Read the transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022.
(Did S Brandon Jones tear his ACL and is he out for the year?) – "So it's looking like he's going to go on IR. We're getting some more opinions. There's some lingering college stuff that is complicating the issue. But we should more know more by Wednesday. I'm not too excited about it."
(As far as S Brandon Jones playing this year?) – "Again, I'd be hesitant to say that until we get all the information. That's not really fair to him or anyone. We'll hope for the best information coming back. But more than likely, he is going to be on IR on Wednesday, and we'll know a little bit more by then."
(Is this the week that CB Byron Jones joins?) – "I don't think it's going to be, no. I think the whole process is definitely frustrating for all parties. But these things are individualistic and how people recover from things. I know it's not because it's not for all the effort from both sides, from our medical staff and from his side as well. It doesn't look like this weekend. As far as when it's going to be, I just don't like to speak from – I think it's kind of irresponsible to just spew out. I literally have no idea. We hope but we're prepared. We can't control the uncontrollable. So as far as that timeline, it's frustrating to say so I know it's frustrating for you guys to keep asking, but it is what it is."
(Just one other thing to clarify on CB Byron Jones. Is the body part that's keeping him out now the same one that was surgically repaired in March? Or was there a new injury to a different body part that's resulted in being sidelined?) – "It's one body part. His lower leg. I can say that. There's been several things going on in the process but there hasn't been necessarily any sort of setbacks from it. It's been more that it's just been a long road of recovery. And, again, those things just really respond differently with different people."
(OL Austin Jackson this week, is there a chance he'll be back?) – "I'm not sure if we're going to see him in practice this week. I'm not ruling out that possibility. Here's the thing, it's been going good with him. We're also in real time kind of figuring out – the player is just so eager. He's put in such a good offseason. He just was getting into the rhythm of the game before he had his injury. So we're learning that we have to be a little protective for the against the player because what we don't want is for him to come back and it to be a week long and then further setback. We have to be kind of proactive with him because he is chomping at the bit. But things are going well with him and love where he's staying mentally while he progresses back."
(The 500th team victory in franchise history. How big of that stage for y'all to come through at that moment? How does it feel getting that accomplishment?) – "I'm very proud of the team because, I've said a multitude of times, it takes an organization to win football games into full commitment. I was happy for the team with all those different things that were very cool and we were very fortunate to be a part of – being on national television, being the celebration of the '72 team. On top of that, on a three-game losing streak, having a multitude of injuries, and finding a way as a team to find a way to get a victory, that was the thing I was really proud of because that's the nature of the beast in this league. It's having things happen to you, or going through things together as a group, and then it brings the best out of you. So I was pumped for that. I think the stage just provided more excitement, but also more noise that you have to sift through, which is what you have to do to be a good football team in this league."
(This is your first night game here since the Super Bowl that you had. Did you have any flashbacks or recollections to that time?) – "Preseason reps are real reps for me, so this was not the first. But no, at this point, I've been fortunate enough to be in a bunch of night games and prime time games. I look at each game as an independent experience. It was very unique and cool in its own right. To come out to the stadium like it was a hyped up Heat game or something with all the lights off, that was a cool experience for the guys. The guys were pretty hyped about that. You could just feel the energy in the crowd. The crowd was awesome. It was a cool environment for them to go find a way to win."
(I think QB Tua Tagovailoa alluded to it last night that things were a little bit off sometimes in the passing game. And watching the game back and look like there were some chances where like Tua would throw to a spot and the receiver kind of was falling out of the break. Did you see that? And if so, what would you attribute to that – maybe a little bit of rust or just being off that little smidge?) – "I definitely saw that. They knew it during the game. I think it was great examples of – we talk a lot about the timing of our offense and when we want things out of our breaks and how we're expecting quarterbacks to anticipate and receivers to run the routes of theirs. It seemed there was more than a handful of situations where our expectation is to catch something running, and that's kind of what we work on, and we fell short because there was just a little bit of hesitation or just straying away from our fundamentals. And when you're able to still find a way to win, it's awesome to have those experiences because now you can learn from them. There were like five or six examples of it's a much different looking ball game, and we're scoring the points that we expect to score, if we're meeting our expectations that are simple fundamentals. It's something that is encouraging because we can control it. And that's something that all of our guys will expect to clean up in the weeks moving forward."
