then the more value he can provide to the offense. He’s accepted that, and he practices really hard too. Some of that stuff that has shown up in practice maybe hasn’t had a chance to show up in a game, but eventually at some point it will.”   

Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville

(I know all the great things RB Myles Gaskin has done this year and he’s earned the starting job, but the disparity in carries continues to grow larger and larger between Myles and your No. 2, who’s been RB Matt Breida. Are you and Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey comfortable with that or would you like to get Breida maybe closer to Myles’ carries count?) – “No, the intention is not one way or the other. It’s kind of as the game goes. What we’ve been doing – at halftime the other day, I think it was seven to one and then we ran a little bit more in the second half. Obviously Myles got a few more of those in there, but it’s not intentional. We’re trying to get in a flow. We’re trying to get Matt (Breida) in the game at some other points in time, too, because we do want to get his carries and his touches up. That part is intentional in the game plan; but again, we’re adjusting all the time during the game.”

(I wanted to ask a scheme question, if you could educate me a little bit. With the RPOs, we sort of hear a lot about those and obviously QB Tua Tagovailoa was good at those in college. How does that change maybe a running back’s perspective when he has that play called and what he’s looking for in a hole?) – “It’s a good question. It doesn’t change – what it changes for us is there’s always a free defender. That’s the RPO (run-pass option) concept, and so we just have to know who that is. Is it a linebacker or is it a defensive end, for instance? Who is the free guy? So when we’re talking about that during the week, that’s who we’re trying to really study and say how does this guy play? How does he squeeze? Is it a linebacker? Is it a defensive end? Whoever. But that’s all around the league. You can do that in a multiple different plays. We do it all the time. Other teams do it all the time, but it doesn’t change anything. We have mechanics of every play that our eyes are in a certain place, we’re trying to see different things and that doesn’t change though.”

(You guys obviously had the 1-yard touchdown with RB Myles Gaskin in the game and also there was some 1- or 2-yard runs that didn’t go your way for first downs. What are some things that you guys need to get some more push to make those runs a little bit more successful?) – “It’s a group effort. We all have to do better at it. I think we have to pick better spots for the ball in our room. We talk about that all the time, that if it’s a third-and-1 call, the way we talk about it in our room is we’ve got to find a way to move the sticks. I don’t care what the line of scrimmage looks like. We’ve got to find a way – some kind of way – to get on the edge of something somewhere in there and move the sticks. We did it good on the third-and-1 that we had later in the game. We didn’t do it good on the first one that we had.”

(Going back to the RPO talk, and thank you for explaining this to me, what are you trying to get that free defender – I guess the free defender is the key guy, the guy that you key-read – but what are you trying to get him to do or is just the quarterback has to read him and make his decision based on that?) – “The easiest answer – we’re trying to get him to do something he doesn’t want to do. I know that’s not a good answer, (laughter) but that’s truly what it is. We’re trying to get him to do something he doesn’t want to do or that he’s not coached to do. Again, you’re talking about a vast world of plays and concepts and things in there and everybody is doing it. The college guys are doing it great and there’s so many different things that could fall into it and there’s not one thing that it is. I know that’s a bad answer for you, but that’s what the answer is. (laughter)”

(I know RB Myles Gaskin wasn’t a highly drafted kid and you guys didn’t draft one in the last draft; but does Myles kind of take it on himself to kind of just prove everybody kind of wrong and want to show a little bit more that he’s a valuable player and he can take on a load of being a No. 1 running back? Do you think Myles has a lot to prove in that area?) – “I think Myles does, but I hope every player that walks in this building – particularly every player in my room – feels like that. I think we all have something to prove every day when we walk in here and we have a job to do. I want to prove that I’m a valuable coach, that I can be a valuable part of our staff here. I hope every player walks in here saying they want an opportunity to showcase what they can do and whatever that opportunity is – how great or how small it is, that they’re going to maximize that opportunity. We talk about that in our room all the time, that the opportunity presents itself and so we’ve got to do something with it. But I think that mentality should be for everybody that walks in this building because that’s how we’re all made. We’re all wired that way.”

Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey

(I wanted to ask you about QB Tua Tagovailoa – what he did well, what he needs to do better and what you can do better to get him more plays?) – “He made some good reads. He did some good things as far as understanding what we’re trying to get done run game-wise; which everybody thinks is just pass game, but he understands what we’re trying to get done with the run game. He needs reps. He’s just got to keep working, timing with these guys and keep getting reps. Those reps he got the other day were invaluable. I think he’ll start to get better in bigger jumps as we go forward, because the more he sees, the more he understands, the more feel he gets with the receivers and I think he’ll get better and better. He just needs to play. He’s got a lot of talent so I’m anxious to see what steps he’s going to take this week.”

(You’ve worked with a lot of young quarterbacks. Where do you see the most games or most improvement? Or where do you hope to see the most gains from QB Tua Tagovailoa as we continue to progress in these starts?) – “Two things happen to me for young quarterbacks. One, they start to see defenses better; and two, the game starts to slow down for them because it’s at a hectic pace the first time you go out there. Then the game starts to slow down the more you play. That’s what I see from young quarterbacks, or that’s what I’ve experienced with young quarterbacks through the years, is they understand better what defenses are trying to do and then the game seems to slow down for them.”

(Because it was QB Tua Tagovailoa’s first NFL start and because the Rams have a very good pass rush, I’m assuming that the game plan was focused on getting the ball out quick, short passes, not necessarily targeting a lot of downfield throws. Is that true, and do you envision the use of the field, including more downfield passing, expanding as time moves forward?) – “Yes, that’s definitely true. We knew how good their pass rush was. We were trying to get him protected and get the ball out. And because of the way the game went, we didn’t have to take a lot of chances with the football. We hope to be able to do things in the future that create more big plays for our offense. I think obviously Tua is very talented at throwing the football, so hopefully we’ll make those things happen.”

(In the last three games, you’ve built halftime leads of at least 18 points. When you go into a break with a significant lead like that, how does it change your plan offensively, and if it does, what becomes your new No. 1 goal at that particular point of the game?) – “Well, we try to score every time we get the football. That doesn’t change. But, we probably do take less chances with the football than you might if you were in a seven-point ballgame or tied or something like that, where you know you need to go score every time. Then you take more chances. You do. You take more shots and do things that you wouldn’t do if you had an 18-point lead, which we had been fortunate to have.”

(Can you educate me a little bit about the RPOs that everybody likes to talk about? It seemed like you guys ran maybe three or four early in the game and QB Tua Tagovailoa had a completion on one, and then you kind of went away from it. Is that what you’re referring to as far as the score dictating that or was there something else that was maybe why that wasn’t as big of a part of the game plan later on?) – “We felt like we didn’t need to have to go to that in order to move the football. They are good, he’s good at them and we’ll continue to use those types of things. There were a couple of times we had them that we handed the ball off and you didn’t know it. (laughter) They were still in there. I don’t like to talk about them because I don’t want the defense to go, ‘Oh, maybe that was an RPO.’”

(I’d like to go back to the topic of timing with the receivers. I’m assuming that since he was second team for the longest time, how much work has QB Tua Tagovailoa had with some of the No. 1 receivers and where do you see that going now? Are there some guys that he’s just naturally more comfortable with because he’s thrown to them more in these first six weeks of the season?) – “During camp, we got a lot more reps. We worked everybody everywhere basically. But once we started the season, then he got very few reps with these guys. He would get them occasionally but not on a consistent basis. Last week was the first week he was able to get that on a consistent basis with those guys. All of that, it takes a little time. You don’t just run out there and understand it and throw it. You have to see the guy’s body language to know when he’s coming out of the break and things like that. Everyone of them is different. It takes a little bit. You’ve got to get used to it a little bit.”

