BB: Sure, for the most part, yeah but they’ve added a few things. Defensively they’ve added a couple wrinkles; offensively, the same thing, which isn’t unexpected, but is just more things you have to keep track of.
Q: It seems like Ryan Tannehill has continued to improve.
BB: Yeah, I think they’ve expanded some of the things they’ve done with him a little bit. Definitely more dive option, which they ran a little bit against us. They scored the touchdown on that, but we’ve seen more of that in recent weeks. It’s not San Francisco but they work it in there. With [Daniel] Thomas out, we’ve seen more of Lamar Miller this week. Of course he had a good week against Buffalo so I’m sure we’ll see him along with [Reggie] Bush, so things like that.
Q: Tom Brady was talking about trying to improve consistency on the way to the playoffs. Is that something you agree with?
BB: We try to do that every week. This week, every week, the early part of the season, end of the season, middle of the season. Yeah, it’s always about consistency. I think you can look at every team in the league and find good plays and players doing things really well. These are professional football players: they’re very talented, they can do a lot of things. The good teams, the good players, they do them more consistently. It’s not about talent as much as it is consistent performance – teams and individual players. It’s all connected.
Q: Miami cannot make the playoffs, but do you have to remind your players that Miami is going to play as hard as ever?
BB: We expect every opponent we play – each player and each team – to perform at their best. That’s what we prepare for: their best performance, not a poor one. We always prepare for the best so that’s what we’ll do this week.
Q: How much development have you seen from
BB: I would say quite a bit this year. He’s been healthy, he’s been able to get a lot of snaps throughout the course of the season – training camp, preseason, regular season. That’s certainly helped him. That wasn’t the case, of course, last year [when] he spent the first six weeks on PUP, missed training camp, missed some time there. Of course, his rookie year, that’s always a tough year for any player just in terms of, they develop but they don’t have the experience to go with it. I think it has kind of come together for him more this year than the other two in terms of experience, consistency, opportunity, all those things. Yeah, he’s had a good year.
Q: Is there much of a process for catching
BB: I think any time a player comes back after an absence for awhile – whatever the reasons are don’t matter – that there’s a combination of catching up mentally to what’s going on but also catching up from a technique standpoint and also communication and reaction. Really, no matter how much a player runs around a track or does situps or whatever, it’s not the same as when the other 21 guys are out there hearing plays called, reacting to what happens on the other side of the play, communicating, making adjustments with your teammates. There’s just no way to do that other than to do it. I think that’s important for any player that’s coming back after missing some time, regardless what the reasons are. That’s definitely something that they need to do and they need to do it with their teammates. It’s something their teammates need to have happen as well as the individual player who wasn’t there himself. All that is part of it.
Q: Is it a silver lining or a positive that you were able to rotate
BB: It’s certainly a positive for some of the players who get those opportunities. If they can take advantage of them and use that opportunity to enhance their role or show through their performance that they’re ready to handle more responsibility, it’s a good thing for them and ultimately it can be a good thing for the team to be able to actually see those guys do it, see those guys improve, watch them get more reps in practice and in the games and get more confidence in them and know that their execution level is higher from that. I’d say that’s accurate.
Q: Sunday is Gil Santos’ final regular season call on the radio. What has he meant to this organization?
BB: He’s meant a lot. Gino [Cappelletti] and Gil have been doing it for so many years. It has changed this year and there will be another one next year, but it’s kind of the passing of the torch at that role. I know for the fans, that’s huge because that’s a lot of times their connection to the team. They hear that every week, thousands and thousands of fans. I know that was the case for me. I grew up watching the Colts, it was Chuck Thompson and he was the voice of the Colts. As a fan, you felt more of a connection to him than anybody else because that’s the guy you heard the most from. I know Gil and Gino have meant a lot to this organization and I know there is a great affection for them from our fans. Gil coming back and doing it for one more year; we see him every week on the plane. He’s been a real staple for us and he’s been very supportive. I’ve had a good personal relationship with Gil and we’ll miss him.
Q: You talked about the environment being different but the climate will probably be different too. When you face a warm weather team, is there anything you can do to take advantage of that or do you put any stock in the thought that it could give you a slight advantage?
BB: I think the most important thing for us is just to go out there and do things as well as we can do them, in whatever elements we have to play in. We’ve had a lot more experience in whatever those elements are and so hopefully that will show up in our execution on Sunday. I don’t think we’re worried too much about what Miami will or won’t do with them. I think we’re worried about how do we do the right things and maximize our efficiency and execution in them, whether that’s the wind, precipitation, temperature, whatever it happens to be. I don’t think the sun will be a big factor but it would be at a one o’clock game this time of year. Those kinds of things, you prepare for them and we prepare for them on a daily basis working out here. Then we’ll see how it all comes together on Sunday but I think it’s about us doing the most we can with whatever the conditions are [rather] than worrying about what they do or don’t do with them. We expect them to handle them well because that’s what we expect from all our opponents: that they’ll perform at the highest level against us, so that’s what we have to get ready for.
Q: Will you have a plan in place mentally for player deployment depending on what happens with the one o’clock games?
BB: Right now, no, we’re doing everything we can to get ready for the Dolphins. I’ve been around this league long enough to know that you can’t predict how things are going to go on Sundays in the NFL. We’ll control what we can control which is to get ready and play Miami.
Q: How has
BB: We’ll see how he is. He did more last week than he did the week before. We’ll see where he’s at today and tomorrow when we go out there and we’ll see what he can do. We’ll take it day to day and we’ll make decisions day to day based on where he’s at. He’s moving along, not ready yet. We’ll take it day to day and see how it goes.
Q: Do you think it’s important to try to get him some game reps before the playoffs?
BB: I think those are really decisions that are made medically. If players are ready to play, we play them. If they’re not, then we don’t. It’s the same for every player. We treat them all the same. There’s nothing more important than the player’s health and safety. When they’re cleared to play, then we make playing decisions. If they’re not cleared to play, then there’s no decision to make. I don’t think that’s a decision a coach makes or influences; that’s a medical decision, if it’s medical situation. Once it’s a competitive decision, then that’s a coaching decision. If it’s a medical decision, then that’s made by medical people.
Q: How important is the last game of the year building momentum into the playoffs? Tom Brady says it goes back and forth depending on the circumstance. How do you feel about that?
BB: I don’t think it really matters. I think that right now what matters is just our performance in this game. How that affects some other week, I don’t know. Right now, we just want to take advantage of our opportunity to prepare and play well and coach well this Sunday. That’s really what it’s about. I’m not trying to look anywhere past Sunday. I’m just looking to Sunday. Our game against Miami doesn’t stand on its own, but in conjunction with some other games. It could have an impact on what happens to us the following week. We’ll try to do the best we can with our opportunity. That’s all we can do.