Miami Dolphins Transcripts – September 3 – Head Coach Brian Flores, TE Adam Shaheen, RB Jordan Howard and CB Noah Igbinoghene

TE Adam Shaheen

(I just wanted to ask you about the differences and similarities about how the Dolphins are using you compared to the Bears?) – “For me, it’s just a little bit different coming in and just trying to learn a new system. There are some similarities and differences just like every NFL offense. For me, it’s just trying to learn as many positions as possible so I can have the best chance to be on the field.”

(I wanted to get your thoughts on being traded number one; and number two, what kind of extra motivation, if any, does it provide you to want to show the Bears that they were wrong on giving up on you?) – “Every day is a new day and I’m just trying to focus one day at a time. I’ve had injuries, so I’m just really trying to stay healthy, and (take things) one day at a time, and get better and better, and help out anyway that I can.”

(Kind of on that same train of thought there, I’m just curious coming over this late in the process in that – what was it, a late July trade – how has it been for you acclimating to the new system and how have you kind of grown into the new role you have here?) – “I think I probably would’ve felt a little more behind if everybody here had kind of had their regular OTAs and actually had practiced together and built those connections. I think being traded two days or whatever it ended up being before training camp, obviously I had to rush to learn and I’m still learning; but as far as actual on-field time, this is the first time for most guys that they were on the field together as a new team. I don’t feel like I was too far behind in that aspect, which has been good.”

(I wanted to ask you sort of a two-part thing. You entered the league as a second-round draft pick and I’m wondering if there was any extra pressure that you felt because of that status and just how you classify your time in Chicago? And the second thing I wanted to ask you is what you think you do best in this offense? What can you offer the Dolphins in 2020?) – “The last three years have kind of been – I’ve enjoyed them; but I’ve had injuries. Really the biggest thing for me is always stay healthy. If I can stay healthy, then I can do I think whatever they ask from me. I think that’s the attitude is whatever role that I can earn and carve out for myself is something that I’ll be happy with.”

(What’s your comfort level and how much experience do you have going back to your Bears days? I know you basically worked all over, but working on the line of scrimmage, how much work did you put into that?) – “That’s been a big focus of mine over the last – really, training camp – is to really develop to be above average and kind of hold it down at blocking tight end, and also show my skills catching the ball as well, and just trying to be as complete as possible.”Jordan Howard – September 3, 2020 Download PDF version

Thursday, September 3, 2020

RB Jordan Howard

(Do you have any sense yet of how Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville and Head Coach Brian Flores intends to use you and RB Matt Breida? Do you think you’ll get an entire series and then at some point Matt will get an entire series? And I know you’re a team guy but what’s your preference in terms of how you feel you are most effectively used?) – “No, I haven’t really gotten a vibe or feeling of how the rotation is going to be. I feel like we are going to use all of the backs though. I definitely feel like me, Matt, Myles (Gaskin), Pat (Laird), I feel like they are going to use all of us. They’re going to use us all to the best of our abilities and what we do best.”

(I know you guys haven’t played a game yet or preseason game yet to get it going; but what have your thoughts been on the o-line and what you guys can do upfront to block for that run game?) – “I feel like they are learning; they are coming along pretty well. We have some young guys getting their feet wet and stuff like that. Again, even if though we didn’t have preseason games, I feel they are getting a lot of reps. I just see them growing each and every day. I feel like the more comfortable they are, the better they are going to get as the season goes.”

(I’m curious to get your take now that you’ve been here for a few weeks and kind of grinded in the Miami heat, how much are you looking forward to playing down here in the September and October weather? How much of an advantage do you feel your style gives you in this temperature down here?) – “I usually train down here; but just practicing down here in this heat is a lot different. But, it’s definitely going to be an advantage for us. I played down here two or three years ago and my team, we were dead. I know the advantage it is playing down here in this heat. Just practicing (here), we’re going to be in shape. We’re probably going to be the best shaped team.”

(You talked about advantages, do you think there is an advantage for the offense or the defense, given this kind of off season with no preseason games, with no tackling. Does that favor one side or the other do you think going into maybe the first couple of weeks?) – “I feel like it’s going to favor the offense mostly. I feel like a lot of teams aren’t really tackling. They might be doing some tackling drills but they are not really doing a lot of live (tackling) because they are trying to keep guys healthy, keep guys up. And then now we’re so close to the season, I doubt anybody is going to be doing any tackling at all. So I definitely feel the offense will have an advantage.”

