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Miami Dolphins Postgame Quotes 9/17

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniels and select players comment on their game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, September 17, 2023.



SEPTEMBER 17, 2023

Q: How would you describe the game?

MM: Long. No, it was a divisional matchup, as you expect where those are hard to really separate yourself. Sometimes you have the opportunity to, you know, in your mind, put the game away. But, generally, against good football teams, that's not the case. I thought that complementary football did exist. I thought the team played well together, picked up on each other's momentum, specifically the Bradley Chubb forced fumble that turned into a 12-play touchdown drive. And then the defense holding their offense to a field goal before the half. And then the offense making the plays to go down the field. I think those are the biggest points in the game. And it was probably, you know, you go and look at the tape – and I told the guys in the locker room that they're going to feel like it didn't need to be a nail biter. And that happens a ton. You're fortunate to get the win in that learning process of how to, you know, make sure that that's not the case. But overall, on the road, prime time, division opponent, those are very, very valuable games to be able to come up with a win. So I was happy for all the guys, really.

Q: Can you describe what you saw from the way the Patriots defended you and how Tua Tagovailoa handled it?

MM: We knew – we definitely didn't assume that what was on tape thus far this season was going to be everything that we were going to get. That was a – it was a unique game plan that, you know, I think guys did a pretty solid job of adjusting to the weird spots the guys were in. And then, you know, I was happy with a lot of the stuff that Tua [Tagovailoa] did, you know, but I think that forced throw to Tyreek [Hill] in the second half is something that he was trying to win the game after a couple frustrating drives. And that's something you have to learn from. You know, you don't force the hand. But overall, I was really happy with how he bounced back from things that, you know, I know frustrate him. Any time he's off on any sort of throw, you know, in the past, that frustration has really bled into multiple drives. And there was one drive in the first half – was it the first or second half – where he – I think it was one of the first drives in the second half. I can't remember. But he had a couple throws that he would have liked to have back, one to Tyreek and one to Jaylen Waddle down the field consecutively. But it speaks to where he's at in his game because I thought he came back from that. We had some operations stuff that we'll need to clean up. That's the whole point and what I talk to the team about all the time is it's a journey. It's a journey of getting better so your best football is in December. So when you're able to not play entirely your cleanest football and get the win, you embrace that. And we'll look forward to getting better from it.

Q: How is Jaylen Waddle doing?

MM: I have no idea as of right now. I'll be able to update you guys tomorrow. All I know is he went for evaluation. But beyond that, I haven't got any information. It was so late in the game.

Q: What does it say about Andrew Van Ginkel and the player he is and the preparation he puts in with the way he played tonight?

MM: Says everything, you know. I think it – that's why all of the offseason is so valuable. And Van Ginkel probably knows the defense better than anyone because of the multiplicity. And that was a great move to get in front of and, you know, with Vic [Fangio] – Coach Campanelli, Ryan Slowik, and Austin Clark kind of identifying, you know, the varied use – or the potential of – you know, it's been instrumental for us. And for him to be able to come in – and not just play but be an impactful force says everything about him and really all the people that are around him as well, like – as far as coaches and, you know, it was really cool to see that. But it didn't surprise – didn't surprise us really. I figured he'd have a pretty good game. He's a really good player.

Q: What did you think of Raheem Mostert and the running game?

MM: It was – you know, I think he was hard to tackle. And I think that he – that was a huge boost, especially the way they were playing. We needed the line of scrimmage. And you have to take advantage of overplay. So if they're overplaying the pass game, if you want to be a good offense, you have to threaten them with the run.

And I told them early that if – they are telling you something when, you know, they're coverage first. Generally, defenses aren't that way. They felt good about their up-front match ups. And I thought the guys were properly prepared and took that personal. And we were able to make some plays there that were instrumental. So that's something that we've been building on. And it was – that's an important moment for the guys because, you know, defenses watched tape. And they're going to try to evaluate how you've won games before and not allow you to do the same thing to them. So that was their priority. And I thought guys did a good job. And there will be stuff that we'll get better from too. But the guys were fired up to be able to get the opportunities to do that.

Q: The blocked field goal, did the movement pre-snap surprise guys?

MM: Yeah, I mean, it's – it was a really cool schematic adjustment by the Patriots. Hats off to them. And it's always telling when someone's able to make a big play like that in terms of for yourself. You know, Danny [Crossman] was on it and knew that we needed to adjust the snap count, which is – they tried to do the same thing on the last field goal that we missed. But that's why that – he wasn't an impact on that play because we made the appropriate adjustments. But that was a great design. They kind of used one of the motions that we use on offense all the time, basically, and field goal block. Hadn't seen that before. So that was a great job by them



SEPTEMBER 17, 2023

Q: Tua, what did you think of the looks that you were getting?

TT: Yeah, I was not surprised of what they wanted to do. Seemed as if they wanted to put an umbrella over our two fast guys. And then as the game progressed, they started to get back into what they normally would run. But I think they do a tremendous job with adjusting in game. And, you know, that's really a big, big thing I would say for any Bill Belichick defense when they're going out there. You know, you can see one thing, and then if you hit an explosive or something happens on that, you can expect something to change in that instance. And so how they defended one of our plays towards the ending of the game wasn't how they defended it the first three, four times. They got adjusted. We got a call, and we were able to go down there.

Q: When you see that is that just about taking what the defense gives you?

TT: Yeah. That's the most important thing playing this defense is they're not going to give up too many explosives. They really want you to work for yardage. And it's definitely a take-what-they-give-you kind of defense. And they play sound football. So they're trying to force you to make mistakes.

Q: So a 2 and 0 start with both wins coming on the road. What do you think that means for the team?

TT: Well, I think if you can win any time on the road, that's a big plus. It's hard to win games on the road in this league. But, you know, we're still trying to find our identity as a team, offensively, defensively, and the special teams. And we'll continue to watch film, continue to grow, continue to get better. I think the defense did a lot of great things for us, giving us opportunities to get the ball in the end zone. We didn't capitalize. And I thought our O-line did great. Our run game was solid. So to the point of taking what they give you, you know, I made a costly mistake that – it could have been costly, but it's a team sport. So just happy that we could come out with a win.

Q: There were a couple of moments where it seemed like the momentum might shift from you guys to the Patriots and every time the team would kind of answer the call. Was there anything said in the huddle by the coaches?

TT: Yeah. When you're playing prime time football, you can't expect it to be a blowout. Every time you're playing an NFL team, you're always expecting it to be a really close game. They've got good guys on that side, we've got good guys on our side. And it's just a matter of who executes the best on both sides of the ball. Like I said, I think our guys did really good. We're really excited that we've won. But there's a lot of things that we can learn from.

Q: How nice is it to get 121 yards from Raheem Mostert?

TT: Yeah. That's a testament to all the guys he's surrounded by. It's a testament to Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Rob Hunt. Austin Jackson – I'm going to keep naming them – Connor Williams. We've got Isaiah Wynn. We've got Kendall Lamm, Alec Ingold. It's a testament to all those guys with, you know, those guys basically telling us, "hey, if you're going to beat us, you're going to have to run the ball," by putting an umbrella over our guys. So it – you know, I would think Raheem would say the same, but it's well deserved in every aspect of the run game.

Q: I feel without Terron Armstead, Kendall Lamm performed well. Without Jaelan Phillips tonight, Andrew Van Ginkel performed really well. What do you think that says about the sort of depth of talent on this roster?

TT: Yeah. I believe it says a lot. The confidence that those guys have coming in and filling spots that are really, really good guys and guys that have sort of made a name for themselves in this league. But no one blinks. It's the NFL. Those guys know that when they're stepping into that role what's expected of them. And Kendall [Lamm] has done a tremendous job. Gink [Andrew Van Ginkel] has done a tremendous job. And the cool thing about it is they don't get the most credit, but those are some of the hardest working guys that you will see day in and day out in the building. They keep their head down. They don't talk much, but they let their play do the talking.

Q: I don't know if you saw a replay of the Jaylen Waddle helmet to helmet. It was obviously a foul. How concerned were you about him?

TT: Any time one of your guys goes down, definitely always concerned. But I got to see him, seems as if he's in good spirits. So hoping for the best for him.

Q: What happened on the mishandled snap toward the end there?

TT: Yeah. That's totally my fault. There's things that I was changing up in which I shouldn't. And I got to get that fixed with Connor [Williams].

Q: You're now 5 and 0 against Bill Belichick's defense What are you doing right?

