HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY
(Opening Statement)– "I'll start with the good: our defense. I thought they played really well. They came back from last week, responded and played our kind of defense. We put them in some bad positions offensively, with obviously turnover and just field position all day, offensively, because we just could not convert a third down. Might be one of the worst third down games I can remember. And obviously, you can't get into a rhythm. Felt good coming into the second half. Coming out, we got a three and out and then we went down and scored a touchdown and felt good about that we were going to be able to turn that game around. We just could not be consistent with our play offensively. And special teams we have to quit the penalties. It's just undisciplined. A lot of it's the same guys. I got to take them off if they can't stop it. Any questions?"
(Thoughts on the touchdown that you lost in the first half?) –"Where that came from, I don't know. Poor call, really poor call."
(What about two plays later? Did you get a good look at the fumble?) –"Yeah, that was close as well. That was close as well. It could have gone either way. The problem was that our guys heard a whistle, which they've already come down from New York [and said] that there wasn't a whistle, but I think I'll believe my offensive linemen before I believe anybody in New York. When they said there's a whistle, I believe our guys. There's no reason for them to tell me that. There's no reason for them to all stop on the play if they didn't hear one, and so they did. So that's the frustrating part. That's really the frustrating part about that play. And I really wish that would have been talked about before they came out of review. It should have been talked about."
(Can you talk about the offense with a new quarterback coming in, how much of that do you put on being out of sync and not being able to get into a rhythm?) –"That's not all on Matt (Cassel). We all got to rally around Matt and do a better job for Matt. You can give them credit for their third down defense against us, but I know I can go down each play of those third downs and look at something we did that didn't help matters."
(What's the situation with T Taylor Lewan?) –"We're going to do an MRI when we get back to Nashville with Taylor. Don't think it's serious – he obviously he went back in there – but we'll know more probably tomorrow with him."
(How did you think G/T Dennis Kelly did on those plays?) –"Good. Obviously, that sack at the end hurt. Tough environment; it was loud. He had problems hearing out there, which, that's typically the case on the road. But for the most part, I thought he held up pretty well."
(With T Taylor Lewan was it something mobility-wise, or was it the pain became too much?) –"I think it's always about the pain – the pain tolerance – anytime anybody can't go."
(How come the run game couldn't get going and how much did you need that?) –"We needed it to go, and I will give them credit on that. They did a good job up front stuffing us. There's a number of things we can do to counter what they did, but they stuffed us up front. That's hard to get into rhythm when you can't get into third down and makeables, when you're not running the ball effectively."
(I know it wasn't just QB Matt Cassel, but how would you evaluate his play today?) –"I think he managed the offense well. I think there are some throws I know he'd like to have back. There are some throws I'd like to see our guys make plays for him. I'd like to see us protect a little better. We had a couple situations that we had some free runners. Those are balls that should be out that are hot throws. We should get rid of it. But overall, it's the first time he's started and played a game since last year. Again, I'll make a good call after I watch him."
(How close did QB Marcus Mariota get at the end there to being able to play?) –"Not real close, not enough that you could put him in that situation out there with the crowd noise and having to move around as much as Matt (Cassel) had to. I'm glad we didn't play him."
(If today was a playoff game…) –"It would've been much more of a discussion, yeah."
(NFL Network reported this morning that it's a two to four week injury. Is there accuracy there? Is there a chance he misses multiple games?) –"No, you can listen to NFL Network or you can listen to me when I say day to day. I'm going to tell you like it is."
(How do you feel about QB Marcus Mariota's chances to play next Monday?) –"I feel better about that one than this one. I held out hope, but I feel better about that one."
(Is this a dig deep moment for this team after five games?) –"Again, I don't want to take away how our defense responded from last week with what took place this week. I thought they responded well. We didn't do so much offensively. Again, we've got to do some things to help Matt (Cassel). Even coaching-wise we got to do a better job (and) see whatever way we can find a way to make a third down."
(Can QB Matt Cassel make all the throws you need him to make?) –"I'd say yeah. For what we're asking him, yes."
(You talked about the run game and also gave up six sacks. Did you need your offensive line to take ownership?) –"Yes. Up front, running the ball and protections."
(Why do you think that failed?) –"Well you can give credit to them (Miami). I always like to do that, and in a lot of that case this is true. They beat us up front. There's no one-on-one. You got to block them one-on-one. Tough guys to block."
(When you drive the field to start the second half you said you felt good. What didn't continue then after that drive the rest of the game?) –"Just making some plays, making some runs, some throws, some catches. We made some plays. (Eric) Decker had some good plays on that drive. We just weren't making any plays."
(CB Adoree' Jackson had a couple of big plays today, knocked down a touchdown pass, had a forced fumble. Are you seeing positive things out of him?) –"Yeah, I do. He made some good plays for us. He's playing good out there. I thought our secondary played better. I thought Adoree' played well. I'm trying to think of anything negative other than him bringing it out at 108. Don't want him to do that."
(On the touchdown to WR Jarvis Landry, was it a soft spot right in there?) –"Yeah, just got to step over the line. We got to close on it."
(How much did RB DeMarco Murray's fumble set you back at that stage?) –"Well they got points off of it, so that's not good. That's just tough as far as getting any kind of momentum. You got a good run - I think we had 9 on the run – and then to lose the ball, you went from an immediate positive to a catastrophic negative and put them in a position to score immediately."
(P Brett Kern kind of keep field position?) –"Kern has been punting, all year long, outstanding. That backed up punt, to get it out of there with one step was pretty impressive, but he has been doing that all year."
(How's LB Wesley Woodyard?) –"He's fine. Really the only … Ty Smith came out with concussion symptoms, but he was fine. He's the only one, other than Taylor (Lewan), that did not go back in the game. Other than that, I think we're pretty healthy."
