Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Today we'll start our prep for the Dolphins. Specifically talking about this team starting with (Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores) Flo, Flo is a guy that I know very well. We worked together for seven years in New England. A lot of respect for Flo. I think he's got a very unique path in terms of how he became a head coach, working in all aspects of the organization, starting in personnel, working with offense, defense and special teams, so his involvement with all three phases along with the draft and free agency really shows through his personality and how they play. When you talk about this team, you talk about aggressive. It's one thing that's really shown up throughout his career, but then also specifically in these last few weeks in terms of how his team, his defense, his special teams really get after you, put pressure on you and are looking to go ahead and attack you as a team.
When you talk about the coordinators and starting with the kicking game, (Dolphins Special Teams Coordinator) Danny (Crossman) is a guy I've known for a long time. Does a really good job. He's doing a great job right now of incorporating different schemes and using his personality. They have a very talented core, very explosive returners. These guys are a threat every time they have the ball in their hands. You look at the gadgets and gimmicks that he incorporates, they go throughout the season. They really look to match up and take advantage of anything you've shown on tape, but they're going to look to put pressure on you, whether it's midfield, backed up or whatever the situation may be. They move the ball a lot with their specialists and kickers, make you cover the entire field, so he's really going ahead and looking to put the pressure on your specialists, whether your punter, your kicker, your returners, at every turn possible.
Offensively, (Dolphins Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach) George (Godsey) does a really good job of giving answers to the quarterback before the snap. They've done a great job of really incorporating RPOs in their offense, they've stayed very balanced the last few weeks. You see (Dolphins Quarterback) Tua's (Tagovailoa) progression and how consistent he's been in terms of his completion percentage. He's doing a really good job of getting the ball moving, staying ahead of the sticks, sitting out there with a lot of time of possession and helping this team go.
Defensively, (Defensive Coordinator) Josh (Boyer) does a really good job. Obviously, his background is in defensive backs, but Josh has always known the entire picture of the defense. He's done a great job working throughout his career. I have a lot of respect for Josh and how he gets his guys going. Obviously, him and Flo work hand-in-hand and see the game through the same lens. It's really been about being aggressive, they have very good talent, they're very, very aggressive in how they use that talent. It's been a lot of blitz zero and pressure more so than anyone else in the league the last four weeks. You see this team really coming along and they're coached well, they play hard, they've got a lot of talented players. It's going to take a lot to prepare for this team and get ready for Sunday. That being said, I'll open to any questions you may have.
Q: Obviously with (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones), is there any chance of him playing Sunday? And can you talk about the (Quarterback) Jake Fromm signing?
A: We're not going to rule anything out right now. Daniel's going to be out here practicing with us today. We expect him to practice tomorrow and Friday, as well. We'll see what he can do. It's like any kind of injury coming out of the game, we'll just see how he does.
Q: Do you expect him to practice this week?
A: Yeah, he'll practice with us. Absolutely. He'll be out there today. Really a normal Wednesday for him.
Q: Was he evaluated for a concussion on game day, either during or after the game?
A: I'd have to check on after the game. Nothing that I've been informed about during the game, no.
Q: Do you take anything from last year where it seemed like maybe you guys brought him back too soon from that injury? Do you have to keep that in mind not to do that again?
A: I think every injury is completely independent of another one. The medical team has got to do their job in terms of determining if someone's healthy enough to go on the field. I'll do my job and get him prepared for football.
Q: You said he's going to practice today. Is this a normal practice? Is he going to be limited?
A: We'll see what he can do when he gets out here. In terms of approaching practice right now, we're approaching it as a normal day for him.
Q: He's taking rehab on the neck and things like that?
A: I'm not going to go into the specifics of the injury and what they're doing, but he's working with our medical staff throughout the day.
Q: Was that a play where he should have slid, when it happened?
A: I'm not going to go into the dissection of every play right here with it. I'm not going to talk specifically about Daniel and where he's at. Today, we expect him to practice. I've already made the point that I expect him to practice Thursday and Friday, as well.
Q: Was there anything during the game that said to you his neck might be bothering him?
Q: When did you find out he was hurt?
A: In our postgame injury report on Monday.
Q: Obviously, he played through it. He didn't mention anything about a sore neck during the course of the game?
