VFL Ja’Wuan James talks about getting healthy, new DE Robert Quinn

Miami Dolphins logo / Credit: NFL Media Site

By Vince Ferrara / @VinceSports

Former Vol Ja’Wuan James, starting right tackle of the Miami Dolphins, met with the media as mandatory minicamp wrapped-up.

James is one of 39 U. of Tennessee players currently on rosters in the National Football League. See the complete list here.

Here’s that full interview session with the VFL in my blog “Vince’s View.”

(What was the most important thing you guys got done here during this offseason – OTAs and minicamp?) – “I feel like everybody … We have a bunch a new people, especially in our room, working together. That was a big thing.”

(How do you know when it is working?) – “Not until the games start, honestly. Not until the games start.”

(How do you judge it out here?) – “We just try to get better every day, watch the film and try to get better from the day before.”

(What did it mean to you when you found out that your fifth-year option was going through?) – “I’m just focused on having a good year here. I’m really just focused on having a good year for this team and that’s it.”

(It was reported that there was some discussions about a long-term contract. Is that something you’re still hopeful could happen?) – “I’m just focused on this season, getting better, coming back from this hamstring and getting myself to 100 percent.”

(I don’t know what you’ve seen of DE Robert Quinn. We keep hearing about his bend. What have you observed about his bend?) – “That’s huge and I feel like that’s making Laremy (Tunsil) better. He’s doing a good job of giving him a look every day. I’m looking forward to seeing it during the season.”

(Is it a freakish bend? We’re hearing about DE Robert Quinn’s knee touching the ground and his hip being inches from the ground.) – “Yes. Nobody on this team can do it, honestly. That’s how crazy it is.”

(What does that do for a pass rusher? Leverage and power, what does that do?) – “It makes you … I don’t know. It’s scary, honestly, because he does have power; but at the same time, he can dip down low, so you have to play a lot of different stuff.”

(What are you trying to do as an offensive tackle? You’re trying to keep your hands on his shoulder so you can control him?) – “Yes, our job is to try to find the near point. That’s what we call it, the near point. (It’s) the nearest point closest to you. With him, that changes up here to two feet off the ground. It’s important for you to have balance with him.”

(What’s been a point of emphasis for you this spring, especially with the new offensive line coach? What are some things you’re trying to refine, fine tune?) – “Just building off of last year. He was here before, we love (Offensive Line) Coach ‘Wash’ (Jeremiah Washburn). He was here my third year. I feel like he’s doing a good job of coaching some of the similar things we’ve been doing. Just building off of last year.”

(When you have played at your best, what were somethings you were consistent at doing?) – “Just using my technique the same every time. That’s the hardest part is doing the same thing every time, no matter who you’re going against and no matter (if it is a) silent count or whatever it is. Just maintaining the same consistency and my technique.”

(I’ve been asking everyone how a quarterback makes an entire team better – defense, special teams. In your opinion, what happens? How can a quarterback make an entire team better?) – “I feel like one, they have the ball more than anybody. They’re in charge of keeping the ball safe and making plays with the ball. Because they have that responsibility, from a leadership standpoint, people just look to them as, ‘Okay, our team is going to go how he goes.’ I feel like they have a big impact because they have the ball a lot.”

(As far as picking up the defense?) – “Scoring points makes them happy. If they can come on the field and pass rush instead of playing the 4-minute (defense) and them running the ball on them the whole game, it will make them feel a lot better with us scoring.”

(Pro Football Focus has you rated as the fifth-best pass blocking tackle in the NFL last year and obviously there was an injury so that was about half the season. Do you feel that you are one of the best pass blocking tackles in the league?) – “I’m just trying to get better every day. I’m just focused on coming back from this injury being a whole lot better, being 100 percent and finishing this season.”

(You’ve mentioned the injury a couple of times now. What has been the challenge of that? Are you completely past it?) – “I feel like I’m past it. For the first couple of days, it just felt different being out there. The game felt fast and stuff just from not being out there. Once I started picking up with it, it was fine. I’m just focused on keeping it strong and going out there and finishing.”

(I don’t remember if I actually knew what the exact injury was. Can you help us accurately…) – “It was my hamstring. I pulled my hamstring severely, I guess. That’s what you call it.”

(Is the word tear a correct word?) – “Yes.”

(No surgery right?) – “Yes.”

(This is the first time in a couple of years where the offensive line seems set heading into training camp as opposed to past years where there was a lot of competition and a lot of guys moving around. What kind of difference do you think that should make?) – “I honestly don’t know. I feel like we’re never set. Like you said, it’s been like that forever. You never know what’s going to happen in these next couple of months. I feel like it’s brought a lot of competition because we have a lot of guys that can play in that starting five. I feel like that helps us from a depth standpoint and that’s what you need because you never know who is going to have to play when. I feel like we’re all ready to play if our numbers get called on.”

-Miami Dolphins

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