Dolphins’ McDaniel addresses Waddle absence, Tua’s interceptions, more

·3 min read
Al Diaz/adiaz@miamiherald.com

Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle missed Tuesday’s practice with an undisclosed injury, and the team is being cautious about when he returns to the field.

Coach Mike McDaniel suggested the issue is nothing serious.

“It was a cool process with Jaylen,” McDaniel said. “It was something I don’t need to get into that he could have practiced with, with our elite medical staff having history with stuff. We were trying to be preventative.

“He wanted to practice. He disallowed it. I expect him to practice again in training camp. Sometimes you have to protect people from themselves. That’s a great problem to have with elite players like that.”

McDaniel, asked about Tua Tagovailoa’s three interceptions (and 11 for 30) performance on Tuesday, said:

“I was very pumped with how Tua came out and practiced. I let it be known to the defense that I didn’t think they were performing to the standard. It was the best red-zone performance [defensively since McDaniel has been here].

“We got to some situational periods and did they [the defense] answer the bell! In those situational periods, we turned the ball over way too much, which was a great learning experience for Tua.”

He said “you don’t want to see complete domination by either side. You’re looking for parity because our team needs both sides of the ball to be as good as they can be.”

McDaniel said he’s “still working through” who would play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Raiders.

McDaniel addressed other issues:

On the punt and kickoff return jobs: “If you’re a return enthusiast, this is a cool moment in time because there’s competition there. We have a lot of dynamic playmakers and have players really compete. Nothing is settled.”

Lynn Bowden Jr. returned one kickoff for 26 yards and one punt for 18 yards on Saturday, and Preston Williams had two punt returns for 13 yards. Both of those players are on the bubble to make the team.

Tyreek Hill, Waddle and Jevon Holland also are options. McDaniel isn’t insistent on settling on one particular returner.

McDaniel, on his favorite part of his first training camp as an NFL head coach: “I’m a pretty positive guy. I like to bring energy. But there have been opportunities along the way to point out, ‘This is not good enough.’ Anywhere I’ve applied that pressure, 100 percent of the time people have responded.”

Is McDaniel comfortable chewing out the team?

“I don’t enjoy yelling. But you have to do what you have to do to let them know the urgency of the moment. But philosophically if you pick and choose those moments, you want [it]... to be purposeful. If you’re yelled at consistently all the time, then the yelling sounds like normal talking. It’s important to build relationships and develop them as players and people.

“But it’s my job to let them know the urgency. I have a temper from time to time. Because I value earning trust, I don’t think I’m owed or entitled to anything. They see where that’s coming from, not misguided emotion but tangible, direct, convicted emotion that’s all geared to them being their best.”

On where the team stands: “I’m pretty happy with we’re we are at approaching the second preseason game. They’re earning my confidence with the way they’ve responded.”

What’s he looking forward to in his first home game as Dolphins coach, at 7 p.m. Saturday against Las Vegas?

“The aqua seats,” he cracked. He then said he’s excited about the connection between the team “that really wants to do right by the fan base” and a fan base “that’s invested into the team.”