Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel (Post-Game Transcript)

On the playoff-like atmosphere:

“You can learn everything. It was a very important thing. I kind of knew that going into the game that it was going to be that type of atmosphere and I think that’s very important for our team being on the younger side to experience. Those are critical. You have to feel what it’s like to play such a good team on the road. Your margin for error is so small, and it’s an important building block along your progression for the season, you know. If you’re going to lose games, you want it to be against a really good team, and you want it to hurt. The collection of coaches and players in the locker room right now are hurting because they feel like they left some plays on the field for sure. You know, losses, if approached the right way, if you’re not pointing fingers and you’re looking internally, can be a good thing too. So that’s what we’ll be determined to make this moving forward, starting with tomorrow.”


On the penalties:

“Well, without a doubt, you can’t be minus 10 in penalties. So, you look at the – what’s the commonalities for it. Is there a pattern, and you have to look at it case-by-case and look at it hard. You can’t just point a finger and say that it’s not fair. That doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s more about looking at ourselves, the stuff that we can control, and what things we can clean up in our game. You know, generally, penalties occur when you’re out of position in any phase. So, we have to start with that and make sure that guys understand and learn from stuff because if you’re going to go through anything that’s as frustrating as this loss, you might as well — you better make it worth it. That will be our focus for sure.”


On Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa’s interception:

“No, that one in particular, there was a couple double moves that are kind of built for man coverage, so it kind of disperses that way where they’re kind of close together. That’s something that we’ve been working on for a while. You know, those are the things you have to learn from in terms of that particular play with Tua because playing quarterback in this league is tough enough, but getting used to adjusting when you don’t have protection versus when you do. On that particular play, I thought we do have solid protection there, and so when Tua watches the film, I’m sure he’ll be critical of himself as the leader he is and where he’s at in his career. He’s pretty overly accountable for throws and he kind of let that one fly on his back foot. So, I was hoping [RB] Raheem [Mostert] could step back and make a play. He had an issue doing so with apparently what was legal contact down the field. That’s definitely not why we lost the game. For sure, that play, I thought Tua had a very, very good game all things considered and made a ton of plays under some duress.”


On coming in with the number one rushing attack and how much that affected his play-calling:

“We were behind the chains more than we were used to. We had some small nuance details of some plays that, hats off to the Philadelphia Eagles because they made us pay everytime we – maybe our track was a little too tight, or too wide or an offensive lineman was a hair off. We rely on the running game to have a successful offense. We got it going a little too late in the game, so that is something that we take pride in and will be sure to get better from moving forward.”


On having to win road games and what can a coaching staff do to make sure they are ready:

“Well, I mean, from my perspective, there is a good amount that falls on my shoulders because you are working through what your team is and what you can do and can’t do on the road. Sometimes coaches can get a little too aggressive with some of the things that they decide to do. I felt that it started it with me, if that was the case. There were a couple instances where it was correctable, but there was one where we had to use one timeout because I adjusted the play-call late, so that is not on the players. Then we weren’t as crisp as usual coming out of the huddle, which always leads to stuff, and we will take a hard look at that in terms of what we are doing and how we are doing it, and make sure that we get better because it definitely wasn’t good enough to win and to beat a football team like that. It was a shame because I thought our defense gave us a definite chance to win with the way they played and made some serious physical plays that were kind of wasted.”


On the condition of Dolphins LB David Long Jr. and S Jevon Holland after collision:

“So, [Dolphins S] Jevon Holland was evaluated by the specialist on-site and cleared so he went back into the game. [Dolphins LB] David Long [Jr.] came into the locker room and, you know, never came out of it. I’ll get a better update on that, haven’t had a chance to talk to [Dolphins Head Athletic Trainer] Kyle [Johnston] and his staff, so, I’ll give you the information tomorrow for sure.”


On how close Dolphins WR Chase Claypool is to contributing:

“[Dolphins WR] Chase [Claypool] had a package of plays that – circumstances, the game, kind of ran us out of. So, we’re expecting him to play a little bit more, but once you start having – with [Dolphins WR Jaylen] Waddle leaving the game it’s more difficult to get a newer player involved just that way unless it’s in his package of plays, like, which I said, we kind of digressed through what we were planning on getting done. He’s doing a great job, he’s carved out a little role with us already. So, I’m hoping that expands as he gets the opportunities to play within our offense.


On how injuries impacted the game:

“You know, good players – the more good players you have, it definitely makes you better, however it would be tough for me to really look at, you know – I kind of look at what we do have and was very confident going into the game – of the players that were scheduled to play a good amount of snaps, and I think it would be awesome to have players return to our team, but going without X, Y, or Z, whomever it is, wasn’t the reason that we lost. We were still capable of winning that football game if we’re playing our brand of football at its highest.”


On Dolphins CB Xavien Howard not playing tonight:

“Yeah, I know, that’s something that I talk to you guys a lot about is trying to protect players from themselves and sometimes competitors can be shortsighted in their scope, so, it just didn’t seem – with that position, with that injury – it didn’t seem prudent, to kind of, press the envelope at this stage knowing how important [Dolphins CB Xavien Howard] is for the entirety of the season. He had a good week and he’ll be chomping at my ear this next week, probably every day, because he definitely didn’t like watching this game in street clothes, for sure.”


On the team starting to come back after being down two scores:

“I think they felt very capable of doing that. The one thing I will say is that there’s some definite positives that came from this game. I felt like the team is at a place where they can compete in these types of atmospheres against a stubborn opponent. There’s still some growth that needs to be had and that’s part of the journey for sure. I was encouraged by our locker room temperament at halftime. I was encouraged by the way we came out to the field, and we were expecting to bridge that gap for sure. When it happened, I felt our guys were validated for sure, too short lived unfortunately.”


On how struggles from the offensive line affect the offense and play-calling:

“Yeah, it’s definitely part of the job. It’s not the first nor will it be the last, it can add a layer to your decision-making for sure. That is something I see as 100% my job. That’s something that’s not going to go away, and it can’t ever be an excuse. We have to be prepared if there’s any shifting and shoveling and it just wasn’t good enough tonight.”


On Dolphins CB Cam Smith not having any defensive snaps:

“It’s just the natural growth. There’s many different journeys that players take and he’s got a room of very capable players and I think you have to do right by the team and right by the player to make sure they’re appropriately versed, and the main thing with him is that by all testaments he’s getting better and better and closer and closer to doing that. You don’t just have guys learn on the fly with a position like that in my opinion because it’s like a quarterback where you don’t want to hurt their progression by having them see the field too soon. There can be scar tissue with that. I really like the way Cam goes about his business and he’ll see his time on the field at some point but tonight was not that night.”