Miami Dolphins Transcripts – September 17 – Head Coach Brian Flores, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, S Bobby McCain and G Ereck Flowers

DE Emmanuel Ogbah

(I’ll ask you the same question I asked both DE Shaq Lawson and LB Kyle Van Noy yesterday. When it comes to defending the zone read, how much more of a challenge is it for a player at your position to kind of have to read that mesh point and it kind of slows you down as you approach the running game defensively?) – “It kind of just depends if you’re the force player or not. You’ve got to make sure the quarterback either doesn’t have the ball, or does have the ball, so you’re actually kind of real slow to react. We’re trained to do it, so we just got to do a better job doing it this week.”

(I know last week is in the past, but what were some of the issues you guys were having as edge guys picking up those read options?) – “Sometimes we get different responsibilities and it kind of threw us off last game; but we’ve got it better this game because it is a similar quarterback we’re playing. We’ve just got to do a better job stopping the power read and the zone read plays.”

(You guys struggled as a group defending the run, but DT Christian Wilkins made a couple of high-impact plays. What is it about his skillset that has impressed you from being around him on the field now for six weeks?) – “He’s a worker. Whenever he’s out there, he tries to make plays. That’s our goal as the defensive line, we just try to make plays to help the team win games. Christian did a good job last week. Even though we fell short we lost the game, he did a good job. He did his job.”

(I know as edge guys, you guys want to get to the quarterback. How does that change your mindset when you’ve got quarterbacks that want to get outside the pocket, that want to run? You can’t necessarily get up the field the way you want to.) – “First of all, we’ve got to stop the run. If we stop the run and make them one-dimensional, it’s going to take care of itself. We’ve got guys that can chase after and get after the quarterback. We have to focus on stopping the run first. That‘s the most important thing this game.”

(Do you feel totally back from the injury you had with Kansas City last year? Is there anything that’s missing or are you absolutely 100 percent?) – “Yeah, I’m 100 percent. I’m back where I want to be.”

(What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to setting the edge? Not necessarily against the read option, but having that responsibility and that role of being an edge-setter for the defensive front?) – “The most important job is getting to the offensive tackle or tight end as fast as possible. We try to set the edge one yard up the field. If we can do that, that will help a lot. We need guys corralling to the ball when we set the edge because if you set the edge without nobody running to the ball, then you’re just setting the edge and there is a free lane for him to keep running. It takes the whole team to get after it.”

(The Patriots rolled out that 350-pound dude in that heavy package. When they add that extra offensive lineman to your side of the formation, how does that change your approach?) – “It definitely changes the approach because first you’ve got to worry about that guy – either you’re getting a double-team block or a base block, so you’ve got to attack it a different way than if a tight end was right there, if that makes sense.”

Thursday, September 17, 2020

S Bobby McCain

(I have a non-football question for you. Given your connections to Alabama, do you have any personal connections to the hurricane?) – “Yeah. Just with my family being down there, all prayers up. I’m hoping and making sure, praying, that everybody is okay. That’s a tough thing to go through but we’ll go through it. My people at home, they’re safe and they’re doing well.”

(On Sunday, S Brandon Jones caught some of us by surprise when he lined up with you back there. What did you think of his performance and what does he bring? A lot of people always talk about his physicality.) – “He’s a good football player. Fast. He’s got a lot of speed. He tackles well. He’s young. He’s a rookie, so he’s learning each and every day, each and every week. We’re all trying to get better and trying to learn. Him playing the way that he is and just making sure that he stays fast and tackles well, he’ll be good for us.”

(Ever since you’ve been in the league, it seems like it’s the Bills, not the Jets, that have really gotten the passion stirring in your locker room. Obviously you had an incident last year up in Buffalo. What is it about the Bills that gets you guys angry at times? It seems like there’s just some bad blood there.) – “It’s a division rival game. They don’t like us, we don’t like them. They’ve got good football players over there. We know that. We have good football players here. They know that. It’s going to be a fight – not a physical fight but a fight in the game, each and every quarter, each and every play, each and every series, because like I said, it’s a divisional rivalry and they count for two.”

(The experience of playing without fans last week, was it weird? Did you even notice it during the game? Will having 13,000 there on Sunday be any factor at all do you think?) – “It definitely will make a difference having those fans there, whether it’s 13,000 or 10,000 or 8,000. No matter who it is, just having those fans there and having the Miami faithful there will be lovely. It was weird at the beginning of the game, starting the game off when you come out and there’s nobody there and you just hear each other; but as the game goes on, you’ve got a job to do and it doesn’t really matter if the fans are there or not. You’ve got to win the football game.”

