Miami Dolphins Transcripts – November 4 – Head Coach Brian Flores, Flores Conference Call, QB Tua Tagovailoa, WR Preston Williams, G Solomon Kindley and LB Jerome Baker

G Solomon Kindley

(The second week with a new quarterback, just how is the offensive line feeling? We talked to Offensive Line Coach Steve Marshall and Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey yesterday and they both admitted that the offensive line needs to do a better job in terms of providing time for QB Tua Tagovailoa to make some better decisions.) – “No doubt. Like you said, like ‘Coach Marsh’ (Steve Marshall) said, we’ve got a new quarterback, so we’ve got to be perfect for him. That was his very first game and then playing against the defense that we played against, the offensive line has to do a little bit more to get him comfortable. So all week this week, that’s what we emphasized – doing more, doing more, doing more so we can be able to give him the amount of time that he needs or even more time he needs on the field.”

(I think that the Dolphins only allowed one sack and four pressures against the Rams and part of that was the plan to use a quick passing attack. But just in general, how did you guys as a unit feel about keeping QB Tua Tagovailoa’s jersey pretty clean?) – “A win is a win, but every day you go in – every Sunday, every Monday you go in to look at film – every time you’re going to see something to get better from. Like you said, we had the quick game and then we only gave up as many pressures as you said, but we try to keep him perfect. Our goal is to come in every game – our number one goal on the offense’s sheet is no sacks and no pressures. So we didn’t make our goal. Even though it was a good goal in the game, we didn’t make the goal that we wanted, so we’ve got to improve on it this week.”

(Given that strive for perfection, what was going through your mind after that first play when Rams DT Aaron Donald burst through the line? What were you thinking at that point?) – “To be honest, we go through this in practice. ‘Coach Flo’ (Head Coach Brian Flores) puts us through adversity and we know how to bounce back. We’ve been in very tight games this whole season going possession for possession. Somebody makes a big play on defense, somebody makes a big play on offense, so we’re pretty much used to that. We pretty much knew what we had going on coming into that game and who we were playing against, so we kept our head in the right place and tried to keep striving the whole game.”

(You were asked about how well the pass protection’s been. I wanted to ask about the run blocking. What’s the difference I guess? Offensive Line Coach Steve Marshall kind of mentioned how it’s something you guys need to get better at? Why do you think that’s an area for improvement you have?) – “Coming in, how Coach Marshall teaches us and how he coaches us, we don’t worry about the good that you do. Worry about what you can get better on. We never come into practice or in the meeting room on that Monday after a Sunday win or loss – we never really (linger) on the good stuff that we do because there’s always so much stuff you can get better from. So that’s just our mindset coming in with even the run game or the pass game, the screen game, that type of stuff. So that’s how we view it. Every time we do something good, we’re asking him, we’re asking each other, ‘was that good? Was this good?’ or ‘was that the standard that we play to in this offensive line, in the Dolphins room?’ That’s how we view ourselves and that’s how we want to play on the field on Sundays.”

(I’m curious how was it when you went across DT Aaron Donald for the first time? Did your eyes get big at any point or anything like that?) – “It’s crazy because my boy Andrew Thomas who plays for the New York Giants – I talk to all my guys all the time still like (Lions RB D’Andre) Swift, all them guys around the NFL – and during college last year, we were in college, we used to go in the sauna, just get bussed through, get everything out of us after a game on Saturday. And we always used to talk about the people that we had to block when we got to the NFL. We were talking like, ‘oh yeah, I ain’t go to block Aaron Donald, I ain’t got to block Aaron Donald,’ not knowing I was going to get drafted by the Miami Dolphins – I got drafted by the Miami Dolphins. The first play of the game, I see him on the field, I’m like, ‘it’s time to play football for real.’ You’re going against the best. He’s really 99 and he’s really 99 overall. (laughter) So you know you’ve got to bring your A-game.”

(I wanted to ask how you how did it feel to have your fellow rookie T Austin Jackson back at practice today and how’d he look?) – “It felt good. I feel like he looked pretty good. That’s not my place; but like I said, when I saw what he did and what he was, I saw that he looked pretty good.”