A: Nothing to me.
Q: Do you have to prepare as if (Quarterback) Mike (Glennon) is going to start or do you prepare both of them?
A: We always prepare all of our players. Every week, Mike's job is to be prepared that if his number is called at any point in time, either before or during the game, he's ready to go in and run our offense. We'll also prepare Daniel to start, as well.
Q: Would that mean splitting first-team reps with him?
A: We'll do the normal rotation we always do every week. Mike takes rotations every week, so we'll do the same thing.
Q: Is it realistic for Jake Fromm to be active on Sunday?
A: Yeah, it's our job to get everyone prepared. He's signed, he's on our 53-man roster right now. It's our job to get him ready. (Quarterbacks Coach) Jerry (Schuplinski) will work with him extra throughout this week, make sure he gets caught up on the vocabulary. This guy comes from an offense where I know he's handled a lot of multiples. He's a smart guy. He's done a good job through college and early in his pro career with the experience he's had, so we'll see how it translates over. We'll get Mike and Daniel ready, and Jake, as well.
Q: Why sign Jake now? What precipitated that?
A: When you first get any kind of flag on any player, you kind of look on down. If it's a receiver, if it's a corner, if it's a linebacker, you immediately say, 'Okay, what kind of insurance do we need for the game right now?' Then obviously, it was an opportunity for us to add a player that we liked coming out of college through the draft. It was a good time to add him, get him in here and get working.
Q: You guys give Mike Glennon some first-team reps every week?
Q: Does the Dolphins' scheme being so aggressive factor into your thinking about whether Daniel might play?
A: No. If he's healthy enough to go out there – you can't judge if it's blitz zero, it could be base, it could be P (prevent) coverage, where they drop eight and someone still gets beat, so in terms of schematically what they do, no.
Q: What is your level of concern in dealing with that aggressiveness? They throw everything at you and an offensive line that isn't quite in sync can be vulnerable.
A: I think our offensive line has done a really good job of playing in sync and they've made a lot of progression throughout the year in terms of our pass protections. Really, where they're aggressive with the Dolphins is you talk specifically about their pressures and blitzes, but it's that blitz zero that they've been doing a lot of, more so than anyone else in the league. In terms of playing against these guys, it's just something you have to account for. Everybody has something different schematically you have to prepare for every week and this is just something you have to prepare for with them.
Q: In general, as a coach, when you have an athletic quarterback who can make plays with his legs and you want the benefit of that, how difficult is it to navigate protecting your quarterback versus allowing him to make those athletic plays on the run?
A: We always just have to understand what are the strengths of our players? What's the best thing for our team to be able to play to that? In terms of the health of a player, everyone's got to go out there every play and be able to play. So, the medical team has got to do their job and give us a clearance for when a guy can go out there and stay on the field, and then we've got to call the game aggressively to give our players a chance to make plays.
Q: What have you seen from Tua these last four games, this four-game winning streak? What are you seeing from him?
A: Making the right decisions. You can see George is doing a really good job with this guy in terms of getting in a position to find the receiver and give him answers before the snap. They're using that RPO game of really kind of creating one-on-one matchups and getting that thing going. (Dolphins Wide Receiver Jaylen) Waddle's obviously an explosive athlete and they've got a relationship in the past, as well. But, he's really getting the ball in the hands of the guys who can make plays for them. You saw some explosive plays from Waddle the other day in the game against Carolina. Really, talking about Tua specifically though, his decision-making as a young quarterback in the league, you see him every week just gaining more experience, getting more comfortable, playing more aggressive. The decision-making, the accuracy, just distributing the ball around the field has been very good.
Q: Is there any concern at all this could be a season-ending thing for Daniel or is that not a concern right now?
A: At this moment, no.
Q: What have the Miami Dolphins done? They lost six or seven in a row, they turned it around. What are they doing better these days?
A: I'm not going to speak completely for the Dolphins in terms of things they've changed. Just knowing Flo's mentality of what it is, it's not a sit back on your heels and react type of mentality. It's just keep throwing more at him, keep throwing more at him, keep throwing more at him, so that's the way I've come to know Flo. It's what I expect from him. He's doing a very good job of it. We used to joke a lot all the time – we'd call offense and defense against each other at New England at different times and Flo was always going heavy with the pressure and we would kind of laugh about it. Jerry Schuplinski would always kind of poke at him and say, 'Alright Flo, when you're in charge, you better be calling all those blitz zeroes then, too.' We were laughing about it the other day like, he sure is. That's just kind of his personality and what he believes in.
