Transcripts: 11-8-2021 Press Conferences 

HEAD COACH DAVID CULLEY

Now that you've watched the tape, what do you take away from yesterday's game?

"We got no chance to win a football game, it doesn't matter who you play, when you turn the ball over four times. It doesn't matter if you get five turnovers, it doesn't matter. It's a formula that's been in this league, in all leagues, that when you play that way you have no chance to win."

After watching the tape, what did you see as the reason for QB Tyrod Taylor's turnovers?

"We can sit here and give him an excuse that he hasn't played in six weeks, but he's been around, he's practiced, he's a veteran. We knew the situation going in. He knew the situation going in. He just didn't play very well, uncharacteristically of him, he just didn't play well. I know he hasn't had in his career in any game where he's thrown three interceptions or had that kind of football game."

You didn't expect QB Tyrod Taylor's to have any rust?

"I did not expect what we got yesterday out of him, no." 

Do you expect QB Tyrod Taylor to be better next time?

"I expect him to be much, much better. I expect him to be the same Tyrod that he's been through his career."

Did you guys have a talk about that?

"We had a talk about it. Basically, we had a talk about it just to keep him encouraged that, 'look, you haven't gone through this. This is the first time you've gone through this.' He felt like going into that game that if he played well, we would have a chance to win the game, and he didn't. I just wanted to ensure him that next time around, when we go to Tennessee, it's going to be better and he's going to be better and we are going to have a chance to win if he plays like he should."

Will OL Laremy Tunsil be available against the Titans?

"We will wait and see. We are not sure yet."

Will OL Laremy Tunsil begin practicing this week?

"We hope so."  

What is your message to QB Tyrod Taylor and the rest of the players heading into the bye week?

"We practice against turnovers. We practice against penalties. We practice against those things. We are going to continue to do that. Unfortunately, we got to do a better job of doing that because it didn't happen. It happened to someone that it's never happened to before. Unfortunately for us that guy handles the ball 99 percent of the time on offense and when he is not doing the right thing with the ball, it's tough on us to be successful."

What did you think of LB Neville Hewitt's performance yesterday?

"I thought Neville and that entire defense played really good yesterday. I thought they played with a lot of energy. I thought they were all around that football all day. We had that one long drive that they had but that drive came off a turnover where we should have had points ourselves. I thought for the most part they played well enough for us to win a football game." 

As you enter the bye, is there things you can look back and reflect on about the team?

"I like the fact that this team will not quit. I like that this team will always play hard. I'm frustrated that this team doesn't play as consistent as we need them to play to have success and win football games. That's on us as coaches. We haven't done as good a job as we need to do to do that. During this bye week, we are going to assess everything and make sure that we can find things to help us eliminate those things that are keeping us from being consistent offensively, defensively and special teams to help us win football games . We know what they are. We know the process. We just have to keep coaching it and we are going to keep doing that."

When you have one win when entering the bye, is it a thing where you evaluate everything and see if there are any changes that you need to make?

"You evaluate everything. I evaluate what I'm doing. I evaluate the message that I am giving to them. I know the message I am giving to them is the right message, but am I giving it to them the right way? What can I do to maybe give it to them to the point to where they truly understand what it means? But after nine ball games, they know. They know, and now there is an accountability and responsibility on all of us, us as coaches and them as players, to get this right."

Do you expect QB Tyrod Taylor to start after the bye?

"Tyrod (Taylor) will start."

WR BRANDIN COOKS

What did you expect from QB Tyrod Taylor in his return yesterday?

"I expected us to play well, and for us all to help him as best we can, and I don't think we did that."

What do you take from a game like that?

"You look at a game like that and just, no matter what, to be able to be in that game and have as many turnovers that we did, to still have a chance is saying something. Defense played at a high level. From an offensive standpoint, we just weren't good enough. Ask each and every one of us on the offensive side of the ball, if we all could've just took one little thing and did it a little bit better, I think we would've been in a better situation. Too many turnovers, and you just can't have that in this game. But we all have a part in that, that does not just land on one person. We all have a part of that."

As you guys enter the bye week, how do you evaluate where the team is at? Are there a few things you all could do better?

"Going into a bye week, to be able to reset mentally, come back, refresh and get going, one of the biggest things I'll take away is just ball security, just taking care of the ball from an offensive standpoint. Defense, continuing to get those turnovers. One big thing I think we can do better coming back is just playing complementary football. We haven't had a game yet where all three phases were on the same page, playing at a high level. It's kind of been one here, one there. If we can come back and all do that, that'll give us a great shot to be able to win some games."

