Miami Dolphins Transcripts – September 18 – Head Coach Brian Flores, LS Blake Ferguson, S Eric Rowe and CB Noah Igbinoghene

LS Blake Ferguson

(Your brother is obviously coming to town this weekend. I just have to ask you if ‘Hype City’ is coming to Miami?) – “(laughter) Hype City has been in Miami. It’s going to be a fun game. Obviously this is something that we’ve been looking forward to for a long time. It was a dream of ours as kids, and this dream is quickly coming for fruition. We’re looking forward to it on both sides.”

(How would you assess your performance on Sunday and what was it like to suit up in NFL gear for the first time?) – “It was a cool experience. Like I said earlier, this is something I had been looking forward to for a long time. A lot of hard work has gone into this experience and to get to where I’m at. The work is only beginning and I’m just trying to help the team win the best I can. Sunday wasn’t perfect, but I’m glad to have the first one under my belt.”

(What are the stakes at Ferguson Bowl I? Is there a bet going on? Does the loser have to do anything? What’s going on there?) – “We’ve talked about potentially taking a picture in the other team’s gear or something like that; but that may break contracts or something. I don’t know if there are rules against that on either side. (laughter) It’s bragging rights. We’ve been going back and forward since the day I was drafted in Miami. This is something that’s going to be a lot of fun. Mom and dad, I think, have the split jerseys so they are ready to rock both sides. It’s going to be great.”

(What have conversations been like this week with you and Buffalo LS Reid Ferguson?) – “It’s been somewhat limited. He and I are trying to allow each other to focus on the game. We spoke pretty heavily last week just leading up to my first NFL game. That was good to know that he’s looking out for me and he wants me to succeed. This week has been somewhat limited. We’ve checked in to seen how the week of practice has gone. It’s all business this week. Just trying to help the team win.”

(I haven’t spoken with you since Coronavirus – COVID-19 – became a real issue. Did you at any point consider opting out? Was there any thought process there?) – “It was definitely something that I had to be mindful of being a type-1 diabetic. I was able to speak with several of my trusted physicians both in Baton Rouge at LSU and family doctors we’ve been going to see for a long time. They told me that with Type-1 diabetes, if it’s well controlled and you are taking the proper measures to be healthy, you’re not really at any higher risk than anybody else. For me, it’s definitely something I had to think about; but I feel like I’m in a safe place and we have a great setup here with the daily testing that I feel like I’m in a great spot, and they are taking all the proper measures to make sure we stay as safe as we can.”

(I know you said your parents have the split jerseys. Have you tried to figure out which parent is rooting for who? Are they really 50/50 or does mom have a favorite and does dad have a favorite? How does that work?) – “(laughter) It’s funny you say that because I got on a Zoom call with one of my financial advisors the other day and my dad was on the call. As he was getting on the call, he was putting on an LSU shirt and I was like ‘what are you doing?’ He was like ‘well, you might not have been happy with the shirt I had on underneath.’ He had to quickly throw on his LSU shirt and we had a good time laughing about it. They are hoping for great play from both sides, from both myself and my brother. For us, it’s all business just trying to help the team win.”

(Everybody has a theory on who their parent’s favorite child is. What is your theory? Let’s break it down.) – “(laughter) It’s something that we like to banter about and argue about and joke about, but our parents have been incredibly supportive of both of us. Really up until last week, they had not missed a single game since my brother went to LSU. They were at my brother’s games and my games while we were there. It was something like 100-something consecutive games. To us, that is incredibly special and just the support that they show every single week to make the travel arrangements, to miss work if they have to on a Friday or a Monday, just to be at our games, it mean so much to us. As much as we joke and banter about it, it’s going to be a great weekend. With them being in the stands this week, it’s going to be unreal.”

Friday, September 18, 2020

S Eric Rowe

(You’ve got many roles in this defense. Where is your comfort level in playing nickel? I know you’ve worked against tight ends, you’ve worked in the box, but where is your experience level with nickel?) – “In my third year, I did play the actual nickel the whole year against slot receivers. It’s nothing new to me. If I’m in the middle, I already know what goes down in there. It’s nothing foreign, so if I got to go out there, I’ll go out there.”

(Now that we’ve talked about the rookies throughout training camp and you’ve got a chance to play along side next to S Brandon Jones and CB Noah Igbinoghene to see them on the field Sunday, what did you think of their performance, and also just what they bring?) – “For their first game, with no preseason games in the NFL, both of them did really good. Brandon was making some good open-field tackles. Noah had some nice coverage and tackles. Obviously there was rookie mistakes. Everyone has them in the first week. Even all vets have mistakes, this was the first game kind of getting back on our feet. But them two, yeah. They proved that they can play in the league.”