(I know Sunday’s game was odd and you didn’t have a lot of offensive plays. RB Myles Gaskin had 21 touches. The rest of the team as far as receivers, running backs, tight ends had 14. Is that a bigger disparity you would ideally want as far as your starting running back and others? And just in general, would you like to get WR DeVante Parker, TE Mike Gesicki and RB Matt Breida more touches moving forward?) – “Yeah. You’d like to be balanced where somebody can’t say if we just stop this, we can win the game. But as was said earlier, game situations dictate a lot of things. We find ourselves from time to time having one guy getting it more than anybody else. As I said, we weren’t taking chances. We were throwing screens. We weren’t throwing it down the field. We were doing things like that so naturally Myles is getting more touches than anybody else at that time. If I had it ideally, the running backs are obviously going to get it more because he’s the running back; but I’d like to see a balance, as I’ve said from Day 1, between run and pass. Now, who catches it? As long as we are getting yards, I don’t care who catches it. But I’d like to see more balance of pass and run.”

Quarterbacks Coach Robby Brown

(What was one thing that you came away with encouraged by QB Tua Tagovailoa and what is one thing you’re going to stress with him this week that he needs to do better?) – “Well, I think I was encouraged. He did some good things communication-wise. I thought he was calm. I thought the coach to QB communication – look, we do that stuff in practice but it’s different during a game. I thought all of that stuff went well. It wasn’t just 100 percent smooth. We had some stuff where he says ‘Hey, I like this, don’t like this,’ during the week and that kind of stuff. So I thought he communicated well with what he needed and every guy is different. Every quarterback is different. Some guys want this little reminder, some guys want this. But I thought he did a really good job of saying what he liked, what helps him and what didn’t help him. And that’s what I’ve told him to keep focusing on. He does a good job of being himself overall, so he’s not afraid to tell you. I think that would be my focus, to try to tell him to keep improving on, is let’s hone in on our communication because that’s the first thing you have to do is be on the same page as the Dolphins. I think he did a good job with that and I think that’s somewhere that I would say we keep focusing on.”

(Obviously so much of what’s happening with the offense right now deals with how well QB Tua Tagovailoa can settle in as a starting rookie quarterback. You have a guy on the staff that did it about as well as anybody in the league ever in QB Dan Marino. What is his role in make Tagovailoa comfortable and giving him advice, and helping him settle down?) – “I was asked about Dan a couple of weeks ago. I just saw Dan five minutes ago when I was waiting my turn to come in here and he came in to check on me and see how everything was going. I think like you said, he’s been there, he’s done that. He’s a Hall of Famer. He’s very open to helping, so I think you’d be very – I guess it would not be smart to at least not ask him some questions. But it wans’t like ‘hey, Tua is the starter. We’re going to ask him a ton of questions.’ No, he’s always been around and always been available to us. He makes himself available, gives advice when asked and we’d be crazy not to ask him stuff, as would Tua or as would ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) or anybody. I think he’s a good resource.”

(We just talked to Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey and he said the design was to keep things conservative and when the score got lopsided, to go even more conservative with QB Tua Tagovailoa. How comfortable are you with the entire playbook for him at this point? There will be building blocks, I’m sure. But he’s not – is his level of recognition with the offense at the same level as QB Ryan Fitzpatrick? It can’t be because Fitzpatrick has been in the league for two decades. Where is he right now with that?) – “I think that goes along with everybody’s different – there are things that, shoot there’s things that ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) sees that I don’t see. ‘Fitz’ has been 16 years taking however many ever snaps. So to compare that would be incredibly tough; but I would say that Tua has a good grasp of what we’re trying to do. He studies hard at it. He has been studying hard at it since the virtual OTAs. I would say that it was a unique game on Sunday. It was unique ways that we scored, a unique way the game started and all of that kind of stuff. I think he’s getting a grasp. He’s continuing to get a grasp. And I think once you do, and I say this every week or every time I talk to you guys, is you prepare the same way. When he comes in the first day, (Head) Coach (Brian) Flores always likes starting with personnel. That’s what we do in the organization. Try to get to know your opponent. That’s where he starts. Every day that he comes in, the first time he comes in, he starts trying to get to know our opponent. Then he progresses – personnel, situations and that kind of stuff. I think he’s got to do the same thing each and every week, and continue to get better.”

