HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
"As I said yesterday, it was a tough day for us. I've been in here a few times where we've been coming off of a loss, but a few times it's been a loss where we feel like we didn't really have a chance. We had a chance, but they were definitely the better team that day. That was definitely the case yesterday. Offensively, it's tough when you can't get anything going. Third downs, we want to run the football and you can't run the football. When you can't run the football, of course that's tough. The passing game, all the different things that happened that led to that. We didn't play well up front as I said yesterday, and nothing really got going. Defensively, I know it doesn't probably look that way, but we did a few good things. Third downs. We didn't take the ball away, and in a game like that, takeaways would have helped a lot. I thought we played the run better. Guys played hard. You know, did some things to at least keep us in the game against a Washington team that at the time beat the only undefeated team in football. I realize where we are. Like we normally do, we have been watching the video since then. The players aren't in today, so they'll come in tomorrow. We'll let them know what we're going to do moving forward."
After watching the film, have you decided to make any changes?
"As I said, the players come in tomorrow. Have I watched the video a few different times? Yeah, and made some decisions on how we're going to go forward. But you can probably understand, with all changes and anything that we do from week to week, we talk to the players first before we talk to you. We're not pleased with where we are. Do we need to do some things differently? Yes, and we will."
What have you seen from Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa?
"First, what I know about him just from being in the college game and all that, he's an accurate thrower, more athletic than people probably want to give him credit for, and that's how he's played since he's come back. It seemed like forever that he went through that injury, because right now, he's running an offense that's running on all cylinders. Of course, wide receiver-wise they have special players. They have a few special players really. But what I saw from watching the video right away was their commitment to the run too. I assumed I would see more 11-personnel groupings, but that's not the case. It was a little more 21- and run-personnel groupings."
Are some of your rookies starting to hit the rookie wall?
"You know, that rookie wall is kind of like 'sources say' a little bit. You're trying to figure out exactly what it is. But it's a long season, and they have played a lot of games counting the preseason games. So, their bodies are probably feeling like the season is over. Especially for some of the interior guys. A guy like Kenyon Green, of pounding every time. But I know our young players, if they have, they are coming to work. It's their day off, but a lot of them are here going through the rehab of getting your body ready to go another week. There's rookie mistakes that we're going through with them that you expect from rookies. But if they have (hit the rookie wall), I can't notice it."
Do you believe that sometimes a team needs a change as a spark to escape a tough stretch?
"Yeah, I think a team does. When you've lost as many games as we have, you're searching for ways and things that may get the best out of that person or the team in general. I think there's a place for that. Whether it's a spark or not. What we look at is if the effort is not what you want it to be, we look to see if there's a better option. Sometimes we look to that better option a little bit earlier than others. Position-wise we look to that option maybe a little bit quicker than others. That's a part of the process that you go through. And where we are in our process, we're in the second half on the season now, it's a little bit different now. We should know about – I mean, what's been put on video is probably who we are now. I acknowledge that."
What is your evaluation of QB Davis Mills' performance under defensive pressure?
"I have watched that video a few times for sure. The players haven't come in, but I'm sure they have too. What I said yesterday, I'm saying right now. It's tough. Any quarterback, it would have been tough for them to perform with some of the pressure that we got, not always though. As I look to what happened yesterday, first off, the players aren't in, but we as coaches, we're evaluating what we're doing, plays we're calling, all of that. For the quarterback, for us to have success passing the football, it does start up front with protection, feeling that comfort, to be able to go through your progression of your reads. Most of the day yesterday, that wasn't the case. I'm going to say that that's been the case for a few weeks. A little of that is you have to give the credit where it's due too, that's with the teams that we're playing. They've been very strong inside. Hopefully that won't continue throughout the rest of the year."
How do you approach going through the film with OL Kenyon Green and those teaching moments?
"It's big boy business a little bit too. What we do, good or bad, we go through everything that has been done in the previous game. That's what we're going to do with Kenyon (Green). I believe there's been a lot of learning moments that we've gone through with him. A part of taking that next step is to go through some of those days, when the guy that's playing against you may be better than you right now, but you learn and you just hope you get better and better. What we're going to do if that player, whoever it is, Kenyon, whoever, is who we think is our best option, we have to let them get their nose bloodied a little bit. Keep going to try to get them better."
If you make a player change, are you the one that makes the sole decision, or do you consult GM Nick Caserio?
"Nick (Caserio) handles an awful lot for our group, but we as coaches kind of take care of those things. If there's a change going on, player-wise, our process is we're going to talk to the position coach and we'll talk to the coordinator. Normally, the three of us will. If there's any major decisions that are being done, we'll let everybody know, of course Nick and everybody else will know. Of course, Cal (McNair) and everybody else will know exactly what we're doing. We're communicating constantly with what we're doing with our football team."
What do you say to a guy like OL Kenyon Green when going through rookie growth to make sure he doesn't get down on himself?
"I think all rookies, they go through it. They come into the league and most of the times, they aren't going to jump right into the league and be the most dominant player. That's just a part of the progression of becoming a good NFL player. Kenyon (Green) realizes that. What we're going to do is, the thing's he's doing wrong, we're going to keep coaching him up, getting his technique better to give himself a chance to have more success. You start with that. We're all disappointed, but it's not like somebody is ready to pack their bags based on, yesterday's performance was really bad. It hadn't been that way throughout. As I've said, there are two teams that I've felt have dominated us and were definitely better than us that day. The rest of the time, that hadn't been the case. We've had our moments, moments where we haven't played well, but they all go together. There's been more positive moments. The score board hasn't said that. If you're just talking individually, that's not the case."
