Miami Dolphins Press Conference 11-30-20 Howard, Parker, Karras, and Flores

Monday, November 30, 2020

CB Xavien Howard

(I know a lot of times you talk about the team and you guys are doing well, but you individually are having a hell of a year. You’ve got seven interceptions this year. What do you see as a realistic end for you? Pro Bowl, All Pro, even Defensive Player of the Year? Do you aim for that sort of stuff?) – “Right now, I’m worried about taking it one day at a time. Those things I do see in the picture, in the bigger picture for us. I feel like the sky is the limit for me if I keep on balling. If I keep doing the things I’m doing each week, I feel like all of that is on the table. I can’t forget about those things, those achievements, that are out there.”

(Right now it seems like you are playing a different game than the competition. What is it right now that’s going right for you? Has the game slowed down? Is your body responding better than it ever has? Why are you playing at such a high level?) – “I feel like I’m just getting better. I kept that attitude coming off of injury of just being hungry. I want to focus on improving each day and proving to myself that I know what I can do on the field when I’m healthy.”

(You and WR DeVante Parker both had big days yesterday. I was curious to get your take on whether it’s training camp practices or throughout the course of the season, what does it do for you to go against a receiver of his caliber in practice, and how does that make your game better?) – “It’s been great. Me and DeVante have been going at it since I came into the league. We just kept that competition going. We just make each other get better. I feel like we’ve been doing a great job getting each other better, and it pays off on Sundays when we go against other guys.”

(I was doing some research and it turns out it’s been 38 years since anybody in the NFL got interceptions as often as you do. That’s a long time, 38 years. I also looked up some of the great corners of all time – Deion Sanders, Rod Woodson, Champ Bailey, Darrelle Revis – none of those great players got interceptions as often as you. It’s two parts, what do you think when you hear all of that? And then does any of those names jump out to you? Is it special to be compared to any of those guys in particular?) – “Those are some great guys, Hall of Famers and stuff like that. I don’t focus on stats and stuff like that and what I’ve been doing. I feel like everybody is different, and I feel like I just focus on getting better. With me just being in the same category of talking similar numbers, just doing that, I feel like that’s great. If I stay healthy and just keep going, that’s what’s in the future for me, the things that I want to achieve. I’m just focused on getting better each week.”

(The Jets threw the ball your direction 10 times yesterday. Are you surprised at this point when quarterbacks throw the ball your way?) – “No, I’m not surprised. Each week, I’m probably on the best receiver on the team – on the best receiver they have – so I’m expecting for them to throw the ball to that guy, no matter who’s on him. I feel like they feel like they want to give their guy the best opportunity to catch the ball. I’ve just been making the plays on the ball and just really just doing my thing.”

(What’s next for you in the developmental standpoint as a player and as a man?) – “I feel like you just got to keep growing and just make sure everything on and off the field, make sure everything is good. Just growing as a person, doing things right and doing stuff like that.

(I know we talked two or three weeks ago and you said this year wasn’t your best year yet because you had seven interceptions in 2018. Now you have seven now. Has this one made your list as the best year yet so far?) – “I just keep going. I focus on improving each year. At the end of the year, everything that I’ve reached or the things that I’ve accomplished, I’ll celebrate or do that. But I’m just focused on getting better each year and learning and taking advantage of everything that I do.”

Monday, November 30, 2020

C Ted Karras

(I wanted to ask you a general league question if I could. We saw what happened yesterday with the Broncos having to play without a quarterback. Now the Ravens are looking at potentially playing a game without practicing for 10 days now. As a player, how difficult would it be to be in any kind of position like that and how worried are you about where the season might be headed from a league standpoint?) – “Playing the game without a quarterback has got to be a nightmare as far as getting everything organized, but we have a responsibility to try and remain COVID-free and they have protocols in place. We’re trying to follow them the best we can, but you never know with these things so we’re not trying to take any chances with having things be traced. If you get contact traced, you’d be out. We have to maintain social distance. But we’re doing the best we can. We’ve been solid so far down here – knock on wood – but December here is going to be big.”

