5 Questions for Miami Dolphins Coach Mike McDaniel at NFL Scouting Combine

Hello from Indianapolis, where Mike Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel will meet with reporters Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL‘s official calendar might say otherwise, but free agency for all intents and purposes begins here at the NFL Scouting Combine this week. Which means the Miami Dolphins are barreling head-first into 2024, which for everyone needs to be better than 2023.

That includes Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, who meets with reporters Tuesday for the first time in nearly two months.

We probably won’t get in five questions to McDaniel during his media availability. But if we do, here’s what we’ll ask.

Miami Dolphins Coach Mike McDaniel Speaks at NFL Scouting Combine

1) Why Didn’t Things Work Out With Vic Fangio?

McDaniel didn’t take questions at the Anthony Weaver introductory news conference, so he hasn’t yet explained why Vic Fangio is out as defensive coordinator and Weaver is in.

Fangio and McDaniel were always an imperfect fit, but it’s fair to wonder if the Dolphins got worse because they couldn’t find a way to make it work. The Philadelphia Eagles certainly feel like they got better by stealing Fangio away.

“The whole process of it was real cool for me because it started as the person and who could have the biggest impact as a person,” McDaniel said of Weaver a couple weeks back.

“Then, in the process, we got to get down to some nitty-gritty on some schematic football side of it that really allows us to build on what we’ve been good at and continue forward in 2024, which is what we are all focused on.”

2) Can the Dolphins Beat Good Teams?

McDaniel said last month that he expects to spend “a fair amount” of this offseason trying to figure out why the Dolphins went 1-6 against playoff teams in 2023.

So we want to know: What have the last six weeks revealed?

“I think we talk all season about progressing to be your best, and we weren’t,” McDaniel said last month. “… When you ultimately fall short, then you have to look it between the eyes and look at where we had successes and where we had failures, and not really harbor any defensive mechanism because it’s the bottom line. We didn’t get the results that we wanted.”

McDaniel’s ability to solve that riddle might ultimately determine whether this whole experiment is a success.

3) What Are Tua Tagovailoa’s Top Areas of Improvement?

Tua Tagovailoa is usually pretty transparent in his dealings with the media, but some things he wants to keep to himself. At the Pro Bowl Games earlier this month, we asked Tagovailoa the one thing he wants to get better at this offseason.

His response?

“There’s probably four things that I wanna get better at. Am I going to share? Probably not. But I’m looking forward to OTAs when we get to see you guys again.”

Tagovailoa, in 2023, was determined to spend his down months using Jiu-Jitsu to learn to fall without getting hurt. It’ll be interesting to see how he improves in 2024.

4) Can You Count on Terron Armstead?

The news that Terron Armstead is planning to return for a 12th season is mostly good for the Dolphins, who currently have just one other starting offensive lineman under contract in 2024 (Austin Jackson).

But if anything has been proven in the last two years, Miami needs a Plan B at left tackle.

Injuries have forced Armstead to miss 11 of a possible 36 games (including the playoffs) since he signed a five-year, $75 million free agent contract with the Dolphins prior to the 2022 season.

Most expect the Dolphins to use one of their top two draft picks on a tackle this year. The only question is whether that player will replace Armstead in 2024 or 2025.

5) Can You Get More Out of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle — Collectively?

If the Dolphins, for whatever reason, decide to trade Jaylen Waddle this offseason, a deal will probably come together either this week or next.

But if the Penguin and Cheetah Show is back for a third season — which is by far the likeliest outcome — McDaniel needs to figure out a way to get more out of the Dolphins’ offense when Waddle and Tyreek Hill are on the field at the same time.

KEEP READING: The Miami Dolphins Need To Address WR in Free Agency

The Dolphins’ yards-per-pass attempt, touchdown-to-interception ratio, and passer rating were all lower in 2023 when both were on the field than when just one of them was.

That’s … weird. And it needs to get fixed in 2024.

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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