Dolphins Coach Mike McDaniel’s Must-Read Comments on Year 3 Pressure: ‘You Don’t Hire Someone for Moderate Success’

Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel knows he's not entitled to the job -- and that he operates in a high-pressure, results-oriented space.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Morning, midday, or night, meetings involving Miami Dolphins coaches this offseason would begin 24 minutes past the hour.

Mike McDaniel loves to motivate. And as the head coach revealed on the last day before summer break, he would even use the daily calendar to remind his staff that it’s been 24 years — the NFL’s longest streak — since the Dolphins’ last playoff win.

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The message has gotten through.

“We left a lot on the table last year, and it’s time to finish,” Dolphins co-captain Terron Armstead said Wednesday.

But a quarter century of pressure and expectations aren’t just on the Dolphins broadly. They apply to McDaniel directly. He’s now in Year 3, which is often a make-or-break season for coaches.

The Dolphins fired their last two coaches after their third seasons. The last Dolphins head man to get four full seasons was Dave Wannstedt. And Don Shula is the only one to get five or more years.

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Certainly, McDaniel should be viewed through a different lens than most of his predecessors. Cam Cameron, Joe Philbin, and Brian Flores never made the playoffs. McDaniel is going for his third in as many years.

He doesn’t deserve to be on the hot seat. But as he tacitly acknowledged Thursday — his final media availability before training camp — he doesn’t deserve a free pass, either.

“When I got hired, I said it in my first team meeting — it was 22 years [without a playoff win] at the time,” McDaniel said. “You don’t hire someone for moderate success or failure or anything. You hire them to win. And I know we have to do that. So it’s the same, but nothing’s really changed.

“I don’t feel pressure that way because [I feel] way enough pressure having a job in general. There’s not any more to it. You’re hired for a reason. You understand that, and you’re trying to, you know, help be a part — facilitate and be a part of a team that can succeed in the failures of the previous 22 or 24 seasons.

“So I knew what I was signing up for with this job. And for me to not think that we need to win would be, ‘What, so I’m entitled to the job?’ That doesn’t make any sense to me. So no, it’s going about business, trying to maximize guys day in, day out, to get the team as good as they can, and, you know, lean into your teammates to go try to achieve something that will mean a lot to a lot of people.”

That work begins in earnest in seven weeks.

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