HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
Do you expect QB Deshaun Watson to be back in time for practice today?
"Yeah, he got back this morning. Let me just say a couple things about that. We felt like in the best interest of him – what's the best thing for him? First of all, can he play in a game? He was cleared to play in the game. OK, mode of travel relative to what his injury is – and I'm not getting into the details of his injury, basically, because I'm not a doctor. That would be not very good of me to start explaining that. But, basically, what his injury consisted of, the best thing for him was to drive. Not him himself drive, but go on a bus. He went there with Luke Richesson, our senior director of sports performance, Uriah Myrie, one of our trainers, John Louis (Harris), one of our security guys, and he was able to watch film, rest, get ready to go. One thing I want to make clear, too, is we have a lot of guys doing a lot of different things. I want to make this real clear. Just like every team in the league – I really hesitate to do this, but I want to make it clear that every team in the league is dealing with injuries. That's the nature of the sport. The sport is a very violent sport. That's the way it is. So, every team is dealing with injuries. Our team is no different than any other team. If you look at guys like J.J. Watt, what is J.J. Watt doing every single day to get himself prepared to play on Sundays. Johnathan Joseph. These guys are guys that have played a lot of football for a long time. Johnathan Joseph's another guy. Look at the offensive line, what are they doing to – Nick Martin, Senio Kelemete, guys that have played a lot of football for us – Kareem Jackson, right on down the line. You got Tyrann Mathieu who's had ACL surgery in the past dealing with things. I could talk about every player. Every player's category or whatever they're dealing with, is individual to them, but to me, it's just this was what we had to do to help Deshaun get to the game. Of course, we asked him, 'is this OK with you? We're not like throwing you on a bus to get you to the game. Is this something you want to do?' and he said sure. The guy wants to win. The guy's a winner. He wants to help his team any way he can, and that's really all I want to say about it. That's about it."
What are your thoughts on Dolphins QB Brock Osweiler?
"Playing really well right now. I think he's thrown for 600-plus yards in the last two games. He has a great history with Adam Gase. They're doing a great job with him. Brock's a very talented player and he's a having a really good year right now for them. He's doing a real good job."
When it comes to game planning, how much does it help that Dolphins QB Brock Osweiler played here?
"I don't know. I think it's a different system, different players around him, so I don't think that's – he's got a lot of different types of players than what we had, just different skillsets than what we had here, different personnel groupings. So, I don't think that means anything."
Do you think there are any parallels between the physical toughness QB Deshaun Watson is showing and the mental toughness the team has shown to overcome a 0-3 start?
"I think, again, like I said before, I think every team deals with things throughout the year. Every single team. I think this team is a team full of guys with high character. They really care about each other, they love to practice, they're going to do whatever it takes to get themselves ready for the game and play as hard as they can in the game. And, I think that's a big deal in this league. I think we have good chemistry in this locker room, but it's only been seven games. The season didn't start the way we wanted but these guys have really worked hard to get back to where they are now. But, there's a long way to go. Nothing's really determined in this league until really when you get to Thanksgiving and beyond Thanksgiving. I know you've heard that before, but it's the truth. If you're in the hunt in Thanksgiving, then you have a shot. So, really, we're not there yet. We're only at the end of October and we've got to really keep scrapping to try to find a way to win."
When you were 0-3, would it have surprised you if someone told you that you were going to be 4-3?
"See, I would say I don't think anybody thought about it in that way. If you think four weeks in advance of where you were at that point, then you're going to be in trouble. You're probably going to be 0-7."
Did you think the team still had it when you were 0-3?
"Oh yeah. I knew that the team had the resolve to be able to really take the cliché of one day at a time, one play at a time, really take that to heart and make it work. Those are clichés unless you actually make them work, and this is the type of team we have. We have a mentally tough team. We do. We've won games that have taken 70 minutes, we've won games in the fourth quarter and we've obviously lost games where we haven't done a great job coaching or playing at times. So, this is a team that really is a resilient team."
What do you like about having RB Tyler Irvin in the receiver position?
"Tyler was a guy that we spent a lot time studying in the draft and he was a guy that played in the backfield at San Jose (State), played some receiver, so we felt like he was a guy that was an edge-type of player. A guy that could do some things out of the backfield and do some things in the slot and also could help us on special teams. A lot of that has come to fruition. Now, he's been injured a lot before this season, and knock on wood, he's been able to stay healthy and he's helped us in a lot of different ways. He's a very smart player, so we'll see how that goes for us moving forward. We've got a lot of different things we can do in the slot, but he's definitely one guy that we can use there."
