MIA Post-Game Quotes

Head Coach Brian Flores

(This is the Dolphins’ first shutout since 2014. What was the key to shutting down the Jets today?) – “I think we had a good week of practice. I think (Defensive Coordinator) Josh (Boyer) called a great game, did a good job getting those guys ready to play, and then the players played well. We got contributions from a lot of different guys. A lot of guys made plays, and they played for 60 minutes. I’m proud of that effort. That’s the focus we need really throughout the week, and then you’ve got to execute and play well in the game, which I thought they did. But our defensive staff, Josh, (Defensive Backs Coach) Gerald Alexander, (Linebackers Coach Anthony) Campanile, (Defensive Line Marion) Hobby, those guys, I know I’m leaving a couple guys out, but those guys do a great job. They really worked at it this week, showed up on the field.”

(I just want to know, that sack by DE Emmanuel Ogbah to take the Jets out of field goal range there in the fourth quarter, just could you explain how excited the sideline was for that, knowing that it had been such a long time, and since you guys have had a shutout, how satisfying it is to go out there and get a shutout?) – “I think there’s a lot of … These guys like playing together, so when other guys make plays, whether it’s offense, defense, special teams, you see a lot of excitement, a lot of energy. Guys were excited for Ogbah to make a play. Guys were excited about the situation, of getting a stop and getting them out of field goal range, and they were excited about the potential to get a shutout. That’s what I like to see, guys enjoying kind of the process of working through the week, prep and preparing, walk throughs, meeting, practice, and then going out and executing on a Sunday afternoon. I think they’re just happy for each other and kind of reaping some of the fruits of their labor.”

(I know last week we talked to you about putting QB Tua Tagovailoa in the game and obviously you did this game. What sort of went into that decision, and what did you see out of him in his two minutes of garbage time?) – “Well Cam (Wolfe) you can take credit for that. You had a great idea, so I listened to you. But I think he went in and had a run play, threw a couple passes, got some — just got some playing time. It was a situation where we could do it. I guess I listened to you, Cam, so you can take credit for that one.”

(Back to the defense, when CB Xavien Howard is on top of his game, how much more complete does he make the secondary and also just the entire defense?) – “I thought it was a really good team defensive effort. ‘X’ (Xavien Howard) played well, Byron (Jones) played well, Nik Needham played well, (Zach) Sieler, Elandon Roberts, so it’s a team effort. I know ‘X’ had the big play there with the interception, but it was a good rush, it was good coverage. It’s never just one guy. It’s a lot of things coming together, good calls by (Defensive Coordinator) Josh (Boyer) and then good execution and good play by ‘X’ in that situation, but good play by a lot guys in a lot of other situations. We need everybody to play well. We got a fair amount of that today, from ‘X’ as well as a lot of other guys, and that’s what you need in this league against the caliber of players we see on a weekly basis.”

(You’re going into the bye now at .500. If you could take stock of where this team is now, what would you say?) – “We’ll use the bye week and kind of self-reflect on the first six weeks of the season. I don’t think right now … I’d rather do that with all the information than going through that, and that’ll take us really through the end of the week, how we’re doing offensively, run game, play action, third down, two-minute, red zone, same thing defensively, same thing in the kicking game, evaluate the roster. But I think we’re happy to win today, happy to play well today. That’s kind of … As far as taking stock, that’s kind of where my thoughts are. Some things we could have done better, but we’re excited about getting a win against a division opponent.”

(I think when people remember that moment that QB Tua Tagovailoa ran on the field, they’re also going to remember QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s reaction to that moment. He was just hyping up the crowd, hyping up Tua. What does that say about their relationship and kind of them as people?) – “I didn’t know that, but that doesn’t surprise me. The two … Those guys have a great relationship. They root for each other. Those are some of the relationships that are building really throughout the team. You like to see that. Hopefully when you watch them play, people see that. It’s nice to hear that. I didn’t actually see it, but I know there was some excitement once he went in, and I’m happy for Tua. But I like hearing that.”

