Dolphins’ McDaniel addresses Wilson injury, Tua, lineup change

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel looks from the sidelines before the start of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, September 18, 2022 in Baltimore, MD.

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel looks from the sidelines before the start of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, September 18, 2022 in Baltimore, MD.

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In the afterglow of an historic comeback win at Baltimore, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel addressed several issues in his press briefing late Monday afternoon:

Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr.’s ribs – which caused him to leave Sunday’s game in the second half – hurt “pretty bad” but the ribs are not broken, McDaniel said.

His status for Sunday against Buffalo is obviously in question.

▪ On the challenge that awaits against Buffalo on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium (1 pm, CBS):

“You don’t ignore the obvious: the Buffalo Bills have won the division and done an unbelievable job in all three phases.

“What better for the Miami Dolphins, a young team that’s really invested and very eager to play football? What better opportunity than playing the best and seeing where you are at? You don’t hide from it.

“You embrace the fact they’re a good football team. There’s one way to be put in the category of good football teams: You beat good football teams.”

▪ On the decision to replace Nik Needham with Kader Kohou to start the second half at cornerback, opposite Xavien Howard:

“We’re matchup oriented,” McDaniel said. “Within a game, you can adjust plans. Sometimes it can be a look in somebody’s eye. I need to give this guy a chance. [Kohou] had that look about him in the second half and we felt we could feature him and he rose to the challenge.

“It wasn’t anything but that game. I’m not making it bigger than that. It wasn’t a bench situation [for Needham] but more of a feature situation [for Kohou]. He did a very good job with his opportunities.”

▪ As impressive as the 21-point comeback was to experience as it happened, McDaniel said he “got more of an appreciation today watching film.”

▪ On Tua Tagovailoa’s brilliant day: “It kind of makes it tangible what his teammates, myself, the coaching staff have been seeing this whole offseason. He took such a step in the right direction yesterday. Threw an interception he was absolutely disgusted with himself [late in the first half]. Probably the biggest mistake he made this season. In that game, to take the coaching and step forward [and move on was impressive].

“For his personal growth, it’s huge. It’s awesome for a player; he knows deep down he did some real good things. You would have to be delusional not [to know that]; hey, six touchdowns is pretty good. None of his teammates were surprised, which is much more impactful than words.”

McDaniel said there was no “hey dude, where did that come from?” from players about Tagovailoa.

McDaniel said Tagovailoa[earned] every ounce of” his success on Sunday.

GESICKI REACTION

▪ After just one target (and one catch for one yard) in the opener, tight end Mike Gesicki had four targets and four catches for 41 yards, including a touchdown, on Sunday.

Gesicki has not complained this season with a different role, which has called for more blocking.

“It’s not about me,” he said when asked about that. “It’s about the team. We have two all world receivers out there. Jaylen [Waddle] had 19 targets yesterday, Tyreek [Hill] 13. Those guys are spectacular players. We get those guys the ball and make plays. My biggest thing is when opportunities present, make the most of them….

“I had fun playing this game. You play a kid’s game for our profession and get paid a lot of money to do it.”

He said McDaniel “pulled me aside before the game and that on the first third down, I would have an opportunity.”

▪ Nobody on the team seemingly takes more joy in Tagovailoa’s success than Gesicki. Asked why that’s the case – beyond obviously wanting his quarterback to play well – Gesicki said:

“Because he’s dealt with so much criticism and outside noise from people that aren’t in the building, people that don’t know the play call but they’re still going to say or do anything they want because it draws attention to [be] negative.

“That’s the world we live in; people want to be negative. People want to hop on the bandwagon. If I were him, I wouldn’t let them.”

This story was originally published September 19, 2022 5:07 PM.

Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.

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