(We talked about the Rams defense. You’ve got the Cardinals this upcoming week. What’s different in the challenge? What do they do different than the Rams that you kind of got to be on?) – “The thing about the Rams and the Cardinals, all them guys are about my size – 335, 325, 330 from the Cardinals and Aaron Donald is a little bit smaller than those guys. So that’s the biggest difference right there, but the Arizona Cardinals have a good front seven from the front three and to the back three, so it’s just really every week, it’s a competition. Every week is a competition. You’re going against the best every week.”

QB Tua Tagovailoa

(I’ve got a jersey number question for you. You and Cardinals QB Kyler Murray both wear No. 1 which has been pretty rare for quarterbacks. I wanted to ask what was your reasoning behind deciding that number and what do you think about it being more popular for young quarterbacks wearing it?) – “I sat down and talked to my dad about that. I sat down with him and his biggest thing to pick No. 1 was for the audience of one, and that’s more so on the faith side of things. So that’s why I chose it.”

(I have no doubt that your No. 1 concern is wins and losses. But I would like to ask you individually speaking – not as a team – but individually speaking, what constitutes a successful season for you this year?) – “I think it’s hard to speak individually because this is a team sport. We play this together. You need all 11 guys on the offense, all 11 guys on the defense and all 11 guys on special teams; and in order for you to win and accomplish your individual goals, everyone needs to contribute and do their part. And that’s what we’re hopefully looking to improve on as an offense this upcoming week.”

(I wanted to ask you about Cardinals QB Kyler Murray. I know you guys spent some time together during the Heisman trophy ceremony. What’s he like as a player, as a friend and how excited are you to kind of go up against him this week?) – “I’m very excited to go up against him. I would say first impressions when I met him, he’s pretty jacked up. For as short as he is, he’s – I mean, this guy’s rocked up. (laughter) But he’s very competitive. He’s very personable, too. I got to meet his parents as well at the Heisman ceremony. Very good family. Going against guys like that who are very competitive and you know you’re going to get their best, I think that’s going to be a fun one.”

(A lot is going to be made week-to-week the improvement from you. When you look back now, I know it’s only been a few days, but what are some of the things that you look at and say “okay, I missed, I can improve on, I’m seeing that I can do better in weeks moving forward?”) – “I think there’s room for improvement every day for me. I feel like I’m getting more comfortable in the huddle talking to the guys, getting the plays out and kind of seeing where everyone needs to go. I think the biggest thing for me is pocket presence. Being able to just step up into what feels like pressure and then also just making the throws that I need to give the receivers good run after catch.”

(I’m hoping you can help me with a question about the Samoan sports culture. First, I’m wondering if you know the new Clemson quarterback and also I’m wondering what your reaction is to the way Samoans are trending at that position. It seems like Samoan kids used to all want to grow up to be Junior Seau, but that’s changed.) – ”I do know DJ (Uiagalelei). I got to meet him and his family back at some camps. While I was in college, I’d go help out with some camps; but I think it’s something pretty cool to look around and see that our people – Samoan people – are not always going to be on the opposite side of the ball or in the trenches – on the d-line, on the defense or on the o-line. I think it’s pretty cool to see that guys from our culture can also play skill positions and quarterback. I think that speaks volumes to how they were raised as well and their upbringing, too.”

(I guess it’s a good follow up to the previous question, but obviously on game day this past Sunday, the social media team caught you walking in wearing clothing of your culture, tributes to Samoan culture. Can you just speak a little bit about the platform that you have, in many different ways, but then you also remember giving back to your culture in that way?) – “That’s how I’ve been raised. On Sundays a lot of the times, that’s what we’d normally wear going to church and that’s just cultural; but being able to share that with the world, it’s pretty cool that the Dolphins captured that and posted on social media and whatnot. It’s just a representation of who you are and also what you represent. It’s not just me and my family, but it’s also our people as well. I’d say we’re very prideful people. We take pride in a lot of things that we do, and at the same time, respect is really big in our culture. But yeah, the reason I do that is because every Sunday normally after church, that’s our attire.”

