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Head Coach Mike Vrabel


Q. The resiliency your team showed at the end there to keep and fight, how important is it to be able to pull that out today?

COACH VRABEL: Well, hopefully at some point in time it's not going to be necessary to have that to be in a position to get a huge turnover on the kickoff, take advantage of it, and then we just – we didn't give them credit, they fought and battled just the same way we did. Give Sean (Payton) and that football team a lot of credit. That's a very good defense. So, we'll have to play better. But I do as always appreciate our core group that fights and battles and finds a way to make some plays there at the end.

Q. When you saw the two-point conversion, was it what you expected?

COACH VRABEL: Well, they jumped. So, I think we were expecting something with the quarterback. And then they jumped and then probably bunched us up. And again, the quarterback has got to make some decisions and I don't blame him. That matchup with (Mark) Ingram and the linebacker had been something that they had hit, and so we were able to cover him and keep him from scoring.

Q. The way this league is, you've been in a lot of games like this, just finding a way to win at the end is kind of what it's all about?

COACH VRABEL: Yeah, we've proven that over the course of three and a half years that some days they're going to be really good and you're going to have your fastball and everything's going to be clicking, and some days it's going to be a little tougher sledding. And certainly that was the case today. But they know how to win. They do know how to win. I'm thankful for that.

Q. Does the fact that you guys have had so many times where it's tough sledding, does that help you?

COACH VRABEL: These seem like the same questions that you guys ask us all the time. Sooner or later you guys will have to watch and figure out that's kind of -- the more you do something, probably the better you get at it or the more comfortable you get at it. Again, we don't plan them that way. We don't. We hopefully don't panic. When you don't make a big deal about something, they probably don't make a big deal about it. So, we all have to be prepared for these situations in every game that come up. And two-point conversions, onside kick, Nick Westbrook(-Ikhine) did a heck of a job there to recover the kick there at the end. I'm sure there will be a lot of great efforts and a lot of stuff that we'll have to correct.

Q. I'm sure you'd rather not use this many guys that you've used this year, but when a guy like Dylan Cole is elevated and makes a play like that, is this something that the team has rallied around, that people from all over the place are coming in and doing something?

COACH VRABEL: I say it when they come in on Wednesday. And I tell them at the team meeting, (indiscernible) could come up and answer these guys, you know what I mean? You're expected to be ready to play in the football game. Will you, Dylan (Cole)? You're on the practice squad? I don't know that, but you're expected to be ready to play. And if you get everybody to prepare like that, with that idea, then there's no surprises or there are no scrambling on Friday when somebody goes down or somebody decides that they're not available. So that's how we try to approach things. On Wednesday there's a really good chance that I'm going to say the same thing at the team meeting at 8:00. Everybody that's in here this week is going to be expected to play in the game. We'll find the 48 guys we think give us the best chance to win.

Q. (Indiscernible) an example of that kind of concept is Dylan's play?

COACH VRABEL: Yeah, and again Dylan (Cole) is somebody that I go back with in Houston and had factored on special teams and defense and then just ran into some injuries. We had him in, worked him out. Had him on the practice squad and had him ready to go before last week's game, and then wanted to be able to try to utilize his skillset. Looked like he really factored on special teams and so that will probably give him some more opportunities.

Q. (Indiscernible) Marcus Johnson's punt?

COACH VRABEL: Huge. It was huge. It was what we needed to see from Marcus (Johnson), I think Marcus needed to see a little bit of that for himself. But had a really good game for us.

Q. You had two delay of games in the red zone. What happened on those?

COACH VRABEL: I think just we get in that long-yardage situation. I wasn't very excited about taking a timeout on third-and-15 or whatever it was, and we have to be better in those situations. Ryan (Tannehill) felt like he had the one under control. The official didn't see it the same way. And I trust Ryan with the snap count and making sure we understand it the same, that we see zero and the official looks down and then if he sees the ball still there, he calls it, and so that's what happened. But Ryan felt like he had the situation under control. And I trust him a lot of those times.

Q. How did you assess the running back group today?

COACH VRABEL: I think there were some really positive plays. I thought we hit a few good runs and that they hit the right hole. Ran hard. I'll have to take a look and see what the blocking looked like. I know that D'Onta (Foreman) made an unbelievable play. Well blocked. He made a great catch. And a great job on that screen play. That was a huge play.

Q. How much (indiscernible) opportunity when your defense gave the offense two short fields and they got seven twice?

COACH VRABEL: To be able to take those turnovers -- this is a really good defense. Playing against these guys, preparing, we knew we'd have to outplay their defense. I felt like we were kind of even with them. And then probably we gave a little bit away there late in the game with some X plays, changed field position. But our offense has done a nice job. We need to continue to do a better job in the red zone and taking care of the football. But if you can do that and take care of it and not turn it over and do a nice job in the red zone, you have a chance.

Q. You touched on some of the things that you want to get better at just now, right? Some of the sloppiness?

COACH VRABEL: The sloppiness is things that we're going to -- the efficiency in which we run our offense. The efficiency that we have on first down, whether we run it, whether we throw it, protection, blocking at the second level, defensive communication, being able to -- when you get into a situation where you're playing a lot of guys, those are new guys sometimes next to each other, that the communication is there so that you're trying to avoid mistakes by communicating to somebody that's standing three or four feet away from you. And just not feeling like you're by yourself out there, that you've got 11 guys to work with and to function with. And we did that a lot of times and then there were times where I felt like we were scrambling a little bit.

Q. In terms of how you're reflecting a few minutes after the game, the good of what you saw?

COACH VRABEL: I saw a team that got some turnovers. I thought we played well defensively early. I thought we threw the ball efficiently early when it was tough to run the football. And I think that whether that was running, trying to invest in completions, I thought we protected our quarterback early. Now, some of those things changed. Some of those things changed. And give credit to their defense. But offensively, I felt like Ryan (Tannehill) had time to throw. There was a good pocket to step up and firm in the inside -- to be able to step up and complete passes.

Q. Julio Jones, obviously the hamstring, what made you make that decision? And what's the prognosis for him down the line?

COACH VRABEL: There's a lot of things that we -- again I wouldn't -- you've been around me for a while. The prognosis is IR is at least three weeks, and so they're not going to let us change those rules. Outside of that, I'm not going to be able to give you a timeline, but every move that we make we feel like we do in the best interests of the football team. And that's why we did it.

Q. A.J. dropped one early. Wasn't much of a force in this game. Did find alternatives obviously, but what do you think of where he was, where his --

COACH VRABEL: I'm sure there would be some plays he'd like to have back. Trevor (Siemian) had some good plays too, just like everybody else.

Q. What's your initial assessment of Kristian (Fulton)'s improvement, what he was able to do today and what different dynamic does he bring to that right corner?

COACH VRABEL: Kristian (Fulton) was playing with a lot of confidence. He was excited about being out there. I felt like really starting to improve and playing corner in this league is a tough proposition. They're going to catch passes on you. To be able to come back and line up again and compete and make a play – I thought for him to play as much as he did today and come out I hope, I think, OK, it will be good to have him back and continue to get some practice from him and build some continuity back there.

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