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Quotes from Mike Wallace and Joe Philbin conference calls on Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Posted Sep 25, 2013

Miami Dolphins Coach Joe Philbin and wide receiver Mike Wallace spoke with New Orleans media via conference call on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 about the upcoming game

Miami Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
 
How does it feel to be 3-0?
 
“We talked all training camp about getting off to a fast start. We knew we had two road games and a very good Atlanta team coming in for our home opener. We wanted to get out the gate quickly and our guys have found ways in the first three weeks to win games. It certainly hasn’t been textbook, or classic, but we have hung in there and they played tough. We are obviously excited about this game coming up.”
 
Do you warn your guys that things can change in a hurry?
 
“The biggest thing we try to do is we try to be honest with them and show them the film. The film is really the greatest barometer in this league. While we are 3-0, there are a lot of things we have to do better, especially Sundays game we had two giveaways, we got sacked five times, the opponent ran the ball pretty well against us, so just from that one game, as nice as a win that it was, there are a tons of things that need to get corrected quickly. I think if you are honest with the players and if you show them the tape that is the best way to do it.”
 
What does Rob Ryan’s defense look like to you on film?
 
“Coach Ryan is doing an excellent job. They are very multiple as you mentioned, sometimes it looks like a 3-4, sometimes it looks like a 4-3.  He has bear defense in there. He is doing an excellent job. One thing you see on the tape is they pursue well to the football, their defensive backs are playing well, their pass rush is very, very good, their two ends are playing excellent, and they cover guys down field and they tackle. It is kind of good ole’ fashion defense.  I don’t know if there is anything elaborate, but they are playing really well.”
 
How much of it is scheme or how much of it is attitude?
 
“I think it is at least as much attitude and chemistry as it is scheme. Schemes are great, but there are a lot of excellent coaches in the National Football League and I think it is more about what kind of chemistry you build with that particular group, if you are a coordinator, with that unit and how much faith and confidence that they have in you as a coordinator and they have with you as players and then taking that to the field.”
 
The Dolphins and the Saints have both struggled in the run game; do you think this league is becoming more of a passing league?
 
“Yeah, we could barely run the ball an inch against Cleveland and we ended up winning the game. I think teams and coaching you have to be smart enough to go with what is working sometimes. I know Coach Payton and his staff is excellent and sometimes while you would love to have the balance and you want to be multiple and run and pass the screen, sometimes you just have to stick with what is working. That has happened to us, and throughout the course of the season it happens to everyone in this league.”
 
Is it a number you are concerned with on your team?
 
“No, I am concerned about the tackling more than the number on a piece of paper. We have to do a better job at tackling, especially this week. There is no doubt about it that these guys, (Pierre) Thomas, (Mark) Ingram, (Darren) Sproles, all those guys are excellent backs and we have to do a good job tackling them.”
 
How has Mike Wallace done in your system?
 
“He is doing a really nice job. He has been an excellent teammate down here. He fits in the locker room very, very well. He has gotten along with the staff very well. Obviously, on tape, he had that one big game against Indianapolis and two games with not as much production, but as you mentioned, he is a viable asset to the offense because defenses typically commit a certain amount of resources to negate his impact to the game, and at times it opens things up for other players.”
 
What are you impressions of Jimmy Graham over the last few weeks?
 
“His production over the last two weeks has been off the charts.  He obviously has great size and weight. He seems to be a natural running down the field and going up and catching the ball.  He can catch the ball in traffic. He can catch the ball when he gets hit. He has excellent concentration and hands. His size and length are an issue and it’s a concern when you go play him. He has done a great job.”

Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Mike Wallace
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Are you excited to return to your hometown with the Dolphins being 3-0?

“Definitely. I get to come home and play in front of my home crowd. They’re actually not cheering for me, but it’s OK.”

They are going to be cheering for Keenan Lewis?

“I think so. I think Keenan will have a lot more fans than I do down there, but it’s OK. I have the Dolphins with me, so it’s fine.”

You played here with the Steelers in 2010. Did that kind of take a little something away from this game or is it still very special to you?

“I think it’s the same. I think it’s still very special. No matter how many times you get to play at home, you’re playing at home. It’s going to be exciting either way it goes, no matter if I play down there one time or thirty times. I think it will be special every single time. It’s definitely special once again, and I’m excited to get down there.”

You played in high school with Keenan and also together with the Steelers. Is this the first time that the two of you have faced off in real competition? What is it going to be like on Monday night?

“It’s going to be a little different. This is the first time I’m going to play against Keenan since we were younger, about seven or eight years old. I’ve known him since we were so small, about five or six years old. I haven’t played against Keenan since we were young like that. I’ve always been on his team, so this is a little different. I’m excited. I’m up for the challenge (and) I know he’s up for the challenge, so it’s going to be a good time.”

Did you ever line up against each other in practice or in training camp? What was that like?

“I killed him (laughter). Nah, sometimes he got me and sometimes I got him. Keenan is a great player. He’s a smart guy; he’s going to play really well. That’s my brother. I have all the confidence in the world in him, but I’m against him this week so you know I’m out to kill him.”

Was there any temptation to try to get him to come with you to Miami?

“We wanted to play together again, but we both knew we had to go our separate ways in order to do what was best for ourselves and our families. Maybe one day, but not right now.”

Will there be any trash talking going on between the two of you?

“Definitely. You can believe that. Keenan already called me last night asking me if we had a problem. I’m like: ‘Nah, we are good.’ That’s just Keenan; he’s going to talk crazy. He’s already calling me early in the week. I started not to answer the phone for him, but that’s my brother so I couldn’t do it to him.”