(We talked to Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey yesterday and he mentioned that the plan going in was to keep it safe, to kind of ease you into the NFL. Do you feel like maybe this week that’s not going to be the case anymore, that they’re – not going to let it rip but obviously open up a lot more to what you might do?) – “I believe my job is to do whatever play call we’re given. If it’s a run 20 times and it’s a pass one time, I’ve got to make it work that one time the pass is given and I’ve got to carry out my fakes those 20 times. But I trust and I think our offense trusts what Chan (Gailey) has planned for us offensively. And we go into the week knowing the game plan, what we’re going to do and how we’re going to try to attack their defense, but we have full trust that whatever Chan calls, we’ve got to go out there and do good with it.”

(A couple weeks ago, I had asked you how much you were able to learn from sitting behind QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and watching the way he game plans and prepares. I’m curious now in the absence of a preseason and having no live bullets really up until your first start, how much more can that really help accelerate your growth and what you’ve seen in your game having an actual NFL tape with a full game for yourself?) – “I think that’s almost the best way, I would say. That’s pretty much the best way I think for anyone in the NFL to learn. You can sit down and anyone can watch film really, but being able to go in and get some actual game reps, seeing actual rotations of the defenses and you’ve got to make actual Mike (linebacker) points and do things like that; I think those things go a long way in sticking in your head and knowing okay, if this comes up, I know what my answer is. And then just being comfortable as the games go on. You just get a good feel of the game and then you can also get into a good rhythm.”

(I wanted to ask you about last weekend and kind of getting to share a big weekend with your brother. Two Tagovailoa wins and you guys were on kind of the national stage together and I’m sure that had to be special to you both.) – “Yeah, that was very special. I think it was very special for our parents as well. That was very special for our family; but it’s always what’s next. You enjoy it that day. You enjoy it for those 24 hours, but you’ve got to keep working to improve.”

LB Jerome Baker

(I wanted to ask you about some of the pressure looks you guys had on Sunday. It looked like you had a lot of opportunities to get free runs at the quarterback. I just wanted to get your take on how you were able to get so many free pressures on QB Jared Goff and what that does for you defense?) – “How did we do it? We just threw a lot of different looks. In our defense, anybody can come, so you’ve got to prepare like that and it’s hard to be prepared for anybody on the field to come. That’s pretty much how we do it. We kind of make it that anybody can come and throw different looks, and that’s how we get a few open runs to the quarterback.”

(What’s it feel like to be a part of one of the best defenses in terms of point statistics in the NFL right now?) – “I really don’t know all of the statistics that we are a part of or whatever; but I can tell you that it doesn’t feel like whatever it says. One thing about our defense is we’re pretty hungry. Every snap, every rep we have, we’re definitely getting on each other and holding each other accountable to do better. It doesn’t feel like whatever is written on paper. We’ve just got to keep it up. We truly are just taking one rep (at a time) and getting better as a defense.”

(The challenge of QB Kyler Murray and that kind of quarterback, a guy who obviously can do it with his legs, he can do it with his arms. How do you prep for a guy like that and the dynamic player that he is?) – “How do we prep for him? It’s hard, I’ll tell you that. It’s very hard. He’s one of those quarterbacks who’s young but he’s definitely dynamic. We’ve just got to do a lot of different things to make it hard on him. Just throw him different looks, throwing pressure at him, whatever it is. Our coaching staff does a great job of doing that and getting us ready for that. With guys like that, it’s hard to stop them. You pretty much just have to contain them. That’s our game plan. We’re just going to have to contain him and truly play as a defense.”

