Miami Dolphins Transcripts – October 15 – Head Coach Brian Flores, G Solomon Kindley, DT Zach Sieler, C Ted Karras, WR DeVante Parker

G Solomon Kindley

(I wanted to ask you about your strong offensive line play alongside your buddy G/T Robert Hunt. But first, we just learned moments ago that DT Zach Sieler, No. 92 defensive lineman, he lives in an RV. Did you know this?) – “I had no idea. (laughter)”

(What do you think? Do you want to go visit?) – “I had no clue. I would love to go visit and see how he’s living and see how it is, because I’ve always seen them growing up; but I never really knew anybody stayed inside. I thought they just traveled with them and everything. I never knew that.”

(What was it like having your fellow rookie G/T Robert Hunt right next to you all game?) – “It feels good. We’re both blessed for the opportunity to be able to come play football and then not only play football, but play at the highest level that we always dreamed about. We just have fun because we practice the way we do, and our mindset stays the same throughout everything that we do, so it was just fun playing on the field with him.”

(I want to build on the previous question, but first – the media, are we allowed to call you your nickname? I think it’s a pretty cool nickname. “Big Fish.”) – “Yeah, you can call me the nickname. (laughter) You can call me ‘Big Fish.’”

(All right, “Big Fish” when you were out there on the line this past Sunday with G/T Robert Hunt, you’re only a few games in, but were there any points in the huddle or when you’re going up to the line, where maybe you offered him a word of advice or anything just as that was his first game?) – “Throughout the whole week, we always talk to each other even if he wasn’t playing ,as in if anybody goes down, he’s got to step up and get in. So we always talk to each other about this assignment, how do you see this look, how this defensive line’s rotating; pretty much throughout the week, we look at film and we do every little small – we do small stuff with each other at home. Like we’ve got tests that we do throughout the week, look at film throughout the whole week so we can get comfortable and the game can be slow by the time we get there Sunday.”

(You said “at home.” I wanted to ask if you and G/T Robert Hunt live together, but I guess the real question there for me is also with you guys kind of next to each other on the right side of the line, is there anything – any point where you kind of looked at him or kind of thought “man, this is the future. This is what we’re supposed to be doing here. We’re here with the Dolphins?”) – “I can’t control that. I’m just playing football. If we keep playing good, the sky’s the limit for us and we’re just going to keep being humble and keep doing the things that the Miami Dolphins brought us in to do; but yeah, that’s my guy. That’s my boy and I love playing with him.”

(Some of my favorite offensive line breakdown people on social media and whatnot like to talk about the way you punish jumpers and the way you finish your blocks and drive guys to the ground. I’m curious where you developed that mindset and that mentality and how you’ve been able to take that over now from your college career into the pros?) – “Pretty much me growing up, my history how I came up and how I lived, it just puts me in the position that I am how I am today. I always want to finish. I always want to drive, so I take it from real life and on the football field because like it is, it’s real life. I never want to be one of the persons that coach can pick out – ‘he’s slacking, he’s missing his block’ or ‘he’s not doing this because he didn’t give enough effort.’ That’s my biggest critic ever. That’s like my biggest critic ever. I never want to do that, so I make sure anything I do, I finish to 100 percent.”

(To your knowledge, have you or T Austin Jackson or G/T Robert Hunt gotten any trash talking from defensive linemen during games? Has anyone said like “something, rook?” Something like that. Have you gotten any of that?) – “Not that I remember. I remember playing against Buffalo. I don’t know who it was; but somebody said, ‘get after the rookie.’ You know, you know. It’s typical when a rookie’s playing football; but other than that, nothing really.”

(Was it in the movie “The Blind Side” – I think that’s what it was called where [Michael Oher] ran the opposing player backwards, backwards, backwards, backwards like 50 yards down the field? I feel like you are [Oher]. You and G/T Robert Hunt could have a contest to see who could push the opposing guy the furthest down the field? Is that something like…?) – “No doubt. Me and Rob (Hunt) – his first game – me and the assistant coach, ‘Coach Lem’ (Assistant Offensive Line Coach Lemuel Jeanpierre) we were like, we’re going to see who’s going to get the most knockdowns, who was going to get the most pancakes. That’s like a good goal between your partner next to you because if I’m trying to do my best and he’s trying to do his best; that means everybody’s best is going to keep going up. So I love that. I love that competition with him.”

