Coach Gase Media Conference from Wednesday 11/2/2016

Written by Finatic Dave

Coach Gase spoke to the Miami media on Wednesday about injuries, penalties, the Jets game and more...  Here is what he had to say...

(Could you say that the passing game has benefitted from the success of the run game the last two weeks? If so, does anything illustrate or define that statistically or certain plays that you’re seeing?) – “I think we’ve had a better feel. When you’re running the ball well and doing a lot of the things that we’ve been doing, the play-action game pops open a little easier (and) there are less guys underneath, because they are attacking the run. There have been a couple times where we’ve had some good movement plays and sometimes we haven’t – where it hadn’t been there – but one of those breather passing plays to where it takes a little bit off the line, takes a little bit off the quarterback and puts it really on the receivers. But it makes a big difference when you’re more (in) third-and-manageable instead of third-and-long.”

(You’ve said in the past you like going game by game with matchups and crafting an offense. When you run the ball like you are now, does that change at all? Do you feel like, maybe, you want to stick with your hot hand even though the Jets have such a good run defense?) – “I think you do what’s best for that game. Obviously, we feel pretty good about what we got going on with the chemistry of our offense right now. This is going to be a very challenging game for us as far as being able to run the ball. It’s going to be about physicality and execution kind of all wrapped up into one. (N.Y. Jets Head) Coach (Todd) Bowles has always had a very stingy run defense. That hasn’t changed, at least from the time that I’ve either competed against him or known him. It’s going to be tough for us. There will not be an easy yard to be had against these guys.”

(Two-part question on the penalties: 1) What have you done to address it since the bye week? And secondly, is it easier or more difficult to get through to players with that when you’re winning?) – “I don’t think it’s difficult, because when you show them examples of why you can’t do certain things and how it can cost you games … The fact that you’re receiving onside kicks and then when you do get them and it’s all said and done and then you start thinking, ‘Well, that could’ve been really bad.’ What happened the last game was something that we absolutely have to eliminate. We can’t have taunting penalties and personal fouls. I don’t care who’s right, wrong, indifferent. It doesn’t matter. We’re getting flags thrown on us for things like that, and it’ll burn you. I think all of us have seen enough games to where that Monday you’re talking (and) going, ‘What were they thinking?’ You don’t want to be in that conversation.”

(RB Jay Ajayi, he rushes for 200 yards in back-to-back games, it has got to be a head-expanding experience. He’s even a big deal back in England now. How’s Ajayi handling it you’d say?) – “I feel like he has come in every week and done exactly what he has done the week before. I keep watching the way he practices, I keep watching the way that he’s operating in meetings, (and) it hasn’t changed. He’s the same guy that when you walk into a meeting, he has got his notebook open, he has got his game book open, and he’s taking notes, he has asks questions. When we go out to practice, you don’t see a change in speed. You almost feel like it’s a little bit of a game. And it’s tough sometimes, because when you’re not in full pads and he’s running the ball in practice, he’s coming through there at a good clip. He’s really trying to work at what he’s going to do in a game. I don’t think he’s worried about what happened last game. I see a guy that’s resetting it every week. At least the last three games that we’ve played, the next week he’s come in and been the same guy, and he has gone to work.”

(How is T Branden Albert? His play looks good from our perspective.) – “He’s doing a really good job, besides being a guy that has been there before – been through a lot (of) ups and downs – an experienced guy that has played in meaningful games at this time of the year and passed this. He has really been one of those guys where unless you know him and you’re around him a lot, you don’t really see so many of the leadership qualities that he does have. The fact that (Laremy) Tunsil gravitated to him so quickly, and he really went out of his way to make sure that he has helped our younger players – not only Tunsil, but some of the other guys. I know that probably takes a lot off of Pouncey, too, because Mike is a vocal guy. Mike is very aggressive as far as his passion for this game and what he wants to do to try to put us in a position to win. Having ‘B.A.’ (Branden Albert) there, that’s very helpful to him. ‘B.A.’, he gets it done. He finds a way to show up every Sunday and gives everything he has.”

(If you were to have TE Dion Sims and TE MarQueis Gray available this week, how do their blocking compare to the average tight end?) – “I think with Dion, I think what he brings to the table is a little unique kind of for what the NFL is right now. You usually have a guy that either does one or the other. He does have the ability in the passing game, probably to do more than what we’ve really given him the opportunity to do. Anytime his number has been called, he’s made plays. I think ‘Q,’ (Marqueis Gray) he’s been … I don’t want to say surprising. He’d probably kill me if I said surprising, but I guess I didn’t know that he was as aggressive at blocking in the run game as he’s been. Obviously, he’s been such a good special teams player whenever he’s had his opportunities on other teams. We knew that coming in, and he’s really translated that physicality to offense. He’s done a lot to put himself in position to go in there and execute and be an effective player.”

(With TE MarQueis Gray background as a quarterback, do you think that helps him as a tight end?) – “Absolutely. Anytime that you’ve played that position and you’ve moved to another position, you have an idea of what the quarterback is thinking. It allows you to make subtle adjustments where, some players, they run what’s on the paper. He doesn’t think like that. He thinks of, ‘Hey, if this happens, I might have to make this adjustment.’ He’s kind of one step ahead as far as just route running of knowing how to get open, and then knowing where the quarterback probably wants him.”

