Head Coach Doug Marrone

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Q: Injuries?

A: Scott Berchtold: Did not participate in practice: Jarius Wynn with a knee. Limited participation: Ron Brooks with a groin, Marcus Easley with the knee, Fred Jackson with a groin, Marquise Goodwin with the ribs. Full participation: Sammy Watkins with the groin.

Q: Do you see Jarius’ injury as a long term thing?

A: I don’t know. Obviously, he’s not practicing. I don’t know what the definition of long term is. If it’s season ending, I don’t see it that way.

Q: Is the Miami game a must-win game?

A: We play 16 must-wins. I believe that. You might not, but I do. That’s the way I’m wired. Every game for us is a must-win because it’s going to have circumstances. We’re a team that’s fighting. We’ve got a great challenge. Every game, no matter whether you’re in it or not, is a must win, in my opinion.

Q: What’s been the biggest difference for Ryan Tannehill since the last time you saw him? 

A: I just think he’s been more efficient. He’s just getting better and more comfortable with the offense.. I think he’s probably someone better to ask or Miami is probably better to ask about it, but he’s running a little bit more and has more accuracy and things of that nature. Just the efficiency level overall for him has picked up in these last couple weeks. He’s playing well.

Q: What has been the catalyst for Marcell Dareus’ strong play this year? 

A: I think the structure and discipline. He’s been different. I think that everyone understands that there’s been a lot of stuff that’s happened with him off the field, but he’s done a hell of a job. He really has. I think that sometimes those little things – and he’s done those things – can be the fuel for a better outcome on the field. I like to think it’s that.

Q: What are the biggest disadvantages of being the road team on a short week?

A: I think there a pluses and minuses with everything. I think that being able to finish a game at home and walking across the street and going back to work to get ready for your next opponent. Your players are able to get treatments and not have to travel. There are things of that nature. What’s difficult – and people have said this before – is the limited players. The players that are limited, you never really practice at a level to know whether they can go in and play the amount that you want them to play. I think, for me this week, that’s been the biggest challenge for me.

Q: Do you like the Thursday night game?

A: I’ve been on record already saying how I feel about it. People ask me from the league office and I’d rather directly talk to them about it than come to the media. Usually if I say something in the media, I can get a letter saying, ‘Hey, if you have a problem then give us a call.’ It is what it is. No one is going to ask Doug Marrone whether they should change it or not. When they do, I’ll have an opinion on it.

Q: You’re now last in the league in red zone touchdown percentage.

A: At 41 point something. 14 touchdowns. 14 field goals. 32 opportunities. Well aware of it.

Q: Why was Mike Williams inactive Sunday? Considering your red zone troubles, why aren’t you using him?  

A: One is that he was brought in to help our receiving corps. His background has been that he’s been able to do that in his past. That was prior to the draft, him coming in, and then prior to the practices. He’s done well. There’s times, like I said, for us offensively it’s challenging. You get 20 active players on offense if we dress the kicker. If we don’t dress the kicker, we can get 21. You’ve got a bunch of positions special teams-wise, you’ve got guys that are injured, you need people that play multiple positions and that’s what I talked to Mike about. Mike had a heck of a week of practice last week and I said that. It was a much tougher decision last week, for me, than the normal decisions that I have. We’ll make a decision this week and, if he goes in there, he has to make the most of his opportunity like all the guys that are up or down, whether it’s on special teams or whether it’s playing for us. Can he help us? Absolutely.

Q: What has happened to him? He used to be more prolific in Tampa Bay.

A: I think there are other people that we think are playing better. I think it’s as simple as that.

Q: You seem to have a very conservative mindset about dressing specialists. Why is that?

A: Field position and everything. We’re at the percentage rate of touchbacks, from that standpoint of we’re able to put some different players on there than putting some starters on there. There are a lot of different variables that go into that. Plus we feel that we’re able to take away truly an offensive snap for field position and return yardage. Again, that’s a challenge dressing four.. We talk about it every week; about the return. We know that if we didn’t dress Jordan [Gay] then obviously Dan [Carpenter] would have to do both of those duties.

