Dolphins HC Brian Flores conference call (11.20.19)

Head Coach Brian Flores Conference Call with Cleveland Media

(What has the been the key to the way you guys have played the last few weeks when you’re starting to play really well?) – “The credit goes to the players for just practicing the right way, preparing the right way and giving us a chance to be somewhat competitive. We’ve played okay. I wouldn’t say we’ve played great, but I think this week we’ve got obviously a big test ahead of us with a very, very talented team. We’re just going to try to do everything we can to prepare well and hopefully play well.”

(Is it encouraging that QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has a nice record against the Browns? I think it is 5-1, and then he has some experience playing this team?) – “I think previous records, I don’t think they really – no disrespect – but I just don’t think they mean much in this situation. I think every game is a little bit different. Every team is a little bit different and past years, I don’t really think they have much bearing. I know this is a very different team than the Browns teams that I’ve faced in the past from Odell Beckham Jr. to (Jarvis) Landry to Baker (Mayfield) to (Nick) Chubb to (Kareem) Hunt to Damarious Randall to (Joe) Schobert – there’s guys everywhere. It’s a very talented team. It’s well-coached and it’ll be a tough test for us.”

(Coming off the Browns tape of the Pittsburgh game – Minkah Fitzpatrick had been so impactful prior to that game. Was it the tandem of Browns RB Kareem Hunt and Browns RB Nick Chubb that took him out of that game or what did you see?) – “I think – to me – it’s never one player. It’s 11 guys at a time offensively, defensively or in the kicking game. Those 11 need to work together. I think Minkah’s a really good player. I think Pittsburgh has a lot of good players. I think the Browns have a lot of good players – two teams that played a tough, competitive game. Obviously Cleveland came out the winner. They just made more plays than Pittsburgh that day. I can’t point to – there’s a lot that goes into having success really in any phase. I thought the Browns just played a better ball game.”

(Can you just give me your observation on Browns RB Nick Chubb and Browns RB Kareem Hunt together? It’s kind of a unique combination right now I think in the NFL. What challenge does that pose on defense?) – “It’s very challenging to say the least. Two very, very good backs. Both explosive, both tough physical runners. Good, very good vision. Both can actually – (they are) good receivers out of the backfield, so they pose a lot of issues and the two of them in the game together keep people up at night, I’m sure. They’ve kept me up.”

(How hard will it be to recover or make up for having to cut RB Mark Walton?) – “Mark was serving a suspension, so we played without him the last couple weeks, and we were going to play without him for the next couple weeks anyway; so it didn’t really have any bearing on our preparation. We feel good about our backs – Kalen Ballage and Pat Laird and Myles Gaskin, ‘D.T, D. Turner’ (De’Lance Turner) – so it really didn’t have much bearing, but that was an unfortunate situation and we’re trying to move on as a team.”

(You have a lot of players that asked out earlier in the year. You guys took care of that business. What can you say about the morale of your team in a season like this right now?) – “I think we just got done with our practice today. I think this is a motivated group. They work hard. They’ve been able to deal with adversity throughout this season. I think these guys, they try to come to work every day, get better, improve and try to build. I’m happy with the way they’ve worked. I think we’re always striving to get better. It’s a competitive group. They want to compete and hopefully we put a good week together and can have a decent performance on Sunday.”

(Your two leading tacklers are both pretty high picks from Ohio State. What are you seeing out of LB Jerome Baker and LB Raekwon McMillan? What are they doing so well?) – “(They are) two good young players. Both tough, both physical, both tackle well, both smart. They play well. Together, they play well off of each other. They do a lot as far as from a leadership standpoint, bringing the entire defensive unit together, so (we are) happy with both guys.”