(In the last series, what happened for them to be able to run out the clock there? Dissapointing?) –"They just moved the pile, kept getting the first downs. They did a good job managing the clock, I thought, there at the end."
(What did you think of the TE Phillip Supernaw sequence with the two penalties?) –"Well he made up for it, I'll say that. Very frustrated by it. From what I … You can't do that. You can't do that in a tight red zone – you can't do it twice in a row – but he did make up for it and made a really good play."
(How come you didn't challenge the spot on the late run still outside of two minutes and seemed to be short? RB Jay Ajayi and third down, I think.)– "I don't think … Di I have any timeouts left? I didn't have any timeouts left."
(You called timeout after he converted.)– "I thought he was short. I called a timeout before I had a chance to challenge it, because I thought he was short. I think that was our last one."
(So in hindsight it would've been better to challenge it than use the timeout?)– "Probably, but it was close. We weren't getting many very calls today."
(Do you expect QB Matt Cassel to start next week?) – "Yes, if Marcus [Mariota] can't play."
(Is LB Daren Bates ok?)– "Yes, he's fine."
QB MATT CASSEL
(When did you know for sure you were getting to start?)– "Probably around Friday I was guessing that I was going to be starting and was officially told Saturday, but throughout the course of the week obviously, I had preparation this week and took most of the reps in practice and everything else, so that wasn't an issue going into it."
(Do you think the turnover was an incomplete pass as opposed to a fumble?)– "You know what, they called it a fumble, so it is what it is. Unfortunately, you try to throw balls and you'd love for it to be an incomplete pass in that situation because a turnover obviously cost us points."
(Did you hear a whistle? A lot of guys said that the reason they didn't stop the return is because they thought the play was over.) –"Right, they called the ball dead, from our perspective they did; but at the same time, they overturned that and you just have to live with that."
(Did it feel like it left your hand as a pass?)– "I mean it felt like I was in the top of my throwing motion at that point; but at the same time, like I said, they overturned it and you've got to live with that and overcome it."
(What about your range of emotions when you think you complete a long touchdown pass to TE Delanie Walker and then you find that there is a penalty on the field on TE Jonnu Smith? Take us through your thought process there and did you see the call that Smith was whistled for?)– "I didn't see the call. Obviously, the height of emotion at that point. You throw a touchdown pass and you run down the field to go celebrate and then the next thing you know, the call gets returned on a penalty and it's a tough pill to swallow at that point. Then I think the turnover was the next play or something like that? So it was a big turn of events in a small period of time."
(What got going on the touchdown drive? What went well there that you weren't able to do on other drives?)– "We just started completing some passes and started getting into a rhythm and moving the ball well. TE Phillip Supernaw went up and made a great catch in the back of the end zone. It's one of those things that we finally got into a rhythm and I don't think we were able to really do that very well most of the day. We've got to do better in situational football, especially on third down, to extend drives. And I think that that's something that we've got to continue to work to get better at."
(Once you got that going, why was it difficult to maintain that?)– "They did a good job today. I think that they rushed me pretty well today and we weren't able to really establish the run game real well. At that point, we knew it was going to be a tight game but at the same time you'd love to get into more of a rhythm. Like I said, on third-down opportunities, we've got to convert more of those and keep ourselves on the field."
(How much did field position take you guys out of what you maybe wanted to do, being backed up on the goal line?)– "That's a good point. They did a good job of pinning us back quite a few times today. When you're in that situation, I think that you're trying to come out of the end zone, you're trying to be careful at the same time. I think they might have taken us out of some of the normal plays that we would call on the field."
(Head Coach Mike Mularkey and the offensive linemen and the run game all said they need to do more to help put you in positions to succeed. When you hear guys talking like that, what does that bring out for you?)– "We've all got a job to do and they do a tremendous job and I've got the utmost respect for our offensive line. I think it's one of the best offensive lines in the league. I've got to do a better job and we've all got to do a better job offensively in order to be more successful on Sundays."
(How aware were you of T Taylor Lewan trying to fight through a knee injury and whether it was him or T Dennis Kelly out there at left tackle?)– "At first, I knew that Lewan hurt himself on the play. I knew that I saw him come back out and I knew he was going to fight and do everything he can because that's the type of personality that Lewan has. Throughout the course of the game obviously I saw Dennis come in. We've got a lot of faith in Dennis and he's a great player as well."
(We got here just after you started, I don't know if you talked about the touchdown that you lost. What's your perspective on what happened on that play to draw the call?)– "You know what, I don't know because, obviously, I was looking down the field and when we completed the ball, I thought it was a for sure touchdown. I wasn't even paying attention to anything behind me at that point. I was already taking off running down the field and, as we discussed earlier, I think just the turn of emotions at that point and then a play later, they overturn gets returned and it results in 7 points for them; so it was a big turn of emotion, but you've got to be able to overcome that adversity."
(And along those lines, you guys playing with a lead would have been a whole lot different than playing catch up today, offensively, I would assume.)– "When you're playing with the lead it's a little different, there's no doubt about it."
(What was the feeling like, Matt, I guess as the team leaves here 2-3 – not where you want to be but there are 11 games left. What was kind of the mindset leaving here?)– "Leaving here, obviously you want to come down here and get a victory. We didn't do it and, like you said, we've got 11 games left to play. That's a lot of season left and if I know this team and I know this locker room, which I feel I'm pretty comfortable in saying, they're going to do everything in our power to turn this thing around and get going in the right direction and play better ball."
(How's your arm strength at this point in your career compared to your peak?) –"I don't know, to be honest with you."
(Do you feel confident that you can make every throw in the playbook or anything you might come across?) –"Yes."
