Read the full transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.
(WR Cedrick Wilson's ribs. I know anyone who has a rib injury probably feels it's serious, but does it look short-term, long-term and then the decision to have CB Kader Kohou start and not CB Nik Needham in the second half at corner if you could talk about that?) – "So the first one which was ribs, the good news is after the imaging and stuff, there's no breaks, but it's hurting pretty bad so it's going to be a day to day situation. But we'll see how that progresses. Those are – if you've ever had a rib injury, it affects every movement including breathing. So we'll see how that progresses day to day. And then, yeah, 'K.K.' (Kader Kohou) as I affectionately call him, within each game, there's different sort of matchups that – we're very matchup oriented like I've spoken at length. I'm not an absolute guy. So within a game you can adjust plans and sometimes it can even be a look in somebody's eye that you're like, 'I need to give this guy an opportunity.' And he had that look about him in the second half and we thought we could feature him, and he rose to the challenge. It wasn't anything but just that game, that were kind of looking at it as. Not making it bigger than that. It wasn't necessarily, like it wasn't a bench situation; it was more like a feature situation if that makes sense. But we thought he did a very good job for his opportunities."
(When you guys have a comeback like that, what does that do to the team's confidence? What does that do to have that in your back pocket to know that you can do it?) – "Well, I think that's for every team every year, you kind of have to feel that before you can totally have complete and utter commitment and control over games moving forward. The way I see football in general is that after you blow a lead or you make a comeback, eventually you start to realize that that's all trivial. You're playing football and then figuring out what the score is in the fourth quarter to me. So that's easily said, much better learned with direct experience, and each team has to do that and when you're a part of a game like that, you learn lessons for both sides of the coin. You learn that you're in every game, but also that no lead is safe so it's tremendous, tremendous learning. Awesome that we were able to get a win in that learning process, but something that I think good teams that end up winning meaningful games each and every year; they know that because it's very rare that you're able to win more than you lose and have everyone come from, 'hey, we had the lead from the onset.' So I was really excited about that whole process and just how guys responded because there were plenty of times where they could have tapped and they didn't."
(WR Jaylen Waddle and WR Tyreek Hill set records yesterday, obviously, but you got 192 yards from players not wearing 10 and 17. How important is it for this offense to get that much production out of guys that are not animal-themed nicknames?) – "I mean, unbeknownst to you I have named every player an animal. (laughter) No, it's crucial. Part of good offense is utilizing all five eligibles on the field and defenses are too good in the National Football League that if you're a one or two-trick pony, eventually they can dictate the terms and render you a lot less effective so each and every game you're trying to distribute the ball to your playmakers and we have a lot of them. Sometimes the given circumstances or the defensive presentations dictate – people get more one game than they will the next. I've alluded before to the fact that from a statistical standpoint, the best offense that I was ever a part of was the 2016 Atlanta Falcons and I think that game that Julio had 300 yards receiving against the Panthers; the game before he had one catch for 16 yards. So you have to be able to take advantage of matchups or defenses if the opportunity is given, but you also have to be able to distribute the ball so guys can't over-key on one or two individuals."
(Yesterday you talked about having told the team about adversity, being ready for it and how to respond when it comes. What sort of message will you have for obviously a big game that's coming up Sunday?) – "Not to take me so literal and excessively; that was a little too much adversity for my liking. (laughter) No, the biggest message is that you don't ignore the obvious. The Buffalo Bills have won the division and done an unbelievable job in all three phases, so what better for the Miami Dolphins that's a young team that that is really invested and they're very eager to play football; what better opportunity than playing the best and seeing where you're at? So I think you don't hide from it. I think you embrace the fact that they're a good football team and that there's one way to be put in the category of good football teams: you beat good football teams. So there's a lot of opportunities in the course of the season. Specifically, there's 17 if anyone's counting, so this is 1/17th and it's 1/6th of our division games, but it's also an opportunity for us to see where we're at and go against the best which as competitors – which our team is very competitive –you bask in that opportunity. It's exciting so we're going to do our best to prepare and see where we're at the end of the 4:30 maybe, on Sunday."
