Dolphins
Dolphins Roundup 8/16/04
By The Source
Aug 16, 2004

Compiled from a variety of sources throughout the day

- Miami Dolphins cornerback Alphonso Roundtree underwent successful surgery today. The surgery was performed by Chief Team Physician Dr. George Caldwell at Broward General Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale.

Roundtree was injured while returning a punt in the fourth quarter of Miami's 16-5 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the preseason opener for both teams.

DAVE WANNSTEDT PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
(Opening statement) – “We’re still finishing up our meetings, but after watching the tape and having some initial conversations with the staff, there were a lot of encouraging things. We did some good things and some things to really build on would probably be the phrase to use. Particularly with as many starters, I think we had eight starters that did not participate, so with the guys out and some of the things that we did with the younger players and some of the veterans are here, we know that we have a lot of work to do, but we also ended up feeling that there were positives in all areas. It gives us an opportunity to build from there.

In relationship to the injury situation, I’m not going to get into who was hurt, how bad they were hurt, timetables, or anything like that. As we’ve said all along, if there are roster changes or anything of major significance, we’ll talk about it, otherwise I would like to keep the questions and comments to the players that played and how they played football.

Defensively, I think that even though it was a preseason game, some of those younger players that we had talked about, Reggie Howard - the mini-camps all along we’ve been saying how well he played - he did it last night, he carried over to a game. Those young linebackers, we’re really excited about the depth that we have there. Derrick Pope played well. Tony Bua played really well. Corey Jenkins picked it up and was better. Eddie Moore played two different positions last night and played well, so we have good depth there and that’s a positive thing. Think week we’ll move Morlon (Greenwood) back to his normal spot and depending on what happened with Zach (Thomas), he’ll practice and whether we start him or not has not been determined, but Morlon needs to get his work at the outside. If Zach is not in there, we’ll put Derrick Pope in there. He did a good job. David Bowens showed up, Jay Williams is probably having as good a camp as what he’s had in the last three years since he’s been with us at defensive end, so that was all very encouraging.

On the offensive side, up front we’re still looking at guys, we still have a ways to go. We’re talking about the right guard position, and guys are working extremely hard. The two most consistent players for us out of yesterday’s game - Seth McKinney is really playing well and John St. Clair at the right tackle is doing a very good job. We were really happy there. The receiver situation was tough. Without Chris (Chambers) and Derrius (Thompson), and obviously David (Boston) not in there, and (Kendall) Newson goes down early, we were really forced to call on some guys to step up. Ron Bellamy made a few plays, Snoop (Minnis) made a few plays, and Sam Simmons made a catch or two. We’re a little bit thin there. We’re looking hard there and everybody knows that. We’re going to try to improve our football team anywhere we can. That’s a position, because of some of the injuries, we’ve been slowed up a little bit as far as the progress.

The quarterbacks, I thought all three of them played well. What do you base that on – I know we would have liked to have put the ball in the end zone more, but I think from the quarterback position you have to take into account everything that is going on around them. For the first game, I thought that Jay (Fiedler) made good decisions, A.J. (Feeley), the same way, and Sage – all three of them, really. We didn’t walk away from there saying, ‘I can’t believe that guy forced that ball into coverage, or I can’t believe that guy took a sack unnecessarily.’ The one play on A.J., when they hit him and called him for grounding, was actually a screen the other way. We turned a guy loose in his face right away, and he really didn’t have a choice. The interception that he threw was a deflected ball. He was throwing to the right guy. Sammy Morris was open coming across the middle and it would have been about a five-yard gain, a little check down, and the ball got deflected. I thought that quarterbacks made good decisions. For the most part, they were fairly accurate, and that gives us something to work on there.”

(On AJ Feeley in the pocket) – “I don’t think he has any more pocket awareness than Jay (Fiedler) or Sage (Rosenfels). He has a very quick release, so I think you will see him in there and he probably gets rid of the ball quicker than any of the other quarterbacks, and in fact he does. A lot of times there will be pressure coming around him and he can get rid of the ball in a hurry.”