Q: Does Daniel require – do you know exactly what is wrong there or does he require more tests to really kind of drill down what exactly it is?
A: This is not unique for any injury. Anybody who goes through any kind of injury protocol for us will always have some kind of early week checkup, be with our medical team throughout the week and then have a late week checkup, as well. So, there's nothing unique for Daniel.
Q: Did Daniel get better from after the game to now where you expect him to practice this week? Has he improved from after the game until now to the point where –
A: From the information we've been given, he's cleared to practice today. He'll be out there practicing. In terms of his status improving or worsening or anything, I'll let Daniel kind of speak for that on himself if he wants to get into that. But in terms of his availability for us at practice, preparing for the game, that's what we're doing right now.
Q: A couple other injury guys, obviously (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) and then (Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney) KT and (Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard) Shep, what do you expect from them today?
A: Really no difference right now than what they've been doing. They'll be out here with trainers today and moving around. They'll all be involved with us in some way or another throughout the day. We've got the split walkthroughs today, AM and PM, and they'll be out here with us. We'll see what they can do after moving around with the trainers. That will obviously build into tomorrow with what they can do in practice and if we'll move them around full speed.
Q: Was Adoree' an aggravation of what he was dealing with last week? He was limited on the practice report. In the game –
A: I'm going to leave the exact diagnosis on the injury alone, but obviously he's dealing with a leg deal right there. We'll see where he's at.
Q: Is it accurate to say you guys have a full grasp of what the nature of Daniel's injury is right now?
A: The doctors do and they communicate with us and I take the information and I apply it directly into what we can do with him.
Q: At right tackle, at least the question I get from fans that I'm going to ask you – why is (Tackle) Nate (Solder) still starting? You always talk about long-term, you've got a young guy like (Tackle Matt) Peart who you guys seemed high on earlier in the year, so why has he not taken that role?
A: We're pleased with the way Nate's really progressed throughout this year and how he's playing for us right now. He's a guy who comes out and works tirelessly. Matt's doing a good job progressing in his career, as well. We look to involve him, as well. We're using Matt in a lot of jumbo tight end type of situations. He's expanded on his roles there. We've worked with him early in the year in terms of some guard stuff. Really, his home at tackle is where he's progressing, but he's given us contributions along the way as we go. Talking specifically about Matt, we do expect him to play throughout different situations and different games. Nate's taken the lion's share of a lot of the reps, but Matt's always going to be prepared and expect to play.
Q: Is there anything more you need to see from Matt?
A: No, we just expect all of our players to come out, work hard every day and improve.
Q: Where's (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph at?
A: He's the same as everybody else. He'll be out here with the trainers today kind of moving around. We'll see where he's at. I know Kyle's a guy that's kind of pushing to get out there as fast he can. We'll see how he moves around today.
Q: What's the hat?
A: I lost a bet, so this is (Tight End) Evan Engram, Ole Miss. Had we pulled it out, he would be standing back here ringing a bell today. What do I say? A bet's a bet.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: How are you feeling?
A: Feeling good, feeling good. Just getting better every day and trying to listen to what the trainers and doctors are telling me, but I'm doing good.
Q: Were you in a lot of pain on Sunday after that hit early in the game?
A: I felt okay during the game. Just kind of after the game some soreness. But like I said, I'm feeling better now.
Q: Is there a chance that you could play Sunday?
A: I think I'm going through the week preparing to play and getting myself ready to play, listening to the trainers and doctors. My job is to be ready to play, so I'll go through the week like I always do.
Q: What needs to happen in order for you to be able to play?
A: I think there are a number of things just the trainers and doctors want to see, but that's not really – my focus is to continue to improve and get better, and then put that in their hands come this weekend.
Q: Is there anything you can do or is it just a matter of going to get more tests and actually getting clearance?
A: I think it's just sticking to their rehab process and the recovery process to try to show that I'm ready to play.
