Read the full transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
(Is minicamp just a continuation of OTAs? Is anything really different but the branding of minicamp?)– "From an operational standpoint, we adjusted a little bit to kind of coincide with training camp. They are getting a taste of what the training camp day is like minus the pads obviously, so it's a little different. This particular minicamp, we're doing a collection of all the stuff we've installed as an offense, defense and special teams, and doing that in the minicamp and just using the meeting time to watch tape as opposed to traditionally in training camp or OTAs, you are installing plays in the morning and at night. It's a continuation of, but they had their first non-scripted period today. That was different, which was typical of something you work into Week 3 of training camp, or Week 2, and then their schedule will be the same as training camp."
(When you and General Manager Chris Grier sat down in February to talk about tight ends specifically, what lead to the conclusion that you wanted to keep this group with TE Mike Gesicki and TE Durham Smythe obviously re-signing, franchising them, TE Adam Shaheen, TE Hunter Long? And do you feel like Mike's blocking is good enough in your system and your offense to be effective?) – "That was a process because you're hesitant to make foregone conclusions off of statistics or anything like that. It took a lot of tape watching, and there is – we knew fully that we'd be asking these guys to do some different things than they've done in the past. After really deep-diving and watching all of the guys, it felt like not only did they put some good stuff on tape, but there was a lot of room to grow. We felt that, and the people first and foremost, were the type of people that we want to represent us as Miami Dolphins. It was both the tape and the people, and it took a little time to un-comb, but once we un-combed it, we felt real good about it. As far as Mike Gesicki, he's been as impressive as any player on the team in terms of going after a challenge. You guys can probably rattle off the stats, but three-point (stance) wasn't his primary position and he's been working diligently in the run and pass game to do things that this offense can feature without taking away the stuff that has made him who he is, and there is a piece of that in the offense. We're always tailoring what we do to the skillset of our players. He's really attacked it with full vigor and has done a great job of working on his footwork in the run game. I'm hoping that carries over to pads when that happens in whatever month that is."
(With TE Mike Gesicki, is there optimism, hope or confidence that something might get done long-term with him?) – "That's something that, right now, there are always conversations between agents and general managers. The whole building is careful to make sure that I stay in my lane and coach some football. Right now I'm worried about getting everyone better. If there is a situation where it would be prudent for the club to act, or the negotiations go a certain way with any position, we'll do what's best served for the Miami Dolphins."
(We saw LB Melvin Ingram help in some of the positional drills with some of the younger players. That type of impact, obviously you'd like to see him on the field for real, but is that the type of impact that you kind of envisioned when you talked about his veteran leadership?) – 'Definitely. That's something that we don't want to just throw people out there to throw them out there. They have to be in the prerequisite shape and we've been working since April 4th with the rest of the guys. Right now, that's the limit with which we're comfortable doing with him. That's exactly why all things equal, he's added value to the Dolphins. There is an element of professional success and hunger. He's trying to prove himself as well, just like this team has, and we're doing that one day at a time."
(Can you update us on the progress of T Terron Armstead, CB Byron Jones and RB Raheem Mostert? All of them coming off of their situations.) – "The progress is that we are trying to be very deliberate and intentional with how we handle all of those guys. It's been very good. We haven't had a setback really across the board. We are being fairly conservative but that's on an individual basis. You try to handle that the right way, which makes the most sense for all parties involved. When they're ready, they'll be out there full swing. I can promise you, they want to be playing right now. But between them and the training staff, we are trying to be very pragmatic and smart in bringing them back."
(I know it's hard to just offensive linemen at this stage of the offseason but what have you, Offensive Coordinator Frank Smith and Offensive Line Coach Matt Applebaum thought about how G/T Austin Jackson has adjusted to right tackle?) – "Been pretty pumped about how all the guys have really gone after the techniques. We're really focusing on some position versatility right now. When Austin Jackson is playing right tackle, I've been very pleased because he's approaching it the only way he can get better as a player, and that is complete commitment to it. There's some things that, we're asking people to do hard things at an elite level, so you try to do it over and over and over, and he's diligently attacking that. The more live bullets that we get for him at every position that he will play, the better."
(If multiple people have a great practice, who makes the final say on who will be the DJ for the next day?) – "That's the whole reason I took the job. (laughter) Owner of the orange jersey. No, I haven't gotten any pushback yet, so I haven't had to flex the final say. But collectively as a coaching staff, there's always been at least one player that's really separated themselves, so it's been easy thus far. I'll keep you abreast if there are any fisticuffs up in the office. (laughter)"
(I know as General Manager Chris Grier would say, 'You never close the door on anything,' but I'm curious your sense on this – do you strongly believe that you're 2022 Miami Dolphins starting center is on the roster or is that not yet really clear? Or is that not yet clear to you?) – "I think you have to be careful to pigeonhole who is doing what and when. I think that isn't fair to the process. I will say that if no other player is added, that I am going to be very confident in our starting center next year. I'm excited about who we have but you don't close the door or pigeonhole anything because it's just not fair to the process. These guys are out here sweating on June 1st. You wouldn't be doing service to June 1st or 2nd if you made some bold statement. That's why we practice and that's why we work as diligently as we do."