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Transcript | Mike McDaniel's Media Availability - June 4

Read the full transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on June 4, 2024.

(Update on QB Tua Tagovailoa – will he be here? Will he be participating today? Will he be participating fully for the three days of minicamp?) – "OK, which one?"

(Will QB Tua Tagovailoa be here?) – "I've seen him in the flesh today. We made great eye contact, had a nice little dap up in install. And then as far as everything else, as far as I know, we're going to move forward in kind of a similar fashion that we had before where we're going to have him out there and he's going to be participating, but the depth and really across the board what he's doing, that will be more up to him than anything. To me, the only way that I can do this job appropriately to everyone is honestly just worry about coaching people, and if they take these reps, they take these reps. If they don't, somebody's going to get better in that rep. So that stuff I haven't really paid attention to, I'm not really too focused on. We've had a tremendous offseason with regard to developing certain things within our offense and Tua has done a great job with developing some stuff that we've asked him to do. So if there's more development live-action today, awesome. If there's not, I'll adjust as well."

(WR Tyreek Hill's agent said that the club knows how Tyreek feels about his contract situation. How important do you think it is to have not just Tyreek Hill here but a happy Tyreek Hill on the Dolphins?) – "I saw a very happy Tyreek Hill just today face-to-face. I think it is so important. This offseason in particular has just presented the opportunity to kind of really stay fast and true to what you're trying to do as a coach, and my relationship with the players as a head coach is to resource their game with ways to get better, put them in positions to succeed, all of those things. I've been very, very conscientious about our relationships staying healthy that way. So as far as all the things that remind me why, bless his heart, Chris Grier wants to be a GM, you can hang out over there. I'm just going to coach these guys and you let me know what I need to know. That's basically how we've been operating with Tyreek. It's important to me for all these players that I have a purpose in their life and that purpose can be adding value to their trade and that is better done if their listening isn't altered because we're going in different scopes that isn't really my realm. So Tyreek Hill has been unbelievably valuable to my coaching career, this franchise. We set out to do some ambitious things from the onset, and on top of the fact that he wanted to take his game to another level but also be a leader, he's tremendously important. We've always prioritized him that way so for him and I, we stay in our lane with our relationship and the organization will always do right by players and I let them handle that – let the experts be the experts."

(A follow-up if I could. WR Tyreek Hill has said on multiple occasions that he wants to retire a Miami Dolphin. Is that a top priority for the organization to make sure that he's here for the long haul?) – "He's a big part of everything that we're doing. I think that is something that I know as competitors, I think Tyreek (Hill) wants that, he's made that explicit. I think me as a competitor, I want to make that happen. And I think in terms of the Miami Dolphins embracing Tyreek Hill, I think that is an understatement and we look forward to continuing to grow in our relationship, for sure."

(Just talk about your initial impressions of WR Jaylen Waddle and maybe how he's grown and maybe how your ceiling for him has changed over the last couple of years?) – "I think it's been a really cool process with Jaylen (Waddle) just because I got involved in his career, got to start coaching him after he had a 100-reception rookie year. And it was early on that I could tell that this guy has unique skills to play at a high level really across the board – unique slot-route running, full-field speed, playmaking ability, all of that. But then you're around him, you see the competitor. He's such a great human being, but the drive for greatness is real for him. I know last year, I guess from a statistical standpoint measured against the year before may have been a dip in numbers; however I think his play had improved from the year before. I think he had an unbelievable offseason that there was a couple injury blips on the radar that kind of kept him from his game, but I think he's continuing to develop which is great news for the Miami Dolphins, because I think he's a big-time player that's hungry and those are great things for fans to watch and organizations to have on their team."

(I guess how have you seen – sticking with two star wide receivers in Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. How have you seen that mentality shift in the league to where teams don't just have one big guy, they are gravitating towards having as many stars as possible in that position?) – "I think the trends of the National Football League are very interesting. I do think our two guys have exemplified to a degree the issues that can be presented towards a defense with their skill sets and their threats. I'm not sure if that's a necessarily a newfound thing to have two top tier receivers, but I do think that people have kind of started to recognize a little more of the ways you can use players in different ways. You can get them the ball, you can do some low cost offense where you can throw it short and run long, those types of things. And I think there is a probably higher priority for that position than probably when I came into the league. But is part of that just flag football and the development of the receiver position and that particular athletes are coming out? That's for another conversation, but I do recognize that there's a lot of strong wide receiver duos and teams are prioritizing that, for sure."

(Just to confirm you've mention WR Tyreek Hill, you saw him very happy today. Are you expecting him to practice? I know he's been working on his own.) – "Throughout the process and specifically – each individual we treat differently. Tyreek (Hill) has been one that we have to kind of measure and take the reins, so to speak, a lot of times on the field because he goes so full tilt and we have to kind of see the pros and cons. He's been working in the building a ton. He's going to do little stuff on the side. I wasn't planning on him being out there for team stuff. But there's always the caveat that he will jump in line and he's one that you kind of have to fight out of the drill if he does that. But plan isn't, but you never know when competition – the locker room is a funny place. All it takes is one guy to say, 'Dude, you've lost it,' and then he'll just all of a sudden come up. Wouldn't plan on it, but we'll see."

