Read the full transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on September 15, 2023.
(How's T Terron Armstead?) - "He'll practice today. Just trying to do my best to show as much restraint as possible and allow the process to unfold. I know he's eager and we'll see how the next 48 hours (unfold). We'll make a decision before the game, I would hope. (laughter) We'll probably circle back tomorrow and take a look everything. But he's been doing well."
(Is this a situation where it's about how T Terron Armstead's body recovers after the work? Or how much contact has he participated in?) - "He's been in team drills this week and had contact there. It's more of trying to get a snapshot of a global perspective here. You have a whole game to play, but you're trying to test it enough to kind of get a scope of that. But a player of his caliber, and really what he's done in his career, you're also not trying to overdo it and put things at risk. It's just that balance that's a little tricky but something that we're so fortunate to have such a good relationship and a trusting relationship with coaches, with Terron, and with the training staff. We'll do whatever is best for the Dolphins for sure."
(If I'm not mistaken, last year or late last year, LB Melvin Ingram and T Terron Armstead got vet days, at least one during the week. Have you decided on that this year, specifically with Terron and RB Raheem Mostert?) - "No, those are case by case and we're just trying to get health consistency through Terron, which we'll bridge that gap when it comes. I think you have to be calculated with those because you want guys to be at their best and still have their sword sharpened, so to speak. But also, where they're at in their career and how many reps they do have, is it necessary for their game day performance? I think, for instance, I did not plan on having Raheem out of practice on Wednesday. If he needed to, he definitely wanted to practice and could have pushed through it. However, really to make sure that there were some preventative measures taken for his knee, we kept him out. That wasn't planned but it was appropriate, I thought. He's a competitor so he's always annoyed when anything like that happens. I'm sure that more of that will come up as the season progresses, but it's just important to do it with reason and not just because we said we're going to do it. I'll bridge that when it comes but I'm open to whatever helps us win."
(About a month ago we had asked you how QB Tua Tagovailoa's offseason training was translating to football. His physical skills were increasing. You said you thought that he had more throws in the bag, was a little quicker off the spot. Now that you've had another month of practices and a game where we saw a lot of that, would you confirm that he is better in those areas?) - "Well, I think it didn't take the game to necessarily confirm that. Generally, I'm very aware that you guys have recorders, that everything that I say lasts forever. So if I'm going to boldly disclaim that, it's probably with reason that he's given me. It wasn't just a hope. I think what we do know is a lot of teammates and a lot of people that have been around everyday weren't necessarily surprised by his performance the past Sunday. Then at the same time, the past Sunday is the past Sunday. So blanket statements of what a player is, Tua knew he was capable and his teammates knew he was capable of that, much because he has the appropriate teammates to help him perform like that. It's nice to know that you guys aren't just looking at me with crazy faces anymore. Not that you were before, but yeah, I think some of that stuff was definitely evident the previous Sunday."
(Considering how the Chargers had success running the ball last week, do you expect the Patriots to do that? Or do you expect their game plan to be we're going to do what we do best?) - "Generally, in the game of football, and it goes on both sides of the ball, you're always given the opportunity to correct and/or improve in a phase of the game. Because what happens is, as an offense, if you get beat on a blitz, you're probably going to see the same blitz again. Coaches get paid to assess the tape. And when you're vulnerable, you kind of have to stop the blitz before you stop seeing it. Same thing is the case for defense. If a team has success running the ball, turn the page the next week and the next team will have high intent to replicate the same thing. So there's no hiding in the National Football League. And it's kind of a cool thing. What I told the team is it's weird because you have so much build up for game one. So much build up. I mean, we're talking about endlessly. And really, realistically, players after the loss against Buffalo in the playoffs are talking to me about this season, so we're talking about Week 1. And then in the game of football, you have a game, all that build up, and it's one game that stands alone and is the identity of everyone for an entire week. And so we're all talking about what we just built up for. Then you go to another week, that's another story. Well in that, every single opportunity around the field, you have the opportunity to define who you are. If you don't fancy yourself as a poor run defense, if your team wants to run the ball more, or you're wanting to run the ball better, than run the ball better. You have an opportunity to next week. It's the beauty of this game. And you have to stop people from doing something, or they'll continue to do it."
