Read the full postgame transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022.
(Transcribed by San Francisco 49ers)
(On offense, that was kind of an uncharacteristic game from QB Tua Tagovailoa that we're used to seeing. What would you credit some of the turnovers and missed passes to today?) – "Those are always – you're careful to just assume that it was one exact person. We're pretty used to Tua (Tagovailoa) being extremely accurate. I know there was a couple times that he's going to be pretty hard on himself, but at the same time, you should be able to not be pinpoint accurate on one or two throws and still be able to execute and operate. I think that the guys were a little off just in general collectively, but I know one thing, it wasn't because of preparation. It wasn't because of lack of detail. It was one of those things that you have to go through. I think it's important for our team specifically that – the biggest thing I wanted from this game is to really go out there and feel a playoff type atmosphere and do everything that they could to try to win that game. And when you do that, I think you can actually, win or lose, you can get better from it, because it's something that we have a young team that needs to be able to – at some point in time, you have to have everything on the line and you have to be able to execute. So players, myself, the whole team really, the idea is to lay it all out on the line for each other and then deal with the consequences. So as frustrating as it was, I think that we are well-equipped and we have the guys in the locker room that collectively will take this piece of adversity and get better from it, and that's the objective."
(You had some big plays, but how difficult is it to sustain your offense over that defense in a game like that?) – "No, they do a good job. When you're playing one of the best units in football on either side, it's important that when you have opportunities, you have to take advantage of them. I think that if you ask every player in that locker room, they would say that that was not the case today and that the point is you shouldn't just pass it along to somebody else and feel – it should hurt. But, when you're playing a group like that, that's playing at such a high level, you can't miss opportunities, or you end up making it really tough on yourself. I think that was an outstanding job by the (San Francisco) 49ers defense, just the team collectively. They brought it. That team has some playoff experience, for sure, and they're hungry to go and rectify some stuff of the past. If you don't completely execute, it's going to be tough for your whole team to come out on top. So you're exactly right – you're going to make it pretty tough on yourself if you continually don't make the plays that are afforded to you, and it will catch up with you, especially with a pass rush like that."
(How did you feel about how QB Brock Purdy did in relief and how the Dolphins defense did against Brock?) – "I think that's a pretty good player there. I saw his preseason was as good as any rookie's. I think him and Skylar (Thompson) really were the two guys that really had a real good preseason. I know that coaching staff and that team is very confident in him. It's always a tough task, but when you're able to lean on some good playmakers and get the ball in their hands, and when you're able to kind of control the clock with a lot of first downs and the run game, I'm sure he'll have some plays they'd want to have back, but that team will be fine moving forward with him. I'm sick for Jimmy (Garoppolo) and having to go through that, but the same time, that's football. Teams get tested with their depth all the time, and no one really cares at the end of the season – it's result based. So they'll be all right. I thought he did a good job and didn't really – we weren't able to turn the ball over as much as you'd like and take advantage of those type of situations, but we'll learn from it and that's the point."
(A lot was made about you and San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan; how did it ultimately feel for you and what was said between you guys?) – "Yeah again, I don't really see it that way. Don't get me wrong, to see a lot of people that you invest blood, sweat and tears with and to see a lot of people that are a huge part of your journey that you otherwise don't know where you'd be without them, that's a cool part of the NFL and the cool part of football. But it felt like another game for me. I got to shake hands with him before the game and after the game. I'm kind of used to his routine, so I was messing with him before the game a little bit, but outside of that it was about the Dolphins. Anything short of that, I really struggle from an integrity standpoint to have any emotions or thoughts that have to do with my journey, because that's not what the players and the organization for the Dolphins deserve. So I stay true to my proclamation, it had nothing – after the kickoff, it was just coaching football and trying to put players in the best position they could be to make plays. Ultimately, that didn't get done. As I told the team after the game, they don't have to worry in the least. I'll get better from the things that I know that I could have done better, and that's what I'm expecting from all the players as well."
(Fourth-and-1 your own 19 was a play that did work, obviously. I'm curious what went into your decision to make that call?) – "Again, I think part of the job is to do things that make the most sense for your team. I know exactly what's going to happen if it doesn't work, and it's not wishing in hope, or living in hope, I should say. It was more that there was, I feel like six minutes-plus to go, and we were down by six, maybe it was nine. I can't – six? I was pretty confident in a particular play that I figured that at that point in time, if you'd say, 'What's the greater risk? Is it having a two-yard distance with the particular play that I ended up calling with your guys on offense that really make you go, as opposed to needing to punt and getting the ball back, still having to drive the whole field?' And on top of that, I figured that if it didn't work out in our favor, at least it was a short field. It was one of those things that I was very aware of the risk and in terms of the second guessing that will happen if it doesn't work, but I think that's the job of the head coach is to do things for the right reasons and not because you're going to possibly get second guessed. So that's something that in that moment, it's to the credit of the players that I feel comfortable doing that and thought it was the best for the team at the time."
(Could you assess the offensive tackle play with T Terron Armstead and OL Austin Jackson both out and having two backups?) – "I thought they did a pretty good job, because that is a tough, tall task. I think that there were times, I alluded to the fact before, that I think that there'll be stuff that I'll learn from. I think I could have done a better job with them, but for the most part, I thought they really performed and took the challenge, and that's a tough task. They have some good players, and there's no – they are trying to sack the quarterback every play. I thought they competed. I thought they gave us a chance to win, but we'll try to get better from it moving forward as well."