Highlights from Dolphins coach Adam Gase’s news conference, a day after his team lost 35-17 to New England to fall to 4-7:
▪ Does this team need a bunch of new players if Miami doesn’t play great the next five weeks?
“No,” Gase said. “I like the guys we have on the roster right now. There’s a lot of things we can do better. These guys have done a good job sticking together through adversity. Things haven’t always gone as we’ve really planned. These guys go back to work on Wednesday.”
Does he focus now on a long-shot playoff berth or toward building toward next season?
“We are going to focus on winning one game.”
▪ Gase declined to talk about Damien Williams’ injury (we reported that people were told last night that it was a separated shoulder, pending more tests).
Asked about a timetable, he said: “We will keep evaluating. I look at it as day to day knowing him. What he went through yesterday was very painful.” A separated shoulder typically sidelines a player two to three weeks.
▪ Gase previously has said that Jay Cutler will start at quarterback when he gets out of the concussion protocol. Is he still in the protocol? “We are not ready to say for sure; we will get through all that tonight and have a better idea tomorrow,” Gase said.
▪ Will defensive end William Hayes (back injury) play again this year?
“That would be tough for him to do,” Gase said. “We are looking at the options. We will move forward soon.”
▪ How did rookie first round pick Charles Harris look?
Gase didn’t directly answer, saying: “Our guys did a lot of things we talked about doing. Some things we want to clean up. Tom Brady is very tough to get to. He does a great job of knowing when to get rid of the ball. It’s a tough matchup for anyone. They execute what they’re doing extremely well.”
▪ Could DeVante Parker have done something differently on the two interceptions in his direction?
“DeVante, first one he was trying to give him a shot,” Gase said. “Both [Matt Moore and Parker] felt like they could have done something a little different. On the last one, Matt throwing into the wind, it wasn’t a great situation for Matt to be in. DeVante didn’t quite pick it up. Ball was a little short. End of game, trying to get a chunk play there.”
▪ Has Gase been introspective or puzzled about his struggles this season after a good deal of coaching success in the past (including 10-6 in his first year as a head coach in 2016)?
“You are always going to look at yourself first and try to figure out all the things you can do to help,” he said. “Once you go through those stages and you try to filter it out between coaching staff and players, that’s what the season is about. Finding ways to get better, trying to use your strength to your advantage, and trying to avoid putting your players in poor positions with things they’re not great at. That is the whole battle of the NFL.
“It is not always going to go as smooth as you want it. You have to be ready to adjust and need your players to stay on board and keep focused and not worry about the end result and focus on the process.”
▪ Does he believe his players are still on board?
“Our guys have done a good job,” he said. “They have been through a lot of different things this year. You are seeing guys putting a lot of effort in practice to get better. I have been through it before. I’ve see when guys quit and when guys don’t practice hard and throw their hands up and really don’t care. You see those guys eliminated from the NFL very quickly.
“I watch our guys in practice. I see the energy level. I see the way they try to execute. I see them in meetings. Guys are trying to do things right.”
One key, he said, is “taking the non talent things and making sure those are perfect. And when we go into a game, we have to carry those things over from practice.”
▪ On how Bobby McCain has played: “I thought last year when Bobby became the starter, it was all about getting good at being in the right leverage and using the help to his advantage. When we went through that whole year, he was able to take the next step of how do I make the coverage tighter, how do I get hands on the ball. How do I put myself in the right position?
“I see a guy trying to play the right style of football for that position. He is staying tight on coverage. There are not a lot of balls completed on him. He is getting his hands on balls. He is playing extremely confident right now. He has been one of our most consistent guys on defense.”
▪ Does a winning culture have to be rebuilt in his locker-room or is that a nonsense cliché?
“I cant say it’s nonsense because I’ve been hearing that as long as I’ve been in the NFL,” he said. “What you have to focus on is getting as many guys that have experienced adverse situations and can overcome things that happen in a game and a season.
“That’s why I like a lot of guys on this team. Last year was a good testing ground for us. I felt guys wiped the slate clean and didn’t believe in that and found ways to win games. We put ourselves in good position this year to pull a couple off and we had a couple chances in these last five games to win some games and it didn’t go our way. A lot were self-inflicted. That’s what gives me confidence that we can get things going in the right direction.”
▪ On Kenyan Drake, who had a fumble Sunday, his second since Jay Ajayi’s trade five weeks ago: “We need to clean some things up with ball security for one. I look at the fumble and it was completely avoidable and he knows it. He takes a lot of pride in what he does. He wants to be what we expect him to be, which is a guy that can help us move the chains in the run game, be extremely effective in the pass game, know what to do in protection.
“Second year player. We need him to come along as quickly as possible. When he does get a crease and hits one, it can be an explosive play. He is one of those guys, and the whole reason we drafted him, is he came from a program where a lot of us in our building know who he was coached by [Alabama’s Nick Saban] and know the kind of work ethic he had and we liked it. We felt it would fit our culture. We just have to keep pushing him to get better.”
▪ On the run defense, which allowed 196 yards and 5.2 per carry: “Two weeks ago, it wasn’t like that. It was a tough situation because you are going to make sure you don’t get carved up in the passing game. Sometimes you get a little loose in the run game and one guy misses his assignment or tackle and all of a sudden, you get an explosive play. There are a couple of things we have to clean up in that area from this last game.”
▪ On blitz pickup against New England: “We didn’t do what we’re supposed to do.”
▪ On Cam Wake, who had a sack and a couple of QB pressures: “That’s what you’re going to get every week from him. I don’t think anything’s changed. High energy, high effort. He is going to do everything he can to help the team. He’s the kind of guy you like having on your team.”
▪ On mistakes such as interceptions: “There are going to be interceptions. When you throw the ball 40 times, it’s going to happen. Sometimes we are being aggressive and try to let our guy make a play and it doesn’t work out. Fumbles are always avoidable. …
“We made a huge emphasis on it last week. I felt you can tell guys trying to do a good job when they get in traffic getting two hands on it. Presnap penalties were non existent this last game. That was a huge point of emphasis for us last week. We felt like some of the penalties we had this last game we could easily avoid. It goes back to fundamentals. We can’t have the postsnap penalty or hands to the face or holding. If we’re in the right position with our fundamentals, we’ll be all right.”