Miami Dolphins Post Game Press Conference Week 14

DE Shaq Lawson

(Obviously, we know you’re a fiery guy. It seemed like this game was really chippy from really the start. What was your view of the game and particularly that fourth quarter sequence that got pretty out of hand?) – “It’s football, you know, and people. It’s competitive. It’s competitive. So people just talk between the lines. It wasn’t nothing bigger than what it was.  And I’m one of those guys that likes to talk throughout the game. But it wasn’t nothing bigger than that. We’re two teams competing to win a game. That’s all that was.”

(After that sequence, what did it mean for you to respond with that big sack and really for the defense to play well in all that followed?) – “We just knew we had to play better in the second half than we did the first half. I know we left some plays out there the first half and I guess that little incident got the whole team hyped and ready to go. I guess it was momentum, but that’s what that was, man. Hell, I finally made a play. (laughter) it felt like. So other than that, it was just great.”

(You mentioned that play getting you guys all hyped up. With four games left, do you think that’s a play and that’s a moment that can bring you guys a little bit closer together for the rest of the season?) – “Nah, nah. You know what I’m saying? People remember what you do in December, right? That’s what we – December is the most important football. It is. It takes care of all the other months. So that’s what’s been going through my mind, plus my teammates’ minds too; this is December football. We’ve got to play our best ball. There’s no room for errors and things like that. That’s our mindset, and that’s what we’ve got to approach throughout the rest of the season.”

(I know CB Nik Needham got one later in the game, but for “X” CB Xavien Howard to continue that takeaway streak, it seems like obviously he’s found the ball a lot this season?) – “Best cornerback in the league, you know what I’m saying? Hands down. He gets one every week. I have never witnessed nothing like that. I mean, I’ve played with good cornerbacks, don’t get me wrong. I played a great cornerback last year, but to see a guy get a pick almost every week, it’s incredible, man. It’s incredible, man, and I’m glad I’m witnessing being with the best corner in the league.”

(You talked about the second half kind of going better than the first half for you guys. It seems like this defense feeds off this energy and off one another. What is it about when one guy makes a play and then somebody else steps up and makes the next play and just continue that avalanche of plays?) – “It’s excitement. When you see a guy make a play, especially your teammate, and you know throughout the week he worked hard to make plays for Sunday; you just feed off of that. And you want to go make the next play, and then we just feed off each other, man. People are feeding off Kyle (Van Noy), (Emmanuel) Ogbah, Christian (Wilkins). Christian is the reason why – get us going. Like his energy and juice. I know I be part of that too, but Christian, it’s been different since we’ve been having him back than before he was missing. You know, the energy level is a lot different having that guy.”Christian Wilkins – December 6, 2020 (Postgame)

Sunday, December 6, 2020
Postgame – Cincinnati Bengals

DT Christian Wilkins

(Talk to me a little bit about just what it means to see your head coach go out there and defend his team like that.) – “It’s good to see that kind of just because you know he has our back and we’re a family. So that’s the biggest thing. That’s all I’ll say. We’ve all got each other’s back. So we’ll just keep that in the family.”

(I wanted to ask you about the defense today with the multiple sacks by DE Emmanuel Ogbah, DE Shaq Lawson. You guys were able to bear down there and keep the Bengals off the scoreboard for most of the game. How did it feel to turn in a performance like that?) – “It was good. It felt really good, especially since in the first half we started off real sluggish. We didn’t do a great job of coming out and starting fast. So it was just good to kind of get things going and take over. It’s good to see teammates succeed. Everybody … We’ve had a full team effort by the defense. To perform like that today, really by all three phases of the game, we did some good stuff. We still can improve, especially in December. So it’s an important time right now during the season. So we can still improve, but I just thought it was a good overall effort.”