(I wanted to gauge your assessment of the offensive line. I know you guys had a lot of shuffling pieces over the past few weeks so it’s hard to mix together, but after QB Tua Tagovailoa taking those six sacks then QB Ryan Fitzpatrick with 10 hits yesterday, just how much farther do you guys have to go in terms of pass protection?) – “We definitely have to keep working to improve. The last two weeks certainly weren’t our best efforts as far as that; and the third quarter was tough for us. We’ve got to be better and we work hard every day to make sure we are, but neither of those games we want to put our names on as our best performance, so we’re going to keep working to improve.”

(How much of a handful was Jets DT Quinnen Williams yesterday?) – “He’s a good player. He came into the league – high draft pick – and we let him make a play or two, which I never like. He’s a good player and I’m glad we did enough to win the game.”

(I wanted to ask you about I guess the “p-word.” I know Head Coach Brian Flores wants you guys to take it one day, one practice, one week at a time … looking at the landscape?) – “I think I know what he was saying. We put ourselves in a position here to make a run. We have a lot of big games coming up starting with Cincinnati this weekend; but we’ve got division games coming up – one of them on the road – and a five-game season now. We put ourselves in a chance and it’s going to come down to how we work every day and how we execute and perform on Sundays moving forward.”

(There’s a consistent message among the players and coaches for daily improvement and you guys have kind of shown that with your month-to-month record – 1-2 in September, 2-1 in October and now 4-1 in November. And since you’re a captain, I was hoping to get your take on how this team has accepted that message of daily improvement and how can you take it to another level here in the final month of the season?) – “I think we have a lot of great guys on this team – guys that work hard every day and want to be the best football players they can be, the best teammates. We have a lot of really just guys that work really hard and are getting some opportunities and as we’ve been improving and putting ourselves in a chance here with a 7-4 record, games in December are what decide the season. So we’re going to have to be at our best and hopefully reach the peak of our performance for the 2020 season moving into December and January.”

(Obviously you guys have played with both QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and QB Tua Tagovailoa this year. I’m curious from the player perspective what you see as maybe the differences when Fitzpatrick is out there compared to Tagovailoa with how you see the offense?) – “How I see the offense, I just want to execute the game plan that Coach Gailey (Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey) puts forward and Coach Marshall (Offensive Line Coach Steve Marshall) puts us in good position; but we’ve got to go out there and play no matter who the quarterback is. That was an adjustment we had to make going into this game. We did enough to win and as an o-lineman, I have a pretty specific assignment every play and no matter who’s back there, we’re going to work our best to get our job done.”DeVante Parker – November 30, 2020 Download PDF version

Monday, November 30, 2020

WR DeVante Parker

(You and CB Xavien Howard both had big games yesterday and it got me thinking about your guys’ daily battles and competition in practice, going back to his rookie season in 2016. I’m curious how your competition with CB Xavien Howard in practice has helped make you a better receiver?) – “We used to go at it like every day in practice and during (training) camp. That made us better. It just made us play harder in the games because he made it hard in practice. So that made the games a lot easier.”

(I was wondering when you were on the sidelines yesterday after all of those catches you had, did QB Tua Tagovailoa ever approach you in terms of what you were looking for with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and obviously the chemistry you guys have, kind of a learning moment for him there on the sideline?) – “Nope, he didn’t. He didn’t come to me.”

(After the game, TE Mike Gesicki was talking about how they kept playing man coverage on you and he was like ‘why do they keep doing it?’ Are you curious sometimes why teams play so much man coverage on you?) – “I’m not really sure but I think that team just has confidence in their defensive backs. We just try to do the best we can to get open.”