Q: On the play that you got hurt on, could you have done a better job of sliding and giving yourself up there?
A: I think which exact play or when it happened, I'm not sure. I woke up and it was sore. After the game it was sore, so that's something I've focused on all year.
Q: Are you limited in what you can do at the moment or is it just a pain tolerance type of thing?
A: Just kind of following the trainers' instruction. Obviously, there's no contact and my practices don't have much contact anyway, so I'm practicing and getting ready to play.
Q: But you can throw and turn side to side and all that? The neck's not limiting you physically, right?
Q: Your athleticism has always been one of your best tools. How do you balance using that to your advantage, but also making sure you're protecting yourself at the same time? Is that a difficult thing to do?
A: I think it can be, but it's something I've been focused on this season, to do that and to get down and to avoid some of those hits. I've just got to continue to do that and it can be tough at times, but it's something you've got to be able to do.
Q: Is there still some unknown about what your injury is?
A: No, I think we have a pretty clear understanding of what it is. It's just about treatment and trusting the process and the recovery process.
Q: Is a big problem side to side? Like when you're driving, is it hard to look one side or the other? What's the main difficulty?
A: I think it's just sore. Like I said, I'm feeling much better today and expect I'll continue to feel better and better every day.
Q: How much concern was there when they first looked at it that this could be something that potentially keeps you out for a while?
A: I don't know. I think there was obviously a series of tests and conversations with doctors. I always understood it to be something I could recover from and get back out there.
Q: So, you have a strained neck?
Q: Anything beyond that or is that it?
A: That's it.
Q: If you do miss a game this Sunday, what's your optimism level that it will be just one missed game and then back in L.A.?
A: My focus is to get back this week and do everything I can to prepare to play Sunday. That's where my focus is right now.
Q: You're playing against a team that does like to throw a lot of blitzes at quarterbacks. When you see them on film, what is your concern level of dealing with that aggressive defense?
A: I think they do a good job of pressuring quarterbacks. They bring a lot of pressure, like you said. It's about having a plan to handle that, to get the ball out of your hands and opportunities to make plays behind that stuff. I know we'll be ready and prepared for that going in.
Q: Is the typical treatment ice, stim, heat? Can you get a shot to loosen up your neck if need be?
A: I think there's a whole series of things you can do as far as a treatment process. You mentioned a few of them and as far as a shot, I don't think that's been talked about.
Q: Your predecessor, (Former Giants Quarterback) Eli (Manning), often talked about the responsibility of being out there for your teammates and feeling the weight of that responsibility. Is that something that's important to you? Do you feel that same weight?
A: Yeah, I certainly do. I think I feel that responsibility to be out there. You never want to miss games. As a quarterback, you never want to miss any time. My focus is to get back and to be ready to play.
Q: When you looked at the offense the other day, there was obviously, like I said, wrinkles. But (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) said there was a lot of emphasis on getting the ball to specific playmakers. How much did you realize that and was it something you were cognizant of as you kind of went along there?
A: I think I realized it pretty early in the week as far as the game plan and what we were trying to do, getting the ball to certain guys, and plays were designed to get the ball to them. You're thinking about that throughout the game as plays are called and coming in. Obviously, there's a read and you've got to understand what the defense is doing. But I'd say I was pretty cognizant of what we were trying to do.
Q: How different is that from what you were doing before in that regard? Is it just you looking at those guys more or just pre-planned saying, 'Hey, we have to get the ball to this guy on the play'?
A: You never want to say you have to get the ball here because it kind of takes the read or what the defense is doing or how they're playing. That's always going to be the deciding factor in making those decisions. There was certainly an emphasis throughout the week and during the game on getting guys the ball.
Defensive Back Logan Ryan
Q: Tell us about what the 10 days you were out were like and what the emotions were like having to sit out two games?
A: Fortunately, I was vaccinated so my bout with COVID wasn't too bad. It was pretty mild. Mentally it was the toughest part just not being there. I had hopes and thoughts and prayers that I could make it to both games. I thought it was a possibility and I packed my equipment for both. I did everything I could to try to get a negative test and I actually did, but it was just too close to game time. Trust me, I wanted to pull up in the parking lot with my uniform on and run in, right before kickoff, but the NFL doesn't allow it based on protocols and stuff like that. Very fortunate for me and my family that it wasn't too bad. But it is going around, I encourage people to treat it serious and encourage people vaccinated or not, stay masked up and keep doing everything we can because it's still going around. Very fortunate though.
