Transcripts: Joe Philbin Conference Call: Week 14

*Head Coach Joe Philbin

(Opening Statement) "I think a lot of things I said last night about the game still remain true. It was a hard-fought game, a division game on the road. I think the positives were we were able to score 10 points in the fourth quarter and really the last couple minutes of the game we were able to make plays in all three phases. We made plays on offense. Caleb (Sturgis) had a great kickoff. We had been trying to keep the ball away from (Percy) Harvin the entire night. (Sturgis) really had his best kick of the night there. Our defense got a takeaway."

(On how concerned he is from what he's seen from the run defense) "Sure, we have to tackle better. This game is not overly complicated. If you can run the ball that effectively, they are going to continue to do that. We have to improve, without a doubt."

(On if tackling is the big issue in run defense) "Yeah, and again you have to give them some credit. They had a couple of good schemes. Some of the reverses they took advantage. We play with good speed on defense and that's by design. You have to give them some credit. They had a couple of well-designed plays. The Chris Johnson run especially, that's a standard play that you can't let get out for 47 yards. You look at that play and you would say, 'Boy, the tackling wasn't very good there.'"

(On if he would reconsider the defensive line rotation to help the run defense) "I wouldn't rule anything out, but that being said we kind of had a plan all along to get a number of different guys (on the field). I think if you watch film across the league, that's pretty consistent with a lot of the teams. Certainly we are only going to play guys we feel are worthy that earn the playing time. We will kind of consider that as we move forward, but again I wouldn't rule anything out."

(On why tackling is suddenly a troubled area of the defense) "When you watch the tape a couple of instances, it's not every single time we go to tackle, but it's just some of the basic fundamentals have been missing at times, whether a guy leaves his feet when he doesn't have to, maybe he doesn't wrap up when he should wrap up with his arms. Maybe he doesn't accelerate his feet on contact. There are a lot of different things that have shown up, and usually as is always the case, it's never necessarily one thing. It's not every single play obviously because we had some fine tackles out there. But we spent a little time on it last week, and we will continue to address it and work on it. It's one of the core fundamentals of football that we all know."

(On TE Dion Sims' game evolving from an all-around nature) "I couldn't agree with you more. It's his second year, and he's starting to really make a positive impact and a positive contribution, not that he hasn't before but it's probably been more noticeable. We've been asking him to do in his second year more things than he did maybe in his first year. He's shown up in the passing game more. He's got very good hands, as last night was evidence. He made a couple of catches that were critical in the ball game. I like the trend that he is on. The staff has a lot of confidence in him. His teammates have a lot of confidence in him. He's getting better."

(On QB Ryan Tannehill's fifth game in a row completed more than 70 percent of his passes) "Well it's a lot of hard work on him and the players around him that work. We've been talking a lot about being detailed in everything we are doing, especially in the passing game to me is always about the spacing, timing, the rhythm and the trust that the quarterback knows exactly where his receivers are going to be so he could let the ball out because as you know he doesn't have all day to sit back there and determine where to go with the football. I think a lot of those things, I think it's Ryan is throwing the ball better. I think his receivers are helping him better. I think at times the protection has been better too. That's certainly something we need to keep working on too."

(On if he sees QB Ryan Tannehill's confidence growing) "Sure, yeah I think he feels better when he comes off the field. He has a pretty good command of what he's doing. I think he feels like he's in control when he's out on the field, which is very important at that position."

(On what point he talks to his team about the playoff picture) "We have seven wins now. We've talked to them more so about the month of December and the importance of each and every game in December. This one that we have coming up, Baltimore, both on paper and on film, is as good as team as we've seen. They are in the top 10 in scoring defense and scoring offense. They are aware. There is a lot of stimulus out there that they can tap into that their generation is more used to tapping into than mine, but really we have some things (to focus on). It was a great team win last night. There are a lot of things we are going to come back, buckle down and go to work. It is great to be coming home and playing a home game this weekend."

(On if not trying to win four games at once becomes the message to the team) "Yeah, we're going to have our hands full with this one. We're going to have to play extremely well. We're going to have to play better than we did on Monday night against this team coming in, without a doubt."

