Read the transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022.
(Has QB Tua Tagovailoa been ruled out for Sunday against Minnesota?) – "Tua (Tagovailoa), right now, I'm not even really thinking about his timeline. As I said before, he is – we're just trying to get him as healthy as possible. We're pretty much in a 12- to 24-hour reoccurring evaluation process, and he's doing well. He was here today, but he is not ready to take the step to do some football stuff yet. So that will be – talk to me every 12 to 24 hours."
(Where is QB Teddy Bridgewater at? Is he still in concussion protocol?) – "Teddy (Bridgewater), he had no symptoms today. He had no symptoms yesterday, but per the rule change, he is being treated as though he has a concussion. So he is in the subsequent protocol."
(This week, you play the Vikings as you mentioned before. The names that come to mind include Adrian Peterson, Randy Moss, Daunte Culpepper, Cris Carter and the late Hall of Fame Coach Dennis Green. I know you spent some time early in your career as a running backs coach with him in the UFL. What was that experience like and what are some things that you keep with you today that you learned from him?) – "That was a very impactful experience, specifically with Coach Dennis Green, because he was a unique and unique-spirited leader. So it was very – he was very outside the box, so it left a big impression on me, just how he saw things for what they were, how he didn't try to follow the path of least resistance, nor did he really concern himself with what others were doing. He would tell me stories about how when he got to Minnesota, he specifically altered the offense to a digit system that was foreign to him because all the – he wanted to have something unique and different and a competitive advantage against all the Coach (Bill) Walsh disciples that were coming from that tree. So all those things were very impactful. He was such a good human being and that will forever last with me."
(A couple of offensive line questions, T Terron Armstead, what are you hearing? Is he back in South Florida? And then T Austin Jackson?) – "He's back in South Florida. I think the visit went well. The one thing I've learned with Terron (Armstead) is I can trust him as much as I've ever trusted any player. So I know one thing, he will do whatever it takes to play Sunday. The one thing that myself, the coaching staff and his teammates know is if he's not able to play, it's because he's physically unable to play. So (I'm) trusting that process and excited that he's taken a step to get that thing healthy. And then what was the (other question)?"
(T Austin Jackson.) – "The plan is to hopefully – we plan and hope to see him practice this week in a limited role, but he's done a great job getting himself back so that we could even consider that this week."
(In the past hour or so, we've seen a couple of videos from some of the local TV stations showing QB Teddy Bridgewater after the safety. And in those videos, at least from what we can see from those angles, we did not see him stumble. What have you been able to see on video so far? Have you seen anything that indicates a stumble or doesn't indicate any stumble whatsoever?) – "Honestly, I don't really concern myself with all of that, just because – I was there at the game. I was watching him intently. It was the first offensive play of the game and I didn't see him stumble, but I'm also not really in the business of grading and coaching spotters. The rule is in place for player safety and I'm all about that. Honestly, whether he stumbled or not, the rules are the rules. My only takeaway from the whole process was really my personal relationship with Teddy (Bridgewater). Teddy was very prepared to play that game. He put a lot into it, and I was excited to see him play. My heart hurt that he was unable to execute something he was very prepared for, and his teammates were excited to see him play."
(Regarding QB Teddy Bridgewater, given the area that he's in now where he's not showing symptoms but he's in the protocol, what would be the soonest that he could possibly participate in a practice? And how reluctant would you be to play a quarterback if he hadn't practiced the previous week?) – "As far as the protocol, for good reason, the coaches aren't involved in that. So I know in a perfect world where there's absolutely no setbacks with anything – again, this is kind of uncharted territory for us – the soonest that you can be on the field in a limited capacity, non-contact, would be Thursday. However, I'm not going to try to guess if that's going to come true or not. This is, again – I just do the best with the situation given and try not to spend my time worrying about things that I can't control as best I can."
(If QB Teddy Bridgewater only has a couple of limited practices leading up to the game, just based on his experience, would you feel comfortable having him play in the game on Sunday?) – "These are a lot of hypotheticals. I think I would like – I would like to see when Teddy (Bridgewater) can practice, which is not up to, necessarily, us in general. And then once that happens, assess the situation, which there are some compounding variables. I think he does – the one thing I do know is that he will do everything it takes to prepare to play in a football game. I'm very comfortable with that. You just have to really do right by the football team and the player in terms of whether or not you're putting a player – whether or not he feels comfortable to execute his responsibility. So that's too early – there's too many hypotheticals for me to even assess that. What I do know is he's a pro, and if and when he's called upon, I know he's going to put his best foot forward for himself and his teammates."
(Can you quantify just the level of, I guess you'd call it misfortune, to have three consecutive games where a quarterback hits his head the same exact way on a hit and is caused to miss time because of it?) – "It's a weird question for me to be asked because I'm not lying. The adversity is an opportunity is real to me, only because that is life (and) that is football. So as opposed to sitting here and saying, 'Wow, this is hard.' Winning is hard. Being the National Football League, whether you're a coach or a player, is hard. All things that are worth achieving are hard. So in an odd way, I haven't really – let's just put it this way. I think I would feel guilt and feel as though I was shortchanging the Dolphins and the team if I was spending any time thinking about how hard it is. I think you always want your players to be healthy. I think you always make sure that your roster is built so that you have players capable to execute in light of any sort of injury, and you do that the right way, you're confident in all your players and whatever hand is dealt, you have to deal with."