(What’s the balance as a DB trying to fill your run responsibilities versus staying home and making sure you don’t get beat over the top with the pass?) – “With this team it’s tough, because you got Josh Allen who can – he’s a really good runner with the ball. But also with that, he has a strong arm and they have receivers that can – that’s a lot of speed, lot of speed. Everybody just has to play their technique. The plan against Josh, everyone’s plan is to contain him, kind of make him throw the ball because if he runs the ball, that will hurt. It will add to the run game and all of that. Really, you can’t think about getting beat deep or running back and being blind to the QB because they will hurt you both ways.”

Friday, September 18, 2020

CB Noah Igbinoghene

(You were needed on the boundary last week. Are you getting some work in the slot in practice?) – “No. Primarily I’m playing outside. Honestly, I’m playing whatever position they want me to play. I can’t really go into details with that.”

(Were you pleased with how things went in your debut on Sunday?) – “No. We lost,so  I wasn’t really pleased. Yes, it was my first game so I was excited; but we didn’t come out with a ‘W’ and that is the main goal of every single game. I wasn’t happy of how it turned out though. But yes, I was excited to play.”

(What did you learn about the speed of the NFL from that Patriots game?) – “It was a lot – I feel like the amount of reps I got in practice really helped me slow the game down a little bit mentally. Of course it was just a little bit faster than college I would say. It wasn’t a big transition like I thought it was going to be. Maybe because the fans weren’t there. You never really know. It wasn’t moving as fast as I thought it was going to be, so it was a good day.”

(Generally whenever a rookie class comes in, those group of guys form a pretty tight friendship and bond over the first couple of years in the NFL. With you and S Brandon Jones specifically, you guys being those guys in the secondary, what kind of friendship have you formed, and what was it like being out there together on Sunday?) – “Brandon is my guy. I’ve been around him ever since this whole COVID thing has started and we all came to Miami and started training and stuff like that. He’s a great dude, a great teammate. I’m glad and blessed that he’s in the rookie class with me. I can’t wait to grow with him and see where we will be in a couple of years.”

(I don’t know if you’ve seen, but I saw this stat or nugget that you’re the youngest player to play in the league this past week. What did it mean to you when you saw that you are the youngest guy out there in the league?) – “It’s humbling. It’s crazy. It’s really crazy just to see how far I’ve come. I am the youngest. This is crazy. I can’t really explain it. I don’t really know. I’m blessed. Just blessed to be here at this young of an age, I’d say.”

(I was wondering what you’ve noticed about No. 14 Stefon Diggs on film?) – “He’s a very great player. Very great. He does a lot of things really well. His route-running, he’s fast, he’s strong, he comes in and out of his breaks well. He’s a very good route-runner. I can’t wait to play him this Sunday and see what we’re going to get. It’s going to be an exciting game.”

(RB Matt Breida told us – we know that WR Jakeem Grant wants to race him, but he said there’s others who want in on the action. We’ve been trying to figure out who wants in on the action. Knowing that your parents have a track background, you’re one of our leading suspects. Can you provide us an update?) – “Definitely. I’ll definitely join that race. I’ll happily join that race.”

(How do you go about prepping for WR Stefon Diggs, him and WR ‘Smokey’ John Brown? Both of them have different skillsets. Do you prep for one more than the other based on what the game plan is? How do you go about that?) – “Yes, it’s about the game plan; but I also do my extra work outside of it. Of course we have meetings throughout the day every single day and practice and stuff like that; but I really study every single guy. If that’s my matchup, I’m still studying every single receiver we have as a team that week. We have a lot of time meeting as a team, as a DB group. It’s more time than I had in college, so I really appreciate that time. Just outside of it as well, I should do more work extra.”

(Did any of the Patriots receivers say anything nice to you during that game, or try to talk to you during the game, and are you typically quiet when you’re out there?) – “I try to be quiet. I really just focus on my game, I don’t really say too much. I’m focused; but if somebody does say something to me, I’m going to say something back. Nobody said anything surprisingly. Maybe it’ll be different this game.”

(How does your personality kind gel with the cornerback group? CB Xavien Howard seems to me to be a little quieter, and CB Byron Jones can be a little talker. How do you kind of fit in that group?) – ‘I feel like I’m a quiet dude. I don’t really say too much, especially on the field – off the field as well. I want my game speak for itself. But like I said before, if somebody does start talking to me, of course I’m going to start talking back. I just try to focus on the game. I don’t really talk as much. I feel like I gel well. We all have different personalities.”

