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Coach Philbin: We Want To Get Off To A Fast Start

Posted Sep 3, 2013

Chead coach Joe Philbin meets with the South Florida media to answer questions about Sunday's 2013 season opener against the Browns.

(Opening Statement) – “I thought we had a good competitive practice today as we continue our preparation for the game against Cleveland and this being our first real game week.”

(On what he has noticed from Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden) – “He’s playing well. He’s picked up the offense well, and he’s making good decisions. Obviously he has a very good arm. He’s doing a nice job so far.”

(On the thinking behind the running back order on the depth chart) – “That’s the starting point for September 8th in Cleveland. That’s a starting point, really. Again, I think both guys have had a really good preseason. I think they’ve improved, both of them, and we certainly will need those guys to perform well for us.”

(On what Lamar Miller did to set himself apart in the running back battle) – “I think he played well. He caught the ball well. He ran the ball well. I thought Daniel (Thomas) did as well. It was very, very close.”

(On what influence Cam Wake can provide for Dion Jordan) – “Cam is a pro. He’s definitely a professional. I don’t know if you guys noticed at the end of practice when stretch is over, he’s one of the first guys sprinted to get his helmet. His enthusiasm for his job, he’s passionate about what he does. Again, the players can be the best examples. I can talk all I want, but his examples, the way he practices and performs on a consistent basis is a great example for any young player.”

(On thought process with determining who is sitting next to each other in the locker room) – “We talked about that. We give it thought about who is the best match and where potentially influence can be had in the locker room. At the same point in time, we want guys to mix in a little bit with other guys. They are always in their rooms together a lot. We do it a little bit both ways”

(On Danny Watkins) – “He came in and had a good workout. We studied him on tape and thought it was the best thing for the football team at this point in time.”

(On if Danny Watkins adds depth) – “Again, this is the first day we’ve had our hands on him, but we liked what he did when he came in. We like our film studies. Now we got to get our hands on him, work with him a little bit and see how he fits.”

(On if Danny Watkins can play the left or right side of the line) – “You would hope so.”

(On what he has experienced with the opening games setting the tone for the opening part of the season) – “I’ve never sat back and thought about how many times on the teams I’ve been on and won the opener, lost the opener and what that means. Obviously we’ve invested an awfully amount of time, our players have and the opportunity to play a game here on September 8th. We’ve been at it. We gathered on April 15. There have been a lot of man hours put in to this game against Cleveland. We want to take advantage of this opportunity, and we want to get off to a fast start. There’s no question about it. I can’t sit here and provide any statistical information to you on how that is going to impact the rest of the season.”

(On the challenges Cleveland running back Trent Richardson presents) –“He’s a good football player, a hard runner, physical guy. He catches the ball well, so he’s got more than one dimension. We are going to have to get, again old-fashion football. We are going to have to get off the blocks. We are going to have to tackle well. We are going to have to have 11 guys around the football, day one football against him. He’s very, very good.”

(On if the right guard position is settled) – “(John Jerry) is going to start the game. I’m confident. I’ve liked what he’s done. He’s going to play.”

(On who the backup center is with Josh Samuda being released) – “We have a couple of candidates. We aren’t going to necessarily reveal that for competitive reasons, but we have some guys we feel are going to (compete). We understood that when we made that decision (to release Samuda). We feel confident we’ll have a good backup center”

(On if he is surprised former Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess is no longer with the team) – “Again, roster decisions are made at various times with a lot of factors going into the decision making process. You hit it exactly right. He’s a good football player, and we wish him well.”

(On if players have extra incentive the first time they play their former team) – “Again, I can’t speak to what his (Davone Bess’) motivations are about this ballgame. That would be something he would have to address.”

(On how much he looks at individual matchup in receiving, such as Cleveland’s Joe Haden matched up against Mike Wallace) – “It’s very important as we put together the passing game. Obviously, the passing game again starts with protection number one. But then number two, what kind of pass concepts are you going to use, and number three, how are they going to match up to your formations, your personnel groupings and how we could potentially take advantage of that. It’s a very big part of it. Obviously Haden is an excellent player.”

(On if Cleveland’s offense has improved entering this season) –“Well they look good in the preseason. They are playing well. Coach (Rob) Chudzinski obviously has done a good job. They’ve won three of their four preseason games. They are playing good football as a team. Again, I’m not there to evaluate their coaching staff. It seems like they’ve done a good job.”

(On if he anticipates seeing eight-man fronts early in the season) – “I think we will, absolutely. Defensive coordinators in this league are very, very good. I don’t sit here and think they are going to play a seven-man front all the time. I think there is variety. I’m sure we are going to see (eight-man fronts). I’m sure we are going to see a lot of pressure from this team, and we’ll see pressure throughout the year.”

(On if he thinks the team will see eight-man fronts predominantly in the preseason) – “No. Everyone wants their computer to looked real nice and balanced, you know what I mean, ‘I call this all the time.’ Who knows? That’s the fun part of football. I can’t sit here and tell you I have the answer of how many eight-man fronts we’ll get, but I’m sure we are going to get some, absolutely.”

(On how hard it is to game plan for a team that hasn’t revealed much offensively in the preseason) – “We’ve been at it for a while. We’ve been studying these guys since the schedule came out, as I’m sure they have us. The good news is Coach (Norv) Tuner (Cleveland’s offensive coordinator) is an outstanding offensive coach. He’s been in the league a long time. We’ve studied, obviously, some of the things he did at his prior place of employment, and we’ll be ready. Again, it will come down to the football play, block protection, tackling, playing sound football. I don’t believe it will come down to magical X’s and O’s in this game.”

(On if it is tougher to play on the road for the season opener) – “I don’t think so. Again, we know when the schedule comes out we will have eight home games and eight away games. We know we are going to have an opener. We’re excited. It’s exciting to get on a plane with your teammates, your coaching staff, other members of the organization and go play in a real competitive arena and come away with the win. We know it is a challenge. They are a good football team, but we are not overanalyzing where we have to play. It is what it is, and we’re excited about it.”

(On John Denney’s condition) – “I’d love to answer any question about anybody who was at practice today.”

(On what the next step is for Michael Egnew and if he has shown he can translate better practices into the games) – “He’s done some good things in the preseason, and now we have to see it on a consistent basis. We snuck him into some games real late into the year. New England sticks in my mind in the last game of the year. Now we need to get him some reps, just kind of throw him out there and see how he does in that competitive atmosphere where we are not sitting back there and telling him what to do and how to do it. I’m confident. He’s much improved from a year ago, and now it is time to play, really. We’ll find out.”

(On if Michael Egnew has already translated better practices into game-like atmosphere) –“He’s done some in spots of some games, sure. He’s definitely farther along than he was (last year). No question”

(On if he expects to play all three tight ends this week) – “Again, we are still working on the game plan. I wouldn’t commit to any certain amount of playtime with anybody yet.”

(On the team’s instant replay protocol) – “No, we have a process in place, and we meet, discuss it and we have a process in place, and we’ll be ready for it when it comes up.”

(On if the process in place for instant replay is for in-game) – “Yes”

(On who tells him to challenge a play to be reviewed) – “I don’t know. We aren’t going to get into that specifically, but we have a plan in place. Absolutely.”
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