A ridiculous article appeared in the South Florida media Saturday, seemingly reporting as fact that Jake Long's days with the Dolphins are numbered. The article cited no source. The article made the leap that because the Dolphins drafted Jonathan Martin to play right tackle, that must mean the team's left tackle was done in Miami. Wrong.
The article irked the Dolphins public relations staff and, more importantly, made general manager Jeff Ireland upset enough to address it first off in his post-draft press conference.
Here is what Ireland said ... along with everything else said at that presser.
"Before we get started I want to clear the air on an article, I don’t normally go overboard on media speculation but last night I saw an article about Jake Long. I have plans to keep Jake Long right here for a long time. So, don’t get ahead of ourselves and you guys have a question, especially on that here on a press conference standpoint. You guys are obviously free to ask me about those things and I’ll give you an honest an answer as I can. We have plans to keep Jake around here. We drafted Jonathan Martin to be a tackle on this football team. A right tackle on this football team so let’s don’t speculate any further than that."
"We had a great day today though fellas. We have a great staff upstairs. I want to thank my scouting staff in particular Chris Grier, Brian Gaine, Chase Leshin, and those guys worked long hours and I got a great staff of scouts. Thank Joe (Philbin) and his staff did a tremendous job. We’re still in the process…we’re getting through the free agency process which has been very productive tonight. I think we got some really good guys but that’s talk about the five picks we had today. Obviously we went up and got Lamar Miller. My vision for Lamar is just to come in here and learn and develop. He’s got as natural run skills as I’ve seen. I thought he was one of the better run backs in this year’s draft. He’s got good hands. He’s very quick. He’s got exceptional change direction. I think he had over 2,000 yards in just 335 carries in just two years. He was just a one-year starter. He’s got some kickoff return ability to him. So, we just felt like he was too good a value to pass up. I’m in the business of collecting good football players. I’m in the business…when you put the board up you follow the board and I have a good friend of mine once told me that if you have a strength of your team you build it, and don’t be afraid to build it. And so that’s what we’re doing with Lamar. We have a strength at that position and we’re not afraid to build it."
"The next player was Josh Kaddu in the fifth round from Oregon. A linebacker. We feel like he can play really any linebacker position. We think he’s an outside linebacker. I don’t see him as Mike but I do see him as a Will or a Sam. Tremendous athlete. (The guy) is explosive. He can run. He’s got long arms. He can drop. He can cover. He’s got great range and we think he’s going to immediately have an impact on special teams. That’s our vision for him right now. He’s a good kid and we’re glad to have him as well.
"Sixth round we took the all-time leader receiver at Michigan State B.J. Cunningham. This guys just a good football player. He’s not the fastest. He’s not the biggest. He’s not the quickest. But he is one darn good football player and you can’t have enough of those guys in your football team. He’s got very good hands. He’s tough. He transitions catch to run very well and look forward to having him compete for a roster spot here.
"The next player we took was Kheeston Randall a defensive linemen out of Texas. He’s big. He’s 6’4”, 305 lbs. He runs really good. He’s got very long arms. We think he can play any position on the defensive line. A three, a five, a one. So he’s got versatility. Got a good chance of seeing him at the Senior Bowl. Had a good week of practice there and he’s smart and he’ tough and so we feel very good about Kheeston.
"Second seventh round pick was Rishard Matthews. Big, physical receiver. I think he had 91 catches I think this year for over 1,000 yards. I think a 15-yard average. He’s a team captain there. We had a good grade on this young man and you know he’s one of those receivers that he plays a lot bigger than he is. There’s some comparisons to some people in the league that I won’t get into but I don’t want to make any false predictions about the kid but feel very good about this young man. He can run well. He catches the ball as good as anybody. Has big hands and so we have very good vision for him as well."
(On if he was surprised to see Lamar Miller in the Fourth Round) – “We were. I expected him to go a little bit earlier but you know that’s the draft. And for whatever reason he was still sitting there I felt it was too good a value to pass up and so we went up to try to get him in front of a couple of other teams."
