Q: How early on did you realize that Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski would make this quick of an impact on your offense? Did you think that it would take them longer to develop?
BB: I don't know if we really had a time table on it. Both guys have been on the field. They haven't missed much time in practice. They've been able to keep working hard and getting better. They've made some nice plays for us. They've done a good job. We still got a long way to go. But I think we're getting headed in the right direction with those guys. But I think the big thing is they've been able to stay on the field and improve on a daily basis and all that. I think that obviously really helps.
Q: How much do you think they've benefited from having a guy like Alge Crumpler there to learn from?
BB: I think that's helped a lot. I think that's absolutely helped a lot. Alge's been great. He's very professional, a great leader. Works hard, really understands the game, and does a very good job of communicating that to Rob and Aaron. I think he's been very helpful to them.
Q: To follow up on that Bill, the idea of the athletic tight end around the league and how you see so many more. Can you talk about why that's happened and when you really started to see it change and just how important it is to have that kind of guy nowadays?
BB: The ideal thing is to have players that can do multiple things - they can block, run, catch, pass protect, and do all those things. Sometimes you get a player that's a little more skilled in one area or another. That can maybe help offset some of the things that he maybe isn't quite as strong on. I think we go back to the Kellen Winslows and some of the great receiving tight ends that have played in the league over the last few years - Gonzalez and Gates and players like that that are just hard to match up on for the defense. It's hard to put a linebacker on them because of their speed and quickness. And it's hard to put a defensive back on them because of their size. So it's a tough matchup. It's kind of like [Anthony] Fasano. He's a guy who does everything pretty well. He catches. He blocks. He's in pass protection. He's a tough guy, but he makes plays in the passing game like he did against Buffalo. That catch got them down to the one-yard line. [He] had a big play against Jacksonville. Those kinds of guys are tough matchups for the defense.
Q: How would you describe the state of the wildcat around the NFL? Is the fad fading? How much of a concern is it in preparing specifically for the Dolphins at this point?
BB: It's definitely something we have to work on with the Dolphins. They run it every week, some version of it or another. And they have very good backs. Even when they use [Brandon] Marshall on it, same thing, they've got guys that can make plays with the ball. It's tough to defend. We saw it both in the Jets and the Bills. How much of it is there around the league? We've seen it two of the first three weeks. So I'm sure this will be three out of four. I think it's still a factor. Certainly the Dolphins are very good at it. They give you a lot of different looks. It's hard to prepare for it because each time they do it it's different than the time they did it before. You have to really follow your keys and be on your responsibilities to handle it. They do a good job.
Q: Are you saying that there is a little bit of a surprise factor still in it if they're changing it up? Or is that gone?
BB: They change it up every week. It's different every time they do it.
Q: Coach, when you watch the Dolphins offense this year. What are your thoughts on how Brandon Marshall fits in with this offense?
BB: He's definitely a go to player for them. They get the ball to him in a lot of different situations. The shots down the field like in the Minnesota game. He's done a good job on third down. He's had a lot of catch and run plays. Of course the play at the end of the Jets game that set them up in a position where they had a chance to win the game there. That was a big play. Of course, the big block from Fasano. I think he does a lot of things for them, and he's a tough guy to defend. Talking about tight ends, but that kind of receiver is the same kind of mismatch receiver, guys that are big and fast and good runners with the ball in their hands. They're tough to match up against.
Q: Have you noticed that maybe he has opened up the offense a little more, maybe drawn more attention to himself and making room for guys like Fasano and Davone Bess and Brian Hartline?
BB: I think he definitely attracts some defense, no question. The Dolphins have a lot of guys to defend though. They're a tough team to prepare for because of their scheme. Coach [Dan] Henning and Coach [Tony] Sparano do a real good job of mixing up their personnel groups and formations and plays. They really make you work to get lined up and to figure out your adjustments and so forth. And then they have a lot of good players to go with it. So the combination of the scheme and good receivers, good tight end, good backs, good quarterback, big offensive line, they give you a lot of problems. They're definitely a hard team to prepare for.
Q: Speaking of the quarterback, what have you seen out of Chad Henne so far this year in terms of his development from last year when he was a first year starter?
