Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel
DOLPHINS HEAD COACH MIKE MCDANIEL
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
SEPTEMBER 17, 2023
Q: How would you describe the game?
MM: Long. No, it was a divisional matchup, as you expect where those are hard to really separate yourself. Sometimes you have the opportunity to, you know, in your mind, put the game away. But, generally, against good football teams, that’s not the case. I thought that complementary football did exist. I thought the team played well together, picked up on each other’s momentum, specifically the Bradley Chubb forced fumble that turned into a 12-play touchdown drive. And then the defense holding their offense to a field goal before the half. And then the offense making the plays to go down the field. I think those are the biggest points in the game. And it was probably, you know, you go and look at the tape – and I told the guys in the locker room that they’re going to feel like it didn’t need to be a nail biter. And that happens a ton. You’re fortunate to get the win in that learning process of how to, you know, make sure that that’s not the case. But overall, on the road, prime time, division opponent, those are very, very valuable games to be able to come up with a win. So I was happy for all the guys, really.
Q: Can you describe what you saw from the way the Patriots defended you and how Tua Tagovailoa handled it?
MM: We knew – we definitely didn’t assume that what was on tape thus far this season was going to be everything that we were going to get. That was a – it was a unique game plan that, you know, I think guys did a pretty solid job of adjusting to the weird spots the guys were in. And then, you know, I was happy with a lot of the stuff that Tua [Tagovailoa] did, you know, but I think that forced throw to Tyreek [Hill] in the second half is something that he was trying to win the game after a couple frustrating drives. And that’s something you have to learn from. You know, you don’t force the hand. But overall, I was really happy with how he bounced back from things that, you know, I know frustrate him. Any time he’s off on any sort of throw, you know, in the past, that frustration has really bled into multiple drives. And there was one drive in the first half – was it the first or second half – where he – I think it was one of the first drives in the second half. I can’t remember. But he had a couple throws that he would have liked to have back, one to Tyreek and one to Jaylen Waddle down the field consecutively. But it speaks to where he’s at in his game because I thought he came back from that. We had some operations stuff that we’ll need to clean up. That’s the whole point and what I talk to the team about all the time is it’s a journey. It’s a journey of getting better so your best football is in December. So when you’re able to not play entirely your cleanest football and get the win, you embrace that. And we’ll look forward to getting better from it.
Q: How is Jaylen Waddle doing?
MM: I have no idea as of right now. I’ll be able to update you guys tomorrow. All I know is he went for evaluation. But beyond that, I haven’t got any information. It was so late in the game.
Q: What does it say about Andrew Van Ginkel and the player he is and the preparation he puts in with the way he played tonight?
MM: Says everything, you know. I think it – that’s why all of the offseason is so valuable. And Van Ginkel probably knows the defense better than anyone because of the multiplicity. And that was a great move to get in front of and, you know, with Vic [Fangio] – Coach Campanelli, Ryan Slowik, and Austin Clark kind of identifying, you know, the varied use – or the potential of – you know, it’s been instrumental for us. And for him to be able to come in – and not just play but be an impactful force says everything about him and really all the people that are around him as well, like – as far as coaches and, you know, it was really cool to see that. But it didn’t surprise – didn’t surprise us really. I figured he’d have a pretty good game. He’s a really good player.
Q: What did you think of Raheem Mostert and the running game?
MM: It was – you know, I think he was hard to tackle. And I think that he – that was a huge boost, especially the way they were playing. We needed the line of scrimmage. And you have to take advantage of overplay. So if they’re overplaying the pass game, if you want to be a good offense, you have to threaten them with the run.
And I told them early that if – they are telling you something when, you know, they’re coverage first. Generally, defenses aren’t that way. They felt good about their up-front match ups. And I thought the guys were properly prepared and took that personal. And we were able to make some plays there that were instrumental. So that’s something that we’ve been building on. And it was – that’s an important moment for the guys because, you know, defenses watched tape. And they’re going to try to evaluate how you’ve won games before and not allow you to do the same thing to them. So that was their priority. And I thought guys did a good job. And there will be stuff that we’ll get better from too. But the guys were fired up to be able to get the opportunities to do that.
Q: The blocked field goal, did the movement pre-snap surprise guys?
MM: Yeah, I mean, it’s – it was a really cool schematic adjustment by the Patriots. Hats off to them. And it’s always telling when someone’s able to make a big play like that in terms of for yourself. You know, Danny [Crossman] was on it and knew that we needed to adjust the snap count, which is – they tried to do the same thing on the last field goal that we missed. But that’s why that – he wasn’t an impact on that play because we made the appropriate adjustments. But that was a great design. They kind of used one of the motions that we use on offense all the time, basically, and field goal block. Hadn’t seen that before. So that was a great job by them.
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