CONFERENCE CALL WITH NEW ENGLAND MEDIA:
Q: What have you seen from Ndamukong Suh this season? He had a breakout game against Houston yesterday.
BB: He's played well. They had a hard time blocking him. They had a hard time blocking all those guys. [Cameron] Wake had a big day. Suh had a big day. Reshad Jones had a big day. They're a very talented defense, really good up front, [Earl] Mitchell is a good player, both ends, both tackles, linebackers, but yeah, they are all a problem. Suh, he's near the top of the list, that's for sure.
Q: Have you seen any differences between how Miami is using him and how he was used in Detroit?
BB: Well, Miami has kind of changed a little bit of their defense scheme two weeks ago with the Tennessee game and then last week against Houston, so they've made some changes during the year. But he basically plays on the offensive right. That's where he played in Detroit basically, and that's where he is most of the time for the Dolphins on the offensive right. I'm sure they could move him to the other side if they wanted to, but most of the time that's where he is.
Q: What did you see on the touchdown pass to Danny Amendola? It looked like somebody cleared out some space over the middle and the timing seemed perfect.
BB: Well, it was tight. It was a tight window. Danny did a good job of getting in there and just a split second earlier or a split second later and that probably wouldn't have been a great play, but the timing on it was perfect and Tom [Brady] got it in there and Danny made a great catch and held on to the ball. It was a really close play, very well executed by Tom and Danny both.
Q: You only had 18 offensive players active for the game yesterday. How rare is that and how does it affect your game plan?
BB: Yeah, very rare. I don't think I've ever gone in with that few players, and really you count [Matthew] Slater as one of them, but you know how many plays he's played on offense in his career here. Yeah, we were pretty thin all the way across. The guys all stepped up and did a really good job, but we had to have a lot of ironmen out there. Just going back to your earlier question just on the touchdown pass to Amendola, when [Julian] Edelman, who was the inside receiver, kind of cleared through and took [Darrelle] Revis with him, like I said, there was just kind of a brief split second there when Amendola came in and then [Marcus] Gilchrist came down from his safety positon, so it looked like the Jets were playing a three-on-two coverage with [Marcus] Williams on the outside and Revis on the inside and Gilchrist over the top. And so when Revis got cleared out by Edelman and then really Amendola was coming inside into what I think was like a double coverage with Gilchrist, and Gilchrist came down there and I mean, he got there just as the ball arrived pretty much. It was a really close play, but Tom made a great throw, Danny made a great catch. We all know what that's like on the other side having coached defense a long time. Sometimes you're in really good position, you're right there and a good throw and a good catch beats it, and I'd say that's what happened in this case. It was good defense, but it was a well-executed play.
Q: Were there any adjustments or subtle changes you made going into the final drive or two in the fourth quarter?
BB: I'd say we didn't change a whole lot from where we were in this game, and I think the way it started out was the way it pretty much declared and played out for the whole game. Defensively, they mixed it up, but in some critical situations they came with pressure, which we had seen them do that before, and they also mixed in a lot of double coverage on Rob [Gronkowski], which again double coverage is something they've done before. It's just a question of who they do it against, whoever your best guy is or whoever they want to get. Defensively, we saw more of the no-tight-end formations. There were a number of plays they ran where they were in three wide receivers and two backs, and then on third down they ran a number of plays out of four wide receivers and no tight ends. Those groupings were a little bit different for us, but that declared pretty early. I think we saw all that by the middle of the first quarter. In terms of big adjustments in the game, no, I think it's more just trying to find the right play at the right time and playing good team defense and getting good team execution on offense to handle the things that you kind of thought that they would be doing. One of the biggest plays in the game defensively for us was when we blitzed on third down and [Ryan] Fitzpatrick threw it up to [Devin] Smith and [Justin] Coleman made the play there, and it's a play that had Justin not played it properly, it could have easily been pass interference but he turned around and looked for the ball before the ball got there. So, that ended up going as an incomplete pass and we were able to get the ball back and had a real good drive and went down there and made it a two-score game. But, that's kind of the way it is in a lot of those games, games like that in this division and games like that in the NFL, in the end it just comes down to a handful of plays or maybe even just one play late in the fourth quarter, and the game can kind of swing on that play, so being able to execute well in those situations and play good situational football, that means a lot.