Do you do anything different to prepare your players to play on a short week?
"That's a big part of the week. I think No. 1 is sleep. I think they've got to be able to get some sleep. I think No. 2 is the recovery process, which includes – obviously, I'm not expert on, but we have people here that help me with this – includes eating properly, hydration, getting workouts in the weight room, making sure that they understand that this is a very mental week. You're not going to be able to go out there and have a knock-down, drag-out type of practice. You can do some things to break a sweat, but you've got a quick turnaround here. So, it's very much of a mental week. We've got to do a great job teaching the game plan and we've got to do a great job of focusing in meetings, but it's definitely a different week."
Was yesterday DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney's most dominant game in his career?
"I don't know. He's had some real good games for us, but he really played well yesterday. There's no doubt that. He was very disruptive. He's a very instinctive player. I thought he played loose and free. He wasn't over-thinking things. He's got a real knack for going to the ball. He knows how to go to the ball, he finds the ball and he really did a great job yesterday."
Does knowing Dolphins QB Brock Osweiler as a person give you an advantage in any sense when preparing for this game?
"Yeah, but that was a long time ago and that was just for one year. When you look back to 2016, I'm not sure that has any bearing at all. I'm just being up front with you. I think that when you look at their team and the way he's playing, he's a very bright guy, he's got great command of their offense, he knows what Adam Gase wants him to do. They have a great relationship. He's got a lot of guys around him. He's got (Kenyon) Drake out of the backfield, obviously Frank Gore. There's some injuries there, but Kenny Stills and guys at receiver – Michael Gesicki, who I recruited to Penn State. He's got a lot of weapons – Danny Amendola – and he's doing a great job of distributing the ball and using all of his guys."
Was yesterday's game an example of what you want to see out of your offense from a matchup week-to-week perspective where you had a specific focus in mind and attacked that area of the defense?
"I think this is a very important question that you're asking. I think that we try to do every week what we feel fits our team and also can work against the team that we're playing. It also takes into account what's going on with us personnel-wise. It means that if we feel like we've got to do these three things to win the game, then that's what we're going to try to do and we're going to try to teach our players that during the week and then get them to, which is the ultimate test, to try to execute it that way. If that means, 'Hey look, we feel like we've got to do this, we've got to score this many points or we have to do this,' then that's what we're going to try to do, but we have to take into account our team versus that team and how it's going to work. This week may be a little bit different. What's the matchup? Where do we feel like we have some strengths and where do we feel like Miami's strengths are? Miami's a very athletic team. I think they're a really good football team, very explosive team. They've got a great coaching staff, so it's going to be a real challenge for us on a short week."
Do you think the home team has an advantage on a short week?
"I'm not sure that there's a big advantage. Obviously, it's better than traveling on a short week, but I don't think there's any total advantage to that because I think in this day and age with all of the different things in each organization, the resources people have to take care of the players, whether it's food or recovery or sleep or working in the weight room, I think every team now has the resources available to get their guys ready to play. The difference is one team is getting on a plane and the other team isn't. That's not a big deal."
How refreshing was it to power the ball into the end zone from five yards out?
"That was a really well-blocked play. Nick Martin, Greg Mancz and Kendall Lamm did a great job on that play. They really did. They were very physical on that play and then Lamar (Miller) did a good job of reading it and getting it in there. It was just a well-executed play and it's always good if you can run it in. Red area has been difficult for us this year. It was a little bit better on Sunday. We missed one there in the beginning of the game. You don't want to miss any. You really want to come away with touchdowns. We're still working at it, but it was a little bit better on Sunday."
What did the medical staff tell you when QB Deshaun Watson was cleared to play but needed to take precaution by traveling in an alternative manner?
"I'm not going to go into the medical part of it, but the first thing you do is, 'OK, if he can't fly, let's talk to Deshaun about what he wants to do.' That's what I want to make clear. 'What do you think? Hey, you can't fly, but there are modes of transportation to get you to Jacksonville. What do you think?' So, he said he was for it and that's what we did. So, we had the choice of Amtrak, rock 'n roll tour bus, horse and buggy. So, that's kind of how the conversation went."
What's it like being able to coach a guy like S Andre Hal?
