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Dolphins coach on what he learned from watching Bills-Colts snow game: 'Nothing'

Dolphins coach Adam Gase spoke to the South Florida media on Thursday via conference call. Here is what he said:

(You’ve given your team a couple of days off here, what’s the message at 6-7 and how do you guard against having a letdown after such a morale-boosting win on Monday night?) – “What we did this week is this is kind of like our Monday night (game) schedule. We try to keep our schedule the same with going over the last game and giving our players their day off. We change up the back half of the week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to adjust, to cover what we need to cover and practice. Really, this is something that we’ve done before, so it wasn’t really specific for just this week. Our guys, all we’ve been talking about is we’re focused on one game at a time. We’re at the point of the season right now where if you worry about anything else, that’s where you get in trouble. For us, we’ve had a lot of ups and down this year, to where the last two games, we’ve played better. Guys have been unbelievably into the games to where the energy level was great the last two weeks. Really, that’s what we’re focusing on, just trying to keep that energy level the same and going out there and trying to execute as well as we can.”

(How much more comfortable has QB Jay Cutler gotten as the season has gone on, especially considering how late in the game you guys added him?) – “I think the longer you go, the more comfortable you get. As a quarterback, you really know the guys that you’re working with. You develop more timing. That was the discussion we had early in this process. You spend basically since the start of the offseason in April to August with Ryan (Tannehill) and building everything around him, and then we lose him and we get Jay in early August. One of the discussions that we had with (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) Mike (Tannenbaum) and (General Manager) Chris (Grier) in the front office was, we’re probably going to go through some interesting growing pains in public. It’s not going to be in training camp, it’s not going to be in OTAs. We went through a little bit of that where it didn’t look very good. We had to work through that. Guys did a good job of sticking with it and not getting frustrated and it kept building week after week.”

(You mentioned you guys kind of built everything offense-wise around QB Ryan Tannehill. How much did you have to adjust and tweak your scheme to what QB Jay Cutler does well?) – “The way that we do it is really we emphasize what he really likes. Going back to my 2015 notes of seeing where we went with him that season, some of the things that we did then, we were better in Chicago than what we are here. We’ve got different personnel here, as well. (We were) just trying to find that happy medium of where we were when we were having success with him and where we were at. There are some things that Jay likes to throw compared to Ryan, and vice versa. It’s just one of those things, you tweak a little bit at a time. It’s hard to make just an overall change in one day.”

(How much does RB Kenyan Drake’s production help validate what was considered this ‘wow’ decision that you guys made to trade RB Jay Ajayi?) – “I don’t look at it like that. I think that was just a good move for us. The good thing is we’re so bunkered down here, we’re not really listening to what anybody else says. We’ve got a lot of confidence in that room. Those two guys work extremely hard. Between Drake and Damien Williams and Senorise Perry, those three guys have been around for two or more years and I’ve always been able to count on those guys. We just knew that we were going to get max effort from them.”

(Where are you with RB Damien Williams? We didn’t hear your injury updates, if you can share that.) – “We should get him out there today. We’re just seeing how he feels. It’s really going to be one of those situations where he’s going to have to really communicate with us, because we can say one thing and our doctors can say, ‘Okay, this looks better;’ but it’s really going to be how he feels strength-wise. We’re playing a crew this week that if they blitz, you’ve got to bring it and if he’s lacking strength there, then that’s going to be an issue for him. I just need to make sure that he’s completely honest with me and we’ll see how it goes this week.”

(Obviously you guys had confidence in your running backs to make that RB Jay Ajayi trade, but how much has RB Kenyan Drake maybe even exceeded expectations with the way he’s played the last few weeks?) – “I think any time that you get an opportunity to play, I know this was something that he discussed with me after last season. He felt like he squandered an opportunity. I made him a starter one week and he was going to be the point of emphasis and we went away from him. I know after the season that was one thing that he came to me and regretted, and wished he would have played better in the opportunity he was given. I just had the discussion with him, ‘Well, if that opportunity ever arises again, make sure that you run with it.’ I think our offense is always going to be built around more than one guy, though. We like using multiple personnel groupings. We like to use multiple backs. I just think it makes it hard on the defense. Plus, in this league if you only have one guy and you lose that guy, it makes it tough. I just like the rotation we’ve got going on right now.”

