Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, linebacker Jaelan Phillips and linebacker Bradley Chubb met with the media today as the team faces off against San Francisco on Sunday, Dec. 4. Check out the top quotes from their media availabilities.
HEAD COACH MIKE McDANIEL
(On how he wants his team to handle raised expectations with the news the Chargers game has been flexed to Sunday Night Football)
"First of all, I think of avoiding reality and entering into delusion is dangerous, so I think it's important to recognize that as that's ultimately what you want. But at the same time, when things don't affect what the goals, the mission of a team – if we would have said on April 4 that our goal was to get flexed – see you guys. (laughter) I think you acknowledge it and that's something that the players should be proud of. That means the players have decided that they want to make the most out of all the talent that they have and they're committed to doing so and it's a credit to them for sure. But at the same time, it is next week so if you worry about next week against a team like we're facing, you will be humbled fast. So I think it's important to acknowledge but it's also just something."
(On the value of having the team together for a long road trip)
"It's a huge, huge deal to me. I've been fortunate enough to be a part of some teams, that how tight they were going into it pales in comparison to where they're at after it. It's nice because you don't have anywhere to go. So I think that time is very important. Again, you'll always do more for your teammates than ultimately you'll be able to muster up for just yourself. That kind of burns out. But when you have that extra incentive, maybe you learn about someone's past, learn about a sibling they have, find an interest. All of those things are what's special about a team. And the pillars of a team are always centered around relationships, and relationships grow when you invest in them. So it's a mandatory investment that you don't really have anywhere to go. But generally, and I'm very, very confident, and certain and excited, that this team with this character that cares as much about each other, it will be a wonderful opportunity. And I expect to see the best version of our team camaraderie and really we should see the best face of the team after that experience because it is something that's tangible, for sure."
(On how WR Jaylen Waddle has responded to the trade for WR Tyreek Hill)
"You see it is very transparent that (Waddle) is a team-oriented guy that wants to make plays for the right reasons, which is he really thrives in making plays for his teammates, much like, quite literally, every teammate of his. On offense, there's a lot of contributors that go into his share of targets, which although he's not afforded the most, it is the second most. And in the same way that all the sacrifices that other players happily do, for those extremely talented teammates, you do things to be a part of something, to do something that – you can as Jaylen, a lot of people dream of 100 catches. I mean, cool, but winning. That's the deal. And you win with your teammates, and sometimes that requires some people to be stat selfless. Sometimes that requires people to bear the burden. Those two together help each other. I think our team, I don't think they lose sight of their teammates and what their teammates do for them. We ultimately go as far as your best players take you and this just in, but I'm not ranking players. But they're up there."
QB TUA TAGOVAILOA
(On why he has been so successful on third downs this season)
"Yeah, I would say, first off our coaches. The third down game plan that 'Bev' (Darrell Bevell) and a couple of the other coaches put together, I think they put us in great spots and also being able to simplify some of the coverages for our guys when we go for our third downs, whether it's (Cover) 1, 2, 3, as far as coverages we'll see. Or if it's (Cover) 1, then we're reacting to a zone. Whatever it may be, it makes it a lot easier when they can simplify it in those terms, with the plays that we have, just so our guys can visualize and understand what I'm going to do versus man, what I'm going to do versus zone and that's it, or vice versa."
(On T Terron Armstead's impact on the development of this offense)
"Yeah, it's been really good having a veteran as himself help out with the guys up front. When Liam (Eichenberg) went down, how he kind of took Rob Jones under his wing and kind of helped mentor him throughout the process of what it means to be a starting left guard and how you go about your business. And so just seeing their relationship grow and how they communicate on that side, and then also with having Austin Jackson back really helps. I think when you have someone like that who's a veteran, those guys come in on a Monday, just the o-line, and he runs their meetings. I was in their meeting this past Monday before we had our offensive meeting, and it was really cool to see him take charge of that room and kind of show guys and tell guys just what it was. 'Hey, I take ownership of this. That's my fault.' And like, nothing slips. No one gets a free pass, not even himself so that was something really cool to see."
WR JAYLEN WADDLE
(On facing the top-ranked defense in the NFL this week)
"They're the No. 1 defense for a reason. They play good together. They're very sound on defense. They don't make any mental errors, so it's going to be a great challenge. They're a good group and (have) kind of been in that system for a while, so everybody knows their keys and reads. It's going to be a good challenge for us."
LB JAELAN PHILLIPS
(On what it's like to face a quarterback that gets the ball out quickly)
"It just kind of raises the sense of urgency a little bit. When you have the opportunities, you have to take advantage of them. So we're definitely going to get after it. Obviously, they have really talented tackles, a really talented o-line. Jimmy (Garoppolo) is a great guy. It's going to be a fun one."
LB BRADLEY CHUBB
(On playing the 49ers a second time this season since he already played them once when he was with Denver)
"I joked earlier that I'm in a division on my own this year. I played a couple of teams twice all over the NFL. So it's cool to be in that perspective, but from earlier games, the only thing I can say is just playing physically. I feel like we put that on tape the last time I played. I feel like it's the formula. We've just got to play physical. You asked me earlier what they do well and they just try to get you to think, overthink, hesitate and get that edge on you. So I feel like as a defense, we just got to be 100 percent locked in on what we're doing and just be physical at the point of attack and make sure we play hard."