Miami Dolphins’ Darren Rizzi on Patriots’ fake punt, Thomas’ non-fumble recovery

Darren Rizzi. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

DAVIE — The Dolphins’ day in New England took a sharp turn downward in the opening seconds. Instead of getting a three-and-out, the Dolphins conceded a first down on a fake punt by the Patriots, leading the way to a touchdown, which led the way to a 35-17 loss.

Special teams played a critical role on the first possession of the second half as well, when Danny Amendola muffed a punt return, Michael Thomas emerged from the pile with the ball … but officials ruled that Jonathan Jones had possession at the bottom of the stack and was down by contact.

Darren Rizzi, the Dolphins’ associate head coach and special teams coordinator, was hot about that second call, not letting up on the officials for several minutes. Thursday, he met with the media for the first time after the game. Here’s what he had to say:

  • Says he has never had a cup of coffee in his entire life “and no one believes that.” Says he’s going to try to make it through life without coffee or a cigarette. For caffeine, he leans on an occasional diet Mountain Dew.
  • On fake punt: “It’s a matter of them executing and us not executing. … You give them credit.”
  • On Thomas’ non-recovery: “My personal opinion was the ball was still alive and they ruled it too early. … Whether I agree or disagree at that point is irrelevant.” Says it’s a “wasted challenge” to throw the red flag because there was no clear evidence. It’s very hard to win challenges on plays involving a scrum. Rizzi considers it a non-challengeable play.
  • Injuries to running backs will affect special teams. Kenyan Drake is the only experienced RB who’s completely healthy.
  • On Broncos coach Vance Joseph, a former Dolphins defensive coordinator: “Vance is a great guy. I was very happy when he got the opportunity.” Says their kids are friends.

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