(How would you grade your chemistry and timing with the receivers today?) –"I think it's hard to say. I'd have to watch the film and all of that stuff. I think we did pretty well. We had some quick game and stuff like that but at the end of the day, like I said, I think it's going to come down to third down and how we can get better there."
(Did you and QB Marcus Mariota communicate a lot during the game? What was that like with you guys reversing and switching roles for the day. How much interaction did you have on the sideline?) –"It's a little different, obviously, having Marcus there; but he's a great teammate today. He came up and just was talking about what they were doing, especially when we got to the 2-minute situation we were thinking we would get at the end of the game, with what they did in the first 2-minute when we had it at the end of the (first) half. He was a great support factor and was trying to do everything he could to help us win."
(How are you feeling physically? You got hit a few times pretty hard.) –"I'll be fine. It's part of the game. You've got to be tough when you play this game and you've got to get up and it's just part of it."
CB ADOREE' JACKSON
(Alright so let's talk about the forced fumble there.)– "We were just out there playing ball. They always say good things happen when you run towards the ball. Being back side, he actually cut back, I was just running towards where I saw the gap. He came backside towards me and (I) just tried to put my head in, fit in where needed and ended up forcing a fumble."
(Where do the Titans have to go from here?)– "For us, just keep playing, keep competing. It came down to the last second where we had an opportunity to win the game so we've just got to keep going out there, competing and making more plays to win the game."
(Less than 100 yards passing, I believe, [for Dolphins QB Jay Cutler]. Have you ever been a part of a game where there was less than 100 yards passing, but unfortunately there was still a loss?)– "Yes, any loss is just frustrating so I'm just going back to the drawing board and see which way we can get better and compete. They actually, (their) offense scored what, nine points I believe on us. They had a forced fumble. We should have prevented that touchdown in the second half to keep our offense in rhythm."
OT TAYLOR LEWAN
(How are you feeling?)– "I feel fine, It's one of those deals the first series got rolled up on and they checked it out. It was pretty loose but structurally everything seemed okay so I thought 'go out, try to give it a go.' Just really didn't have much power in it so I think this is a very minor, very small thing but I knew, at that point in the game, I was kind of doing more harm than good – just the lack of power in my leg. I think, I don't think this should be in an issue in the future. I think this should get taken care of and I should fine for next week."
(What do you think about the game overall today?) – "I think that's a pretty self-explanatory question. Got to convert on third down. Got to move the line of scrimmage. Got to keep our defense out of having so many possessions. Just got to continue to work and move forward and I think next week we got a huge opportunity - division game on Monday Night Football. Should be a great opportunity for us."
(Were you on the field for the play when he [S Reshad Jones] picked the fumble up and ran it back?) – "Yes I was. We all, as an offensive line, I mean it's pretty consensual. We all heard a whistle. We all stopped, I actually ended up getting hit late on that. Even if it wasn't a whistle I was still behind the ball. That ball should have came back regardless.
RB DEMARCO MURRAY
(What happened on the fumble?)– "I just have to hit it. Instead of trying to get an extra yard or so, the ball was away from my body and we can't have that."
(Some of the guys are saying that on Matt's [Cassel] play that was ruled a fumble, they heard a whistle.)– "Yes, I wasn't in on that play but obviously I heard it on the sideline and that is why most of the guys stopped, it's unfortunate."
(Is there a plan B when you have the backup quarterback in in terms of helping him out?)– "Yes I've helped Matt [Cassel]. Obviously he's a vet, a guy who knows the system, knows how to play and I think we just didn't give him enough time, we didn't run the ball effectively. But they're a good defense obviously but we have a lot of pride in ourselves and we know what type of offense we are. We have to play better, we have to focus a lot harder, finish plays and it starts there."
TE DELANIE WALKER
(Do you want to talk about the game overall today?)– "We lost."
(What does the team have to do next week to get better?) – "I'm not sure I'm not the coach."
(Did the Dolphins do anything about there that surprised you all?) – "Obviously they played better than we did."
(What about that play with the run back. S Reshad Jones picked up the fumble. Was there a whistle? Did everybody think the play was dead?) – "I'm really not sure on that play. I'd have to see it before I can talk about it."
LB WESLEY WOODYARD
(Do you want to talk about the game overall today, what the pros and cons of the game?)– "Pros and Cons: we lost, as a whole as a defense looking at things we did a pretty good job. But we had a couple series where he let our team down and gave up a touchdown we shouldn't've gave up."
(Where do you guys go from here into next week, what do you have to do?)– "Anything it takes to get back on track. It's still early in the season, you know, losses happen we just got to get back on track, we're still finding ourselves, we just got to rally around each other. We're going to be alright."
(Is there anything out there that were any surprises or was it just?)– "No not really, wasn't any surprises. They were able to make a play towards the end of the game to, finally seal the deal. It was a pretty even keel game throughout the game but they made a play at the end."
MIAMI DOLPHINS POSTGAME QUOTES
HEAD COACH ADAM GASE
(Coach, you can certainly look at this game as a win's a win…defensively, I don't know how much you could say about those guys because obviously they controlled this game from start to finish.)– "They did a great job. It was nice that someone could score points. That was really impressive to see, how they just came out and decided they were going to dominate the game and they did. That's what we're looking for every week."
(The elephant in the room is the offense – their inability to get first downs, convert on third down, and it looked like it was really a struggle all day out there for Jay [Cutler, QB]. What did it look like from where you were standing?) – "If guys would do their jobs, catch the ball, block the right guys, give the quarterback a chance to do something…Jay's way down on the list of things going wrong."
