A six-pack of nuggets from the Dolphins’ coordinators Monday:
• Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph hasn’t hesitated to call out players who aren’t doing enough. On Monday, he made clear that more is needed from defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, a second-round pick in 2015.
“The bottom line is Jordan (Phillips) has got to play better overall,” Joseph said. “Out of 35 plays, Jordan is playing a solid 25 plays very solidly. He's having four or five plays where it's not very good. I think [Ndamukong] Suh is playing well.
“I think Suh gets doubled a lot, but I think Jordan could play better. Obviously, getting Earl (Mitchell) back in a couple weeks, that's going to help us there. Losing Earl was a big deal for us inside, because now you've got probably three inside starters. Getting Earl back in two weeks, that's going to help us a lot."
• Why did Mario Williams play some defensive tackle Sunday?
"Just bodies,” Joseph said. “We want to get our best four rushers on the field at one time. Sometimes we have to play Mario inside to keep Andre Branch at the right end. It's having your four best guys on the field at one time.
“He played with great intensity yesterday. He had two TFLs (tackles for loss). He had two quarterback hits, four QB pressures. He played well. Obviously, that was his old team, so I think inside he wanted to play well. He didn't say it all week, but he wanted to play well against Buffalo."
• Why is this defense playing better "I think having Cam (Wake) out there full time, Andre (Branch) playing more snaps - that has helped,” Joseph said. “That has been different for us as far as the ends having more energy out there. The back end guys have been really solid. (Byron) Maxwell has played better and better each week, the last two weeks. That has helped also. But I think the energy that Cam brought and Andre brought, that has been the biggest difference in my opinion.”
• Joseph offered additional insight on Wake and Branch:
“Cam, he has come a long way. The first three weeks, he wasn't Cam. Now he's back to being Cam. If he's one on one with most tackles, he's going to win a majority of the snaps. So, he's back to being what Cam was in the past….
"We watched Andre on tape in the spring. You can watch an entire game on Andre and say, 'He's just okay,' but you can pick 15 plays and say, 'Boy, he's special.' We weren't sure what he was going to be. But obviously, he's talented enough to be a special guy. Right now, he's focused. It's a chance to be a starter; that's huge. He's in a contract year; that's huge for him. So, I'm not surprised by what he's doing as far as the talent perspective. He's a gifted guy. He's tall. He can run. He's aggressive. It has been good for us."
• Christensen, on Jay Ajayi’s remarkable accomplishments:
“Who would have seen Ajayi having the two weeks that he has had or any running back having the two weeks he has had? Jay is a tough guy. This thing means a lot to him. I'm really glad that he has seen some results from all his hard work. He has worked his tail off and gosh, he's protecting the football. He has bought into what we're selling and how we want to do things. It has really been fun to see him enjoy the success. You love seeing a guy like him who just works hard and for it to go right for him.”
• Christensen, on his rookie class:
"Laremy Tunsil, I think, is just improving in big strides. Big strides. I was teasing today, his first pull ... if you watch his first pull in the game, I think he could have played for Vince Lombardi and run the Green Bay sweep. We talked about him struggling pulling because he just hadn't done it a bunch early and he goes tip-toeing through there and he's agile and he locks him up. It was really impressive. He's improving. He's a professional guy. I've said it all along, I love the way he's approached this thing from Day 1. It means a lot to him. He's really improving. He played his best game (on Sunday) and his last two weeks have been really good.
“Jakeem Grant, we're trying to get more and more plays for him. He's a dynamic guy. He won't show up in the box score but as soon as we stuck him in there on Damien (Williams)' run, you saw everybody on the (Buffalo) sideline pointing at him and Adam (Gase) called a little fake reverse - a fake reverse to him. It influenced a couple of guys, which helped Damien get the (touchdown). That's another way to handle the extra guy in the box - having a Landry or having (Grant go in motion). He's improving. We're trying to get him more and more involved in the offense. We'd love to have a package for him each week. He's a dynamic guy. He's a playmaker, so he's picking it up. He's improving.
“Leonte Carroo has improved a tremendous amount. We're really pleased with him. I think a lot of it is just understanding the heat. He's got himself in great shape. He was in good shape but it's a little different playing down here. We're really pleased with him. He continues to improve. I think you're going to see him more and more and more… We have to slip him into some of these games a little bit earlier and it'll also help us rest some of the guys who are in there. A lot of it is hard to do just because of the no-huddle and when we're tempo-ing and all of those things.
“Kenyan Drake --- I think you'll see more and more of him. He continues to improve. He's growing up into this professional football thing and I think the big thing with him is that we throw a lot at him because he has the special teams plays. All of a sudden you’re having to learn the special teams and you're having to learn this and the protections. He's one of those guys that can do so many things that it's a blessing and a curse. It helps you get on the field but it also ... he has magnified study from the average guy because he's learning a bunch of different positions.
“I think all four of those guys, the arrow is pointing up. We're really, really pleased. I think they're really going to be good, fun football players for the Dolphins fans and for us. I think you're really going to see them affect some games, even more so - those three skill guys - before this year is over, you'll see them affect a couple games in a big way, which they already have. Tunsil has, just by his play; Jakeem with his punt return. But I think all four of them, you're going to keep seeing them show up on that box score and say, 'Man, they had an impact.'"
Here are links to my three other posts today:
With 10 Dolphins nuggets from this morning, including eye-opening stuff on Ajayi and the Dolphins’ defense, please click here.
For lots of Heat news today, including why the Goran Dragic/Dion Waiters backcourt excites Miami, please click here.
And for my preview of the NBA’s Eastern Conference, including a look at each team’s additions and substractions, please click here.
And please follow me on Twitter: @flasportsbuzz