The Dolphins 31-17 win over New England last week secured their fifth victory in the last six meetings with the Patriots. Coming off a regular season sweep of a division opponent, the team understands there's no time to lose focus and plenty of things to clean up from last week's performance. Miami's next chance to take another step forward comes this Sunday, Nov. 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL's first ever game in Frankfurt, Germany. Here's what Head Coach Mike McDaniel, his staff, and several members of the team had to say as they prepare for an AFC battle between two 6-2 teams.
Preparing for Kansas City
Head Coach Mike McDaniel
(On facing the Chiefs) – "I talk about it a lot, you prepare to play against the best and there's not a better opponent to play than the Kansas City Chiefs. They are the current Super Bowl winners in terms of the last ones to win it. That will be a really cool opportunity for our team. They know how to win and do it at a high level."
Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio
(On the key to limiting Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes?) – "Just trying to keep him from having an unbelievable game. He's always played well. And try and hopefully limit the improvised plays, where he starts scrambling around, making great throws on the run, guys getting open. Him pulling the ball down and running it himself for critical first downs. He's really tough. You've got to defend the play they call in the huddle, which is hard enough, and then you have to defend the play that he creates after the first one breaks down a little bit."
S Jevon Holland
(On what stands out about the Chiefs offense?) – "They just make it happen. They really do. (Travis) Kelce, Pat Mahomes, Skyy Moore, Mecole (Hardman), (Marquez Valdez-) Scantling, they've got a whole bunch of weapons. (Isiah) Pacheco, like they've got weapons left and right. They just get the ball to their primary guys when they need to, and they make it happen. I mean, that's basically the bottom line. Then of course, Pat Mahomes is special. He can scramble, extend plays, use his feet, use his mind, eyes downfield. It definitely adds a unique dynamic to their offense and we're not even talking about the pre-snap stuff that they do, like the 'Ring Around The Rosie,' things like that. It's exciting game planning for them, because it's something that you kind of don't see a lot. It's a unique challenge, so we're definitely real focused on them."
LB Jaelan Phillips
(On staying focused in a week with a lot of potential distractions) – "That's something that you have to practice is staying present. That's something that Mike (McDaniel) preaches to us every day. That's one of the first things he always puts up in his presentations, is a little picture of a present and he says your presence is a present. I think just treating this like any other game, obviously there's extenuating circumstances – we're out here in Germany. Like you said, it's a big game, a 6-2 matchup, obviously big implications, but we just prepare for it like we do any other week. Take it day by day. We had a good practice out there today and we're going to get in the film room, correct what we need to correct and just keep moving and going forward."
AFC Offensive Player of the Month WR Tyreek Hill and His Impact
Head Coach Mike McDaniel
(On what WR Tyreek Hill has brought to the team since coming to Miami) – "It's always good when you have one of the best football players in the entire National Football League on your team. That's what he does. Remarkable stuff last year, but he's taking everything to another level this year with regard to the details and the fundamentals to his position, to the daily approach to being a captain and to leading. I think that's manifesting itself on the field."
QB Tua Tagovailoa
(On getting to know WR Tyreek Hill since he joined the Dolphins last season) – "I think what really surprised me was who he was as a leader, his work ethic, and then how he takes ownership of what is asked of him. Whether it's in the run game, in the pass game, or things like that. Then it's almost like a trickle-down effect for a lot of the guys in his room. They respect him as a player, as a person, to take advice from him and follow his lead."
WR Jaylen Waddle
(On what WR Tyreek Hill has meant to him as a teammate) – "Tyreek (Hill) really just made me really up my game. You think you're a baller and a good player, then you meet someone like Tyreek who comes in. He's legendary, historic – y'all see that throughout the week. He just brings the team along, got high energy, brings it each and every week, and that's what we expect from him. He just makes everybody up their game."
Growing the Game
Head Coach Mike McDaniel
(On the chance to play in Germany?) – "The team has the opportunity to experience a different country and culture together. I think that's a really cool opportunity. Teams win and lose so anytime you have an opportunity to do a bonding experience like that – I know many people are like myself that have never been there – so that's just exciting in itself. You feel it's an opportunity, a privilege, to take this game that we devote our lives to and perform in front of an audience on the other side of the world. I told the team today that if you make a play in a game, there's some kid that speaks German that is wearing your jersey for the rest of his adolescence. You have lifelong fans, that is kind of what happens in those type of environments. Their first exposure is you making this play, and that's a really, really cool opportunity. A lot of fun stuff for our team and it's maturation journey for the season for sure."
Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman
(On the NFL's growth internationally) – "I think it's fabulous. It's well-earned by these other countries that the NFL is reaching out to and traveling to and hopefully there's more to come. From what we understand, there will be more to come. I think it's just going to be a continually vomming process of spreading this game throughout the world. Fans when they see it in person, and that's what you see, there's going to be some guys and girls at the game this weekend that are going to find a player that they think is the greatest thing and follow them for who knows, the next five, 10 years and hopefully the Dolphins become somebody's favorite team after this weekend."
For more analysis on Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, listen to the latest episode of Drive Time with Travis Wingfield.