(This is kind of a redundant question, but how do you get this offense in synch?) – "If guys would do what they're supposed to do, we'll be all right. If guys keep not doing the right things, getting beat, not catching the ball, fumbling the ball, it's not going to work."
(How optimistic are you about turning things around?) – "We don't have a choice. We have to."
(If they continue to have the same problems week after week, we've talked about changes before – is that something you have to consider?) – "I don't know where we're going to go."
(The fans were chanting for [QB] Matt Moore to enter the game. What's your feeling about that?) – "That's fine. They chanted for Matt Moore last year when we played against Tennessee. I'll make the decision on quarterback. We're not going to take public polls."
(Are the offensive lines' issues more not carrying assignments or just being beat? What's wrong with the offensive line?) – "It's some good, some bad. It's both. One one time, one another time. Do they have a good defensive line? Yes. But we're better than what we're putting out there right now."
(Do you feel better about the offense now than you did a week ago? Or is it still in kind of the same area?) – "There's little things you can take from it. There's times we're open and we just don't finish the play. We get the ball there…there's a couple of times where Jay got out of the pocket and was making a good play and then we don't finish the play. Guys got to make plays at the end of the day. We can keep scaling back the offense all we want, but it doesn't matter. You've got to make plays."
(Adam, this was the first game with [LB Rey] Maualuga, [LB Lawrence] Timmons, and Kiko [Alonso, LB] – how did they do, especially Kiko who seemed very active?) – It looked like they did well to me. It's nice to see those guys out there because you don't see a lot of missed tackles. Once they make contact, that's it.
(Can you talk about [S] Reshad Jones and how he had a nose for the ball today and how he was on that play that nobody realized was a fumble?) – "The one thing about Reshad that you just notice right from the get go today was that he was all business today. He absolutely… You could tell he had a fire about him right from the time he walked into the locker room. Hearing him talking in the background, I knew he was going to be effective today and he went out there and he backed his talk up, what he was saying in the locker room, and he played an unbelievable game."
(On that particular play it seemed like a lot of guys froze because the ball went twenty yards. Did you realize that it actually was a fumble?) – "Everything was happening so fast. We're making adjustments, then you look up and see the ball go, and you see him go, and you're trying to… Did anybody hear a whistle? That's the biggest thing, will somebody accidentally blow a whistle in that case, the play's dead. But the officials, over time, figured it out. You're almost better letting it go if you're not sure, because it's a replay."
(What do you know about [WR DeVante] Parker's injury right now?) – "I'll know more tomorrow, but obviously hismnot coming back into the game…we'll see what it's going to turn out to [be] next week.
(When the offense did get going it seemed as though Jay was really locked into Jarvis [Landry, WR]. Can you talk about the connection that they had?) – "We were just trying to figure out if we could get him the ball and if he could run for extra yards. They were playing the run pretty hard, and just being able to get the ball out quick. Even when we were getting to them, we still got too much pressure in the face, missed assignments, and guys leaking through the line of scrimmage. We've got to clean a lot up."
(What was your approach with the players today with regards to the National Anthem?) – "It was a decision made that we were going to stand and guys who didn't want to stand, stayed back in the locker room."
(It was a decision made by who?) – "I did."
(Have you scaled back on the offense?) – "We have. Every week."
(Dramatically?) – "Yes."
(Adam, I know you pointed to other parts of the Dolphins breaking down. Particularly with Jay, how would you evaluate his performance?) – "I don't know. He can't throw it and run out there and catch it. We had five drops. They were going to be twelve to fifteen to twenty yard plays. I don't know what else we can do."
(RB [Jay] Ajayi averaged just three yards a carry, but given the fact that the defense linemen were at the line of scrimmage waiting to hit him – is that a good day in terms of production?) – "Yes. Some of it was good, some of it wasn't good – the fumble, obviously is unfortunate. It was hard to see. I saw the replay up on the board. You just can't have that happen. That's one of the things we count on him with the amount of time he carries the ball, make sure ball security is 100%. It was one of those days where they were playing the run so hard, maybe we should have went to play action sooner. There's a couple of times where we tried to earlier in the game, but things just broke down quick."
(What is the mood in the locker room? What is the mood of the team right now? Is there a feeling of desperation?) – "No, I don't think so. We just got done with the first quarter and we are two-and-two. Last year I don't even think we were close to that. A win's a win. I know I must have missed a column that says style points next to the win, so we'll go back, we'll correct it, and we'll get better. That's really what we've got to do.
(As far as the touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, what went right? You saw some success with the stop routes and things like that.) – "We did what we were supposed to do. It's not hard. This is not a hard sport to play. Do what you were supposed to do and you'll have success."
LB KIKO ALONSO
(Was this your finest performance as a Dolphin, do you think?) –"I don't know."
(What do you think of the defensive performance as a whole?) – "I think that it was good. Obviously, it was good to score, it was our first score. I thought it was good."
(Take us through that play when [S Reshad] Jones scored. I know you had a part in that play.) –"They didn't block me, so I just tried to make a play and luckily it was a fumble, and Reshad finished it off.
(Did you know I was a live ball the whole time or were you not sure?) –"No I didn't know. I just tried to hit as hard as I could."
(Given how the offense was having to fight for every first down and every point, how good does it feel for the defense to come through the way it did today?) –"It just feels good to get the W. It's hard to win and it feels good to come out with a W."
(Cuál es la sensación después de ganar un juego importante en casa?)– "Es difícil ganar en esta liga y cuando ganes es emocionado todo."
(Cuentanos un poquito de esa jugada espectacular en que [S Reshad Jones anotó] un touchdown.)– "No me bloquearon. Asi lo dicen? (Risa) No me bloquearon entonces quería darle duro."
