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Is Mike McDaniel playing chess when everyone else is playing checkers?

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins lost to the Cincinnati Bengals during last night’s Thursday Night Football broadcast. The team actually traveled to Ohio early this week in an effort to avoid any delays due to Hurricane Ian’s arrival in Florida, then came to an agreement with the University of Cincinnati to hold a walkthrough practice at their stadium on Wednesday. Videos of that walkthrough quickly leaked across social media including being picked up by Barstool Cincinnati.

The Dolphins reportedly were aware of the videos and asked Barstool to remove them, but the request was denied. All over the internet were videos of the Dolphins’ final preparations for their game against the Bengals.

Except, apparently Miami head coach Mike McDaniel is playing chess - and maybe even Star Trek style 3-D chess - while we are all still trying to learn the game of checkers. According to a report from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Dolphins were aware there were people watching and recording their practice. So, they made an adjustment to their plays.

The Dolphins ran their walkthrough offense with 12 players on the field. Going back and watching some of those videos confirms the Dolphins had too many men on the field throughout the practice. How much did the Dolphins change, including the possibility of adjusted routes and concepts, simply so the videos were wrong?

Ultimately, the Dolphins still lost the game last night, in large part because starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa sustained a head and neck injury that resulted in a hospital visit before being cleared to fly home with the team late last night. The results were not what Miami wanted, but it likely had nothing to do with the videos that surfaced because McDaniel was already several steps ahead of the person recording everything.