(On how do you vision giving Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, and Lamar Miller carries this season) -“That’s the coach’s job to get those guys carries. He’s a developmental running back right now so he’s going to have to learn how to be a pro and he’s going to be a little sprinkle back until he becomes a full throttle back. He needs to become a little bit more rugged and he has to learn to pass protect a little bit better. We certainly have a vision for his as a kickoff return for him. The guy can catch. We may be able to put the guy in different spots from the running back position, but he was just too good of a talent. I’m going to leave it up to my coaching staff to find the right position for him and the right number of plays and how we get him into the game."
(On drafting University of Miami players, what did you like about them) -“Well, we had a chance to visit with pretty much all of the University of Miami guys. We kind of had our own special day. It was a Miami Hurricane/Miami Dolphin Day and really had a chance to spend some time with them. We want to try to create a relationship with the Hurricanes and Al Golden. He’s been very good to me. I respect him very much as a head football coach and I know the way he coaches. I like the way he coaches his players. I believe in his program. I believe in him. We had good long talks about each of these players we drafted. I think from Al’s prospective and my prospective, I think we’re just scratching the surface of the ability of the two players from the University of Miami. Obviously, Olivier (Vernon) and Lamar (Miller), I think they’re two tremendous prospects. The ceiling is endless.”
(On selecting a WR later in the draft rather than higher, did you not see value in the position) -“Well, a little bit of both. I have confidence in the players I have on the roster. We still have some young players that are ascending. I think we’ve drafted a couple of good players. We definitely think can ascend, but again we’re in a reach. That’s not my philosophy. The board speaks to me when I’m in the draft and wasn’t going to reach for anything. I was going to let the board speak to you. Like I always said, if the value marries the need then you marry it together. In this case at the receiver position that it married together in the sixth round."
(On addressing the safety position, did you not see value in the position) -“Yup, I didn’t think this year’s draft at the safety position was a real strong draft. You can miss on some of those guys if you’re not put in the position to really get those guys."
(On having enough explosiveness at WR or is that not what you’re trying to do) -“Well, you’re always looking for explosiveness, but it’s not just the receiver position. Coach (Joe) Philbin will tell you, it’s about the offense and we got some tight ends and we got some running backs and receivers and we know it’s about scheming it to where we can get the ball to the best hands of the playmakers that we have. I have a lot of confidence in Joe and his staff to be able to scheme it up. We don’t play for a couple more months too so we’ll see what acorns fall off the tree."
(On if you believe the new offensive system will improve the receiver’s numbers this season) -“Absolutely, I do (laughing)."
(On how important was this draft for you) -“It’s extremely important. I go into every draft that it’s important. We’re trying to win championships. I just believe this is the best way to build a team. Like you said, my second time to be fully control of the draft. It’s extremely important for me. It’s extremely important to this franchise that we hit on a lot of these players, all of them. Again, maybe I am naïve that I think I can hit on all of them, but we put a lot of effort into scouting these players and interviewing them. Chasing them across the country and we definitely put ourselves in position to be drafting these players and feel like they’re all great kids. They’ll have a chance to compete and add depth to this football team."
(On worrying if the defense did not get address this draft) -“No, I’m not. I’m not worried about that. Really haven’t in particularly focused on one thing in the draft room and again the board kind of speaks to me and we’re trying to address some certain things and I’ll let the board speak to me. Again, I’m in the business of collecting good football players whether it’s a need position or not. I’m in the business of getting as many good football players on this football team as we can here during this process."
(On Cameron Wake’s contract status) -“Well, the official comment is I don’t talk about any kind of contract negotiations in the media. I’m just not going to do it."
Coach Joe Philbin also addressed the media. And here it is:
(On if he felt he improved the offensive line during the draft) – “We’re really pleased with Jonathan Martin. We think he has a chance to come in and compete for playing time right away. We’re excited about getting our hands on him and working with him. So again how much we improve…obviously we have some players on the roster, some young players as well, that need to develop. We need to take a good look at them. We got a good look at them for three days without the pads, so we may not get a true handle on where some of the younger guys on the roster are until we get to the padded work. It’s certainly an area we want to improve and I feel good about the draft pick that we made but we still have a lot of work to do."
(On seeing a player like RB Lamar Miller, UM, dropping to the fourth round) – “I think he’s an outstanding fit schematically. When you talk about explosive plays, the two statistics in football offensively that matter are protecting the football and creating explosive plays. We look at Lamar Miller as a back that has an opportunity create explosive plays. He’s a guy who we think can break tackles. He has very good speed. If you looked at our board, and Jeff said that it was hard to ignore the guy. I liked him very much, the scouting department liked him very much, so when you look at a guy that has that kind of ability, it’s hard to pass up a guy like that."