(Le diste duro.)– "Ya tu sabe. [risa]"
(Como se siente una victoria así que han peleado casi todo el partido para conseguir la victoria? Como se siente ganar un partido tan fuerte?)– "Se siente muy bien cuando ganas en esta liga, porque es muy difícil. Vamos a disfrutar esta victoria, pero tenemos que seguir trabajando para Atlanta."
QB JAY CUTLER
(What did you think about the offensive performance today?) –"It was poor."
(What was the main problem?) –"I don't know. We've got to look at the film. I think there were a lot of problems though."
(Were there similar things going on today that you've seen over the last couple of weeks?) –"Yes. Nothing different from the last couple of weeks when you put up 6 and 0 (points), then whatever we put up today. You're going to have the same issues. (There are) a lot of things for us to clean up."
(How much of this do you put on your shoulders?) –"A lot. I'll take a lot of it. As a quarterback, whenever you win, you get a lot of praise; whenever you lose, rightfully so, you're going to get a lot of blame. It's the nature of the position."
(Was there anything at all, any one thing that you felt like was improvement? Or a correction from last week.) –"Improvement? I mean we battled back. We had that drive and got a touchdown when we needed it. That's a positive; but I think everything leading up to that point was probably pretty bad."
(What was the difference on that drive? Why were you able to move the ball? I think you had four first downs…) –"We had some play-action going. We protected, we made some plays on the outside, had a few good runs. (Head Coach) Adam (Gase) had a nice call down there on the goal line and gave Jarvis (Landry) a shot. We were just in rhythm. When we get a couple first downs, we protect up front and I get the ball out, good things are going to happen. When we do the opposite of that, bad things are going to happen. That's what we did for 90 percent of the drives today."
(So you scaled back the offense a little bit each of the last couple of weeks. Do you still have enough in there to where you are confident that you can move the ball?) –"We've got more than enough."
(Did you hear the "We want Moore" chants and what did you think of them?) –"Honestly, I heard them but I didn't know what they were saying. I don't think anyone was going to tell me what they were saying at that point, so I just kept going about my business."
(Surely there's frustration with the offense but if you look at what the defense did today, a pretty stout job by those guys. They went above and beyond the call?) –"Absolutely. If we show up on offense, you're looking at a really good team there. If we keep playing the way we are offensively, and sooner or later we are going to run into a team that scores a few points and we are going to lose ball games like we did in London. That was a great performance by (the defense) in London, as well. We haven't helped them out in three weeks."
(How far do you feel off from your own personal standard that you set for how acceptable quarterback play?) –"I mean there's a lot of things that happen in a game. I'll go back and look at the tape. Any time offensively we perform like that, I'm going to expect more of myself and I'm going to expect more of the guys in the huddle."
(How did losing WR DeVante Parker affect the game plan?)– "When you lose a guy like that, it's always going to hurt. When you lose anybody – any of the starters – it's tough, but that's the NFL. It happens week in and week out. Guys have to step in and guys have to make plays."
(There haven't been a lot of big plays out of this offense. How do you get that going? Do you feel like this is a team that if you can get a couple of big plays going, that will open things up for you?) – "Yes. We have to get some first downs. We have to get some drives going. We have to loosen up some defenses and wear down the defensive line a little bit. When we're going three-and-out, three-and-out, it's tough for (Head Coach) Adam (Gase) to call some play-action or toss one deep because he doesn't want to be second-and-10, he doesn't want to be third-and-10."
(I think you just you just crossed the two-month mark with this team. Is some of the offensive struggles we see part of a natural learning curve?) –"I don't think so. I'm comfortable with this offense. I'm comfortable around the guys. We just have to clean up a lot of things that every good offense does. You don't turn the ball over, you don't have second-and-longs, you don't have third-and-longs. You continue drives. You line up, you've got to get in and out of the huddle and convert the ball whenever we have a chance to make plays."
DE CHARLES HARRIS
(What do you feel like right now that you need most improvement on overall?)– "Just continue to learn the game. Continue to watch film. Continue to really learn. Learn from DE Cam (Wake), learn from (Andre) Branch, learn from William (Hayes) and all of them guys. They kept telling me to keep my head up and that's what I did throughout the game. Of course it's being patient. Being patient on the field, outside of the field, at practice and things like that. Just working on my craft and learning how to be a pro."
(What's it like to have your first sack come at a critical point in a clutch part of the game) – "Like I just said it's natural. Been training all through training camp all through practice, things like that. When you make it a habit on a daily basis it just happens. I just thank the lord. I don't care if it would have came the last play of the game. It came when it came. It came at a big time. I just thank God that I was able to keep my head in the game the entire time. He is teaching me patience. Teaching me patience, and keep continuing to work hard. Continue to work hard throughout the week. Continue to work on my craft."
(You got around that tackle awfully awfully quick. Was it just you beat him of the snap?) – "Well the whole game he was chipping me. All game they kept on setting different formations trying to confuse me. But like I said listen to coach T, listen to the game plan. He told me to get outside, just get off the ball…that's the reason why they brought me here, to get off the ball and get sacks so that's what I did. Stuck to the fundamentals and I did a good job."
S RESHAD JONES
(Talk about the play where it seemed like nobody in the building knew it was a fumble except you.)– "I just kept playing. I saw the ball on the ground. The guys up front did a great job of getting the ball out of the quarterback's hands and I just kept playing and it ended up being a touchdown."
([Was it] just an instinct that you ran because you never know?) –"Yes, pretty much. The coaches are always preaching that when the ball hits the ground, pick it up, you never know. I just kept playing through the play."
