Read the full transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on October 11, 2023.
(Is RB De'Von Achane going to require knee surgery, and do you expect him back within a short time after a four-game short-term IR type thing?) – "This is why I accumulate information before I speak. I think it goes to show what type of tough guy we're dealing with, but confirmed, he will go on IR. It wasn't like a black and white decision where it was obvious. It's in lieu of that 'ish' timeline. It was something that we, (General Manager) Chris (Grier) and I, knew was the best thing for the team, which always coincides with being the best thing for that particular athlete. That has just commenced and confirmed."
(Is it a sprain for RB De'Von Achane?) – "As far as – there's not anything more grave. The level of severity, I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in terms of whatever you'd call it, I'm not going to call it. But yeah, the main thing on his mind was procedural, his ability to make sure that he's going to the games. So it tells you where his mind is at. That's why we have a large group of very good running backs, because that's kind of the nature of the position at times."
(So what will be next? RB De'Von Achane won't have surgery? What will his rehab look like?) – "Well, it will be diligent, and I'll get daily updates. That, to which, you know me, I'm worried about today. He's in great hands. It's going to be diligent, like I said. It was not black and white, whether or not to put him on IR, but just knowing all the factors, we thought it was best for the team, for sure."
(When did RB De'Von Achane sustain the injury?) – "I know it to be in the game. It was in the late portion of the game, and he did take some snaps afterward. But exactly where it was, he was kind of feeling it out, I didn't really comb it that way. I really don't like to watch injuries on tape, so I don't comb through it in that regard. He'll be diligently moving forward."
(You said it wasn't a black and white decision, what were the pros and cons of putting RB De'Von Achane on IR?) – "There's a finite timeline and the amount of players that you have to consider with the obligations of the whole roster, these are all things that we heavily scrutinize and make sure that we're doing right by both the player and the team. In this case, it was pretty sound after we worked through it, that that was the best scenario for all parties involved."
(Will RB Jeff Wilson Jr. practice today and is he on track to be able to be available if needed this weekend?) – "It just so happens that Jeff Wilson Jr.'s window has opened today. He will be practicing professional football with the Miami Dolphins today, preparing for the Carolina Panthers."
(Just one more on RB De'Von Achane, is it fair to say you expect him back at some point this year?) – "That's fair. That's very fair. I'd take those tickets from the fair and go to the fair. And if I'm out in the sun too long, my skin will be no longer fair."
(With RB Jeff Wilson Jr., is he already at a point where he could be close to being activated off of IR?) – "We shall see. That's why – get your popcorn ready for today's practice, again, most important day of our lives. A lot of those things, those answers, whether someone is ready to play, coming from injury or whatever, the great news is I see better than I hear, and my eyes will be wide open today. So he'll get the opportunity to show his teammates and the coaching staff where he's at. So I look forward to that, he's been chomping at the bit."
(How does RB De'Von Achane's injury status affect your outlook for the running game in general? Or does it?) – "No, I think that the run game is 11 different players. I know he's done an outstanding job and I've been very pleased with how far he's come as a professional. I always knew the talent was there, but he just really, really progressed and is one of the guys, among veterans in the locker room, he – what did he have, two carries in the first two games? I never really look at the run game in general as one player. He's been making a ton of plays and has been obviously doing an outstanding job with every single one of his opportunities. But yeah, this is something that fortunately, we took measures to have a group of running backs that, shoot, you guys can't stop talking about him and he had to earn his opportunity. We knew just as well as you guys did, what that would look like. We didn't know. You figure, you hope, you think, but he's done really everything he can with his opportunities presented to him. There'll be more opportunities. He's been playing with Raheem (Mostert) very well. There'll be more opportunities for the other guys as well. We're in a fortunate situation in that regard, that I think we have multiple players at the running back position that can start in this league and can do very well within their job parameters here with the Dolphins."
(On OL Isaiah Wynn, you had mentioned Monday that you weren't too worried, but he would have more tests over 24 hours. Is he cleared to practice today?) – "Oh yeah, he's ready to go. He nodded his head to me, in recognition of today and how important it would be. So he's good to go."
(How realistic is it to get WR Chase Claypool up to speed with enough of the offense to participate as soon as Sunday?) – "It'll be interesting to see. You don't have too many of these scenarios where you get a talented player that's done a lot in this league, jumping on your team when you're in a phase of football that's been able to be productive, for sure. But I'm going to let him tell me. I really don't know. I'm the wrong person to ask because I've been in the same offense for 17 years. I think we'll see what that looks like because there's not that – don't have that many reps in a regular season game of this at the receiver position, specifically. But definitely open-minded and going to allow him to shape our vision and his teammates, because it's one thing that you have to do on this team is you have to earn the privilege to play with a group of guys on the only place that matters, and that's grass."