(On what he liked about the two-minute drive at the end of the first half) – “What I liked, he showed leadership number one, and that’s the most important thing as far as getting the calls in and keeping his cool. He made good decisions. We got into a situation where we had to use a time-out. We had a situation where we had to clock the ball one time, and this is all part of the mechanics of a two-minute drill. We had opportunities to score two touchdowns really. Ron Bellamy’s was that close from being a touchdown, and who knows on Donald Lee’s that was called back because of the penalties. We had a chance for one score there, and both of those plays were well thrown balls. The one to Donald Lee, whether he pushed off or not, and he did and there was a flag and he committed the foul, but there wasn’t a whole lot of room as far as separation to get the pass in there and he made a very accurate throw. Obviously Bellamy’s throw was a great one-handed catch, but it was also good coverage and laid out there in the only position it possibly could have been to give our receiver a chance to get the ball. I thought he did a good job with the mechanics of the two-minute drill, and then when he had chances to make throws, he made them.”

(On the possibility of moving Vernon Carey over to right guard to compete with John St. Clair) – “We have talked about that and I kind of alluded to that last week. We’re continuing to talk about that and as soon as I leave here we’re going back up into meetings with the offense. That’s something that we’re looking at. There are a couple of things that would go into that thinking. We want to get the best guys on the field. On the same token, at this point, we don’t have another tackle. We have a couple of guys competing there, but nobody that we’re really comfortable with at this point. If you have somebody working in there at a guard position and the first play of the game, remember Tennessee three years ago down there, [Marcus Spriggs] goes down in the second or third play of the game, now all of the sudden the guy who has had no work, you’re moving him from a guard spot out to a tackle spot and now you’re blocking an edge rusher. There’s a lot involved to it when you’re talking about young players. We’re not talking about 30-year old veteran guys that have bounced back and forth. So, we’re talking about that. It that a possibility? Yes it is. We haven’t made a decision yet though. Damion McIntosh is working hard and we’re still not on a timetable there, but he’s in the whole equation too because he is a tackle. We’re trying to look at the big picture here.”

(On Vernon Carey) – “He played well. I thought that he did a good job. He’s doing a really good job on his pass protection. Some of the run stuff, and we have to talk to him about the first-step quickness things, and the speed of the game is a little bit different. He’s still making an adjustment. Rex Hadnot, played really well, our center, those two guys for rookies are really going to be good players, both of them.”

(On AJ (Feeley) being able to make up for struggles in the running game and pass protection with his quick release) – “It would help, that’s one way to do it. The other way to do it is to do movement passes and you don’t let the quarterback sit back there, which Jay (Fiedler) does well and A.J. can do. You know with the system he came out of in Philadelphia, half of their game is movement stuff with Donovan (McNabb). That’s another way, the quick release or you move the quarterback around, and we’ve got both of those things going right now.”

(On whether he’s comfortable enough with A.J. Feeley right now) – “We’ve got a long way to go with the quarterback thing. There’s no timetable on starting or anything. Jay (Fiedler) is playing extremely well. Jay is probably playing as good as he’s played at this point in training camp. He’s here and he’s healthy, which is a plus. A few years, he’s been banged up and not feeling well, so I’m being honest and serious about this, these guys are going to continue taking reps. The way the receiver thing has worked out now in our first line and second line, we’re interchanging guys so much and we’re doing it in practice, that there’s not an advantage to one or the other if they’re playing first quarter or second quarter. So, we’re going to continue to rotate them and let them play and see how this thing unfolds.”

(On starting A.J. (Feeley) this next week) – “The plan would be to start A.J. (Feeley) this game and probably go about like we did with Jay (Fiedler) this week, let him take a quarter and then bring Jay in and let him play some.”

(On whether he wants to have a (quarterback) decision before the third (preseason) game) – “That was my wish list, but because of the circumstances with out receivers, I’ve re-thought that thing. Right now, I don’t have a timetable. My timetable is the first snap against Tennessee if you want to know the truth.”

(On by the fourth preseason game if the first offense will get more action than normal) – “Possibly, yes, because of the young linemen. Depending on what happens with the receivers in the next two weeks, how much work we get together. I have no timetable on this quarterback thing. They’re both getting work and we are going to wait until I’m 100 percent sure and make the decision then.”

