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Coach Philbin: We Want To Reward The Guys We Feel Earned Positions

Posted Aug 20, 2013

Coach Joe Philbin meets with the media on Tuesday to give his first comments since reviewing the film of Saturday's game against the Texans. Hear Philbin's thoughts on the loss of Dustin Keller, the running back battle and much more.



(Opening Statement) – “I thought we had a good practice today. We started a game-week, so to speak, in preparation for the Tampa Bay game. Our schedule today was in regards to lifting, meetings, practice, post-practice is just what we will do the week before the Cleveland game. I thought for the first time out and getting guys used to a new, different type of schedule, I thought we got a lot accomplished.”

(On what he thought about the Richie Incognito Antonio Smith incident in the game Saturday) – “As I’ve said many times, it’s important for our players to play the game the right way. I certainly don’t coach the Houston Texans, so I’m not going to comment on their players. I think it’s important our players play the right way, do things the right way on and off the field, and right now that was Saturday night. Today’s Tuesday afternoon. I’m focused on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”

(On if he felt Richie Incognito handled the situation in the right way) – “Again, that’s for the film. It’s not really for me to judge. It’s on film. People can come to their own conclusions.”

(On if tight ends are the only position group who can make up for Dustin Keller’s receptions) – “Not necessarily. It could be a variety of positions. It could be more from the running back position. It could be more of the receivers. It could be more to the tight ends. It’s kind of to-be-determined. It’s an evolving process right now.”

(On Olivier Vernon’s consistency) – “I thought he had a really good practice today. I saw a couple of things. I was in the defensive install meeting this morning. It was a recognition of a toss-back on a third-and-short play, really getting good penetration. I saw him make a couple good pass-rush moves. He’s demonstrated the ability here throughout practice to consistently get pressure on the quarterback. I think he’s had a very productive camp, and now the proof will be when he continues to play in games.”

(On how he knows when a player’s light goes on in readiness for an elevated role) – “You’re never really quite sure until you throw them in there, but he’s done enough good things out here, be it in an one-on-one setting, a half-line setting (or) a team situation, that gives you confidence as a coach that when you put him out there under the lights, so to speak, that he will be ready and prepared. I think he’s demonstrated basically all you can do here. Now it’s time to do it out there.”

(On if the running back job is still open) – “Absolutely.”

(On what Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller need to do to secure the starting running back job) – “I think they both performed well. When they’ve had their opportunities, they’ve both performed well. Obviously Lamar has to catch the ball on 3rd-and-2 when you are wide-open like that. That’s a play you have to make in that critical situation early in a ballgame when you want to start fast. But I think they both had a productive camp, and there is still more to be played before we make a final decision.”

(On if it matters who starts at running back) – “We want to reward the guys we feel earned positions on the football team, so obviously it will be important who the starter is.”

(On if Charles Clay would be the starter at tight end if the season started today) – “It all depends on what we are doing. That’s a flexible position. As you know in this offense, we do a lot of different things with that player, and it depends on what emphasis of the game-plan we want to have. We’ve got to have more than one, that’s for sure.”

(On if the team is any closer in stabilizing the right guard position) – “Probably not. We have to get through a practice week. It was good to have John (Jerry) out here, but we’ll have to see how things go.”

(On evaluating Dion Sims’ pass catching) – “He has good hands, very good hands. He catches the ball with his hands. One thing you guys probably noticed with what we do, he’s not a body catcher. He uses his hands to pluck the ball, which we like. He’s had a couple ones that were questionable. He’s got to do a better job in the games, but I’m confident with his hands. He has very good hands.”

(On assessing Lance Louis’ first game) – “I thought it was good. You kind of got to throw him out there, so to speak. We kind of brought him along gradually, which what I think is a smart thing to do, gave him an opportunity. He did some good things. There’s some things he probably would tell you he needs to shake off the rust a little bit, so to speak. But we got him out here on the practice field working, and we’ll see how he progresses during the week.”

(On signing a linebacker instead of a tight end and if the tight end market isn’t what the team is looking for right now) – “Not necessarily. We are investigating a lot of different possibilities. I wouldn’t look in too much to that.”

(On if penalties are a concern right now) – “It is definitely a concern. I believe we had six during the game, if I’m not mistaken, that weren’t forced. We have to do a better job. We want to be a team that has four penalties a game, (that) would be our goal. That would put you potentially at the top of the list in the league. That’s certainly the way we want to play. We want to be a disciplined football team. We certainly don’t want to go backward. There’s no question about it, and we had some plays, quite frankly, were unnecessary. I talked to the tight ends on the sidelines. Each one, I think we spread around the wealth of penalties in the tight end position early. We’ve got to do a better job.”

(On the defense at this moment) – “I like what they are doing. We have to do a better job. We already talked to the guys the other day. Look, when we play Saturday night against Tampa Bay, I want to see us get lined up properly. I want to see guys executing their assignments, and I want to see great communication on any potential adjustment that needs to be made based on a formation, front or any type of alignment Tampa Bay presents to us. That will help our play speed. That will help us play better in all three phases of the game because there are times we still have to line up better. We’ got to line up quicker, we’ve got to line up faster and we’ve got to communicate better. It’s not uncommon at this stage, but it still needs improvement.”

(On Richard Marshall playing safety at practice) – “It’s just a preparation type of thing covering different potential things that may happen from a depth standpoint.”

(On Randy Starks being back at practice today) – “It was good to have him back. I have to watch the tape a little closer, but it was certainly great to have him on the practice field.”

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