(“Mr. Big Fish,” what can this offensive line be? What do you think the vision here is and what do you think you guys can do on the field as you get more time to kind of develop?) – “Like I said, our group is a bunch of humble, hard-working people; and if we keep doing that, we keep our head on straight and staying focused, the sky is the limit. Keep God first. Everything else will come as it’s supposed to.”

(I just want to clarify. I made a mistake. It was Michael Oher who also played at Ole Miss. Have you ever actually seen the movie or no?) – “Oh yeah, I love ‘The Blind Side.’ My little brother Chris Kindley, I call him the little guy – ‘S.J. (Tuohy).’ We’re definitely like ‘The Blind Side.’ We used to always think that we were ‘The Blind Side’ growing up our whole life.”

DT Zach Sieler

(How has year one and a half with the Dolphins been? How has your progress as a player been? I think we talked to you a few weeks back. You keep making these splash plays. How has your season been coming along and what has impressed you most about what you’ve done?) – “For me, it was just learning the new ways and a new team. That was the end of last year. Then going into this year, just kind of progressing and learning how to use the scheme to my advantage each week.”

(I wanted to get into a little bit about your backstory. I know you talked about it when you wre in Baltimore some but it’s a pretty remarkable story. You were 175 pounds at Ferris State? Did you have any scholarship offers at all?) – “No. I walked on at Ferris State I was 220 (pounds) my freshman year and 217 (pounds) going into my second year. By the time I left, I think I was 295 (pounds).”

(This is your first time getting a chance to see the New York Jets with the Dolphins. I’m just curious has there been any extra hype around the game since It’s such a big rival for the Miami Dolphins?) – “It’s a division game, so we’ve got to play just like any other week; but we’re ready to go. We’re preparing just like we do every week. We’re excited.”

(Was there someone in your past that kept you motivated, focused and believing that this one day would be a possibility? I’m not a mathematician but the odds were like a billion to one.) – “Yeah, I was the first one drafted form my college actually. I think the fall of my freshman year of college, true freshman year. I wasn’t playing or whatever. Two more walk-ons came on for spring ball. We became really close. We said let’s get after it in the weight room. We didn’t have a strength coach. We didn’t have a nutritionist. We just got in the weight room and watched YouTube videos and learned how to lift, and get bigger and go from there. I think between my one year, I put on like 30-40 pounds. I was up to 240-250 by spring of my second year. There was a handful of guys. We called the misfits, just a bunch random dudes. We would just go down there and our gym had no windows, no A/C or anything. We called it the dungeon. We’d just go there and we took pride in it.”

(I’ve seen you play inside and out, especially with DT Davon Godchaux out. Tell me about the approach you take to the assignment when you’re inside versus out?) – “Obviously things happen faster when you get down low, the closer you get to the center. But for me, it’s just wherever I’m at preparing wise – end, 3-tech, nose guard, zero shade, outside – it’s just making sure I look at the player across from me as in the offensive lineman I’m going against, and learning their keys. So not just focusing on one guy, but focusing on all five of them, so I’m ready for whatever happens and whatever the game plan may call for.”

(We just talked to C Ted Karras a minute ago and he talked about the players on the team genuinely being excited for other guys when they make a play. I noticed that watching the broadcast copy, guys just losing their minds every time you make a big play. I’m curious where that comes from and how that starts for a team, where they get so excited for one another and really care about each other like that?) – “I guess it kind of comes from the top down. The coaches preach family and they preach be excited for anybody, because if somebody makes a great play, that may give you an opportunity later on in the game for you to make a big play. For us, it’s just an excitement. We’re going through this together, we’re a team, we’re a family. Just keep grinding and keep celebrating those big plays.”

(Since your arrival down here in South Florida, have you learned at all if there was a connection or a reason or a person who decided to bring you here?) – “No. I couldn’t tell you that. I just know my agent called me at 4:20 or 4-whatever that one day and said ‘hey, you’re going to Miami.’ So I showed up down here and do what I do.”

