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Dolphins' Joe Philbin Talks Roster Moves

Joe Philbin talked to the media about the latest in Dolphins camp.

(Opening remarks) - I thought we had a good practice today. It was a long practice. We put in our red zone offense and defense and spent a lot of time there. Got a lot of quality reps. I thought it was a productive practice. It was a big stretch, but I told the team were practicing five days in a row. So this is a big, important part of training camp. Weve changed it up from last year. We did three days and then took a day off. Now, weve got a five-day window here where we really have to get a lot accomplished.

(On the snaps at center and his confidence that they can be cleaned up in a hurry) - Its definitely a concern, but Im also confident that we will clean it up and well get it addressed. But it is definitely a concern. Ball security is the number one thing we talk about every night in training camp. We pick one specific fundamental and talk about it. The first night, we did ball security. We talked about center-quarterback exchange. We talked about quarterback-running back exchange. We showed them pictures. The next night, we did creating turnovers. The next night, we did blocking. Last night, we did tackling. So we talk about it, its definitely a concern. Weve got to get it cleaned up.

(On G Nate Garner playing center today and how he did, and if he is a realistic option for center) Absolutely. As weve said, were looking at a number of different combinations. We dont have a rock-solid, solidified, These are our five starters at this position. And so thats part of the process at training camp. We wanted to get him exposure at playing inside and outside. That will continue I would imagine for a while longer as well.

(On the tight end position and if makes sense to carry four) - Were going to keep the best 53 guys. Its certainly possible. It could be five, it could be three. I mean, we wouldnt rule anything out. We want to keep the best 53 players that give us a chance to win. So I certainly wouldnt rule that out.

(On the music at practice as opposed to crowd noise) - We talk about it as a staff. Everybody brought different ideas. We have some new guys and we kick around some ideas in the off-season of things that we can maybe do differently to hopefully improve the practice atmosphere. Its not always going to be music. When we get closer to a game, well do some crowd noise as well. But I think its been a good addition.

(On if the music is something Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor suggested) Actually, it wasnt him. No.

(On if he picks the music) - Absolutely (joking). Are you insinuating that I dont have a wide range of expertise in that area?

(On RB/WR Marcus Thigpen at receiver and how moving the kickoff up five yards affects his return game) - Well, as you know, roughly half of the kickoffs are touchbacks. Roughly, give or take a few. And so that applies league wide, thats not just to Marcus Thigpen. It happens to everybody. So hes doing some good things at the receiver position. Weve been featuring him primarily inside where he has a good feel for things. And hes got good quickness, change of direction, that you like on some of those start-stop type of routes. But the competition there is pretty fierce.

(On the tempo on offense and why this year will be different) - Part of it I think is you have to get some first downs to generate (tempo). That certainly helps the tempo. I mean if you throw an incomplete pass or youre third-and-long, you get sacked, its tough to generate the tempo that youre looking to create. So I think part of it has been a function that we havent been super productive on offense. And lets get that out on the table. Thats a fact. And so I think its hard to really generate the type of tempo youre looking for when youre not getting a lot of first downs.

(On how he feels hes improved as a coach this year compared to his first two seasons) I think I have a better rapport, chemistry, with the players on the ball club. Ive spent more time communicating with them in a one-on-one manner and in team meetings. Ive been doing the bed check every single night at the hotel and just knocking on their doors and making sure that theyre OK, busting their chops a little bit if theyre awake. Speaking of (Marcus) Thigpen, he has some wild parties, I mean this guy is asleep, he hasnt even moved every time we knock on the door. I think were all more on the same page. I think Ive done a better job outlining the expectations. Obviously, the proof is in the pudding, well see.

(On DE Dion Jordan and his performance in camp so far and how the coaching staff is managing his time compared to others at the position) Its very early still in camp and he had some good production out there today I know. I noticed him a couple of times out there making plays. He had a big pick the other day. We showed the whole team. We were talking about the night before creating turnovers, talking about getting your eyes and your hands on the ball. There was a great, great picture of it in practice the other day. So I think hes really been productive when hes been out here. Ive noticed him down in the individual. Hes getting more accustomed to the fundamentals and the techniques. But there will come a time where were going to have to balance the fact that, OK, hes not going to be available for four weeks and other players will need certain reps. I dont think were at that point yet, but it will come at some point.