(You guys had four takeaways in the game on Sunday, but a couple of opportunities for more. I’m just curious if there is any razzing that goes on between you guys and for instance like S Eric Rowe, who had a chance at a pick-six there, or LB Andrew Van Ginkel almost had that pick on the ball he batted up. Do you guys give each other a hard time for that type of thing?) – “Yes. Very, very hard. It’s not just ok just to get the interception or pick up a fumble. This is all players: we hold each other accountable. So if you pick up the fumble, we expect you to score; but not just score, we expect everybody to block for you. When you get the interception – we just hold each other accountable. It’s not just you have to do it; as a defense, we have to work together to score points. That’s what’s cool about our defense. We hold each other accountable. We want each other to get better and that makes it more enjoyable when the coaches don’t have to say anything.”

(What about LB Kyle Van Noy falling down at the 1? I also wanted to ask what did you think about QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s shorts today at practice?) – “The one thing I’d say about Kyle – if you look at the video, I was the first one on him. (laughter) I definitely got on him about that. We watch each other’s high school highlights as a linebacker corps and everybody scores touchdowns and everybody does their thing, so we all brought it up. ‘If you were scoring all of these touchdowns and all of this, why didn’t you do that?’ (laughter) It’s just a fun way to get on each other and have fun with it. I definitely got on him about that. The shorts, that was my boy Isaiah (Ford). It’s a part of the business, but we’re definitely going to miss him.”

(You were mentioning earlier that you don’t pay much attention to stats and I can appreciate that; but a year ago, you guys were giving up more points per game than anybody else. This year, you’re giving up the least amount of points per game in the entire league. Doesn’t it feel different?) – “Honestly, it really doesn’t. When I say that, it’s – our expectations are so high that when we make a play, it’s not ‘Oh, we made a play.’ It’s ‘that’s what we’re supposed to do.’ That feel – it’s like on offense, you don’t act like – when you get to the end zone, you act like you’ve been there before. That’s truly how we are. When we make a play, we expect to do that. That’s how we’re supposed to do it. That should be how it feels. We’re not getting comfortable. We’re not complacent or we’re good right now. We truly go out there every day and really truly want to get better. Just the guys we have, we hold each other accountable. If you had a bomb game last week, we expect you to have a bomb game this week. It’s truly fun to play with these guys because what you did in the past or what you did the last game, or the play before, we want you to do just as good today.”  

Head Coach Brian Flores Conference Call

(Obviously moving to a rookie quarterback in the middle of the season, there’s some transition. I’m wondering as a coach, is there anything that has to be said to the rest of the team knowing that there’s going to be some ups and downs with a rookie like that?) – “I don’t think so. I think there’s ups and down of every player. No one is out here playing perfect football – so coaches, players, o-line, d-line, secondary, receivers, nobody is playing football perfect football so there’s ups and downs of every player. I think my conversations and my message to those guys is we’re going to support all of the players on this team when they play well and when they don’t play well. As a team, we want to come together and find ways to try to have success. Obviously we’re going to need that this week against a very good football team.”

(What’s it like to prepare for QB Kyler Murray in practice and who do you have playing him in practice this week?) – “He’s unlike anyone in this league. You don’t see this type of athlete at the quarterback position very often. The Lamar Jackson’s of the world – that’s someone who comes to mind who is that fast, that athletic, that quick. You turn your head and they’re 20 yards down the field. We’re using a myriad – a few different guys – of skill players to try to mimic some of the things he does but at the same time, we’re talking about his athletic ability but this guy can stand in the pocket and spin the ball pretty well. He can make every throw. He’s still going to run. He’s still extending plays. He’s built some rapport with (DeAndre) Hopkins and Christian Kirk and obviously Larry Fitzgerald and (Andy) Isabella. They’ve got a good group of guys there. This is going to be a tough test. We need to play good team football. Everyone’s got to set the edge, we’ve got to rush cohesively, we’ve got to cover, and if we do all of those things…”

(What are your impressions of S Budda Baker?) – “Budda is one of my favorite players. Tough. Physical. He’s fast. Good blitzer. Good in the run game. Good in the pass game. Creates turnovers. I think he’s one of these young players that a lot of people don’t know about but I know a lot about Budda Baker. He’s a good player and he’s a tough guy to – they move him around. I think (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) does a good job of putting him in different positions whether it’s a blitz or whether he’s deep or whether he’s playing a zone coverage, man coverage or robber. We’re playing against a smart player that can move around. He tackles really well. He’s just a fast, fast guy.”

