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Transcript | Mike McDaniel's Media Availability - October 31

Read the transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022.

(So tomorrow is the trade deadline. Do you anticipate any movement by you guys?) – "Right now I'm exclusively a football coach and we have conversations, but I'm focused on our team as it stands and the Chicago Bears who are going to be trying to beat us here in a day less than a week."

(There was a report that OL Liam Eichenberg sprained his MCL or suffered an MCL injury. I was wondering if you could confirm that and provide some more information on how long he might be out?) – "I can confirm that it was definitely on the positive side of bad news that he got hurt, but it was a pleasant surprise that we were getting various opinions, we know he was going to miss some time; but there wasn't an injury to all the CL's, as they call them in the biz as we kind of feared. We're getting more information. We know he's going to be out. We just don't really know how long it'll be."

(Tomorrow is November so now we're expecting to see the best football from you all during this timeframe. Can you expand on WR Tyreek Hill and WR Jaylen Waddle and what they're doing as far as record setting this year and how this play is elevating your offense to hone in together as a unit?) – "I think it's a function of a lot of players, coaches and just everyone together getting better and I think that's the mission that they're all on and Tyreek (Hill) and Jaylen (Waddle) are definitely a huge part of it, but all their success does come with a lot of teammate – basically you're depending on your teammates to do their jobs correctly to put you in position to be able to do all those things, too. I'm seeing a lot of improvement across the board, but the things that I've been most pleased about both Jaylen and Tyreek is their commitment during the season to getting better, not being satisfied with their results. They're trying to get more out of each opportunity which is what you want from your players."

(We're getting closer to the OL Austin Jackson deadline where you've got to make a move on him. Do you know what you're going to do with him? Will he be out at practice tomorrow?) – "Some point this week obviously he will return. We're just going to be taking it day by day and for me, I'm going to be ultra-conservative and see it as very unlikely that I would let him go out there and play this week, but that process of returning will start and we'll take it day by day with that."

(I know that right now you're strictly a football coach in terms of the trade deadline but kind of what has this experience as a first-time head coach kind of been like approaching the trade deadline and having those conversations? What has the experience been like for you?) – "It's not really that much different just because of the way that quite naturally I look at what my job is to do on a day-to-day basis. I don't really give credence to hypotheticals. Luckily we have great conversations when they're necessary and when things get serious and appropriate that – that's what I do all day, so it's easy contribution on my end. So it's not really that much different. I'm focused on our team. Very happy with our team and if there's adjustments that do unfold, they'll be with the best interests for the Dolphins organization, but not even worried about that at this point."

(It looks like the offensive line is really starting to gel the last couple of weeks. I'm curious if you see the same thing and if you do what's kind of some of the causes of that?) – "I think it's continued, deliberate work that once we got into the season, there's a different adjustment that you have to make as an offensive lineman when you're preparing for different play styles from defensive linemen on week-by-week basis. I think the o-line enthusiast himself, I think Frank Smith as the offensive coordinator has done a great job working with the offensive line coaches as well and we've just really tried to emphasize certain fundamentals and techniques and get back to really, our roots, within how you approach each and every block. So long short of it is hard work and deliberate work and investment in their jobs and they're starting to see better results that we're counting on to continue to improve as the season progresses."

(The team put out a video going inside the postgame locker room and I noticed that you gave the first game ball to S Jevon Holland and you cited his leadership and I was curious, after what was kind of a tough day, a lot of the afternoon for the defense, what stood out to you about Jevon's leadership yesterday?) – "It's not only yesterday making important plays, but the energy, the command, the responsibility he takes, the pressure he puts on himself and it's impressive to watch someone go from adequate to being like a sophomore in high school because he was just a freshman, right? He goes from being, like a sophomore to senior, like, real quick. That's kind of what it feels like in terms of his leadership skills and it's transferring to his play, but also to his teammates' play and how they're playing together. And I thought that some of the best opportunities to be a leader and to really show your true colors, is making plays on the back half of a game that you're experiencing a lot of frustration within. Those are moments where the people straining, making plays in the second half after you give up 27 first half points; those are the people that end up winning games in this league, because you're going to have to survive some onslaughts at some point and not have an excuse to try to get to the W."