(Two quick ones. One, how upset were you to get that TD called back? And two, you guys got four key games coming on in the playoff stretch. How important is it for this defense to sort of …) – “They some haters. That’s all I’ve got to say. I don’t know who I’ve got to talk to, but I’m a little upset. I done did every dance in the book, every celebration, I was tired, all of that, and it didn’t even count. I might have even took a fine, but hey, it was worth it, I had fun out there. Too bad it just didn’t count. It is what it is. I’m glad we got the win. What was your second question? I’m still just hot about the no touchdowns. I apologize.”

(I figured you were going to be hot about the no touchdowns. The second question is you guys have four games left for the playoff push. What does sort of your defense got to show for you guys to get in towards the end?) – “Really it’s just improving each week, locking in during the week in meetings, practicing, not just practicing, just going out there to practice and getting it done, but locking in and honing your craft. I really think it’s going to be important ball the rest of the way out. Every game matters. So we’ve just got to keep taking care of business really.”

(Why do you think the Bengals were playing as dirty as they were today? It wasn’t just one thing. It was the entire afternoon, they were doing things that were outside the rules.) – “I’m going to stay away from that. I don’t know what they were doing or what they were thinking or what’s going on over on their sideline. So I’m just going to stay away from that question. It’s just what it is. It’s competitive.  It’s heated out there.  That’s all I can say.”

(You talked about being a family and knowing that Head Coach Brian Flores has your back. At the same time, you guys have done great this year as far as avoiding penalties. So how do you balance keeping those emotions in check versus not letting teams take advantage of you? How do you find that right balance?) – “Like you said, we’re one of the least penalized teams in the league, so I feel like we’ve done a good job of that kind of stuff all year even when things get chippy, so it’s just focusing on that. Sometimes, things happen.  Like I said, it’s really competitive out there. We care for each other. Guys compete each week, each day and you get close with guys, so things happen. That’s all I can say.”Mike Gesicki – December 6, 2020 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Sunday, December 6, 2020
Postgame – Cincinnati Bengals

TE Mike Gesicki

(Obviously, it has to feel good. In the first four games, you had eight passes from QB Tua Tagovailoa. You had nine today. What do you think was the difference in this game in terms of the chemistry that you guys had?) – “I don’t think it has anything to do with Tua or the game plan. It’s just what the defense is going to present. For me, my thing, I think I’ve said it in every interview to you guys, is try to make the most of the opportunities when they come to you. Today, I had a little more opportunity, and I’ve got to make the most of it. Ultimately, I’m just happy we came out here and got a win.”

(WR Jakeem Grant plays much bigger than his size, but he’s still only 5’6″, 5’7″. When you see them teeing off on your teammate like that, what kind of reaction do you have?) – “I think that you guys kind of saw the reaction from our team today and guys sticking up for each other, but ultimately, like Kyle (Van Noy) said and like everybody on this team showed, we’re a family. Guys are going to stick up for each other. It is what it is.”

(QB Tua Tagovailoa said, when you guys are moving that up-tempo style, you kind of see the defense get a little bit confused. How much do you enjoy, as a pass catcher or a receiver, being on that side of it and being able to move the ball at a faster pace down the field?) – “It worked for us today. I think that we were able to kind of catch them in some personnels and some calls that they weren’t ready for, but ultimately, that goes back up to coaching, and they did a great job getting calls in quick, and then offensive line did a great job getting Tua time. And Tua just went out there and threw it to the open guy.”

(For the fan base, it’s the first time they’ve seen this team 8-4 since 2003. What does it mean to you, knowing you’ve got four games left and you guys are positioned right where you need to be?) – “Not even trying to be rude or whatever, but it means we’re 8-4 and we’ve got four games left to be in the position we want to be in, like that’s just honestly what it is. If you know anything about ‘Flo’ (Head Coach Brian Flores) and how he preaches to this team and how he coaches us, we’re focused on like the drive home right now, like that’s it. Like literally the next thing right in front of you. So we’ll get back in tomorrow, we’ll make the corrections, all that kind of stuff, but we take this thing one step at a time, not looking too far ahead, not looking behind us anymore. Just trying to get better each and every day to maximize this organization.”

