Capers/Mularkey Comments

Dolphins assistant coaches weren't allowed by Nick Saban to speak to the media, but Dom Capers and Mike Mularkey both addressed reporters on Wednesday after Saban left to become the head coach at the University of Alabama. Here's what they had to say.

DOM CAPERS

On how surprised he was about Nick Saban leaving and when he first got an idea that Saban would leave: "When you've been in the business as long as I have, you know that there are always possibilities. Anytime you hear things like this, there are chances of it happening. You didn't know what the percentages of the chances were, but you knew it was there. It ended up happening."On whether Saban was forthcoming about his situation: "I think over the last couple of days, I think Nick's been very forthcoming, which I think that's when all this took place."

On whether Saban was emotional talking to the coaches: "I think this is a decision he probably struggled with tremendously. Anytime there's a decision of this magnitude, I think you have to put an awful lot of thought into it. I think he certainly did."

On whether Saban's wife, Terry Saban, was the driving force for the decision: "I have no idea on that. I was not involved in the internal operation."

On whether this decision was made due to business or personal reasons: "Not really. I think it was one that was a probably a very, very difficult decision. It was an emotional decision. In terms of getting into the specifics of it, he did not."

On whether he would like to be considered for head coach: "I think that anybody in this business, when opportunities present themselves, you certainly want to look at them, but those decisions are for other people to make. Right now, my job is to carry on here with the defensive staff doing our evaluations. We're in an evaluation period. It will continue on business as usual for us."

On the greatest need for the defense: "I think we have a number of very good veteran players that I think played well for us this year. As we go through this evaluation, we have to evaluate where we can probably bring some younger players in at specific positions. I think we made a pretty good transition in the secondary last year, and a number of those guys we brought in were key performers for us and enabled us to make a move."

On if he reached out to Jason Taylor after his remarks recently about possibly retiring: "Jason, I think, is at the top of his game, which is indicative if you're being considered for the player of the year on defense. I've not spoken with Jason since that took place, but I have no indication to think that he was considering that. Obviously, he stated that, but he's at the top of his game right now. I was just thoroughly impressed with the way he played all year. He was consistent. He impacted games. In almost every game, he impacted that game and made a big play, which is what great players do. You see him cause a fumble or sack the quarterback or intercept the ball and score touchdowns. He did it all."

On his contract status with the Dolphins: "I really don't want to get into specifics of that, in terms of the contract and the length of contract, and all that. It's better if I don't."

On what Saban said to players in a meeting held during the season: "Quite frankly, I don't remember exactly the meeting that he did have with the players. Obviously, the rumor's been out there. I don't know if Nick had any contact, but I think there had been interest for a quite a while from the University of Alabama."

On how difficult it is for the coaching staff to be uncertain of their future: "I'll say this, I think that even though it was out there, that there was interest from Alabama, I thought Nick did a good job with the team of trying to get the team to focus on what we have to focus on. That's going out and trying to play winning football and win football games. I don't really think it was that much of a distraction to our football team."

On what feedback he'll give to Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga: "I can speak with more accuracy about the defensive side of the ball because you become so focused on what you're doing. The thing I've been impressed with is the professionalism of the veteran defensive players. I think the kind of preparation that they put forth, their approach to the game, and having been around a number of different defenses, that the thing that impressed me about this defensive team, when you have leaders like Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor and the impact they can have on younger players. You work so hard to try to influence the younger players. The best way is to point out somebody that's doing it the right way that's made the journey before them and having success. We have great role models and examples in terms of setting the tone for younger players here. I don't know that every team has the luxury of that."

On if the assistant coaches are in a state of limbo: "That's the nature of our business. If you're in it for any period of time, you realize that's just the way things are set up now. I don't know of any other approach you take, other than the fact that the things you control, you take care of. The things you don't control, you let them take their own course. To me, that's what we have to do."

MIKE MULARKEY

On how surprised he is that Nick Saban left the Dolphins: "I was surprised a little bit. I've been following everything that's going on, like you guys have for the last few days. That's been the extent of it. The process has not disrupted us through the season at all. It's just been the last couple of days.:

On whether Saban was forthcoming with him about his plans: "It's hard to explain how involved you are during the week, the game process. It's tunnel vision on trying to get prepared for the game and not be sidetracked by anything else. I'm not surprised."

On whether Saban gave him in idea as to why he made the decision to leave: "No. I think that's something that Nick has done a good job of, trying to keep – it is personal and are decisions that he made. I think he wants to keep it to himself why he did that. I respect that."

On whether he would like to be considered for the Dolphins' head coaching vacancy: "Everything has kind of come down so fast. I'm not really worried about right now or concerned about. We're just trying to move forward here with what we're doing offensively and trying to get better. We're evaluating players and we're evaluating ourselves as coaches, myself and everything and that's kind of been the direction that we've been taking even as of today."

On what was wrong with the offense this season: "That's why we have the offseason and we have cut-ups. We do an in depth evaluation of everything, including ourselves as coaches, schemes and players. We look at every play. We look at every player on every play. It's hard to make a judgment, but when you put it all together in the offseason and you spend months looking at it, it literally takes months, you have a better idea. It's hard to see it three days after the season's over with. I think time will tell."

On whether he thinks Daunte Culpepper will be ready next season: "That's really going to be based on the health issues with him. We had a number of guys on IR, especially in the offensive line – how the recovery, and how we go. Some of it will be based on how the film looks on the players and what we were doing. It's still too early. We're just in the beginning process of all that."

On whether he can give any insight to why the offense struggled this season: "Without looking at it and we look at it very closely – literally, it's months of work we spend. People wonder what can we possibly do in the offseason, but it is an in depth study of ourselves, coaching, playing, scheme and opponent. All of that goes into our process. I don't want to say anything now without saying we can't pinpoint one specific thing to this day until I study it and we study it as a staff. That's our objective. Whatever the issue is, we're going to get better. We will be better because of our opportunity to look at ourselves."

On what he will tell Dolphins executives when he meets with them: "It's something personal and it really will be based on the questions that I am asked. I'm not sure what the direction will be. This has all kind of come on everybody pretty fast. We'll see what the direction he wants to go with with us. I think it's forward. That was his statement this morning. What do we have to do to win? That is the No. 1 objective and there is no alternative. We're right behind him with that. Since first thing Monday morning, we've been doing nothing but moving ahead and continuing that today, looking at film and evaluating ourselves."

On if he was frustrated not being able to speak with the media this season: "I understood the policy and I abided by it. I'll just leave it at that. That's how it was set."


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