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DOLPHINS: We Know We Can Win Close Games

Posted Nov 29, 2013

Transcripts of Ryan Tannehill's and Joe Philbin's conference calls with Jets reporters on Wednesday:

DOLPHINS QB RYAN TANNEHILL

On what he thinks have been the issues for the Jets defense on the deep ball this season...

I don’t know exactly. Deep ball covers a lot of things so it could be coverage, it could be the way one guy plays it, it could be a lot of things. We’re just trying to evaluate that and find our best matchups.

On if it would be a break if the Jets are missing Antonio Cromartie...

Well, he’s a good player. We have a lot of respect for him. Playing against him twice last year, seeing what he’s done on tape, he’s a good player, a veteran guy, been around a long time. He’s got a lot of length and breaks up a lot of passes.

On how the team has been able to get past the potential distractions...

It was a little bit of a distraction when it was all going on. At this point it’s all past us. We fought through, we stuck together as a team, and it’s passed us at this point. We’re just focused on what’s ahead and the five games we have in front of us, especially this Jets game we have this week.

On Ed Reed saying that he reminds him of a young Joe Flacco and if he’s ever gotten the Joe Flacco comparison before...

No.

On if that’s a comparison he likes...

I don’t know. I’m not much into comparisons. I have a lot of respect for Joe and the Super Bowl he won last year.

On what it is like in year 2 as an NFL quarterback, and if it’s a little tougher because teams have video on his playing style...

I think a little bit, they have tape on you, they know your strengths and weaknesses. It’s also our second year in this offense, so it’s the third time we’re playing this defense with this offense.

On if both teams are in desperation mode right now at -5-6...

I don’t think we’re desperate. We understand the implications and the situation we’re in right now. We have to win games, and we understand that and it’s going to be a tight race. All we can control is one game at a time. That’s what we have to do is take it one game at a time and win the game that’s in front of us.

On how it feels to be involved in eight games decided by four points or fewer...

We’ve been in situations eight times now so if it comes up again, which it most likely will at some point, we’ve been there and we know we can win. We know that it’s a one- or two-play difference that determines those games. We don’t want to be in the close games like that — we’d rather score more points and be out in front — but in the NFL that doesn’t happen a whole lot. You’re going to be in a lot of tight games and we understand that it’s going to come down to the fourth quarter in most games so we have to be able to make those plays.

On how he’s feeling physically...

I feel good, I feel good. Obviously, 11 games under the belt, so it’s not like day one but I feel good and ready to keep playing.

On tight end Charles Clay...

Charles is a really fun guy to play with. He’s explosive, creates mismatches on linebackers and safeties — he’s a real weapon for our offense. Like every game, we want to look to get him involved.

On his mindset with a short career as a college QB leading into his NFL career...

Yeah, it’s been kind of crazy, but at this point I feel comfortable, I’m growing at the position, I’m growing as a quarterback, and that’s all I can do right now is just keep the course and try to improve.

On if he can empathize with Geno Smith about how hard it is being an NFL rookie...

Yeah, it’s a tough league. It’s the NFL for a reason and there are very talented players at this level so it’s a tough learning curve and you have to get adapted quickly.

On how he feels his chemistry with Mike Wallace is at this point...

I feel like we’re headed in the right direction. We’re constantly growing that chemistry, growing that communication. Just being on the same page, we finally were able to hit a few deep balls this last week so we look to build on that.

DOLPHINS HEAD COACH JOE PHILBIN

On what he’s seen from the Jets defense in terms of defending the deep ball...

I like the way their defense is playing. They’re playing well, it’s a well-coached unit. [Antonio] Cromartie is obviously an excellent corner, they’ve got a younger guy playing corner who’s doing a good job and developing nicely. They made a position move at safety but it’s a good defense, they’re playing well.

On what has led to the recent success of Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace...

We were able to get him by the defense a couple of times last week. One of them was a movement pass, one time on a scramble, and another time just on a dropback. He’s obviously got good documented speed and he was able to get by the defense and we had enough protection. Sometimes we had a little difficulty during the course of the season with our protection and obviously if you’re going to throw the ball down the field, that takes a little bit of extra time, and sometimes we’ve had it and sometimes we haven’t. So it was nice to see him connect a couple times.

On what he’s seen from Geno Smith...

He’s a young quarterback who’s got a lot of ability. As you see during the course of the games you watch, you see him developing and progressing. He’s got a strong arm. You can see him throw the vertical balls, you can see him throw in-breaking routes and out-breaking routes, he’s got arm strength to throw the comeback routes on the sideline, those types of things. I was watching today in the red zone, he threw a nice, what we call a "shake route" from one hash to the opposite corner of the end zone. He’s got really good arm strength and I think it looks like he’s picking up their system well and he adds that extra component. The guy is an athlete, he can move, he can extend plays, so he’s doing some good things for them.

On if he can explain why Smith hasn’t played well lately...

I don’t know of anything specific. I know that we had a rookie playing last year and there was a stretch of two or three games where sometimes you see new things, different things. I think once you get that experience and those repetitions, you benefit from them. I certainly remember we had a couple of games last year with a rookie quarterback where things just didn’t go quite as smooth. You watch the tape and you see the ability, and it’s there.

On how much of a difference it will make to have C Mike Pouncey back...

We’ll see how things go during the course of the week. He’s a good football player, he’s a competitive guy, he loves to play. He’s one of the guys, as you know when you’re building an offensive line you want to be good down the middle, and I think he gives us the opportunity to do that. That being said, we thought Nate Garner came in, stepped in and really did a nice job.

On how the offensive line as a group is performing...

We’ve had some transition and these guys, the thing I like about our offensive line is they come out on the practice field every single day and they’re very professional and they go to work and they spend time on the fundamentals. They want to get better and the last couple weeks I think there has definitely been improvement. I’m excited about the potential here for the month of December to get them to jell and play their best football of the year.

On if playing many close games has toughed up the Dolphins...

We certainly have been in our share of close games. I think that leads the league by two if I’m not mistaken. I think the next closest team maybe has six games in that category, I could be wrong. The thing we’ve been stressing to our guys is, the good news is that we’ve been playing consistently and competing hard and providing ourselves with opportunities to win games in the fourth quarter. I want to say our record is 4-4 in those eight contests.

What we have to do, we have to find a way to execute better and make more plays in the fourth quarter of games. There’s only one game that we really didn’t have a chance and that was against New Orleans and we kind of had four giveaways and that was that. The other 10 games we’ve been right there, every single one of them, but we have to play better in the fourth quarter here in the month of December, that’s for sure.

On what it has been like to navigate through everything over the last month...

Well, we have a great staff and a real committed organization, starting with our owner, Stephen Ross. We go to work every single day and the beauty of the National Football League is you know you have 16 regular-season games. You stay focused at the task at hand, I think we have an excellent group of men in the locker room, they’re very professional, and we go about our business and I think our guys have been ready to play every week. And obviously we’re going to need to be ready to play on Sunday at one o’clock.

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