(I wanted to ask you about that one-handed catch you made in the game today. First, are you familiar with Oronde Gadsden? Because he made a catch very similar to that about 20 years ago on this same field. Was that your best catch of the year, or was it the one earlier in the Buffalo game, the one-handed catch?) – “I want to apologize to Oronde. I think that’s the name you said. I’m not familiar. I’m sure he was great. I’m not familiar with his catch, but congrats to him, nice catch. And then I said it last week, there’s nothing more I love than going out and making plays and catching the football. For me, every catch I make is like the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. I’m having fun, and I’m enjoying it. I put in too much work, too much time to not go out there and have fun with it. So it was fun today. A lot of things that we can correct, but ultimately, the most important thing is we got the win.”

Sunday, December 6, 2020
Postgame – Cincinnati

QB Tua Tagovailoa

(Congrats on the win. Head Coach Brian Flores just talked about how good you looked in practice and the confidence that they had to have you start out there. How did you feel? You obviously threw for almost 300 yards. If you could specifically talk about the third quarter. It seemed like you had a lot clicking there after coming out of halftime.) – “The thumb felt good. I think – you know, on my behalf, I need to help our guys start a lot faster offensively. I think the guys knew what we wanted to do as far as our game plan, but I wasn’t really playing in-sync with how the guys were out there as well. I think things started to click starting towards the end of the first half. And then second half, we kind of knew what we wanted to do going into the second half.”

(Your first four games, you and TE Mike Gesicki had eight completions together. Today you had nine. So clearly that rapport is building. Could you kind of explain how your relationship on the field is getting better?) – “I think it’s not just with Mike (Gesicki), although I do believe Mike had a great game. He’s made a good amount of contested catches. He made some amazing catches. But I think it’s with everyone. Whoever I see is open, that’s who I’m going to try to give the ball to. Mike put himself in the position to be open most of the game, and so I tried to give him an opportunity and he did what he did.”

(What was it about the up-tempo style that allowed you to get into a groove as an offense?) – “I think, when you’re on the ball and you’re going fast, it confuses the defense because they need to get lined up. They can’t get their right call in at times. Then when you have guys motioning, it confuses up their call, if they have a blitz on or what coverage they’re going to run. So I think the up-tempo things that we did in the second half really helped us to get the ball rolling.”

(How are you? Obviously, you saw a lot of this chippiness out there today. It seemed like – you know, there were five ejections and we saw Head Coach Brian Flores get upset. What is it like for you as a player when you see “Flo” upset when Jakeem takes that hit and kind of wanting to defend him and you guys?) – “Well, I think it speaks a lot to ‘Flo’s’ (Head Coach Brian Flores) character – how much it means to him that, you know, his player got hit, and it wasn’t the first time. It was the second time. It just means a lot. He’s not just a coach out there. If his guy gets hurt, he’s not going to let it go. He stands up for us as a team. You got to see, not just him, but other guys going in there trying to defend Jakeem (Grant) and whatnot. But I think it’s a testament – although it happened the way it did, it’s also a testament to how close we are as a team.”

(Did you see the difference in your play for you personally, between the first half and the second and the way you played in the second half as part of more of your growth, things you’re learning in this league, and how to make those adjustments so it doesn’t turn into a full bad game?) – “Yeah, I think in all these games, they’re all great learning experiences for me seeing the defense, how they’re pressuring, when they’re going to their 4-1 look, their 3-2 look. You know, knowing what to expect as well. I think (Offensive Coordinator) Chan (Gailey) really put us in a good situation, really the first half and the second half. The biggest thing was I just didn’t go out there and execute. Everyone was clicking on the offense except me, and it took the second half for me to regroup with our guys and for us to go down and march the ball down the field.”

(What changed at halftime that allowed you to find what you needed to find? What did you do differently?) – “I’d say the only thing that was different was our tempo. We just got on the ball, and then we played. The question previous, the reason we did that was, it confuses the defense not to get into their calls that they want to get into whether it’s a pressure call or a coverage call. So I think that was our only adjustment. We’ve just got to play football. That was it.”

