Head Coach Robert Saleh, 11.21
Connor Hughes, SNY: Injuries?
(Mekhi) Becton, I know what the report said earlier, he’s trying to go for Friday, so he’s working through it, he’s taped up, he’ll be a part of practice today despite those reports. It’s a walkthrough again today, so we’re still working through who will be available for Friday.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Anything new on Duane (Brown)?
Duane, again, we still have until Thursday. We’re just working through it, trying to see where he’s at. Again, it’s a walkthrough, so I think well have a really good idea on Wednesday.
Brian Costello, New York Post: He’s been listed as full (participant) the last couple of weeks, and if he’s been fully practicing, you’d assume he’d be ready to play. Is that not the case?
Yeah, no, practice is different than a game, obviously. He’s got to get the mental connection, he’s still not fully comfortable obviously, and we just have to find the best way to simulate a game for him. I know we have full speed practices, but those aren’t even close to what it’s like in a game, so we’re just trying to do our best to put him through a very game like situation for him, and we’ll give it another run and see where he is.
Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: Just talk about the uniqueness of a Black Friday game and what this week presents?
It’s better than a Thursday game from a timing standpoint and with regards to preparation for your team, at least from my opinion with all the research we’ve done. For a coach, I feel like we’re always on the grind anyway, I think it’d probably be a better question for the players with how it is, but I think it’s great for the fans to have another standalone game on another day, great for the League on another day and week, but for us, it’s felt like groundhog day since August, so for a coach, it’s all the same.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Are Billy Turner and Xavier Newman possible for this week?
Yeah, (Xavier) Newman and Billy (Turner) are trending in the right direction.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: How about Michael Carter II with his hamstring?
We’ll see. We’ll get him in practice tomorrow, give him a chance to go full speed, but I’m not sure on that one yet.
Connor Hughes, SNY: Robert, with the number of injuries you’ve dealt with this season, I know you have invested a lot of resources in your sports science and medical department and how you guys prepare to stay healthy. Does that need to be reviewed again this offseason? Not wholesale changes, but significant changes?
It depends on the injury, right? We look at sports science and you look at the non-contact, soft tissue, things of that nature. When you have trauma, like when someone rolls up on you, you’re trying to break a tackle, you make contact, break a rib, whatever it is, that’s more the unfortunate part of playing football, so , you have to try to figure out what are the consequences, what are the whys behind each injury, so , you’re always reviewing it and you have to look at the player participation and it all and whether or not we’re doing a great job in regard to helping them regen and getting them in the positions they need to be in to protect their bodies, so yeah, we’re always, always reviewing that.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Are you going to have (Nathaniel) Hackett and (Todd) Downing together up in the booth?
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com (Follow Up): And I’m just wondering what the dynamic is there? What’s the benefit? Are they collaborating on play calling? Because normally, you want to have your really experienced guy on the field talking to your quarterback in between series.
Well (Rob) Calabrese is down there too, I know sometimes I feel like we forget about him, but he’s still constantly in their ears and communicating. It’s not hard to get the headset on the quarterbacks ear if they need to say something important to him. All the proper adjustments are being made. I’ve been in situations where nobody is down there for any position group practically. There’s a million ways to do it. Fair question, but at the same time, give them a chance to be right next to each other so they can go over the pictures together, so they’re faster in terms of making the adjustments that need to be made to get us moving the football.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Robert, you said yesterday that Tim (Boyle) is a different style of quarterback. How is he different? And what are your expectations, what are your hopes for him on Friday?
I’m going to hold that one in terms of the difference, I don’t want to tip off any scouting reports that may or may not be out there, but look, it’s an opportunity for him. Again, one person is not going to change everything. It’s collective, it’s coaching, it’s the other 10 players on the football field. We all have to take part and try to find ways to get the offense to move. I am excited for his opportunity, for him. I know he’s had some starts in the League before, but this is another opportunity with another team. I know the guys will go out there and play their butts off, and we’ll see what happens.
Connor Hughes, SNY: I know you said Zach is your third quarterback, but will he be active on Friday? Or will he be inactive?
So, he’s inactive, but the third quarterback. It’s part of the League’s rule – yeah, the emergency quarterback.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, does it look like with the Dolphins, they’re starting to get Vic’s (Vic Fangio) system and things are starting to click there?
Yeah, Jalen, since he’s gotten back, Jalen Ramsey, he looks awesome. It looks like he never got hurt, but yeah, Vic does have some complexities to what he does, especially from a zone standpoint. And you can tell that they’re starting to get precise, they’re starting to play off one another, and they’re starting to get a lot better. They’ve slowly been creeping up and playing some really good defense over the last few weeks, and we anticipate them continuing to get better.
Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: Can you talk about the challenge of their pass rushers too with (Bradley) Chubb and Jaelan Phillips?