(When it comes to your exact position, how much more comfortable do you feel this year compared to last, with several reps under your belt?) – “I’m just getting better each and every week. I wouldn’t necessarily call it comfortable. I’m just getting better. I try to get better each and every week and put good stuff on tape. This is my second year playing safety. Like I said, I’m getting better each and every week, each and every day, and I feel a little better back there.”

(Going back to QB Josh Allen’s rookie season, he had like 100 yards rushing in that game and you had a sack on him. I was curious, when it comes to tackling a big quarterback like that, does your approach change? How does it work for you getting a guy that big to the ground?) – “You’ve got to tackle the body, tackle the legs and make sure you get him on the ground because he is a big body. He’s a good runner. He’s a good athlete. I think he’s about 240, 250 (pounds), so he’s a big athlete. He can get out of the pocket and make plays with his feet, make plays with his arm, so you’ve got to make sure you tackle the body and don’t fall off.”

(Is facing QB Josh Allen pretty much the same as facing QB Cam Newton?) – “No.”

(Because?) – “Josh Allen, he’s – Cam Newton is a good quarterback. He’s been a good quarterback in this league. He’s made some plays with his feet, he’s made some plays with his arm; but Josh Allen’s arm is really strong. We know he can throw the ball down the field, probably 100 yards if he tried. And he’s a good athlete with his feet. He can run. He’s faster than people think he is. With those weapons they have over there, just putting it together, you’ve got to make sure you stop the pass and you’ve got to make sure you stop the quarterback, as well. And the run. Stop the run.”

Thursday, September 17, 2020

G Ereck Flowers

(I wanted to get your thoughts on finally getting a home debut in the town that you grew up in, playing your first home game as a Miami Dolphin in Miami.) – “Yeah, it’s great. I mean I’ve played here about three times before, so it probably would’ve been better if I never did; but it’s going to be cool.”

(I guess growing up, what were your thoughts on the Miami Dolphins? What were your thoughts that you might someday be a Miami Dolphin? They didn’t have the greatest amount of success I guess when you were young, but was this a dream for you? Or was simply making the NFL a dream?) – “At first it was making it to the NFL, then you look at your possibilities of going places and you’re like, ‘I would really love to play for them.’ It’s been great. I grew up coming to training camps, going to games from Pop Warner – you know how they set it up where Pop Warner (teams) get to go to games so I’ve always followed the Dolphins. It’s really a dream come true for me. Sometimes when you’re here, you don’t really sit down and think about it. Probably my family more so than me is realizing what’s going on.”

(First I want to know what Pop Warner team you played for but my more important question is when you look at how the rookies performed, when you went over the film, what did you say to them? Because you’ve kind of served as a mentor for them all.) – “I played at Ives Estates. When I watched this film, I kind of knew going into the game that this was the first time we were going to play, it was the first time – I kind of know how it goes the first time. You don’t know what to expect as far handling game situations and all of that stuff. I thought they were really confident in going out; but I think as a whole, we’re just really trying to get better and the things that we’ve got to work on. I kind of take it as, ‘ok this is where we started; ok this is where we’ve got to see improvement on the next week.’ So really we’ve just been trying to emphasize what we did wrong that game and try to fix it going into this game, and being cleaner.”

(Obviously one sack allowed but how would you assess that game?) – “I guess it all depends on your standard. I want us to be really good, so I think we could have played a lot better; but I’m not mad because I know that we’ve never played together. I’m just looking to get better every week. Just coming out this week, ‘ok we’ve got everything out, this is a new game, we’ve worked on what we need to work on,’ and really just try to show some improvement every week and try to get better. I know you can’t just go first game and be great. It’s really just trying to get better and just keep getting better, work on what you need to work on and keep getting better out there as the year goes on.”

(I was curious, when you came to camp when you were a kid, do you remember did you get to meet any players? Did you get any autographs?) – “I never really met players. I never really got a chance to – I was just in there. I’ve been in the stands with my dad or at the games. I used to watch Jake Long and all of those dudes, from Ricky Williams and all of those dudes. I used to listen to WQAM in the morning. I’ve always been involved with that. I’ve always followed it and my family too.”

(You’ve had a couple of high school teammates that made it big, right? RB Duke Johnson was on that team? Did you play with CB Xavier Rhodes as well?) – “No, I started playing after (him) but we had Rashad Fenton with the Chiefs. He was younger but he was on that team with Norland. Man, who else? Some dudes transferred after I came. There’s a few of us.”

