Mike McDaniel talks about play calling duties, outlook, and presence of Tua Tagovailoa

This is not a rebuilding year, despite the losses Miami suffered as a result of free agency. McDaniel said the Dolphins will be just as competitive, if not more.

Mike McDaniel was very optimistic at the owner's meetings in Orlando and said that despite the losses, Miami will still compete at a high level in 2024.
Mike McDaniel was very optimistic at the owner's meetings in Orlando and said that despite the losses, Miami will still compete at a high level in 2024. / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

You do not have to tell Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel about the players that he lost through free agency. He is well aware of them. He refuses to look in the rearview mirror to see what assets he used to have.

At the owners' meetings in Orlando, McDaniel was quite frank about his expectations for his club and he knows that they will be better and that they will add more pieces to the puzzle. He is not worried about what he lost in terms of assets, but he is excited about the pieces that the Dolphins picked up and those that will come in the NFL Draft.

McDaniel has his eyes focused on the road and is looking forward and wants to talk about the players that Miami signed in free agency and how they are going to impact the squad in 2024.

"“I’m very proud of the orchestration, particularly between the coaching staff and the personnel department. Let’s not fake the funk and act like it was an easy problem to solve. We’re always solving the problem of roster and trying to make it better. I saw an orchestration of multiple people on all fronts being very communicative. I think we found really, really good players that really want to play for the Miami Dolphins organization. And we were able to really cover – we had a lot of holes to fill … ""

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel
Chris Grier, Mike McDaniel
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier and coach Mike McDaniel address reporters at the end of last season. / HAL HABIB / The Palm Beach Post / USA

McDaniel does not want to hear about a "rebuild" or a "reboot" He said that the Dolphins will be just as aggressive as they have been in his two years with the club and that there should be nothing short of success in Miami this season. He won't allow and neither will his players.

""There’s been zero time spent thinking anything less bold or less aggressive then the way we approach every season. To trivialize a season or to say – for me, I have a hard time expressing what our teams going to be like as the head coach without ever being around the team. I think everybody’s individual expectations are extremely high. The more people lower their expectations, it’s kind of erroneous or irrelevant, but I know that starting April 15th, guys are very, very hungry to deliver on what they know, which is an opportunity to be on a team that has the ability to grow from what we’ve learned last year and what we went through, and have zero thought as to down, rebuilding, whatever those words are. That makes zero sense to me.""

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel

The player that McDaniel spoke most vociferously about, was safety Jordan Poyer, the former Buffalo BIlls' star, who played for Cleveland in 2014 when McDaniel was on the Browns' coaching staff. He believes that Poyer will help Jevon Holland elevate his game and his excitement about playing in Miami is self evident.

Isiah Pacheco, Jordan Poyer
Jordan Poyer making a tackle on Isiah Pacheco, in his last game as a member of the Buffalo Bills. He is now a member of the Miami Dolphins and that makes Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel a happy man. / Al Bello/GettyImages

"“I think one of the most exciting things about his addition is he has an attachment to the city of Miami, wants to see goals that we have as a team accomplished, and to hear him have conversations with Jevon Holland and just exuberance about both players taking their game to another level, that gets you excited. I think that’s really good news for the Miami Dolphins organization because at the end of the day, you want guys who are fully invested.""

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel

McDaniel also said that the players owe it to the fans and to each other to give their very best every day, regardless of who is starting. He believes that they all bring something special to the table, or they would not be there.

""Fans are going to pay to try to watch us play football and people don’t go to games to watch people lose. People’s careers, this will be the most important year of every single player’s career because it’s the only one that exists. We’ve talked about that before.”"

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel

At the end of the 2023 season, McDaniel said that he was going to think long and hard about whether or not he was going to continue calling the offensive plays, or if he would defer to his offensive coordinator. As expected, McDaniel has the con and he is not going to give it up to any of his subordinates.

" “Yeah, I’ve thought about it long and hard and I think one of the things that we’ve done this offseason is really lean into the facilitation of full communication and the development of our staffs in all three phases. I think from a play-calling perspective, for now in the spring, I’m going to call plays. And I plan on doing it in the fall. But we’ll always adjust if necessary. As long as you’re ok with me calling plays, I’ll call plays.”"

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel

One of the main concerns was that concerning quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. McDaniel was questioned as to whether Tagovailoa was going to hold out due to the fact that he is currently operating in his option year and other quarterbacks in his class have already received their extensions. Speculation surrounds as to whether or not Tagovailoa will be in camp, or even a happy camper.

Tua Tagovailoa
Jan 13, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) moves out to throw the call in an AFC Wild Card game in Kansas City. / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

McDaniel believes that the quarterback will be at all of the off-season training and practices. He will not be a holdout and will report for duty as asked.

" "I do expect Tua (Tagovailoa) to be in OTAs only because my working relationship with Tua. For two years, I’ve watched Tua gain some unbelievable residuals towards the season in that process. It’s part of the reason Tua is who he is because he’s always learning, never staying the same and always working on his craft. "

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel