When it comes to coaching the Miami Dolphins, Mike McDaniel has plenty of flaws. He is inexperienced and some of his playcalling leaves a lot to be desired. That can all change. The one thing he needs to change, he likely never will.
Teams emulate their coaches. There is no way to not be like that. In Detroit, the Lions are playing tough, physical football under Dan Campbell and now, after decades and decades, the Lions are playing for a trip to the Super Bowl next week.
The Lions are a spitting image of Campbell. The Dolphins are pretty close to being a mirror image of Mike McDaniel and I'm not sure that is a good thing.
Mike McDaniel's biggest flaw is also what makes him so likable. Mike McDaniel is way too nice.
The Miami Dolphins are not a soft football team but they are also not a physical powerhouse either. Watching the Bills on Sunday night it was clear that Miami is nowhere near that physicality. Nor are they like the Chiefs physically. Those teams hit hard and they hit hard every play. Right to the whistle.
McDaniel is a nice head coach. We saw over the course on Hard Knocks, how he doesn't get mad or angry. Everything is a "life lesson." Make a mistake, "That's o.k. nothing good ever comes from not facing diversity," or something like that.
Can you see a player ticking off McDaniel so much that he ends up in his doghouse? McDaniel wants to hang out with the players. He wants to be their friend and to some degree, that works. Players like being treated like adults but sometimes, you have to be mentally tough and challenge your team.
McDaniel challenges his team with kind words and spoken wisdom. That may be inspiring the first few times but when your line is missing blocks, your QB isn't making the proper reads, and the defense is allowing Patrick Mahomes to run by them while they play two-hand touch, that isn't something "words of wisdom" is going to get you.
At some point, it will all wear thin on the players. As long as they are winning, everything is fine but when that starts to change, the players will look for leadership and accountability from their HC and this is where McDaniel will need to change.
Right now, it's working, somewhat but Miami needs to be a more physically imposing team on both sides of the ball. They are not going to scare anyone with endless motions and quick slants with an occasional bomb to Tyreek Hill. That isn't who McDaniel is but that is someone he needs to become.
McDaniel can be friends with players but he will never be one of them. He is their coach and there is a line that needs to be drawn in the Southbeach sand. McDaniel can be inspiring and wisdom-like, and all that other stuff, but at he needs to be tough too. He needs to stand in front of the room and instead of dropping F-bombs with little context, drop some and hold his team accountable for playing like garbage when the big game is on the line.
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