TT: I think our team is 5 and 0 against Bill Belichick. It's never a me thing. It's never a me thing. And I don't think we ever look at it as, "oh, we beat them once, we beat them twice, we beat them five times in a row." Every time we face Coach Belichick's team, it's always a challenge. And we know we're going to get their best.

But it's hard to play against a team like that, especially here on the road in Foxborough. We're going to take them however they come. And we'll continue to move forward on whatever team that we have next.

Q: What were you thinking, final play, Mike Gesicki, a guy you're very fond of, he's got the ball and he's reaching and he laterals it?

TT: Yeah. I mean, smart play, smart play by Mike [Gesicki] knowing that he didn't have the first down by doing that. But it was really cool to see Mike go out there. Looked like he was having fun and got some catches, made some crucial catches as well. Another former teammate, it was cool seeing DeVante Parker, DP, you know, just like practice, him going up against X [Xavien Howard] all over again. But they play really hard. They played really well. And it was cool. It came down to the wire, you know, so – thanks, guys.


Raheem Mostert, RB

(On what he was seeing overall in the run game and with the blocking up front)

"The guys up front were doing an unbelievable job. They're just progressing each and every week. You saw last week what they were doing – they gave up no sacks and then this week, they were more heavily involved in the running game. It was an honor to just see those guys do what they do best, especially with a good defense like the Patriots. Man, they were just doing everything right."

(On what it means to start the season 2-0 with two road wins against playoff contenders)

"It's really good. Each week, you want to just get better and better as the season goes on. Now we've got to focus on our next opponent, which is the home opener against Denver. We have the 24-hour, 48-hour rule, and then it's grind time."

(On the Patriots defensive front and if anything about it was surprising to him)

"We knew that the defense was going to run the way they did. The d-line was – I mean, you've got [Matthew] Judon over there, who's just a playmaker and then you've got Lawrence [Guy] as well and a few other guys, [Josh] Uche. There's a lot of different guys up front that could make a lot of plays. You've got to minimize those as much as possible. I think we neutralized them as best as we could."

(On the team having good runs on inside zone as opposed to the more commonly used outside zone)

"I think we had a pretty good mixture. We had a 19 that I bounced and got around the corner, I think I got like six? I strive to try to hit that home run, but of course, you've got to play the defense how it comes. Inside zone was definitely more beneficial this game. When you have a team like the Patriots, all they do is set that edge. It's kind of tough to get on the outside anyway. We knew that coming in, we knew that we had to control the edge as much as possible and try to figure out how we could get around them. Ultimately, it was a team effort in that aspect."

(On what hitting 100 rushing yards means to him and if that's always going to be a special number as a running back)

"Yeah, it's always going to be a special number. That means that you're doing your thing. I mean, 100 yards is hard to come by, especially in a passing league. When you're able to get 100 yards and do your due diligence, that means that everything was going on all cylinders, you were running the ball very well and even in the pass game, you were completing passes that needed to be completed."

Andrew Van Ginkel, LB

(On his versatility)

"Obviously Coach Fangio saw the versatility in me, and he knew that I could play multiple roles. In two weeks I've played two different roles already. Who know what the future holds? I'm just very appreciative to be back here in Miami and being able to be a part of this team."

(On the last tackle on Cole Strange)

"It kind of reminded me of the Rob Hunt play a couple years back. It's kind of crazy when the offensive lineman ends up with the ball in their hands. Honestly, I kind of went for the ball, I should have just tried knocking him back, but obviously it was a great play to get the stop and won the game off that."

(On his effort)

"I think just my whole life being raised to be accountable. Being dependable so they know that they can trust me. I'm going to do what I'm asked to do, try to know the plays to the best of my abilities. With the different formations with however they may attack us. I just try to be on top of it and I think that allows me to play fast and be in the right spots."

(On the defense bouncing back from last week)

"Obviously when you give up 34 points it's a terrible feeling. Obviously the Chargers have a good offense, but it left a sour taste in our mouths, and we definitely came out with something to prove tonight."

(On his sack)

"Any way you can get the quarterback down on the ground, and obviously get them backed up, putting them in a tough situation. It flips the field position any time you can do that. Any sack in the game is usually a big sack and it becomes a momentum changer."

(On Bradley Chubb)

"He wasn't satisfied with last week and he came prepared. He worked his tail off all week and you could see that he was determined. He was going to get to the quarterback and he came out and got the sacks and hits when we needed him to."