(I’d like to go to that first play for QB Tua Tagovailoa when Rams DT Aaron Donald bust through the line and made the play that he did. What was Tagovailoa’s reaction and what were you telling him? Was there anything about his reaction that surprised you?) – “No, there really wasn’t. He has an incredible personality. He’s loose. So when those kinds of things happen, my initial reaction is it doesn’t matter who the quarterback is, it doesn’t matter if I’m coaching in college or wherever I was coaching. My initial reaction is let’s get over to the sideline, let’s sit down. I never want to overreact or jump up. I mean everyone knows – my 4-year old could look at it and say, ‘Ooo, that’s not good. So you don’t say that. You sit down. ‘Hey, what did you see?’ And he tells you what he saw and he saw it well. He knew what he saw, he knew what happened, so then you move on and don’t focus on it and the defensive guys and the offensive guys were saying ‘hey, let’s shake it off. We’ve got you.’ I think the main thing there is not to overreact, and he’s not an overreact-er. He’s been big collegiate games obviously. This is a different atmosphere, but he didn’t overreact. Coach Flores didn’t. ‘Hey, let’s go play ball and that stuff happens.’”

Wide Receivers Coach Josh Grizzard

(Some fans are asking me a question and I don’t know if it’s legit or not, but WR Preston Williams having a couple of drops, is there any chance that it’s related to having to get used to the spin of the football from a lefty and/or not necessarily having a ton of practice reps with a lefty?) – “I don’t think so. I mean h catches balls from Tua (Tagovailoa) in practice all the time. We’ve been in camp since the middle of July, so I don’t think so. He gets a bunch of reps with him and he’s been out there a ton.”

(I’m not sure how much crossover you have with regards to special teams, but I wanted to ask you about WR Mack Hollins. Both in your room and not just what he brings to the on-field production standpoint, but maybe his value in meetings in the film room and behind the scenes stuff. We kind of heard Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman lump him in with a group of veterans that has done a good job of nurturing young guys. I’m just curious to get your take on what you see from Mack every day.) – “He works incredibly hard. In terms of being in the meeting room, he’s also really good for some of these younger guys because he’s been around and he really – he grinds for everything that he gets. And that came through special teams even from the time he was at (North) Carolina. So to see that and show that you can carve out a role and get you on the field and make plays on special teams and come in and do things we ask him to do on offense as well, I think that’s a great example for everybody really to see in the room. He just brings juice every day, too. Great personality and a great teammate.”

(ESPN was trying to use NextGen Stats saying that Dolphins receivers get less separation from defensive backs than any team in the league. If you could specifically address that issue with WR DeVante Parker and WR Preston Williams – are they getting the separation you want consistently from cornerbacks?) – “You’re always looking to of course create separation because it’s creating windows to throw the ball into, but that kind of goes from scheme to scheme, week to week on is it a bump-man team that you’re seeing more tighter coverage, or then is it a scheme where it’s going to be off and you’re going to have naturally more separation just because it’s a zone-type look. But we’re always looking to create separation no matter what the game plan is, and I think you see some of that plays out differently based on who you’re going against.”

(Can you explain to us how RB/WR Malcolm Perry goes from a guy who sparingly plays in the first six games if at all to significant snaps last week? Was it the practice performance? Was it the packages? What went into that?) – “He’s just worked so hard since he’s gotten here and kept his head down and just keeps improving from week to week. You can tell that he’s committed to details. There were some things that we wanted him on and he did a good job with it. So it’s just a testament to him of coming in and grinding and getting the chance to go out there and have an opportunity. I was happy for him.”

