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Transcript | Mike McDaniel's Media Availability - September 9

Read the full transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.

(What are the qualities that you saw in OL Liam Eichenberg that made you think, "This could be a good NFL left guard?") – "Starting from college, you're saying?"

(Yes, after you arrived with the Dolphins…) – "Well, we had him targeted in San Francisco at guard. So really, when you end up targeting a player in the draft – you're looking at everybody, but then you're taking a pool of players that you see something and you're deep diving further, so you know more about those players than anybody. And it was his attention to detail, his aggressive, aggressive but composed play. You can see when people on third down, especially, are very erratic. He was consistent with his technique. He understood angles and played with good pad level. And then we also had a cheat code. We had a teammate of his, Mike McGlinchey, so we got to know about all those 'golden domers.' It was – like a lot of the players on the offense, not just the offensive line, but just in general, it was a little tricky when we got here and we're evaluating them just with the distinctive difference in the style of play and concepts they're doing. We wanted to be open-minded and had a gut, a lot based on the college evaluation. So we kind of went with that and didn't want to pigeonhole, didn't want to prejudge stuff when I was looking at something that didn't really apply to what we try to do. So that being said, I gave him the opportunity to start at left guard to start. That started as an opportunity and then he won the job. We didn't have a ton of – as you guys know, we didn't have a ton of movement with that starting crew. That wasn't by design. It was just by a collection of people having a gut, and then the players proving that gut right."

(Just if you're able to share yet, do you have a sense yet whether S Eric Rowe with the pectoral, LB Andrew Van Ginkel off the appendix, will be available Sunday?) – "I mean, did Coach Belichick just give you those questions to ask? (laughter) I mean, I get that I'm a rookie head coach, but I mean, come on."

(Or if you know their listing status yet?) – "Much like training camp, this much I do know; as you guys know I fully share as much as possible because I respect what you guys are trying to do. But with regard to injuries, we'll take it day by day. And really, you can really stick to that old, that limited. We'll chew on that one and make it a gametime decision."

(DT Raekwon Davis popped up on the injury report. Was that something that occurred in yesterday's practice?) – "Yes, there was a little something that we're taking a look at. We really think that we have enough good players on the team, so we don't want to put a player out there that might not be able to do right. We wouldn't be doing right by him if he wouldn't be able to be full go. So we'll see how he reacts today and make that decision then. But yes, it was something that kind of popped up yesterday and then we'll see really how much the ramifications are after he gets moving today."

(I know things on a case-by-case, game-by-game basis, I've heard you say that. But do you have a realistic ideal on number of plays that you want to run per game and a run-pass mixture?) – "I've never really thought about the number of plays. You would like to possess the ball more than the other team does, but sometimes that's not a bad thing, if you're just – there are the outliers where you're just scoring in short periods of time. I've never looked at it like that. I think that I'll always stay true to the game and try to call plays relative to what the defense is presenting, but also how the game is going on all phases and those little things that you can kind of dictate. Unless they are completely zeroed out and having 11 people in the box, I always try to – I really believe in dictating the terms on offense. You run the ball, so in your mind, you're trying to get mid-20s to 30 runs but you'd never just commit to that, because you got to do what's best. So again, case by case in that regard. Outside of that, you just try to have things work and not turn the ball over, and then the game progresses in whatever way it wants to progress after that."

(This offseason, you've alluded to a rabid Dolphins fan base, how grateful you are for this opportunity as a head coach. I know you don't want to shortchange the process. Two days out, have you allowed yourself to maybe think a little bit and prepare for the emotions of coming out of the tunnel, that opening kickoff and at the national anthem? Have you thought about that stuff at all two days out?) – "That's actually what I tried to tackle – I'm a little obsessive when it comes to being intentional and doing my job and understanding what my job is. So I did, over the break, think it was important for me to put myself there to intentionally think about that stuff so I wouldn't be surprised. But really, when I talk about as a head coach, the responsibility that you have to each and every member of the organization, to the players and to the fan base – me personally, I don't really allow myself to go anywhere but what is my job for that. So I know in the national anthem, like every game that really have been in the NFL, it's kind of been my routine since 2011 that during the national anthem, I try to take in all of that. Honestly, with the duty that I have to the team, I don't expect that to feel any different – that moment – beyond I'm so grateful and thankful to be here, because if I was approaching this game, like, 'Oh, well, this is a big game,' that is straying from my true beliefs where this has nothing to do with me. I'm part of a team. Whatever my job is, I have to execute that job, but fundamentally, I'd feel like something was askew if I made this out to be anything other than Week 1, which is – there's a lot of investment that goes into Week 1, but that's the same as it is every year to me. So my role has changed, but I don't expect my emotions to change because if I got a hint of that, I would get really pissed at myself because what am I – this is not about me; this is about the Miami Dolphins."

(Your first five opponents are conference opponents. So getting off to a good start obviously is pivotal. How do you tell your coaching staff to keep them focused and keep the players focused to getting off to a good start knowing how vital it is?) – "Yeah, I really look at it like a pie chart. Maybe it's like an NBA three-point competition. Okay, so you have in those competitions, you have basketballs, right, and every shot counts for one. And then you have those colored balls that count for more, like two or whatever. So you have 17 games. All important. There are six games that have a little more value, but they're still very important. To me, I've started seasons 1-0 and haven't made the playoffs. I've been 0-1 and been in the Super Bowl. Last year, we were 3-5 at the team I was on before, and we ended up going to the (conference) championship game. So it starts from the beginning about, okay, what are you doing? It's why I emphasize so much deliberate, intentional, present mindset, because it's more about we're on the field in an NFL game. How many opportunities does a coach or a player have like that? It's finite. It doesn't feel finite when you're in the moment. But I remind people, it is finite for everybody. Hey, listen, this just in, I think we're the half-life of the sun. So in 4.5 billion years, the sun's going to blow up, okay? Everything is finite. So you don't go and say – it's important to put everything into preparation, to put yourself in the best position to win a game, because if you don't do all the things that you can control, what you don't want to do is have one, two, or start accumulating game day experiences where you're like, in hindsight, I should have done more. That's what I focus on."

(Did you happen to catch last night's game? If so, what do you think of the team you're going to face twice this year?) – "You don't say their name out loud? That's respect. (laughter) It was – I brought it up to the team, in terms of you don't watch football and not put yourself in that situation. We're not a nighttime, nationally televised game. But you can say, watch these players, all the offseason build up, and then what happens during the game? Whether it's correlation or causation, there were seven turnovers. So are people pressing? I do bring that stuff up because it has to do with putting yourself there. But as far as other teams, there's two teams that exist to me. You worry about the Miami Dolphins, and you're worried about what we are as a team and how we're playing our football. And then you worry about the opponent you're about to play. Because if the Miami Dolphins are right, and then you are prepared for the opponent, it doesn't matter what they're doing. I don't talk to the team that way about other teams because I don't think it's about other teams. It's about us."

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