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Transcript | Mike McDaniel's Media Availability - June 6

Read the full transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on June 6, 2024.

(CB Jalen Ramsey, I wanted to ask you how he's looked so far this year? And time removed from last year, I know you guys were thrilled with his rate of recovery and all that, but did he still have another step in that recovery that he needed this offseason to get back to the Jalen Ramsey of old?) 鈥 "Yeah, I think from a physical standpoint, it is a big jump the following year just generally. Now, Jalen Ramsey is an exception as an athlete so you're not really looking at it like it's a big jump for him necessarily from an athleticism standpoint. I'm sure deep down in the subconscious the more reps that you have successfully executing without injury, the more inherent confidence or maybe conviction you can play with. He has come back this year really, really strong. We didn't have this situation last year where he was in the spring time in team reps. I think the first 7-on-7 rep he made it known that he was there and he's doing it in multiple of ways. Making plays in coverage, in the run game, from various amounts of spots. It's cool because he helps 鈥 when he's activated like that and he's engaged and trusts his situation and is thriving, he's a value adder for his teammates. He makes other people better by how they approach practice because the easiest layup that I have in my job is going at the beginning of practice and being able to say, hey, the wideouts were talking about 'you better have your hamstrings ready, Jalen.' Or just poke him. It's like that Tyreek (Hill) level. Those guys are insane. 'You said what?' 'Dude, I said I could dunk on you.' I can't even dunk, it's not a big deal. But he'll still get hot. It's been very, very good for our team to have him out there and overall I think he falls into the bucket of a bunch of people that were attacking a scheme that although it's new, it does have some layers that are similar to the schemes that we ran the last two years. But they've jumped in full-tilt and gotten a lot of things out of our offseason opportunities on the field and you could say he's led the charge."

(Following up on CB Jalen Ramsey in scheme and in general, he mentioned yesterday just about being a versatile piece again. I know that's been a topic of staying on one side versus moving him around. I'm curious your thoughts on how he will be used in Defensive Coordinator Anthony Weaver's scheme? And maybe using him how he wants to be used?) 鈥 "Well, it's more about Jalen had experience in his career playing a ton of different roles. He thrives in that. When you have a full commitment from a player and the appropriate scheme and coaching where you want to emphasize that within your whole scheme, any time you can find a new way to take advantage of someone's skill set, it's hugely beneficial for the entire group when people are maximized and you have a unique skill set. There are not many comps (comparisons) to Jalen Ramsey. There are probably not any. So in that, thinking outside the box, finding different ways for him to thrive helps others thrive. And I think that's something from a philosophical standpoint that is in line with my beliefs in football. One offseason you're finding new ways to get someone the ball. It's the same thing as putting him in different places to be at the point of attack and utilize all of his God-given gifts. It's a good marriage. Something that one of the things that I thought was important for the overall orchestration of playing football, whether that's offense, defense or special teams 鈥 having multiplicity, having the ability to dictate the terms. But the biggest thing that has come from this whole offseason is, for me, is the intention to have the highest functioning player-coach orchestration where guys are trusting where guys are coming from and really leaning into the coaching and seeing how far we can push each individual athlete. I think the coaching staff really on the defensive side led by 'Weave' (Anthony Weaver) but what Mathieu Araujo is doing and Brian Duker and the communication that is going over there. There's not one player in the back end, including Jalen, that has any questions on the motivations on their coach. I'm very proud of this offseason because it's hard in the NFL. There are so many different things going on with individual players and everyone has scars. So to be able to actually have the right coaching points and being able to reach the players is super important and that facilitation is evident to me through our practices. Jalen is moving around because he's bought into it and all the players around him are pumped about it because they're bought into what opportunities that presents for them."