(One of the things I saw yesterday was that you actually passed WR Jarvis Landry in Dolphins receiving yards, which is kind of cool. I know you guys were maybe next to each other in the locker room or real close to each other. What’s your reaction to passing Landry, who is obviously one of the all-time great Dolphins receivers?) – “That’s something good but I’m not really focused on that. I just want to win games. That’s it.”Brian Flores – November 30, 2020 Download PDF version

Monday, November 30, 2020

Head Coach Brian Flores

FOXBOROUGH, MA – DECEMBER 29: Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins shakes hands with head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots after a Dolphins victory at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

(We saw on the league wire on Saturday that QB Jake Rudock came in, obviously a quarterback you’ve been familiar with. In light of what happened with the Broncos this weekend, are you and General Manager Chris Grier considering having Rudock or QB Reid Sinnett – or I guess signing Rudock and then having him or Sinnett go into quarantine basically just in case there’s an emergency? I know we asked you about this in August or September and you said it was a consideration at that point. Is it more of one now?) – “Yeah, Chris and I have talked about that. We try to distance the quarterbacks as much as possible, the ones that are on our roster right now. I think the intensive protocol helps that a great deal. The only time they are here together is when they are on the field, so it kind of takes care of itself from that standpoint. As far as having someone who is on the roster but you don’t see them at all, we have those discussions. Given the way things are setup right now, I don’t foresee something like that, but we’ll always try to stay ahead of things. Obviously if we want to bring someone in, there is a whole COVID protocol that we don’t necessarily visit with the guy. Once he takes a test, it’s a visit, then there are five or six tests after that. Chris, myself, (Vice President of Football Administration) Brandon (Shore), our coaching staff, we go through every scenario and we’ll always try to do what’s best for the team.”

(When we’re headed into December, a lot of these games become a little bit more amplified for a lot of reasons. I know you’re a one day at a time guy; but if there is anything that you want to see from your team in December, is there anything in particular that you want them to show you as things hit this stretch run before the year is up?) – “I think over the course of a season, the hope is that the team is building. I think execution is probably the thing that you need at this time of year. Again, everyone has 11 games – 11 or more, so you have a pretty good feel for what teams do well, for what they don’t do well. Its about execution. It’s about the fundamentals and techniques. It’s what we talked about in training camp, and we continue to talk about it over the course of the season. It’s staying on top of those then building on the schemes that we’ve run offensively, defensively and in the kicking game and really executing them at a high level when there is a pretty good chance that our opponent has a pretty good idea of what we are going to do. So executing has to be at a high level this time of year. Every team, not just us.”

(I know everything is virtual today, but I was wondering if you anticipate, or have any update on RB Myles Gaskin possibly returning; and if he does or whenever he does, how do you think that will benefit having him back with the offense?) – “Obviously it will benefit us. Myles is a productive player for us running the ball, in the pass game, protection. He plays a little bit in the kicking game as well. He’s productive. He helps us. He’s doing everything he can to get back as soon as he can. He was at practice last week, so that’s a step in the right direction. We’ll just take it one day at a time and see how he feels throughout the course of the week. We’ve got to see it in practice. He’s doing everything he can to get up.”

(I wanted to ask about the offensive line with G/T Jesse Davis at right guard and G/T Robert Hunt at right tackle. How much did they contribute to the success you had running the ball at the end of the game, if at all any?) – “It’s a team game, so they certainly contributed as did really everyone on the offense at the end – the line, the running backs, the tight ends, the receivers, even ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) had a run there at the end. Everyone contributed. I think across the offensive line – offensively, defensively, and in the kicking game – there are some things that we could’ve done better. We’ll get those corrected. Jesse is a captain on our team. He’s played a lot of different positions. He’s played well. You mentioned Robert Hunt, he’s a young guy who’s gone in there and played well. It hasn’t been perfect, but two hard-working guys who when they do make mistakes, they try to get them corrected quickly, like a lot of guys on this team. We’ll help them do that and hopefully get better in a lot of areas.”

(I had a question again about the COVID situation. There’s a chance the Ravens might have to play tomorrow without practicing for 10 straight days. Is that something that you ever envisioned when this whole thing came up and do you think maybe the league maybe needs to re-evaluate how it might put teams at risk for having to play without even seeing each other for a week and a half?) – “I think these are very different times than any of us have ever been through. The league has really done a good job, honestly, with the teams and trying to get games played. Again, we all have to be flexible. We all have to be able to adjust; but at the same time, we want to keep the players safe and keep the coaches safe. We want to keep everyone in the building in each facility safe. Playing without practice, I would say that would be tough. There’s no doubt about that. But at the same time, every team’s got kind of core concepts – core defenses, core offenses, core kicking game – core things that they do that I think they’d be able to execute. I’d like to think our team would be able to. So if those were the circumstances, then we would have to deal with them and at the end of the day, we can only control the things that we have control over and if put in that situation, we would do our best. That’s all you can do.”