(I wanted to ask you about RB Myles Gaskin. Obviously, this week the flirtation with RB Le’Veon Bell, do you think that got his attention, the reason why he contributed 126 yards or was just the run game finally got going?) – “I think he’s been playing well really these first six weeks. Look, most guys are … I know the guys on our team, they’re motivated to play, period, so I don’t think we need any extra motivation. Myles is a motivated kid. It’s important to him. I wouldn’t take much stock in that. But I thought he played well. I thought we ran the ball effectively at times. But like everything else, we can improve in a lot of areas, and we’ll work towards that. But Myles is tough, he’s competitive, and he’s been productive. Hopefully we keep going on that, keep building.”

(We saw some contributions from LB Sam Eguavoen today, your linebacker. Just wanted to get your take on him stepping up into a role and a couple of guys went down. We saw LB Kamu Grugier-Hill and LB Andrew Van Ginkel leave the game. Talk about the depth of your linebacker corps and his performance today.) – “We had a couple guys get nicked up in the game. Sam is a guy who obviously was here last year, can play multiple positions, plays in the kicking game, very smart, tackles well, can set an edge, hasn’t gotten as many opportunities as maybe he did a year ago, but his number was called today and he was ready to go and made some plays for us early and got a lot of snaps. That’s what we need. Some guys get nicked up and we need the next guy to step up and be effective. Our level of play can’t go down because we have an injury because injuries happen in this league, and we talk about that. We talk about guys having to be ready. Sam did a really good job of that today. But I’ve got to go back and watch the film. I’m sure there were some things that could have been better, but just my recollection of the game right now is that he went in there and played pretty effectively.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick

(I know there’s a lot to get to with the game, but I just wanted to ask this question, because QB Tua Tagovailoa looked like he just came back on to the field to kind of soak in the moment. He was sitting on the 10 or the 15 for a few minutes. Could you just talk about what you think of him getting in meant to him, to finally see some playing time?) – “I think he was happy to be out there. It was nice to get a couple throws in, too, the naked in your own end zone, getting the easiest of plays, and he went in and completed that one and then completed the third down. I think that was a cool moment for him, just the reception, too, of the fans that were here and everybody on the sideline. We were all excited to see him get out there.”

(Kind of piggy-backing on the same idea about the relationship and people getting excited, Head Coach Brian Flores just told us that the relationship with you and QB Tua Tagovailoa is kind of emblematic of the entire team. I’m curious how you perceive how the way this locker room gels and bonds together compared to the previous 16 years of your NFL career?) – “I would say we’re still a work in progress, but we’re definitely heading in the right direction. We’ve brought in a lot of new guys this offseason and I think we’ve brought in the right kind of guys, and everybody has really meshed well. Even a couple weeks ago sitting at 1-3 not really feeling sorry for ourselves but continuing to work, and now to get a couple in a row and sitting at 3-3 going into the bye, it’s a good feeling for us, and I think we’re coming together as a team.”

(How would you assess how you played today? Obviously, you had three touchdowns in the first half, also you had the two picks. How would you assess your day?) – “First half we kind of got the lead there. We had a good two-minute drive going at the end, and that’s a throw I can’t make. We had points on the board, trying to force one to Mike (Gesicki) in the end zone. And then the second half was a little bit frustrating offensively, I think, for all of us, just trying to grind it out and hand it off and didn’t really get the results we wanted in the second half doing some of that stuff, but it was fun to sit back and watch our defense play today.”

(I wanted to ask you this question about RB Myles Gaskin. You seem to have a pretty close relationship to him. Do you think that Miami’s flirtation with RB Le’Veon Bell and their pursuit of him motivated him? What do you attribute his career game to today?) – “Part of it was opportunity, part of it was what the defense – the way that they were playing us and sort of inviting the run a little bit. But he’s a guy that has just continued to work really hard and just the improvement that he made from last year to this year is awesome. Not just in running the ball but the way he catches it and his confidence in the huddle. We’re always out there cheering for Myles and he wants to get better every single day, and I think that’s why you’ve seen such a great jump for him this year.”

(What do you do with the second half of the season now that you’re .500? How do you move forward now?) – “I think hopefully we’ll carry some of this momentum and continue to play well on both sides of the ball. As I’m sitting here and there’s a bunch of defensive guys getting ready to get interviewed, that’s a very good sign. They played their tails off.”

