Re: The Dolphins having one of the best defensive lines you’ll face this year:
Yeah. I know I’ve said that a few times but this is a formidable group. They have multiple guys that can rush the passer. They have some physical guys inside that do a good job of plugging up the run. They create some havoc. This will be the biggest test to date.
Re: Tough week to have an offensive line that’s injured:
It is what it is. It’s part of life in the NFL. We got guys that have been working hard. We remind them all the time that you don’t know when your numbers is going to be called. You have to be ready to go. We are expecting that to happen.
|Adversity, and how you handle it, is really the key thing. You can handle it in a couple of different ways. He’s chosen to handle it in a positive manner and it’s allowed him to work harder and get better, knowing that his opportunity would come up again. He took the opportunities that he’s been given to this point, as far as being in there in some of the big people packages where he was playing tight end, and he had to fill in when guys went down last week. He’s done a positive job with it. He dealt with adversity in a positive way. He’s going to eventually get an opportunity and he has to be ready to go.
Re: The importance of continuity on the offensive line:
Generally, teams that are able to stay healthy up front are usually the teams that end up getting some wins if they are any good. You have to be good to begin with but we’ve been shuffling guys and having to deal with some of that as the season has gone on. I think that those guys have stood up and done an admirable job.
Re: Dealing with that your two years here as offensive coordinator:
Is Le’Veon Bell the complete package like you thought back in April?
I am not going to start carving the bust for Canton but at the same time, and I’ve said it all along, we’ve been excited about him from day one with the things he has shown us, the attitude, his development and all those things. He had some setbacks and he handled those in a positive manner. He has continued to make progress. I think you’ve seen that correlate to us being a little more successful. If you have a guy back there that is a big dog, he gives you a chance to be multi-dimensional and helps a lot of people out. He’s not there yet but he’s gotten better every week. He definitely has the skill set and the things you are looking for. I am just excited about the direction he’s going.
Re: Bell getting a lot of touches for a rookie:
Trust is a big thing for us as coaches. We design plays that make him a potential number-one read or things like that. But at the same time, the trust he has to develop with the quarterback is hard to measure. As coaches, you go through things with guys that you may like that the quarterback never can quite get on board with and trust. Le’Veon has made it easy. That’s a very good sign. He’s got a good feel for football in the passing game. Obviously he can run, but his ability in the pass game, his ability to pick up pressures and protect the quarterback, that’s where trust starts first with quarterbacks and running backs. He understands and he gets it. He is making progress because of it.
When Bell got hurt and he was unavailable, did that change your thinking at all late last game?
Yeah. The two or three plays [on the goal line], we go through that scenario every week on Fridays, where everything is on the line, and you have a handful of calls. Him being out eliminated a chunk. And we had a new center in there. We didn’t want to be under center and risk a bad center-quarterback exchange, so it had to be something in the gun. There was a lot going on. That’s what makes this exciting and fun. It was just unfortunate that it didn’t go in our favor in the end. We scored. We didn’t score. Then it was a two-point. Then it was a touchdown. Three guys were lying on the field. I thought the guys handled it exceptionally well and were ready to go. They showed discipline. In that situation, a lot of times you see false starts, penalties or things that put you in the hole. Our guys, all year, have been disciplined as far as penalties go. It was a great situation to learn and get better from.
Do you have to be cautious at all with Bell this Sunday coming off a concussion?
We leave all that to the doctors. Coach Tomlin will answer all those questions. We just have to know if we have him or don’t have him.
He was a guy that we are excited about like we were with Le’Veon. He was showing a lot of signs that he was going to have a chance to help us. He had some setbacks. In addition to those physical setbacks and when they occurred, the guys that played were playing at a high level.
Is that as good as you’ve seen Heath look last game?
I thought each week he’s looked better. You have to ask him exactly how he feels but I think every week he’s looked better than the week before. That’s what I have to go off of. I think that’s a real positive sign. This week he is out here running around. He ran by me once. I said, “You’re not very fast but you look as fast as you’ve looked.”
How do you defend Mike Wallace?
Mike’s one of the faster receivers in the league and he’s got good run after the catch. You could say, make sure he doesn’t get behind you, but if you get too far off him he can catch it in front of you, and he’s hard to get on the ground. I’ve said this many times that the best pass defense is sack the quarterback, so he can’t throw it. Barring that, we just have to get him covered and play the ball in the air. They’re going to throw the ball deep to him some. They do every week. Some weeks he gets there and some weeks they don’t complete them. We’ve got to make it one of the weeks that they don’t get us deep. He’s a great deep receiver, no question about it.
It would appear that teams are challenging you deeper, maybe starting with Lions game?
I would say that they’re not really throwing it deeper any more than they ever have. It just appears to me that they’re catching it a little more often than they did. We’ve got to cut that out. The games that we’ve been successful defensively are the games that we have done that. We’re working to be perfect in that area. We’ve got a ways to go.
Is that a communication issue?
A lot of times they throw the ball where you can’t get it and they make a catch. Some of those times we have broken the defense down. We can’t let that happen.
How did you feel about the defense’s performance in Baltimore?
I thought after that sack when they got down in there on that touchdown that they scored, I think we had them at about third-and-eight or nine after being first-and-one at the one [yard line] or something like that. I thought that we should have come out of there with just a field goal also. If you make them keep kicking field goals, your team is going to have the chance to win. But obviously we gave them one too many field goals or that touchdown. We’ll keep working every week to keep the game in touch.
Yeah, I think so. He’s becoming a veteran player and his playing time is starting to reflect that, and his playing level is starting to reflect that. I think the future is definitely up for Cam. I’m glad we’ve got him.
Re: Heyward’s development:
It’s mostly just overall experience. He’s had the size, the strength and the speed, and he’s one of the hardest practice players we have. He just works hard every down and he’s going to continue to get better when you work like that. I think the next couple of years you’re going to see him continue to stay on the rise.
My level of comfort is good with Al. Al has played well any time he’s been in there. He’s going to give you everything he’s got. He’s very strong, he’s big and he’s a focal point in there for us to scrape around. He doesn’t get knocked off the ball very much and he’s a great effort player. He’s still a young guy experience-wise, but I feel good about having him in the lineup.
What do you see in Ryan Tannehill?
I see a quarterback on the rise, definitely. He has great timing, he’s really good mentally, good vision, he sees the field well and he knows the timing of his routes. He’s been very well coached. If you watch him from last year right up through today, you see him getting better almost every week. I think they’ve got themselves a very good young quarterback.
I think that our guys can all play on either side. We kind of practice in that way, more so in training camp than when we get into the actual season, but we try to plan for the unexpected, if you will. That means guys have to be able to move around and play other positions. LaMarr I think is certainly athletic enough to play anywhere we put him, maybe at nose tackle. I think he’d do okay [Smiles].