Read the full transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on September 24, 2023.
Head Coach Mike McDaniel transcribed by ASAP Sports
Q: 700 yards of offense, 10 touchdowns. What can you say after that?
MIKE McDANIEL: It's a lot of players executing a lot of things to a standard that's unrelenting. I think that you see where guys are at, for me, when you have a lead. So many leads are vulnerable in this league. We talked at length all off-season just about adversity, and sometimes adversity is having a score or two lead because you can let the atmosphere dictate your product. So what I saw from a lot of guys, and specifically when you're talking about that type of production, that's guys really taking it to heart, that we have one op with this team in 2023, and we're going to make the most of it and be unrelenting with our standards. I've said it time and time again that it's an incredibly coachable locker room, and they definitely earned that victory.
Q: Three different weeks, three different celebrations from Tyreek Hill.
MIKE McDANIEL: What did he do this week?
Q: He hopped into the stands and celebrated.
MIKE McDANIEL: Oh, yeah. I never see celebrations until the coach's film because I'm turning around looking at the series, on to the next. Is your question do I teach him the dances?
Q: How do you rate this one compared to last week?
MIKE McDANIEL: I didn't see it yet, but what did you think?
Q: It was pretty exceptional.
MIKE McDANIEL: I thought last week was pretty good. I think that part of what we try to do with the Dolphins is work relentlessly hard, but in that process try to have fun doing it. I think it's hard to score touchdowns in this league. So when you do, if guys want to take an extra five or ten minutes to organize something or have a plan, I definitely positively reinforce it in team meetings by closely reviewing those celebrations so that they're held to the same standard as our play. Hopefully it was organized and good.
Q: They often say you can't carry over the points from one game to the next, but to score 70 points, that hasn't been done in decades. What do you think that can do for this group?
MIKE McDANIEL: I think that's an example of — shame on us if you put a ceiling on what you're capable of. If you just worry about the right things, you don't worry about anything but your technique and fundamentals and your assignment within the team. You don't worry about stats, you don't worry about credit, it's amazing what a group of people can do going in one direction. I think the points don't carry over, but I do think this is a meaningful game for a lot of guys to understand to not let an opportunity on the field together slip through your fingers in any way, shape or form because collectively, we have all the right people to do some pretty cool stuff on the football field. I think that's just incredible. It just goes through my mind like a Rolodex, like all of the intentional work that goes into it by the players. I think of April 17th, the first time we met together. I think of the first day of Phase 2 on the field. There's just a lot of people working and buying in and leaving it all out there, and you get some — you can have some pretty cool stuff happen. I thought today there was a lot of that, but I was most proud of the unrelenting nature. I think it was the first game outside of the Houston game last year where we had a lead of maybe three touchdowns or more going into half. And that game, it ended up being pretty close at the end. So you want guys to learn from stuff, and there was, case in point, I think – was the first series a four-and-out by the defense in the second half? I believe it was. Then I'm not sure if it was the first or second series that we ended up scoring offensively, so we just kept – it's so key that you don't let the ebbs and flows of a game interject into how you play football. It's so important, whether you're down or up, and I think that's the biggest thing that guys can learn from this game.
Q: Were you aware of the scoring record in that last series?
MIKE McDANIEL: Yes.
Q: As a head coach, how do you deal with that? You don't want to embarrass your opponent, but at the same time, it would be kind of cool to have the scoring record. How did you balance that as a head coach?
MIKE McDANIEL: You know, I don't — I think to think through all of my decisions and hold them with the importance that they do have. It felt like chasing points and chasing a record – that's not what we came to the game to do. That doesn't have a bearing on the overall season outcome, and I just didn't — I saw it as 10 times out of 10, you concede and kneel down in those situations because there was an attainable record that was cool, but the message that I thought it would send wasn't really in line with how I view things. It's awesome to — I think it was the most points since '66 or something. I think that's awesome for a regular season record. You can have that, and then suffer the same fate as we had last year. I don't care about that regular season record. It would have been cool, but what we're trying to do, I think that would be talking out of both sides of my mouth if we went and tried to send the field goal team on and squeeze an extra three, that's not really what I'm about.
Q: Was there any part of you that thought – it's not like it was 40-7, you weren't trying to embarrass them, but it was just in the flow of the game, that it was NFL history possibly being made as opposed to just scoring?