(Have you put down roots here? It seems like you’re living the transient life. I think you were a seventh-round pick, a waiver wire guy, I believe. Do you have an apartment? How does it work? You’re certainly a part of the team’s plans now, but you couldn’t have known that going into the season?) – “Y’all are going to laugh; but I actually stay in an RV during the season. I’ve done this for two years now. I have a fifth wheel I stay in during the season. (laughter) I actually had roots, and I do have roots in Sebring, which is about two hours from here. I know I’ve been asked about the ranch. That’s kind of my home base, I guess you could say. I have family in Michigan and I love going back to see them; but in season, I stay in an RV. For me, that works, I love it. It’s simple, it’s easy, I can get up and go postseason and just do whatever I need to do, wherever I’m training, I can park it and train there.”

(We need more clarity. Where does the RV park? Have you hosted your teammates in the RV, and have you gone on a road trip in it?) – “I’ve had players over to hang out, for sure. Yes, campgrounds or RV parks are nice spots. I’ll find a little spot and setup there for a few months. Florida is great because everyone comes down here in the winter to live, so there are plenty of spots, especially right now.”

(What’s it like in the RV community? Does anyone know you’re a professional athlete?) – “I love it. No. I usually try to keep that a little lower. Some people learn or whatever, and usually everyone is great. When you think about it, guys that are in our campground, usually they are vacationing. So everyone is happy, everyone always waves, it’s not the typical people living their daily lives. Usually they’re on vacation. It is kind of weird getting a new neighbor three or four times a week. (laughter)”

(Do you think at some point you might actually get a front door and a roof?) – “Yeah, I might. The girl is trying to get on me to do that. (laughter) She’s sick of taking care of the dogs back home by herself.”

C Ted Karras

(How much did you know about DT Zach Sieler coming in and what have you learned about him since and what’s it been like practicing against him?) – “I remember last year (with the Patriots) preparing for the last game of the season (against Miami), they had this guy who kind of came in mid-year and was playing really well, played with really high effort, and he’s continued that this season. He’s been very productive and he’s a great teammate and a great guy, and I’m really excited for him. I’m rooting for him to continue the way he’s been playing.”

(My question for you is about the two coaches in the offensive line room with Offensive Line Coach Steve Marshall and Assistant Offensive Line Coach Lemuel Jeanpierre. I just wanted to get your perspective as far as how those two guys balance each other and having both Coach Marshall’s experience but also Jeanpierre’s playing experience and how those two guys work together in that room?) – “Collectively, we have coaches in the room with a lot of NFL experience and I think it’s serving us very well, especially having a young o-line. I think it’s a testament to how hard these young guys are working and ‘E. Flow’ (Ereck Flowers) and Jesse (Davis) and I and all the vets, too. I think we have a really good room and I’m really excited, but we’ve got to keep preparing like we have been and going and putting out our best performances when it counts the most.”

(We’ve asked you so much about T Austin Jackson and G Solomon Kindley because they’ve been playing and thanks for being kind of like the veteran spokesman and filling us in. I appreciate it. So G/T Robert Hunt makes his first start. What did you notice about how he approached things and handled himself starting a game?) – “I thought he did an excellent job. Obviously we went out there and scored 40 points. We’re not going to be able to do that without a right tackle doing his job, and I thought it was great. Any time you go into your first NFL start, it could be, I guess, too big for some guys; but not for Rob Hunt. He came out there and played really, really well, and we’re going to need him to continue to play really well moving forward.”

(You referred to the Dolphins-Patriots game at the end of last season earlier. I wanted to ask what does it feel like now for you being on this side of the Dolphins and their franchise reboot? What is it like five games in? Do you feel like a tide is maybe starting to turn with your guys’ season and what do you think about Head Coach Brian Flores and everything he’s kind of implementing onto the team?) – “We’re a day at a time. Winning last week was a good start, but we’ve got to take care of business this week, then we’ve got a bye. I’m having a lot of fun. I love all the guys on this team. It’s been a great start to the year. Obviously we left a few things out in a couple of the early games, but we’re going to continue to work our hardest and prepare and then go out there on Sundays. That’s the only way to turn any tide, is to go out there and perform your best on Sunday, so that’s what I’m focused on every day.”