BB: He played very well against us last year down there. I think that he's continued to play well and doesn't turn the ball over much and makes good decisions, gets the ball to the playmakers. I think he handles the team and the game situations well. He's a good quarterback, done a good job for them.
Q: What about your quarterback? How is he handling himself this year with the offense? Is he completely past the ACL surgery at this point? How do you view Tom Brady's play so far?
BB: He was past it this time last year. I don't think that is or was a factor. But Tom's had a good camp. He's had a good preseason. He's played fairly well in the first three games. He, as usual, has a good command of the offense and is a big playmaker for us. Hopefully we can continue to have balance in our offense - running and passing and be able to make defenses defend everybody. And I think that helps open things up. Tom's done a good job of moving the ball around like he usually does. I think he's played pretty well.
Q: Typically, you play a week and you either win or lose and then you move on, you put it behind you, and you play the next week. Going into a bye week, how does that change things if you win? How does it change things if you lose as far as lingering and how you guys feel about yourselves?
BB: It's always good after any game that you win. That always makes the next week a little bit more pleasant. Win or lose in this league, you've got to move on. Those games can't stay with you too long no matter how they come out because you've got too many important ones in front of you, especially the next week. I don't think it really changes too much on the preparation this week. It just really allows you to put a little more preparation time into this game, knowing that you have a little bit extra time before the next game. I don't think it's that big of a thing this week. I think how you schedule and use your time next week is probably a little more important of a decision. Of course it's good to come off of any week coming off a victory, rather than coming off a loss.
Q: Does a loss linger a little bit longer if you don't get to erase it the following week?
BB: Again, I think that win or lose; those games should be over by 24 hours after the game. Whether you play again right away or a week or two weeks later, you've got to get on to the next team, you've got to get on to the next opponent. That's the way I try to do it and that's what I try to get our team to do.
Q: It's been a couple of years since you've seen Jason Allen in such a prominent role on the base defense. What do you see different in him now? And what do you make of his ability to reinvent himself here?
BB: I think a lot of the things that you saw from Jason at other points in his career, you've seen this year. He's a big guy who runs well, tough, tackles well. That's shown up in the kicking game in other years and at other times. I don't think that's ever really changed, but looks like he's playing with a lot of confidence. Coach [Mike] Nolan has gotten him and [Chris] Clemons into the secondary as kind of two new faces back there in addition to [Benny] Sapp on sub. But, got a couple new guys back there, and they're aggressive, they're big. Big corners are always hard for receivers to deal with. But I think Jason's played very well as has their whole secondary and their whole defense.
Q: A lot of changes in that defense since you saw them last. What's your overall impression of what they're doing defensively?
BB: Good. I think they've added a number of significant players. [Cameron] Wake, I know he was there last year, but he's playing a big role this year. Koa Misi, [Karlos] Dansby, and three guys we mentioned in the secondary. [Tim] Dobbins is getting more playing time. Guys that even were there that are just having a bigger, more expanded role, [Jared] Odrick. I think Bill [Parcells] and Tony [Sparano] have done a good job of acquiring players and acquiring good ones and getting them into their system. They look like they're going to be pretty good to me.
Q: How much did the loss of Kevin Faulk impact what you guys can do on offense, especially from the running game standpoint?
BB: It always hurts to lose a good player. We just have to take the players that we have and try to find a way to continue to be productive. It's not going to be the same. It'll have to be different and hopefully we can make it as good even though it's different. That's our challenge.
Q: Every game counts the same obviously, but are the stakes a little bit higher in division games, especially when both teams have lost one early and the Jets have won a couple times against you and the Dolphins?
BB: I think the stakes are always high in the division games. Absolutely. Three teams tied for first place right now, and you're right, one team has the advantage of two division wins. It's a big game for both teams. There's still a lot of football left and nobody is going to clinch anything after this weekend, but it'd definitely be good to gain an advantage over our opponent this week and at the worst, keep pace with another division leader. That's kind of what the challenge is this week. Of course it's a big game. Any division game on the road counts a little more than one game in the standings. It's one game, but it counts a little bit more than that when you come down to the wire on tiebreakers and things like that.