Sunday, December 6, 2020
Postgame – Cincinnati Bengals 

 LB Kyle Van Noy

(First of all, congratulations on the game and the sacks. I wanted to ask you about the fight and what led to it. Do you think the Bengals were a bit dirty today in the way they played, and what were your thoughts on how your head coach reacted?) – “I’m going to have that question go to ‘Flo’ (Head Coach Brian Flores).”

(Good to see you. I guess we’ll just talk about kind of the defensive performance, especially in the second half. I don’t know if you guys had a conversation as a defense at halftime, but it seems like things really started clicking there in the third quarter.) – “I think we did a good job coming out the second half, doing a better job of just bringing more energy and urgency. We started playing football, and I think it showed. Offense got the juice going, and defense came on and kept the juice, and we kept it rolling. We’ve just got to do a better job of coming out of the gate like that and keeping it for the whole game.”

(We’ve seen you guys play well defensively for much of the year. This game was a lot of pressure that you guys had up front. What is sort of the calling card for you guys defensively? Have you guys set an identity for yourselves at this point?) – “What do you think the identity is?”

(I think you guys have been confusing with your blitzes and had a lot of multiple fronts, and you can evolve to different things, but I didn’t know if you had a philosophy.) – “There you go. You answered your own question. You’re good.”

(As the team captain, when you see guys sticking up for each other, what does that mean after that? I don’t mean to go back to the hit. I mean, that was the second time WR Jakeem Grant got hit. But for guys to not just fold and go back to the sideline, but to stick up for each other.) – “That’s what we’re going to do. We’re a family. That’s what you do for your family, right? If you saw somebody get hit, you’re going to act a certain type of way, so keep it moving.”Brian Flores – December 6, 2020 (Postgame) Download PDF version

Sunday, November 1, 2020
Postgame – Cincinnati Bengals

Head Coach Brian Flores

(Congrats on the win. Obviously, a lot to get to. I didn’t expect to have the first question. I think I’ll start with if you could share what some of the halftime adjustments were. Obviously, the third quarter looked a lot different. Maybe share something that was shared at halftime.) – “We just needed to play better. We had too many penalties in the first half. We didn’t execute offensively. We gave up the big play defensively, which just had to do a better job really across the board, playing, coaching, and execution. And we talked about it at halftime. I think (Offensive Coordinator) Chan (Gailey), (Defensive Coordinator) Josh (Boyer), (Special Teams Coordinator) Danny (Crossman), those guys made some adjustments, really in all three phases, and we were able to come out and play a lot better in the second half. Even then, there were still some mistakes there and some things we’ve got to do better. We’ve got to punch it in in the red zone, and a couple plays there defensively we could have tackled better, get our yardage down. But overall, much better in the second half. But we have to play a 60-minute ball game. We’re going to have to do that really moving forward.”

(It just seemed like a really chippy game. Obviously, you had the ejections. At one point, we saw you really upset. Could you maybe take us through what you thought of the WR Jakeem Grant play and what made you so upset about it?) – “We’ve got to do a better job of keeping our poise. That starts with me. I’ve got to do a better job of keeping my poise. But, look, I’m going to stick up for my players. They’re going to stick up for each other without getting penalties, without hurting the team, but we’ve got to do a better job of keeping our poise as a team. I’m just going to be honest, these are like my kids. The first time, yeah. The second time I got a little upset about it, but still I’ve got to do a better job. I have to. I can’t do anything to hurt the team. My emotions got the best of me there. But again, you see somebody you care about get hit like that twice … But I have to do a better job. I’ve got to keep my poise better. We have to do a better job of that as a team.”