(I wanted to ask about your coaching staff since you mentioned some of the new guys. You had I believe double-digit turnover in terms of new hires, new guys coming in. What was behind that? I know obviously Vic Fangio leaving and wanting to give Defensive Coordinator Anthony Weaver his staff was a factor. But why so many new faces on the whole entire staff?) 鈥 "You alluded to exactly the orchestration. There were some movement that we had on offense and special teams, but by far the most was on defense. And you don't necessarily go into the offseason looking at that's going to be the case exactly like that. You start with who you hire as the coordinator. And then moving forward from that for me, if I'm expecting to have the appropriate relationship with the defensive coordinator, immediately we are talking about how are we empowering him with assistant coaches. And that conversation for 'Weave' (Anthony Weaver) and I in this case was very productive and a very clean production at that because I've known him since 2014 and he can understand what I would mean or what I would be alluding to and knows kind of my framework of belief systems. Then we go to each individual position. What do those players need? And then what does 'Weave' need? Which in there lies, what do I need? Going case-by-case across the board, consistency is always a great thing if you can have it. However, you have to prioritize what's the most important thing for you. And the thing is, you have new coaches, any position group, you want to pick any one of them; they have a new coach for Phase 1. If the coaching-player dynamic is right, that's new for about two weeks. And then what happens is the consistency of the coach that is in place, if he has consistency about how he approaches the job, it's all of a sudden 鈥 it was three years ago the last time I had a different position coach. It can happen that fast. So in Year 3, I'm also much more well-versed in understanding what and identifying exactly what I believe to be necessary to properly do right by the dream that is the players that they have a finite window to be maximized. So the lesser of the two evils is finding a situation where I think we can best capture that really beautiful 鈥 it's a beautiful relationship when it's working correctly. It's a challenge that you don't like having and you prefer not having every year, but it's one that is welcomed and embraced if you're able to find the right people and put the right people together to facilitate the individual and team dream that we're all shooting for. Because there are so many new people on the staff, you do have an inherent, heightened awareness of the relationships of the position coaches or position assistants with every individual because it's newer. It's so much more on the forefront of my thinking and one of the reasons that I'm happy about this offseason is because I can see the facilitation of the relationships in practice. I can see someone make a mistake in period one, and then in period five have it corrected and executing it the way we corrected. Those are manifestations of relationships that you either have or you don't. They have to be earned and I think our coaching staff has really hit it out of the park. I've never been as happy with our position coaches and coaching staff in general as I have been this offseason. And I've been looking very closely at it, which is why I know it to be true."

(Defensive Coordinator Anthony Weaver was telling us about these pickup basketball games that he's organized. Do you get in on this?) 鈥 "No. I can't hurt my street cred. Like right now, I talk a lot of noise and I get like, 'is he good at basketball?' Step on the court one time and that's all lost. But it is a mastery of 'shouldn't be doing that athletes.' But that's kind of the little things are such big things in the game of NFL football where the parody is so immense and connecting in all sorts of ways. Whether it's a little situation or big situation, those types of things, man, they have results. They render results. I had numerous players tell me probably in the second week of Phase 1 how they could tell the defensive coaching staff really liked being around each other. Probably because they were talking crap to each other about their pickup basketball games. Those things do render results. I prioritize staff connectivity and just connectivity with everyone in our working orchestration of our profession, players and coaches alike. I have since got the residual results of a team invested in each other that has gotten better every single time that we've done any football activity for sure."

(I want to ask about two position groups: interior o-line and the d-line. Do you feel you have enough at those units right now? Could those be areas you might look to address in the coming months of training camp?) 鈥 "Like I've said before, (General Manager) Chris Grier is always working in (concert). I am very happy with our current orchestration of both those units. The offensive line, there's a little more history and experience personally with all the guys involved. On the defensive line, there's more new. So the guys are working to get things tied together with the entire defense in that regard just like the newer offensive linemen that we do have are working to master a new scheme. I'm very happy with the team. Open to competition. I think competition always breeds benefit for the 新澳门六合高手论坛 just because it brings the best out of people. We'll never shut the door on that, but I'm happy with the groups, their production, how they've been working together. Happy with both groups."