Q: I just meant the emphasis on special teams.

A: I think a lot of people do. I think it’s one of those things – and Doug [Whaley] and I have talked about – when you’re trying to get the roster and you’re trying to get the best players you can for the roster, a lot of times you’re seeing how those players supplement into the special teams category. It’s even more challenging now because when you look at the colleges who can play with 100 and something guys on their team not a lot of these players that are coming out of college are playing on special teams. There does need to be a sense of development for them. Even now, when Doug and I talk and we talk about our roster of how we’re developing other players to become core special teams players to get snaps out of, that’s what we have to do to be efficient. It’s no different than with the specialists, trying to combine them so that we have three rather than four.

Q: Can you talk about how the special teams have pitched in this year?

A: Yeah, it’s a third of the game. It’s important. It’s something that not a lot of people talk about, unless you’re giving up touchdowns or getting things blocked or things of that nature. You talk about the turnover factor being the fastest way to win and lose games, then next is blocked punts, missed field goals, not being able to get points on the board or giving up big returns. You talk about field position. You could argue quite a bit. You can look at each game and look at starting field position and things like that and there’s a percentage of scoring that goes into it. There are a lot of things, but it’s the same thing. Everything that’s out there, every person that’s playing, everybody has a role and everyone is extremely important for the success of the team.

Q: What else can you do to fix the issues in the red zone?

A: We’ve got to be able to make plays. That’s the one thing. We’ve tried to come out and we’ve tried to run it sometimes. We’ve tried to throw it obviously. That didn’t work. It worked a couple weeks ago. From the three-yard line and in, once we’ve gotten to the goal line, we’ve been highly efficient in that package. It’s better. What we’re doing to the 20 [yard line] to the four [yard line] is what we have to do a better job of. Making plays, being able to check the ball down, there are a lot of different things. When you look at the teams that perform well there, you’ve got people that are making plays, that are winning, that are protecting. It’s definitely on all of us as coaches and the 11 guys that are out there.

Q: What kind of disadvantage are the Dolphins in with Branden Albert being out?

A: I don’t know. I looked at the young kid [Ja’Wuan James] and I thought he’s an outstanding player. The kid from Tennessee. He was playing right. I thought he was doing a hell of a job at right. They moved him to left last game. I thought he was doing a hell of a job at left. I think he’s a heck of a player. They’ll move the other gentleman out that was out there last week. Granted I think Branden Albert’s a heck of a player that they’ve lost, but they’ll be fine.

Q: How does Ja’Wuan James handle speed?

A: Good. I think he’s played very well. The times that I’ve seen him, he’s been playing at a high level when you watch him on film and you study him.

Q: Talk about the patience you showed in Marcell this offseason being validated in his play?

A: I’d like to be able to say, ‘Hey, this is how we have to do it and this is where we’re going.’ I think it’s a better understanding of that than patience or things like that. I’d rather use those other words, like accountability. It’s been outstanding. He’s been playing well. I don’t even like to talk about it to jinx anything. I think it’s important. These guys still grow. I know people will say, ‘Hey, they make this amount and they’re men’ and everything like that, but shoot I’m 51 and I’m growing everyday too. Growing as a father, growing as a coach, growing every which way. You do have that opportunity, but there is a sense of accountability and there are lines that are drawn.

Q: Would you like to see another offseason of him staying out of trouble? Or do you think he’s just fine now.

A: No. I think once you do that – I’m talking about with everyone, not just Marcell – and stop educating and talking about that, I think you could find yourself getting yourself in trouble. I think it’s a thing that consciously I remind – you’ve got to remember that I remind the coaches of the same thing too – myself and the players also. It’s not just the players. I think we’re all in it when it’s in this day and age. You have accountability all the time, no matter where you are, especially if you’re in public.