(Sort of along those same lines as what you just mentioned – you’ve been part of an organization that knows how to build for success, not just for this Sunday but for the long-term. What do you see in the program that’s put together here in Miami that might give you confidence that there’s success built for the long-term here?) – “I think it comes down to the guys we have in the locker room and we have guys that work hard and want to do things right and care about each other and hold each other accountable and genuinely enjoy playing the game of football. It’s a pleasure to come to work every day with guys in this locker room – many, many close friends – and we get competitive and we want to do our best for each other. You’ve seen a little bit of that on the field these past couple weeks, but we’ve got to keep showing that and emphasizing that part of the game.”

(I guess you weren’t here I guess last year, but now you’re getting to see up close maybe how it’s like playing with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. I wanted to ask what is it like in the huddle or on the field when he’s on like he is?) – “It’s extraordinary. He’s an extraordinary man. I am very fortunate to be able to suit up with him and I do love it when he can turn a third-and-8 scramble into a first down. That’s a luxury as an o-lineman. It’s been a lot of fun playing, and I’ve learned so much from him already, and I continue to learn every single day and as we grow and continue to create continuity and comfortability with each other.”

(What have you noticed in terms of personalities, if there’s a common trait, among the three guys that the aforementioned QB Ryan Fitzpatrick affectionately calls the knucklehead rookies – G/T Robert Hunt, G Solomon Kindley and T Austin Jackson?) – “Great men that want to do the right things that are eager to learn and, I guess, ‘ego-less’ and trying to get better. Obviously a very, very talented group – all highly drafted – and guys that came in and just want to listen and work and do the right thing and help the team win in any way they can.”

(I wanted to ask you about a matchup this weekend with Jets DT Quinnen Williams. He was once the No. 3 pick in the draft and right now he’s top 10 in both ESPN’s pass-rush win rate and run-stop win rate. I just wanted to ask you about the challenges he presents for you on the interior offensive line.) – “Starting with him, but the entire Jets front seven poses a significant challenge to us as an o-line, and we’re going out there and working hard and we’re going to have to be at our best on a lot of guys. Talk about guys like Steve McLendon, (John) Franklin-Myers – guys all over the place that are really good – (Nathan) Shepherd, (Folorunso) Fatukasi. Their whole d-line is formidable and we’re going to have to be at our best and playing at our top level on Sunday at 4 p.m.”

(RB Le’Veon Bell is a free agent. Just generally what do you think of his talent and his skill?) – “I think he’s been a great player for a long time in the league. I don’t know anything about the situation that he had up in New York, but I wish him the best. I never like to see anyone lose their job in this league, so I’m wishing him the best. I know he’s a very talented player and I’m sure he can help an NFL franchise win some games.”

WR DeVante Parker

(As you think back to your time with N.Y. Jets Head Coach Adam Gase – obviously you’ll see him on the opposing sidelines – do you have good feelings about it? Just your thoughts on working with him during the time you guys were together.) – “My time with him was pretty good. (There was) that little situation that happened but that’s in the past. I’m just focused on our team right now and what we’ve got going on.”

(I wanted to ask you, how do you guys feel the early starts to the games, especially in Jacksonville and San Francisco, have helped you guys come out with those wins? How have those early starts helped you guys?) – “It helped out a lot. Just coming out fast, that puts fear into defenses and puts their tail back behind them. We’ve just got to keep that up and keep it going, and we’ll be fine.”

(The Dolphins are one of a number of teams that are calling about RB Le’Veon Bell, who is a free agent. If he would end up in Miami, what would he add to the team? What do you know about him as a player?) – “I know he’s a good player but like I said before, I’m just focused on our team and what we’ve got going on. I’m not too concerned about any of the other stuff.”

(I know the game was a few days ago but I wanted to ask you about the one play where it was third-and-goal from the 22. If I remember correctly, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw you a touchdown pass. It’s not very often where a coach or a play caller or a quarterback kind of goes for the touchdown on third-and-22. What do you remember about that situation and if Fitzpatrick said anything like he was going to throw it to you?) – “I just remember getting lined up and ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) tells me as I’m going past him to just run a go. I said, ‘Alright, I’ve got you.’ Then I ran it and it turned out pretty good.”

(How would you assess this team and the way it has been built for long-term success compared to when you first arrived here?) – “I would just say the coaches are putting us in the right situations to make plays, and we’re making them. That’s just the biggest thing we’re doing right now, and we’ve just got to keep that up.”