(On if he emphasizes the tie breaker importance of this game to the team) "We haven't gotten that far. The focus is going to be more on, how can we get better? How can we improve? How can we play an outstanding football game Sunday at one o'clock? If we take care of that stuff, all the other things, I don't want to them to get bogged down with tie breakers and this and that. I told the team, I think what happens in December a lot is sometimes you get caught up with what the other teams are doing. We need this team to do that, we need this team to do that and you start losing focus on what you have to do."

(On if DE Cameron Wake's sack last night was an indication of him getting stronger as the game went on) "Absolutely. I think it was that and I think it was just our defense deciding it was time to step up and make some plays, really, to determine the outcome of the game. I think that was as much as anything, that's what it was."

(On if he has any injury updates from yesterday) "No, I haven't."

(On if he's received an update on WR Brian Hartline) "No, I haven't."

(On if he expects any roster moves) "If there is, we'll certainly let you know."

(On how concerned he is about wide receiver depth given that WR Brian Hartline was injured yesterday) "Again, I don't really want to speculate yet because I'm not sure where we're at on that whole thing."

(On he wants more consistency from K Caleb Sturgis or if he is pleased with where he is at) "Sure, I'd like to think every single time we stroll out there and kick a field goal, I think every coach would tell you they want the kicker to make the field goal. That's something we're going to continue working with him on, every day at practice. Absolutely."

Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle

(On the defense digging in at a critical moment to seal the game last night) "The first thing I'd like to say is how proud I am of the way the guys kept their resolve and kept their composure during the course of the game. When we had to come up with plays to win the game, we were able to do that. I think we showed a lot of character and it was, I think, a noticeable growth in our team overall, to be in a game like that. We've been in some, maybe not quite the way that game went, but where we weren't able to keep it together and finish the way we wanted to. I'm really proud of the way they did that in the game. Staying, like I said, composed. Making the adjustments we needed to make and going out there and doing what we needed to do. With that being said, disappointed in the way we started the game. We've got to do a better job that way. There's no question about it. Numerous guys stepped up when we really needed them to. Whether that was in the kicking game or on defense that enabled us to come away with the victory."

(On what he was seeing in the first half where the New York Jets ran for over 200 yards) "It was like a bad dream. To give you a summary of how I'm looking at it right now, having gone back and having watched it a couple of times now, number one, they hit three reverses, each of them about 20 yards a piece. The first one got us, it was early in the game, I think it was the second play in the game. Then they had the long run where we missed tackles. It was a heck of a run, that guy has done that before, but we can't miss tackles. We missed at least three tackles on the play which would have been a five-yard gain, it turned into a 40-somtheing-yard gain. Then they hit, one of the reverses was a second and long, the grouping that they had in the game had been a passing grouping and we anticipated, it was second-and-10 actually, and I called a blitz, which didn't put us in a great situation against the reverse. That one got out on us. It was like, geez, they had some good timely calls, we didn't. So that put us behind the eight ball. But when you look at the stats, you can twist at them any way you want. I'm, not going to defend the fact that we gave up 210 yards in the first half. With that being said, they had 25 additional carries in the first half. They ran the ball almost every play of the game. They had 105 yards for the remaining 25 carries, which was a 4.2 yard average, which was a half a yard less averaging going into the game. They were averaging 4.7. They're one of the better running teams in the league to start out with. When you combine the rest of the game, with the three reverses and the missed tackles on the other play out of the equation, they got 45 carries for 172 yards for 3.8 yard average. Now, you can't dismiss those plays. But what I'm trying to point out is, nothing is as good as it seems, nothing is as bad. We weren't as bad as what comes off initially. We've got to fix some of the things that we need to fix in our run game, in terms of our run fits, in terms of dealing with some of these reverses. The Jets had nothing to lose as you know, so they came out and they did some things that they hadn't shown. They had run reverses, but not out of the actions that they showed last night. It's all part of the process. The best news I can say is, at the end of the day, we gave up 13 points."     

(On how he would describe the state of the run defense right now) "I think there are isolated break downs that we need to get fixed. Some of the plays that have broken out on us, like last night, were not your conventional run plays, when you're talking about reverses and things of the nature. We've got to get some of that cleaned up. Some of the other plays that we gave up during the course of the game, we really need to get back to basics and do a better job of fitting the run game. I believe we're going to do that."

