Welcome to the Miami Herald’s Monday live blog, with comments from coach Mike McDaniel and players during ongoing news conferences. We’ll keeping adding to this:
MIKE McDANIEL’S VIEWS
▪ On the decision to play Isaiah Wynn at left guard after four years at offensive tackle for the Patriots: “When he was coming out [as a guard/tackle at Georgia], that’s the way I evaluated him. I saw him having some good skill sets. Experience at tackle helps interior players tremendously if they have the skill set to cross over because of the type of athletes you have on the edge. He’s been a wonderful addition to the team and earned his opportunity to start through his play.”
▪ On using receiver Erik Ezukanma in the backfield on a few plays: “You try as a coaching staff to see and open your mind to unique skill sets of certain players. For that game, it made sense to try to introduce that a little bit.
“Whether it’s something we expand upon depends on the opponent and pros and cons of what that does if anything. We felt it was a good way to get him the ball that game and get the defense talking a little bit. I was pretty sure he was lined up in the backfield on the winning touchdown. Those are fun things you can do in year two where you can move people around more.”
▪ McDaniel said on the 47-yarder to Tyreek Hill, on the third down on the game-winning drive, Tagovailoa “felt the pressure and did something most people can’t do with their writing hand, let alone their non-writing hand. I liked him taking advantage of everything he learned.”
▪ On calling a timeout to get the ball back late in the first half, which led to a Jason Sanders field goal after a foolish JC Jackson pass interference penalty:
“At that point, I thought our guys would block them well enough to pump the ball down the field and see if our playmakers could do something with it. Shame on me if I just mailed it in. It was great execution by a lot of people on those plays; good job by [Jaylen] Waddle running fast and running out of bounds and Erik putting enough stress on the defense where they hit him before the ball got there.”
McDaniel had meetings with the analytics staff every Thursday night in the offseason to discuss various scenarios.
▪ McDaniel said Waddle, who was in some discomfort during the game, isn’t dealing with anything that will keep him completely out of practice:
“Positive interaction with Jaylen. The soreness is where we would hope. We wouldn’t want it to be debilitating and it wasn’t. We will manage it accordingly.”
He said Hill went to the locker room just before halftime to get hydrated, as a preventative measure.
▪ McDaniel likes how Tagovailoa and the receivers have been watching tape after practice, an idea that Dan Marino suggested to Tyreek Hill last month.
“The great thing about those meetings is there’s no federal agents, as I would call them. They can discuss stuff freely. That type of ownership gives you a chance to max out your...faith in football.”
PLAYERS WEIGH IN
▪ Raheem Mostert, on Tagovailoa: “He has that mindset of going out and getting it and being dominant. You see what he’s doing and it’s just amazing. To go from year one to year two and the way he’s doing it… I knew he was a sharp young man ready to take on any challenge… You see the confidence he has. He threw a ball in a tight window to Braxton [Berrios], and the way Braxton caught the ball, you don’t see it on a day to day basis.”
He said the scheme is “tailor-made for guys to get open. It shows you this team is very dynamic. We have a lot of playmakers this side of the ball.”
▪ Mostert, on Hill: “He’s like a little jitterbug, going crazy. You see the separation he has from these DBs. For Tua to make these throws… They can’t be stopped. It’s just going to carry over.”
▪ Mostert, on how the offensive line performed Sunday, not permitting a sack against Pro Bowlers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack: “We put up a stat a few minutes ago, [offensive coordinator] Frank [Smith] did, between two players on that defensive line, seven Pro Bowls, a guy that’s been a sack leader. We didn’t give up one sack. That shows you the growth this line had.
“To be able to dominate and move the line of scrimmage and protect him, it reflects what Tua can do in the pocket. There’s always going to be some work to be done to improve. That’s very compelling that happened yesterday.”
▪ Christian Wilkins on the subpar defensive performance: “We all know that wasn’t our standard. We have to play better defense and it starts with me as a leader of the defense. We will be better -- no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
Is there an adjustment in transitioning to a new coordinator that calls games much differently? “Naturally, there’s obviously a little bit of adjusting but that’s no excuse,” Wilkins said. “We are all professionals and have to do our job. If it’s a good play called, we have to execute. If it’s a bad play called, we have to execute.”
▪ Wilkins, on the run defense, which allowed 234 yards on 5.9 yards per carry: “We have to be better techniques, fundamentals and executing the plays that are called.”
Wilkins said “there were a lot of areas we weren’t great at. I was excited we got the win and the offense had our backs.”
▪ Wilkins, on stopping the Chargers’ last drive: “Those last two series, the last 10 plays or so. We can build off how we finished moving forward. Guys playing at a high level when we needed it the most, Jaelan [Phillips], Zach [Sieler]. Offense did their part.”
▪ Jevon Holland, asked about how big an adjustment it is to a new defensive coordinator who calls the game much differently: “It’s a completely different... philosophy. Obviously there’s going to be an adjustment period. Not the same human calling the defense last year.”