(Are all the guys who weren't here for voluntary days here for this mandatory minicamp?) – "Yeah. Yeah, I think that's a 100 percenter."

(With the addition of TE Jonnu Smith and TE Jody Fortson Jr., was there a concerted effort to add a different element to that unit? Or do you feel like you had not maximized how you had not used that unit in past seasons?) – "You know – this is a category you're probably outside of Omar – some people think that there's just whatever it was, it will always be. I think much of NFL offense, you're making best with the resources available and playing to people's skill sets when you are afforded an opportunity to have people of different skill sets. I've been fortunate enough in my career to play within the same system (and) have all sorts of different attributes. There's a time that I was on I was on a team that had the leading tight end in the NFL. So I think you're always just finding ways to make your team better, and I think with the proven history of the attention that some of the other guys in our offense get, I think that for a defense to fully defend the entire field, those couple guys along with the whole group are really working to take advantage of that, because there's opportunities there, for sure."

(With TE Jonnu Smith, the run after catch, what does that allow you to create?) – "I think the biggest thing is that he's a fast dynamic football player, but what I love that he provides is a tonality at the point of contact. He has become a master of YAC, not only because of speed, but because of a mindset that I think paired with his position coach Jon Embree – I think that's a great working relationship, because Jon Embree coaches tight ends not to get tackled or that one player can't tackle you, and that's Jonnu's life. I think it's adding a mentality, adding a physical presence at the point of attack. A lot of times, if people want to really give up a bunch of space and sit back there, or drop seven with some depth, you can make them pay in a short amount of time, and then he can also stretch the field and do some cool stuff, too. So having all those guys work together has been awesome this offseason."

(DT Brandon Pili seems to have an opportunity at defensive tackle, defensive line. What have you seen from him? What do you need to see from him?) – "I've seen a continued growth at the position and then what you're really trying to find Year 2 is not just the flashes of good reps, but consistency and dependability so that you can turn the corner and make the NFL your home and make a career out of it. That's what he's working diligently day-in, day-out. I think it's pretty much the only thing he has going too, because every time he plays his sister in basketball, she wins. So he better be a good 2-gap. (laughter)"

(When it comes to WR Tyreek Hill, the team was willing to restructure a lot of deals this offseason. Why is his not yet touched to this point?) – "Woah, woah, woah – I coach football. So again, that's… (laughter). I'm egregiously obvious this offseason that it is very important for me to stay in that lane. We obviously value all of the players that we pay a lot of money to. The business and stuff, I'll leave that to the agents and the front office so that we can try to go on the correct snap count today."

(Another evolution question for you here. How have you seen the use of pre-snap motion evolve since you entered the league?) – "Woah, that's… (laughter). You know what's really funny is the history in the 20 years since I entered the league and how I can pull clips of my first full-time job in Houston, us orchestrating a two-minute drive under center and the amount of motion, something that I think we used to lead the league in in Houston at like 40 percent, maybe, so it's grown a ton. I think it's advantageous to have a receiver background a lot of times for motioning, because you're trying to gain leverages on the defense and dictate the terms in that regard. Doing that for 20 years and having reduced splits, I think that there's been more and more people that have latched on. Then those people that are maybe inspired by Houston's offense motioning, then they invent a motion or create a different motion that kind of gives routes to ideas that we have. So it's definitely completely evolved. I don't think we installed timing at the snap motion until I want to say maybe 2017 or 2018, and we have almost half our plays that way. It's been a cool process, that's definitely become more of the norm. And those cycles, they will probably come back full cylinder in 20 years, and everybody will be stagnant."

(Just a quick follow up. On the defensive side of the ball, what trends have you maybe seen of teams trying to combat that as more teams run the timing-based pre-snap motion?) – "I think that you've seen defenses kind of put into buckets, whether they travel or keep the alignment and bump stuff over. But what it does do is it kind of, because it's initial – because it's so sudden right before the snap, it kind of shows you the ins and outs of what defenses are doing. Because of that, you're seeing more and more people have different sort of answers where they have auto triggers with pressures, or they have more consistent rules. From team to team, you can tell that there's live problem solving going on. It changes a little bit each and every week from opponent to opponent, but the consistent thing you do see is that people are getting better and better at defending it. So just keeping leverage on the defense, making sure that the timed motion doesn't beat up your flats, those types of things. That's always the chess match in football that from a schematic standpoint is pretty cool, is you can surprise people for a little bit, then they have an answer for it. So then they're overplaying one thing. What's the next move? What's the next direction you go? Because if you give defensive coaches and defensive players infinite amount of time to try to stop one thing, they'll be able to stop that one thing. So you always have to evolve and so goes the chess match."

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