Read the transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022.
(Could you please update us on where you stand at tight end? Any update? Will the four players who worked out for this week be signing? Are TE Cethan Carter and TE Hunter Long healthy this week?) – "That was more you try to get in front of potential situations. We don't have a situation now. But we're very close to having one. So instead of – (General Manager) Chris Grier and the staff do a great job of staying in front of that stuff. So you get that done on the front end so should we have any more issues at the position, we know exactly where we want to go. That was the purpose of that whole deal. And right now, we feel good about Hunter and Cethan in terms of the progress that they've made."
(Is TE Cethan Carter out of concussion protocol?) – "I don't know when the protocol ends, but he's still protocoled. And that's the protocol for me to explain that. (laughter) But he's doing well and progressing. He was watching walkthrough from a stationary bike, sweating, and that's always good sign."
(You guys have won seven straight at Hard Rock Stadium. When you look at home field advantage, do you think it's a venue and a location? Or is it the team that plays at that venue and location?) – "I think it's a little bit of both, for sure. There's something to be said about the team that's playing in front of their fans. It takes the human beings to appreciate what the home crowd is doing. And then it takes a home crowd that's vested and committed. And I think both of those things are occurring, I can tell – obviously I wasn't here last year, but the feedback that I got from the first game from all the players really, was that they could tell the difference in that there was an added excitement and really energy. And that helps players more than fans can realize. When you bring the juice, football players are normal human beings as well, where they can feel that and it energizes them to push them possibly beyond where they'd otherwise go."
(Is it a bit of a cram this week with the Monday night game for the Bills, getting the game plan for today ready?) – "No. If it's a new coordinator or new head coach, that's a issue. When you have – I've been fortunate to be in the NFL long enough to know exactly – really, for all the way back from the Carolina days. Really, Coach (Leslie) Frazier – they both (Ken Dorsey) have done a great job. And so you kind of understand, like any really good high-level coaches, they have a principality to them, a starting point, and then it's whether or not they're doing little nuances within it – points of emphasis. But you guys know that regardless if it works or not, you're going see outside zone. They're going to play unbelievable strenuous defense. They're going to play hard and run to the ball. And they're going to force you into mistakes because they can get home with their four-man rush. It's always good to see and you get a different perspective of where they're at, especially Game Two, but it didn't really put us behind, just because that defense in general, it's kind of like you know what it is. That's what I appreciate so much about it as because they're not hiding from what they are. They say we're going to take our guys and line up and we're going to play the same type of defense against every offensive structure and our guys are really good players that play hard for each other and do something about it is what they kind of do. So, in this circumstance, it wasn't that big of a deal."
(You played against QB Josh Allen in San Francisco in 2020. What was your first impression of him then? How have you seen him grow in the two years since?) – "Well, it goes further than that. I saw his growth in Wyoming. That's what was really cool was it was an example of young in his career, the guy is a giant with a giant arm. But he had kind of like a stigma about accuracy or something that, I think each year in his college career, he drastically improved. You can tell – which was a big deal to me with him coming out because you learn a lot, not by hearing, but by seeing. And what you could see was a guy diligently working at his craft, who's however old he is. So fast forward to the league and I think we've all been witnesses to he's steadily become one of the best players in the National Football League. (You could) easily argue he's the best one. And it's not because he's God's gift. It's because he's unbelievably talented. But it's because you can tell more than that, it's because he works at his craft. He's developing every time he's on the field. He's a really, really good player that you'll never, I don't think, see him stopped necessarily. It's about minimizing and containing all together."
(When you first found out that you'll have WR Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle together, was there some kind of vision of what you could scheme up with the two of them? Was last Sunday some validation of that coming to fruition?) – "I don't think – it's always kind of difficult. I hadn't personally been around two players in the same position group of that caliber. I think it's the, 'What if you had two?' It's an exciting thought. But then more than anything, I tried not to get ahead of myself with any of it. You're trying to acquire, you're trying to get your hands on some talented players for our quarterback to throw to as well as to hand it to and etc. But I think it's important to put stuff in the players' hands and kind of see how they digest all the stuff, and really to kind of let your offensive scheme evolve. So I wouldn't say I would envision it. And I probably didn't allow myself to hope that they would be that productive on a given game. But the best thing about it is I don't think, if you ask them point blank if they were very happy with the game, I think they were happy with being able to make plays. But there's a lot of stuff for them to clean up, especially in the first half. So while they were making plays, that's not the final product of the vision to me. I think the final product is better execution with other things that were not at the point of attack and then offensively it would be everyone – I don't think you ever want to go that extreme with targets. I think the best your offense can be is when you can distribute the ball. But shoot, I'm not going to argue with hot hands, so I'm also not hard-headed that way. So I think there's a lot more to see from them for the rest of the course of the season. But they also know that's on them to develop their game within the offense because I'm pretty sure every other defense also took note and will have a plan to get in front of them as well."
