Philbin: Chemistry Of The Football Team Is Critical

Posted Jun 3, 2013

The Dolphins coach talks about the importance of team chemistry, the depth at running back and more following the first day of Miami's third OTA.

(On the expectations in the linebackers following changes during the off-season) – “Overall, defensively when we started the off-season plan we looked at a couple of different things that we wanted to do, primarily everything has been about limiting explosive pass plays and creating more takeaways. That was the overall theme of how we were going to improve our defensive football team, those were the two things that we did not do well enough to be a consistently winning football team on defense. So we looked at it, position-by-position ways we felt we could improve, players that might or might not be available to us. So that was really the overriding principal that determined our decisions in the off-season. We are excited about these guys, we are just starting out, they have made a good impression so far, we are throwing a lot at them, but I like what I see so far.”

(On his comfort level with the group at running back) – “It’s a good group. We were just talking about that when we were watching film as an offensive staff, they have different skill traits and dimensions physically and those type of things. I like the way they are working number one. That is the most important thing. I think that they have caught on to the system very well, Jeff has done a great job in bringing these guys along , Jeff Nixon our running back coach, I am excited about them. I think that they have a lot of different type of skills we thought, again the proof will be in the pudding. It’s an area we thought at the running back position we had to do a better job protecting the quarterback, at least at this stage of the game, in terms of blitz recognition and fitting into their protection scheme we feel good about some of that progress we will know a lot more when we put pads on obviously.”

(On who won the battle today between the offense and defense or was it a little more even) - “Yeah I guess, probably a little more even. It was another day that we worked in the red zone, we installed some goal line offense, but I thought that there was good work on both sides. We practiced about 96 minutes with the veterans and then kept some of the younger guys out and worked some more with them, so I thought there was a lot of things accomplished and they are in there right now taking a look at the corrections.”

(On if there is anything that Cameron Wake can improve on) – “Absolutely, there is a lot, again considering now that this is a different defensive system that he is playing in, so now it is year two in that system, so I think there are some things overall from a technique standpoint that he can improve upon. There is pass coverage responsibilities in this defense that he has, not on every single snap obviously, there are some areas there that he needs to improve upon. So there is still quite a bit.”

(On who will be the first linebacker off the bench) – “We haven’t gotten that far yet.”

(On Austin Spitler’s performance) – “He has done well, the guys a football player. Again that term, Kevin and I have been watching the tape together later on in the day and he has been very productive and he has been on top of his assignments and he has coordinated the front seven very well here during the OTA’s and we are pleased with what he is doing.”

(On what he hopes to see from Daniel Thomas in his second year with him) – “You want everybody to improve, so you are looking for improvement number one, I think that in his case, again we operate under the premise that all players want to be healthy and participate every single week in practice and games, unfortunately that wasn’t the case with him last year. Sometimes I think that can hinder your progress a little bit, young players I am totally convinced need a lot of practice time to see things. Running backs need to see the fronts, the defensive calls that they are going to be running the ball against, as well as their protection responsibilities. So his ability to stay healthy, I think will help him, he certainly has got a lot of talent and skill. We need to enable him to stay healthy get out there on the practice field every single day and then consistency on the field, I think that will help the on the field performance.”

(On Michael Egnew’s development) – “The same thing, again when you go back and watch the tape, we go pretty quick in practice, back and forth. Sometimes I go to one field, he might be there he might not be and in some of the other drills we have been doing through the course of the OTA’s, I see the same things that you do and it makes us feel more confident about his abilities that he is starting to understand his role in the offense better and maybe we know a little bit more about him to so we put him in a position where he can make some more of those type of plays. It’s been encouraging.”

(On the individual units spending time away from the building together and if he wants to see more of that) – “Again, chemistry of the football team is critical. The locker room is the most important room that we have in the building, the players are more important than the coaches, so when they can do some of that stuff on their own and we don’t have to orchestrate it, I think that great and I am all for it. Of course I wasn’t invited to any of it (laughing).”

(On how big a luxury Jared Odrick’s ability to play both inside and outside) – “Position flexibility is an important part, maybe not as important today, June 3rd, but certainly as you get into the season and things happen that you can’t control and it might be during a practice week, it might be during the course of the game and to have players that can kind of fill multiple roles is definitely an advantage.”

(On Brent Grimes mobility and his presence increasing the number of takeaways for the team) – “He looks good, he looked good in Phase II when he was moving around, doing drills and fundamentals with the DB coaches, I think he has progressed even further here in the OTA’s segment. I think he’s changing direction well, he has got very, very good instincts and he is very competitive and those are things, I think if you study him over the course of his career those are the things that you can see on tape. Obviously we would like for him to get his hands on the football and disrupt the passing game, tip it, strip it, intercept it all of those things we would love to see that happen.”

(On what Koa Misi did well last season and what he would like to see him improve on) – “We loved his play speed number one; we thought he played the game the right way. On defense you have to be decisive, you have to be physical, you have to tackle well and he does those things that a good ole fashion defensive player does. He pursues to the ball, those things are still important in this defense and I like the way he plays the game. (He) gives great effort, it’s important to him, I think he has fun doing it to. You like watching the tape, Kevin and I were commenting on him last week. He was on a play away and nobody really blocked him and sometimes you don’t really have the outside linebacker blocked on a run play, but we were watching tape and there he is just (moving fast), he is a fun guy to coach.”

(On if the intent in spending the amount of money in the offseason was to entirely make over the team and if he see that on the field so far) – “Again the thought process defensively was, we got to get more takeaways, we have to limit explosive passes, so that, again, was the thought process used. How do we do that? First you have to examine what you did and didn’t do well. We did a thorough evaluation in ways that we can improve the football team, it wasn’t like, we are doing an extreme makeover, period. Ok, this is what we did well, there are some good football players on this team and there are certainly areas that we identified. Offensively, we felt we had to become more explosive on offense. We have to do a better job on third down situations, in the red zone, there were certain areas there that we felt that we had to do and we have to get b