Is that something you remind your team of, that it was just one bad game?
"That what I'm constantly doing. I understand where we are record-wise. That's what it is. We talk about building and growing. We're a young team. You have to go through some growing pains. You have to fight through adversity. That's what you have to do. There's no shortcut, and we're not taking that. We're definitely not taking that. We're going through it, but we do see improvement."
Do you feel like the coaching staff have been given enough talent this season to have success?
"As I look at our success and what's happening with us right now, when we haven't gotten the job done, we're not where we need to be at all those areas. First, start coaching-wise, are we going to do a better job, and do we need to do a better job coaching? Absolutely. Player-wise, do we need to play better? Could we use more talent? Yes. I think it's yes to all of those things. I think we all realize that too. That's just a part of it too. I still go back to how the season has turned, on where we are. Have we had opportunities to win more games so far in the first half of the season? Yes, we have, with the personnel, with the coaches we have. I just still feel like we're going to get a chance to prove that we have made progress with the teams that we have coming up the second half of the season."
How much do you balance between process-oriented and results-oriented in your daily decisions?
"It's a big part of it on what we're going through. As I talk about the process and even the guys that we're playing, you're playing for the future by playing good right now. That's all a part of what we're trying to do. It's not like if you're an older player, we're not playing you, we're going to play all the younger players. That hasn't been the case. Every time I've been asked that, that's just not how it is. There's young players playing right now, that's part of the process because we think he gives us our best option right now. It's kind of as simple as that. What we're going to do tomorrow, there's a lot of things we need to clean up. Even though that team was better than us, there was a lot of things we did that we shouldn't be doing right now and that can be corrected. That's why we're going to go back to work to get that done and hopefully some of those other areas, games and effort, and I never talk about effort, the effort is always there, will be good enough for us to put a better product of the football field next time out."
When you take the season in totality, what are some of the things you think this team does now that are better than the beginning of the year?
"I think it's pretty hard to just say we do this, that. There are so many things you have to choose from. From where we started, any area I think that you ask me, I think we've gotten a little bit better. It's not just about getting better, it's about getting better enough to win, and that's where we haven't made it right now. We know a lot more about our football team right now. Just offensively, running the football, have we gotten better? Yeah, I think from the first game to where we've been, again, disregarding yesterday, I think you can look at a lot of different things. Our passing game offensively, we brought the tight end into it. I think we're throwing the ball and moving it around an awful lot. Defensively, I think we played the run about as well as – they averaged less than four yards yesterday. We only gave up I think five explosives (plays) yesterday and we've been giving up a lot more. I think the team has gotten better in a lot of different areas, just not enough."
What have you seen from QB Kyle Allen in practice?
"In practice, for most NFL teams, the guy that is in the backup role doesn't get a lot of reps. But, what the backup does, is he goes against the No. 1 defense the majority of the time. Kyle (Allen) can make all the throws. He has a history of good play in the NFL. He's a veteran that's been in situations, gets rid of the ball quickly. There's a lot of things to like about what Kyle has done. When he played in the preseason, with the limited amount of time he had, I thought he did a pretty good job."
What is it from QB Davis Mills that gives you the confidence to say he's the best guy that gives you a chance to win?
"That's a question I'm asked quite a bit and I don't know how to answer it anymore expect for I think he's grown too since the early part. It's pretty hard to talk about how much somebody has grown after yesterday. What I'm going to say, yesterday, if you look at the game from the quarterback play, we didn't play as well as we needed to in the first half. Second half, I think we started, had a drive going down there, couldn't cash in on it, and that's been our season so far. There's been some rough spots but there have been some moments when we've shown a lot of promise but we haven't made it to the promise land yet."
With Thanksgiving coming up, what are you most thankful for?
"There's so many things. When you're a 64-year-old guy that's been hanging around for as long as I have with a family that you love, that's been blessed beyond your wildest imagination, what I get a chance to do for a living, there's so many things. I think one thing to be thankful for is to be here to be thankful for something. So that's what it is. Thanksgiving is a special time, special week. Just looking forward to making it to that Thanksgiving and enjoying another day."
What stress does Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle and WR Tyreek Hill put on a secondary?
"So much for that Thanksgiving and all the good things that we've been thinking about. Coming up, special players. This past wide receiver group that we played, Derek Stingley didn't play so we were down our No. 1 corner going into the game. I thought Steven Nelson and Desmond King did some good things. We were really high on that receiving core that we played yesterday. This receiving core that we have coming up right now, when you have a player in that one position, Tyreek Hill, that's his name, right? Yeah, we all know his name. What he does, Miami does a great job with their offense too because there's still a commitment to the run and you have to play their wide receivers a certain way. No one has been able to solve that problem yet. When you play a game like we played yesterday, you're excited about playing a great team like Miami to see if that can make you up your game a little bit more. Look forward to it."
Do you anticipate DB Derek Stingley Jr. getting back into the fold at practice this week?
"He has a hamstring injury. With a hamstring injury, the different degree of hamstring injuries that I've had and seen, he has a mild hamstring injury. What does that mean? I don't really know what it means either, but it kept him out of the game yesterday. I don't exactly when he'll be back. Hopefully sooner than later."