New Dolphins DC Vance Joseph feels responsible for Bengals playoff loss
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- More than two weeks into a new job with a new team, Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is still stewing about the way his season ended.
Joseph came to Miami from the Bengals, who lost in the first round of the playoffs when cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones and linebacker Vontaze Burfict drew personal fouls late in the game, allowing the Steelers to kick a field goal and win 18-16.
Joseph coached Cincinnati's defensive backs, including Jones, and accepted partial blame for the Bengals' debacle, which reinforced their reputation as a team that can't keep it together in the big games under coach Marvin Lewis.
"We had two penalties that cost us the football game, and that's both on coaches and on players," Joseph said Thursday. "Adam is an emotional player. ... I feel responsible. I feel bad for Marvin and ownership that it happened, because that was going to be an historic win for the Bengals. As a coach you feel responsible -- that's my guy. That shouldn't have happened. That's wrong."
Joseph and new Miami offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen spoke publicly for the first time since being hired by new head coach Adam Gase. Aside from Joseph's comments about the Bengals' meltdown, both assistants were focused on the future and trying to end the Dolphins' seven-year playoff drought.
They'll be working for the youngest head coach in the NFL. Gase is 37.
"He was one of the main reasons I took this job," said Christensen, who turned 60 Thursday. "It was interesting to me because of his youth and how sharp he is. He's young and energetic, and it gives me a chance to come in in a support position and help in any way that I can."
Christensen had been with the Colts since 2002, was their offensive coordinator in 2009-2011 and worked closely with Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.
In Miami his quarterback will be Ryan Tannehill, who is 29-35 in four years as a starter and regressed in 2015, when the Dolphins finished 6-10. But Christensen sees plenty of potential.
"I've really enjoyed watching him," Christensen said. "He has been extremely productive, and he has played some awfully long stretches of good football. He seems like a guy that has all of the things that you're looking for, a guy who wants to be good."
Christensen is happy that Gase, who was offensive coordinator for the Broncos and Bears, plans to call plays.
"I think it's how he got the head coaching job," Christensen said. "A lot of those guys rise to the top because they have a knack for it. I think some of the head coaches make a mistake not doing it. The reason they go up the ladder is because they have a knack for doing it, and then all of a sudden they become an administrator. So I'm for it."
Joseph, a first-time coordinator, said the Dolphins will stick with their 4-3 scheme. But he's planning ways to free up defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was often neutralized in his first season with Miami.
"He's obviously a dominant player," Joseph said. "He is requiring two or three blockers every play. We can help him to get more single blocks."
Joseph and Christensen are newcomers on a staff that will include nine holdovers from the regime of Joe Philbin, who was fired four games into last season. Holdovers include Lou Anarumo, who returns to his former job as defensive backs coach after ending last year as the interim defensive coordinator.
"He's a good football coach," Joseph said. "I didn't want to come in and just assume that everyone here was a bad coach. I'm excited to have Lou. The players really enjoyed playing for Lou, and that's important to me. It was more about what's best for our players and best for our team."