(I was wondering if CB Xavien Howard or CB Byron Jones said anything before or during the game that you found interesting or helpful?) – “I’d say just before the game, they were talking to me because it was my first game (and said), ‘just to be relaxed. Play confident like I’ve always did this whole training camp. Just be myself and have fun most importantly.’ I feel like some people, the fun comes out of the game because you feel so pressured at times. They just told me to relax and have fun. They know how much work I put in going into that game. That’s exactly how I played.”

Friday, September 18, 2020

Head Coach Brian Flores

(I know teams of course have the option this year of using six of the practice squad spots with guys with unlimited experience. Have you or General Manager Chris Grier decided you still instead basically want to use it as a developmental tool for young guys instead? And I was sort of curious why you guys added a long snapper and are protecting him after drafting LS Blake Ferguson. Has Blake struggled at all?) – “The first part of that question was about six practice squad – veteran practice squad – players, correct?”

(Right. Using them on young players as opposed as opposed to using them on older guys who can be stashed in case you have COVID issues.) – “Chris (Grier) and I and the scouting staff and the coaching staff; we’ve had several conversations about the practice squad. I think like you said it’s definitely a place – we want to develop all players, whether they’re practice squad or on the active roster. The development of players is important to myself, Chris and everyone in this organization. So I would say that’s kind of the thought process first and foremost. You can develop veteran players also, so we’re not taking that pool of players out of – we’re not saying that they’re not developmental players, but for the most part, anyone who we feel like can help this team whether they’re developmental players, whether they’re a veteran, whether they’re – if they can help this team, we’ll take a look. Again, with the practice squad, you don’t get whoever you want. These guys have options to go to different teams, so while you may think that we’re – we may have had some other conversations with players and felt like they had better places, better options elsewhere. There’s a lot that goes into it. I know you see what you see on the practice squad. There’s always a lot of conversations, like always, that you guys aren’t privy to and things that are happening behind the scenes that you don’t know – try to get this guy, didn’t get him, he went there – there’s a lot of those conversations. But we like the guys who are on our practice squad also. There was another part to that question also. I forgot. Was there another piece to that question?”

(Yes, on having a second long snapper available. Just what the thinking was in adding one and protecting him. Has LS Blake Ferguson struggled at all?) – “It’s very similar to what you just mentioned. With COVID and there being a pandemic and the possibility of losing players; we just felt like that was a position where you don’t want to lose a guy on a Saturday morning and then we’ve got to call you up and you’ve got to come in and snap for us. (laughter) So we just felt like we wanted to keep a guy on the practice squad for that reason. If you can long snap, then we maybe we’ll bring you in for a tryout and maybe we’ll get you on the practice squad. What do you think about that? (laughter)”

(I wanted to ask you on LB Elandon Roberts, I know he practiced today. Is there an update and what’s the process? What’s the next step for him in the protocol?) – “(Elandon) Roberts – he’ll be out this weekend. He’s still in protocol. He practiced today. He’s in the protocol. He’ll go through the steps necessary and we’ll see about next week. Obviously it’s a short week next week also, so we’ll see where we’re at from that standpoint; but obviously his health and the health of all our players is priority number one and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure he’s ready to go before we put him back out there.”

(On Sunday after the game, you were pretty quick to tell us that stopping the run would be a priority in practice this week. How do you feel now towards the end of the week that you’ve done at attacking that phase of the game and just where your confidence is when it comes to stopping the run on Sunday.) – “We’ve talked about it. We’ve met about it. We’ve walked through it. We’ve practiced it. At the same time, you harp on one thing – this is a dangerous team from a running standpoint with their backs, running with the quarterback; but they’ve also got good tight ends, obviously very, very good receivers and a quarterback who can toss it all over the field. So while yes, we’ve spent a lot of time on the run game, but we’ve spent time on really a lot of areas to include the pass game, the play-action game, the screen game. This is a very, let’s call it high-power offense. They’re very multiple from a personnel standpoint, from a schematic standpoint. Conceptually they do a lot of things and we’ve got our hands full. Obviously it starts with stopping the run, but they pose a lot of issues.”

(Are you expecting to have WR DeVante Parker and having him at full go on Sunday?) – “That’s probably going to be a little bit of a game-time decision. Obviously he’s practiced on a limited basis all week. We’ll see on Sunday morning, really. But yeah, it’ll be a little bit of a game-time decision. But look, DeVante, this guy’s competitive. He wants to be out there, so he’s going to do everything possible to be out there. But yeah, game-time (decision).”

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