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Dolphins Prep For Preseason Home Opener Against Cowboys

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Head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins motions from the sideline during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins motions from the sideline during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins are gearing up for its preseason gridiron battle against the Dallas Cowboys Saturday at Sun Life Stadium. It’s their first time playing on their home field this season so far.

Head coach Joe Philbin spoke to the media Thursday afternoon after practice.

“We had a walkthrough practice, it was good. We had an opportunity to get through normal down-and-distance, third down and red zone and goal line and backed-up and four-minute. So I thought it was a good practice and we still have over 48 hours to get ready for the ball game. The game plan is in; every part of it is in. So now, guys get a chance to kind of let it sink in and get ready to perform on Saturday night.”

Coach Philbin also addressed RB Knowshon Moreno.  He described him as a “productive runner” who can help the team on game day as long as he has more consistency in the running game overall. “We’ve got to do a better job getting our backs; we showed a picture in the team meeting today about it, a running back has to have the opportunity to get to his landmark. He has a landmark, just like a blocker does; with his shoulders square and the ability to make a decision based on what he sees. Sometimes, in the first two games, you know there’s been a couple of those situations where he hasn’t had enough of those opportunities to really break the tackles that you’re talking about, make somebody miss, so forth. I’m looking for more consistency, better blocking and running.”

Here’s the rest of the conversation between Philbin and reporters:

(On where TE Michael Egnew fits on the roster and how he fits in) – “Well, you know, he missed a little bit of time, but he’s come back. He got a limited amount of playing time the other night. He’s had a good week of practice. So we’ll take a look at him again in the game on Saturday and see how well he performs.”

(On how the new offense affects TE Michael Egnew, particularly with blocking) – “Not necessarily Chris. I mean, there’s, as you’ve noticed probably at practice, the tight ends line up in a variety of different spots and he’s not different in that area. And so, I don’t think the job description has changed an awful lot with the new scheme.”

(On if having four running backs on the roster over the years has occurred and if it’s a normal occurrence for team) – “No, I don’t think it’s out of the ordinary to have four. No. I mean, I think, again, the whole composition, we’ve got to take everything into a decision about who the best 53 guys are for the football team based on a variety of factors. Again, I don’t want to get pigeon holed to say we’re going to keep four, we’re only going to keep three, or five. I mean, it could be five. It’s just, every year, it’s kind of different.”

(On how RB Daniel Thomas fits into Offensive Line Coach John Benton’s zone-blocking scheme) – “I think he’s a good fit. Yeah, I thought he was having a good camp, and hopefully we can get him some game action here soon.”

(On what degree of concern there was about WR Brandon Gibson being able to return to what he was before his injury last season and if he is there yet) – “Yeah, I think it was a significant injury, number one. Number two, he was very diligent in the offseason working hard. It’s taken some time, there’s no question about that. I thought we did a good job managing some of his repetitions early in camp. He now kind of looks to be hopefully rounding into form, if you will. I thought he played well the other night. Hopefully, that will continue. We are still monitoring the reps. We don’t want to give him too many yet. I think he’s feeling better and I think he’s moving better. That usually translates into a better performance. Hopefully, that trend continues, you know. I see positive signs toward that.”

(On if WR Brandon Gibson has picked up the chemistry he had with QB Ryan Tannehill last season again) – “They seem to. Again, I think when he left the team or got hurt in New England, third down, he was one of the leaders in the league in terms of percentage of conversions and those types of things. I think he’s a quarterback-friendly guy. He’s got very good hands and he’s smart. He can read coverages, understands the leverage, when I turn out and turn in, when I should stay on the move, when I should sit down. So I think the quarterbacks, most of them, get comfortable with him pretty quick.”

(On if today’s weather is the type he is hoping for the home regular season opener) – “We have to make that an advantage for us practicing out there, and I thought that was part of the design the last couple of days to be out there. As I told you, I said to the team we are going to be in this situation in a couple of weeks. We have to be the team that responds better and handles it better. I think the weather is an advantage when you are blocking well, tackling well and playing good, solid fundamental football. If you are not playing good football, it could be five degrees or 105, it really doesn’t matter. But we certainly want to use it to our advantage in preparing in it to be ready.”

(On weekly practice trends) – “Yeah, kind of like what we are doing this week. Right now, we are going to take Mondays off. We are going to practice Tuesday, Wednesday (and) Thursday. This is really a Friday (practice), today is Thursday, right? I’m getting my days all messed up. Today is Thursday, but for us during a season, this will be like what we do on a Friday. Dave (Puloka) and Darren (Krein), our strength and conditioning guys, researched a lot of things. We talked to different people. We studied what we did last year, some of the good things we thought we did about I and some of the not so good. One of the things we thought was good about it was we got our plan to our guys earlier and they could kind of could really let it sink in. We will still have elements of that as well.”

(On how big a concern his deep passing game is and if it is specific to WR Mike Wallace and QB Ryan Tannehill) – “We want to be more explosive as an offense in general, so I think that’s not just Mike Wallace. I thought we had a competitive throw on one vertical route. Mike’s only played 15 plays in the preseason, so I don’t think it’s, I’m not certainly concerned about it quite yet. I thought it was a good competitive throw and a pretty good route. Certainly, would never insinuate that he got bumped or held or anything like that (joking). We have to have more explosive passes in general, period, and runs too for that matter. But as it relates to one individual, no, I’m not overly concerned.”

(On DE Terrence Fede and his development) – “I think when you take somebody like that, you kind of assume that there is going to be a little bit maybe more of a developmental curve that he’s going to have to overcome. The one thing that impressed us, really since he’s been here has been his work ethic and his urgency to learn the system, the techniques, the fundamentals and then the effort that he gives on the practice field has really been excellent when he’s been out here. I think, probably in our minds, when we watched the tape, what we saw on tape, we saw a lot of raw physical skills and some refined things, but we knew there was going to be some time involved, some teaching involved, some development involved. We like the way he’s been playing the game and the way he’s been playing the game and the way he’s been practicing on the field. He’s made a lot of progress in a short period of time.”

The Miami Dolphins kick off against the Cowboys on Saturday at 7 p.m. and the game can be watched on CBS4, your official Dolphins station.

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