(As you added the cap space and draft picks last year, what kind of timeline did you think was realistic to get things turned around and have you guys exceeded expectations to this point?) – “I don’t know if I put timelines on anything. I just try to get better every day and improve every day, string good days together. That’s me personally. I think our team does the same thing. I think we just try to do everything possible to help improve this team. It’s about people. It’s not just the players and coaches. It’s everyone in the building – strength and conditioning, nutrition, the people who clean up for us, the people who prepare our meals. Everyone is part of this. We just try to work hard every day and go through our process, and the results take care of themselves. That’s kind of the approach we take.”

(Is there something about the NFL in general that lends itself to quick turnarounds? The Cardinals were kind of in a similar position where they’ve turned it around pretty quickly, as well.) – “I just try to take it one day at a time. I think people have different definitions of turnaround. Right now, we’re just trying to have a good turnaround and have a good practice today. Turnaround and have a good practice tomorrow. Someone else’s interpretation of a turnaround might be different than mine is. (I want to) turnaround and practice well tomorrow, have a good meeting this afternoon and let the chips fall where they fall.”

(If my math is correct, you overlapped with Kliff Kingsbury in New England for almost a year. Is that right?) – “I wasn’t there – we didn’t overlap but I know Kliff. I’ve known him for a long time. He’s someone I consider a friend. Again, I think he’s an incredible coach. I think he did a great job at Texas Tech and when he was at Houston and the various stops that he’s made. I’ve been a fan of his for a while. He’s obviously very, very bright and he does a good job of leading that team, especially on the offensive side of the ball. They do a lot of things that create problems – pass game, run game, really across the board. (I have) a lot of respect for Kliff. Lots and lots. He’s got a nice house too. (laughter)”

WR Preston Williams

(Obviously this team hasn’t drafted any receivers pretty early on in the last couple of years and I feel like your presence is probably a good reason for it. Do you feel any kind of added pressure or anything for yourself to perform well and perform at your best to kind of prove to the Dolphins and their front office that investing their time in you was a great decision moving forward?) – “If the Dolphins decide to draft a receiver, I’d be happy just to have other people and other great talents around me, that I could learn from and teach things to. Every day is a competition out there, so whoever they bring in and whoever is out there playing receiver, I’m just going to compete against them and play beside them.”

(I would imagine last week wasn’t up to your standards personally. What was it that when you watched the film bothered you the most?) – “Just a lot of little fundamental things and little details. I’ve just got to catch the ball before I run. I had two drops I could’ve caught. In practice this week, I’m trying to catch everything and just fix those things and remember the little things.”

(I know we talked to you a little bit about this before but you and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had a really good connection. He liked to throw those 50/50 balls to you. It seems that QB Tua Tagovailoa is more of a timing-based passer. How do you have to adjust to maybe what each quarterback does well and how it evolves and what you’re asked to do?) – “It was Tua’s first game so they were just trying to get him warmed up with a couple of quick passes there. But I watched Tua in college. I think Tua is a 50/50 guy too, also. He’ll throw it up. I think Tua can make any throw he wants to make.”

(Did the ball come at you’re a little different because it was spinning in the opposite direction? Is that something that you think will get easier the more reps you get with QB Tua Tagovailoa?) – “No. Like I said, it was just I took my eyes off of it. I tried to catch it – I didn’t catch it first; I tried to run before I caught it. Then on the other one, the same thing on the crosser. I tried to (run) before (I caught it), it hit my knee and bounced off my hands.”

(We appreciate you being so open with us. When you have good games or you have bad games, you’ve been really open with us with the things you do right, the things you do wrong. I wanted to ask you, what do you think – because the team has high expectations for you and other people do too, how do you react to having those and needing to perform that way?) – “I just try to be there when my number is called. Me dropping a ball is not helping. I’m harder on myself more than anybody can be hard on me. Just being one of the receivers that they count on, I just try to make every play.”