(You've had good contributions from your undrafted rookies this season including yesterday. Can you tell me about the process of seeing that talent develop? Do you see it on scout team, do you watch them in meetings? Like their ascension? How do you see that?) – "Ultimately it's kind of like the – there's a lot of commonalities with undrafted rookies that end up having success in the National Football League. The trick is, is you don't really find out if they're those type of guys until they get settled into the routine and get comfortable because it's a huge adjustment. A lot of times they're looking up at a long death chart, but when they do, they are process-oriented that are teammates that people can really count on that get it in a way that is not easy. That are ready to rise to the occasion of sport where there's the people that are playing around, have been heavily invested professionally in the game for multiple years so those types of guys, when an organization commits to try to find those guys; they end up exposing themselves on their own accord and you get lots of great results from guys that have chips on their shoulder."

(This is your fifth victory Monday. From the previous four, what makes this one more special than the other ones?) – "It's more of a 'what have you done for me lately' league. So I feel like I only for… I guess last night, I got to feel 1-0 for a second. But you're always taking whatever your situation is and the next week moving on to the next opponent. So currently I'm operating on a 0-0 record. So it feels kind of, you know, just preparing for the next scenario and doing what I ask the players to do, which is just try to give the your best effort in a deliberate fashion and care about what you're doing and we can live with whatever those results are."

(Special teams are the area that we've been watching carefully recently. Yesterday seemed to be a good day. They had a fake punt, but what did you think of special teams yesterday?) – "I think we were able to get some contributions from some guys that we rely on, I think as the team progresses and gets a little healthier; I think that there'll be more and more of those situations where guys will make plays. Listen, every phase of football goes through stretches where you have a couple games where maybe there's some opportunities you leave out on the field or maybe you're in a tough matchup. But it's the teams that work through those things and continue to fight that end up having some plays snowball. So I was I was encouraged with some of the plays were able to make and there's been some good things. As far as when we've been given opportunities to flip the field, I think our special teams has done a great job with that this year. There's stuff to build on and I'm confident that more plays will happen the more guys stay to the process."

(Do you anticipate CB Byron Jones will return to practice this week, be activated off PUP?) – "No, I don't this week. Same story, nothing's changed."

(FB Alec Ingold was able to get in the endzone for his first rushing touchdown. How proud were you for him in that moment?) – "I was proud that he took advantage of the opportunity to have a non-regrettable spike. (laughter) Because, like, a lot of times in the process, you know, people are pretty emotional, and the ball will slip and it'll be like sideways, it's not very powerful. Like he had a nice connection launch. He utilized the buoyancy of the turf and there was nice boom to it, so I was proud of him for taking advantage of that opportunity. It was cool."

(After the game, you mentioned a couple of plays that stood out to you about QB Tua Tagovailoa performance. Now that you've had a chance to watch the film are there any other plays that kind of pop out to you in terms of his high-level play?) – "Yeah, there was a considerable amount of plays that he made that I thought were high level quarterback play, and that he was seeing the defense appropriately, checking things down when he needed to, but really putting guys in a position to succeed. There was some ball placement stuff that you could see on film, particularly one to Jaylen Waddle in the red zone, a couple of his red zone plays in general were signs of a confident quarterback that's really starting to get comfortable in the system and comfortable playing the position within the system which is the most important part."

(Watching back yesterday's game what did you think of OL Robert Jones' performance stepping up for OL Liam Eichenberg and kind of your confidence in him stepping into that role moving forward?) – "Because of all the different variables that have been occurring all season, an offensive line ironically can become pretty fortunate with giving opportunities and a lot of opportunities in practice and some in the games for him to get play time and work on his craft. So because of watching him practice, I'm very confident in his ability to step in and continue – the last two games in particular, we were getting pretty good left guard play and I'm confident that he can step in and really continue that whole process that we had going."

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