Football is an esoteric game. Little details with every step, every movement dictates the likelihood that "player X" will win his particular rep. Now, multiply those fine specifics by 11 to understand the complexities that go into each play.
Being granted time with players each day, we in the media are afforded an opportunity to learn -- an education from the PhD's of the game, so that's what we did this week. Here are some of the highlights of Dolphins players breaking down their position and how to execute at a high level.
Byron Jones on communication and disguising coverage as a cornerback compared to a safety: "It's all got to be married together so the corners can't be doing something different than the safety. If you want to show Cover 2, it's not just the corners and it's not just the safeties and in fact it's also the linebackers, too. It's where they align, some of their checks and what their calls may be. Disguising is really a whole secondary thing and oftentimes it does include the linebackers, so it's not one group doing one thing. It's really all of us operating on the same level in unison."
Christian Wilkins on hand usage: "I recognized (hand usage) as an area for me to improve on. All offseason, just countless reps of shooting my hands, inside hands, doing grip things to make my hands stronger because that's important as a d-lineman. Really, hands and eyes go together so seeing my hands in, shooting at my target and being strong at the point of attack, that's something I've just tried to improve on all offseason and continue to try to improve on each week during the season."
Xavien Howard on playing over routes (crossers): "That's a tough route. I'd say I've been getting that week in and week out. A lot of running away from me and making me trail and making me chase guys. That's what I've been seeing for these six or seven weeks. I'm expecting that now, and like I've said, everything the coaches scheme up – my job is not going to be easy. Everything I get is going to be hard. I've got to understand, as a player, who I am and what teams are going to do. I just try my best to make a play and make something happen for the team."
Howard continued on a follow-up about baiting quarterbacks -- he's the league leader in the category since 2017.
"I don't think I'm baiting quarterbacks to get the job done for me because like I said, most of the guys are running away from me and it's making my job harder," he said. "When the ball is in the air, I just try to make a play on the ball."
Tua Tagovailoa on footwork: "I think kind of quarterbacking 101 is your feet need to marry up with the route concept. So if you have a 10-yard route, it's a three-step drop, timing and it's with no hitch. You kind of base it off of the routes that you have. You're taking a five-step drop if it's a deeper route. Then you just kind of marry that into how you feel."