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Philbin: I Thought The Guys Practiced Fast

Posted May 21, 2013

Dolphins coach talks about the team's performance following the first OTA session.







(Opening Statement) – “I just wanted to start and recognize our 2012 award winners. The Don Shula Leadership Award went to Mike Pouncey, the Dan Marino Most Valuable Player Award went to Cameron Wake, and the Nat Moore Community Award went to Brandon Fields. I think they were three excellent choices and the three of them are well deserving of the award. With that, we can open up for questions.”

(On why Jamar Taylor was absent from OTAs today) – “From now on for the OTAs I am glad to answer any of the questions about players who are participating in practices. As we all know this is a voluntary period that we are in right now, so any of the players that participated in practice I would be happy to answer questions on.”

(On whether the plan moving forward is to line up Jared Odrick at defensive tackle) – “Not necessarily, you know this is a great time, as we said to the players yesterday, the OTAs are about creating as many opportunities as we can for the players to compete for playing time. It’s a time to experiment. It’s a time to look at guys in different spots, with different groups, see if we can get some cohesiveness with different combinations of players and that type of thing. So it’s a time for us to look at guys at different spots.”

(On whether he could tell anything about the different passing combinations at practice today) – “We had a couple different drills going on, and the one we did (is called) a half-line, I don’t know if you guys notice, but we have a three receiver side and a two receiver side. We get a lot of productive work in there. It looked like there were some good things there on both sides of the ball. These guys in Phase II, we’ve been able to get out there and work on some route timing and those types of things, and considering this was OTA number one, there were some good signs out there.”

(On whether he was surprised that Brent Grimes and Richard Marshall were able to participate and what he expects from them going forward) – “Not necessarily. We had that Phase III so we were able to walk out on the field and take a look at those guys in a drill setting, not necessarily a competitive setting. But it looked like they’ve been moving well. They feel good physically and I’m excited about watching the tape and sitting down and looking at it. I thought they moved around well. I think they’ve been moving around well the last couple of weeks, so we’re anxious that they participate fully in these practices.”

(On how wide open he perceives that cornerback competition is) – “Real wide open. Very, very wide open at this stage. Again, part of the reason that we do things on two different fields or in two different drills is to create that opportunity. Certainly sometimes in the recruiting process for free agents, undrafted college guys, I think guys who have been here will tell them they get reps. It’s not like some places where a free agent gets three reps in the whole practice. So, it’s wide open.”

(On whether the hope this year is have a faster paced offense and if having more explosive players helps accomplish that) – “I think the biggest things that we’ve talked about is being able to move the chains. (That’s) I think really the one deciding things that gets you the opportunity to call more plays and play faster. So, I think to that degree, the more weapons you have on offense you’ve got to believe that helps your percentages of getting more first downs and creating that type of tempo you just mentioned.”

(On how big of a step OTAs is in the run up to the season) – “It’s exciting. It’s great to be on the field again and coaching the guys. Again, we’ve had some opportunities in Phase II. We’ve spent a lot of time in the classroom. This is what you live for as a coach and a player. We told the guys, this program is built under the assumption that the players want to be great players number one, and they want to contribute to our success number two. That’s the starting point. So if we don’t have guys that feel like that, then they are probably in the wrong building and if we don’t have coaches that love going out there, we probably have the wrong guys. But, I think on both sides we have a lot of guys that love being out on the field and love working at it.”

(On what he is looking for from the running back position) – “Consistency; a guy that can have some all-purpose value. You know, can he play on first, second or third down. Whereas the defenses are at a point where they make a lot of their calls based on what jersey numbers are in the game. So the better multiple dimensional that our guys can be, they can catch, they can run, they can block, I think the better that is for the offense and the tougher it is for the defense. So somebody that’s got some versatility, consistency. Obviously we want to create more explosive plays running the football this year; part of that is breaking tackles so elusiveness obviously has something to do with it. We’re looking for as many good, all-around football players as we can possibly get. If we have to slot a guy into the game who can only do one thing, there’s value in that, but again the other side of the ball probably has some things that can counter that because they look tendencies. ‘Hey, every time player x is in the game they run the ball 87% of the time.’ So, when you strap it up you’re going to be in an uphill battle. So those types of things. We are really looking for consistency. Versatility, somebody we can depend on, and then somebody, quite frankly, that can break some tackles.”

