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By Roy Miller as told to Charlie Campbell
The Miami game went well. I got a couple of hits on the quarterback, and a couple of pressures. I'm trying to get better every week. At the same time I have to give credit where credit is due. The Dolphins offensive line was pretty good. They had a couple of good guards. Their right guard, Donald Thomas, was really tough. Their quarterback, Chad Pennington, impressed me also. Overall, I thought as a defense we did well. We gave up 10 points, so you have to be okay with that. There were a couple things we could have done better, but I think we played a good game overall.
The way we practice has really allowed our defensive line to excel in these preseason games. Of course, the veteran starters are going to play well, but our young guys and backups have done a great job. Practice has really prepared us well, and the credit for that goes to our head coach Raheem Morris and the assistants.
Coach [Todd] Wash and coach [Robert] Nunn do a great job of preparing us before the practice, and during practice with a lot of different bag drills and different drills to help us turn our hips and stuff like that. If you could see our individual periods of just the defensive line working, they are pretty intense and get us ready to go in the games.
One thing that I'm taking away from that Miami game is I have to work on my stance a little bit. Coming in you just want to tweak things here and there to get better. I've been doing that. I've made a couple of mistakes because I was trying to tweak to get better, but you can't keep doing what you've been doing and you have to change it up at some point because in the NFL you can't be one-dimensional, or predictable.
For me, in college, I could overpower guys. I had a few moves, but I came here and learned quickly that I could do more. Coach Wash showed me that if I get to a certain point all I have to do is swing my hips, and it would be a sack. That has been something I have been really working on because a lot of times I get myself in position to get a big play, but I have to flip my hips to finish it off. The coaching staff works on flipping the hips with the defensive ends as well. When they are coming around the corner they have to drop their hips low and flip them towards the quarterback. This puts them on a line to get to the quarterback. It is a critical aspect of being a defensive lineman.
Right now we are preparing for the games. The good thing is we got a lot of our plays in during OTAs (organized team activities) and mini-camp, so we haven't had to spend a lot of time on install. Now we are fine-tuning, and we will add a new wrinkle here or there, but we are mastering the defense right now to be ready to unleash it in the regular season.
I'm not sure how much playing time I'm going to get against the Houston Texans in our preseason finale, but I'm expecting it to be a good amount. I know the starters will be out of the game pretty soon. I anticipate playing a lot more than I have in the past games. If I do, it will help me for the regular season, if I don't play a lot I can get my work in during practice.
I heard some nice compliments that defensive coordinator Jim Bates made about me to the media last week. That was great. He mentioned it was surprising that I've come in and defended the run so well. He said that in part because at Texas we were in a pass heavy conference.
It is funny because I've always thought of myself as a good run stopper. I've always felt that was a strength of mine. In the Big 12 there is a lot of passing. I've always prided myself on playing nasty on the inside, playing strong and being physical. In the Big 12 I had to get up field, and that is what I did. I did well at that, but I always knew in my heart that playing the run well is what I do. It is something that you have to have. It is a feeling, or confidence, or swagger, but whatever you want to call it, you got to have it playing defensive tackle.
The headlines around the team have been dominated by the quarterback competition, and I think it is good that the quarterback competition is over. I think anytime that someone is a starter, or named a starter, it helps mold and finalize a team. I believe that everybody is comfortable with the decision. They all did well, and that was surprising to me, that all four were good quarterbacks. I honestly didn't know who my pick was. I felt they were both good and came in and did well. I knew it was going to be a hard decision for the coaching staff. Unfortunately, both can't start.