(In the past, you've talked about the fan base being hungry for success in January. I wonder with the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final, if they should go ahead and win those four more games, do you think, not within this building, but from the outside, does that put more pressure on the Dolphins to succeed in the playoffs?) 鈥 "I think there's always pressure. We don't need that to happen to feel pressure for that. I don't see this job as a void of pressure ever. One thing I tried to articulate to the team at length that I think they've started to capture is the pressure exists because there's a lot of people that want to do your job. Whatever job you have, a lot of people want to do it. So if you're not performing the best in your opportunity, it's tick, tick, tick for everybody, always. You get hired in this business to win games. I'm never not going to feel the pressure of that regardless of who does what. I think that's important to understand. I take the time to kind of teach the team the history of the Dolphins and inform them of the past because I think it's very important o know who's rooting for them, why they cheer and what they're invested in. Just knowing that, it that's not pressure enough, then dealing with the wrong people, right? The whole team knows we have the capability and wants to earn that accomplishment for the fans, for the organization, for themselves, all those things. That's something that no matter what happens, that is on the forefront of everybody's mind. Because you also know being able to do that will be something special that you can't replicate. And chasing that never stops and try to create a working atmosphere where you always have the pressure to do your absolute best. That is a simple thing or simple statement, but what does that mean? Doing our absolute best, you can control a lot of preparation. You can control a lot of decisions that can set you up for success. And that's where your mind needs to be at. I think to me that the internal pressure that we put on ourselves far exceeds any cup or trophy or what any team is doing. But it is cool to see and you do get a nice reminder of what we're all here to do and how you just cannot replicate the experience and the gratification of being able as a team to achieve things. So it is a nice thing to have at home to watch and we're all rooting for them and fired up knowing how hard that is. And you appreciate that and you trying to take some of the tools that their team used to be the best version of the team on the national stage, to be in the final pairing. There's great stuff from that. But pressure? If you don't feel the pressure, you are oblivious to reality."

(Just curious, have you met Florida Panthers Head Coach Paul Maurice?) 鈥 "I haven't, but I'm a big fan of what he's been able to do. Last year was really, really cool to learn about some of the stuff the team went through and how you kind of had to orchestrate various things this year. Seeing them have a bullseye on their back and how they've still been able to achieve, it's been cool to see what that franchise done for last two years."

(Your players have voted this cafeteria and nutrition plan as the best in the NFL. After speaking with a couple players about it, they indeed rave about it. You've obviously been on several teams around the league and seen several cafeterias. When you walk through the cafeteria downstairs, I guess what stands out about this facility to you?) 鈥 "You bring up a cool group of people who also embody much of what I felt when I first got the job. And what's unique is having people very passionate about their role, as opposed to like, 'Hey, I got this role so I can be with an NFL team, I can see Tyreek Hill every day,' or whatever. That conviction and connectivity towards, 'OK, I want to provide the best nutrition, make sure everything is clean, organized.' People being upbeat and adding value to people's days, that's what you feel in the cafeteria. That's what's so cool about this organization and all the support staff is you have littered, whether that's in the cafeteria, in the video room, the equipment room, our training staff, across the board you have people very committed to doing the very best in their role. Much like an orchestration of a football team, receivers prioritizing blocking when they're getting paid for receptions, those types of things 鈥 that team you can feel they are wanting to do their job and seeing the value in their job that relates to the football team. Those individuals, you can tell that they take it very serious and enjoy coming to work. And the more people that you have enjoying work 鈥 you think about how much time you spend working, and if you can make that an enjoyable situation, it adds value to the overall group. You can't measure how much people grow in those types of environments, it's innumerable. So they do a great job. I think they've earned that reputation day in, day out, and it's cool for them to get recognized. That's why I'm fan of that survey, just because there's departments that don't get recognized that really should, and they're definitely one of them."