Myles Gaskin

(Obviously you had a career game today, 126 all-purpose yards. I wanted to ask you, did Miami’s flirtation or pursuit of RB Le’Veon Bell contribute to anything that went into this week of preparation for you?) – “No.”

(This team has been looking for a back for a long time to do what you did today, to be able to kind of carry the load and get over 100 yards. What gives you confidence that you can be that guy, that three-down back for this team going forward?) – “Just the guys up front. Obviously ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick), those guys just kind of instill confidence in me, just how they practice, how they go about it every day, how much we talk and communicate on a day-to-day basis. (You’re) just coming in more comfortable, when you’re playing with guys (where) you know what they’re going to be doing and you know where they’re going to be. So that’s how I feel about it.”

(Kind of want to continue on that same train of thought with the offensive line. A couple weeks ago, you lose T Austin Jackson and G/T Robert Hunt steps right in. What can you say about the way the offensive line has continued chugging along with changing out a body like that?) – “Those guys work hard every day. (They are a) very talented group of guys, and very – usually when you see that group of guys that are very talented, sometimes they’re not coachable; but those guys are coachable and they’re not afraid to speak up. Like when I’m in the wrong or say I hit the wrong hole, they’re going to tell me, ‘hey, Myles, what the hell you looking at,’ or something like that. (laughter) Those guys work hard every single day, and it motivates me to work hard for them.”     

(The stadium obviously got pretty loud there at the end and also on the sideline. What was that moment like to see QB Tua Tagovailoa get in there for a little bit?) – “It was great. It was great. A long time coming. I’m just excited for that guy. He’s a real good dude.”

(Continuously in the last couple weeks, you’ve been proving yourself week in and week out. What does it say for you and how you feel about the performances you’ve been able to turn in the last couple weeks?) – “Very thankful that the coaches are putting trust in me; but I think I can do a lot better personally, for myself and for this team. I just need to keep growing, and I think I’ve been on that path, just kind of learning from my mistakes each week and just trying to get better each and every day, not trying to be complacent at all. I give everything I can to this team and this organization.”

(Do you think that you have an opportunity between now and the end of the season to prove that you can be a lead back for this team?) – “Yeah.”

Xavien Howard

(Talk about the importance of those last two series of getting the shutout. You guys seemed very excited each time you were able to prevent them from scoring.) – “Yeah, man, that was great. We always talk about just finishing strong and I feel like we did that.”

(Obviously, that’s your fourth pick in as many games. How good are you feeling on the field and that urge to make that explosive play that changes the game?) – “Oh, man, I feel great, man, just coming off last year, a big injury. I’m just getting back to the things I’ve been doing and just playing ball.”

(You lead the NFL with four interceptions. How important is it for you to lead the league in interceptions when the season is over?) – “To tell you the truth, I wasn’t even paying attention to it. I’m just happy we got a win. That’s really it.”

(On that particular interception, it looked like you knew exactly what the receiver was going to do. Can you kind of explain how you positioned yourself to be in position to make the interception on that play?) – “A lot of teams (have) been giving me a lot of overs, especially when we (are) Cover 1, so they’ve been running away from me and they’ve been hard on me and I’ve been giving up a lot of overs, also. So just knowing what they’re going to do to me and just undercutting and just trusting the ball is right there.”

(Are you going to write a book before this is done on why you keep getting to the ball, how you do it?) – “Ball finds me, man.”

Emmanuel Ogbah

(Take us back to that big sack. I think 28 yards on QB Joe Flacco. What was that pursuit like to bring him down?) – “I know a couple of plays before I know I had missed him on one. I just knew he wasn’t going to get away from me this time, and I knew Eric Rowe pulled him up and he came back around, and I just saw him clear as day so I just took my shot.”

(That’s three consecutive games with a full sack for you now. What would you say is helping you bring your game together and really get the production on Sundays?) – “It’s just good film study, good coaching. Just let me go out there and do my thing and they trust me, I trust them. They put me in the right position to make plays.”

(You guys have really turned it on defensively over the last few weeks. What has been the difference from the first two weeks where you struggled a bit?) – “The first game we have to get used to working together, so I think it took us a little time, but I think we’re on the right path now. We just got to keep it going, keep building.