(Earlier this summer, you had mentioned that one of the things you are working on in your game to try to take it to the next level was rounding out the route tree, like comebacks and stuff like that. I’m just curious if you have an update for us in how you feel you’ve progressed in that area?) – “I’d say that the last game we just played – I think I had one against the Seahawks. I think I had a pretty good comeback. I would say it’s looking pretty good as of right now.”

(You mentioned the coaches are putting you guys in good positions here to have some success. After the 49ers win, do you kind of sense that the tide is probably starting to turn for you guys in all three phases, for the betterment of the season?) – “If we keep coming out and playing how we’re playing, there’s going to be some good stuff to see from this team.”

(With the locker room being different this year, I’m not allowed to observe things like whether or not you have hung out at all with the three rookie offensive linemen. Obviously you’ve gotten to know them on the field. They all seem to be pretty good. Just collectively, what have been your observations about the three rookie offensive linemen and how they handle themselves?) – “I’d say they’re all doing a great job in there. They’re holding their own out there and it’s a big part of our passing game that we’re having right now. I know they’ll keep that up.”

Head Coach Brian Flores

(I wanted to ask you a question about the rushing attack and how you would evaluate it going into Game 6. RB Matt Breida, RB Myles Gaskin, and RB Jordan Howard, they are collectively averaging 2.8 yards per carry. Obviously that can’t satisfy you, I assume.) – “Just like everything else, we’ve got to improve the running game, play action, red zone, two-minute. We’re working on it on a daily basis. Those guys are working hard along with the offensive line, the full backs and tight ends, getting the blocking where we need it and running it better. These guys are working hard. I think we’ve ran it effectively in some instances; but we can be better overall. That’s the case in really a lot of areas, offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. These guys are working to get better and improve. Thankfully we have another opportunity to try to go out there and improve on Sunday.”

(When we were in Santa Clara, I don’t recall hearing anything in the press box about LB Kyle Van Noy. Can you explain what happened and was it something that flared up after? And if he does have an absence, how does that affect your defense moving forward?) – “Kyle’s got a little bit of a groin. I’d say it’s something that happened after. These guys, they fight through something’s during the game, which he obviously did. He’s doing everything he can to get back out there on the field from a practice, from a rehab standpoint, from a treatment standpoint. He’s a tough guy. Obviously (he’s) a focal part, a big part of the defense and this team – I shouldn’t say just the defense – from a leadership standpoint. He’s doing everything he can to get back. Hopefully we’ll see him today. Obviously when somebody is nicked up, you go through the contingency plans, but we do that every week. We’ve got a plan if we have to limit his snaps; but that’s the case for every position. I think that happens across the league. You’ve got to have a backup plan for everything, especially in this climate. Kyle’s a tough guy. We’ll see – hopefully he’s out there today.”

(I guess somebody asked you about RB Le’Veon Bell yesterday and defending him with the Jets. Obviously now he’s a free agent. I wanted to ask if you guys are going to try to go after him to add to your team?) – “That’s really more of a question for (General Manager) Chris Grier. My focus right now is on the Jets and the players they have on their team. I’ve said this before, he’s a very good player. As a personnel staff, as an organization, we look at anyone who is available that could help our team. Obviously all conversations stay internal and quite honestly, my focus has been on preparation for this week. It’s really more of a question for Chris and the personnel staff. But yeah, he’s a good player. Our focus is on this week, on the Jets and the preparation for the players on the Jets this week.”

(Regarding kickers, you were with an organization that was very blessed to have K Adam  Vinatieri and K Stephen Gostkowski, who were very dependable. Now you come here and have K Jason Sanders. I wonder if it might easy for people to overlook the importance of kickers until you don’t have one. How much better do you sleep at night knowing you have a guy who you could depend on?) – “I started in the kicking game. That’s where I got my break in coaching. I know and understand how important those guys in those positions are, whether it’s kicker, punter, long snapper, returners, ball security and things of that nature. To have a guy who is dependable, a guy you know is going to do everything possible to make sure he puts himself in the best position to make a great kick – make the kick that we need, make the punt that we need, give us the snap that we need. You really want that at all positions, but no one thinks about those specialists until we’re down to the wire and we need the kick. Jason has done a great job. I think it’s important to him that he continues to improve and get better and continue with his consistency. That’s been good thus far and we need to just keep going in this direction. Yes, I’m very pleased at where he is, and the job he’s done really on field goals but also kickoffs. He’s done a good job from that standpoint. Just every day, just his attitude and work ethic on a day-to-day basis, he’s really done a good job really since I’ve been here.”