(To ask the obligatory question for this time of year, what's your message to the players as they leave for the next seven weeks or so?) 鈥 "You just try to have them understand 鈥 since you're not with them every day, you try to have them understand what the six weeks and their decisions, how it relates to the overall football team. There's so often that 鈥 the work we put in is long and strenuous, and people do need life balance. But in that, there is a huge commonality that I think with the orchestration of what is currently orchestrated that when you get to the preseason, how much 鈥 or just you get to the season in general 鈥 how much is dependent upon those six weeks and you doing right by the team. What's doing that, what's doing right by the team? That's showing up in shape for training camp, because if you show up in shape for training camp, check the box, we can work. All the things that you aspire for that season individually and as a team, those are on the table. If you don't show up in shape and use training camp to get in shape, well one 鈥 that's the No. 1 variable for soft tissue injuries. You get a soft tissue injury, then now you're out two weeks and you haven't even started getting back in shape until three weeks in, and how is your game going to develop. Or if you don't get injured, trying to get Week 1 ready is very difficult because of the unique hurdles that preseason schedules provide where you have the bye week, there's like three days off transition before the first game. And then you have different nuances the weekend before all of which make the ability to sustain the shape you're in plausible 鈥 not getting in shape, there's not enough reps. So illustrating how everything that you are working for on the table, how nothing 鈥 you can't even venture to that journey if those six weeks aren't appropriately attacked. That's what I'm really getting at them, because that's the one thing that everyone is depending on."

(As a quick follow-up, do you have any plans for yourself over the next few weeks?) 鈥 "Oh man, you're speaking to my wife directly because 鈥 bless her heart, she is so patient with me. But this idea of being present, intentionality and a deliberate way to go about each and every day, that makes planning in the future difficult. When it's for my job, I'm all over it 鈥 months ahead, awesome. When it comes to 鈥 vacation has nothing to do with football. I can start thinking about it this afternoon, and apparently like hotels don't love last minute things, or maybe stuff is more expensive, or maybe people just like to plan. I have no idea what I'm doing outside like a California trip, but we'll probably going somewhere this weekend. We'll just wait and see when we get to that. It will be all dad time 鈥 all dad time and husband time. It's so important for me. In this profession, there's so many sacrifices made by families during the season. You have to make that up and this is my one shot, so I go all in."

(I wanted to ask you about your first year, you had a really aggressive defense. Second season, it was kind of stagnant and consistent. Is the thought to kind of marry both approaches?) 鈥 "And have the versatility to play to your player strengths, attack the opponent and have the versatility to play either game. I think that's the biggest thing in football is you have matchups that are favorable and matchups that aren't. Your ability to best address another team's matchups sometimes is a philosophical alteration. If you can have a starting point where you can have very sound zoning defense with four-man rushes and ruled out run fits that also has the ability to show the same thing and pressure a ton, I think that gives you the ultimate versatility for all the different things that you'll face in an NFL season because each week is so different with regard to what people are doing and how they're doing it. So that was something that I think the players have picked up on, in terms of how there's, 'Oh, I remember this from here. This is kind of like this from here.' It's really helped the process. Outside of learning the new verbiage, it's really helped the process for us getting guys to understand how we want to play and the way we want to play it. Because ultimately, all the defense, the idea is to get players to play as convicted and together with being fast, physical with elite technique. You can do that if the system is orchestrated and it's taught the right way, and the guys absorb it and lean into that, 'Hey, we can do whatever we need to do to get off the field.'"