(You just talked about the right path. You lead the team right now in sacks with five. Is this kind of what you envisioned when you came to this team in the offseason, this is what you guys are capable of?) – “My goal every game is just to make plays to help my team win games. That’s why they brought me here, and that’s what I’m here to do.”

Adam Shaheen

(I’m wondering what role QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has played in what has happened since you’ve joined the team for you?) – “I mean ‘Fitz’ is just such a good leader for our locker room and being able to play with somebody that’s been doing it for so long at a high level, it’s awesome. It’s fun too because you see how much fun he’s having. It rubs off on everybody.”

(You had a long, I believe it was a 43-yard catch in the seam. Could you tell me if you knew the ball was probably going to come to you? What’s the behind-the-scenes stuff on that play?) – “No. I mean they snapped it and I don’t know if the defense was ready for them to snap it and I saw the middle just wide open and just kind of threw up my hand and Fitz saw me and made a play and of course I got hocked, so that’s great.”

(Hey Adam, two touchdowns in two games for you now. I got TE Durham Smythe in the end zone for his first career touchdown today. TE Mike Gesicki obviously catches plenty of touchdowns. Is there a bit of a competition between you guys and the receivers as far as who can get in the end zone the most?) – “I wouldn’t say that. I think we’re all just so happy that we’re putting points on the board however they come. We left some out there today so there’s still room for improvement big time.”

(You’re 3-3 at the bye, where is the direction of this team right now? Is the arrow up on the Miami Dolphins?) – “I think we’re playing with more confidence week by week and I think it’s going to carry over. It’s a good time for a bye week with the schedule change and come back after even stronger and healthier and see what we can do towards kind of the back half of the season.”

(You’ve always been able to catch the ball so this is nothing new. I know it’s just been a matter of health; but I wondered, TE Mike Gesicki mentioned Tight Ends Coach Godsey has helped him a lot. Has there been any area where Coach Godsey has helped develop your game that you’ve focused on working with him that you believe has improved?) – “I wouldn’t even say just – George as well as the other tight end coaches that we’ve had, they’re on us every day whether it’s run blocking, pass pro or route running. It’s been a total improvement, I think. It’s been really positive from all three of those guys. It’s been great.”

Tua Tagovailoa

(We just saw you out there on the 15-yard line. Could you walk us through what that moment was like, what you meant to come back out here and take it all in?) – “I think it was a very special moment for me because my parents weren’t here, so I couldn’t really remember where we ended our drive at, so I tried to sit close to where we ended our drive at, and I ended up FaceTiming my parents because they couldn’t be here. That’s usually how it goes. I usually talk to my parents after the game, and my parents usually never miss my game. That’s what I did, I went out there, and I talked to them. But yeah, that’s what that moment was about.”

(QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was giving you some flak for the first pass you threw. He said it was probably one of the easiest passes you could throw in the NFL. What did you think about that, and how did you feel out there from a health standpoint and finally having this moment to play?) – “I feel healthy. I think it was a great play call by (Offensive Coordinator) Chan (Gailey) to kind of get things going for me. It was an easy completion, and everyone can say that; I can roll out and throw it to someone who’s 2 yards down the field. But you’ve got to deal with pressure, and there’s just a lot going on in such a little play like that. But I think a lot of credit with that easy completion goes to Chan and then also goes to our o-line. Our o-line played their butts off today.”

(Two-part question for you: If there’s anything that you could possibly feel comfortable sharing with us over the conversation you had with your parents, it had to be a very warm conversation I would think, and also your feelings before you went in,. I saw you dancing with some of your teammates on the sideline. No butterflies at all before you went in?) – “I think you play this game for a good some, 22 years of my life and I’d say you take five years off of that, that’s how long I’ve been playing this sport. It wasn’t more so butterflies, it was just excitement to just get out there and see what plays that (Offensive Coordinator) Chan (Gailey) would give me to run with the offense. But it was really fun. I think the most important thing that came out of my conversation with my parents was just that they were happy to see me out there and playing again, especially with what happened last year prior to the injury and whatnot.”