MIKE McDANIEL: It doesn't really — I will be fine getting second-guessed by turning down NFL records. That's fine. I'm very okay with the decision, and I think the team, notably the leaders of the team supported it, the captains supported it. It's not the way you want to get the record. I would hope that if the shoe was on the other foot, the opponent would feel the same way. That's called karma. I'm trying to keep good karma with the Miami Dolphins.
Q: QB Tua Tagovailoa had an efficient day, sat most of the fourth quarter, but the unit that you had come in with QB Mike White and WR Robbie Chosen, can you talk about those guys staying ready for the opportunity and when it comes time, executing?
MIKE McDANIEL: Absolutely. I think when you're building something, you set forth a standard with which your expectations need to be met, not just from the coaching staff but from within the locker room. Those guys are on the team for a reason, and when you diligently work, it's funny how opportunities can present themselves. I think Mike White has been an awesome addition to our team, and then (Robbie) Chosen has remained steadfast in the fact that he wants to be on this team. He probably wouldn't — I don't want to speak for him, but the amount of respect that he commands by selflessly just going about his business and trying to contribute, he just wants to be a part of his hometown team, and he is, and I think he showed why today.
Q: QB Tua Tagovailoa was saying that your biggest growth in terms of offensive playcalling and management has been the way you get plays in, not necessarily the plays that you're calling. How much of a focus was that for you this offseason and working with him to get the plays in quickly?
MIKE McDANIEL: A huge one. I speak a lot to the players about getting better, and I think last year was the first year that I had done a lot of stuff, and my expectation was to be what everyone deserved. But that being said, you know that there's going to be things that you can get better at. Well, getting used to calling plays, I think there's — the tempo with which we operate and the speed with which my decisions are are just very much enhanced from a season's worth of reps. I think that's very nice of Tua to say; don't let us equate our growth to anything that has to do with me. My job is to set forth a standard, and I'd better be getting better at everything. That's what the team needs and deserves. I could call plays fast as I'll get out, and they have to execute them. What Tua is doing is beyond the stat sheet, because we're doing a lot of movement. We're moving a lot of pieces every snap. There's a lot of timing involved with a lot of things that he's doing, not just passing. All of that orchestration and the lack of pre-snap penalties, starts with the quarterback position, the immense amount of stuff that he has to learn and execute every week, and then it goes down to the entire offense. They're fully committed to their techniques and fundamentals that we ask, and they're starting to really gain that hunger of the continued growth, which is never at rest. It's always there. We have to grow from this game, and we will continue to focus on that, which is the biggest reason why you're seeing some extra — you're just seeing some growth in our production from an offensive standpoint.
Q: Speaking of growth, Tua threw 460 yards against the Chargers, mostly pushed the ball down the field, it's been mostly underneath. What have you noticed about his growth in the department of being willing to take what's in front of him?
MIKE McDANIEL: Yeah, he's learning every week, man. He is one of the — I've said it before on record; he's like the most coachable, best learner that I've ever been around. Everything that happens, you guys — have you heard adversity is an opportunity? Yeah. Well, that's how he looks at it. For instance, he thought he was short-changing how fast I was getting the plays in last week and wasn't looking at his wristband fast enough, so he kept the tempo moving. Then you have to execute aggressively what the defense is giving up while they take something away. When safeties are super high and wide and deep, he learned from his interception from the Patriots game. In that moment, he was trying to win the game and threw it up to Tyreek (Hill) and he had a checkdown to Raheem Mostert. I think it was on a very similar play — it wasn't the same play, but a similar situation where he threw in the second half a checkdown to De'Von (Achane) that last week he would have thrown into tight coverage. That's all you're trying to do is a lot of people — it's hard to get better continually because it's exhausting, and you just want to feel like, man, I've arrived. That's not him. That's why we'll continue to see a better version of him as he progresses. He's a season and three games into this offense, and the sky's the limit for him, as long as him and his teammates continue to put as much focus on preparation and practice and all of those things that make Sundays possible like that.
Q: Any update on LB Jaelan Phillips and OL Connor Williams after they left the game?
MIKE McDANIEL: I really don't have really any updates for you right now. I know that — I could tell by Kyle, our head trainer, that he wasn't too worried about it. I could tell it was real, but I think I'll have some updates hopefully tomorrow as I decompress and then get information.