(What stuck out to you in your one year of working with N.Y. Jets RB Matt Forte and how might that apply coming Sunday?) – “I don’t even know if elite-pro is the right word. It’s something I’ve very rarely experienced with a player. Just watching what he did from, when the first time I was around him to the last day I was with him, he … that guy’s a stud man. I can’t express how much I appreciated the way that guy prepared, the way he practiced. We’d try to hold him back, and he didn’t care what we thought. He was like ‘I’m getting my reps. You can yell at me all you want for being in there.’ He didn’t care. That guy … he was a work horse. He’s a guy that if you’re around him just one year, you benefitted from it.”

(You’ve coached WR Brandon Marshall, not for a long time, but is it easier to play a guy when you’ve been in meeting rooms with him?)” – “Not him. Not him. It doesn’t matter, we could’ve been together for 10 years, it doesn’t matter. He’s a big guy that makes explosive plays, whether it’s down the field, underneath. One year with him, I saw him do some things where the guy’s got an internal fire to figure out a way to get it done. I saw him take a hitch 60 yards and win a game for us. I don’t know how many tackles … multiple guys missed tackles, and I think he made a couple of guys miss twice. He is phenomenal. When he gets the ball in his hands, he is very hard to bring down. It’s almost like he has that mindset of, you’re not going to tackle me. He knows how to do it. The longer he’s played, I feel like the better he’s got.”

(With him, they move him around so much to try to create favorable mismatches. A lot of times he’s in the nickel, in the slot. Is that a challenge to your slot defensive back?) – “It’s a challenge for whoever lines up on him. It doesn’t matter if he’s inside, outside, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to have your work cut out for you, because he knows how to run all the routes. He knows how to take advantage of coverage. He understands what the defense is trying to do. He understands leverage; he knows how to work off of that. There’s a reason why he’s had as much success as he’s had. He knows how to do it. He knows how to play the position.”

(K Andrew Franks, did he practice today?)– “Yes. We don’t usually have him kick on … today would be considered a Thursday for us. So we usually have him do his deal on Wednesday.”

(Your offensive line, has anything surprised you about them? I don’t know if you can say, did you expect them to do as well as they’ve done the last two weeks? Does anything surprise you?) – “Not really. I think I said this either last week or the week before. It was almost kind of like we were searching for an identity and they basically said, ‘Well this is going to be our identity, whether you like it or not – whether you want to throw the ball 100 times, it doesn’t matter. You better start calling runs because we’re going to get you yards.’”

(Is TE Dion Sims still in the concussion protocol?) – “Today was the first day that we could actually get him out there and (fully) involved in practice and get him running around, so we’re … at least everything looks good. We’re still going to go through our normal process here as far as being cleared by all the right things. Now, it’s just basically us making the decision of, ‘Do we feel really good about this?’”

(How do you assess T Ja’Wuan James’ part of this overall improvement by the line?) – “He’s been really good the last two weeks. He’s been outstanding. He’s done a great job. Very rarely has he had any kind of missed assignments. He’s really doing a good job in the passing game. His pass protection has been very good and I think he’s been outstanding as far as his run-blocking, but (also) his pursuit down the field. He’s been one of the guys that you see every time that you watch the end of a run, he’s right there. His number flashes up on the screen, on those end zone shots, and that’s what you want. You want to try to get those guys around the ball as much as possible and if it’s down the field, that’s even better, because he’s looking for that extra block. One more block might free up Jay (Ajayi) for 10 or 20 more yards.”

(Has finishing runs and finishing blocks, has that been kind of a point of emphasis going up against a tough defensive front like the Jets?) – “That’s really kind of all we talk about no matter who we’re playing. (Offensive Line Coach) Chris (Foerster) does a good job, as far as, we have a couple meetings a week where he’s talking to the entire group as far as how our emphasis is in the run game and kind of how we want to play. He does a good job of keeping every position involved. The run game is not just about the o-line and the running back. It’s about the quarterback carrying out his fakes. It’s about the receivers blocking down the field. We talk about, let’s get it to the point that Jay (Ajayi) is dealing with the one guy that is free. So it’s important for every player on the offense to make sure they’re involved in the run game.”

(What do you attribute T Ja’Wuan James’ improvement to? Is it just technique or is it C Mike Pouncey’s return or is it something else?) – “I think it’s … it’s kind of the fact that we got those five back together helps. I think there was a little bit of a sense of chemistry there. It happened quickly, but you can tell those five are playing for each other and the rest of those guys on offense. I think one of the biggest things is some of the things that we were trying to do a little different with him that he was struggling with, I think it’s really sticking with him now. And he’s been able to apply those things. I think any time you change anything, no matter what position you are, sometimes you go through some growing pains. I think all of us try to do the best we can not to get frustrated. I’m sure any time he got beat before and he was trying something different, it was frustrating for him, but he stuck with it. I saw a guy that seemed to be around the building quite a bit, even when he didn’t need to be. He was working on things and doing things on his own to try to get himself better.”

(How did T Ja’Wuan James handle when he got yanked and then he came back?) – “He came back the next week. I mean, there was no conversation there. We went through the film; we made our corrections. The next week he came back, put the work in, (and) just kept trying to get better.”

(WR Jarvis Landry talked about Jerry Rice was somebody he aspired to be. When you look at him and his play and his run after the catch, the way he catches the football, do you see some parallels there when you watch him?) – “You’re making me reach back. I mean, I saw Jerry Rice play. I think he was … I don’t even remember, I might’ve caught the tail end of Oakland. I remember him in Seattle at some point. I mean that’s hard for me to compare. I wasn’t around when Jerry Rice was rolling. I mean, Jarvis (Landry), being able to kind of reach back to a guy like that, you can … We all heard the stories on how he worked so you see how Jarvis practices. You see how he prepares. I’d assume we all see how he plays on Sundays. I mean, he sells out.”