(In the moment when you were a 16- or 17-year-old kid, everyone has the dream of going to the NFL. But was it a realistic dream do you think at that point?) – “My first couple of years of high school, I was trying to play basketball. I’ve always played football growing up but then I just got kind of into that little basketball groove and then I came back to really just trying to focus on football and leaving those pipe dreams alone. (laughter)”

(What’s your vision for the identity that you want this offensive line to have?) – “For me, I want our identity to be technical. Technical and I would say really more hard-nosed. Physical but technical. The good offensive lines are technical, from hand placements to everything – the combo blocks, the games – just technical. That’s what really wins a matchup is being technical. I want us to go in that direction of just being technical. That’s what would be my perfect envision. Like the Cowboys in those years, they were just super technical – their hands.”

(We were talking about your roots and everything from around here. Do you have any plans to have family or friends at the game on Sunday?) – “Yeah, I have a few. Not too much because of this whole situation, but I guess it kind of saves me money. (laughter) I’ll have a few.”

(I’m wondering, if you have 13,000 fans in there, how many do the ‘Canes usually get or used to get? Is it similar or is that less?) – “It depends on if we’re winning. I remember playing Florida. (laughter) For Florida, it was like – you know what I mean? Then you play like Bethune-Cookman. (laughter) Some guys it was like – if we won, the year we were doing good in the first half, it was looking good and then we went down the drain and people just started watching on TV.”

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Head Coach Brian Flores

(I guess any team is probably only going to have a few defensive players who played most every snap. I sort of figured, perhaps I was wrong on this, that LB Kyle Van Noy would be one of them. He went 41 of the 64 (snaps) last week. Was that because of physical issues and rounding back into form after the hand injury or was it a game plan decision or maybe a little bit of both?) – “We’ve kind of moved on to this week. As far as snaps last week, I think for everybody – everybody had a different snap count. Last week was last week. We’ve kind of moved on to this week. Obviously we think highly of Kyle, as well as a lot of other players. I wouldn’t take one game and try to put guys into buckets as far as every-down players or situational players. I wouldn’t take one game and do that, especially in this type of season.”

(How important was it to you guys to try to get WR Preston Williams going in the game on Sunday, and how important is it going forward for him and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to kind of reestablish the connection they had at the beginning of last year?) – “I think it’s important to establish a connection with quarterbacks and all of the receivers, not just one in particular. That’s something that you build that rapport in practice, and hopefully it shows itself in the game. That’s why we go out there and practice. We’ll do that again today and try to establish that rapport with – you mentioned Preston, but it’s the same with really all of the receivers, the backs, the tight ends. It’s the same thing defensively as far as guys playing together, the same thing in the kicking game. It’s something that you build over the course of time and through practice and we’ll continue to do that.”

(I had a question about LB Elandon Roberts. He wasn’t announced with a concussion in the press box. When did that happen and when were you guys alerted to it?) – “This is a case where every once in a while, someone has some symptoms the next day. Nothing is more important than the health of the players, and we’ll always do what’s in their best interest. He’s in the protocol now and we’ll get him back when we get him back. We’re not going to rush it at all.”

(With LB Elandon Roberts down, obviously you have to get guys prepared to work as the inside linebacker. Who can fit that role? LB Sam Eguavoen played it some last season and then I’ve seen you guys use him sort of as an edge player. Is that how you view him now? And, can you talk about LB Kamu Grugier-Hill in terms of his growth in the defense?) – “First off, Roberts we’ll see how that goes. We’re not counting him out. We obviously have some more guys in the room. (Kyle) Van Noy has played linebacker, Kamu obviously played linebacker, (Jerome) Baker, Sam Eguavoen, (Calvin) Munson, we’ve got some other guys in the room. If that’s the case and somebody is down, the other guys will step in. It will be based on the game plan, based on what they give us offensively. We may have different types of bodies in there. The good thing about that group is they are flexible and they all have versatility and they play multiple positions. We could have a variety of options.”

(I wanted to ask about the safeties with S Eric Rowe and S Bobby McCain. How much benefit is it going into year two that they have several games at the position? And also being able to incorporate the physicality of S Brandon Jones in that group?) – “I think Eric and Bobby played together for let’s call it a half a year – maybe less than that, but they played together some. They have a little bit of a rapport, so you add Brandon to that, you add Kavon Frazier to that and you have a mix of different people. We’re still trying to build that communication, that rapport; but those two guys, it’s very important to them so they’ll do what it takes to build those relationships and try to do it the way we’re asking them to do it. Brandon Jones, he’s a young player. He’s improving on a daily basis, but he still has a long way to go, just like all of our young players. Every practice is good for him. Every game experience is good for him. They are working hard this week to prepare for a very, very tough opponent in the Bills with the quarterback, and the running game and some receivers who are explosive and tight ends. This is a good offense that has tempo in their offense so we’ve got to prepare for that as well. We need as many guys like Bobby and Eric to communicate and play at a good level, and bring other players with them. I think they are trying to do that also.”

