Read the full transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on October 1, 2023.
(Obviously there are a lot of things that go into a 48-20 loss. What would you say was the most glaring to you on the offense after the first two scoring drives?) – "First off, I think the Buffalo Bills proved why they are the team that our whole division is trying to beat. They've won it for how many years in a row now. They made some adjustments, and we didn't, so to speak. I think it was kind of compounding. It was something that – I'll start by making sure I'm doing right by the players, and us as a coaching staff, putting people in the right positions for success. Like you said, after the first couple drives, it was a struggle for us for a lot of the game. That's something that can't happen against a really good team."
(QB Tua Tagovailoa had mentioned specifically that communication on his part was something that needs to improve. We didn't see a lot of pre-snap penalties in the first two games which were on the road. Is it as simple as it was louder? Or why was that?) – "No, I mean that's what you want to hear from the quarterback, the starting quarterback of your franchise because you don't want to look – you're hoping not to have finger pointers, especially from the leader of your team. That being said, that's all nice to hear and I appreciate him taking the bullet for a lot of people, but I think that one of the reasons that we'll all look in the mirror and understand why we had success is because we didn't have those things happen. I know we had kind of an injury at one point and it kind of messed me up. I was responsible for delay game for sure, but Tua's teammates need to know the ins and outs of their responsibilities, and Tua can't be in charge of getting everyone aligned. So there's a lot of stuff that go on with that. It's the National Football League. You play one of the best teams in the National Football League, you better not have that part of your game, otherwise you'll learn the hard way, which is what we did today."
(Anything you can put your finger on why the offense got slowed down after the first two drives?) – "Like I said, I think that a big part of it has to do with the Buffalo Bills having a really good defense. You don't just go down the field and score at will in the National Football League over and over and over. You have two drives, that's cool, but you have to – you're going to punt, and they're going to make plays too. What you can't do is have self-inflicted wounds. Things that I think our whole locker room and our coaching staff expect to get done weren't getting done. So that's the entirety of everyone involved on the offense, starting with me for sure."
(Earlier in the week, we asked Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio about shadowing Bills WR Stefon Diggs and he said, "We're not at that point in our defense." Was that ever a topic of discussion?) – "No, I think that's an easy finger to point. I think there was a couple situations where I know Kader (Kohou) would like to have back. But at the same time, I think there's a lot of people that weren't executing a lot of times late in the play. People can get blamed for getting beat down in the field, but our expectation as a defense is to is to get home in those situations too. So it's a collective thing that I think hindsight it seems like, 'Yeah, well, we should.' I mean, obviously when you get beat by 28 points, you could argue that the opposite of what you did across the board would be a better answer. We'll find those answers internally, but I don't think it's as easy as making one person a scapegoat for sure. Our team, offense and defense, needs to improve, as well as the special teams, and that's what we'll be focusing on moving forward, for sure."
(Did you have any issue with the pass interference call on CB Kader Kohou?) – "I mean, I'm not trying to get fined. So, I mean I did not like an explosive play, penalty or not. That that part I can speak on, but besides that, it's inconsequential. You don't put it in the officials' hands, regardless of how I feel."
(I was curious if you got an explanation from the refs on the upheld fourth down play from WR Braxton Berrios?) – "Yeah, it was kind of what I was worried about. I thought the play was too big of a play not to throw the red flag, but it was lack of view to overturn was basically the explanation. At first, I heard that they were going to adjust the spot to make it a half yard, and then that definitely wasn't the case. So I think that it's just something that if you want the yard, get it visibly is the way I look at it, as opposed to leaving it in the officials' hands for sure."
(Is RB De'Von Achane making a case for an even larger role after last week's performance by following it up with what he did today?) – "Yeah, I'll take a look at the tape before I hesitate to crown anybody. You're looking at each individual play. I know he made some plays; the game is not too big for him. He'll continue to have a role, for sure, for our offense moving forward. What does that look like in terms of ratios and touches? That that will be something that I would be remiss if I didn't wait to see the tape before making judgments like that."
(Did you expect a learning curve with learning a whole new defense under Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio? Where are you at with the defense right now?) – "I would be lying if I was pumped about anything from our team today. I think the National Football League is a very humbling game. If you're not on your stuff and you're playing a team that is, this will happen. My view is that there are natural curves of learning as you install any system. However, there is nothing to be justified with the point differential for our team. So to say that I'm happy with anything would be false. I think we have a capable team. You win and lose in this league by one score at the end of the game. I think it's a disservice to our team to lose by four and that I made clear to the team."
(After four games, where are you looking to improve?) – "We are 3-1 and we play the New York Football Giants next week. Right? So, that's where we're at. I think it would be a failure on anybody's part on our football team to look at it more than that or less than that. We are 3-1. So what happens if you're 4-0? You have to keep getting better, you have to keep progressing. The things that are failing your team aren't going to go away, you have to fix them. So that's what we'll be of the mindset. It's a division loss on the road and that will always hurt, especially against the team that you feel like going into it you're capable of putting together a better performance than that. It's all about how you respond to everything. Just like if we would have won the game, how would we respond to that? This is a young team that needs to learn fast to get out of this season what they want. This provides an outstanding opportunity, and my eyes will be open to watch every single person across the board, how they respond to it because this doesn't define your season, either way. It's all about how you handle things, how you handle the adversity and how you handle success in the National Football League."
(Do you have an update on the status of T Terron Armstead) – "I'll get more information. I know it wasn't just a reaggravation of anything, but I'll have more information tomorrow."
(You used the word 'humbling'. QB Tua Tagovailoa and WR Tyreek Hill used the same word. Any part of you worried about your team being overconfident out there on the sidelines?) – "No, because correlation or causation, you don't know and don't pretend to know it's X, Y, or Z. But if they were, if anybody was, I mean, I think the lesson has been learned quite literally. But I'm not going to say that it was or just put it all on that, I think that's the easy way out. I think you have to watch the tape and assess position by position, group by group and phase by phase to come up with something tangible that guys can get better from."