Q: On that play by Coleman, did he play it right by turning his head at the right moment – otherwise it would have been pass interference?
BB: If he's not looking at the receiver and there's contact, then yeah. He runs with him and then right as the ball is coming in he turns back into the ball. There was a little contact on the play, not a lot, but definitely if he hadn't looked back for the ball and just run into the receiver then …
Q: What are the Dolphins doing differently since Dan Campbell took over as head coach?
BB: I'd say they've simplified it. The number of the things they're running, like the number of calls that they have, it appears to be definitely a lot less than what it was before, and so they're trying to, I'd say it looks like they're doing fewer things than they've done, they're doing them better, they're playing faster, they're more aggressive, and so it looks like they've cut back the scheme a little bit defensively for higher execution.
Q: In the first quarter when you had the offense on the field for fourth down and then brought the punt team on, there seemed to be a discussion with the officials at the next break. What was the dialogue there?
BB: I really don't remember any discussion about that play.
Q: It was with Joe Judge, so that's all good.
BB: I don't think there was any problem with it. If there was, usually Bill Vinovich is really good about that – if you do something wrong, like a substitution or a reporting or not being aligned on the line of scrimmage or whatever it is. We had him last year in the Baltimore game with those formations and everything. The communication is always, I think with sidelines from my experience has always been good. No, there was never any issue that was raised to me about that.
Q: What did you think of the effort of your offensive line yesterday?
BB: Good, good. I mean, that's a tough group to block. The Jets have a really good front. They have a lot of depth, a lot of talent, so that was a big challenge for us. Really it's the whole offensive unit, but obviously the line has got to block them, but the receivers got to get open and the quarterback's got to get rid of the ball and we've got to have good execution from everybody or otherwise it's not going to work. Now we had our moments. I'm not saying it was perfect by any means. We had a lot of plays that I think we could have gotten more out of it than we did for one reason or another. But our offensive line hung in there and they battled those guys all the way, and it was a very good group. It will be another good group this week, too.
Q: How much do you coach the defensive line to bat balls, and how much of it is game plan specific for a particularly offense or quarterback?
BB: I'd say we definitely work on it every week, I mean not every week, every day. It's one of those things we work on fundamentally with our defensive players, turning the ball over. It's part of our turnover-type circuit and tackling and all those things. We have a variety of drills that we work on regularly, emphasizing in practice. There are some games where you might notice a few more chipped balls than in other games, but I'd say for the most part it's just a fundamental part of knowing where you are relative to the quarterback and where he's throwing and if you're in the passing lane to try to put your hand or hands up where that lane is, and if you're not in that lane then you keep rushing. So, there is definitely an awareness of that. A player like Rob [Ninkovich], who is a pretty experienced player, can a lot of times when he sees a receiver going to the flat he knows that that ball to the flat is not going to be like 50 yards downfield over his head, so he can kind of anticipate that throwing lane between himself and where that receiver is going. He does a good job of that, too, on some of those plays of understanding sort of not just where the quarterback is but also where the quarterback is trying to throw. Not that he can see the guy but he has an awareness of what general location or space he's at to try to be disruptive to the quarterback getting the ball to him.
CONFERENCE CALL WITH MIAMI MEDIA:
Q: What differences do you see between the Miami Dolphins of the last couple weeks versus last year's team?