(The Falcons had four positives today, it sounded like. Do you think we’re getting to the point now that the league would be best served to just put in a second bye and give themselves more flexibility going forward? Are you expecting to play 18 weeks this year because of what’s going on?) – “Literally I just heard about that right before I got on here about the Falcons. It’s unfortunate. I think teams are trying to do everything they can to limit the spread of this virus. Unfortunately, it’s hit a couple of teams. We’re just going to do – we’re going to control what we can control and kind of follow the lead of the league. If they add a bye, I’m not going to have an opinion on it. At the end of the day, I’m really just going to focus my energy on our team. If they make a schedule change like we’ve already dealt with, we’ll just do what needs to be done so we can try to play games and play a season. Whatever that means, if it’s an 18th week, if it’s another bye, if it’s more changes to the schedule, than that’s what we do. I think at the end of the day, every one of us that are a part of this league, we just need to continue to try to be responsible, make good decisions, wear the mask, social distance, wear the tracers so we can at least put ourselves in position to play games and play this year.”

(On DT Raekwon Davis, how much is he capable of do you believe you’ve seen so far?) – “Raekwon (Davis) is very – he’s got a lot of talent. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s athletic. But he’s young. He’s a young player still learning how to play in this league against a lot of good players, and he’s still trying to find his way and find his niche – his role – within the scheme. I think as a staff, we’re trying to put him in good positions or in the best positions, to do what he does well. He’s big, he’s athletic and he’s tough and he cares. So I think with the injury to (Davon) Godchaux, he should get a few more opportunities along with some other guys, and hopefully he takes advantage of those opportunities. But yeah, there’s talent here. We’ve just got to get him to play with more consistency, which is the case for all young players.”

(I wanted to ask when the other teams in the league are going through their COVID situations, are you guys just kind of reaching out seeing what’s going wrong? What are some things that maybe you guys could do to continue to be on the right track of this as you guys have been so far?) – “We’re always trying to find different ways to get better. I think (Head Athletic Trainer) Kyle (Johnston) and our medical staff – Kyle Johnston is our head trainer – our medical staff, they’re constantly trying to (ask) ‘what can we do better?’ From a meeting standpoint, from a walkthrough standpoint, from a practice standpoint. So yes, we’re trying to find ways to mitigate the risk really on a daily basis, so I think those guys have done a good job of that and they’re getting compliance from the players, coaches; everybody’s involved here. It’s important to all of us that we keep – first and foremost, it’s not about the games – it’s about keeping everyone here safe and healthy. I think that’s where we always start. That’s where my meetings always start. This isn’t about playing 18 football – whatever things in the season. That’s important, but what’s more important is the health and safety of everyone in this building and then that also applies to all their families also, as we know how this virus spreads. So keeping everyone safe keeps your family safe, and then a byproduct of that is we get to play. So yeah, we’re always trying to look for different ways to help or to get better, but we also know that we’re not exempt. We can do everything right. We could pop a positive test and we’ve just got to try to isolate whoever that is or whenever that shows up. We want to be able to trace it, we want to be able to say that we were all wearing masks and hopefully we continue to go about our daily routine, our daily business.”

(If I could take a little bit of a detour – I don’t know how big of a boxing fan you are, but there’s a match going on Saturday and one of the fighters is Teofimo Lopez. He’s from Brooklyn. He’s Honduran. So I was curious if you had any knowledge of him or if he was in your rooting interest?) – “Yeah, a Brooklyn guy from Honduras – yeah, I know exactly who he is. Good fighter. I’m not really big into boxing – aside from Mike Tyson being right from the neighborhood I grew up in. I always a big fan of his; but yeah, I know a little bit – but yeah, a Brooklyn guy from Honduras – yeah, I’m rooting for him no matter what’s going on.”

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