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What He Said: Dolphins coach Adam Gase on injuries, stopping McCoy, Jay Cutler

Dolphins coach Adam Gase press conference 

(It didn’t look like T Laremy Tunsil was doing much today. Do you not expect him to play?) – “We’ll just wait to see. Not practicing all week, that’s probably not a great sign.”

(Would G/T Zach Sterup be the next guy up?) – “I think that’s the only guy we’ve got left.”

(I know G/T Zach Sterup has gotten some time when you’ve used an extra offensive lineman. What, if anything, has impressed you?) – “I think his length. I don’t think I’ve been around a guy that tall and long. Just talking to some of the defensive linemen, especially when we first got him, I remember William Hayes coming up to me and telling me, ‘He’s got a really good punch. He’s hard to get around.’ We felt good, especially early, and he has kept learning about everything that’s going on. When he has been up, we’ve had those bigger packages to try to get him involved slowly. He has just been working, taking quite a few reps in practice.”

(RB Damien Williams, do you think there’s a chance he plays?) – “He has been out there practicing. We’ll kind of see. We’ll let this thing keep going. We’ll talk inactives today and tomorrow, so I’ll have a better idea.”

(The last two weeks, you guys talked about slowing down star players with Bills RB LeSean McCoy and Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, but it hasn’t quite happened. Besides them being very good players, how would you..?) – “I think we’re trying to do what everybody else does, too. That’s why they’re good. It’s one of those things you’d love for them to walk out of a game and say, ‘We held them to 20 yards rushing and 20 receiving yards and he wasn’t effective;’ but the guy has been really good for a long time. You can put as many guys on him as you want and he’ll make a group of guys miss in a phone booth.”

(Philosophically as the head coach, are you are you the type that would like to take away a team’s best player and let another team beat you left handed or do you believe in…?) – “Yes. We try to. It’s just not as easy as you think. I think we’ve done it a few times on offense. We made sure Von Miller didn’t wreck the game against us. We had a lot of things to deal with him. Defensively, we tried to do the same thing. The hardest thing on that side of the ball is they move around. They’ll be in different spots. You have to be careful of not calling the wrong thing at the wrong time. It’s first and second down and you’re trying to take a guy away and all of a sudden you remove two guys from the box and they start running the ball and now you’ve got a problem.”

(You guys are last in rushing attempts, fifth in passing attempts. Where do you want to be? Is there a good balance, I guess?) – “I’m for whatever helps us win. We’ve been behind. Obviously, I don’t want to throw the ball that much. The rushing attempts, I feel like (Kenyan) Drake’s done a good job, especially the last few weeks, of maximizing whatever he has had. We’ve kind of put ourselves in a multiple touchdown hole where it becomes a throw fest. We try to sneak a run in here and there it just seems like when we do, it hasn’t been very successful for us late in the game where you’re hoping you pop a 10-yard gain. It has been the opposite way for us to where something bad happens to where we have a negative play.”

(Has that stressed the offensive line and the pass protection?) – “I haven’t seen it. They’ve done a good job of keeping them away from Jay (Cutler), and he has gotten the ball out and guys are getting open quick, or trying to get open quick. There’s a sense of urgency there. They understand when we get in that situation, the other team knows you’re throwing it and everybody has got to be on the mark and we’ve got to be on time as far as throwing the ball.”

(How was it coaching QB Jay Cutler this year?) – “It was good. It was fun. It was fun to be back around him. There was a lot of good things. Just two years being apart, it’s interesting to watch a guy change a little bit. His knowledge of the game … It’s unbelievable how NFL players, the knowledge they gain over a short period of time, what they see and how their thought process will change over time. You can see … Some of the conversations we had this year, I could see the experience of just even from the year we were together, the next year and then coming into this year, just the difference.”

(Was there any kind of a different feel to practice today this being the last practice of the season?) – “I thought there was good energy today. Guys were, I think enjoying … The good thing is we’ve got good weather, you’re outside and you’re on grass. We’re not out there forever, so I think guys maximize the amount of time they’re out there. It seemed like they were enjoying practicing today.”

(How hard or easy is it to quantify the value of a guy whose biggest contribution is on special teams such as S Michael Thomas?) – “We value those roles. I think you guys can tell by who we have active and how much offense or defense they play compared to special teams. One of the main goals we’ve had since we started this two years ago was to make sure that we were one of the top teams in the league in special teams. This year, we’ve had some ups and downs. A few injuries kind of threw things off track a little bit, because when we get somebody hurt on defense and you get replaced by one of our core special teams guys, it can hurt us. We do value those positions. Financially, that’s a whole different animal you’re trying to tackle there. We’re always going to make sure that we have enough good players on special teams.”

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