BB: We're really mainly just focused on what we're seeing now, so I'd say the things that we've seen particularly in the last couple weeks were the Dolphins have clearly made some changes. The running game, obviously they get a lot of negative runs with their defensive front, they don't have very many negative runs on offense. The running game in general has been a huge advantage for Miami. I think they've outrushed their opponents by almost 300 yards in the last couple weeks, disruptive plays. Their offense has done a great job of taking care of the ball, having positive plays. [Ryan] Tannehill had all those completions, a perfect passer rating – you can't do any better than that. Defensively, Miami is turning the ball over, they're hitting the quarterback, strip sacking him, three interceptions last week and multiple strip sacks, and so a lot of disruptive plays. And they're making great plays in the kicking game. [Jarvis] Landry is the best player we've faced at that. Really everything is a problem.
Q: What do you see from Reshad Jones on tape?
BB: He's been a really productive player for Miami – physical, good tackler, tough guy, gets in there and bangs around in coverage, jams receivers or tight ends, whoever he's on, good tackler at the second level, good wrap-up tackler, plays strong and instinctive and productive. I mean, he's around the ball a lot.
Q: What do you remember about coaching in your first few games and what advice do you have for Dan Campbell, who is in that position?
BB: Well, I mean, obviously Coach Campbell has done a great job down there. I don't think he needs any help from me. I'm just worried about trying to coach this team and trying to be competitive this week. Really that's all I'm worried about.
Q: Is there any advantage to playing on Thursday night? Do you get any edge if you have a better coaching staff?
BB: Both teams are basically on the same schedule, so it's basically the same amount of preparation time, same amount of recovery time from last game. Competitive game, I think that the winner of the game will probably favor the team that makes the fewest mistakes and executes the best on Thursday night. I think that's what it will come down to. I think the rest of it is just a bunch of hot air really.
Q: Is Dan Campbell somebody that you know at all personally? Have you ever seen a turnaround like this with an interim coach?
BB: Well, obviously the Dolphins have played great the last two weeks in all areas of the game. A lot of credit goes to Coach Campbell, but a lot of credit goes to the entire Dolphins team and organization. They have a lot of great players. They're obviously well coached. I have a lot of respect for the Dolphins. We've had trouble with them pretty much every time we've played them, so we know how good they are. But the success that they've had I think is team-oriented. Everybody is contributing – they've got plays coming from everywhere. Coach Campbell has done a good job in the short time that he's been in charge, but I'd say what we've seen the last two weeks from Miami has been a really solid team effort, and a lot of credit to go around to everybody. I don't think it's just one person.
Q: How long can a team ride confidence and momentum before talent eventually takes over?
BB: I really don't know. I think each week you try to go out there and get your team well prepared to go out there and play the best you can against another quality opponent in the National Football League, which they all are. Then when that one's over, you tee up and do it again. I think Miami is a very talented team, they play hard, they're tough, they do a lot of things well – that's why they're winning and winning big. They deserve it because they're good – no other reason.
Q: What makes Ndamukong Suh such a tough matchup?
BB: Everything – very strong, quick, explosive, very instinctive. He recognizes things quickly, blocking schemes, got great balance, really hard to knock off his feet, good leverage player, plays the run well, plays the pass well, pursues well, has an explosive and a violence to his game, good motor – pretty much everything. He's a great player.
Q: Ryan Tannehill seems to be throwing a lot of short passes and getting yards after the catch. Is there anything wrong with that, or can a team be effective doing what he's doing?
BB: I mean, when you score 44 points in the National Football League, you're doing something right. You're doing a lot of things right. It looked pretty good to me. I think that's the quarterback's job – get the ball to his playmakers, let them make plays. Ryan has done a really good job of that. We've seen him do it plenty of times before, too.
Q: What does Dion Lewis bring to your offense and what do you miss when he's not in there?
BB: Dion's been a really productive player for us, both in the running game and the passing game. But we have confidence in all our players. We've had production from all of our skill players. Whoever we put in there, we're confident that we'll have production from them. That's why we have them. But Dion has done a good job for us. Whichever ones we have in there, we'll have confidence that that player will be productive for us as well.