Yeah, Jaelan, loved him coming out. Lot of juice, a lot of athleticisms, plays with incredible energy and effort, and then Chubb just has so much power. Just a really smart football player that can win three different ways, so they’re very talented. They’re physical, they play with high energy and effort, and they’re a challenge for any offensive line.
Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance: What did you see from Carter Warren on Sunday and how do you think being in there will help his development?
Carter, I thought was a pleasant surprise going back and watching it. Tremendous footwork, great patience. There’s obviously things we saw that obviously need to get better, he’ll get better with reps. We’re excited about him. He’s got a lot of potential. We were excited about drafting him. Obviously, he missed all of OTAs and training camp, so he’s significantly behind the eight ball. Kind of like what happened with Max Mitchell last year, we were not expecting him to get on the field. He got his opportunity, and he did really well. If he does have to go this week, it will be another opportunity for him.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: I wanted to follow up on something you said yesterday when you were asked about if you would have done anything differently in the 2021 draft with Zach and you said “Yeah, I shared that with Joe (Douglas), but I’d rather not share”. Because it kind of creates the perception that you and Joe were not on the same page on that, and I just wanted to come back and ask if you want to add anything?
Thank you for that, Rich. I thought the question was asking if you’ve learned anything from the evaluation process and what would you have done different. Obviously, anytime you have an experience in terms of an evaluation process, whatever it is, you have ideas on hey, how could I approach it differently to create a different evaluation? So it was more of a learning experience and not that we did anything wrong, it’s just how can we be even more efficient. Obviously, there were circumstances that were beyond our control during that year with Covid and all that, but I was answering the question in terms of learning experience and everything else. Joe and I are always on the same page.
Connor Hughes, SNY: Looking back on it, how difficult did the pandemic make it? I don’t think we’ve ever really talked about that. From a coaching standpoint, interviews, how challenging was scouting, evaluating guys that year because of the pandemic?
I’ll leave that one for Joe.
Connor Hughes, SNY: Well from your perspective, you still look at players.
I’ll speak to the difference. You just didn’t have as much one on one ability to sit with a player, visit with him, install stuff, go to the field, just watch him do your drills. The offseason evaluation process is starting to change significantly, where your kind of hand cuffed to a standard way of looking at these guys work out, where before Covid, you could go get an individual workout and you ran position specific drills that were specific to your scheme and what you did. So, obviously it’s changing, and all of us, all 32 teams have to adjust on the fly.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Is this going to be like last year again with Zach? Does he go back to being the show team guy?
We’ve got to get Trevor ready to play, so he’ll be taking those reps.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Tim talked the other night about how he thinks he does best is concise thinking and getting rid of the ball quickly. Is there something to that?
Yeah, getting rid of the ball on time and in a timely manner is always an O-Line’s best friend. From a defensive perspective, I always tell the D-Line that when the quarterback hits his back foot, they have to smell you, and if he takes a hitch, he better get hit, and that’s how much time you have as a quarterback if you’re listening to it. So, if you can play with timing and rhythm, you can keep the O-Line clean.
Connor Hughes, SNY: With Miami, I don’t mean this in a negative way, but with how much motion they have, they’re kind of more of a finesse team. Is that old cliche that you beat finesse with physicality true? I know you always strive for physicality with defense, but is it even more amped up this week?
You’ve got to be able to catch them. No, it’s a good question Connor. I don’t think they’re finesse, I think they have a level of physicality to them. They’ve run the ball very well against us. Last year, they ran the ball very well against us. What they’re able to do with their speed, other teams can’t because of the way they’re so fast and credit to their coaching staff, just getting the creativity with that speed that other teams can’t, would never be able to accomplishTyreek (Hill) looks like he’s playing a little video game out there, the way he runs. It’s pretty freaking cool. I wouldn’t say they’re not physical. They’re a physical team, they can run the ball.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Can you break down your form on your tackle of Zach on Sunday?
So bad. You guys ever watch that movie Goldfinger from Austin Powers? You know that little cart that’s going really, really slow and he’s like “Stop!” and it’s like a mile away? That’s how I felt on gameday. My reaction time is severely diminished.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Have you ever been hit on the sideline?
First time ever. I was trying to catch him, but obviously, I forgot that I’m old. I have to get back into it (the gym).
Jeane Coakley, SNY: This week, Tuesday’s team?
So, we’re recognizing West Essex high school, after the last two and a half years of Hymie Elhai, our team president, politicking West Essex. They actually earned it on their own merits. They had their 10th sectional title last week, they’ve won 10 of their last 11 games and they’re playing in their first championship, so despite all of Hymie’s efforts, this one was done on their own merit, so to Coach Benny and his team, good luck this weekend.