Q: What have you seen of Sammy that has allowed him to develop so quickly?

A: I like his work ethic. I really do. It’s starting to get a little bit tougher though, if you’re watching our games. They’re rolling coverages, doubling him. It’s always one of those things. Those things will happen. You’ll have some success and then people will try to take that away. Then it becomes a joint project between us as coaches and the player to make sure that we’re putting him in different spots. We started last week. They were doubling him at X. Then we wound up moving him to Z. He caught a ball at Z, so obviously I’m not giving away strategy because that’s on film. We’ve got to be able to keep moving him around, but we need the other players to play well or else you get in trouble. They can probably even take two people if they really wanted to.

Q: What was your reaction to what Leodis said after the game?

A: My personal opinion, after thinking about it, is that it’s after a loss and you want to get that out of you and that was his way of showing that he wanted to move on. Now, is it the correct way? It’s not something that we condone obviously. Everyone knows the amount of respect that our organization, our players and our coaches have for the Miami Dolphins organization and their players. We know the challenges that are ahead of us. It’s going to be a tough road.

Q: Do you think that you have Miami’s number?

A: I don’t agree. To a certain extent, I don’t agree with that. I think they’re all individual battles that happen out there on the field. I think that sometimes what can happen is that you can have difficult matchups, as long as some players stay the same that you have to fight and combat from a strategy standpoint. From those terms, I think quarterbacks change that a lot. When you start going against the elite ones, you’ll see that they’ve had good records against certain teams. I look at it from that standpoint. As far as us and Miami, no, I don’t think we have their number.

Q: How much would it hurt to lose and drop to 2-5 in conference games?

A: It does. Again, I think I understand that you’re going to ask those questions about conference play, but for me and the direction that we want this team, is that we want to focus in on just this. That isn’t the only motivation we need. We don’t need any other motivation because we’re going to have to beat the teams that we’re playing to be where we want to be at the end of the year.

QB Kyle Orton

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Q: You didn’t face them the first time around.  What do you think of the Miami defense. What kind of difficulties do they bring?

A:  Really just the same thing that we’ve been seeing the past few weeks.  A very aggressive secondary.  They get to play with the luxury of a good front that puts a lot of pressure on their quarterback so they play aggressive in the secondary. They’re good players. 21’s (Brent Grimes) having an incredible season and we’re going to have our work cut out for us.

Q: You’re improvement in the red-zone.  How can you make that happen?  What steps do you need to make to make that happen?

A: Well we had one bad game in the red-zone.  Last few weeks, we’ve had our success in the red-zone so one game we didn’t execute the way we should’ve and could’ve and get right back on track this week and make the corrections we need to make.

Q: You guys are last in the league in touchdown percentage so how would you attribute that to only one bad game?

A: We had four touchdowns against the Jets in the red-zone so you just go week by week and you try to execute and you try to make the plays.

Q: What went wrong on Sunday in the red-zone from your point of view?

A: A couple misthrows.  A couple missed assignments.  Pretty much what happens every week.

Q: Is it good to have a short week after things didn’t go the way you liked on Sunday?

A: Yeah, we play when they tell us to play so we’re excited for this game.  We’ve got a great challenge in front of us and we’ve had a couple good days of work here so get down there and play our best ball and have a great chance to win.

Q: This team has had a knack from bouncing back from adversity so far this season.  How do see the response on Thursday and how big must it be at this point in the season?

A: Well I think the response comes on Monday and Tuesday and that’s where it’s come from.  We’ve showed up ready to work. We’ve had two good days of work and now it’s just go out there and put it on the field.

Q: How important is getting Sammy involved?  This team is 5-0 when he has 30 yards receiving or more and obviously it seemed like he was less than 100% last game.  We know he’s a big part of the offense and is a great player but from your perspective, when you get him involved.  How much better does he make the entire offense?

