Miami Dolphins Transcripts – September 11 – Head Coach Brian Flores, TE Mike Gesicki, LB Elandon Roberts and WR Isaiah Ford

Friday, September 11, 2020

WR Isaiah Ford

(Fourth year in the NFL now and this is going to be your first opening day. I want to just ask a guy that’s gone through so much in your career so far, what does that mean to you?) – “It means a lot. Really the biggest thing is that through all the adversity that I’ve been through, I’ve kept my head down and just kept working, taking each day one day at a time, one rep at a time, one meeting a time and trying to get better and put one foot in front of the other, and just keep going.”

(I wanted to ask you about the process of making that video that you guys released yesterday. What were those discussions like? Where did the poem come from? Who helped author it and what kind of statement do you think it was intended to say?) – “We all as a team – as a whole – we got together and we kind of discussed how we wanted to handle the situation and everything, and I think that the video pretty much portrays everything that we’re asking and what we’re trying to work towards.”

(Racial injustice is a very divisive subject in the country right now. How unified is the locker room on this?) – “I think that we’ve all done a really good job at discussing the things that are going on off the field as a whole and working together to attack that in the ways that we want to and then when it’s time to work, we go out and we get to work.”

(I was curious if you guys discussed whether to have a political component in the video as far as collectively endorsing a candidate or do you feel like that’s just too much of a minefield to go down that road?) – “I think we all talked together as a team as a whole in-house, and we worked together, put the video together and I think that the things that are in the video are what we were trying to portray.”

(Your production kind of took off late in the season last year and that concluded in that Week 17 game up in New England. How can that success late last year kind of be applied to this game as far as how you approach attacking those defensive backs?) – “I think it was just big for me for my confidence individually, kind of having that success towards the back end of the year. I (was) just trying to build on it going into the offseason. We’re going against a really talented group in New England. Their secondary was probably No. 1 in every category last year statistically, so it’s going to be a tough task. I’m excited to go out there.”

(I wanted to ask you, you’re praised so much about your intelligence and the savviness that you have in terms of route running and understanding the offense. Where did that come from?) – “I think it just comes from being a student of the game. I’ve been a fan of tons of receivers that were really good route runners back in their time. So just watching film – whether it was Chad Johnson or even guys that play today like Keenan Allen or Davante Adams – so just watching those guys, watching their game, taking things that I think I could add to my game and then kind of building on and trying to make it my own.”

(With this offense, what’s the biggest challenge about learning it? We hear a lot of times that the coach and even QB Ryan Fitzpatrick says that receivers get an opportunity to adjust their routes in the concept of the offense. What’s the biggest challenge of doing that?) – “I think that really it’s just about being on the same page. Because there’s so much freedom in certain areas, we still have to see the same thing and feel the same thing that ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) is thinking as well, so as long as we can align our creativity with what he’s thinking in the pocket and what he’s seeing on the field, then I think it’ll be a beautiful thing.”

(I wanted to know if you were able to watch the game last night and if there was anything that caught your attention and secondly, on Sunday when you guys get on the field, at what point do you think you forget about everything that is going on and you can only concentrate on football?) – “Usually when I leave the facility when it comes to watching TV, I kind of try to stay away from football just because I’m so consumed with it. So I turned it on, but I tried not to actively watch. When I say ‘actively watch,’ I mean what I would do or what we were expecting to do in those situations and certain things like that, and just try to enjoy the game. So I kind of tried to watch it more like a fan than a student, if that makes sense. And then at the end of the day, our job is to play football, so we have a job to do. Of course there’s things outside in the exterior that are going on in the world that we want to help in. We try to do things in that nature as well, but when it’s time to play football we have to focus on playing football.”Elandon Roberts – September 11, 2020 Download PDF version

Friday, September 11, 2020

LB Elandon Roberts

(I wanted to ask you to address the thought process that you guys had or the discussions that you guys had as a team about the video that you released yesterday. What was that process all like?) – “We talked about what we wanted to do as a team and we did what we did as a team.”

(Do you personally think the NFL’s response to the racial injustice protest has been insufficient and if you do think so, in what ways?) – “I just think you need to watch the video. The video is trying to tell you all the things you need to know and stuff like that.”

(I’m going to switch topics real quickly. I just wanted to get your thoughts on what it meant to you to be elected team captain?) – “Just to be elected by yours peers – your teammates – and stuff like that, especially coming to a new city, a new coach and stuff like that; it was great, man. Every day I’m going to try to be the best me, like I said earlier in the year for the guys and stuff like that, and the best teammate on and off the field.”

(What does it mean for you guys, as players, to have the support of Head Coach Brian Flores in that video when you guys were putting that video together – for him to him to have his face in there and say “I back these guys 100 percent?”) – ”I think as a team, as a family, that’s what you look forward to and stuff like that. As players and as a coaching staff, just like as our media group, as people just working around the building, it’s one family and we just support each other like that.”