(I wanted to ask you about WR Preston Williams again. I think his catch rate is like 45 percent. Obviously that’s not where you guys want it to be … Why hasn’t he been more – I guess “reliable” is the word? Why has the ball gone his way and he hasn’t been able to catch it at a higher rate?) – “I would say there’s multiple factors in whether or not he gets it or doesn’t get it. I think that he’s shown improvement as the year has gone along. He’s done a good job. It was unfortunate last week, but really before that, I would say the previous two or three games, he’s been doing a nice job. But if there’s something that he feels like ‘hey, I need to work on,’ then he works at it, too, just like the rest of the group and tries to make sure that’s not something that happens going forward.”

(I know you’re getting WR Antonio Callaway off of suspension I guess this week. What do you think about his skillset and maybe how he can help you guys as a receiver?) – “You can see the stuff that he’s done even back to the Cleveland days where he has played some meaningful plays and done a good job in this league. Any time you can add somebody with his quickness and suddenness, and really speed as well, it’s always a positive for the team. We’ll get him out there and just see how everything shakes out, but he’s been working and he’s done a good job.”

Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman

(How would you describe WR Jakeem Grant’s level of confidence at this time?) – “I think number one, Jakeem (Grant), his confidence level is always high, but I think – and it goes along with everybody – when you have success, that’s the best way to gain even more confidence. So I think he’s strung together a couple of good games and hopefully we can continue stringing good games together and when he gets opportunities, make some plays.”

(I have sort of a two-prong question regarding S Kavon Frazier. First on the punt return, I noticed he gets knocked down and hustles back into the play and nails what looks like a key block for the big return. I was hoping you could talk us kind of through his effort on that play and just what he’s meant to your special teams unit in general this season.) – “Again, I think anytime you’re working at the point of attack, those blocks are always critical. So yeah, a big block; but we had a bunch of good blocks and a bunch of critical good technique blocks. You’re not necessarily – people are looking for knockouts and big hits, but really just doing a good job of being able to get in the way and then Kavon is like a lot of guys. They’re playing all four phases and giving great effort and really doing a good job during the week especially with the younger guys and when you take our veteran players, he and ‘Fej’ (Clayton Fejedelem) and Kamu (Grugier-Hill) and Mack (Hollins) – those older players are really doing a good job nurturing the younger players.”

(Getting back to WR Jakeem Grant. He now owns basically every return record you guys have and he’s only in his fifth season. One, are you surprised that teams are still punting to him and two, would you punt it to him if you were facing him?) – “Again, I think that’s a couple-pronged response to that question. It all depends on the situation in the game. You’re looking at a team with the Rams with that’s the way they’re built. When they’re punting into minus, they’re looking to flip the field with one of the better punters that’s ever played in the National Football League with good coverage guys. They’ve had a lot of success. So there’s a lot of ways to go after things. The second thing is, sometimes people think it’s easy just to hit the ball in a particular spot on the field and/or on the sidelines or out of bounds and also have it down the field. It’s not as easy to do, so it goes into a lot of different situations. But we’re obviously happy the way that Jakeem’s performing and hopefully we can continue to put him in good positions.”

(I’m curious from a coach perspective. I’m sure you love all the game-changing plays, but is there a particular play that’s your favorite? A punt return touchdown? A block? Like of all the big plays you can have, is there one that makes you the happiest?) – “You know what, as long as they’re for us, I like all of them and any of them. (laughter) So as long as they’re in the positive, I like them all. That’s the National Football League. There’s going to be good plays for you and there’s going to bad plays against – hopefully you have more of the former than the latter.”

Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer

(Congratulations on having a No. 1 defense in many statistical categories. I’m sure you’re not looking at it that way, but how do you maintain playing at the efficiency that you guys are right now? I know you always talk about sacks come in bunches and turnovers come in bunches. How do you keep getting those bunches?) – “I think each week it all starts with evaluation; so you go back, you look at some of the things that we’re doing well. You look at some of the things that we left out on the field that we could improve on. And I think it’s the constant theme of week-in and week-out that we’re striving to improve and we’re striving to get better. The things that we’re not doing well, you try to eliminate those the best you can or mitigate them to a certain extent that they are not detrimental to you having play-in and play-out success.”

