Transcript: DC Mike Pettine, 9/20/12

On how the defensive game plan changes when Darrelle Revis is out …

It changes, but not a lot. We felt confident moving (Antonio) Cromartie around a little bit, but it definitely affects some of the calls, where you felt comfortable leaving him basically alone on half the field, whereas when he’s not in there, it’s a handful of things.

On Revis announcing he was going to play clears anything up…

It’s good news. No, I think we had a pretty good feeling he would be able to go. I think we were just very cautious with Pittsburgh and giving the sensitivity to (his injury), that we just wanted to be safe. He was upset he couldn’t play, but the policy is the policy, and we’ll obviously adhere to it. He’s going through all the necessary steps this week and he’s ready to go.

On if Revis looks 100 percent in practice…

Sure. He looks like Darrelle.

On if giving up more points than usual concerns him…

Yeah, to me, the ones that happened in the first game, that was a lesson. We talked about learning from that and you can’t relax in this league. Those are not as concerning as the ones like toward the end of the Pittsburgh game and you feel that the game’s outcome is still in doubt. We need to play better. We’ve talked about it and we’ve played at times so far, to our expectations, and too often, we’ve played below our expectations. That’s something that we address when it needs to be addressed, and we work on it. Whether we talk about it in the meeting room, we work on it at practice, and hopefully we can get it to carry over to the field.

On whether LaRon Landry’s style of play elicits attention from the officials…

You’d have to ask (the officials). He’s a physical guy. Some guys get, you want to call it a reputation. The one penalty, I’m not going to go into details about it, but again, that’s probably a question that’s better for the officials. To me, you can put that on anybody, that as a hard hitter, especially when the climate the league has become, is one that is very sensitive to the whole concussion issue and personal fouls, and all that. Obviously, there will certainly be more attention.

On if there’s a way to monitor how Landry hits…

To me, we tell all of our guys you have to be careful along the boundary. A lot of the time there are hits, as you’re hitting a player, the beginning of the play will begin inbounds and kind of end out of bounds. Those are getting called, whereas in the past, they might not have been. Again, certainly with the sensitivity to the defenseless receiver rule and the hits. We’ve always told our guys that you want to lower your target. Sometimes, you’ll see it, it’s so easy to (see it in slow motion) and say this should have happened, but when a receiver a lot of the time senses it coming, they’ll duck and curl up, and lower their head. A lot of those hits just occur, where our guys are aiming for the mid-section to begin with, and next thing you know, there’s no mid-section there anymore, it’s a helmet. Some of them, and you can ask defensive guys around the league, are unavoidable. We’re not going to back off that style of play. Again, that’s the way he plays. We tell our guys, “Lower your target and be careful on the boundaries,” but other than that, that’s how he plays.

On if the safeties are well suited to stop Reggie Bush…

We feel good about our personnel. Whatever grouping we’re in, we feel good about the ability to stop the run.

On if a run heavy team makes it predictable from a defensive standpoint…

They do a good job with their offensive system. From a predictability standpoint, I mean if you look to defend the run, they’ll check to a pass. Again, a lot of the elements of their no-huddle are “check with me.” It’s not as easy as being able to line up and stop the run. There’s a little bit more from a schematic standpoint and a disguise standpoint.

On facing Ben Roethlisberger…

There were times when we got him on the ground. Again, and he’s proven it time and time again in his career, that he can be a magician like that when he’s pressured and when he has free runners at him. That’s not going to back us off from coming after him. You see the teams where you just sit back and say we’re going to push the pocket and force him to be a quarterback, teams were able to get away with that, maybe his first two years. I think that’s what makes Ben (Roethlisberger) special, that he can play quarterback when it doesn’t turn into street ball, that he can make the right reads and make the right throws. It wasn’t going to change how we were going to attack him, but again, is it frustrating? Sure it’s frustrating.

On if Roethlisberger’s habit of making people miss makes it justifiable….

We’re not ok when we give plays up. We don’t like to rationalize it that way. To me, that’s a missed opportunity to make a big play. We missed a tackle, whether it’s on Ben, whether it’s on C.J. Spiller, whoever it is. Regardless of how difficult they are to bring down, a missed tackle or a (missed) sack, that’s a missed opportunity for us.