(On how tough it is for him to make his decisions on his offensive line) – “I think the line, we’re making some progress, we really are. We’re getting a much clearer picture of what each guy can do. Yesterday’s game was really important, and next week’s game will be even more so. I think that’s getting cleared up. We have the same thing going at safety. Guys are competing. You bring guys in, whether they are free agents, or draft picks, or however you acquire these players, and you promise guys opportunities. Real competitors don’t mind the competition and it’s my job to make sure that we’re playing the best players and that give us a chance to win. We have the same competition going on at safety. Arturo (Freeman) took the first team work this week in the first half, but when we asked Antuan Edwards to come in here, we said, ‘Hey, you’ll get a chance to compete with the first group.’ This week in practice and in the game, we’re going to work Antuan with the first group because our defense is intact and a little different than offense, and Arturo will rotate in. Arturo played good in the game, so did Antuan, and so did Yeremiah Bell. I like what I see at that safety position, but we’ve got real good competition just like at guard and at quarterback and at a couple of other spots. The fair thing to do is not to do anything in a hurry and let these guys compete, see how they deal while they’re being evaluated and the competitiveness and everything that goes into trying to win a spot, that’s all part of it.”

(On whether Yeremiah Bell will get a look with the first team defense) – “Right now, we’re not going to, but who knows what will happen down the road. Yesterday was the first game he played in two years. He did a good job and I was encouraged. He’ll play a lot in preseason because he’s behind Sammy Knight, who won’t play much in the preseason.”

(On the defensive ends replacing Adewale Ogunleye) – “In a perfect world you’d like to have Adewale (Ogunleye) back tomorrow, but I’m very comfortable with Jay (Williams) and David Bowens.”

(On bringing in receivers or cornerbacks in light of recent injuries) – “Those are the two positions where we have been slowed up due to injuries. We’re looking and we’re talking and if the right guy or two becomes available, yes, we would try to strengthen our team any way we could.”

(On WR Ronald Bellamy) – “You’re talking a bout a guy who came in as fourth team. Now he’s running with the first group last night and making a few plays. You like to see players like that have success because you invest all that time in him. You sign him as a rookie free agent from Michigan. You keep him on your practice squad and continue to develop him. He goes over to NFL Europe and plays over there. He does a nice job trying to perfect his skills. He’s been a great success story. He’s made the commitment to become a great football player, so it’s very encouraging to see that.”

(On the punt being blocked in the game vs. the Jaguars and the special teams) – “We had five rookies on the punt team at that time. But, they’re going to have to be ready to perform this year. If you look at our special teams, Keith (Armstrong) is got a big challenge. From a return standpoint we’ve been struggling to come up with a returner for a few years. We all know that. We sign (Terrence) Wilkins in the offseason and he’s hurt. We’ve tried a lot of different people. Shawn Wooden was a core guy a year ago, Tommy Hendricks was our special teams captain last year and now he’s gone. Chris Akins was the best available special teams player according to our scouts. We go out there and sign him and he gets hurt. We are going to be a young special teams unit and that’s good. We are going to have a lot of enthusiasm.”

On RB Fred Russell) – “Freddie Russell is a guy we have to take a look at. He has a chance to be a kickoff returner. As a running back, he doesn’t have the size you want. We talked about getting a bigger back to complement Travis (Minor) and Sammy (Morris). Maybe we won’t be able to. But he (Russell) is explosive, he showed that last night. After last night, he’s a guy that we will play on more special teams. We will put him on kickoff coverage, we used him on some punt coverage…anywhere we can get him on the field on special teams we will try to do it. This is a guy who has a chance to make a team as a special teams player and whatever he can do as a running back is a bonus. He’s exciting.”

(On CB Alphonso Roundtree) – “He’s been around here a couple years, same story as Ron Bellamy. He went over to NFL Europe and worked hard. He came back here this year with a really mature attitude, and was working extremely hard. For the first time we were talking about him as possibly being a contributor this year. We really felt he was going to help us on special teams. He caught punts over in Europe so he could do it here. That’s a tough deal. That’s just disappointing when you see guys who you feel are ready to make their move and they get injured.”

(On Rob Konrad getting more involved in the offense) – “I know you guys (media) and Rob probably just think I say that. But I’m sincere in that. The last couple of years it just hasn’t worked out that way. It might this year out of necessity, moreso than other years. Last night we went for a 4th-and-2 from the 50, which we probably wouldn’t have done during the regular season. I went for it because I wanted to throw it and put some pressure on Jay Fiedler and Rob Konrad and see if we knew the pass and could respond under pressure and make a play. He did and he had a good night. Hopefully he’s ready to step up and have a good year.”

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