Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel has a lot to learn

Mike McDanielMandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mike McDanielMandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel continues to impress both the media and the fanbase as well as the players, but he still has a lot to learn about the NFL.

At some point this year, McDaniel is going to make a mistake. Chances are when it happens, he will be questioned about it after the game because it may very well cost the team a win. It could be as simple as a player substitution, an ill-advised call late in the game, or maybe a bad timeout or challenge.

Mark it down, it will happen. Every first-time head coach goes through these growing pains and the key is to learn from those mistakes, minimize them, and most importantly listen to the coaches who have experience.

The excitement level in Miami is incredible right now. TheFishTank, Miami’s incredibly good podcast, recently talked with McDaniel and he was, again, impressive. Words may be winning the off-season but even the nicest coaches can quickly succumb to the pressures of the regular season.

Right now, McDaniel is everyone’s friend. The players love him but come August those players are going to hate him. They are going to respect him but they are not going to be his besties. They will be fighting for a roster spot, starting jobs, and their livelihoods. Mike McDaniel will be in charge of their futures.

Miami Dolphins
Music artist Luis Fonsi, Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports /

This is not a knock on McDaniel. It’s not about his inexperience calling plays or actually serving in a real OC role. He comes from a new era of coaching that has found success around the league. He is of a Mike Shanahan off-shoot that includes Kyle Shanahan, his son.

Mike Shanahan’s tree is impressive, especially those currently in the NFL. Sean McVay comes off that tree and Zac Taylor comes off McVay’s. Kyle comes off his father’s branch and that branches off to Robert Salah, the Jets HC, and Mike McDaniel.

There is a lot of experience behind this tree but like all of those other HCs, McDaniel will still need to take his lumps. If he is going to succeed in the NFL, he will need to learn from those mistakes quickly and get better. The key is not making mistakes, it’s limiting them and not repeating them.