"The last couple of years here, we've had some great guys in this locker room. He's a great example of that. It's really why you coach. The reason why you coach is the relationships that you have with the players and the guys that you work with. When you can win and you have guys like that, it makes it even better. Winning is the key to all those relationships. I think with Dre, you've got a guy that he didn't really accept the fact that he had cancer. In the beginning, he was like, 'No, I don't.' 'Well, yes you do,' and then he went and he accepted it and then he went and beat it and then he came back and played in an NFL football game. I think that's incredible. We've had that here before with David Quessenberry. I can't even imagine what that's like. It's great to have a guy like Dre on the team."
Do you expect QB Deshaun Watson's travel to be an issue moving forward?
CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH
What do you think of Dolphins QB Brock Osweiler?
"Different scheme, different things. We'll get to watch film and kind of see where he is as a player, but it's nothing like the Texans versus Brock, it's the Miami Dolphins versus the Houston Texans and you definitely can't get caught up in that."
Are you surprised the team has been able to bounce back from the 0-3 start?
"It didn't surprise me. I was saying that weeks ago, but it's easier said than done. I think when you go out and actually do it, people start to take notice and see it. But for us, we worked hard throughout training camp and prepared ourselves for moments like this and I think we're starting to capitalize on some of it now."
Given how you started, how does it feel to be in first place of the AFC South?
"It's good, but we knew where we could be all along. So, it's not surprising to us and we're not getting all overly excited about it. We'll still continue to grind it out and keep working. Like we said, at the end of the season, we'll see exactly where we're at. That's when it counts the most."
Why do you think the team is playing so well right now?
"Everybody wants things to come out smoking, and it doesn't work like that sometimes. I know we got the talent. I think we just have to get it all put together. Guys get comfortable playing different roles, we had injuries, we had a lot of different things, but it's no excuse. But, like I said about every other thing with this football team, we continued to work hard and grinded it out and we're getting the benefits of it now."
It's halfway through the season, how do you think S Justin Reid has performed?
"Like any other rookie, there's going to be ups and downs, but I think it's been more ups as of late than downs. He's learning on the go and he's been thrown into the mix. He's probably the youngest guy on defense, if I'm not mistaken. So, that's a lot on his shoulders also. You look around – because I was that guy before when I was a rookie, coming into a veteran defense that's in win-mode right now and you don't have a lot of time for guys to be making mental mistakes or technique errors. I think he's done a good job doing his job each and every time he's out there."
T KENDALL LAMM
Was scoring a rushing touchdown from the 5-yard line the type of physical play that the offensive line was looking for?
"Yeah, you've got to. When you get down there, you take pride as an O-line and you want to run the ball in. Scoring is scoring, but when you can run it in, it sets the tone and lets you know that we're there to play."
How tough is Dolphins DE Cameron Wake?
"He's a great player, but in my opinion, every week in the NFL you're going to go against a really good defensive end. That's just the way this league is. Every team has a really good pass rusher. Some have a few. So, just break them down on film, prepare, get the body healthy and we go from there."
When you're running the ball as effectively as you were on Sunday, does that slow down or weaken the pass rush?
"No doubt. When you can establish the run, especially in this league when it's not the easiest thing to run on some of these defenses, it makes the edge rushers – especially from my standpoint, if I'm in a two-point stance, he has to think am I going to come out and get him or am I going to pass set back? So, establishing the run is a major thing."
OLB BRENNAN SCARLETT
How do you approach a short week like this?
"First of all, it's about recovery and making sure we're prepared for this coming week. So, make sure we're getting sleep, eating the proper foods and also just getting prepared."
Some people are surprised the team has bounced back from being 0-3, but it doesn't seem like the locker room feels that way. Are you guys surprised?
"No. I don't think we're surprised at all. I think all year long, from training camp on, we knew what kind of team we got here and we knew that that 0-3 start, things were going to turn at some point and they have. So, we're rolling now."
What are your thoughts on playing Dolphins QB Brock Osweiler?
"Yeah, worked with Brock, know he takes a meticulous approach to the game. He knows the game of football. Obviously, haven't watched him on film or we haven't cut them up yet. So, not too sure what they're doing, but definitely excited to see him."
What is different about special teams this season than in years past?
"I think there's a few things to that equation. I think one, obviously having Coach (Brad) Seely here, having Tracy (Smith) here, brought a new perspective to the special teams room. But then also the guys we have in the room. We have veteran leadership with guys like Brian Peters, Dylan Cole and Johnson Bademosi. But then we've also got younger guys who have come in as rookies, second-years, A.J. (Moore), Buddy (Howell), T.A. (Tyrell Adams) just came in couple weeks ago and has been a huge contributor, so I think there's a lot to it."