Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel and coordinators met with the media today as the team faces off against Houston on Sunday, Nov. 27. Check out the top quotes from their media availabilities.
HEAD COACH MIKE McDANIEL
(On the process of putting together a game plan each week)
"It didn't take me long to realize how unique and special some of the guys that I was fortunate enough to work with, how unique and special they were at their craft. So starting with Coach (Mike) Shanahan, then to Gary Kubiak and then to Kyle Shanahan; those three people probably kind of established what I see preparing for an opponent, what that looks like. And within that vision, I'm also very aware and have seen the best outputs are collective, so for me, what that looks like is watching as much tape on the opponent as possible in a day and a half. So half a Monday and then all of Tuesday and in that process, collecting all the information from the staff by way of them coming into my office, giving notes. We kind of have a nice routine, but it's not really a staff meeting-type situation because I feel like you can get more tape watched independently. But then you just take all those collections of thoughts and kind of move forward and tie things together and you just do that within your staff. Each position coach does have an area of expertise, so they can kind of approach it like they're the head coach of that situation, whether that's red zone or third down or short yardage, or four-minute or backed up. All those different situations so that instead of having a bunch of people trying to memorize tendencies and know the opponent inside and out across all phases; make sure that they know they are responsible and held accountable for 'Okay, well, alright, it's short-yardage. I know who to talk to.' And bounce through. That's in-game and really when you're putting together the game plan. So that process is – the cool thing about it is, what I enjoy most about it is, it's a collection of individuals. And there's no shortcut to a game plan that's really up to the standard of your players, in my opinion. You don't just make stuff up. You don't just 'Hey, what if we put this guy here?' These are all – if your game plan is sound and tied together and complete – I tell the staff all the time – there should be a 'why' attached to every single thing that you're doing. That's every alignment, every motion, and that's kind of the way we approach it and the way that the staff has really, really come together and understanding that there is a why, a reason for every little nuance, every variable. And even if the why isn't 100 percent accurate, just having the level of detail and preparation to have a reason behind it gives you a good chance to put players in position to make plays, which is the whole point."
(On the vibe in the building coming off the bye week)
"It's a very cool vibe because you get worried. Call a spade a spade, we're above .500. At this stage of the season, you have a bye week. Do people get comfortable? And the vibe was exactly the opposite, exactly what I'd want to see, which was a group of people that are confident but hungry. And that's what you want to gain from winning football games is confidence, not any complacency. I haven't seen any of that. I see a team that recognizes they have an opportunity in front of them. They also recognize how, like it is every year, parity is crazy in the National Football League. In particular, our division, which first and last place is a huge one game. I think their mind is right. I think they've come in refreshed. I asked them to deliberately rest and I feel like they did. But they are definitely charged and ready to go to play the sport they love and see how far we can take the team."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR FRANK SMITH
(On if anything has surprised him about RB Jeff Wilson Jr. since the Dolphins acquired him)
"Not really from what the guys who are with him in San Francisco were able to really describe. I mean, kind of the hardest thing is sometimes when you get acquired guys, you don't have familiarity with him. And obviously having multiple guys on the staff and players that were with him in San Francisco, I think we knew what we were going to get. We're just fortunate enough that the situation presented itself to get him, especially at this time of year, when you have hope for your future, and then you can bring guys in that really can help cement where you want to go through their style of play and who they are as teammates. I think that we were fortunate enough that the situation presented itself and then – his energy he adds to each day is awesome. I mean, just a guy whose story is, like so many on this football team, it's earning it. And I think that we always remember that through, especially each week, we got to earn it every day. I don't think you lose track of the success you have. And you're always humbled to prove it again and again and again."
(On the impact WR Trent Sherfield has made)
"Yes, he's another guy. I mean these guys are coming through different roles. And obviously roles evolve and change as you perform. Just what a team-first guy. A physical player. Being able to come here with the experience, obviously, with Wes (Welker), Mike (McDaniel) and Jon (Embree) from San Francisco. I mean, knowing the player and just knowing his growth, I'm not surprised at all, especially with a lot of the things we ask the wide receivers to do and how physically he is in his game. And then now being able to see the production come in the passing game is just awesome. You can't say enough about the guy. We are fortunate enough to have him here. He's one of those guys that maybe his stat line doesn't really show sometimes how valuable they are to us, but he's one of those guys that is really an integral part to our offense. I think he's an excellent teammate.
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOSH BOYER
(On the story of the defense through 10 games so far)
"I think we're still evolving. I don't think we've played our best ball yet, and I think we're getting closer and closer to that. I think it's all situational. There are things that we've done well on early downs, and there are some things that we can improve. I think third down is something that we'll continue to work on and get better at. Two-minute situations, sometimes things don't come up in games, but there's things that you put work in, because you never know when they will. Sometimes they can be the biggest situations in the game. So I think it's evolving. The common theme has been that our players have welcomed adversity. They have not changed. They have not wavered. Their work ethic, the time that they put into it outside of what's required of them, has been pretty impressive. I think those guys have done a pretty good job, and we're all continuing to try to get better."
(On what LB Elandon Roberts is doing better than in years past)
"Well, first I would credit Coach Campanile (Linebackers Coach Anthony Campanile), who's really worked on not only his run fits, which Elandon (Roberts) has done pretty much since he's been in the league, but really worked with him on his breaks, his agility, his pass drops. Last year, Elandon being the tough guy that he is, he came off an ACL (injury) pretty quick. It was pretty impressive that he was ready to go Week 1 a year ago. And I think he's better from a health standpoint, and like I said, 'Camp' (Linebackers Coach Anthony Campanile) has worked really, really well with him, as far as his movement. I think that's one thing from the Cleveland game that we saw, a lot of his zone drops, the breaks, the drives, the no yards after catch, which again, we're continuing to strive as a group defensively, not just Elandon. But I would credit Elandon and his work ethic and his desire to get better and Coach Campanile who's really kind of drilled a lot of that with him."
SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR DANNY CROSSMAN
(On how cool it was to not punt in the Browns game)
"I'll tell you what, and I – not to top it, but I top it with this, it's great to have zero punts, but to have no turnovers on top of that, that's where you're really talking about good complementary football. To not turn the ball over and not have any punts, that's outstanding. But yes, it's fun that they're enjoying it. Again, if we're not turning it over and we're not punting, good things are going to be happening for the Miami Dolphins."