Q: What symptoms did you have and what were you able to do for 10 days?
A: My symptoms were mild. I had sinus-related symptoms. I was congested and I had some headaches and some body aches and that was it. It was a few days. I was doing everything I could holistically, not what (Packers Quarterback) Aaron Rodgers was doing, but I was taking vitamins and drinking water. Then what I did for conditioning and all that, I had my kids home, I was bouncing on the trampoline two hours a day with them. You can't do much. It was 30 degrees outside, so I said, 'let's get some conditioning,' so we went on the trampoline. I threw my kids up in the air. I did tackling practice with my kids and I just did everything I could to be prepared to play if I had to. Fortunately, I recovered pretty quickly and I'm back here to get my wind back and back with the guys and I'm very excited to be back. They're happy to have me back, so it's always good.
Q: Is there anything you feel like you have to get back to strength-wise, agility?
A: No, strengths been good. Just reps, man. I'm a high-rep guy. I'm a guy that likes to take a lot of reps in practice. I just like to be there, man. Fortunately, in my career, I've missed very few games. I had a streak going on here of 24 games straight or whatever, so I don't miss games often. It was very weird. My family went to the Eagles game and I didn't go, so it was very weird that everyone was going to the game and I was staying at home. It just was very weird and different, but the guys stepped up. The guys played great, held it down for me. (It was) very encouraging. We've got a lot of young guys on our team, on our defense especially, that have just grown up. My safety room, the guys, pups, they've grown up and they're doing great. (Safety Xavier McKinney) Zay is playing as good as any safety in the league right now. We're all chasing him, and (Safety) Julian's (Love) exactly what Julian Love is, the ultimate player that can play any role, any piece that you need to build a team. He's a guy that plays 10, 12 years in the league, a Julian Love, a guy with that versatility and dependability.
Q: Do you know how you got COVID?
A: Do I know how?
A: I don't know. If I do, I'm going to find the person (laughs). But I don't know. I was living life how everyone else was and I was vaccinated. My wife was vaccinated. Even my daughter was vaccinated at six-years old. It was just, unfortunately came across this.
Q: Have you gotten your booster yet?
A: I haven't gotten my booster yet. I just got up eligible to get it. I don't know, but I feel like the boosters are important because I think after six months or so it kind of wears down and I'm seeing a lot more people get it who have been vaccinated over six months ago.
Q: I would imagine if you could miss 15 games and play in two, these last two would've been the ones you would've picked?
A: Yeah, I had them marked off. But when you play as long as I have, I have connections with every team. I know this team, I like this game. We need it. It's going to be a good challenge out there in the heat. I know (Dolphins Head Coach) Brian Flores really well. I know (Dolphins Co-Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach) George Godsey really well. I know (Dolphins Defensive Coordinator) Josh Boyer, he was my coach in New England. So those three guys are coordinators, they were like running my scout team when I was on scout team in New England, so I know those guys really well. I know how they think. They know how I think. They know how our coaches think. It's going to be a lot of familiarity on how the programs are run, how the defenses are run and the emphasis on getting the ball and playing physical. It's going to be a good battle of kind of some programs who are kind of run at the top very similarly in what they preach.
Q: You've played in 15 postseason games, you know what a playoff team looks like probably better than anyone around here. When you look at this team, if there's reason for hope, what is that reason?
A: Last game. A playoff team needs to be a team that's resilient. It doesn't matter how it went, I've talked plenty, plenty of times. I've gone into the playoffs 13-3. I was on a Tennessee team that was 2-4. We were 5-5 at one point. We fought our way back every game to make a run when it mattered and this is the time of the year, the urgency's up. This is the time of the year where you have to start playing well. A team like Miami, who lost six or seven straight, they just won four straight. They're playing as well as anybody in football right now at finding ways to win. A playoff team finds ways to win – ugly, pretty, whatever it is. You have to find ways to win. Last week was a good example of that. Miami's been fine in that, so it'll be a good battle with them because it's all about you've got to play well at the right time, and this is the time that matters.