(With the interest in QB Tua Tagovailoa, I have not asked your view on just how he looked to you on the field for three weeks. Does this look like a player who would be ready to take NFL snaps if needed – if QB Ryan Fitzpatrick for whatever reason is not available?) – “I feel like Tua can get the job done. I feel like he’s moving around very well. Me personally, I can’t tell that he was injured before. I feel like he’s getting comfortable and stuff like that. I feel like the next step for him in his recovery process is just playing a game and actually getting hit. From what I’ve seen, I feel like he’ll be ready when his time is up.”Noah Igbinoghene – September 3, 2020 Download PDF version

Thursday, September 3, 2020

CB Noah Igbinoghene

(How do you feel you’ve improved the most since you slipped on a Dolphins uniform?) – “Just my overall technique and just learning the game. The game is kind of slowing down to me. I feel like it’s been hard for a lot of rookies in this class because we didn’t have a preseason or minicamp or anything like that; so I really had to progress just in the meeting room, honestly. Practice has been limited, so I feel like just mentally, I’ve really grown. Physically as well, just as far as my technique and stuff like that – just little details of the game and just mentally overall.”

(Auburn Defensive Backs Coach Wesley McGriff told me he couldn’t use you a ton in the slot because they obviously needed you outside. Have you worked there much this week and how comfortable are you there in nickel packages?) – “I’m comfortable with doing whatever the coach asks me to do. I’ll do whatever they ask me to do whether that’s corner, nickel, safety. It doesn’t really matter. I’ll play anything on the field they need me to play, so that’s kind of the mentality I have towards that.”

(We know that you played cornerback your final two years of college after converting from wide receiver. I’m just curious how you feel that transition is going at this point in your career and is there anything you’ve had to kind of work on extra to kind of get you more familiar with the cornerback position?) – “Like I said before, it’s really just the mental part of it. Coming from a wide receiver, it’s a whole transition. I really had to switch my mind on things defensively, I would say, and so I really had to learn the game I feel like a whole different way. I feel like I’m more natural learning it that way, I would say, because if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here, honestly. So just that part of the game, I feel like that’s why.”

(I wanted to ask you about what’s it been like having CB Xavien Howard back in the room after he came off the COVID and PUP lists; and he was in Zoom meetings and such before, but what’s it been like actually having him on the field next to you and in the building?) – “It’s a huge – he’s somebody I looked up to before coming to the league and it’s crazy that I’m playing beside guys like Byron (Jones) and him. It’s crazy just to see him work on the field, him being right next to me; it’s a dream come true. I’m just happy to see him on the field and healthy and everything. I’m just ready to see how he does in the season.”

(Obviously “Igbinoghene” is a long name. I wanted to know if you’ve got any teammates giving you nicknames – “Iggy” or anything like that of that sort?) – “They haven’t started it yet, but I think it’s coming. I think it’s coming soon.”

(I know your background is as a receiver and you haven’t been playing cornerback that much, but what is the toughest challenge of playing inside in that nickel role?) – “Honestly I would say the receiver can go many different ways. Playing corner or playing outside, you have the sideline as your help and so you can really use that to an advantage. Inside, you don’t really have the sideline so you can really go anywhere you want depending on the coverage you’re in. So that’s why I feel like slot is harder just mentally. Physically, I think corner is harder; but mentally, inside you have to know a lot of things.”

(Cornerbacks have to have the ultimate confidence in themselves, kind of like a baseball closer. Even if they give up a homer, they have to come back on the next play or the next day. I’m wondering early in the season, you’re going to matching up against guys like Patriots WR Julian Edelman and Bills WR Stefon Diggs – guys you probably watched on TV. What kind of approach do you take to that? How do you feel about doing that real soon?) – “Honestly, I approach the game like I’m going to dominate every single game. That’s just the mentality I have. Like you said before, playing corner in this league and any league, you’re going to get beat. I don’t care who you are, you’re going to get beat. Even the greatest get beat, and so it’s all about the next play. That’s all our coaches preach to us and so I feel like you wouldn’t be able to be on this level if you didn’t have that mentality because stuff is going to happen, just like life as well. I approach it like that. I approach any game like I’m going to dominate who I’m going against. I’ll never change that.”

(I wanted to ask you about special teams – what you’re expecting and what your comfort level is as a potential return man in the NFL?) – “I’m comfortable doing anything my coaches ask me. I did return in college at Auburn and so it’s something I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing kick return for a very long time, so it’s something I’m very comfortable with. Whether that’s punt – whatever special teams they want me to play, I’m willing to play. I’m just ready to get out there.”