(On RB Damien Williams and his ability to catch out of the backfield) Hes got good hands. The thing you notice about him, he has a little bit of a second gear. I think hes got that explosiveness. He shuffled one or two times today on a draw, I know we corrected him one time where he kind of danced in the hole a little bit, but typically hes been decisive. When he really makes up his mind, you kind of see him moving away from people. I think he catches the ball well, I like what hes done so far.

(On what he sees RB Lamar Miller doing different this camp as opposed to last season) I think hes more consistent. I didnt really like his first run today in the team run period. We kind of mentioned something to him in a nice manner and then I thought later on, a couple of runs today, he was really decisive, really quick and explosive. I think the extra weight, again, we havent seen him matched up a ton yet in pass protection in the blitz against the linebackers, but I think thats going to bear fruit for him too. Hes stronger, hes more physical. That should hopefully help (him) break a couple of tackles as well.

(On any particular skill set he and the staff were looking for in the recent signings, especially the offensive linemen) We wanted to look at some tackles. It was more a positional thing more than I think anything else. Dennis (Hickey) and his staff identified some guys and we brought them in. Obviously, its tough for the guys that are here and have been with us for an offseason. Thats the nature of football. You have to take a look and explore different options of getting better, so thats really what it was all about.

(On the strengths of recent signing QB Seth Lobato) He looked natural throwing the football. I dont want to over complicate the position, but when he worked out, hes a big guy. I thought his arm strength was good and he looked pretty natural throwing the ball. Obviously, were going to coach him and were going to give him some fundamentals that we think are important. When he threw, it just looked effortless at times. I think he has a strong arm. We dont know a ton about him, but he made a good first impression.

(On why the roster lends itself to the offense using a lot of motions and having people move around) I think weve got some guys that can line up in a bunch of different spots and do different things. Obviously, Charles Clays a guy that kind of fits the offense very well because hes versatile. Hes got good speed, good awareness, good instinct. Obviously, Mike Wallace, who weve featured in the past, last year primarily more outside. I think theres a place where formationally we can maybe use him in the middle of field on occasion, not wholesale. I think some of those guys, Brian Hartline with his smarts, we can move around. I think the more you can pre-snap slow down the pace of the defense a little bit, that helps. But theres also a flipside to that. I think thats the primary reason so far.

(On why there is a big change in players attitude to the offense this year) - Well, I think players want to contribute, they want to get their hands, especially skill players, they want to get their hands on the football. With moving around a little bit more, potentially a little more disguise in what were doing. A little more help in the releases with motions and stacks, and those type of things. I think that gets them excited and the route concepts, theyre some new ones, but a lot of the routes are semi-universal in football. But I think theyre excited about, hopefully, getting a lot of first downs, playing fast, tempo, moving around a little bit. I think those are all the things that theyre upbeat about.

(On if guys are starting to itch for games) I dont think quite yet. We had three practices (and) we gave them a day off. I wouldnt venture to guess that, todays Tuesday, maybe by Friday or something like that, they may be ready to (play someone else). Things are still a little bit new. Tomorrow, were going to do two-minute. Were going to do a lot of two-minute reps. So theres still some install, most of its totally been put in in the spring, but theres some little additions that we put in this summer thats new to those guys. So I think when theyre still in the learning mode and some things are still fresh. At times, they dont hit the doldrums of training camp yet.

(On how to keep WR Damian Williams and RB Damien Williams straight because of their names) Parentheses running back, parentheses wide receiver. Well, I kind of know who they are in the team meeting room, so Im if identifying them, I kind of impolitely, is that the right word? I have to point. On the offense, its parentheses receiver, parentheses running back.

(On the flipside to the offense that he mentioned) I think Ive mentioned it before. Theres two schools of thought sometimes. When youre stationary as a football team or ahead of your emphasis on stationary, you might be able to make more adjustments offensively, check a play another direction, read direct things, signal things differently. If youre snapping a ball and guys are moving and you dont really have that option. And so you have to kind of go with the play. Your intent is that youre going to create a little bit of indecision, limit the play speed of the defense with all the shifting and motioning and so forth. The flipside is youre not always 100 percent sure of the adjustments and you may get stuck into a look that maybe is less than ideal.

Source: Miami Dolphins Media


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