Christian Wilkins, DT

(On how it feels to come into New England and get a win)

"It's special for me personally because it's nice coming back home to my home state. It's always fun to get a win against a division opponent on the road. It was a big win tonight. Good energy. It was a lot of fun to play in this environment."

(On what the defense improved on from Week 1 to tonight)

"We really didn't have a choice. We're running with the guys we've got and we had to get better from Week 1. We have some new defensive guys but that's no excuse. We made some adjustments, and we were able to be better this week and hopefully we can build off of that moving forward. There's still some stuff we can improve upon. By no means was it a perfect game. It can still be better in some situations."

(On the defense being able to get pressure on Mac Jones tonight)

"Yeah, guys were able to do a good job, continuing rushing and winning their one-on-one individual matchups. The pressure just kept coming. Guys were relentless and again, hopefully it's something we can build upon."

Xavien Howard, CB

(On how it feels to have the defense put together a good game)

"There's always room for improvement. We have to finish growing. Our offense helped us out a lot last week, so we had to come to play tonight."

(On the defense causing turnovers and his interception)

"That's one thing about the Patriots, they aren't going to stop fighting. They're going to keep coming but we made the special plays that needed to make and we got the job done."

(On the pressure from the defensive line making his job easier)

"Getting pressure on the quarterback is a cornerback or safety's dream. You get pressure on the quarterback, you get jump balls or overthrown balls to make plays on the back end."

David Long Jr., LB

(On the play of the defense)

"We have dogs all across the board. Once we start gelling together, and playing as one, it's going to be scary out there. I think you got a glimpse of it [tonight]. We can clean it up at the end. We can't give them cheap stuff at the end. We are going to continue to build and become a great defense. We have energy and we feed off each other. One guy makes a play and it's contagious. Our attitude is 'let's get a goose egg.' We were feeling it. We played good football as a team. We are continuing to get a feel for each other. We're feeling good, but it's still early and we have some things to clean up. But we made some plays and you can see us making them."

(On his sack)

"It really opened up for me. The play call was perfect. We tried to disguise it a little bit before the play. I came in free."

Raekwon Davis, DT

(On the play of the defense)

"We were just doing our job. We knew going into the game that if we could control them up front, we could have them on our terms. We had great preparation. We just focused on our work, and took care of our work."

(On being 2-0)

"We feel great. We just have to have the same mind set going into each and every game and it's going to be wonderful when we look up. We are different. We are staying focused, studying our playbook and keep running day by day. We try this one game at a time. Stay focused, great preparation and study our playbook."

Kendall Lamm, T

(On the game)

"The biggest thing from our perspective is, I wish more people could actually be at practice and see what we were really truly working towards in our standard. From our perspective, when set a foundation and set a standard and that is what you want to uphold. When you're going into a game regardless of the opponent, regardless if it's Sunday night, Thursday night, Monday night, or whatever time of day, we try and uphold the standard. Butch [Barry] is very big on that and always preaching that to us and you can see our room starting to see and play that way."

(On what is more important for the offensive line pass protection or run blocking)

"Not at all, as long as you see a "W" in the column, that's all that matters. From our perspective of we just want to do, I mean every game is going to be completely different. You don't really necessarily know what kind of type of defense you're going to play that night, or you don't know what they are going to run. The Patriots always have a phenomenal run defense, and they have always been a top-5 or top-10 defense in the league. So to go out and get a W against a type of defense like that, you tip your hat to them, because they are very good. We did what we were supposed to do."

(On getting a win against a divisional opponent on the road)

"This is year nine for me and to come in here, especially in a division game at night in front of national TV, you've got everybody watching, and you go up against a phenomenal organization like this, and you come in here and get a W – it's hard to get a win any day in the NFL but especially coming into an opponent's, house and do it, it's phenomenal. You tip your hat to those guys but you also tip hat to our group, we played really good."

Braxton Berrios, WR

(On the reaction of the offense to what the Patriots defense showed)

"We have to learn some things on the fly. You know things when the picture changes, pre-snap and post-snap, and we have to stick to our rules, and really just execute. It's going to be different, so we have to figure it out as we go as well."

(On the offensive adjustments)

"You have to play the game and see what is given to you and play that. I think this offense did an incredible job of doing that. We put together some really, really good drives, long ones, and again it was a chess match."

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