Before the Dolphins began this week’s three day mini-camp, head coach Joe Philbin took nearly an hour to answer questions from Dolphins Season Ticket Members about the state of the roster heading into the 2013 season. Philbin and the Dolphins hosted many Season Ticket Members in person, in the team’s auditorium at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility in Davie, while also taking questions from Season Ticket Members on the phone. Here are some of Philbin’s comments from the session with fans:
(On challenging schedule at the beginning of 2013 season)- “If you look at it, I believe our first eight games of the season we’re playing five playoff teams, if I’m not mistaken. We’re playing three out of the four teams that played in the conference championship games. So we’re playing some excellent football teams – there’s no doubt about it. We’re going to have to start fast; we’re going to have to play well coming out of the gate. That’s very important; that’s going to be a focus of ours in training camp; that’s why we do have a long training camp this year – it’s 41 days long – so we’re going to have to be smart about that so our players are fresh and ready and eager to start the season. We’ve got two road games to start the season – that’s a challenge, obviously. Everybody knows it’s not easy to win on the road. We were 2-6 on the road last year. That’s not good enough and we need to get off to a great start in our season opener. So it is going to be a challenge, there’s no doubt about it. I think it’s exciting. There’s nothing better than getting on a plane with the guys you care about, your teammates, coaching staff and everybody else in the organization and go win a game on a road field, that’s a great feeling in football. So we’ve got two opportunities to do that and then we get a chance to come home to our great fans and play an excellent Atlanta team. It’s going to be a fun. That’s what gets our blood flowing a little bit, the competitive nature of our business, but we’re excited about the start of the season.”
(On players that have impressed him so far this year, players that have shown the most improvement)- We’ve seen a lot of improvement out of a lot of guys. It’s great to see Kelcie McCray back on the field. He’s a guy that we thought had a bright future and then (he) got hurt very early in training camp last year. It’s been nice to see him, he’s doing a lot of good things. We mentioned Lamar Miller is a player that has some experience on the field in games, but not a ton, and he seems to maturing and progressing at a real nice clip. (Ryan Tannehill) seems to be improving, that’s always a good thing. Jonathan Martin, another member of our draft class from a year ago, switching over to left tackle, I think he’s done well this offseason. So there’s a number of guys, I wouldn’t want to isolate one specific individual but a lot of our younger players and that’s the expectation of a coach that there’s development, there’s improvement, and there’s progress. Those guys still obviously have to continue to get better and better and better. Austin Spitler’s a guy that we think has really had a good offseason program. He played a lot of special teams for us last year (and) we really like what we’ve seen from him.
(On the Dolphins secondary)- “As I’ve mentioned before, the thing were concerned about from the defense standpoint is the explosive passes and that would be passes over 16 yards that were completed against us. So, obviously the defensive backs have some responsibility with that. We felt that Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons made good progress throughout the course of the season; they were consistent performers for us. The corner position, obviously, we added Brent Grimes that we signed and we really like what he’s done in the offseason program. Richard Marshall appears to be healthy again. Dimitri Patterson, a player we acquired late in the regular season and then we drafted two corners early, Jamar Taylor and Will Davis so I think it’s going to be an improved secondary, they know the things they have to work on.”
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