(Many signs up in Buffalo that says that they are a franchise that is trending upward. Do you see games against the Bills as important as any you’ll play if you’re going to get to where you all want to go?) – “I would agree that they are trending upwards. This is a good football team offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. They are well coached. They are tough. They’re physical. Every game is important. It doesn’t matter who you are playing in this league, they are all tough. They are all important. Obviously division games are very important. We take these one game at a time. We want to compete. We want to put our best foot forward. We’re trying to practice in a way that gives us an opportunity to play well and be competitive, but every game is important.”

(I noticed that QB Tua Tagovailoa is no longer on the injury report. We haven’t had a chance to talk to him in a minute, so I wanted to ask you how he’s feeling and what’s changed?) – “He’s doing well. He’s going into – from a rehab standpoint or just from a strength training standpoint, he’s doing what everyone else is doing. We felt like we could take him off. He’s doing well physically and mentally, and getting practice reps and trying to improve from a football standpoint, from a learning and being professional standpoint like all rookies. He’s doing well and he’s learning. Health-wise though, from a health standpoint, it was obviously a serious injury and he’s done a great job as far as getting himself back healthy and getting himself to a point where he can practice and take a lot of reps. He’s trending in the right direction from a health standpoint.”

(I wanted to ask a two-parter on WR DeVante Parker if I could. How did he come out of practice with the hammy yesterday and does his past history with soft-tissue injuries have any impact on how far you push him as far as playing on Sunday?) – “As far as the history, I don’t really kind of look into that too much. How are we right now, where we are right now – that is kind of where my conversations with DeVante are and our training staff. I thought he – look, he was out at practice yesterday. We’ll see. We’re taking this thing one day at a time. We’ll see where we’re at for the game. That’s really all I have for you right now. It’s still early. We’ve still got a couple of days before we’ve got to get there. He’s doing everything he can to get out there. But no, we don’t take previous hamstring injuries – we really just focus on this particular one, which has limited him some, but he’s doing everything he can to get back out there.”

(I wanted to ask you what were your thoughts on the memo that came out about coaches and personnel on the sidelines wanting to wear more masks and how you guys can be better in that area?) “We’ve just got to wear them. There is some difficulty trying to communicate with the guys up in the booth. At the end of the day, there is nothing more important than the health and safety of our team and the people around the league. We’ll do a better job from that standpoint. We ask our players to be more diligent in the building and it’s important. You can be mask police. I’ve got no problem with that. I’ll wear it and I’ll try to do a better job. But if a guy can’t hear me, then I got to find a new mask and that’s just some of the things we’ve just got to work through. It’s not just me; it’s coaches around the league. It’s new and different for everyone; but we all have to adjust. That’s the game, that’s the league. That’s what we ask the players to do, so we have to adjust also.”

(I wanted to ask you about young players. When you play young players as early as you do, I know you give them small roles at first. When do you come to the point where you realize, “hey this isn’t too big for them.” Is it film study? Is it when you’re meeting in the meeting rooms in preparation for the game? When do you realize that what I’m giving them isn’t too big enough for them?) – “I think it’s case by case. I think It’s a small role and then that role turns into a little bit more and a little bit more. I think you guys will see that over the course of five or six games. When do you realize that it’s not too big for them? That takes a little bit more time. You need stretches of games of consistency to really feel good that they understand how to be a professional, that complacency doesn’t set in and ‘we’ve got all the answers and watch a little less tape.’ To me, those are the things that I try to harp on. Good performance or bad performance, you still have to watch the film. We have to know our next opponent, we have to get our lifts in, we’ve got to stay on course with our nutrition, we’ve got to stay on course with our conditioning. Those are the things. It’s not one game, it’s not two games. Once you start a string of four of five games together, that means you’re doing something, you’ve been doing something over the last four or five weeks. That’s just my belief because I think the guys who have become complacent and the guys who think they have all of the answers, eventually it catches up to them. That’s been my experience with players. We just try to stay on them about keeping to their routine and just the importance of not veering off of that, because in this league there are so many good players and so many good coaches. It will find you if you’re taking shortcuts. We try to not allow that but it’s something individually for each player. They realize it oftentimes when it’s too late; but as you know with the amount of – three years that guys are in the league, oftentimes it’s too late. So the young players, if they can figure it out early enough, that routine, that attention to detail, the discipline of playing play after play after play and playing consistently, once they realize how important that is, then you can see those – what you’re talking about it – and whether or not it’s not too big for them.”

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