(How did you feel S Clayton Fejedelem and S Verone McKinley III played in their snaps? And not opting for S Eric Rowe there [inaudible]) – "Each game, you have – you have your package of actives, that's in the equation with special teams and whatnot, and you go in with certain contingencies if a certain person should go down and where people are going to move and that's how you rep stuff during the week. It just so happened that our contingency plan in those affected certain packages that we were running at the time in the game. We were playing certain types of coverages that fit within the gameplan, so it went right on routine. It had nothing of – nothing to negate from Eric Rowe's play. It was just the plan going in with the people that we had up on the active game day roster."
(Your thoughts on what OL Brandon Shell has given you at right tackle these past two games?) – "Again, he continues to impress. I thought he did some really, really good things, and on top of – in the short period of time with the stuff that he's had to master, I think he's playing very well. I've been very proud of him. He's fitting right into the culture, continues to get better and is a real strong dude that understands angles and how to block people. So it's been fun to watch him develop, and he's making our offensive line group as a whole better by his good play."
(How much gratification do you get when you see a player that is working so hard in practice, like CB Noah Igbinoghene? It seemed like everybody after the game was just so proud of what he was able to accomplish. Throughout the game, he was getting picked on, but then he comes up with this great pick. As a coach, how much gratification do you get to see him step up to the plate when he really needed to step up to the plate?) – "That is the best part of coaching – it's the best-case scenario. That's the most rewarding, because that's why it's such a cool experience that you can viscerally feel from the rest of the locker room and all the players, because you recognize expectations and hardships and having to deal with the pressures that come with being a talented athlete and being young. Then to see people persevere through some hardship, that epitomizes everything that I get into coaching for – that's like as good as it gets. I think Noah (Igbinoghene) could feel it. I think the whole team – it just goes to show the type of locker room we have and how people are really rooting for each other and believe in each other, which is one of the reasons why we have so many guys stepping up because of injury. There's a lot of belief in each other and people are bringing the best out of each other, which there's nothing better than seeing that really."
(NBC showed a segment with your youth football team – your Spartans helmet– and on the inside, you inscribed, "I will make it." Did you have a Dolphins sticker inside that helmet too?) – "Oh, yeah. I had every team. This was, I think it was 28 teams at the time – I can't remember. But yes, every team in the National Football League."
(The manifestation of that, when did you when did it click for you that "Hey, this is the right direction for me to go?") – "When you guys hired me. (laughter) No, I think I always knew. I knew when I was working a ton of hours as an intern and I wasn't making any money and I was excited to go to work, I knew it was the right path for me because I knew for me to have a shot to reach any sort of life goals and expectations for myself, I'd have to be passionate about what I was doing. Unfortunately, I wasn't too passionate about anything other than binge-watching TV shows, reading some books and football. Those other two things aren't that marketable, so I was very – I could feel it then when it was really hard but easy."
(What did you see from LB Jaelan Phillips and LB Andrew Van Ginkel last night?) – "I saw guys rising to the occasion when their team them needed most. I saw (Andrew) Van Ginkel really stop pressing to make plays and played full tilt within the scheme, and as a result, made a ton of plays – strained a ton. I saw some of the best effort that I've witnessed from a player playing 60 snaps in the final 10 snaps of this game with Jaelen Phillips. He's known as a strainer and a hard worker, but he was playing at a speed at the end of the game that his teammates noticed and felt and it gives him a chance to do some cool things for us later in games with effort and strain like that. It speaks to all of his preparation and how good of shape he's in. It was pretty impressive."