(Can you just talk about last week in London, if this offense can't get going and you've got to get the job done? Ten points off turnovers today, arguably it was a defensive win this game. Is that something you guys felt, going into the game, you may have to do?) –"I think that's what good teams do. When the offense is not playing well, (the) defense has to pick up their slack. When (the) defense is not playing well, (the) offense has got to pick up our slack, so I think we just complement each other. We did a great job of complementing them today."
(What about those guys up front, those linebackers, you've got the big crew in their now. [LB Rey] Maualuga comes in and plays well for you, [LB Lawrence] Timmons is back there for his second game and [LB] Kiko [Alonso], that's kind of the group that you want in there. How much did they help you out today?) –"I think we've got one of the best front sevens in football. We've got DT Ndamukong Suh stopping the run. He's a beast up front, so to have a guy like that in front of those guys, it makes it easy."
(You're not saying that because [DT Ndamukong Suh] is standing right there?) –"No, no, no. For real. That's for real."
(You're one of the leaders on this team. Sometimes this can happen where you've got one side carrying the other, defense or offense. Do you have to guard against that right now with the defense kind of carrying the offense right now?) –"Whatever it takes to win football games. Whatever it takes to win football games. We win and lose together, so like I said, if the offense is not playing well I think we have to step our play up a notch. Hopefully the offense will do the same thing for us. There'll be a time, probably, where we don't play to our standards and hopefully the offense will be able to back us."
(When you took that touchdown in, did you think it was a touchdown?) –"Yes, of course. That's why I ran it. Like I said, I just did a great job of finishing the play."
(It seemed like from the very beginning the goal was to not let the Titans have even the slightest hope that they could get going. Was that the mentality going into today? Don't let the backup quarterback feel like he has a chance.) –"Yes, pretty much. We wanted to make the team one dimensional. When you make a team one dimensional, I think it's a lot easier on us as a defense. (Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke) said he wanted to stop the run and I think that's what we did today."
(Did you think you had a safety on that sack? It was really close.) –"Yes, it was close. It was close."
LB REY MAUALUGA
(How pleased are you with how things went for you today?) – "I feel good. I feel good. I'm still trying to adjust to this heat. I don't think it's going to be overnight, and I've only been here for a month. I felt good to finally get out there and play. January 2nd was my last game that I played in. But it felt great. Obviously, it felt great to have the 'W' and just going to continue to work on my craft and hopefully get better and try to continue to help this team, make some plays and win some games."
(As a unit is there a conscious decision that the defense has to create opportunities when the offense is struggling to put points on the board?) – "Obviously, we can't control what they do, so I think our mindset – with (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Matt) Burke and his philosophy is just control what we can control and be the best group that we can be and eventually, hopefully all we need is a field goal or we just need some points on that board. If we don't let the other team score, then we win. It's not like we're taking the pressure off the offense or anything. We're just going to continue to try and expand and see how good of a unit we can be. I think every week – with a good week of practice and all these older folks on this defense – I think we can lead by example and hopefully be the best unit in the league. I don't know. We're just taking it one game at a time and trying to see where we go."
C MIKE POUNCEY
(It's exciting to get a win, but on the other hand the offense was having to fight, scratch and claw.)– "Yes, we've got to figure it out on the offensive side of the ball to help our defense out. It's always great to get a win in this league, but you know how we've been playing these last three weeks is unacceptable. We're not going to beat any teams playing like that."
(What did you think of that defensive performance?) – "I think they did a good job. They did a good job, but it's more us. I feel like we had them blocked up the whole game and just one guy was off, so it's more us. We've got to fix us first before we worry about anybody else."
(On the mental errors happening on offense…) –"Well, I haven't looked at the film yet today. I'm focused on doing my job out there. I'll look at the film, but the last two weeks that's what it's been. We've got ten guys doing the right thing and one guy off, and it just messes everything up, and it's not the same guys, it's all over the football field. We'll get it figured out. It's early in the football season, but it's what we didn't expect in our second year in this offense."
DT NDAMUKONG SUH
(It seems you guys put a lot of pressure on QB Matt Cassel today. I think you were like 11, 12 hurries and a few sacks. Talk about the mental pressure.)– "We obviously wanted to shut down the run, and I think we did a pretty good job of it for the most part. Still a little too many yards, but we put them in a situation where they had to pass the ball to move the ball. We knew when we made them one-dimensional that we had the opportunity to hit the quarterback, and he wasn't going to be able to get the ball because our secondary is going to do what they do and obviously make him hold the ball, and we had the opportunity to hit them."
(We asked S Reshad Jones about the play where it was a fumble and nobody seemed to know. But from your vantage point, how did that play out? ) – "We've talked about it all week and many weeks before – even in camp – that obviously (if) the ball (is) on the ground, first guy who is there, pick it up. You never know what's going to happen. I'm looking right at Reshad, and I saw him pick it up, so I turned to him and was getting ready to go to block, but he was already in the end zone by then."
(Do you guys feel like a 2-2 team? Do you feel a little better? A little worse?)– "I think we're a 2-2 team because that's what we are. Nothing really more to say in that regard. But at the end of the day, we did what we're supposed to do which is protect our home, and we're getting ready to go to Atlanta."
(It seems like when Head Coach Adam Gase, QB Jay Cutler come in there's a sense of we have a long way to go. And the defensive point of view, this is as well as you guys can play. Do you feel that sense of that half of the locker room is pure joy at the moment, and the other half feels like not that they lossed the game, but they turned in a third string performance where they don't look like themselves?) – "I wouldn't say there is pure joy by any means. We're not playing a perfect game. I think we're playing well in some particular areas, especially in the run. Obviously, there are things we can always do better. They understand what they have on their particular side of the ball, and I wouldn't say they are disappointed from the standpoint of they can't do it. They're disappointed because they know what they have and they can be very successful. Even though we are happy that we won, and we're going to continue to strive to win, we obviously want to play at a very high level. That's what excellent players as Jay Cutler is and a winning coach like Adam Gase is."