(On if he feels as though he has enough pulling guards on the team) – “We pulled a little bit there. We did some of those schemes during the three-day camp. I wouldn’t say that I’m totally sure yet, to be quite honest with you. We did a little bit of it, but not enough for me to say definitively one way or the other."
(On the way he feels that the roster has changed because of the draft) – “I’m delighted about the guys we’ve added to the roster. I really like the character of the guys. The passion for the game of football, that was really important. Jeff and his staff do a great job finding out those answers. In conjunction, our coaches watched, though not nearly as much as the scouts, but they commented on the fit as to a scheme standpoint. I’m delighted with the guys we’ve added at this point in time."
(On the upcoming rookie mini-camp and any goals he might have for it) – “Hopefully, if the play’s going to the right, to get everyone to step to the right and not run into one another. That’s honestly one of the primary goals. It’s going to be more of an orientation. It’s not going to be, let’s do a hundred up-downs and see whom we can run out of here. We’re going to get them oriented to the weight room, get them oriented to some of our player engagement programs, we’re going to get them adjusted to our practice structure, our practice tempo, our schemes, our classroom environment, our weight room environment, all of those things. What we want to do is to prepare them for the OTAs and get them a little bit comfortable – a little bit – with the playbook. We’re not going to go nearly as fast as we do with our other guys. In five practices, as I mentioned to you yesterday, we put in first down, second down, third down, red zone, two minute…we’re going to do first down and second down with these guys. If they can get half of it and remember 25 percent, seriously, we’re ahead of the game. So it’s more of an orientation than a real camp and it’s going to be slower paced, not nearly as fast as we move with the other guys."
(On QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M, and his familiarity with the offensive playbook) – “Well, I was a little shocked when (assistant quarterbacks coach) Zac Taylor came...they met at 7:00 and he came back at 10:00 and said they were done. The guy’s already done. I said, gee, Zac, three hours and the kid knows the whole playbook. We might need to spend more time in coaches’ meetings if this is the problem. We’ve been here three months and the guy’s learned the offense in three hours. Again, I don’t know how many guys – I was talking to Kim Bokamper early this morning – how many guys were drafted today, two hundred fifty seven? I would guess that two or three other guys in the whole draft felt as comfortable as Ryan Tannehill did walking into a building. I would guess. And it may not have been anyone else, but there certainly weren’t a lot of guys that would have had the comfort level that he did today. And I think that’s good for a little while. Because he’s such a competitor, I don’t think it’s going to be an issue. I know we aren’t getting a complacent player because he feels like he knows a couple of people. That’s really the exact opposite. The only reason he’s here is because of his competitive nature and athletic ability. I think he and Zac…they met last night, they met this morning before you guys met with him at 10:00, he had already put in a good morning’s work. I think he’ll be off to a good start.”
(On if he was looking for a particular wide receiver make up in the players you drafted) – “Not really. I’m not really big into he’s an ‘X’, he’s a ‘Z’, he’s a slot, I think I told you guys that. It’s not that that I don’t believe in let’s have a go to receiver or a big guy that can win a one-on-one match up. I love to have those guys, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think in terms of ‘X ‘ and ‘Z’. The way we teach the passing game is we have individual cuts. We have two man concepts. We have three man concepts. I think the more guys that you can get into different spots to create mismatches for the defense, the better you are going to be. So I don’t think we locked in, somebody asked me is he a ‘X’ or a ‘Z’, I don’t know, he is a receiver. We’re going to get him, we are going to watch him, we are going to get him on the field and see if he operates better inside or outside. We like the size of both of these guys. They are a little bit bigger targets as a wide out. (Rishard)Matthews is a little bit faster, but they are both physical guys. They are both competitive guys. I think it speaks highly, (B.J.) Cunningham is the all-time leading receiver in the history of the school and they have had some good football players roll through that campus. We liked the way he caught the ball over the middle, we like his competitiveness and (wide receivers coach) Ken (O’Keefe) went up there to watch him work out as did Chris Grier, I believe. So again, I am not good at that stuff, he’s an ‘X’ and he’s a ‘Z’ and all that.”
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