(I wanted to ask you about your position coach in Defensive Backs Coach Gerald Alexander. We’ve had a chance to talk to him a few times and he seems very direct but also intense and very to-the-point that way. I’m just curious what your experience has been like with him so far and what you’ve taken away from him both on the field and the classroom.) – “He’s taught me, and my cornerbacks coach Charles Burks, has taught me a lot about this game. There’s a lot of things I didn’t know coming in that I thought I knew. There’s really a lot of things about this game that I didn’t know and they both sat down and had many conversations with me in the summer. Those one-on-one meetings I feel like really got me right mentally to just come in and be a step ahead, I would say, so I appreciate them from the bottom of my heart. They’ve taught me a lot besides football as well – just in life and stuff like that – so I can’t wait for what the future holds for all of us.”

(Obviously you were playing a lot of outside corner with CB Xavien Howard gone. I guess where is your comfort level at playing slot corner?) – “I’m comfortable playing anywhere. I’m a baller at heart, so I feel like I can play anything on the field. Whether that’s offense, defense, special teams; I feel like I can do anything, so I’m comfortable doing anything.”

(I’ve been curious for months. When you left that meeting on March 5 on campus – you and the other Auburn defenders with Head Coach Brian Flores and Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer – what did you emerge thinking? Had you thought that it would be fun to play for them? Boy, it would be demanding? What thoughts went through your mind that day?) – “After that, I really did want to play for Miami. That was one of the teams I really wanted to play for. Just everything we’re trying to do here. Coach Brian Flores, just his mentality as far as the team, I really feel like we relate just mentality-wise – and so just like you said, I really enjoyed that meeting when they came up there to Auburn for Pro Day and stuff. It’s crazy how stuff works out.”

(Now you’ve gone up against many of these guys during practices from training camp. Who would you say is the hardest receiver to defend for you so far?) – “I can’t pinpoint one. They all do a lot of things individually that’s different, I would say. I could say one person and another person does something else. They all really have one thing about their game that really separates all of them, so it’s been a challenge at times guarding all of them. And so I’m getting used to it, like I said before. I‘m getting better every single day.”

(What do they bring to the table? You said they all have one attribute. What’s that attribute that stands out to you about this receiving unit?) – Speed, physicality, size. We’ve got craftiness. We have every single person to match what you want in an offense, so I really feel like we’re going to be a very special offense this year. Like I said before, we have every receiver for any category you want, and so I can’t wait to see what they do this year.”Brian Flores – September 3, 2020 Download PDF version

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Head Coach Brian Flores

(I wanted to see if the odds were in our favor for you to let us know who your QB1 and QB2 were for next week?) – “Not in your favor. (laughter) I think you knew the answer to that, though.”

(I like that Miami Heat shirt. Tell me what did you think about the game and I guess what’s it like supporting other South Florida teams here?) – “I thought the game was fantastic last night. It came down to the wire. A lot of great situational basketball at the end and it came down to free throws, so it was good. Obviously I’m a fan of ‘Coach Spo’ (Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra) and that team and the way they play. They’re tough. They’re physical. They grind things out. They play smart basketball. I’m a fan and hopefully we can kind of learn from a lot of things they do and emulate a lot of the success that they’ve had over there.”

(Obviously we’ve asked you a lot about QB Tua Tagovailoa since he’s got here since he’s the new hot figure, but I wanted to ask you about what the impact you think QB Ryan Fitzpatrick still has on this team?) – “From a leadership standpoint, from an experience standpoint, I think he brings a lot to the team. He’s smart. He’s tough. I would say from a toughness standpoint, he brings a lot to this team as well. It’s important to him. He’s competitive. And for Tua (Tagovailoa) specifically and Josh (Rosen), they kind of talk through end-of-game situations, end-of-half situations, third down, two-minute, red zone, Mike points in the run game, defensive structures. All of those things, they’ve been very helpful to the young players. It’s the same defensively; so a defensive guy can go to ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) and say, ‘hey, what’d you see on that? What made you make that throw versus another throw?’ And he’s more than willing to take on that role and answer questions. I think he brings a lot.”

(I have another QB Ryan Fitzpatrick question of my own. It’s well-known your affinity for him and the relationship that grew between you two throughout the course of the season; but did you really know him before you guys signed him and how did that relationship develop?) – “I don’t know if anyone’s used the word ‘affinity’ with me and any player. (laughter) ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) – obviously I’ve coached against him, watched him play in this league for a long, long time, hadn’t met him but knew of him from (when) I went to B.C. (Boston College), he was at Harvard. So I knew of him, but I think what you hear about him as a person, that was all true. We’re seeing that. He’s all the things that I’m looking for in a player. He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s competitive. He loves to play. He’s a great teammate. He’s coachable. I probably have a lot of similarities from that standpoint about the way we approach the game, and I think it’s been a good fit. ‘Affinity’ – I don’t know if I’d use those words, but I like the guy a lot.”