Being a leader in this locker room, what is your message to your teammates, or is there a message as you get ready to leave for the bye week?

"One of the biggest things I tell guys is the mental aspect of this game is heavy. To be able to get a bye week, reset mentally, don't get too far away from it. Make sure you're still taking care of your body, trying to run, work out here and there, because at the end of the day, when we come back, there's a lot of football left. At the same time, look at ourselves in the mirror individually, and just see, 'Okay, how can I get better and help this team? Where am I lacking at? What do they need me to be better at?' Just all come back with that mentality to keep on pushing, keep on fighting no matter what the record is. This is our job, and that's what we're here to do."

For you personally, what do you do on the bye week to reset and recharge?

"Hang out with my family, be with my wife and my son, who's one. To be able to get that time with him is huge. I see him a couple hours a day during the week, so to be able to have this time off and spend time with him, that's just going to make me a better man and a better player, just because I can come back re-energized."

When you say you don't want to step too far away from football, how do you stay connected to the game?

"I think you're still watching film at the end of the day, knowing coming off the bye, we've got Tennessee. So, be able to watch their game, be able to watch some clips throughout the week. Just preparing for your opponent, so the first time you come back in off the bye, your first time seeing them is not that week. Maybe just take a little bit of time here and there, maybe not at the beginning of the week, but toward the end of the week as we get closer to coming back."

How mentally draining has this season been for you so far?

"It's a challenge, but we're all going through it. Like I said before, all I know is to continue to work hard, and that's what will be my message to the guys. (Being) able to play this game is huge. All I'm going to keep doing is working hard and trying to get better every single day, no matter what the results are. That's how I'm built, and that's who I am."

What does the team need to do to get all three phases playing well at the same time?

"At the end of the day, it's just (to) do it, to be honest with you. I really think our practices go well. Just to be able to lock in on Sunday and do those things each side of the ball, at the end of the day, we've just got to do it. There's no pep talk, there are no speeches. You can't say we've got to have better practices, because I think we practice our tails off. We've just got to execute."

LB KAMU GRUGIER-HILL

When you signed here, is this what you expected?

"I knew signing here I was coming into a place where we were going to have a lot of guys. We have a lot of guys in the locker room where you would think our record would be better. It's crazy, because we are 1-8 now and the sky is falling, but at the same time we understand. We just have to fix so many little things and when we do, we are going to be fine. It doesn't feel like a toxic environment. It doesn't feel like an environment where people are like 'I need to get out of here.' We're still together. We're still trying to just figure it out."

How do you approach things now that QB Tyrod Taylor wasn't able to bring you guys a win?

"That's not just on Tyrod. If I sat out for seven weeks and just came back in, sometimes you have your comeback game, sometimes you don't. It's not just on Tyrod. I'm not saying that at all. I don't think we lose any hope in that aspect at all. We know what Tyrod can do and we know we'll be fine."

What are some keys for not making this a toxic environment? Is that Head Coach David Culley or a combination?

"I think it's a combination of a little bit of everything. The coaching staff, just the guys we have here in general. We love what we do, we are all pretty true professionals. We're close. We are a close locker room. We all spend a lot of time outside of the building, we're holding each other accountable. We're doing bible studies together. We're doing all kinds of different things. I think it's just the culture that we are trying to build here."

Who leads the bible studies?

"Kind of everyone. We have a guy here, Robbie (Madison), who does a great job with that stuff."

Are there a couple of guys and leaders on this team who have helped keep the locker room positive through this tough stretch?

"You always got guys. There's a bunch of different guys. Tyrod (Taylor), Christian Kirksey, (Brandin) Cooks. I think everyone tries to do a pretty good job of staying positive and that's how you just keep the environment the way it is right now."

What is LB Neville Hewitt like off the field? What's it like for him to step into the middle linebacker role?

"I love that guy, man. He's hilarious. He went in and had like 25 snaps and 10 tackles. He went crazy. He's a true professional. I mean, the guy watches more film than I have ever seen ever, by any teammate I've ever played with. He's always knows what position to be in. Truthfully a lot of time, I go to him for, 'Hey, what do you think about this play>' He's been there for me a lot. Being out there and playing with him, I was excited for him. To see the stat sheet after and just to see him do his thing during the game, it was exciting."

How often does he watch film for you to notice that it's a lot?

"The dude is watching film all day, like all of the time. He will call me at night and be like, 'Hey did you see this play?' I'm like 'No, I didn't get there yet 'like how are you already there with that?' He's different with that."

Is he tracking it on his iPad?

"Yeah."