(On where Ryan Tannehill is in the maturation process) – “I guess one way to describe him is he’s a gym rat. He loves football; he’s been here an awful lot. He's been working out with the guys on their own, nothing orchestrated by us, well before the offseason program began. Those are all good indicators that somebody wants to be good. That’s kind of step one. If you don’t have players that want to be great, it’s hard for them to keep climbing and keep accelerating their development. That’s point number one that we’re excited about. He’s made some improvements physically and it looks like he's throwing the ball well.”

(On whether the coaches planned on giving Michael Egnew a lot of reps at practice today or whether it was earned) – “I think both. Certainly again, it’s all part of the design of practices. Let’s get multiple reps, I mean we don’t want to kill guys and put guys in physical risk for injury or anything like that, but we want to get as many plays on film as we possibly can. In the OTAs, you want to see how guys (respond). You let the coaching kind of step back a little bit and let’s see how these guys play on their own to a certain degree, make the calls, adjust, those types of things.”

(On his early impressions of Dannell Ellerbe and what he expects from him this year) – “I like a lot of the things that I see. He's a bright guy. He's very business-like in the building. He comes in, gets his work done, and (he’s) very, very attentive. You’ve got to be strong down the middle, offensively and defensively, and he's a guy that we’re looking for to help coordinate that front seven. We like what we’ve seen thus far.”

(On whether Will Yeatman will work exclusively as a guard this year) – “Not necessarily. That’s just where we wanted to place him early in the OTAs. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets reps at different spots during the course of the time. We want him to compete for a starting job; if he is one of the five best guys, great. If not, then possibly that versatility helps a guy keep a job in the NFL on the offensive line.”

(On whether he would be receptive to Marcus Thigpen returning punts and kickoffs with Davone Bess no longer on the team) – “Whoever the best guy is. I have no preconceived notions as to who is has to be, or (whether) you can do both. Whoever we decide at the end of the day has prepared the best and looked the best in practice. (That) will be the guy.”

(On who is in the mix for punt returns) – “Yeah I mean we are still open. We are going to look at a lot of guys and develop as many guys as we possibly can.”

(On what is involved in the different offseason phases) – “Well Phase I was strength and conditioning/classroom work. For us, a lot of it was let’s look back at 2012 first at what we did well, what we didn’t do well, areas of improvement. So we certainly took time to do that. Phase II was an opportunity to get out on the field separately. We did it separately so there was no 11 on 11, no contact whatsoever, but an opportunity for us to look at some new thoughts for 2013 on each side of the ball and special teams. Fundamental work, route timing, those types of things. Ball drills, those types of things. Then the third Phase, we want to make our instillations married up to training camp and what we want to do in training camp when we come back on July 20th. So it’s training camp preparation, it’s preparation for our mandatory mini-camp. We want to insert our schemes in all three phases of the game, and then we want to get our players in as many competitive players as possible.”

(On how his approach is different this year now that he has a year under his belt) – “We used a lot of the same things. We changed a little bit of our practice approach in terms of how we’ve organized the groups and breaking up coaches onto different fields and those types of things. One of the reasons we did that was we didn’t feel like we threw the ball vertically down the field well enough, and on all our back-to-back stuff our spacing was limited. So, that’s one of the reasons. We’ve taken a look really at every facet of the program and made some subtle changes to hopefully improve the results.”

(On whether anything stood out to him in the first practice) – “I just liked the way our operation was. I thought the guys practiced fast. There wasn’t a lot of balls on the ground. There didn’t appear a lot of, at the least the field that I spent the vast majority of time on, there weren’t a lot of takeaways and penalties and sloppiness. Really the first day you’re looking for, were there a ton of penalties? Was there a ton of bad center-quarterback exchanges? Did the defense jump offside all day? Those types of things. For the first day, there were a reasonable number of those but I don’t think it was anything excessive.”
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