(This is the first time you’ve been the head coach of a team in a playoff race in December. Will these games feel different for your team? Do you want them to?) – “No. I want them to feel – you need to take this one game at a time. I think this is a game that these guys have played since they were kids. We’ve coached it for a while also. So to make it into something that it’s not; it’s about fundamentals and technique and execution. That’s how we’ll approach it. That’s how we’ll prepare. We’re not going to change anything. We’ll just go out there and prepare the right way in practice, walkthrough and try to execute in the game.”

(I wanted to ask you about RB Salvon Ahmed. How close might he have been to being available yesterday and what’s the prognosis looking forward to the Cincinnati game for him?) – “He’s making progress. Again, another young player who’s doing everything he can to get out there from a treatment standpoint, from a rehab standpoint; so hopefully we get him out to practice this week and we’ll see how it goes throughout the week.”

(I know you guys haven’t practiced yet this week. Do you have any inclination on when you’ll have an ability to see if QB Tua Tagovailoa can go this week? If it’ll be closer to the end of the week or middle of the week, are you able to determine that at this point?) – “No. We’ll see how it goes. Obviously he was limited on Friday and he’s treating, he’s rehabbing. We’ll take it one day at a time. I don’t even want to get ahead into Wednesday’s practice. He has things he did today, he’ll have some things he’ll do tomorrow and just take that, try to improve on a daily basis and see how it goes today, tomorrow and the ensuing days.”

(I wanted to ask you about – I know it’s a one-day-at-a-time approach for you, but for every team it’s about making it to the playoffs, pushing for the AFC East division. Obviously the players know the stakes that they’re playing for. At any point, do you address that with them?) – “No. You can’t get to where you want to get without handling what’s right in front of you. I don’t know – maybe some other people can. That hasn’t been the case for me in my life. You don’t just jump to graduations and things of that – they don’t just happen. You have to deal with what’s in front of you. That’s just been my approach. I understand the question and I know you say that every other team’s thinking about it. Maybe you know more than I do from that standpoint. My dealings with coaches around this league and players around this league is that they try to deal with what’s in front of them. They don’t think about what’s four, five games down the road. That’s just my experience. That’s just me. And maybe you’ve had some situations where you’ve been able to kind of skip steps or I don’t know. I don’t go that – I haven’t been able to do that. So we’ve just got to focus on this next week. We’ve got a big game against the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s a one-game season. That’s the approach we’re going to take and if somebody else wants to approach it differently, by all means. But I just don’t see any reason why anyone would approach it any differently than a one-game season. Just my thoughts.”

(I wanted to ask you a bit about the offensive line. I’m curious, what do you kind of credit the pass-protection issues the last two weeks to? Are some of these rookies do you think starting to hit the wall? Is that something that happens or what happened the last couple of weeks?) – “I think we have to play better. I think as a whole, the communication up front has got to be better. I think the correct communication of what we’re seeing has got to be better. They understand that. We’ve talked about it. It isn’t just one group or one player. I think we need to do a lot better on all three sides of the ball. I think there’s a lot of things that we are doing well. I thought we finished the game well and fourth-quarter time of possession and first downs and the run game in the fourth quarter; in those critical moments, I think that’s something that was encouraging. Defensively, I think keeping them out of the end zone was encouraging. In the kicking game, I think the way Jason (Sanders) kicked it from a field-goal standpoint was encouraging. Some other things obviously that weren’t as encouraging; we’re going to try to get those fixed, those rectified. We have a hard-working group. They want to help each other have success and not only for them, but for their teammates. So there’s a lot of incentive to try to get it right and that’s what they’ve been doing and I’m sure they’ll continue to do that.”