(A couple of your cornerbacks, CB Xavien Howard and CB Byron Jones, are you optimistic for this week?) – "Again, no setbacks. I'm not sure. I don't expect to see Byron this week. I don't. 'X' (Xavien Howard) had a – we were happy with where he was at today and he's a guy that he's fully embraced his captain's role. He takes it very serious. It pained him to not be on the field with his teammates, much like it did the other three captains that were playing – or two-and-a-half because (Terron) Armstead dropped. So I know for a fact that he, like the other captains that are on the sidelines, will do everything possible to be ready for Sunday, and we'll see him if he's ready to go."
(How about TE Durham Smythe?) – "He's really in the same lump, I guess. It's all the true professionals that do things the right way that appear to be getting injured. So he's a guy that I wouldn't count out at all. But it was a serious enough deal for it to be unknown for his game status. So we'll treat that day by day. It's a real – I don't know, crapshoot right now when it comes to injuries. But an unintended consequence that is a positive is that I think our team is getting used to not blinking when guys go down. That is a part of our sport that you don't want people to lose a competitive advantage if you're like, 'well, we got no chance because this guy's hurt.' That is not the mindset of the football team. We have a lot of good football players that can contribute and perform if those guys aren't able to come back."
(Are you moving forward this week with practices and everything with the assumption that QB Skylar Thompson will be the starter on Sunday?) – "I'm moving forward to – it's too soon for me to really pinpoint that. There's, again, I kind of have to wait and assess the whole situation, which I do not have in scope. What I do know is that Skylar will be practicing on Wednesday and hopefully Wednesday I'll have a better feel of the direction that we should go that's best for the football team."
(After watching some of the film from last night, what did you like about what QB Skylar Thompson did?) – "I really respected the fact of how – being a backup quarterback in this league is not easy. And what people don't understand is you have a finite amount of reps during the week because you can't deplete your athletes and you can't have endless amount of reps. So typically, starters get anywhere from 80 to 100 percent of the practice reps. So a backup quarterback, especially a rookie, is a tremendous challenge because you have to own the whole gameplan, visualize it, be able to call it, be able to line people up and then execute appropriately. I think he was way on top of the gameplan in a way that I don't think typically I'm used to rookies being on top of. I think he was also frustrated with his play but confident that he – it was more of like a frustration in the moment like 'my feet are messed up, that wasn't the right timing.' Overall, it's exactly what I thought it would be where I left the game knowing that the game is not too big for him and that was probably if he has any say in it, that was probably the worst that he will feel like he'll perform as a professional. And that was good enough to (almost) win. So I was very happy with the player because it takes a lot of prep and it's a big stage that everyone isn't up for."
(When you say it's too soon to pinpoint if QB Skylar Thompson will be starting, is that only because of the availability of QB Tua Tagovailoa and QB Teddy Bridgewater? Or does QB Reid Sinnett factor into that?) – "You guys didn't bring up Cedrick Wilson. (laughter) No, there's just like, too many variables right now for my head to even absorb. I think those decisions are important and without a shadow of a doubt, I'll make that with the best interest in the football team. But there are literally too many variables that I don't feel comfortable going down that road. But hopefully in the next couple of days, I will."
(Those variables are challenging enough coming up with a game plan for a tough opponent, but then you factor in you don't know which quarterback. What does that add relative to the challenge of your install and everything that may go into this week?) – "It a nice challenge, but nothing that myself and the rest of the coaching staff isn't paid to do. That's just kind of how I look at those things. No one really cares how hard it is. Do you want me to sit here and be like, 'Man, this is hard?' No. It's a different sort of challenge, but every week you're trying to solve challenges. Whether it's what the defense presents, some of the issues, maybe injuries that you have. And then there's some weeks that those are compounding. It's difficult but nothing that I don't see as part of what I expect from myself and what I expect from the coaching staff, so you don't need to shed any tears for me."
(Yesterday you said you were optimistic about WR Tyreek Hill's status. He obviously was in the boot after the game. Are there any updates on his health kind of going into the week?) – "He looked pretty good today, but we'll take that day by day. I know he won't – if and when he plays next, he won't play in a boot. I know that much. (laughter) But he's another one. We have a lot of guys that really care about playing football and take the responsibility, especially the captains, that take that responsibility very serious. So days after games, especially with leg and ankle stuff and feet, typically things are pretty swollen. He felt all right, but it's going to be – with him he's a fast healer, but you just don't know those type of things. So like most of my life right now, we'll take it day by day."
(A couple of QB Teddy Bridgewater questions – back to him. No. 1, I know you guys can send video to the league. Would you send – I don't even know where he would send a video of him allegedly stumbling, but would you send that video to anyone to get a clarification on the rule? And No. 2, would you send video of the intentional grounding? And what did you think of that call?) – "So the two things as far as those procedures go. One, I wouldn't see any reason to send the league a video because it already happened. So like, am I in the business of grading spotters? No. I mean, it is what it is and I'm not really concerned with – again, I would feel irresponsible on my part to be like, no one cares if we think this, that or the other. Secondly, typically there's a communication system set up by the league in regards to penalties. And the way it works is that you have designated coaches each week and if you have a discrepancy with a call or a question, you submit them in a form format that's standardized the day after the game, and they generally get back to you pretty quick. So I'm sure we'll get a clarification on that. But typically, I don't really – again, I don't really spend my time worrying about past things, whether they're misgivings or whatever they are that are outside of my control. I'm more concerned with doing my job as it relates to the football team, the coaching staff, the players in the organization, and then preparing our team for the next challenge ahead, which you know (the Vikings are) 4-1 and doing a great job so we would not be giving ourselves the best chance to compete against them if we did anything otherwise."