Most important moments from Mike McDaniel’s press conference after Day 1 of minicamp.
Minicamp in Miami is underway, and Mike McDaniel appears to be closer to training camp mode than most rookie head coaches.
In an informative and enjoyable Wednesday afternoon news conference with the South Florida media, McDaniel discussed the players’ progress, health, and where the Dolphins are in general in the process.
When initially asked about the OTAs’ bridge to minicamp, McDaniel explained, “From an operational standpoint, we adjusted a little bit to coincide with boot camp.” As McDaniel said, the players are getting “a taste of what training camp day is like without the pads, obviously, so it’s a little bit different.”
Specifically, McDaniel detailed a new aspect of minicamp.
“They had their first unscripted period today,” MacDaniel said. “That was different, which was typical of something you work on in Week 3 of training camp, or Week 2.”
McDaniel went into specifics about his players, mentioning tight end Mike Gesicki and the tight end’s progress on McDaniel’s blocking schemes.
“As far as Mike Gesicki goes, he’s been as impressive as any player on the team in terms of facing a challenge,” McDaniel said confidently in support of his franchise-tagged player.
The coach started talking about the positional aspect of where Gesicki can line up.
“Three-point stance was not his primary position and he has been working diligently on the run-and-pass game to do things that this offense can present without taking away the things that have made him who he is, and there is a piece of that in the offensive,” he said.
Gesicki’s section closed when McDaniel was asked about the inevitable contract question and the likelihood of him staying in Miami long-term. McDaniel was judicious in his response, which was genuine and vague at the same time.
“That’s something that, right now, there are always conversations going on between agents and general managers,” he said. “The whole building is careful to make sure I stay in my lane and get some football practice.”
Staying on the subject of blocking, McDaniel was asked about his new coaching staff and how they can help Austin Jackson develop and adjust him at the right tackle. The 2020 first-round pick has a proven and successful coach in offensive coordinator Frank Smith, who helped turn the Los Angeles Chargers lineup basically overnight.
“When Austin Jackson plays right tackle, I’m very pleased because he’s approaching it the only way he can improve as a player, and that’s total commitment,” McDaniel said.
Although it’s early in the camp season, McDaniel was asked about veteran players who didn’t participate Wednesday, including cornerback Byron Jones, newly acquired left tackle Terron Armstead and running back Raheem Mostert.
“We’re trying to be very deliberate and intentional with how we handle all of those guys,” he said. “It has been very good. We haven’t had a setback really across the board. We’re being pretty conservative, but that’s on an individual basis.”
The last big issue was the center position with Michael Deiter and new offensive lineman Connor Williams as candidates to start. The coach left the door slightly open for further competition.
“I think you have to be careful about pigeonholing who does what and when,” McDaniel said. “I think that’s not fair to the process.”
To be fair, immediately afterward, he said, “I will say if no other players are added, I’m going to have a lot of confidence in our starting center next year.”
The process appears to be going smoothly so far in South Florida, as excitement and positivity seem to surround the 2022 version of the Miami Dolphins.