(On how much he changed during the game and how much of the second half was just the players realizing it was time to bear down) "We tightened things down quite a bit. We knew we were going to get to the point where, early in a game you go on the basis of what a team has done. They were a running team, but they weren't exclusively a running team, they were throwing the ball. That was the big issue prior to our game that they threw it too much from what they were saying the week before. We knew they were going to run but we didn't anticipate that they were going to throw the ball 13 times in the game. Early on, a lot of the things were based on what they had done. By the time we got to halftime and looked at what they were doing, we just, look, we're going to defend the run and commit to doing X, Y and Z here to stop it, these are our best things. Players knew that, we knew that, we showed it on the overhead at halftime, these are the calls we're going to make, let's go stop them, make them have to throw the ball and fortunately we did."  

(On if fixing the run defense was as simple as bringing a safety down into the box) "Part of it. But to be honest with you, there were times in the first half where we were in the same configuration. But yeah, you get into overload situations where you have more players than the offense does blockers and you challenge them to go throw the football on the perimeter. They didn't get into that passing game until very late in the game."

(On what he sees as the cause of the missed tackles) "Usually missed tackling comes from fundamentals and being able to gather yourself, get under control and take the proper angle. We missed some yesterday in space. Again, you're talking about a guy like Chris Johnson who is one of the faster backs in the league, he can start and stop, he's an elusive guy. He hit that hole, he made a couple of guys miss and was off to the races there. But we've just got to continue to work on it. We worked last week. We tackled as an entire team last week. We tackled when we had our pads on in drills and we're going to continue to do that and hopefully do a better job."

(On how big a surprise LB Jelani Jenkins has been and what has been the key to his success) "I don't think it's a surprise. I think Jelani has really stepped up and taken on the challenge of being a leader on the defense. He's got very good athleticism, he's an instinctive player and finds the football. He continues to come up with plays when we need them. I just think he's finally gotten the opportunity and now he's running with it. We're pleased with his progress. There are still things that he could do better, there are things that he could have done better last night as he knows. But at the end of the day, he's playing at a high level for us."

(On what the tape showed on DE Cameron Wake's sack) "It showed a guy, we had talked prior to the game about the importance of there being points in the game where individual players were going to have to step up and make plays. That was something that has been missing a little bit for us at critical times late in games. I think Cam certainly took that to heart. When he came off the ball on that particular play, they had two players trying to block him and he literally ran over the top of both of them with a fierce determination to go and make the sack. He made it up in his mind that he was not going to be blocked. He literally ran through the wall to get to the quarterback and it was a huge play. There were other guys during the course of that game that stepped up and did similar things, where we stopped them on the third and one, that was a big play down in deep in our territory, when we stopped them coming off the goal line, those three plays coming off the goal line after we had them backed up coming off the goal line turned out to be a critical series. They actually lost yards on the drive, they punted, we got the ball on the 39 and that was our touchdown drive. You can go back and look at the game and obviously as a defensive coach we're going to be very critical on the areas that we didn't do what we know we're capable of doing. But as I stated earlier in this conference, there were a number of plays in that game that guys made that enabled us to win the game. Cam's was certainly a highlight one."  

(On what challenges the Baltimore Ravens present) "I see a very, very well rounded offensive football team with excellent skill players. They've got a veteran quarterback that has great composure, has as big arm, can make all of the throws, never gets flustered. I've seen him since he came in the league, having been at Cincinnati, we saw him twice a year when he was a rookie, [played against him on opening day when he started his first game. He's an outstanding player. Their offensive line works very well, they've got a good scheme with Coach (Gary) Kubiak coming from Houston. They've always been a good running football team and they're doing a great job with their back right now. It's a big time challenge. They've got excellent players, their tight end is a threat, they have receiving threats, running back has over 1,000 yards right now. This is a really good, balanced, offensive team. They can run it, they can throw it. They're scoring, they're sixth in the league in scoring right now, almost 28 points a game."

(On what led to his lineup decisions last night with the cornerbacks) "We went into the game with the idea that we were going to play three corners and see how things developed in certain packages. Jimmy (Wilson) being the most experienced of the group, we felt confident with the grouping we were starting the game in, that would be a good way to begin. Then as we went through the game, R.J. (Stanford), was the first guy in the game when we went to some of our substitution packages and Walt Aikens played some snaps during the course of the game. We wanted to get an evaluation of those guys being that the two younger guys haven't been there very much, but also having the security of knowing Jimmy was a guy that we could do certain things with, that has played a lot of snaps for us."  

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