(One of the defensive statistics that is not going the Dolphins way is allowing yards per carry. I think you’re in the top five in most yards allowed per carry. How do you try to stop that especially with Cardinals QB Kyler Murray leading the NFL in that category on Sunday?) – “I think the thing for us is we try to be good against the run. We try to be good against the pass and statistics, numbers – all those things – ultimately what you’re trying to do is win the game. They don’t give you points for yards. I know that. But we’re not okay giving up yards either. Everything that we do has a rhyme and it has a reason, and obviously we’re trying to improve like I said, the things that we don’t do so well; and the things that have done well, we try to build off of that. As far as the numbers go and all that stuff, ultimately what we’re trying to do is win the game. We’re trying to keep the point totals down and get the ball back to the offense. That’s really what we’re trying to do, and we’re trying to improve on a week-in, week-out basis.”

(Again, going back to the statistics with CB Byron Jones on the field and without Byron Jones on the field are staggering. I’m sure a lot more has gone into it than just that, but is it that? Is it just a matter of when you have your best players on the field, you guys are a really good defense?) – “Well as always, we’d like to have all of our players available to us, and I think – it’s not a one-man show and what it comes down it is we’ve got to get all 11 guys working on the same page and our communication’s got to be at a high level. Our knowing and understanding of our opponent has to be at a high level. We’ve got a great challenge this week. The Arizona Cardinals are loaded with skill players. They have a very athletic offensive line. Those guys do a good job working together. They’ve got two Hall of Fame receivers. Their other cast of receivers are very good, too. The quarterback is dynamic and Coach Kingsbury (Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury) has done a phenomenal job, so we’ve got a big challenge in front of us this week and that’s kind of where our time, effort and energy – all of that stuff – is focused on.”

(I know Head Coach Brian Flores likes to say every game is different, which I can certainly appreciate; but watching Sunday’s game, I couldn’t help but reflect back to the Super Bowl – Rams-Patriots. I’m wondering how much of your game plan was similar to that game. Did you review that game to get ideas? How much of your play calling was very similar to what Flores called in that Super Bowl?) – “I would say going into a week, we’ll go back as far as we need to go back on a particular opponent, a quarterback, with any familiarity that we have with them. We’ll look at things that we’ve done – some things that worked, some things that didn’t. Like I said earlier in the week, Coach McVay (Rams Head Coach Sean McVay) does a tremendous job. He makes it extremely hard on the defense with his tempo. I would say there’s always elements of some things that we’ve done in the past; but again, from the very first time that I talked to you guys, I told you that our defense will evolve over time. I’m not exactly sure where it will go from here, but there’s a lot of things that go into that. Obviously Coach Flores has a very strong defensive mind. Our assistant coaches – those guys do a very good job and then ultimately, the players that we have available to us and the things that they see and the things that they’re comfortable with – that kind of shapes how we approach each week and what we feel is best to attack opponents.”

(You mentioned earlier about Arizona and what they’re really good at. I’m curious about Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and his legs. Early in the season, Patriots QB Cam Newton and Bills QB Josh Allen had a little bit of success against you guys running. How does it change maybe your aggressiveness that we’ve seen over the last few weeks when you’ve got a guy that can dice you with his legs and his speed like Kyler can?) – “I think you’re very aware of the things that he’s capable of. And he’s got it all. He’s the total package. He’s quick, he’s fast, he has a strong arm, he’s got a quick release. He can make plays in the pocket. He can make plays out of the pocket. We’ve got a big challenge in front of us this week and like I said, each week is different – how we approach it, how we attack it – ultimately what we’re trying to do is to put our players in a position to succeed. We’re working this morning very hard to make sure that we can do that.”