(There's been some speculation WR Chase Claypool might get some work at tight end. Is he a wide receiver here?) – "Yeah, he's a wide receiver. I mean, Mike White might be working as punt returner today – you never know. (laughter) OK, so what you are alluding to is he's a player with above-average size at his position, and if he's able to execute certain things, I'm not going to limit a player to what he can or can't do. Every game we have guys doing multiple roles and fitting within the offense tailored to their skill sets. So it'll be cool to watch, and I can tell he is definitely attentive. He's paying attention to everything I can tell you that much."
(How fast is the fastest you've seen a guy kind of digest your offense?) – "Well, it's the receiver position that's kind of unique. I've been around running backs and quarterbacks in unique structures. Quarterback, you have to kind of minimize what the offense is so they can have a little package. You understand that. Then had running backs the week of – I think the last time was either 2020 or 2021. There was a running back from Cincinnati that we played that week that actually threw a pass. That's a different job description here. I think the offense that he had been in is similarly structured from a concept background, which is always helpful, as opposed to a digit system. So there's some West Coast lineage. I don't know what it was before that, but I think it is a different experience than when you're a veteran player who has worked with different offensive coordinators on different teams. You can kind of find ways to learn expeditiously, but again, I don't want to pass judgment either way. The idea is that you're listening to this foreign language and being able to execute your job responsibilities at a level that there's no excuses for like, 'Hey, I'm the new guy.' So that's tough. He knows the standard. Our coaches have spent extra time with him trying to do the very best they can, and we'll see what that looks like out on the field. Either way, as long as it's intense in the appropriate place, we have a lot of football players on this team that are very capable of making football plays. So we'll get him out there when he's ready and able and we'll start seeing how fast it is today."
(I'm not sure how much you watch QB Bryce Young in the pre-draft process, but what have you seen from him so far in his young career?) – "A baller with a bright future. He one of the few young quarterbacks that you see coming out that see defenders when operating as a quarterback. His vision is uncanny, and his timing and rhythm to the game, you can see that he's going to be a very good player in this league, in my opinion. There's nothing more difficult than being a rookie starting quarterback. In that process, you learn live speed. What I've seen is a guy that's showing his talent through the rhythm of plays and learning certain things with regard to – he's uncanny in the pocket, how he moves, and he'll continue to get better at extending plays. He throws a very catchable ball that's built for YAC. You can tell – there's a reason for why the guys that he played with in college and how much respect they have for him. If you don't believe me, just ask any 'Bama player, and then you can tell why he's earned the respect of not only other rookies, but veterans on that team."
(Only Bo Jackson has averaged more yards per carry since 1966 than RB Raheem Mostert of the Miami Dolphins. How effective do you think RB Raheem Mostert would be as a Tecmo Bowl player?) – "Whoa. You know, Tecmo Bowl would do him a disservice, because Tecmo Bowl you can literally run backwards and go side to side. One of his greatest strengths is linear yard accumulation. He treats almost every play like a kick return is the way I look at it. He sees a hole, and you can always – there's not that many runners in the league that you see finish a run where the tacklers are coming to compress and that are falling that way because they're just a hair off on their angle, because of the way that he approaches the line of scrimmage. Like I've always said, you recognize a different breed when you come across. This is a guy that has – he just keeps getting stronger and he's as hungry as ever. So Tecmo Bowl, I would elicit more like post-2010 technology, because his slashing ability with the ball in his hands wouldn't have been done justice, which is a shame."
(When you see a team 0-5, like the Panthers now, on paper, obviously, it looks like a mismatch. But what are some dangers of playing a team that's in this deep of a hole?) – "Well you guys would have no idea about a franchise losing five in a row, would you? (laughter) Yeah, it's the most dangerous opponent you can play, because losing – let alone just losing in general in the league, you have to sit on it for a week, and you put a lot of time into it. You can't do anything about it for one week. Well you go to work every day, and then after five games, your point differential in the first half is one point and you haven't won a game yet, that is not fun. So you will do anything, anything to change that. I think that is something that we have direct recall on, just very recent, and you know how powerful that is. You know that teams in that process, while they may feel a certain way, that ends up bonding people and making teams that much tighter. The bottom line is that this is the National Football League, so I know one thing, the Carolina Panthers have everything to gain. They're going to come to Hard Rock (Stadium) and not care about any sort of stat that you guys want to throw out at them. They're going to try to win together as a team to change that feeling. You have to be aware of that, and not to mention the fact that they're littered with NFL playmakers. Maybe teams like to look at win-loss, or whatever. We just look at the bottom line – the tape shows a team that's going to come, not only compete, but they're going to do it in a physical fashion. They are sick of having that feeling, they're going to want to change it. So that's the force that we're facing this week, which is why I'm just glad that you guys think today is so important, because I do too."
(I don't think anyone asked you about LB Jaelan Phillips or RB Salvon Ahmed?) – "Still working through Jaelan Phillips. It's just making sure that, again, we're looking at it for the long haul, so we're daily investigating that. 'SA' (Salvon Ahmed) should be practicing today, for sure, in orange shoes probably."