The 2023 NFL Owners meeting is coming to a close, but before Mike McDaniel and general manager Chris Grier head back to South Florida, Miami’s head coach met with NFL Insider Mike Silver to discuss McDaniel’s career, what it was like being named Dolphins head coach, and of course, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
After discussing his first days in Miami and what it felt like to be named head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Silver asked McDaniel about the process of how he evaluated Tua Tagovailoa and what he’s done to help him ascend into the quarterback he is today. McDaniel went into great detail. Here’s what McDaniel said.
“When I first started assessing the situation, you have the fifth pick in the draft and all the things that were involved in his experience thus far in the NFL. It was hard for me not to look at him and think about my experience. And my experience in the world is shoot, ”I’m a head coach now.” And I know where I came from…how did I even have the chance to fulfill this overly ambitious dream and drive I had… I realized I would have no chance if I wasn’t built up by my mom. You know what? You can do anything. You are the smartest, whatever… everything a single mom would tell a child. I know at a young age, I gravitated to that. It gave me confidence…we all have those moments where we’re like,” I don’t know what’s going to happen…” do you go into those moments with faith you’re going to get it done or anxiety or apprehension that you would fail. And I’ve gone through all those moments with vigor and fearlessness of how I’ve been built up. So, I saw Tua like that. How can we even approach the idea that we know what this player is when I don’t know, from my vantage point, who does this guy have that believes in him… he has to know that someone is 100% in his corner, which is what I see a coach is... And no, dude, you CAN do it. I had to convince him that I believed in him so he, in turn, could allow himself to believe.”
McDaniel then went on to discuss the exact moment when he realized Tua Tagovailoa was the perfect quarterback for his offense.
“And then, there was a particular moment that set everything off. It was early March. We were going through free agency. In that FA process, we’re meeting with all the scouts and coaches in the room, and we’re discussing all sorts of things about whether we need to do this, that, or the other…And I knew in my mind Tua needed skill position players that were dynamic with the ball in their hands. I saw him as this dude is a point guard. He has a gift that way. And some of the people in the personnel were like. We need to spend money on the offensive lineman… I knew that I disagreed with it, but I hate the “hey everyone, no, because I said so”…I went back to the office, and I cut on the tape. And so I’m cutting the tape to build the tape to explain to the entire coaching staff to start a conversation from my lens. And I’m watching the different skill positions, and as I progress through the tape, I start to notice a trend. Wow, that’s like the seventh different outbreak that I’ve watched Tua throw to the field…an outbreak to the field I see once or twice a season…this is a high-risk throw that quarterbacks are nervous to make, and he would make pinpoint throws…what started as an explanation of how guys needed to be more open for Tua turned into this marvel sesh that started out at about 6:30 PM and I just start watching until midnight on a random weekday in the offseason…I thought I knew, but I didn’t even know what we were sitting on. I’m freaking out. I know for a fact from this night of study that this is the best quarterback for our offense that I’ve had the chance to coach. I was freaking out.”
“I called Ann Nolan, head of PR — Just write this date down. This is crazy. Get off the phone, and call Chris Grier. It’s like midnight. I’m like, dude, I just went through like 700 different passes, and I can not believe what I’m seeing. This guy is doing stuff that I just haven’t focused all my attention on quite yet. We are sitting on a gold mine…Everything we do moving forward should be skill players that can do stuff with the ball in their hand..because if they’re open, this guy will get it to them…Then I go home; I can’t even sit. I come back at 3 and refine the tape,..I need to show the entire organization this tape today.”
For the rest of Mike McDaniel’s interview with Mike Silver, click HERE.
[All quotes were transcribed by me, Josh Houtz. H/T to Jacob Meshel.]
What are your thoughts on Mike Mcdaniel’s comments on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa? Do you believe he is the perfect fit for Miami’s offense? What expectations do you have for him heading into year two in McDaniel’s offense? Let us know in the comments section below!