OL JUSTIN MCCRAY

What did you take away from the game yesterday?

"Just too many turnovers, hard to win a game when you turn the ball over like that. Just didn't execute when we needed to."

What was it like on the sideline as you watched the game unfold?

"I think everybody had their heads up. The entire game, we thought we had a chance to win, because we did. We just didn't execute the things we needed to execute."

Can you take us through the Dolphins' defensive plan and the Texans' plan to stop the blitz?

"We had certain things dialed up, and if they started showing looks when they were going to bring the house, we had answers for it. We just need to execute it better once we get those answers out."

How confusing is it when they crowd the box with eight players?

"It just goes back to seeing what you saw on film during the week. It is confusing, but it's not anything that we shouldn't be able to handle."

How well do you think OL Jimmy Morrissey played at center?

"It was his first game. I thought he did a good job. He was playing his heart out. Some things didn't go the way we wanted them to, but I think he played well, and he definitely played really hard."

How would you evaluate the team as you enter the bye week? What are some things you can do to get back on the winning track?

"I think the first thing is just get healthy. Guys (need to) get some rest that have been banged up and have been playing through some things. Just knowing that when we come back, the main focus needs to be to execute and play penalty-free football."

What did you sense from QB Tyrod Taylor as the game played out?

"Honestly, the same thing I always get from Tyrod (Taylor). He was smooth, he was steady. I always felt like we had a chance to win, that he was going to get us in a play or make a play for us to get back in the game."

How much responsibility does the offensive line take for the offensive struggles?

"I know the offense goes as we go. So, if we're playing well, the offense more than likely is going to be playing well. We just have to play better and come together as a unit, no matter the five that are out there."

How much of a surprise was QB Tyrod Taylor's second interception?

"I honestly thought he was throwing the ball away. I didn't see how far it went, or anything like that. I just thought he was throwing the ball away, trying to get the ball out of his hands."

Is that play emblematic of the offense this year?

"I wouldn't say that, because that means it's sort of like you're looking for something bad to happen. (That's) just the way the ball rolled on Sunday."

What is Head Coach David Culley doing to keep the team together during this tough stretch?

"He's just extremely positive, giving us confidence. I think he's doing a great job just leading us and telling us the things that we can't do, and that's penalties and turnovers. I think he's doing a great job."

What are your bye week plans?

"I am here for a couple days, and then I'm going to go to my brother's house in Tampa, and then we're going to go down to home in Miami for a couple days, see my mom, dad, niece and nephew. It'll be cool."

How was Miami this past weekend, other than the game?

"It was nice to have as many people that I had come to the game. I had about 40 people in the stands, so it was nice to be close to home and have a chance for people that haven't seen me play live in a long time. So, it was pretty cool."

After a turnover, do you notice a difference in confidence in your quarterback when it's a veteran compared to a rookie?

"Not so much, honestly. I feel like both Tyrod (Taylor) and Davis (Mills), they're both collected people. They don't let a lot of things get to him. So, when bad things do tend to happen, they're always ready for the next play to make another play. I think there isn't much difference in that."

What was preventing the team from finishing in the red zone?

"Just communication and execution. When a play is called, we've got to all hear the same thing, see the defense through the same set of eyes and just make the plays."

On the one third down in the fourth quarter when a defensive player came through the middle, was that play a case of miscommunication?

"Yeah, it was a communication issue."

DB JUSTIN REID

What stands out to about the first half of the season?

"It's been a roller coaster if you want to look at it from an overview. There's been games where the defense hasn't been at its best. There's been games where the offense hasn't been at its best. Biggest thing is we have to play a complete game. We haven't done that yet and we have a lot of ball left to play this season, a lot of pride to play for and to play that complete game."

What can you point to for not putting a complete game together?

"A lot of it is just consistency. Some of it is we've had personnel changes every week, guys going down, guys coming back, getting into the grove of things. I think it's just trying to find our groove. This is the first time we've had all these guys play together on the same team so a lot of it is chemistry related. Guys moving around on the rotation on the starting lineup, too. Kind of slows down the chemistry a bit, too. That's just part of the growth process of us building a new team."

What have you thought about the rotation of players in the defense?

"I think we are still just trying to find the right formula to put the right guys out there and the right combination to go out and put the best product on the field, and see if we can score touchdowns on offense and stop touchdowns on defense. I just play my role – whatever they ask me to do what part, free safety, strong safety. Whatever that is, I'm up for it to help the team get to our ultimate goal of winning and that's what I do. I focus on my part."

In the past, have you seen others in the NFL who are still trying to find that stuff out at the bye week?