A: Well no doubt.  He’s our number one receiver.  Those guys make the passing game go.  He’ll do a good job getting open and I’ll do a good job getting him the ball and we’ll have a lot of success.

Q: The last two throws on Sunday; the one to Hogan and the one to Sammy.  It seemed like those are the ones that you had the best chance to get a game-winning touchdown.  How frustrated were you with those two throws?

A: I’m frustrated with the loss.  You look at the totality of the game.  We had plenty of opportunities.  I expect myself to make all the throws.  Not just the two last ones.

DT Marcell Dareus

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Q: The consistencies that you’ve shown in a very long stretch.  How much does that validate what you’ve set out to do?

A: It speaks volumes. You can say so much but words only mean so much when you put your actions behind it.  I just let my actions speak for themselves and just continue to handle business and focus.

Q: Sacks come in different ways and sometimes the margin’s really small between what could be a sack and what isn’t a sack.  In your case, the numbers have piled up but do you feel you are playing at a better level even though those numbers reflect it or what would you explain is the difference in the numbers from this year to last year?

A: I feel like I’m playing the same..  It’s just, getting older, the game of football and knowledge of it is coming a lot more to me so I think I’m just taking more advantage of the knowledge I’ve picked up from the time I’ve been in the league and just having fun with and playing with Kyle, Mario, and Jerry just makes it all worth it.

Q: What are some of the things you’re seeing maybe now that you didn’t see previously as a player?

A: Formations, calls you get from the offensive lineman.  You may hear them early in the game and then later on in the game, you may hear them again.  You pick up on what the quarterback’s saying or audibles, penitents to the movements, drifting, passing strength, and from the nose position, people say it wouldn’t take that much account into it but it helps me and it’s shown so I use it to the best of my ability and playing but the other guys it just all works.  

WR Chris Hogan

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Q: Has it been emphasized how big this game could be? 

A: Yeah, definitely.  It seems like every single time we play Miami everyone amps up the intensity a little bit so obviously it being a division game…it seems like a rivalry almost since I’ve been here.  This is a very important game for us within the division to get another step to getting to our goal of getting to the playoffs.

Q: They’d be 5-2 in the AFC and you’d be 2-5 if they’d beat you.  Have you guys discussed the hole you could be digging yourself?

A: I don’t think we’re really focusing on that.  Right now, we’re focusing on Miami and going down there and getting a win.  We’re not really worrying about where it’s going to put us.  Our main focus is resting up and going down there and beating them.

Q: National TV: big in the sense you want to show the world that you’re better than a 5-4 team.

A: Absolutely.  This is prime-time football.  It’s a chance to go out there and everyone’s going to be watching the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night so I think it’ll be a great opportunity for us to go out there and show everyone in the league what the Buffalo Bills are all about.    

DT Kyle Williams

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Q: How do you feel you guys match up with Miami?

A: Well, I think for us, up front when we have any of four get one-on-one, we feel like it’s a good match up for us.  We feel like we can get pressure on offenses, on offensive lines by being aggressive and dictating to them so we feel like going into the game, if we can set the tone, we can made it harder on their offense as a defensive front.

Q: How do you feel about Brandon Albert being out?

A: I don’t know how to answer that question.  He’s a good player. He’s out. They’re going shuffle guys around and they might move guys from one position to the other so it’s something in game that we might have to adjust to and be ready for.

Q: Do you feel like you’re in a desperate situation here.  You’re 2-4 in the conference with eleven teams with winning records.  I know there’s no must win games but this is a critical one for you, isn’t?

A: Well you know, I think you look at last week, we felt the same way about last week, it’s an AFC team with a winning record.  You win, the games get bigger, you lose they get even bigger.  At this point, past the mid-way point…I don’t know what it is…a month and a half…almost two months left in the season.  A lot of AFC teams in front of us that have everything in front of them like we do.  It is.  It’s a big game.  A Division game.  A quick turn-around.  We have to be ready.    

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