Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, running back Raheem Mostert, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and linebacker Jaelan Phillips met with the media Wednesday as the team faces off against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, Dec. 17. Check out the top quotes from their media availabilities.
HEAD COACH MIKE McDANIEL
(On what has changed for the Bills defense with LB Von Miller being out)
"I really respect and hold in regard units in football that have a character that is consistent. And so I think a mark of that is do people's play style still hold up when some of their marquee guys are out? And that's the thing about the Bills, is that that's why they're a good defense because they aren't trying to be a one-man show in the least. They very much utilize some of Von's rare, rare attributes, but they do not rely upon it. So it's a defense that loves to take advantage of people that take them lightly. They are a fast, reactionary, trigger-ready unit that has played together a long time so know where each other should be and rely on each other and really play to that team defensive philosophy. To their credit, they are dangerous with him and they're dangerous without him. That's how they play and that's a mark that has been there since that whole coaching staff has been there, really."
(On what he learned from the 3-game losing streak earlier in the season that he can apply now)
"You can hide in results. But you can get disillusioned in results. You can be losing games and getting better. You could be winning games and getting worse. So it's a bottom-line business, but you're also trying to continue to progress and so what I learned from that first losing streak was that it kind of fulfilled my personal belief that you define whatever something means by your actions moving forward. So losing streaks can be the best thing that ever happened or they can be the straw that broke the camel's back. And what you saw and I think what our team recognizes, and what I know you'll see is you'll see a team that won't give up because they understand that the tough times happen. They don't last forever. Tough people last – I guess nothing's forever – but they last and this is a game of adversity. You guys see it in the locker room – 'adversity is an opportunity' is real to me because that is that is exactly what happens and in the moment, a lot of times in life and football is no different; what you think is the worst thing, you look in hindsight and say 'that was the best thing.' Well, how many times does that have to happen to you before you're like, 'Wait, there's a pattern, maybe I shouldn't rush to judgment. Maybe I should take the information, try to assess.' And then all right, well, one thing we get to see is on Saturday night, we get to see a team, how resilient they are and how much they care about playing with each other. What does that mean in the end result? I want to see our guys completely compete and stay together because I know how much they put in for those last two and it's tough when you put in a lot and you get the exact opposite in return. But that's football. That's why it's fun to win. That's why everyone's chasing that trophy, because winning is hard and the longer you go in the season and when you play really good teams, the harder gets."
QB TUA TAGOVAILOA
(On having a short memory when things aren't going well)
"I would say it was a good lesson last week for all of us. We look at the tape, and the cool thing is there's no like, 'it's your fault. It's your fault.' It's all everyone kind of holding themselves accountable, like, 'Oh, no. This is my fault on this play.' And then guys would be like, 'No, no, no. It's not your fault. It's my fault.' I think that's a step in the right direction for us as a team, but the next play mentality definitely needs to show itself more evident for us with the way we play offensively. Because of the success that we found early in the year, we really haven't been given that opportunity. And so kind of given the two losses that we had to endure, that's an opportunity for us to kind of continue to preach that and work through that throughout these practices and leading up to the game."
RB RAHEEM MOSTERT
(On the importance of Saturday's game)
"It's an important game. But at the end of the day, we have to focus on our ball and our gameplan and how we're going to execute on Saturday and try to get a win. That's the most important thing. We're not necessarily worried about playoff pictures or what that entails. We're just focused on how we can improve and get a 'W' since it's been two weeks since we got a win. We just have to hone in on that."
WR JAYLEN WADDLE
(On the best way to get back into rhythm offensively)
"Just going back to our fundamentals. Going back to what we do best – playing complementary football, doing the things that (Tua Tagovailoa) likes to do well, routes I like to run and just sticking to it. Back to our Day 1. Just drilling in our Day 1, back to the fundamentals, really."
LB JAELAN PHILLIPS
(On how important it is to give back to the community during the holiday season)
"I think that especially during the holidays, there's a lot of families who need a little bit of extra cheer and who maybe can't provide that for their kids. So I think that's where we come in and try to help them do that and just serve as a beacon of hope in these times."