Read the full transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on September 10, 2023.
Head Coach Mike McDaniel (transcribed by L.A. Chargers)
(On the connection with Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa and Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill) – "That's an offseason of — more than just two guys, but those two guys are a great example — of not focusing on anything but their craft. There's a lot of noise that can occur. A lot of statements that can be made. It's the National Football League and those are two guys that really worried about the right stuff. That's the ultimate hope as a coach — all that time invested and those high standards that you're holding yourself to, that that's rewarded. I think, today it definitely was. They were on the same page for sure."
(On the offensive performance) – "I think the biggest part was that I saw a lot of guys who have really maxed out their investment in themselves and their teammates. I think it was really cool to see guys make right of that. We really didn't spend little or any time talking about last year. Just because it was erroneous, I thought. Week 1 is always interesting, that's what I spent most of the time talking to players because the whole league — really, all fan bases kind of lose their mind Week 1 and it's totally understandable. You have all of this build up and it's the first game. You can really go sideways with your emotions when things don't work out your way. People overreact, a two-score deficit feels bigger. A dropped pass feels bigger than it actually is. So, overall, I was just really, really fired up about the team playing through things — having leads, losing leads and then ultimately, say what you want, the game was won with the defense on the field. That will always be the story of how teams win or lose. There'll be a game this year, I told the guys in the locker room, where we'll have to win the game without scoring a touchdown. Teams find a way. I was really pumped about that. It was just weathering the storm, doing what you have to do on both sides of the ball. If we need points, go and get two points, and if we need to stop, get a stop."
(On getting the field goal to close the first half) – "I think it was tremendous of the players on the field, Tua [Tagovailoa] in particular. He hit [WR Jaylen] Waddle and then bought some time in the pocket, stepped up in it, which in that situation is a huge credit to the offensive line, who I thought really put their best foot forward against some challenging players. To get those points is as big as any points, especially when you win by two points or whatever. Then at the end, that's the stuff that you want to see. You put the ball in the hands of your best players, at the end of the game. I know it gives us a chance as a team because there's multiple players that want the ball in their hands."
(On if he puts stock in 'coaching matchups) – "No. The reason I kind of scoffed at something early in the week — and it has nothing to do with anything, but I find it super insulting to players to make anything about myself or a competition between me and another guy who both are not playing. It's really irrelevant to me only because the second I start saying, 'I beat somebody,' I have lost what this job is and it is erroneous. We did win an AFC game on the road and that fires you up against a team that will give a lot of people problems. As we've seen, [Chargers Head] Coach [Brandon] Staley and the boys have a lot of resolve, as well, so I'm sure they'll come back."
(On WR Tyreek Hill) – "I think there was a couple of them. The second play of the game was his first catch. It was a play that's probably a catch-tackle last year, but understanding the timing of the play, I think that set the tone for everything. I think it was his first catch. Then, I think the one right before, he caught a deep over-route — really, all of his catches, now that I think about it, he probably would have had half [of the yardage] last year. Understanding how to beat coverage is not something that we needed to teach him, but understanding when to separate and how to get the ball, that's what he's really majored in this this year. He exaggerates, you know, he's a natural performer so he did know some things, but it would be very, very accurate to say we saw a better version of him today within the offense. I think that is a big part of his success."
(On the team's resolve after the early fumble) – "Well, so that's kind of what we're talking about, is not making things that happen do anything negatively towards your performance. So we drove the ball down the field and we had a fumbled exchange from center to quarterback. That feeling is totally irrelevant towards what happened on that drive. That was one play and it can feel defeating. Then, when an opponent scores, it makes it even worse. That's a huge challenge in Week 1 to not overreact. I didn't see anybody, I thought the sidelines, really the captains and the players in leadership positions, had their mind right for what today was. I thought they were in for the entirety of it, were not going to get too high or too low. That's a key component in the National Football League when games are won and lost with leads or with deficits."
(On Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle) – "He was fine. He wanted to go in more. He was straining through some pain, but it was nothing that he couldn't play with. I was going in and out of, 'Alright we need you on this one, we're OK with that.' He'll continue to get treatment and be tough. I don't see it as an issue moving forward."
(On Tua Tagovailoa's performance today) – "It's validating to me because I don't feel crazy. That's kind of what I expected to happen with the work that he's done. I think he needs to continue – literally, it's the easiest most layup coaching point of all time – continue to do what you're doing. Honestly, that's where he's at. He is tough-minded enough and accountable enough that he puts, probably even more than he should, on his own shoulders. Has very high standards for himself and wants to continue to grow and get better. With that relentless approach and that consistent understanding of who you have to be on a day-to-day basis if you want to be a big-time quarterback on a big-time team – which I know is the way he looks at it. The cost is real, and I want him to keep paying that cost at whatever comes across his plate. He's as coachable as any player I've ever been around in my life. I want him to keep doing that."