Head Coach Brian Flores

(I wanted to have you take us through the thinking on the two trades yesterday – trading WR Isaiah Ford away and obviously picking up the running back from Kansas City – the thinking behind that and is that a sign that RB Myles Gaskin is actually going to be out for a while?) – “I would just – like every trade or transaction – we’re just making adjustments to the roster that we think are going to help or be in the best interest of the team now moving forward. I have a lot of respect and admiration for Isaiah Ford. I think he’s a kid who worked extremely hard, made a lot of plays for us. As far as his work ethic and just team-oriented, put the team first, just great attitude; I just really enjoyed working with him, but at the end of the day we felt like the best thing for us was to make that particular trade. Myles (Gaskin) – yeah, Myles is dinged up a little bit. We’ll see. He’s a tough kid. He’s a competitive kid. We’ll see where this goes here, but we felt like we wanted to add some depth there at the running back position. DeAndre (Washington) is a good player. We had an opportunity to get one and tried to take advantage of it.”

(Does WR Antonio Callaway coming back from the suspension impact your thinking at all with that receiving corps and what are you hopeful that he will bring to your receiving unit?) – “I’ve yet to see him even in a helmet, so I don’t know if it impacted anything as far as – literally I haven’t seen him with cleats on – so I don’t think that that really had much of an impact on it. Those conversations as far as what it exactly was, those are just going to remain internal; but I can say Callaway as far as – look, we’ve got the film from two years ago, but things happen. A lot of things change in two years. I haven’t seen him with a helmet on, so that wasn’t much of a factor I would say.”

(DT Christian Wilkins showed off his great hands again Sunday and then was talking again afterwards, lobbying for some opportunities as a pass catchers. What do you think and how does his athleticism, kind of unique athleticism play into what he can do at the position that he does play?) – “Well that’s going to be a hard no. A hard no on the pass-catching opportunities. Hard no. We’ve got other guys we would like to rather see with the ball than Christian. I’m sorry, I was so focused on that that I didn’t get the second part of your question. (laughter)”

(What does his kind of distinctive athleticism – how does that play into what he can do at the position that he does play?) – “(laughter) Yes, he’s got some athleticism as a defensive tackle, and we try to use him in a variety of ways – stunts, games in the pass rush – but he does a good job really in all areas. He’s somebody who’s improved I would say from Year 1 to Year 2. It’s important to him and he’s got leadership and energy, and he does a lot of good things and he brings a lot to our team. He’s been fun to coach, but I don’t really see a pass-catching future for him.”

(I wanted to ask you about speed on offense. You’ve got some fast guys and I’m wondering if RB Matt Breida, WR Lynn Bowden Jr., WR Antonio Callaway eventually – they’re all fast guys – what impact do you think adding some speed into the group on offense could have for the team?) – “Speed is hard to deal with defensively and in the kicking game, so any time you can add that element, it forces defenses to deal with that. The worst thing that could happen is you allow that speed to create a big play defensively and then obviously offensively, you want to create big plays. You could use that type of speed to your advantage. We’ve got some guys who can run; but again, there’s a lot more that goes into playing the receiver position than just speed – blocking, route-running, catching the football and getting open. There’s a lot of fast defensive backs as well; so again, we need 11 guys to be on the same page. The quarterback’s got to throw a good ball, the offensive line’s got to block, the receivers have got to get open; but speed never hurts.”

(I guess to my untrained eye, the Cardinals defense and what Cardinals Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph does with them than what the Rams do schematically. How do you prepare QB Tua Tagovailoa I guess for this sort of defense and maybe more of the exotic stuff they may throw at him?) – “Vance (Joseph) does a very nice job over there. Kliff (Kingsbury) does – they’ve got good coaches over there. They do a good job really offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. It’s a good team. Just kind of watching the film and watching what they do defensively; yeah, there’s a lot of looks. I’m sure he’s over there cooking something up that we haven’t already seen on film as well; so at the end of the day with the exotics, it’s about following the rules and playing with good technique and fundamental because oftentimes, it looks like it’s a game plan – it’s a game plan rush, a game plan scheme – and he does a good job from that standpoint. A really nice job – create some confusion. We’re going to have to do a good job of like I said, following our rules, reading our keys. Really, they do that in all three phases – offense, defense and special teams. It’s a good ball club with some really good players.”

