Coach Philbin: It's A Chance For Us To Improve As A Football Team

Posted Sep 25, 2013

Coach Joe Philbin answers questions on Ryan Tannehill, Nolan Carroll and others during his Wednesday session with the media.

(Opening statement) – “I thought we had a good practice today. This is an excellent football team we are going down to play. They are an uncommon opponent. They only show up on the schedule once every four years. It’s good we have an extra day to prepare for them. They are very well coached, and I thought we were off to a good start.”

(On if this game is big for reasons beyond being the next game) – “Not necessarily, no. It’s a very important game against a good team, another chance for us to improve as a football team and another chance for us to step forward. Beyond that, not really.”

(On where he is most happy with the defense and what needs improvement) – “In the beginning of the game we obviously gave up a 15-play, 80-yard drive. Then I thought we held down there pretty well. The only other touchdown they got was when they had a 12-yard touchdown drive. They (the defense) has made plays when they had to. Statistics may not bear out that we are a great defense at this particular point of the season, but we are playing well on third down, we are playing relatively well in the redzone and we are making some plays.”

(On most improvement needed on defense) – “We have to do a better job tackling. Fundamentally we have to do a better job there, and our run defense wasn’t up to standards last week, there’s no question about that. We could use improvement really in all phases, but those are two things that jump out.”

(On getting Rishard Matthews involved do for the offense) - “He’s a tough guy. He likes football. He’s very competitive. He catches the football with his hands, and he likes to compete. He can run, and he thinks he’s a good player which is a good thing to have. He likes to play the game, he likes to practice and it’s good he made a nice contribution”

(On how much it helps Ryan Tannehill and the offense to have an additional receiver such as Rishard Matthews) – “Absolutely. These guys play fast. They play a lot of snaps. They play hard. We ask a lot of these guys, and the more guys you have to keep guys fresher we think is great.”

(On if he sometimes has to protect Cam Wake from himself with his warrior type mentality) - “All great competitors want to play. We certainly would not put out a player that we had thought wasn’t ready to play the game and protect himself, so we’ll see how practice goes.”

(On Marvin Austin and what made him want to bring Austin in) - “We had a workout with him last week. We brought him in and worked out a bunch of guys. He stood out. He’s a guy if we decide to make a particular move, he would be at that position. He would be a guy we would target. He is learning the defense. He’s a quick study. Obviously he’s got to get caught up real fast, but he seems to be doing well.”

(On if he thinks Marvin Austin still has a lot of potential) - “We believe so. Again, we’ve just been working on the field with him for one day. It’s hard to make a ton of evaluations on that.”

(On if Vaughn Martin was injured on Sunday) - “Any roster move that we’ve made is done in the best interest of the football team. I can tell you in regard to the injury that we are in full compliance with NFL league rules in regard to that. Beyond that, I’m not looking to get into the specifics of it.”

(On what Rob Ryan has brought to the Saints defense) – “They are playing very well. They are very multiple both from a front standpoint, a personnel standpoint and a coverage standpoint. He probably has a great reputation as a pressure coach, and while that is certainly true they are playing very fundamentally sound…not that they don’t pressure, they still do, but they are playing well. They are playing fast. They are getting off blocks. They are tackling well. They are pursuing to the ball. The defensive line is showing up, just all of the good fundamental principles of defensive football are showing up. He’s done a real nice job.”

(On matchup problems he sees with a guy as athletic and talented as Jimmy Graham) - “One of them is obviously the size and the length. That jumps out at you, number one. He’s a natural ball catcher as we like to say. He can go up and extend, get the ball, catch it away from his body and put it away. He’s got a knack for making big plays, not just down the middle. You guys are probably well aware they will split him out. They will use him in a variety of different places, and he’s very effective. It’s going to be a challenge.”

(On how Ryan Tannehill has grown this year from his perspective) - “I think a couple of things. He’s got 1,000 reps in the bank, that’s number one, so we think his play speed is a little bit better than it was a year ago. We think some of the guys that have come to the ball club, Brandon (Gibson) and Mike (Wallace), those guys have helped him a little bit. Brian (Hartline) is a guy he has a lot of faith and confidence in. So I think all of those things, the experience, the play speed, the different weapons he’s had at his disposal have helped him.”

(On if any dome teams in the NFL has an advantage in terms of crowd noise) - “I think it can be tough when those guys really get it rolling there. To give you guys a little history, I have to make a joke. When my career started at Tulane University and I think we had an average of about 15,000 fans a game there. But it could be very loud. Yeah, it could be very loud. I think it can be advantage, those dome stadiums. Again, if you are not playing well and they get the momentum going, it can get tough. It can get tough to get out of that. We really feel it is important for us to get off to a good start.”

(On Nolan Carroll and what he has seen in his growth) – “I think he’s more consistent. Obviously he made that one real, real nice play on the ball in the first game. I think it was the first drive of the first game. He’s a competitive guy. He’s very, very competitive. He comes out and works hard every single day. He’s certainly gotten better. His transitions gotten better. His coverage ability has improved I like the way he plays the game. He competes. You can put your head at night into a pillow and know that guy is going to give you everything he’s got.”

(On if there is ever concern that teams go after Nolan Carroll) – “Not necessarily. We’ve done some of that, and we’ll do whatever we think is in the best interest of our defense as a whole to stop the opponent. We certainly aren’t opposed to doing that stuff.”

(On what he seen change in the 4th quarter of games this season that has helped the team) – “I think in a couple of situations, I think it’s more of a function of our guys. They invest an awful lot of time in this profession. They are hungry, and they want to win. In the fourth quarter, you’ve got to step up and make plays if you want to win games. I think it’s more that inner desire, that chemistry the guys have together. They want to get thing done. They’ve got to do everything they can within their power to play as well as they possibly can. I think that’s maybe more so than any play call or anything else that may occur in the fourth quarter.”

(On what kind of contributions he wants to see in his running game) – “I would like to see a little more explosiveness. We had one explosive run. They all count. I’ve been around the game long enough to know every single run counts. Both sides of the football, you can play great run defense on 25 snaps, but if you give up a 75-yarder or 70-yarder, you are still giving up five-and-a-half yards a run. They all count, but I would like to have a little more consistency in terms of the explosive (plays). If we can get two to three a game every single game as opposed to none against Cleveland, two against Indy and one here. I do like the fact we haven’t had as many negative yardage plays. I think we are making some progress there. We certainly have some room to grow.”
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