(Are you willing to share at this point whether its more likely than not that RB De'Von Achane will be active?) - "I know he'll be practicing today, which that's a win for me to tell you. And we'll see. The funny thing about the active roster is every player is so affected by another player. So I mean, for me to say anything is a little getting ahead of myself because what happens if something unforeseen happens today in practice? What happens if COVID-23 comes out? I don't know. You just don't know. I know he'll be practicing. He hasn't had any setbacks, so that's firing me up. And it's not just him that affects his ability to be up on game day. It's a lot of things from needs from the team and how healthy we are or available we are at certain positions."
(Due to the hurricane in the area near Massachusetts, any thought to changing your flight plan or is it staying the same?) - "We have not discussed. I'll call them the powers that be, but guys in the Miami Dolphins organization, we try to know each other as best as possible. People know where my head's at, and weather patterns are not one of them. Having said that, with excellent discourse, it's not the first time that things have - we've kind of talked about possibly adjusting something. It wouldn't be the first time I'd say. We haven't got to that point yet. So right now, we are on as planned."
(Is the amount of time you spend on defense each week in terms of talking to the coordinator about the game plan and on game days, has it changed at all on the move from Josh Boyer to Vic Fangio? And how much is that involvement for you on the defensive side?) - "I think naturally, Vic and I are just two peas in a pod. So we're always hanging out. (laughter) No, I think that our work weeks are busy, but never too busy to really work together. Specifically with Vic, he offers different variables that can assist me doing my job, seeing that he's been a coordinator in the league since I was 12 years old and seeing how he's been a head coach. So there's a lot of overlap. He's very well versed in game management as well. So, on top of all the normal things that we talked about, this year is different for me where I'm not the new guy. So all of those things kind of lead to we have more things to discuss a little bit and then naturally I would be a foolish man if I didn't utilize his resources. I try my best not to be foolish."
(The fair catch on the kickoff, do you guys have rules on that? I mean, if the kick is between the goal line and the five yard line, do you automatically fair catch? Or is everything left up to the return man?) - "I think there's different philosophies. It's going to be interesting to see how teams decide to play stuff. We definitely have a philosophy that we're going to start with and we definitely have a plan of action or a game plan if we get multiple of those opportunities. How we're going to do things, it's definitely been discussed because it's not an absolute. What's been interesting is how little people are testing the waters. That's been kind of the first mode of action is teams trying to not find out what other teams will do. So it'll be interesting but we definitely have a plan of action if we get the opportunity. We'll jump on that this week."
(The perception changes so dramatically from week to week as you accurately mentioned many times. This week the Dolphins have the MVP favorite and the Dolphins are installed as the AFC East favorites. In all honesty I'm wondering have you, do you sense a need to address that with your team? The swirl, the hype, the overwhelming positivity.) - "That's an interesting point. Last year, I definitely felt the urge to. I try to get proactive with it and tell people as much as I can what will happen so that when it happens, you don't look into it too much. I think I haven't felt that need with this team just because I honestly feel like they understand a one-win team is not a very good team. There's a lot more - you have to win a lot of games and that's hard in the NFL. I do think last year was a big help in that, being able to experience what happens when you have any sort of win streak and how people are making - there's just so much conversation about things that are impossible to predict because one player changes the complexion of every team. And it's all about continuing to develop and grow and getting too excited about one win and what people are saying about you is setting yourself up for supreme failure because I don't think that anyone will be surprised whenever - you can't be surprised with what happens, literally with every team. If you do well for that week, you'll be considered something worth keeping your job for. And then you don't, and then it's up in the air. It's kind of the black and white part of the game that I really enjoy just because you have to be kind of tough-minded in both avenues and whether you're getting praised or you're getting harassed, literally it doesn't matter for the next game, that fans are paying to see, that is one of the finite amount of games that each and every player and coach is able to be in because nothing is forever. That's the biggest thing with them. It's been kind of cool because I haven't felt that need. I think they understand that we're way early in the journey."
(When we talk on the subject of South Florida, synergy you guys are heading to Massachusetts. The Heat, they played Boston on the way to go to the championship. The Panthers, they defeated the Bruins. Are you guys using this week as a motivation week to be a perfect three-for-three for South Florida?) - "I don't want to minimize that at all, but a division game on the road this early in the season doesn't need much motivation. Especially it's Sunday night. Trying to find other things to think about, there's plenty to think about with that. Division games early in the season are very important to us so that's all we've really needed to focus on is the Patriots and that's been enough."