Read the full postgame transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022.
Head Coach Mike McDaniel (transcribed by ASAP Sports)
Q: Little Gatorade shower?
MIKE McDANIEL: Yes, ice cold. Courtesy of Christian Wilkins, so my glasses are a little splotchy, but what do you guys got? (laughter)
Q: When the game clock hits triple zero and you're walking off and it's Miami Dolphins W in your first game as head coach, what goes through your mind and what was it like celebrating with your team?
MIKE McDANIEL: It was a very, very cool moment, against my wishes. They just showered me in Gatorade and made it about me, which I know for a fact it's not. But the team celebrated together, and just being happy for the direction that we're going in. That's why you get into team sports. I can also tell it was a good excitement and celebration because it wasn't like a satisfied celebration. They were happy that we got it done. I think a lot of guys feel like the Miami Dolphins' fan base and the organization deserve to win, but there was a lot of frustration, including me, on things in the game that we really left out there. That was pretty cool. When the clock hit zero, I only have a couple of reps, so I was most concerned with finding Coach Belichick and expeditiously going over there to shake his hand and then trying to figure out really what I want to say to the guys. It's more of, okay, what's the next step in the job than anything else. It's maybe with friends and family I'll take 15 minutes to appreciate it, but that's not why I'm here, is to bask or cheer; I'm here to help lead a team of people. We've got Game 2 next week on the road against a team that's very hard to play at, so that will be our concern. Other than that, I'm very happy for the team overall because they've put in the work. It wasn't really since April, even before that, the whole organization has really worked in one direction, and you like to see that get rewarded.
Q: If you go through the fourth down call that led to the WR Jaylen Waddle touchdown?
MIKE McDANIEL: It was a cool moment for really our whole team, but the mechanics of working with the game management guys and talking through the different scenarios, we were just at the fringe of Jason's (Sanders) range. Yeah, you can push the envelope, but the flip side is you miss it, and you're a first down away from giving up points. So then it became, all right, it does kind of make sense to go ahead and go for it, have a couple of thoughts in mind. Then in communication with the offensive staff, I think it was Jon Embree kind of tipped the scales because they had a couple up. Then from that point on it's all players. So we decided to do it. Had a couple thoughts in mind. You try to prepare yourself so it's not the first time you've thought about that scenario. That does come up in the half. I had a couple of thoughts, but then once the play started, I think Cedrick (Wilson) motioned down, and we had anticipated a certain type of leverage in the man-to-man coverage, and we got it. Then we got the protection, and then Tua ripped a strike. Part of the reason that you hear so much praise from Tyreek (Hill) and (Jaylen) Waddle about Tua is because he throws that catchable ball that you can get yards after catch. Waddle, that's something that we've emphasized a ton, and you want to talk about deliberate practice coming to life in the biggest moment is catching that in-break and then having a mindset. Not being surprised that he is catching it. No, he only scores because he immediately transitioned to take it to the house. I was glad to have him back. I told you guys. I was very confident he would be back. That was a cool moment for all of us. You know, just wish we could have continued that momentum in the second half, but beggars can't be choosers.
Q: The way the defense stepped up on multiple plays, whether it's CB Xavien Howard taking it to S Jevon Holland or the strip sack from S Brandon Jones for a touchdown by LB Melvin Ingram, CB Kader Kohou late…?
MIKE McDANIEL: I told the team last night I thought it was important that you guys were introduced to the offensive players and the offense, but this is still the defense's team until proven otherwise and they valued that. That was important to them when they heard that, and they wanted to prove me right. They sure did. Defense is funny where you can have so many guys that are competitive and have high standards and then you're giving up some yards and you're driving down the field. Well, it's a classic example of the other team has to score, so don't panic and then wait for your opportunity and seize it. That was a huge momentum-turner. The pick with X's PBU (pass breakup) and then Jevon coming and making a play on that. Who knows what the game looks like without that one? Those are a ton of examples that we'll be able to learn from, but I thought it was good that the defense deserved to get some – they've put in the work. It is the stage now where they've been able to play together for a while. That means a lot to them. They have a standard that they want to employ that everybody knows when a Miami Dolphins game occurs that you're going to have to deal with this defense. You know, we're plus-three in the turnover margin, which that's probably the biggest indicator that you'll ever have. I think that's factual, actually. 87 percent or something. Anyway, you guys can check that, but that was the real story of the game, was being able to protect the ball and end the game plus-three.
Q: WR Tyreek Hill, was it the plan to get him involved that early that much and just the fact that speak broadly on the impact he had today?
MIKE McDANIEL: Tyreek made some plays. Our plan is always to get him involved. Defenses can kind of dictate the terms, so you try to – this is a difficult game plan process with him in that regard because over the years he has been doing it for so long. Coach Belichick has done a ton of presentation, so you're not really sure how many times you want Tyreek at the point of attack. There were a couple of times that he was No. 1. There were a couple of times he was No. 2, but he made a couple of plays and Tyreek is the same way. He was frustrated. There was an incompletion over the middle that he knew that Tua was throwing on time, and he knew he should have been flat already. He kind of faded away. He got mad at himself there. There was a couple during the game that he was frustrated, which is what you love about him, and that's what you need from your captains. I think each and every game we'll do our best to feature him unless the defense has to fully commit to take him away, which is good news for the Miami Dolphins because we have some other playmakers, which you guys saw today. There was a lot of plays that were made by a lot of guys, and then guys in space, and I think there were a couple of third downs that the running backs really, really kept us on the field. So all of those things, we're just trying to involve all of our players to the best of their ability. Some games they'll get a ton. Some of the games they won't, but they'll keep working and getting better, which is the point.
Q: You were talking earlier in the week about visualizing this moment and the national anthem and soaking it all in. Was it what you expected, and what about the build-up as you were coming into the stadium today and all? Was it as planned, or was there …?
MIKE McDANIEL: It's interesting with this role. You may call BS on this or not, whatever. I've talked about it at length before. You're so dependent upon so many people to do so many things. You're almost removed because you are in charge of so many people, you're delegating, but you are also — you're not hands-on with a lot of stuff, so you are so dependent. And as a result, I never felt isolated in the least in this moment, so in probably the last, I don't know, decade of football, it was probably the most relaxed and comfortable that I've been for a game. That's the honest truth. It's because from the scope, you are – yes, you are making play-calling decisions and a lot of your planning, you have to pay the piper. It's black and white win or loss, but it's not about that. It's about doing right by all the people in the building, by the players, facilitating them coming together, and then we go out and have fun doing what we do. Because if you work the right way, you shouldn't feel stressed or nervous. To be honest, it was what I was kind of starting to piece together in the preseason that – maybe this is right, wrong, or indifferent, we'll see if each game how it plays out – but I felt very comfortable, and there wasn't really any nervous energy or anything like that, which was cool that I felt like the players were that way, too.
Q: First NFL win as a head coach against Bill Belichick. Your thoughts on just that statement alone, and what do you think about when you hear that?
MIKE McDANIEL: Man, I wish all you had to do is win one game because that would be cool. (laughter) That's not the case, so I'm kind of thinking about Week 2. Again, time for reflection will come on my own time, not other people's. Right now people don't need me to sit and think about my win/loss record. They need me to do my job, and that's what I'm focused on.