(What was the feel for you as you jogged on? We saw QB Ryan Fitzpatrick on the sideline kind of pumping the crowd up. We heard the crowd chant your name. Could you hear all of that, and what was sort of your emotions when all that was happening?) – “I definitely could hear it. There was nothing else playing in the stadium, so I could hear that, and that was awesome. But to just be out there with my teammates, being my first time, and getting the support and love from them, I think that was super awesome. You have a 16-year vet like ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) who has no animosity towards it, as well, who’s just been supportive the entire time. Good drive, bad drive, he comes to the sideline and just talks through his process with why he did some things. I’m very fortunate to have a mentor like him who is just very encouraging on the field and then there’s guys like … He’s just very personable off the field, as well. I could say a lot about him but just won’t have enough time.”

(Is there a moment when you think back over the last 11 months, almost 12 months now that really sticks out in your head, part of the recovery, maybe some words of encouragement that you got? Has any of that flooded back for you in the last hour or so?) – “Not really. I think the biggest thing that really stands out to me is just being able to make my parents proud. So whether that’s Tua as a football player, Tua as a person, Tua as a son, I think that’s what brings me the most joy is seeing how happy my parents get and then seeing how happy my family gets, as well, with who I am and then also what I do.”

Christian Wilkins

(You guys are .500 for the first time since you’ve been here, since Head Coach Brian Flores has been here, second place in the AFC East heading into the bye. What do these accomplishments kind of mean for you guys going forward and what can you guys do in the second half?) – “Yeah, well, we’re not satisfied with that. We’re always hungry. We’re always going to keep working and doing our thing, bringing it every day. Just try to work to improve, but it’s a good way to at least go into the bye week, getting two consecutive wins, sprinting to the bye week. That’s always very important – just a little bit of momentum moving forward. Hopefully we can keep going throughout the rest of the season.”

(We knew you were a man of many talents, but seeing you jump over S Brandon Jones there, just how much fun were you having out there, and then obviously the shutout, just how good –) – “I got hops, baby. I got hops. (laughter) No, sometimes I just get a little excited out there. I have a lot of fun when I play on the field, playing with my buddies, my teammates, my brethren. So it’s always a good time, and that was kind of just spur-of-the-moment, and it just happened.”

(Kind of a two-pronged question here. First the sack, and it looked like you got a pick stunt there from LB Sam Eguavoen. Just wanted to get your take on that play, but also the rush scheme and how you’ve been able to so much pressure on quarterbacks the last two weeks?) – “We’ve been doing a lot of different things. We’ve just been staying a little multiple in our stuff and just guys work hard. Guys really want the quarterback, so we’re working hard to get after him. And on that play, Sam (Eguavoen) just did a good job setting me up. He did a counter move inside and just hit the center and I was able to come free. So I had to make sure I found Sam because I wouldn’t have made that played without him. That’s the great thing about football; it’s the ultimate team sport, and definitely, I know for a fact I wouldn’t have made that play without Sam.”

(I saw right at the final whistle you went up to QB Tua Tagovailoa and kind of gave him a bear hug, lifted him off the ground. Tell me about that moment.) – “I was just excited for Tua – his first NFL competition, first few snaps and everything. And he’s a guy who I’ve built a little bit of relationship with and he works hard every day, so it’s good to see him get out there, make a few plays, do his thing a little bit. It was just a glimpse of what’s going to be to come hopefully. I was definitely just happy to see that for him.”

(I see the tie, so I’ve got to ask, do you have the Nike Air Monarchs, the dad shoes, to go with it? And how big – how excited were you guys when DE Emmanuel Ogbah got that sack that was worth 28 yards to kind of secure the shutout there?) – “You know, well, no not the dad shoes to go with it. I might keep that ready for next time. We were excited we made the play. We were a little mad it was (Emmanuel) Ogbah because normally we don’t like him like that. We just kind of deal with him on the team. (laughter) You know, no, that was definitely a big play. We were real hype about that. Ogbah has been working his butt off all year, making plays for us on defense, so it was good to see when he can make plays like that, and we were all dead tired, too, at that point, so it was nice to get a little bit of a rest on that one.”