(What really jumped out from watching the Monday game as opposed to some of us watching other prime time games that you guys were in, was how that defense was really attacking the Patriots’ front line and how it helped your back end. Has that push been consistent enough or is that something that you liked seeing or liked maybe they’ve turned the corner there, in what we saw on Monday?) – “I think there was a lot of factors that went into what happened in that game. I thought our secondary did a great job of playing aggressively and showing our entire team that they were going to play tight coverage and contest throws. When that happens and our coverage and our front are working together, I thought our front seven did a great job of trying to hurt their run game early. We got a lead, which hasn’t really happened for us this year, which is what we’ve been waiting for. Any time that we can get a little bit of a lead and let those guys really turn loose as pass rushers, that’s what we’re looking for.”

(Jon Gruden, I think, mentioned that on the broadcast, that you guys getting a lead hasn’t happened all that often; but that helped pin your ears back and get after Patriots QB Tom Brady. What frustrations have you had in not being able to do that and get to that point enough this season?) – “I think the frustration probably is more on myself. Being the guy that is running this offense, I feel like I haven’t helped the defense enough. They’ve done a great job. The last two years, they’ve never said one word, no matter what the situation’s been. They’ve always had an outstanding attitude as an entire group of, ‘It doesn’t matter what the score is, it doesn’t matter how much time is left, we’re going to go out there and we’re going to do everything we can to get a stop.’ It was nice to see that we actually could get a lead, build on it and put ourselves in a better position than what we mostly have done the last two years.”

(What have you seen from this Bills defense? Obviously, you guys had some success against them last year; but it’s, schematically and personnel-wise, a different group. What have you seen from Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott’s unit here?) – “Sean is tough to go against. I’ve always watched him from afar. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to be on the other sideline against him. It’s always difficult, especially when you go against a guy that can make in-game adjustments, that’s always going to have something tough for is to go against when you start the game and it’s going to evolve as the game goes on. If you show any kind of weakness, he’s going to embarrass you. You’ve got to be on it. You’ve got to be ready to adjust. You’ve got to find things that work. I feel like the defense is playing extremely fast. They look like they’re playing extremely confident. They’re finding ways to put pressure on the quarterback and it might not necessarily be by sacks. Something that we talk about here all of the time, it’s really about pass disruptions. It’s about sacks, hits and pressures. You see a lot of the time the quarterback is throwing the ball earlier than they want to.”

(Have you done anything to prepare guys for the weather up here knowing, especially after what happened last week, that it could be pretty cold and maybe snowy again this week?) – “Maybe I’m from the school of ‘It’s all about a mindset. If you’re going to worry about it then it’s going to become a factor.’ I always tell our guys, ’75 percent of you are from the Midwest anyway.’ We’ve all played in this. Now, last week was crazy (in Buffalo). I only can think of one other game where when I turned the game on and saw guys look like they were going a foot down, I started thinking, ‘What would I be calling here?’ (laughter) I thought both teams did an outstanding job of trying to find ways to move the ball. I thought (Bills Head Coach) Sean (McDermott) was extremely smart in how he played everything. I know, at the time, everybody thought him punting the ball wasn’t a good idea; but that was a smart move.”

(What did you get out of that tape to even scout the Bills?) – “Nothing. (laughter) ‘Shady’ (LeSean) McCoy is really good. (laughter).”

(Bills QB Tyrod Taylor threw for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns during your Week 16 overtime win last season. What do you recall from that performance?) – “I recall seeing him run around a lot and make a lot of plays. He was very frustrating for us, I know that. I feel like he plays well against us and we’ve got to do a good job of not letting him do what he did last time. Every time we felt like we were about ready to make a move in that game, he would do something and ‘Shady’ (LeSean McCoy) would do something. It’s a tough combination to deal with. Both of those guys are so athletic and can hurt you in so many different ways. That’s what makes it tough to go against them.”

(Are you guys preparing for QB Tyrod Taylor to be the starter on Sunday?) – “We’ll make sure that we’re prepared for any scenario to come up; but we’ll be ready if he’s ready to go, and if someone else is in there, we’ll be ready for that.”

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