(In such an emotional game, how do you control having both grit and also composure? How would you assess how your team responded to that, specifically with the defense performing their strong … That following sequence after that mix-up?) – “We talk about it all the time. Games in this league are chippy. This is a competitive league. Players, coaches, everyone is competitive. We want competitive people in our building, so at times it can get chippy, but we have to keep our composure. We’ve got to keep our poise. We can’t do anything that will lead to the detriment of our team. We talked about that really all year. Today I would say emotions got the best of us in some instances, myself included. We have to do a better job. It starts with me. I’ll be better.”

(Are you concerned that you might be without CB Xavien Howard or WR DeVante Parker next week?) – “Obviously, that will be handled by the league. We’ll see what that looks like. Again, that’s what we’re talking about as far as keeping your composure, keeping our composure. I would say we’ll see what it is, hopefully not. Hopefully not, but we’ll see.”

(I heard what you said about poise and composure, but I’m sure you realize that looked great as you charged across the field. What was your intention, and do you realize that that’s going to earn a lot of respect points with a lot of people, including fans?) – “Like I said, I’ve got to keep my poise. I’ve got to do a better job. It’s not about points, it’s about not doing things that hurt the team. Unfortunately, I was part of that today. I’ll be better, and our team will be better. We’ll just keep it there.”

(It sounds like you’re second guessing yourself, but at the same time, you’re understanding what you did because you’re protecting your kids, as you said, is that the right way to phrase it?) – “Look, I mean, the people in this organization, they’re very important to me. I’m going to try to protect everyone here – players, coaches. But there’s a way to do that. There’s a better way to do that, and, again, like I said, unfortunately, this is one of the things that I don’t like is that our team went out there, played a good game against a tough opponent, won the game, played well in all three phases, really played well in the second half. Defensively, we played well. Offensively, we really moved the ball a lot better. A lot of things from the game that are good that should be highlighted, but unfortunately, we’re talking about my situation, and that’s what I don’t like. These guys work extremely hard. So a lot of credit should go to them. I don’t want the spotlight on me. It should be on the guys that are on the field, the players. DeVante (Parker) playing well. He played well for us. He made plays for us. So did ‘Mike G’ (Mike Gesicki). So did Myles Gaskin. I thought the o-line played well with the three young guys in there. I thought defensively, we made a lot of plays. But unfortunately, we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about this situation. And that’s … I’ve got to be better because the spotlight shouldn’t be on me. It should be on them. They work hard. They’re the ones that are out there putting their blood, sweat, and tears into the preparation, into the walk-throughs, into the practices, and hopefully we spend some time talking about the things that they did well in the game and not that situation.”

(Wanted to ask you about the up-tempo approach in the second half. Seemed like you guys come out and are kind of sluggish in the first half offensively and then got some things going. I was curious what did you see on the Bengals defensive side that forced the adjustment, and how do you feel your guys executed that up-tempo attack in the second half?) – “(Offensive Coordinator) Chan (Gailey) and the offensive staff made that adjustment. We just wanted to pick up the pace a little bit. It was efficient. We got some production out of it, so we stayed with it. I think, again, that’s hard to deal with defensively. So we we’re able to make some good throws, make some good runs and execute and really keep the pressure on, that was the thought process at halftime. We got it accomplished.”

(I wanted to ask you what went into your decision to start QB Tua Tagovailoa? And also, when he was struggling in the first half, what went into your decision to stick with him?) – “We’ve got a lot of confidence in Tua. I think what went into the decision to start him was we thought he practiced well, thought he was healthy enough to play. You mentioned the first half. I thought we were moving it pretty well in the first half. We were just kind of … Our drives were stalling out. I thought he was playing well. I thought we just needed to be more consistent and finish drives and really kind of take it one play at a time, and we were just kind of stalling out on a few of the drives early. So I don’t think he was playing … I thought he was playing well. I just think we needed to finish off some runs, finish off some protections, finish off some throws. That’s what we talked about at halftime. It was never really a thought of … Honestly, I hadn’t thought about it until you really brought it up here. He was going all the way, and I thought he was playing well, and he did play well. We’ve got a lot of confidence in him. Hopefully, we can build on this.”