Q: Given your knowledge of Brian Flores, what would you tell your quarterback about how to attack a Flores defense?
A: That pressure is coming. He's going to blitz, that's what they believe in and pressuring the quarterback. The playmakers in this league have gotten a lot better throughout the years. We have a lot of them and getting those guys the ball in space and making them miss tackles, it's going to come down to tackling when you blitz a lot. Can you tackle the guy in open field or not? We have some guys that can make people miss, so our playmakers need to do that.
Q: I'm sure you hated being home alone obviously watching the game. Did you learn anything? You're looking differently, you're not on the sideline. Did you learn anything about your team?
A: Yeah, I loved the resilience. It's like I said, a lot of guys stepped up. It was a great performance for resilience's sake. I learned when you're in it, when you go to work every day, you put your head down and you stay in it, I was really much of a perfectionist this year trying to do everything right, trying to be there, trying to lead by example every game that went good or bad. I tried to adjust for the team the next game and I just saw what my role was when I was out – to bring energy, to be a contagious leader, being infectious and be resilient and to keep leading the guys play in and play out. Whether I play perfect or not, the guys need my leadership, the guys need me there. It's not about a missed tackle or not, it's about how you respond the next play because the game wasn't perfect, but our guys found a way to make the plays in the end. I felt like I kind of felt my role and what it needs to be. That's what it's going to be going forward is the guy who's contagious in my energy and picking everyone up around me.
Q: There were times when (Running Backs Coach) Burton Burns was out, he said he was watching the game and that he wanted to jump through the TV. Were there any moments like that for you?
A: Yeah, when I saw the clip of (Buccaneers Quarterback) Tom Brady saying, 'Cover 2' in the middle of his drop back. That's when I wish I was there to help disguise that a little bit better. It's well documented how smart he is and that was a game that he studied a lot. He needed his team, he needed to play well, and I think his approach was, I'm not going to try go crazy. I'm going to take what the defense gives me and get my guys in positive plays. That's what my approach needs to be on defense is get the guys, it's not about making every play. Allow Zay to be Zay, allow Julian to be Julian, allow JB (Cornerback James Bradberry) to be JB and get our defense into positive plays and do what we need to do. I really wish I was there for that one because it was, Tom Brady was very good at reading us that game and I thought I could have made a difference there. At the end of the day, it was out of my control, it was taken from me. My brother said it to me best, if you're feeling well and you've got to do the time, it's like going to jail, man. Do the time, don't let the time do you. I was trying to take advantage of that time. I couldn't do anything about it.
Q: Have you gotten the sense over the years given that you did catch Tom Brady's last pass as a Patriot, that he wanted to compete against you again or he was even upset that a former teammate's the one that did that to him to end his career in New England?
A: If it had to be anybody, man, why not me? I mean, I don't know, that play, we talk about it a lot. That's good for a Jeopardy! question, but that's years ago. He's obviously got it back. He won the Super Bowl the next year at a new place and he's obviously moved on, I've moved on and I look to play against him again. Who knows if it's our last pass? We might see him in the playoffs. I'm really excited to keep competing. It just shows you that you can keep doing it if you keep putting that mind and time in. Taking my 10 days off, it showed me how much I love football, how much I really missed it and really still want to be here for my teammates and still do it for years to come. I was excited and encouraged and energized obviously, sitting here doing a 15-minute press conference, 40 minutes after practice. I obviously really missed this and my role on this team.
Q: When you look at Xavier, have you seen a guy go from one place to another over a year? He just looks like a different player this year.
A: Yeah, I would say so. That's how close anybody can be from being at the highest level, just consistency. Zay in the beginning of the year was getting to the ball, he just wasn't catching it. Now he's catching it, he's got great range. No other safety in the NFL has four or five picks out of the post. That's really hard to do. It's a lot of range, it's a lot of instincts and that means you're really playing well and playing free. I'm excited for Zay, but he's not stopping here. He's still out here early, he's still putting work in and I'm excited to play along with him and see at the peak of our powers what we can be and really help lead our team and lead our defense. He's a leading force now. He's not a young player who's just trying to do his part. He's a leading force in what we do and the reason why we're playing well defensively is because of Xavier McKinney and other people along with him. He's definitely a leader of the charge.