(Obviously you guys are 10 days away from New England. I wanted to ask, are you guys game-planning for them and I guess their uncertainty at quarterback at this point or are you still in camp mode?) – “It’s a little bit of both right now. We’ve obviously started some preparation on them, trying to get familiar with their personnel. They’ve got some new players – the quarterback situation obviously – but at the same time, we’re going to use today and work on some things that we may not have seen from our offense, our defense today, over the course of training camp – not necessarily New England, but just different looks that we haven’t seen offensively, defensively. Really in training camp you work against – whatever your defense does, that’s what you’re going to see offensively. Whatever your offense does, that’s what you’re going to see defensively. Whatever you do in the kicking game, that’s what you see. But some other teams are a little bit different and there are some other concepts that we need to see more of. So that’s what we’re working on today and then we’ll get into the game plan a little later in the week probably.”

(I know last season probably just seems so, so far away; but heading into Year 2 – Year 2 of your coaching career here as a head coach – what are some ways that you feel like you’ve improved and evolved as a coach and what are some things that you’re still working on?) – “I’m still working on everything. I try to improve on a daily basis in every area of my life – coaching, fatherhood, being a husband, friendships. I try to get better really at everything; but yeah, there’s experiences that I had last year that I think about as I’m trying to make decisions in this season, conversations that I’ve had, experiences, situations in practice and games. I certainly don’t have all the answers. I don’t think I ever will, so I lean on our coaching staff – (Special Teams Coordinator) Danny Crossman to (Offensive Coordinator) Chan (Gailey) to (Defensive Coordinator) Josh Boyer to (Running Backs Coach) Eric Studesville. I feel very comfortable with our group, so I’ll lean on those guys; but as far as relationships with the players, the guys who were here a year ago, they kind of know how I’m wired. They know what I expect, so that’s been good as far as comfortability from that standpoint; but at the same time, we also have a lot of new players who are still getting to know them as well and they’re getting to know me. And that’s kind of football in general. That’s how we try to build a team. There’s always some new guys and we’re just making everyone feel comfortable but at the same time coach them hard.”

(It’s been a minute since WR DeVante Parker and WR Jakeem Grant have practiced, at least that we’ve seen. I guess housekeeping-wise is there any uncertainty about their availability for Week 1?) – “Both guys are working hard on a daily basis to get back out there. They’ll be out there as soon as they can be. As far as their availability, we’ll get the injury report starting next week so hopefully they’re not on it, but we’ll see. They’re working to get back out there quickly, as soon as possible.”

(We are a little over two full days away from cut-down day. Given that you haven’t had preseason games to look at film, how comfortable are you that you’ll be able to make all the right decisions on Saturday?) – “We’re going to do our best to make – we’re going to try to make the best decisions that we can make based on the information, the practices, the walkthroughs, the meetings. We’re going to try to make the best decisions that we can. Look, no one’s ever perfect. We want to be perfect. We strive for perfection and we’re going to make the decisions we feel in this moment that are best for this team. And there’s a lot of factors that go into that. We’ve already had a lot of conversations on this as a staff. I’ve had these conversations with (General Manager) Chris (Grier) and (Vice President of Football Administration) Brandon (Shore). There’s – again – a lot of factors that go into getting down to 53. These are tough conversations for us as a staff and then obviously they’re tough conversations with the players who end up getting released, but that’s a part of the business. I think everybody understands that, so I think the focus right now is on today. That’s kind of what I try to – my message to these guys is there may be some anxiety and some of those things going on about, ‘hey where’s my standing,’ but the best thing to do is just go out here and have a good practice and let the chips fall where they fall.”

(I know last time I guess we asked you about CB Xavien Howard, he was just getting off of PUP and getting his legs under him. I wanted to see where you feel like he is at this point and if he’s making progress with those elements that you wanted to see from him?) – “Yeah, he’s made a lot of progress. He’s looked good out there. He’s fast, quick. He’s just got to work on the techniques, the fundamentals, which that’ll come; but he’s looked good conditioning. And those are things that we work on on a daily basis to get better. He’s trending in the right direction. I would say that. Again, a lot of competition at that position as well. We’ll see how it shakes out.”

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