(A couple of your players have told us this offseason that you've been kind of direct with them about the previous late season struggles, addressing that and attacking that as an issue. I'm curious, how do you coach that element outside of the experience of getting there in December and January again?) 鈥 "I think it's important to 鈥 we're talking about narratives to a degree 鈥 to understand narratives aren't a bad thing. Narratives are based upon past and hedging opinions moving forward. So to me, I think it's important to get in front of that and know what's coming for players that are going to experience it directly and then leaning into that. I think it's hilarious to say, 'Now that you have pressure on you,' in this business for the reason of, are you blindfolded with earplugs in? Like dude, it's achieve now or watch out. Well, it's the same thing in regards to, 'Hey, things have happened.' Those two things 鈥 the last two seasons 鈥 the seasons have ended a certain way, and about 30 to 40 percent of the team were part of it. The other portion of the team wasn't. But what can we learn from all of this and how do we adjust what we do now to hedge our bet then and little things? You take 鈥 whether it's a game or we need to finish the season better. You get what you emphasize. Well, why not find ways to emphasize finishing in everything you do? Obsess about it. Why not have for half the offseason, you're trying to have staff meetings at different times during the day. I had every staff meeting I put at like 7:24 or 3:24 or 5:24 鈥 the number 24. To you guys, it means nothing. That's how many years it's been since the organization has won a playoff game. We are going to hear about that come playoff time. You think? So to me, you do that to empower guys to know what's coming. To understand it, to not run from it. Because if you're going to achieve success where people are predicting failure, you're going to have to go above and beyond. That is what every single player has done in their life at one point in time. Every player has flourished when people said they can't in some way, shape or form. So it's the same thing, just being intentional with it and understanding that I want this team to be very proud. This team is different than the years before. This is a different team. But I want these players on this team to make right of the journey of the last two teams. And that's OK, well, those failures led to this success. And that's how you have to look at it, because you are talking to almost half the room that's like, 'What? We what?' That's kind of how you have to adjust to the modern-day orchestration of the NFL where you're staring at about 40 to 60 percent turnover almost every year. I think that's how you attack it. You know what's going to be said to you by your friends, or some media members come next December, let's talk about it now. Yes, that's not what you want said about (your team) 鈥 you don't want (it) to be said, 'You can't finish. You can't do that.' You don't want to hear that, but whatever. What if you heard you could? Does it change anything? Let's go attack it and let's go achieve something together. That's the reason why I bring it up, just because I know no matter how much I tell people to not listen, it's impossible not to hear the noise coming. There's always going to be noise. Whatever, just address it and let's do our jobs deliberately and with a mindfulness today that can be applied in the future."

(I think I know the answer to this, but do you feel that as well personally? Year 3, you've got to win a playoff game this year?) 鈥 "When I got hired, I said it in like my first team meeting 鈥 it was 22 years at the time. Just because yeah, you don't hire someone for moderate success or failure or anything. You hire them to win and I know we have to do that. Nothing has really changed. I don't feel pressure that way, because I feel way enough pressure having the job in general. I don't need any 鈥 there's not any more to. You're hired for a reason and you understand that, and you're trying to help be a part, facilitate and be a part of a team that can succeed in the failures of the previous 22 or 24 seasons. I knew what I was signing up for with this job. For me to not think that we need to win would be 鈥 what, so I'm entitled to the job? That doesn't make any sense to me. It's going about business, trying to maximize guys day in and day out, get the team as good as they can and lean into your teammates to go try to achieve something that will mean a lot to a lot of people."

(The new kickoff rules. What have those brainstorming sessions been like? How much have you gotten involved with Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman?) 鈥 "It was pretty cool, because you talk about 鈥 what I think is cool is that you're going to have a play in the game that people are forecasting however many more live plays we're actually going to see. But the framework of the play is area of innovation I think we will see early. I think we will see it throughout the entire year. I can see somebody with the new rule and the amount of space that can be created by the non-negotiable element of not moving until the ball is caught, those things make it a pretty impactful play where you could be at the 21-yard line, or the 40 (-yard line) like that. (snaps fingers) So in that, I can see there will be cool things looking forward all the way to the Super Bowl next year. You have two weeks to prepare for an opponent. You can comb more league-wide tape, and there will be a play in that game in this phase that I think will probably be a big influence on the overall outcome. It's a big needle mover in terms of yards which forecast points. We've been having conversations from schematic to the varies ways you want to use personnel. I think it opens up your roster because the lack of distance or the reduction of distance for the coverage teams makes it less substantial of an investment overall. So it may be guys that traditionally have been starters on defense or starters on offense, I think it gives you more flexibility to get starters on that unit for various reasons. Overall, it wouldn't shock me if, shoot, every No. 1 receiver and every No. 1 running back in the league is raising their hands to return kicks Week 4."

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