Head coach Mike McDaniel met the day following the preseason opener at Tampa Bay. Check out the top quotes from his media availability.
HEAD COACH MIKE McDANIEL
(On the first roster cut-down coming this week)
"That's something that we talk a lot about is people getting opportunities every day and how every practice is so valuable and every opportunity is so valuable. It's a balance where going into a preseason game before you know there's a cut, you're kind of saying the state of the union right then, fully knowing that when there are opportunities in front of people, you don't make your mind up because you learn so much about players each and every time they're out on the field. And specifically when you have to handle the emotions of the game. We had long discussions last week and then some discussions that we started today. But then we're careful that this is their livelihoods and it's also the team and the organization. These are big decisions that when you have a competitive, talented roster like we have and that they've built here and are growing right now, you don't take them lightly at all. You discuss them. We discussed more today but we'll sleep on it. Further discussion comes tomorrow. It's just a constant communication with Chris (Grier) and myself, as well as with the coordinators and position coaches for every real decision that we make. And to the team's credit, it's not easy. And that's a good thing for the Dolphins. There's no no-brainer like this guy is a fish out of water. It's far from that. We'll continue to discuss that before we make those final decisions, which are tough and that's good."
(On how he felt OL Rob Hunt and OL Austin Jackson performed last night)
"It was really cool because of how they have developed, where it's the first opportunity. We talk about deliberate practice a bunch. I was talking to the team today about it. The idea of deliberate practice is so that in the games, it's just virtually another practice. That you've put yourself in game situations all of the time. So really, out of those 13 snaps, probably for all three of those guys, there would have been like 10 plusses. Then the three minuses were all things that they've executed against our defense in practice, whether it's combinations or pass pro sets, that maybe were a little off. So it was awesome for those young dudes to get that feeling, for us to say 'Hey, why is this different?' Ok, it shouldn't be. You should have all of the confidence. It should feel the same as practice for you and that's the goal, that the spectacle that is a game isn't anything but doing our craft that we do every day. It got us a chance to revisit kind of the primary pillars of philosophy of how we go about our business. I think they felt it but they didn't lose confidence. It was like, 'Oh, yeah.' And we're at a good spot with them because of that."
(On why he wasn't nervous last night and how he felt about his performance in his first game as a head coach)
"I think it was more that I'm not good at anything else. (laughter) But it is where I'm comfortable. I think you guys feel that. I'm not going to hide from it at all. There are a lot of things – I'm not going to necessarily have this whole dialogue about how terrible I am but there are a lot of things that I'm like yeah, that's not what I'd hope it to be. Which it was ironic because I knew that going into it. I knew going into it that it's an odd thing to be excited for something, but also know I'm not going to put my best foot forward or my final product forward. So just like the players, there are a lot of things. I think that's important as a coach to identify and be transparent with that with your players. 'Yeah, this wasn't good enough. This short-changed you in one way shape or form.' I'm excited because it's over because I wanted to identify exactly where – I just wanted to get to that point as fast as possible. Ok, now I did this, now I can get better at this and I can manage this better, I can communicate this better, this decision can be better and all of those things. Yeah, it's what I expected, and I expected to get a C on the math test. I got the C and so I'm like, 'Yeah, cool.' Now I can work on getting a B or an A someday, if you guys allow it. (laughter)"
(On having a reliable kicker in Jason Sanders and if that changes how aggressive he is on offense)
"That's a great question because it's direct. There is that area of the field where it's third down and you're between the 25 and the 30 (yard line) and do you want to be aggressive or not? Do you want to put yourself in a situation where maybe you could get an explosive? You feel a little more willing to do that if the worst-case scenario, which I think happened to us twice, happens and you get sacked. So it expands that – you get into that area where you might take yourself out of points but now you have a little deeper area where you can be a little more aggressive because if you do have the worst-case scenario happen, he can get your back, which is what he did last night, which is why it was a team win and something to build upon."