On if Coach Sparano can provide any insight into Miami’s offense…

Obviously, playing them twice a year, we had a pretty good feel already for the guys that are down there. There’s been some interaction, but the fact that it’s a new system, it’s not that helpful.  If they had retained a lot of the staff and were running the same package, I think there would’ve been a lot more information shared.  It was basically information on players and not much else.

On if he foresees Tannehill being utilized more out of the pocket…

Well, the first game he was.  They threw a lot of quick (passes), they had a lot of balls batted down. I think they used him a lot in the pocket (but) maybe in hindsight, when they looked at it, they admitted that it was probably a bit much.  They did a good job against Oakland (at) getting him out, much more boot-type action, sprint-type action. Then, they also gave him the green light to say, “Hey, if it’s not there, take off with it.”  He did a good job, ran for 14 (or) 15 yards on the first down, I think on their first series.  Our guys have seen the tape (and) it doesn’t lie.  Here’s a guy that was a college wide receiver that had run-after-the-catch ability. Again, he’s a guy that doesn’t look out of place in there, (he) looks very comfortable and the reason being, he’s running his offense. This is the offense he’s been running since he was in college.  Again, our guys have been prepping for it and forewarned that this is a guy that has a big arm (and) can make all the throws, but he can just as easily beat you with his feet. That’s something that we’ll be in tune to.

On the Dolphins pace of play…

They don’t huddle.  They kind of cluster near the ball, but it’s not one of those where they’re keeping you from (substituting), it’s not super, super up-tempo.  I want to say, they’re snapping the ball around anywhere from 15 and 20 seconds left on the play clock. It’s certainly a concern because it’s a 1:00 game in Miami and it’s to their advantage.  Having that type of system in South Florida, you saw the Raiders, I thought, faded late. Just look at their first two games, they’ve outscored their opponents significantly in the second half. Where they’ve had their issues has been in the second quarter, but the second half, they’ve really worn teams down.  I think that’s one of the reasons why they’re, I think, second in the league in rushing. A lot of those yards came late. It’s a concern and we’ve talked to our guys (about).   A big focus this week was handling the up-tempo, and we’re simulating as best we can in practice.  But we’re going to win this game on and off the field, as far as the hydration, taking care of ourselves. Not all the sudden realizing, I wake up Sunday morning, “Oh, I think I need to get myself hydrated,” that’s a week long thing. Our guys, we’ve played down there before, but I don’t think it’s been this early and it hasn’t been at 1:00.  I think the forecast is sort of a typical Miami day, 85 (degrees) and a chance of thunderstorms, but we’ll be prepared.

On if they will have to rotate more players in during this game…

I think you do, and we feel that’s a strength of ours. I like our depth defensively, especially in some of the key spots, where we have guys that have starter type ability, that we can roll in. Especially in the defensive line, that the five or six guys that we’ll have up, I think all could start.  That position, for sure, is one where you need to roll guys in and keep them fresh. We feel that’s a strength, that there won’t be that big of drop off when we’re substituting.

On preparing for Reggie Bush…

The easy answer is, you widen your guys and you talk about contain. I think just as important is, you don’t want to open, we call them vertical running creases, where the guy gets on the edge and just runs up the field and says, “Hey, I turned it back in.”  That creates a vertical lane as opposed to a horizontal one.  We just have to play with great technique and it’s important for us to be aware of who the back is, when he’s in the game. There’s some things we do schematically, maybe defend him a little bit more, outside in, instead of inside out. I think all their backs are capable, but he’s already shown this year that he’s special.

On Antonio Cromartie’s position on the touchdown pass to Mike Wallace in Pittsburgh…

Yeah, (he) just didn’t play the ball.  Early on, I thought he was in good position, and then I don’t know whether he lost it.  It was just one of those situations where he didn’t play the ball and Wallace did.  We say it’s a game of inches, you could say it was a game of centimeters on that one.  It was very close to being a long foul ball.  Give them credit and obviously, we have to play the ball better, but give them credit for making a play.

On the replacement officials…

There’s replacement refs?  (laughter)  There’s some minor things with it that we discuss internally, but I wouldn’t say its anything major.