PHOENIX - Here is everything Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin had to say for an hour at the NFL's owners meetings.
I bring it to you unfiltered so you can connect your own dots, and nothing gets lost in translation.
(On how excited he is about the free agent acquisitions) – “Yeah, first of all, it takes a lot to get to that stage. There’s a lot of work to get to, that is involved in evaluating literally hundreds of free agents that become available. You’re never really sure how it’s all going to shake out because there’s teams have rights obviously to players for a certain period of time. So it’s kind of a fun process. It’s an exciting process. It’s a fluid process. Things change literally by the minute. I think his staff (Jeff Ireland) did a very good job of evaluating guys as did our coaching staff contributing to that. It was a joint effort by a lot of people and we’re excited about the guys we have.
(On if there was any particular move that he’s really excited about) – “We liked all these guys. Each one of them has his own unique skill set that he can bring to the ball club. Obviously, Mike (Wallace) got a lot of attention. He was early out the gate, but I like the guys we added. Again, I think if you look on the offensive side of the ball, I think Brandon Gibson, Dustin Keller, Mike Wallace, all those three guys give us obviously some extra tools to work with. Then, defensively, Philip Wheeler was a guy we targeted a year ago. We liked him in free agency a year ago. Things for whatever reason didn’t work out and we were able to get him back. Dannell Ellerbe is another player that we like. We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get that done, but it was good. I think what happens is sometimes you forget the Matt Moore re-signing was big for us (and) Brian Hartline and those type of things. I think it’s a good start. Certainly, not over, but a good start.
(On how much input he’s had the offseason regarding signing free agents and the Draft) – “Yeah, it’s a collaborative effort. Jeff and I work closely together. His staff does a great job with their film evaluations. Our coaching staff, I think if you ask Jeff, has worked their tails off in regard to both the free agent evaluations and they’re into the college draft process as well. So it’s a cumulative effort. Certainly, I’m not the money. I don’t discuss contracts and offer him this much or that much. That’s not my area of expertise. They certainly kind of take control, but I think we both kind of decide that we like this player, we think he can help us, he can contribute to our success and let’s go after him. And then, certainly, I’m kind of out of it next.”
(On if he’s a little more involved in the personnel on the roster as opposed to last year when it was his first year) – “I’ve had more time. Let’s put it that way, absolutely. In the first year, you’re putting together a staff. You’re putting your calendar together, time frames, all those things. Obviously, we have a much better handle on that at this point. I would say definitely more of my time has been devoted to personnel.”
(On what kind of player Reggie Bush was in Miami) – “Very good football player. Very professional. Went about his business the right way. Practiced every day. Played every week. Good football player. Very good.”
(On if it is important for Bush to establish himself as an every-down running back) – “I don’t know about that. Again, we used him in a variety of different ways and he made a nice contribution to the offense. I’m not sure what his…how he would view what he had to do to re-establish himself, but I thought he played well this year.”
(On Bush’s personality) – “As I’ve said many times, very professional in the building. (He) went about his business. (He was) almost not quiet, but he was a pro. He was very good to work with.”
(On Bush, Karlos Dansby and Jake Long being gone and if it is a coincidence that they all were on the leadership council and if he’s worried who will lead now) – “Well, you’re always worried about team chemistry and leadership, and that’s a process that continually has to evolve with your football team. Certainly, you’re always concerned about the leadership and the direction of your football team. We think we have some excellent leaders on the football team still and that’s part of our job is cultivating that, kind of that atmosphere – giving guys, entitling players and empowering players to lead the football team and give direction. While I certainly acknowledge those guys were all very good, there was no plan from a leadership council standpoint, I think it’s just kind of a coincidence that it happened like that.”
(On Bush off the field) – “I liked his professionalism. Again, I think sometimes people may have certain perceptions about what Reggie is or isn’t. Again, he was a guy that came into the building, he worked hard every day. Being on the team was important to him and I thought he was a pro.”
(On if Bush is a good fit for the Lions’ system) – “Well, I’m a lot more familiar with the Lions from defense obviously from my years in Green Bay, but I think good football players can fit in any system. He certainly has running skill. He certainly has catching skill. So I’m sure they’ll find a way to use him.”
(On having 11 selections in the Draft and how much more can be done to upgrade the team) – “Ideally, we’d add 11 excellent football players to the roster and create an even more competitive atmosphere than we have right now. That’s certainly what we’re looking to do. We all know the draft and free agency for that matter are not necessarily exact sciences, but I’d rather have 11 (draft picks) than five. So I’m excited about it. It’s going to give us an opportunity to find 11 guys that fit the system and character that we’re looking for on this football team.”
(On what Jonathan Martin has to do to become a good NFL left tackle) – “Consistency I would say would be the number one thing that you’re looking for out of your left tackle. I always use the saying, especially in pass protection that tackles block ends in the National Football League, so you’ve got to get to the point in your career where you’re able to block defensive ends and not just 11 out of the 16 defensive ends, and that’s not always easy. Not that you can’t help guys and scheme guys and double team guys and chip guys. There’s nine million things you can do as a coach to help players and you certainly need to, you can’t do the same thing all the time, but, we’d like to say at the end of the day, you have to be able to block a defensive end if you’re an offensive tackle in the National Football League in our system. The ability to do that consistently well is the mark of outstanding offensive tackles and that’s something (important).”
(On if he would be comfortable with Martin starting at left tackle) – “If he’s the best one that we have, absolutely. We’ll see. As you guys are well aware, there’s a lot of time between now and September. There’s a lot of variables. A lot of things could happen. But if he earns the spot, I would be comfortable with it, sure.”
(On if he’s going to give Martin the opportunity to win the left tackle spot) – “I’m not sure about that. There’s still a lot of things we can do to this the roster. The roster’s going to be different when we even start practicing. I think we’re going on the field May 21st or 22nd, so it’s hard to say right now.”
(On if Martin can play on either side) – “I think he’s demonstrated an ability on film in the National Football League that he has a chance to play either side.”
(On if Martin is strong enough to play regardless of where he plays) – “I think he’s strong enough, but, our hope too is that, because of his age, there’s still room for further growth and development. I think he’s demonstrated, there’s enough film clips of him doing it right, doing it well, doing it consistently that you think he has enough strength. That being said, you’d still like to see him get stronger. He’s a 22-23 year old kid. You hope there’s an upside there from a strength side.
(On if Martin has the desire to get stronger) – “He’s a hard worker, yeah. I don’t know how he is around guys, (but) he’s very quiet, but he’s very hard working. On the football field, it’s all business. He’s working at his trade.”
(On the expectations of Ryan Tannehill given the free agent signings) – “We’re looking for improvement from him. There’s no question about it. Part of it’s the decision making that we think is so important. Part of it’s accuracy. Part of it’s play making ability at critical times in the course of a game. We’re looking for him to, while we think he made some really nice strides in his first year, there’s still a long way to go and he’s well-aware of that. He’s been in the facility a lot already working. He’s working at his trade. The guy’s a worker. So yeah we’re excited about the future for growth with him as well.”