(As a coaching staff, how quickly do you have to turn the page after such a big win?) – "You give the night of the game and then today, you wake up and you go in to coach your guys on the previous game with the view and the scope of moving forward. Who cares what the result was today. Now it's about learning from the things that happened in the game and then immediately progressing to the next opponent. The time is limited and you have the second half of Monday and Tuesday to get a plan together for your players on Wednesday, so you don't have much time, if any, to really absorb the win and that would feel uncomfortable anyway. You're constantly, in football as a coach or player, you're trying to get better and that's what makes it fun. It's purposeful. And so what you don't really necessarily get better from is basking in the glory or dwelling in defeat; it's onto the next and so I'm already halfway there."
(Yesterday there was so much going on in that game. It seemed like twice in normal speed. When you watch the film was there anything that surprised you?) – "You're handling every situation as it comes to you. When you take a step back and watch the game and I watched it in game order so all three phases, and the highs and lows, I definitely didn't do it justice for the emotional highs and lows during it. I'm just sitting there trying to watch the defense and talk to the coaches and then get play calls ready and then call offensive plays and it seemed like every time that we gained momentum, we lost it and at an exhausting rate. So it just made it more real. I got done showing the players what that accomplishment was for that regular season game, how they – opening kickoff, punch to the gut. More than just the team, but even the coaches, that was Danny Crossman's first special teams kickoff return for a touchdown in his 20 or 21-year career and he handled that – he was onto the next play, as was the special teams unit. Then you go down, you're driving the ball, you're down seven and you turn the ball over. Then it's a 10 minute and 50 second drive all the way down to the 1-yard line to go up 14-0; then you turn them over on downs. Then you go 95 yards or whatever it was to score a touchdown to tie it. Then the next defensive snap, 75-yard touchdown. Then a couple of miscues on offense and it's 28-7 at halftime. Then the first possession, you get to 28-14. Then the defense gets a three-and-out, I think. Then the offense in turn, doesn't play complimentary football and isn't able to convert and has to punt. Then they go score 35-14. I mean, woah. In it, like I said, I try to lead by example with the players and I'm not as worried about the score, but then you take a step back and you're looking at from a fan's, vantage point and man, this is exhausting. So the biggest takeaway from that was the internal fortitude of the team. I felt it yesterday. I was very proud how they came out in the second half, but I got more of appreciation for it today when watching the film."
(For the performance that QB Tua Tagovailoa had yesterday, what does that do for your relationship together and the ability to build this offense moving forward?) – "I think it allows him – it kind of makes it tangible what his teammates myself, the coaching staff have been seeing this whole offseason. It makes the evolution – he took such a step in the right direction yesterday threw an interception that he was absolutely disgusted with himself. And in that game, to take the coaching and still press forward with – it was probably his biggest mistake that he's had all his season, so that makes it that much more real and what it can do for him, if he's just worried about playing the next play and not pressing or not being overly hard on himself. So I think the messaging for that and for his personal growth is huge, but I also think it's awesome for a player to feel – he knows that he did some really, really good things. I think deep down – he wouldn't ever say it – but I think you'd have to be kind of delusional not to be like, 'hey, six touchdowns was pretty good, right.' But I think there's also something to the fact that none of his teammates were surprised which is much more impactful than words. You can feel that when guys, they're not like, 'woah, dude, where that come from?' I think that's great for him. He deserves it. None of it was given at all. He earned every ounce of that which I know players respect a great deal so I think that benefits everybody players and coaches included."
(It's kind of a fun one to end on. I know you're really big on the film. What was your film breakdown of TE Mike Gesicki's griddy?) – "Oh, see I have a lot of resources at my disposal. As head coach you definitely do very little to almost nothing on your own, so with all my resources, I was able to get some footage of maybe some other or possibly some other people attempting the same dance moves that may or may not be fathers, dads. We had to outsource some footage of the general population to kind of put it in perspective to make sure that his teammates knew that it wasn't a subpar effort, that there could be worse, but it was in the family of worse. Does that make sense?"