Who talks more trash out of the two of you?

“It’s got to be Keenan, got to be. Keenan might talk the most trash out of anybody I ever knew in my whole life.”

Do you think he will be yapping at you on Monday night?

“Nah, that’s not good for him. He might not want to start doing that. He better be quiet.”

A lot of people probably didn’t expect your team’s 3-0 start. Can you talk about what you all have been able to do?

“We just play together as a team. We stick with our gameplan, and stick with what the coaches show us. Everything is going to work out for the best for us. We don’t worry about what people say or how they feel about our team. We really don’t care. It really doesn’t matter to the guys who have been with us every day since day one, since we started this thing on April 15 or April 16. (Those) are the only guys that really matter. For people to say whatever they’re going to say is good, but we really don’t care.”

What have you seen in the Saints defense so far? They’ve been playing really well, especially against the pass.

“They’re playing really well. Guys are assignment-sound out there. Everybody is where they need to be. Their defensive line is playing really well, getting a nice rush every single play. Guys (are) pushing the pocket back. They’re doing a good job out there. Their defensive backs are playing real physical. Keenan is doing a good job, (so is) Jabari (Greer). Kenny (Vaccaro) is playing outstanding; he’s not playing like a rookie. Malcolm (Jenkins) has been there for a while so you know what he’s going to do.”

How has Keenan been playing this year?

“Keenan’s playing really well. Hopefully he doesn’t play well on Monday though.”

Do you expect to get matched up with him a lot on Monday?

“Possibly. I play on the right side at wide receiver and he plays on the left side at cornerback, so primarily we should be going against each other unless their coach has something different or our coach has something different. We are both going to have some wrinkles in the game, but for the most part we should be matched up from what I know.”

This week aside, how much do you and Keenan talk during the regular season?

“At least five times a week. I talked to him yesterday, I’m pretty sure I’m going to talk to him again tonight. There’s going to be a lot of talking this week, especially since we are playing each other. Every single day, almost, we talk to each other. We’ve been talking about this day since the day we signed, since March 12. We’ve both been talking about it. I told him to be ready and he told me the same thing, so we’re excited about it. We are going to continue to talk every day. At the end of the day, it’s all love. Like I keep telling y’all, that’s my brother. I wish the best for him, just not on Monday night.”

What do you miss most about not having him as a teammate since you two are so close?

“He’s my best friend. Just having him with me all the time, we are going through the same things. We are in camp together, we get to go through the same things. Our families are real close, just to be with each other. Just the friendship; that’s my brother. Everything about being around him: the love, the family, everything. The jokes. That’s one thing about us is we are going to joke all day long (and) clown. I need to get me somebody like that around here, because I don’t have it right now. That’s my brother, so it’s going to take a while to get on the level with another guy like that. Even in college I had a guy who we played in high school with who I went to college with. This is my first time being on a team by myself.”

Did you and Keenan play all four years of varsity at O. Perry Walker?

“He did. I didn’t even play. I was just going home after school and playing basketball at the park. Keenan always played football ever since we were younger. I wasn’t even playing football until 11th grade. I just knew him ever since we were younger. We were from around the same neighborhood.”

Who got you involved in football?

“Keenan and a couple of other guys, my cousin. Ever since we were younger we always knew I could play, I just never wanted to play. I saw other guys going to college for football so I said, ‘Ok. I guess I’ll go out there.’”

How far apart did you two live?

“Five or six minutes. I lived in the cutoff in Algiers, and he lived in Terrytown.”

As a football player, what makes it a challenge to go up against him?

“He’s a smart player, crafty. He’s long, tall, rangy, aggressive. He’s a physical player. He’s fast and he has really good instincts. You have to be able to get off the ball because he’s quick and he’s strong. He’s a big cornerback, so he makes it hard to get off the line of scrimmage. You have to come up with a release plan and stick with it.”

Did you see his interception last week?

“Yeah, I saw. I saw him drop two of them too. As soon as he called me after the game he said he caught an interception. I told him that he dropped two. That’s my brother so I don’t see the good things he does, I only see the bad.”

I’m sure you haven’t gotten home much since being in Miami. What’s on the menu when you get home?

“I don’t even know actually because my mom is out here right now. She came out here for our last home game. I’ve been getting all of the good meals for about a week straight. When I get home, I might have to go over to my aunt’s house. I was going to go with Keenan, but I don’t know. He might try to do something to me. He might try to put something in my food right now, so I’m not sure about going out to eat with him.”

Is it hard to eat red beans on Monday when it’s game day?

“Yeah, kind of. You know what red beans do to you, so I don’t know if that’s a good thing for me to eat. I’m going to keep it light. I have to be running real fast on Monday night.”

What are your impressions of Ryan Tannehill and his development?

“I think every single day and week he makes us more and more comfortable with his growth. I think he’s doing a really, really good job. He’s sticking to his reads. He’s going through his progressions really fast and he’s making plays for the team. He’s leading us, especially when we need him to in critical downs and situations. He’s been really doing a great job of leading the team and hopefully he continues.”

Does it kind of surprise you since he hasn’t been a quarterback for very long?

“It’s a little different, but if you were in the meetings with him every day you would know it wouldn’t be that hard for him. Just the way he works and he prepares himself, he’s a good guy, smart player, and really wants to be good. He studies hard and works hard; that is a recipe for success.”

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