(You're getting guys coming back now. LB Lawrence Timmons comes back, LB Rey Maualuga come back, and you're playing better. Does it have something to do with those guys and is it a matter of a lot of new faces in there, getting used to [each other], getting better as you go, is that part of getting to know the guys that you're playing with in that room?) –"I think it's a combination of everything. Obviously, there are a lot of new faces on this defense as well as some old faces, me being one of them. We understand what we have. We understand that we got to go out there and execute. (Defensive Coordinator Marr) Burke is going to put us in great positions as he is a very, very smart guy – obviously Ivy League guy – understands the game. I've been around him for a long time, and he's going to put us in great places. As we are placed in those places go out there and execute and things are going to happen the way they are."
(As far as the frustration level on the sideline today, we saw you go through it, we saw WR Jarvis Landry go through it. Does this win help take care of some of that situation?) – "Frustration in what regard?"
(You guys yelling, getting upset on the sideline.) – "I'm not much of a yeller so I'm not sure what you saw in that particular standpoint. But in regards to probably yes not playing at the best of our football, we're always going to have conversations. We're always going to push for us to be at the best of our best. We're never going to always obviously get there but we want to strive for that. We're going to push each other and be hard on each other until we get there."
(I think the question was asked before: when one side of the ball is maybe playing better than the other that locker rooms tend to pull apart. What's your sense as to where the Dolphins are?) – "I think we are a very strong team, and we understand that we've unfortunately been through this a little bit. We're going to see some great things from the offense, we're going to see some bad things from the defense and vice versa. It's the ultimate team game. I think special teams did a great job, especially our punter. Our punter did a great job switching the fields and putting us in good situation. From the defensive perspective, we understand as a defense we're going to get the ball and have an opportunity to give it back to our quarterback and our offense to go and make plays."
(Do you have a formal event to go to after this?)– "No, I don't. (laugher) I missed that earlier this week, but I like to dress up every now and then.
LB LAWRENCE TIMMONS
(What is the key to forcing so many turnovers in general?) – "Like I said we have to play together and we have to depend on each other, everyone on one accord and listen to the coaches and gradually get better that's all.
(What additions did Rey Maualuga make to that linebacker unit?) – "He gives us attitude, he's a physical player. You can tell with our defense we want to be physical and detailed with our assignments. We just want to be aggressive out there and depend on each other.
(When defensive coordinator [Matt] Burke blitz you, or LB Kiko [Alonso] or S Reshad [Jones] it seems like that could be pretty affective. How do you feel about the skill set relative to blitz from you guys?) – "I feel like the sky is the limit for us. We're still trying to get to know each other and it's early in the season. We see where we are going, we're building. We're trying to gradually build up right now. It's a long season we have plenty of room to grow."
DE CAMERON WAKE
(It was mighty warm out there. It is South Florida.) –"Was it warm? It felt nice to me." (laughter)
*(Certainly when you consider how the defense really set the tone for this football game, can talk about the pressure you put on Titans QB Matt Cassel and how that was a factor in today's win?) *– "We had a laundry list of things that we wanted to accomplish coming into this game, and obviously, the first one was stopping the run. Anytime that you do a good job stopping the run, even in the third-and-longs, that's going to help you get pass-rush opportunities. As a front, you've got to work first before you play, so we put in the work stopping the run and we get to go have some fun on third down and get after the quarterback."
(That play where it was a fumble and S Reshad Jones picked it up and ran it in, from your vantage point did you realize it was a fumble right off the bat?) – "The thing is you'd rather have it in the end zone and let them them figure it out. And obviously Reshad – who's a great player, a veteran, he knows the system – he picked it up and, like I said, he got it into the end zone and let them figure out all the paper work. Obviously, a smart move. Touchdown for us."
(You guys have been playing better and better each week and you played a very good game today. The way this offense has been going and where you're going next week, you guys may have to play better. Can you guys play better than you played today?) – "I think sky's the limit. I guarantee you we have higher expectations on ourselves and amongst one another than anybody outside the locker room. We've been stepping up to the plate, week in and week out. It has always been a different challenge, whether it's one week it's a great running back, one week it's a great quarterback, another week it's good receivers. Whatever it may be, it's the NFL. Week in and week out you're going to have a challenge and you've got to step up and you've got to own and put the ball down and let's play. That was our mentality coming into this game: no matter what happens, where ever the ball goes down, we're going to put our chin straps on and go out there and get to work."
(You had two turnovers, you had four sacks in the game, 10 points off turnovers. This one was clearly on the back of the defense. Do you just have to have the mentality going in and out every week that if we got to play this way, that's the way we've got to play?) – "We started off way back in April that it's really a whatever-it-takes mentality. And I just said it before, wherever the ball is put down on the field, we're going to attack no matter what. No matter whatever the situation. No opportunities to cry about what's going on. Offense, obviously, sometimes they're going to have a day where they're putting up points and helping us when we're not having a great day. So, we work hand in hand. Whatever it takes for them to get the job done. Obviously, at the end of the game, they put drives together to put points on the board and secure the win for us. We work together. It's not one side versus the other. It's a full team, and the Miami Dolphins won today, and it was on the backs of everybody working really hard to get it done."
(We saw a burst from DE Charles Harris today, the rookie. Can you talk about what you've seen in terms of his development?) – "That first one is always a great one. I know he'll remember that the rest of his career. I really feel like that's just the beginning. He has so many gifts, talents. He's a hard worker. He's obviously explosive. Physically, mentally, he has all the pieces. So just putting them together, him having a complete game, I'm glad he got that first one. I told him that's one of many more, let's keep it going, and I know that's what he's going to do."
