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Head Coach Mike Vrabel


How did you like what Malik (Willis) did? Bouncing back from kind of a rough start and the way he finished?

Love the way that he competed, loved it. Got to eliminate the mistakes. I think that the one there to Josh (Whyle), I thought that the protection kind of dictated that throw, that miss. And then the other one, you just have to make a better decision. But love what he was able to do after that. Just competed and finished and kept his eyes downfield. Just got to take care of the football.

How do you think the defense competed overall, with the starters early and the backups late?

I thought it was okay. It was good. The one drive there, I think that has to be better. We allowed them into the red zone, and we didn't force them to kick a field goal. During the regular season, when they get in the red zone, you're going to have to try to force them to make kicks.

What went into the decision for (Andre) Dillard to play as long as he did?

Head coach's decision.

Colton Dowell, what did you see from him tonight and just his progress to this point?

He didn't play last week, but it was cool to see him be able to run through a couple of catches and have a good day. I think just the consistency, the volume and a lot of the details for these young receivers is the thing that I keep seeing. But I thought it was a good game for him. It was an important game for him. Had a good week of practice. So, we'll take a look at the film. I would say continue on that path and clean up some of the little details. But it was good to see him show up down the field tonight.

You were able to get (Michael) Badgley a good volume of chances. What do you take from what he did?

Well, you've got to make them. But I thought he bounced back. We'll take a look at it and work through his performance and see what that looked like. And then, go from there just like we will everybody else. Disappointed, and I know he would have liked to have that one back. It's unfortunate.

I know you guys prioritize kind of knocking the football loose from quarterbacks. I think you got two or three of those tonight. Good sign as you get ready for the regular season?

Yeah. If we're going to keep turning the football over, we better create more than what we're giving away.

Were you hoping to get more than three out of Ryan (Tannehill) or is it just the way that unfolded with the three, then stop?

Just three.

Malik's (Willis) ability to kind of come back from those mistakes, those errors, and compete, like you said, is that a sign of the development you were really hoping to see?

I think. You're going to throw some interceptions in this league. And to go back out there and again, I don't know if Malik's (Willis) going to tell you this, but we had called the play and maybe he didn't hit him earlier. And you come over, as a coach, sometimes you say, 'Hey, that was open.' You maybe chase it, and you have to know if it's not there, it's not there. We try to do that in practice. I hope we can learn from this. We tried to do it in practice with the ball to Nick Westbrook(-Ikhine). We tried to do it from the game and come back in the scrimmage. We had two guys drop underneath Nick and try to run the same play. He (Malik Willis) kind of threw it into coverage—now, it wasn't intercepted, but we told him, 'Hey, just because we're trying to come back and correct it and make sure we can move on—if it's not there, it's not there.' So, that was another case of that. And we'll have to make sure that just because we say it was open one time and we call it again, doesn't guarantee that it's going to be open the next time. But I felt there was a competitiveness. And guys were working hard for him, especially there in the second half. We have to start faster. That's obvious.

How do you feel Kearis Jackson did to kind of help himself to replace Kyle Philips while he's out?

I wouldn't say, replacing Kyle (Philips) or anything like that. I thought he had a good showing. I thought the play extension and the ball coming in there in the end zone and being able to go up and catch it and high point and catch it in front of your eyes. I'm probably nitpicking—probably could have returned the one that he fair caught on the 10. But that's why I wanted to try to give him another opportunity there late in the game. Got north and south and we started on the 40 yard line, 16-yard return.

Guys like (Michael) Dwumfour and (Kyle) Peko coming in late to camp, making an impact in the preseason game. They're showing up well enough to make some tough decisions regarding defensive linemen?

Yeah, that's the whole idea. Try to create as many decisions and competition at each spot. Michael (Dwumfour) keeps showing up. Kyle (Peko) finds a way to get to the game. Banged up. He's a veteran. He knows how important these games and these evaluations are. Michael gets in there and shows up and is productive and has great play speed.

Caleb Murphy getting another sack. Obviously, the consistency in games, you've kind of seen that with him. Anything that surprised you with his growth throughout camp to this point?

No. I think, again, it's a full group. There's a bunch of guys there that are competing for spots. We've got a couple of guys that we know are going to be here. And so that group behind there has been competitive and Caleb's (Murphy) continued to work and develop.

(Denico) Autry seemed like he had a lot bottled up to let out. What do you think of what he was able to do out there and what it bodes for coming up?

I wouldn't have phrased it the way you phrased it, but I thought that—Denico (Autry) is an old soul. He is a no-nonsense type guy. He has an earn-everything mentality from the time that probably he got to college and then was undrafted. He's fought for everything. Try to tell our young players, 'This is a great example. You guys should try to emulate him.' We also try to take care of him a little bit and get him what he needs. But he shows up. He'll fight and compete. Love that he's here.

What was the final preseason game like for you, as guys have busted it for you all offseason and now the process starts, the next couple of days, to start saying goodbye to some of these guys?

I think that's part of it. As a player, having been through it and then certainly as a coach, you try to be as respectful as you can, knowing that you're not going to be able to keep everybody. Try to be as honest as you can about why it didn't work or what may happen in the future, or guys that we want to work with on the practice squad. It's part of our game. It's something that, I think, everybody tries to do as respectfully as possible.

What did you think of the first-team O-line tonight?

We all have to start faster, start better.

Do you feel that the offensive line has improved from Chicago to now?

I guess. We're trying to figure out guys that can play swing tackle and guys that can play inside and give us the best aid on game day.

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