"The NFL is a constantly revolving place even from one year to the next year. I haven't been on one team that was the same each of my four years here. Every year is a completely new year. The NFL is constantly rotating. You can look across the league at all the teams that are going through rotations right now. Green Bay. The Cardinals overcoming with Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins out. That's just a natural part of the game that those rotations are going to happen, and you got to have depth and guys ready to step up and make plays when it's their time to shine."

How comfortable were you with DB Eric Murray playing free safety?

"I'm real comfortable. I like E. Murray (Eric Murray) a lot. He's a very smart player. Our communication is really good on the disguises and everything like that. I was very comfortable in order to do those disguises, mix up the views for (Jacoby) Brissett a little bit and cause some confusion. Really good player and I'm happy he's back in the lineup."

Where is the mentality and what do you point at to fix when QB Tyrod Taylor coming back doesn't bring a win?

"It wasn't our best game. That's just unfortunately what happens sometimes. I still have all the faith in the world in Tyrod. He's a vet. He's proven himself time and time again that he's a quarterback that deserves to be a starting quarterback in the league. He just had an off day; the whole offense did as a whole. That happens. On defense we've done that a couple of times, too. We just push forward. We have a bye week coming up, a chance to focus on ourselves. Maybe actually take a couple of days away from football. I think that there's benefits in that too, to kind of clear your mind from everything and then come back into the building with a fresh mentality and an eagerness to get back on the field and get things right."

Did you sense disappointment after the game from QB Tyrod Taylor?

"Yeah, definitely did but it is what it is. I know he's going to come back. He's hard on himself, too. He's going to come back and he's going to be ready to go. But you did feel it though even with his leadership and presence back, that there was just a better energy because he's a true leader on this team and guys follow behind him and follow behind his lead. He's one of our leaders. I'm going continue to fight behind him, everyone on the defense and everyone on the team is going to continue to fight behind him."

What are some things Head Coach David Culley is doing to keep both sides of the ball together during this tough stretch?

"Coach Culley always focuses on the team. Everything that we do is for the best for the team. That comes to the lineup, that comes to who's playing, that comes to rotations, that comes to just staying together. That was part of the speech we talked about after the game is the main thing we have to do is not allow the locker room to splinter and just stay on the path. You stick to the grind, you stick down the right road eventually things will start to turn up."

What are your plans for the bye week?

"Honestly, I haven't thought about it yet. Might go visit my brothers. I don't know, find something just to kind of get away from football for a little bit, turn my mind off of it and come back ready to go."

How much do you feel the inconsistencies within the rotation of defensive backs contribute to why DB Lonnie Johnson Jr. has been in a slump the past couple games?

"It's not easy, him being rotated from corner to safety, safety back to corner. He's still trying to find his footing on what his best position is. He's versatile, he has athleticism, he has the length, he has the want-to and the will. It's just got to come together for him, and it will. It will. It's just tough, though. Every year he's been something different. His first year, he's a corner. Second year, he's a safety. Next year, he learns a completely new defensive system. So, there needs to be some consistency for him, too, to see that growth."

What do you tell DB Lonnie Johnson Jr. to encourage him?

"You've just got to stick down a path. He's played football for a long time. He's not a rookie or anything like that. He knows football, he knows how to play ball. That just comes with experience. So, those reps were invaluable for him. He's going to continue to develop, and he's going to be a good player. He just has to keep sticking to it."

How does the pass rush from DL Jonathan Greenard help you on the back end?

"J.G. (Jonathan Greenard) has been special. I don't remember what his count is on how many sacks he's had this far. I know he's up there…yeah, seven. He's up there in the leaderboards across the league. But this has been a coming out season for him. It's been fun to watch. I go and tell him every day before the game starts, 'Go be special today,' because he has that inside of him. It's been good for him, it's been good for the whole team because when he creates that pressure, it gives us opportunities on the back end. E. Murray's (Eric Murray) pick came because the defensive line flushed (Jacoby) Brissett out (of) the pocket, caused that pressure on him. He threw up a ball that he probably wishes he didn't, and then Eric was able to come down with it. Rush and coverage working together, that's what makes defenses really click."

What do you think of the job LB Neville Hewitt did yesterday stepping in for LB Christian Kirksey?

"Neville (Hewitt) did a great job. Neville did an excellent job. I love seeing his energy and passion on the field. Playing behind him, watching him just have fun out there, he had like 134 or 143 tackles last season, too, so he's no stranger to wanting to get his nose in there and make some contact. But Neville did a tremendous job stepping up."

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