(WR Tyreek Hill said after the game it looked like you were playing Madden with your play-calling in the fourth quarter. What is your experience playing Madden as a play-caller, if you have at all?) – "Hmm, I don't know about all that. I think when players are doing some video game stuff, it can look like it has maybe something to do with me but I don't think it has anything to do with me. I think that's players executing plays. I was a college football – I used to love back in college is probably when I last really did it. And I was more into like building the program. For like whatever it was, I'd be like the Colorado Buffaloes and they'd be a historic national championship team, which you can tell is a video game. (laughter) I love the Colorado Buffalos still, but with Madden, I never really – once they started taking it to the next level where you could do multiple buttons for multiple moves and stuff, I'm kind of like a poor sport. So when I can't dominate, I just tap with stuff like that. My video game prowess isn't that high, to be honest, and I really haven't played since I was a couple years ago in college, which is like 20 now. (laughter)"
(You made some waves with the sunglasses on Sunday.) – "I did?"
(Yeah, on social media a little bit they were noticed. The watches, the shoes, you seem to have a little bit of swag, so to speak. Where does that come from? How long have you had that going on?) – "If you've been to your optometrist lately, you'd know that there's some – which, I did trying to get contacts here, is they let me know that I had some sun damage on my eyes. And so how do you protect that? You wear sunglasses. Watches are important to tell time. And I like to know what time it is. There's nothing worse than the boss who is like, 'What time is it?' But outside of that – I don't even think about it, to be honest, which probably gets some judgment here or there. But I think it's important, when you do have the opportunity to be in a leadership role, to if you're going to ask people to be honest with themselves and take an honest look at how they approach their stuff, I think it's important to lead by example. I don't want people feeling judged about trivial things because I think that's an opportunity cost. If you're trying to sit here and guess what I expect you to act like, that seems like the most inefficient process known to man. And when you're doing that, that opportunity cost, you're not thinking about what's important. So I think it's important from my vantage point to worry about the stuff that I think is important to my job and them and the players and the team. And to be honest, I don't put that much thought outside of my normal thought. I like shoes, so if I'm like 'Hey,' on a given day, 'that shoe looks cool,' then I'll wear that. But yeah, outside of that I was just trying to keep my retinas protected and know what time it is."
(I don't know if you've crossed paths with Ken Dorsey at any point in your career. He's a big name down here obviously winning a title with the Hurricanes. What's impressive about him as an offensive coordinator?) – "I was in that generation that was very enamored with – I respect really thin ballers. Because if you're balling in a bunch of chaos, it means you're kind of fearless. Otherwise, because you'd probably break. So as a player, I loved him. As a coach, he has been very impressive. just because it's no tall task to replace the guy he replaced. Their offense has had a ton of success. So that is a subconscious burden and you're interested to see how people react to that. I think what's been obvious on tape, and I don't know him personally, but watching the tape is he is not rinse and repeat. He's not just doing what they've done, which I respect and it takes some guts. I think he's done what they do well and then it's obvious that he's locked into what the quarterback likes. But you can also tell he's working at it because there are different presentations of things and different concepts week in and week out, which is very telling to me. So I respect not only the coaching that he's doing, but I respect his authenticity for whatever he wants to be because people really didn't know. And what I do know is if you do anything a little different and it doesn't work, you leave yourself vulnerable for naysayers. So I really respect the fact that he's done whatever he's done for the right reasons, which is obvious on tape."
(How about QB Tua Tagovailoa being named the player of the week?) – "Yeah, how about that? Yeah, it's awesome. It's a team award to me, but an award that he tremendously deserves because when you're around the guy and you see him work amongst noise and you see him – who doesn't appreciate an earned achievement? I think he's done a great job handling all the stuff that he can control and not worrying about the stuff that he can't. And I think our entire team felt a little ownership too, because they all have his back. And if as an organization we'd allow it, you'd hear a ton more rants from players because they see him work each and every day. And like I said, whenever I talked to you guys last, I don't think his teammates were totally surprised. They were just excited."
(Stacking it something coaches talk about a lot – stacking good days on good days. What's the next stack for QB Tua Tagovailoa after a record day?) – "Oh, I mean, it's using that day in a beneficial manner moving forward. So what that means to me is I mean situations, numbers, all those things I'm not talking about – statistically his rating or any of that stuff. It's using that game for confidence, understanding how he got there – that was a ton of prep on the game week and harnessing that moment where he – the second pick he threw was the worst that he's thrown in practice or games for me. And what he did after that, that's something to hold on to. So I think stacking – it's impossible. The people are too good. Teams are too good. Coaches are too good. You're just not going to get better stats week in, week out. It's bigger than that. It's how he approaches his position and whether or not – if he feels himself pressing, like he did when he threw that second pick, how fast can you get out of that yourself and utilize that whole experience for confidence moving forward."