Coach Philbin: We Don’t Have Any Starters Right Now

Posted Jul 26, 2013

Coach Joe Philbin meets with the media to discuss Friday's practice which emphasized the two-minute drill. Also, Philbin answers numerous questions about changes with the interior of the Dolphins first team offensive line during Friday's on-field work.

(Opening Statement) –“As you probably noticed, today’s main emphasis in terms of situational work was two-minute. We met as a ball club last night. We kind of had our first four-day phase, if you will, where we accomplished an awful lot. We had 481 competitive snaps for the first four practices. I thought our mental discipline was excellent. Our MAs are down, our penalties are way down in that first phase to where we were a year ago. I told the team last night we’ve got to play better in the last two minutes of the first half and the last two minutes of the game. The film tells you that. The statistics tell you that. It’s going to be a big emphasis for us as we move forward.”

(On where John Jerry was today) –“As you well know our policy on injuries is, we will talk about anybody at practice. We will be glad to answer any question about anybody at practice.”

(On wha the is looking for at a practice coming off of an off day) –“As I just mentioned, the big emphasis was two-minutes and playing better. Part of that is the communication. We talked about it to the guys last night, and it applies in every down and distance and it applies to every quarter of football, but really the last two minutes of the first half and the game. I told the team at the end of practice, I don’t have a crystal ball. I’m guessing five, six games might be decided, maybe more, in the last two minutes. And a team’s ability to execute it effectively, communicate effectively will play a huge impact in our season.”

(On Richie Incognito and Dallas Thomas changing positions at times today during practice) –“It’s training camp, and we want to get a different look at a combination of guys at different spots. We are still in the teaching phase of the offense, so a young player like Dallas Thomas hasn’t had experience throughout the whole install, so to speak. We don’t want to be flipping him around quite yet. We’ll look at the tape, but I thought it was good.”

(On the possibility of Dallas Thomas starting) – “We don’t have any starters right now. We are just working different guys.”

(On if Dallas Thomas would have received those reps in John Jerry was there) – “We are going to move guys around, and we are going to give guys different looks at different combinations throughout the course of camp. We are not overly concerned today who are starters are right yet.

(On the speed Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe) – “A couple of things we like on tape from these guys in the evaluation process was we liked their blitz capability. We thought they both had good tempo when they blitz, and they had some elusiveness as well. They had some instinct in regard to the timing of the blitzes. We thought that was good about them. They play fast. They don’t sit around and hesitate a lot. They trust their keys, they diagnose what they see and they go pretty quickly.”

(On if Lamar Miller had a leg up in the running back competition) – “There is a lot of football left before September 8, and we have five preseason games. There are going to be opportunities for all of the running backs to carry the football. We are going to see how it all shakes out.”

(On how Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas are looking and how important pass blocking is for the position) – “You can’t really put a running back on the field and if you are not going to throw the football and he’s going to be part of the protection unit. Those guys on defense are smart enough to study jerseys numbers and know all of your tendencies so every time you get a player in the game all you do is run game and not give him any protection responsibilities, they will be able to scheme things up. That balance being able to not only run the ball but protect is critical.”

(On if he had to think about the new look at offensive line during practice before trying it) – “It’s training camp, and we looked at who was available for practice and felt this would be a good combination to get a look at and see how guys respond.”

(On if he thinks the changes to the offensive line today would be permanent) – “It’s way too early to tell.”

(On how Dustin Keller is doing) – “He’s got those instincts we like. We like his route running abilities. We like his diagnosis (of) coverage pretty well on releases. He understands leverage a particular defender is utilizing against him. All of those things, he kind of has that craftiness you like to see in receivers, and he works the middle of the field well.”

(On the competition at cornerback) – “It’s a good group. I like the way they are practicing on the field. I like their attention to detail. I think they have a pretty good grasp of the system. Now it is more about getting them reps, getting them opportunities and getting us a chance to expose them to a lot of different things so we can have a good evaluation.”

(On the dynamic of the kicking competition) – “I think I’ve mentioned before, if you are looking for professionalism out of a unit on this football team, you don’t have to look any further than the specialists. These guys are dedicated, they are here on time, they work extremely hard, they are very team oriented guys, they are great on and off the field. He’s a guy competing for a job. These guys understand that’s what happens in professional football, and it happens for specialists. It happens for offensive linemen, quarterbacks, defensive backs. It’s part of the game.”

(On Brian Hartline and the potential that his statistics will go up this season or down because of the added help at wide receiver) – “Yes and yes. I think I see it both. It all depends. Some of that is a function of how the defense wants to play their coverages, what kind of matchups they want to have, if they want to put a specific corner on a specific receiver. We don’t really sit around and necessarily predict Hartline is going to have 72 catches this year, Wallace is going to have 83, Gibson is going to have 57, Keller 49, (etc.). We have kind of put together a plan where we feel will help us move the ball and score points.”

(On if he is excited how Brian Hartline looked last season and thus moving forward) – “He’s working extremely hard. The thing is he wants to be good. When you have a player that wants to be good, that’s a good place to start.”

(On how far the offensive line is ahead of other positional units) – “Once again, it’s a work in progress as are some of the other ones. We are looking at different combination today than we looked at the first couple of days. I think the fifth game will give us an opportunity to look at some guys in perhaps different roles, and we will have a lot of film. We will have roughly 350 offensive snaps by the end of preseason to evaluate these guys, as well, as I said, we’ve already had 480 out here.

(On some of the players doing MMA training in the offseason, and what benefits that type of training provides) – “Hand usage and leverage are really the two things I see most, quick hands. What I see, I’m not an expert on any of that stuff. As you can tell, I’m not really built for UFC (laughing). Those are really the two things that I think.

(On if he watches MMA) – “Not really.”

(On if Seinfeld and football are the only two things he watches) – “That’s it. That’s it (laughing).”

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