The Steelers take on the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football, and there is no doubt one of the hottest topics this week has been Minkah Fitzpatrick.
The Steelers acquired Fitzpatrick via a trade with the Dolphins earlier this season and there has definitely been plenty of talk about the trade all week, including from the Dolphins.
However Dolphins Coach Brian Flores knows that he can’t just focus on Fitzpatrick come Monday night, because the Steelers have too many weapons.
“They’ve got a lot of guys. You can’t focus on one guy,” said Flores. “Then offensively, we can go into all of that. The deal was the deal. That happened, but it’s in the past. I’ve got a lot of other things on my mind.”
There was plenty more from the Dolphins this week, including them talking about Coach Mike Tomlin, T.J. Watt, the offensive line and more.
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Coach Brian Flores on Coach Mike Tomlin:
“I think he’s done a great job. He’s one of the top coaches in the league. His teams are tough and they’re smart and they’re disciplined. They play with a freedom and a toughness that I’ve always admired from afar. I think they embody a lot of the things. They play like their coach. In coaching, that’s what you kind of want. You want your team to reflect who you are, and his teams are tough, disciplined and they work hard and they don’t make excuses. He does a great job.”
Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham on the Steelers run game:
“This week is the challenge because you’ve got (James) Conner back there. It doesn’t matter what you work on, you’ve got to tackle that guy. You’ve got to defeat the blocks of this offensive line who is probably one of the bigger offensive lines in the league and they have tight ends that are willing to block. It all comes back to we’re trying to improve it in practice and then what we do on Monday, we’ll see, because it’s definitely a challenge with Pittsburgh. They’ve been violent with their double teams. You’ve got (David) DeCastro pulling. You’ve got all this stuff going on. These guys are again, a very good up-front offensive line, strong guys, big guys and they’ve got good backs.”
Flores on Minkah Fitzpatrick and how the Steelers are using him:
“Minkah is a very versatile player. He can play multiple positions. It looks like they’re doing that with him in the deep part of the field, in the box, man coverage. He does a good job tackling. I think he’s done a good job. They’ve got a good defense over there, a good offense, good defense, good special teams. When I watch it, I’m watching Minkah, but I’m watching Minkah to (Terrell) Edmunds to (Joe) Haden to (Bud) Dupree to obviously T.J. Watt and (Cameron) Heyward and Devin Bush is playing great and (Mark) Barron. They’ve got a lot of good players there. Minkah is just another piece.”
Flores on if he was surprised Minkah Fitzpatrick made an instant impact:
“No, not at all. I think he’s a really good player. He’s a young player, and I think he’s smart, he’s hard-working (and) football is important to him. I’m not surprised that he’s doing a good job there.”
Graham on the Steelers offense:
“Their quarterbacks are playing well. I know it’s different without Ben (Roethlisberger) there, but these guys are playing well. They’re running the offense. As usual, Pittsburgh provides a challenge in the passing game and in the running game. I’m sure that’s what they’re focused on now.”
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on Steelers atmosphere:
“It’s a fun place to play. Those fans are as rowdy as any when the Steelers are going and we’re looking forward to it.”
Center Evan Boehm on Steelers fans:
“Pittsburgh always has a crowd. They’re always rowdy, they’re always ready to go. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a fun atmosphere against a really good team.”
Flores on the Steelers offensive line:
“I think experience is part of it. When I think of experience, I think you’ve got guys there who have played together for a long, long time. They know the strengths and weaknesses of the guy next to them. I’m sure, or it looks like, they don’t even have to make a call in (certain) situations or even communicate. They can almost communicate without saying anything. I’ve been around teams where you’re able to do that, and that’s – it takes a while to get to that point, but when you do, it’s a beautiful thing, to be honest with you. It takes time. The experience, I don’t want to take for that for granted. That’s a key ingredient to their success and they’ve done a good job with that, so it’s going to be a tough test for us. They’ve got a really good line.”
Offensive Coordinator Chad O’Shea on how the Steelers having Minkah Fitzpatrick impacts their game-planning:
“I think whenever you have familiarity with a player that’s been on your team previously, it’s nice, but by no means…there are so many other factors that are involved in game-planning, and those things. There are just so many challenges with this Pittsburgh group. Minkah is certainly a good player that I have a lot of respect for, but across the board, this is going to be a great challenge for us defensively and that’s one we will have to work real hard on this week.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick on….Brett Keisel’s beard:
“Brett Keisel was my beard idol for a long time.”