(I wanted to ask you about Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury. Obviously you guys are two young coaches starting to see the fruits of your labor here in Year 2. What do you think about the job he’s done and I wanted to ask you – did you guys run into each other when you first got to New England and I guess he was probably in his last year there?) – “Yeah, I know Kliff. I’ve known Kliff for a long time. Like you said, (he’s a) very good coach. Innovative, smart, really good leader. (I have) a lot of respect for him and what they’ve done over there in Arizona. To include Steve Keim and Mike Bidwell – they’ve all done a nice job there. This is going to be a tough game for us. They’re well-coached. They’ve got good players. We’re going out to Arizona. Winning on the road is hard. I think they’re going to have some fans there as well, so this will be a tough test for us; but it starts with Kliff and kind of the leadership in that organization. I think they’ve done a really nice job and we’re going to have to play well against this opponent.”

(Earlier you mentioned that you’re not sure what you have in WR Antonio Callaway which is certainly understandable since he hasn’t practiced. But given that you lost WR Isaiah Ford, who are you looking to to fill some of that void at that position? I don’t know whether RB/WR Malcolm Perry continues to see his workload increase or WR Lynn Bowden Jr. or where you go? I know they’re different type receivers, but who are you looking to now that Isaiah is no longer in the picture?) – “You mentioned there’s only a handful of guys that we could go to, so Jakeem Grant, Malcolm Perry like you mentioned, Lynn Bowden, Mack Hollins has been in there and done a nice job in practice over the last few weeks. I think we’ve got some options, to include some of the guys we have on practice squad, but I do think we have some options. It’s a competitive group, so guys see potentially an opportunity there and I think we’ll see how it goes in practice. They’ll all get an opportunity to be at practice and that’ll go a long way to seeing who plays or gets a significant amount of snaps at that position.”

(WR Jakeem Grant – before we got on the call – was just named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week and I was just looking at some numbers and he’s one yard short on punt returns in terms of tying his career high. Could you just speak on when he’s able to really turn up like that, what that does for your team in terms of putting your team in good field position?) – “We talk about field position really on a weekly basis – how important that is. I think Jakeem’s done a really – he’s worked extremely hard really in all areas of his game as a receiver, as a returner. You can kind of see some of that starting to manifest itself on the field. We all know he’s an explosive player, but I’m proud of the way he’s worked and kind of seen some of that, but we need to continue. I think he knows that. He’s in here continuing to work and watching the film on the punters and the kickers and their walkoffs and any kind of tell he can get so he can get a better read on the ball and put himself in a position to get himself going. And then our team, especially in the kicking unit – let’s call it the return units – they understand that if we block, if we finish off blocks, we’ve got a chance to create big plays. That’s always good. He’s done a nice job. I’m happy he won that award, but at the same time, I know his focus is on Arizona.”

(I wanted to ask you – you guys are second to last when it comes to rushing. Now you lose RB Myles Gaskin. What is the challenge that this unit faces this week and how do you motivate these guys – I know you probably don’t need to motivate them – to step up and address the call?) – “Yeah, it’s a big challenge this week. Arizona’s got a good front, good d-linemen in there. (Corey) Peters is a hard guy to move. Angelo Blackson’s a hard guy to move. They’ve got good players in there, so we’ve got to do a good job up front like we talk about every week. It’s not just the running back. It’s the offensive line, it’s the tight ends, it’s the receivers. As a whole, we’ve got to execute the game plan and find the running lanes and pick up good yardage and try to be efficient in the run game and really efficient offensively. So moving the chain, picking up first downs, converting on third down, punching it in in the red zone. The run game is going to be a part of that and field position is going to be a part of that, so we’ll just continue to work at it and hopefully improve.”

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