(What was your first sack?) – "Buffalo."
(What do you remember about it?) – "Jason Taylor was on the other side, so they were paying a lot of attention to him. I had it pretty easy. I have to thank 'J.T.' for that one. It was a game … I had been inactive actually the first five games – some of you guys weren't even here for that – and actually I think I had three sacks my first game."
(What's the mentality going into the game next week in Atlanta?) – "More of the same. More of the same, obviously. Again, another challenge. They have weapons. They have good players, not unlike this week. And as a defense you've got to go up there and whenever your number's called, you've got to step up to the plate. I think the guys will take 18 hours to enjoy this and flip the page. You've got to move on the next one. It feels good to win, but it's just like when you lose, you can't dwell on it. You can't pat yourself on the back too long. You've got to move on. So, we'll enjoy tonight, but then tomorrow morning we're on to the next one."
(What's something that Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke has been doing that's paying dividends?) – "I think for the most part, knowing his personnel. He knows the guys. He knows the guys that he has and the skill set for each guy and being able to call plays and call the defenses that puts those certain guys in positions to make plays. Obviously, stellar play calling today. Obviously, the run was stopped, I'll say, I think very definitively. And I think a lot goes to him in setting this up and putting us in position to make plays. Obviously, we've got different guys going in and out. If you look back and see, run stoppers in when they need to be, pass rushers in when they need to be. It all works together. It's one cohesive unit. He's kind of the brains of the operation for running the show, and I'm glad that he can put this one on his chart today, because this was a win that, again, for him most guys will probably not say his name but I think, to start off, everything that we did today started with him."
(With this point, 2-2, finishing the first quarter of the season, how do you view that?) – "I'm not going to be satisfied with 2-2. I don't think anybody else in the locker room would be. I feel like the games we lost, we let them slip through our fingers. We've could've done more. You never want to be, like I said earlier in the week, you never want to be looking back Week 13 saying, 'Should've, should've. Wish I, wish I.' But that's in the past and all we can do is look forward and move on to the next one. We have done some good things, but we also have some things to work on. I think we have good building blocks in place to move forward. I think we've shown on all aspects of the game that we are capable. To me, when you have the capability and you don't execute, that's more frustrating than not even having the capability at all. We know that there are things that we can do. We've just got to fix up, change some pieces around, whatever it may be, to play a full, complete, solid game. And I think moving forward that's going to be our goal."
(You look at some of the players who are in their first year of the defense here like DE Will Hayes, DE Charles Harris, LB Lawrence Timmons, LB Rey Maualuga, CB Cordrea Tankersley, probably some more, some good players. Is there sort of a common thread among any of those guys?) –"Dogs. I think in order to play – and again, back to (Defensive Coordinator) coach (Matt) Burke – in order to play in this defense the way he has it set up, if you don't have that anger and that aggression and that pride of self that, 'I don't care what's going on. I'm going to get my job done,' if that is stopping the run, if that's getting to the quarterback, if that's stopping such and such receiver, you have to have a sense of pride above all else, if that's going take place, it's going be accomplished, whatever it takes. And the guys that you just named – the guys that they brought in here – I feel like they all have that mentality. In the locker room, we call it, 'You have to have that dog in you,' and that's that pitbull mentality that, 'I'm going to die, or I'm going to get my job done.' One or the other. It's not, 'Oh, well. Darn. You got me.' You're not making a play. If you if you look across the board and go back and watch some of this film, all of those guys were playing that way. That's the only way we can be successful is everybody have that."
(There's been difference in mood between yourself and S Reshad Jones and DT Ndamukonmg Suh when they came in versus when Head Coach Adam Gase and QB Jay Cutler came in about how they felt about how the game went today. How do you as a leader and the locker room as a collective sort of come together so that it's not offense versus defense, who's getting the job done versus who's not?) –"I think that the ultimate goal is to get a 'W', so I assure you 10 weeks from now, nobody will be talking about what happened in this game. It will be we won, and that's it. There's no style points. There's nothing beyond getting the 'W'. No matter how you get it, whatever has to happen, nobody will remember that Reshad scored a touchdown. It'll just be the Dolphins won, such and such score to Tennessee, whatever it was. We scored points. We. Not offense, not defense – the Miami Dolphins. So moving forward, again, for us, it's never going to be one versus the other. I think that sense is what carries that unity is, 'It's us together.' We came at halftime, we're winning the game, we looked each other in the eye (like), 'We're going to finish this game off.' Again, we have things we have to work on as well. It's not, 'We've got it all figured out and offense doesn't.' It's the Miami Dolphins have things to work on, ways that we can get better, ways that we can make the game not as intense, maybe win by three scores and that's on defense, offense, and special teams. Moving forward, we got those things we got to work on. Again I think we'll enjoy this one tonight and then we'll move on to those things tomorrow."
(You and your teammates say there are things you guys defensively need to work on. What are those things?) – "I feel like, for us, the most important thing moving forward is knowing how teams are going to play against us. And at some point, as I've told some of the other guys, yes, we're good at certain things and teams are going to try to scheme you to limit your skill set, to limit your advantage, then that's smart. They're not idiots. What are you going to say, 'If they're throwing the ball quick or what.' You can't do anything about that. What are we going to do to change that? If they're going to double team (Ndamukong) Suh, what are you going to do to change that? You can't cry about it. You have to figure it out. And if they're going to run certain plays or do certain things to try to take away that advantage that you do have as a defense, we have to adjust it as well. I think moving forward that's something that … again, I think Coach Burke did a great job of today. I think we'll continue to do that, and I think once we fix some of those pieces, again, sky's the limit for this defense and this team.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 5 action at Hard Rock Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)