Head coach Mike McDaniel, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, cornerback Xavien Howard, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah and offensive lineman Connor Williams all met with the media today as the team held its first joint practice of the week against Tampa Bay. Check out the top quotes from their media availabilities.
HEAD COACH MIKE McDANIEL
(On practicing against Tampa Bay this week)
"You're going against another team so you want that rep. Guys are sick of going against each other generally 10 days into camp everywhere you're at, so it kind of revitalizes football to a degree from the practice perspective. We've been practicing against each other for a long time. But then outside of that, it's all about how we really – I'm not even that concerned about the actual outcome of anything. It's more whether it's a successful play or if it's a negative play and it's about how we respond because you know that this game, that's all that it's full of. You're never just – any time you're content or any time you're satisfied with the last play, that's when you get hit in the face and hit in the mouth moving forward."
(On how his team responds to adversity)
"That's such a big deal to me. That's one of the pillars that we talk about a ton. Adversity is relative, and I think that we're had our own set and our own share of adversity internally with little things that don't go the way you want them to go. In that thus far, that's one of the reasons I love the guys and love the team, because they've responded exactly the way that they've been called upon at each and every turn, so in the game of football, like the game of life, now we're moving forward and steadily awaiting whatever piece of adversity falls our way in the near future because it's not if but when. And when that happens, I've gained a lot of confidence in how they're going to respond."
(On the value of having the team together on the road)
"Tremendous value. We traveled down here on Monday before a player's day off purposely, because this is where you get a lot of camaraderie. Guys have so many things going on in their lives, you spend a week together and there's no where to go but hang out with each other, and I think that over the course of my career, I've found that to be extremely beneficial. You end up looking back at these type of days when you're reflecting upon the entire season, and a lot of times, this is where the bonds solidify which is why it's one of the cool experiences that we're fortunate to do."
QB TUA TAGOVAILOA
(On the biggest difference between practicing against his own defense versus Tampa Bay's)
"I would say technique. Tampa's technique is different than the technique that we face a lot in camp where we get a lot of press man (coverage). Tampa has a lot of off man (coverage), off zone (coverage). They have a fair amount of disguises with what they do, but they're a really good team. We're very fortunate, as a team, to come out here and be able to compete against some of the guys that played on the Super Bowl team two years ago. So it's good work for us, and we're looking forward to tomorrow."
(On the development of the offensive line)
"I think they've developed a lot. You look at our run game, it makes it a little harder for guys to really read keys with the o-line because of how much stretch we do, how much stretch action we do. So it puts a lot of stress on not the front guys, but the secondary guys as well with the linebackers getting them to come up and obviously replacing them with throws and then also deeper play-pass throws. So I think we've come a long way and I think the guys would also say that we're not close to where we want to be, but shoot, it's exciting for the guys."
CB XAVIEN HOWARD
(On practicing against Tampa Bay this week)
"It feels great. I feel like we've got to start fast and finish strong. I feel like we have to have a sense of urgency around the ball and on the defensive side, that's what I've seen mostly. It feels good though, to see a different jersey."
(On leading a young cornerback room with CB Byron Jones out)
"I feel like it starts with me. I feel like I have to set the tone for the guys. The guys are getting better – I feel like everybody is getting better each week. I feel like we just have to keep striving. I have to take that leadership role in the cornerback room and set the tone."
DE EMMANUEL OGBAH
(On how it felt to get a batted ball in today's practice)
"We had a game on. Zach (Sieler) had the guard and just pulled him. I came through clean and batted the ball. I got in front of the quarterback and put my hands up because he was getting the ball out quick."
OL CONNOR WILLIAMS
(On how difficult it is to face Tampa Bay DT Vita Vea)
"We've been only able to go against our defense and obviously we have a great defense. Being able to go against a new face and a good player like Vita that plays different techniques and a little different game than ours, it's good to see that and it's good to be able to work on that, just to perfect a craft at a new position."
(On OL Michael Deiter returning to practice today)
"He looks good. I think he was really excited to be able to get back on the field and we've obviously missed him. He's a great person and he's a great contribution to the o-line, and we needed him out there. I think he did very well."