(I wanted to ask you about in your days with the Patriots and you started a bunch of games; but how much do you feel like you were used as a one-dimensional linebacker and do you feel like you can be an every-down linebacker?) – “Every day, just like everybody on the team, we come to work and you just work on everything. You work on your craft. When I go home, I work on being a great husband and a great father. That’s my answer.”

(There’s a magic drink you’ve been trying to drink during practice I saw about a month ago during a video. I forgot the name of it…) – “Oh, I got you. My DarkGrind.”

(What goes into the DarkGrind? What’s that all about? Where do you get that mentality and what does it give you when you drink it?) – “I can’t tell you what I put in it because that’s a secret, but I can tell you the mentality behind it. Every day, I play football; but you guys – you all have a passion of media, public relations and stuff like that. So you guys can be home with your significant others, with girlfriends, your mom, whoever’s close to you and you just point out like, ‘man, I’m grinding to do this. I’m grinding to do that.’ But at the end of the day, when you walk away from that you’re like, ‘they probably don’t understand like how I need them to understand.’ And that’s just day-to-day with anybody because that grind you put in and all that, it’s deep to you because that’s your own grind. So at the end of the day, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel because that’s your grind, so you’re always going to be in the dark because only you’re going to understand it. So that’s how I came up with it. That’s why I call it DarkGrind.”

(Tell me a little bit more about LB Kyle Van Noy the person, less so the football player. You spent a lot of time with him previously and we talked about that, but just more so the person and what he meant to New England. The other day we talked to him and he talked about how he has a lot to give to Miami just because he’s been blessed and he did that in New England, so could you just chop it up a little about him?) – “Kyle (Van Noy) is a great guy. We’ve been together for the last four years and it’s still great to see him every day. He’s a tremendous person off the field at what he does in the community. If you know a little bit about Kyle’s background you know it wasn’t always perfect and stuff, so with him and how he and his wife and their family give back and stuff like that is a great thing. He’s just a great guy to just be around every day.”

(I don’t know if you watched the game last night, but I think the country was just so excited to watch football. Was there anything that you saw from a player standpoint that was a big takeaway about what football might look like in 2020 and how maybe it’s going to take some time to get up to speed? Was there anything that you saw?) – “Man, I was so tired I didn’t even watch the game last night. I was tired.”Mike Gesicki – September 11, 2020 Download PDF version

Friday, September 11, 2020

TE Mike Gesicki

(Obviously you and TE Durham Smythe are very close, both of you guys are going to play a lot on Sunday. We were mildly surprised to see Durham first on the depth chart this week. Did Tight Ends Coach George Godsey, Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey or Head Coach Brian Flores give you an explanation for that?) – “No, not really. I think Durham is a really good player. I don’t think he gets enough credit honestly for the versatility that he gets or that he is as a player. I think that he’s made a ton of plays and I’m excited for him this upcoming season and honestly for our entire room. I think there is a lot of talent in there.”

(Regarding the video, racial injustice is a divisive subject in our country. How unified is the locker room on the subject and the content that you all presented last night?) – “I think that we are completely unified. I think that the video obviously is pretty self-explanatory. I think that we’ve had a ton of good discussions as a team that have been taking place in-house. I think that it’s been productive for us as a team, trying to take those steps.”

(I wanted to ask you about your position is so multiple as guys play in-line and also flexed out wide. Going up against a defense like New England’s that’s so multiple, how challenging is it to prepare for a defense like that, that can rush so many guys and play coverage with so many guys also?) – “I think that they have a lot of talent on that side of the ball. Obviously they’ve been sticking with their system for a very long, long time. They are very discipline in their rules and their technique, and their guys play it extremely well. I think for us, it’s kind of knowing our rules, knowing our assignments and then going out there and executing them on Sunday. Like you’ve said, they are capable of doing a lot and they have a lot of talented guys on that side of the field. We’ve got to be ready for a lot.”

(I wanted to ask you about – all of the tight ends seem to have different skillsets. It seems like a lot of these receivers have different skillsets, the running backs all have different skillsets. How difficult do you do you think that potentially can be for defenses to prepare for?) – “I think that’s kind of the theme of our offensive skill position. Just kind of being able to do multiple things and making sure that what you are asked to do, you execute at a very high level. Some guys are in there because they are physical, some guys are in there because they are fast, some guys are in there because they can make plays with the ball in their hands – whatever it is. I think that for the most part, we are all being put in a position to be successful with what we do best. I think that’s a credit to the coaches and I think that’s also a credit to the guys, being able to understand their role in a whole bunch of different schemes, to go out and execute.”

(What kind of reaction have you gotten to the video outside of the building?) – “I think that it’s obviously being talked about. For the most part, I think it was a pretty powerful message. I think we got the message across that we wanted to get across. I think that it’s been able to kind of speak for itself.”Brian Flores – September 11, 2020 Download PDF version

Friday, September 11, 2020

Head Coach Brian Flores

(Obviously we want to know a little bit more about the video that was released last night. How did it come about and why did you decide to participate?) – “It came about because of all of the things that have gone on in the country over – obviously starting with Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. I think this has been an ongoing conversation. I think we all know how it came about. It was a player-driven decision that came from a lot of conversations about trying to find a way to voice their opinion. It’s about issues that are important to the players and we decided to move forward with it. They are things that I’m supportive of as well, and that’s why I joined in with them.”

