Q: The defensive front of the Dolphins stands out as a strength of the team. What do you see from them and their ability to create pressure?
JM: Yeah, it's definitely a good defense, and I think their front definitely gives you a lot of cause for concern. They definitely created some negative situations for us last season. It's a very active front. They do a good job of getting in gaps and creating penetration in the running game on early downs. They stunt and use their packages aggressively when they pressure. And those guys move, and it's hard to get a beat on them when they do that too. And then you get into some of those longer yardage situations, whichever four of them are in there rushing the passer at the same time, everyone has got a difficult matchup because they can all be productive as pass rushers. We're definitely going to have to do a good job of taking care of the line of scrimmage and eliminate those opportunities for them, but we know it's going to be a great challenge for us on Sunday.
Q: When you and offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo figure out your starting linemen, how do you decide between the five guys that play well together versus the best five linemen?
JM: I think you have to consider everything. You always try to consider talent, [and] you want to consider chemistry, cohesiveness. And whether that's the skill unit in the passing game, the offensive line working together in the running game or protection, the tight ends and tackles have to do a lot of working together. There are a lot of groups I would say that fall under the same category, and ultimately what we're trying to do is find the most productive group. I think that a lot of times when there are a lot of people that have earned the right to continue to be considered in that conversation, then you keep playing them. We have a lot of competitive situations on our offense and on our offensive line, and if the best thing for us to do is play more than what we have in the lineup at the beginning of the game, then that's what we should do because those guys have earned it. We've got a lot of guys who feel they can go in there and do the job. We have a lot of confidence in those guys up front, and we're excited to continue to see it develop and play out. I'm sure, like every year, there are going to be some changes and different units in there at different times during the course of the season, but we're no different from anybody else in that regard.
Q: How are you enjoying the Tim Wright experience so far?
JM: Tim, I was really impressed with last week. We just got him, and he was able to come in here and learn enough to be able to go out there and play for us in a preseason game for 40-some snaps or whatever it was. He's working hard, certainly a bright kid and has some talent that hopefully we can utilize, and he just seems to fit in good and has a good attitude and work ethic. I'm just excited about seeing what we can do going forward. It's very early, and we've only really had one practice. Hopefully we can build on his start and try to add a little here and there to what he knows of our offensive system and get our guys comfortable working together.
Q: I know you guys don't like to talk about the weather, but how important will it be to measure tempo on Sunday with everybody sweating like pigs, given the conditions?
JM: Well, we'll all be sweating like that, I'm sure. I know this, it's probably not going to affect [us] once we get in the game and we begin to play the game. Ultimately we have to play the Dolphins and beat the Dolphins, and they're going to be doing the same thing. We're all going to be hot. We're all going to play the guys that are active – maybe different numbers of plays per person depending on who may or may not need it the most. But that's where those decisions at the end of the week, relative to the depth of your team and where you're going to carry a little bit more or maybe a little less, that's where those decisions will come in. And we'll try to make the smartest decisions to give us the best chance to play well with the guys that we have active.
Q: What are your expectations for Rob Gronkowski? Are you just trying to keep it simple for him?
JM: Rob has been practicing, and we've been doing some different things, building our offensive system and packages as we go throughout the course of the year. He's been a part of that. Whatever we can or are available to use him to do – however big, small, whatever the decision is at the end of the week – and he'll be ready to do it. Going in there, we're going to do what we think is the right thing to do to win the game this week and worry about going forward next week. I would think that would basically encompass the way we would try to use all our guys. I think ultimately at the beginning of the season, you're trying to let your team go out there, be aggressive, play football and do something they know how to do. Rarely are you going to go out there and try to reinvent the wheel early in the season because there are always some unknowns that are going to come up opening day. Opening day is different than most other days of the year, and you're going to have to make some in-game adjustments and other changes throughout the course of the day. We're just going to go out there and try to put together a solid plan with all our guys and see if we can let our players play fast and aggressive.
Q: How can you expedite the process of learning the offense for a player like Tim Wright?
JM: You try to get him caught up in terms of the foundation of your terminology and those kinds of things. I know he'll work really hard to do that; he has so far. And really when you start to get into this time of the year, the focus narrows down a little bit to what you're going to do in the course of the game, so there's not as much volume to consider for a new person that hasn't had a lot of exposure in the system. We'll try to do some of both and get him caught up in terms of what he hasn't been subjected to yet and what he doesn't know and also get him ready to perform his job, whatever that may be during the course of the game. That would be the way we would go with any player that comes in during the course of the season, which happens quite a few times. You've kind of got to cram both ends of the spectrum in at the same time.
Q: How much has James Develin evolved, and what are some things he can do now that he couldn't do last year?
JM: James has been a very valuable player for our offense. [He] brings a tremendous element of toughness to our offense. [He's] very intelligent, dependable, a guy that you can trust in a number of different roles. He backs us up in certain areas that he's ready to perform each week, and he goes out there and does his job the right way most of the time when he's out there. He's continued to grow and learn the different things that we've asked of him. He's very unselfish. He just wants to try to help the team in any way he can. His attitude is a tremendous positive for our group. He's one of the hardest workers on our team and a very valuable guy for us to have in the room.
Q: Logan Mankins said there aren't too many players that are on the rise of their careers after 150 games. I'm wondering what evidence you could provide to refute that for Tom Brady?
JM: I think that each player is different, and I think that I've been around enough of them over the course of many years to say there are some guys that never stop, that continue to try to find different ways to improve their game individually and then collectively help our team – in this case, it would be our offense. To me, each guy is different – the way they approach their job, how serious it is, how determined they are to get better, their commitment not only to keeping their body and mind fresh but getting better at their craft, doing those types of things. I don't think there is an age where you can all of a sudden say, 'Well, there it is. That's the feeling; we'll never go above that.' Certainly with any of the guys that we've had here and coached here long into their careers, I haven't seen that from any of them, including Logan or Tom.