Mike McDaniel is off to an impressive start in his first year with the Dolphins after taking over as head coach from Brian Flores. It is clear that the culture he brings to Miami plays a large role in that success.
Through the first 10 games of 2022, the Dolphins are 7-3. The last time that was the case, the world was completely different.
You’d have to go back more than two decades. That was 24 starting quarterbacks, eight head coaches and seven stadium names ago.
To put that in perspective, when Miami was 7-3 in 2001, Tua Tagovailoa was 3 years old and McDaniel was a freshman at Yale University. It’s been awhile, but the Dolphins are cruising.
At the forefront of their success is McDaniel and the offense, led by Tagovailoa. And at the forefront of McDaniel and Tagovailoa’s offense is an overhaul in both playbook and culture, as well as a strong relationship between quarterback and head coach.
It was very frequently alleged that Flores, who coached Miami from 2019 through 2021, did not get along with Tagovailoa. He says otherwise, but the amount of reports about a riff between the two would tend to support the original narrative.
When asked about Flores in April, Tagovailoa’s answer just about said it all.
“Big question; that’s a big question,” he said. “I’ll tell you this. I’m very thankful that he drafted me to come here and play for the Miami Dolphins.”
Video of Tagovailoa from this season and last also exemplifies the glaring difference between Flores and McDaniel. It examines the quarterback’s communication with each of his NFL head coaches, and shows a stark contrast.
Now, the clips from Tagovailoa’s time with Flores were likely selected with the intention of being short. However, that doesn’t takeaway from the gap in communication between the Dolphins’ head coach and quarterback last year and the lack of gap this year.