(I know some of the things that were spoken about in the video were calls for action. I know one of the players mentioned calling owners to use their political power to influence things more. Has the team or you had conversations with Stephen Ross about maybe how he could do more in that realm?) – “I talked to Steve about the video. He was supportive. But it was directed at everyone. I think every individual in this country can do a little bit better. It’s players, it’s coaches, it’s owners, it’s media, it’s everyone. Everyone can do better and that was the message. I think to try to misconstrue the message or take it some other – in a different light – that wasn’t what the message was supposed to be. We can all do better. We all need to do better. What’s happening in this country and really around the world, we need change. And it’s something that we’ve been saying for a long time. The players were – the video speaks for itself from that standpoint; but from a message standpoint, it’s that we can all do better.”

(Do you think the NFL’s response to the protest movement, specifically the NFL’s response, has been insufficient?) – “I think we can all do better. That was the message in the video. Nobody is going to put words in my mouth about how I feel about this, that or the other thing. I think the video speaks for itself. I think we can all do better. I think we can all – we all know the situation in this country. We’ve got kids who can’t go to school because there is no WiFi. To me, that’s a major issue because I would have been that kid growing up where I grew up. We can do better. We can find ways to help more people. That’s the message in the video. That’s what it is.”

(If I can go back to what was asked at the very start about how the video came to be, I think we’re curious about how it went from concept to actual production and the final product. Who wrote the words? How was the video recorded? Any details you can give us on that sort of thing?) – “I don’t have much for you on that. I’ve been trying to coach a football team. From the production of the video and who wrote it, I know Kaleb Thornhill, he’s obviously our director of player engagement, he had a lot to do with – he oversees the social justice committee. That group of guys had a lot of conversations. So Kaleb, I would say he spearheaded a lot of the conversations. He did, I thought, a really great job as far as opening up those lines of communication and giving those guys a platform to speak about some of the issues. They wrote a lot of what they thought down on paper and we were able to communicate it in the video, as you saw. Kaleb played a large role in it. He would know more about the production and all of those things. But it was player driven and they have our full support.”

(Did you notice the booing that took place in the Kansas City vs. Houston opener and what was your reaction to booing a moment of silence?) – “I guess I don’t really have a reaction. I think the moment of silence was for a specific reason and I think everybody understands that; but at the same time, there’s a game going on so fans, they’re rooting for their team – I mean you don’t know the specific reasoning behind why somebody is booing something. I don’t try to create an issue or create division based off that one instance.”

(You mentioned that the video was player driven and you obviously ended up coming in at the end. How was that kind of presented to you? When was it presented to you in the process and when did you decide that you wanted to be visible in the video?) – “I have conversations with the players all the time, whether it’s football related. I’ve been part of some of the social justice committee conversations – not all of them. Kaleb (Thornhill) has really handled most of that. But as they were putting it together, they felt like – they know where I stand on a lot of these issues anyway. I was asked to say a line and I said it.”

(There’s obviously a lot of division within the country on this subject. What’s your sense of locker room unity on this? Any concerns about it being potentially divisive?) – “The message is trying to create unity, not divide. That was partly why they wanted to do it. Specific to our locker room, I feel like we’re all on the same page. I hope it’s that way. But look, when you’re dealing with 53 guys and 16 practice squad players and coaches from different – coaches and personnel people from different places, you may have different opinions. That’s everywhere. That’s good. That’s a good thing as long as we communicate it and talk it out and show respect. The one thing I said to the players is it’s one thing – faith without works is dead. Faith or belief in something without works is dead. We can talk about doing things but we have to back it up with some action. They know that. They understand that. Anyone else who speaks out should understand that as well. That’s been the message to those guys and I think they understand that. I think they’re ready to help and take action in ways that they can. But just personally, I know that you never feel like you’re doing enough. You feel like you need more help. I think if we get more people trying to spend the time or donate or donate time or donate money, or actually just have a – I won’t call it a change of heart but empathy and an understanding – if we can get that, we’ll move in the right direction.”

(I want to get an update on CB Xavien Howard and CB Byron Jones. Those are two critical pieces of your secondary. How did they perform in practice this weekend and what are your thoughts on their status for Sunday’s game?) – “We’ll get obviously the clearest look today. Yesterday was more of a walkthrough. I thought that they – got some of the kinks out and some of the rust off. Today’s a big day so we’ll see where we’re at, where they’re at, as far as today; but they’re working hard to get back on the field – or not back on the field, but to get themselves ready to play and contribute to the team on Sunday.”

(Closing Statement) – “One last thing here. It’s 9/11. My uncle, I always give him a shout out on 9/11. He was part of Ladder 118 in Brooklyn. It was one of the first trucks to go in. He lost a lot of his – he wasn’t working that day, so he lost a lot of his coworkers that day. If you guys could shout him out for me, I’d appreciate it. Darrel Patterson is his name. Darrel Patterson.”

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