This 2004 NFL season for the Miami Dolphins has been a tough one, with the loss of Ricky Williams leaving the team but possibly coming back, wide receiver David Boston getting injured for the season before it started, and running backs Lamar Gordon and Travis Minor also having injuries. The Miami Dolphins have a great defense holding teams under 20 points a game. The offense has not been there as much as it should have been this season, and Miami Dolphins punter Matt Turk has had an important role in games of field position this season. He also speaks about many Miami Dolphins topics in the following interview.
(Backup Player: Including IE)
Chris Yandek: First off how are you?
Matt Turk: “I am doing great.”
CY: In the first four games this season you have had a crucial role in games of field position and in week 2 on September 18th, 2004 in a 16-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals you had 10 punts. With the loss of Ricky Williams, David Boston to the offense, and injuries to Lamar Gordon and Travis Minor, do you feel that the Miami Dolphins team in general has relied on you in these low scoring games?
MT: “Well, I think you know every year and every game with the talent level of every team in the league there really are no slouches in the league. Field position comes into play every single game. It comes down to your punter, kick off coverage, and turnovers. You just gotta stay up and be ready whether you are punting four times or fourteen times. It really is going to help your team out if you be consistent.”
CY: The Miami Dolphins tried AJ Feely as the starting quarterback for two weeks. After losses in week two and three, the Miami Dolphins have gone back to Jay Fiedler as the starting quarterback. What are your thoughts on Jay Fiedler getting his starting position and the AJ Feely experiment?
MT: “Well, I think we’re just trying to make something happen out there offensively. With the losses that we have had early and a real opportune time for Ricky Williams to retire, David Boston going down, and some offensive line injuries it takes time for everybody to get clicking together. I love Jay Fiedler. I like also what I have seen from AJ Feely as well. They have some different characteristics as quarterback, but I think we could win with either one of them.”
CY: What are your thoughts on coach Dave Wannstedt altogether, and how much blame if any can you put on him for the losses in games this season with all the injuries?
MT: “I have had a number of different coaches throughout my career. I am a Dave Wannstedt fan. I like Coach Wannstedt and his approach. The way he interacts from the players and what he expects from everybody on the team. You can’t put the blame just on him. It boils down to players making plays. We have had some opportunities to make some plays. We still have a lot of talent on this team and a lot of football season left. I think it’s time we just all rally around our coach and our plan of attack and stick with it.”
CY: With all the talk Ricky Williams might be headed back to the Miami Dolphins, do you think the team would welcome him back even with his past choices?
MT: “I can’t speak for the team. I can speak for myself. I have always had the attitude that people make mistakes. In life you have to forgive and forget, and let everybody handle their own business. Also do what you think is right on your own personal level. As for me I would be willing to forgive and forget if he is willing to come in here and get some first downs, run over some people, and help us win some games.”
CY: Also keep you off the field from punting I would assume?
MT: “Right. Cut my punting production in half. It wouldn’t be so bad.”
CY: You spent the first five years of your career with the Washington Redskins from 1995 to 1999. What were your thoughts on that organization?
MT: “It was a great experience. It was the first team that took a chance on me. I had spent my first two years out of college first with the Green Bay Packers during the pre season, and then they were the Los Angeles Rams at the time. That’s how far back it goes during their pre season. The Washington Redskins were willing to take a chance on a guy who didn’t have the experience. I have nothing but good memories and a feeling for the Washington Redskins.”
CY: You have played your 2000, 2001, and 2003 seasons with Miami. In 2002 with the New York Jets you were signed as a free agent. What was it like going from the Miami Dolphins to the New York Jets and thoughts on that organization?
MT: “Overall I am glad that I did. Sometimes you have to go the other side of the fence to see that the grass was greener where you were. I was able to go to the New York Jets and win an AFC Division with them, but it made me realize how much I liked Miami, the coaching staff, and the organization. Not that the New York Jets is a bad one, but I think Miami is better.”
CY: What are your thoughts on the AFC East division altogether and how competitive it is?
MT: “I think it is the most competitive division in football with the New England Patriots, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills are always tough at home. To me the AFC East always has some of the top teams in the league.”
CY: Do you think punters get less recognition or respect on an NFL football team?
MT: “Probably. That is just the nature of the position. Because we are not out there banging heads and sweating out there with everybody the entire practice. I think you know you just have that feeling naturally towards a punter or kicker that they are not putting in as much hard time as every other player. We do what we have to do to be good at our position. Olindo Mare and I usually go in early and go in the weight room, work out, and watch our film. You can just do other positions because just not how the way it is.”
CY: It’s still early in the season, but at the time of this interview the Miami Dolphins are 0-4. Can this team be a playoff team or at least be a 500 8-8 team?
MT: “My attitude is yes. I look at the type of defense we have. We still have one of the best defenses in the league, and defenses can help you win championships. All we really need is a little spark on offense. We have so many players who have never played together on offense. We need to get these guys together and playing well. Eliminate a few mistakes including turnovers and we will be in every single game.”
CY: What do you remember most from your college days at Wisconsin White Water?
MT: “Wisconsin Whitewater was a great school. It was a lot of fun and I made a lot of good friends. We always had the best team in the conference. We played good football and it was close to home. I am from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and it was a 45 minute ride to go home and see family and friends.”
CY: Finally, what do you want to accomplish the rest of your NFL career?
MT: “I really just want to be the type of player that really is never satisfied with how I am performing. Working to get better each and every week. Trying to improve what I have done in the game before.”