Read the full transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Thursday, June 2, 2022.
(You guys don't have any dry-fit jackets you can wear?) – "They offer them to me plenty of times during the day."
(Trying to cut weight or anything?) – "No. Honestly, it's the best way that I can keep in-tune to what the players are going through because I'm not sprinting around. At least I have an idea of how hot it is otherwise you'll kind of lose sight of that and then you'll be doing too many reps, causing soft tissue injuries and all that nonsense."
(How much do you enjoy walking out on the field? You got a little hop once you …?) – "You talk about a professional dream. One of the things that is a competitive advantage just in life is perspective. I made a lot longer walk to go watch the Denver Broncos training camp and wrote on the inside of helmets. So yeah, it's enjoyable. The responsibility is real and great. I have to be deliberate in reminding myself that because you can get swallowed up in all the things that you have to do. It's a lot of fun and it's a credit to the organization, the coaches, the players. It's a fun place to go to work."
(Can you offer us your perspective on the way QB Tua Tagovailoa is practicing? Specifically his downfield passing.) – "I'm really excited about the reps that Tua (Tagovailoa) is getting in this offense. I'm excited about where he's at. Today was – I talked to the team and I talked to him today specifically about – I've just been waiting for those moments where you have a slight obstacle. Tua is very, very critical on his ball placement and he's a very accurate quarterback as a result. Yesterday, he had some throws that he demands better of himself. Like I told everybody else, today was the first day I got to really evaluate Tua because that is a professional quarterback in the National Football League. You're going to have things that you don't execute to perfection. You're going to have people talking about how you're not performing and guess what? No one cares. It's about leading. He had a ton of energy and I was very, very happy with his effort today because it was one of the million reps you need at that position to handle the scrutiny, the pressure and all that stuff. I think his teammates have really noticed a difference in him. He's opening up. He's coming into his own in that regard and he's been unbelievably coachable. He's let his guard down and we've been able to keep his confidence high, which it should be right now for sure, while correcting and getting his game better, which is the ultimate goal for everyone."
(It's interesting that you say that QB Tua Tagovailoa let his guard down with his teammates. Is that something that you've noticed or something that you were told initially when you got here?) – "Well, it's projection from – it's what I've been told from a lot of people and then I've noticed since he's been in the building a difference from then and now. Since we first got here, since April 4th started, I've noticed that directly and then a lot of people have spoke on it, that we are seeing a different side of him and he's coming into his own as a young man in terms of his personality. Again, I can't state it enough, I don't think people give that position its due for how hard it is. Yeah, there's a lot of acclaim. You get a lot of free dinners when you go out to eat and things like that but everyone has an opinion and you're in charge of delivering the responsibility and executing from the snap the football to every player on the offense and doing it with defenses these days are so multiple and they present so many problems. And oh by the way, you're doing all this and if you are indecisive, you are going to have your helmet hit off your shoulders. There's a physical part, too. That's why I'm so pumped. I know he's gained all the new players on our offense – new to the Miami Dolphins organization that are new to Tua (Tagovailoa) like me – I know he's gained their respect, that you can feel it. Players know when they're around good players and it's been very cool to watch him and the rest of the team really grow together because we've gotten a lot closer in these six OTAs, two minicamps and two voluntary minicamps, that it feels like lightyears ago when we first started."
(Wide Receivers Wes Welker mentioned that there have been sessions early on where you and the offensive staff have gotten together to talk about ways to maximize those weapons you have. How much do you push yourself and how much to you push your offensive assistants as far as creativity in terms of coming up with new stuff? Obviously most plays that are run in the NFL we have seen before. Do you push yourself from a creativity standpoint and have you ever written a play down on a napkin out of curiosity?) – "Because of my specific background and the coaches that I was fortunate enough to be around, being creative and innovative is something that I think is part of the job. It's natural for my brain to look at things that way to the point that I actually have to be mindful of pulling back that I don't get bored. It's something that my previous boss always gave me a hard time with because I'd always be trying to do the next and I haven't mastered that yet. When you're trying to install a new system to a group of guys, the bottom line is – you could have the coolest plays that ever existed but if the players don't execute them, your plays are not cool. Systematically, I've been trying to really push forward having a core basis – to make sure all that stuff is, you have a working basis from which you can grow. Outside of that, I'm not really looking to innovate any time until you're getting through your core portion of the training camp. It doesn't ever leave. My iPhone note app is my go-to. I'll write down whatever play I'm referring to and if it's that abstract and there's no word for it, I usually just put some symbols. That's my note taking. Maybe one or two in the morning in bed when my wife is being annoyed that my screen is too bright. (laughter)"
(Symbols? Emojis? What are you using here?) – "I'm talking about underscores. Like old-school symbols. Like front slashes and back slashes. Those types of things. Just create a triangle with a front slash and a back slash. (laughter)"
(As the offensive play caller, how have you enjoyed going against the defensive signal-callers like LB Elandon Roberts or S Jevon Holland or whoever is making the defensive calls? How have you enjoyed the competition between yourself and those guys?) – "There are no player-coaches so they are passing along the play call, but Josh (Boyer) is still calling it. But that's the fun part of the process. You try to approach it in a way that you can allow your players to play, while challenging them to a degree. It's impossible not to go through the process of what you're expecting. It's always interesting to guess and check with no stakes and be like 'hmmm, I totally thought this was coming and here is why.' It can be a very valuable process if you approach it that way. I think Josh and I work very well together and we talk through that stuff. You can see how people view things from the other side of the coin. It's fun to see how the players respond because every other play you see in practice, when all the players aren't on the field, guys have the night to prepare. They are sitting there looking at what it is. There, there is no preparation because up until that period, I don't know what I'm going to call and neither does Josh. That's a fun process, just like everything else in football. I don't get that excited when stuff works because I'm like 'ok, there is going to be a humbling experience coming here soon.' Which is the nature of our business."
(I'm sure it is no surprise to you that there are questions about QB Tua Tagovailoa's ability to go deep. You have two guys who can definitely get behind defenses. Based on what you've seen, how confident are you that Tua can deliver it that deep and accurately like we saw today with that one pass to WR Tyreek Hill?) – "So you're saying that was a good deep ball today?"
(There was.) – "Were you pretty confident they would be completed? There were a couple. (laughter) Here is the thing about quarterbacks that I always think is funny. You can only design plays that the quarterback has time to throw. Generally, within the time of the play, from a historical perspective, you can't get a receiver down the field past 55 or 60 yards in what we call one-hitch timing. You have to have a prerequisite arm strength to be able to throw it 60, in my opinion; and then, if you're not going to be able to anticipate, and you have to see something before you do it, you probably need to throw 70 because you have to wait to see it, and then the receiver gets down further and hopefully you have the protection. The way we've always operated since 2005 when I got in the league is if the quarterback can see the defense and is accurate, then you see if he can throw it 60 yards. I think he might have had a 55-yarder today. That's why you hear no cause for concern at all from the players because they know that too. He's plenty fast and the great thing is that he sees the field. He's not throwing the ball 85 yards but I don't see the practical application of a 85-yard thrower unless you have the best offensive line in the history of football and a defense that is too poor to add-on rushers when you're max protecting."