Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel addresses injuries to two veterans, Gesicki status, more

Al Diaz/adiaz@miamiherald.com

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said the team is waiting for more information regarding center Michael Deiter’s foot injury that has him in a walking boot.

Deiter and Adam Butler are the only veteran Dolphins who haven’t practiced, other than two players who are on official lists -- Byron Jones and Elijah Campbell.

Butler “is dealing with a slight injury that he’s trying to work through,” McDaniel said.

Deiter had “a little foot deal first or second day of practice. We’re waiting through the weekend to learn more.”

McDaniel said he’s not sure “what it will look like moving forward”and is awaiting more clarity on Deiter’s injury.

Deiter missed nine games with a foot injury last season. He’s only the only natural veteran center on the roster.

Connor Williams, a guard with the Dallas Cowboys, has said he expects to play center. Cole Banwart, an undrafted player from Iowa, is the only other natural center on the roster besides Deiter, though Williams has played center in preseason for Dallas.

McDaniel also addressed the decision to place the $10.9 million franchise tag on tight end Mike Gesicki, who did not receive a longterm contract.

“We tried to do 10 million reasons why he’s liked,” McDaniel said. “It’s important to talk to the player candidly. I talked to Mike earlier and said this is something that’s best for the Dolphins.

“I’m fortunate I don’t have to do this alone. Chris Grier can handle all the stuff that’s not coaching. Every player wants a longterm max contract. So here’s what we do:

“We try day after day to get your game to the best of its ability so at the end of the year, Mike, you make that franchise tag look like a discount. That means you’ve been playing at a level that makes the Dolphins better that also improves your socio-economic status for the longterm.”

Regarding Gesicki’s game, McDaniel said: “Everybody knows his ball skills and range are outstanding. That [helps create] separation. He wants to attack blocking with a different severity than he ever has before. We’re fortunate and he’s fortunate that his position coach, John Embree, will settle for nothing less. Those are things he’s embracing. I’m excited to see how it looks.”

McDaniel addressed other issues during Saturday’s pre-practice news conference:

▪ On running back Raheem Mostert’s return from last September’s knee injury: “He was really fast yesterday. Teammates recognize that too. When you come off a long injury, players recognize what that’s like. You’re isolated a little bit.

“To see how hard that guy has worked, he had the fastest time at practice yesterday. I do a little thing where I announce that every team meeting. He got an unsolicited round of applause.

“It’s important to take all measures to be smart with a guy’s return. We all believe he will start showing that speed more and more.”

▪ McDaniel said: “I like having Jevon Holland especially on the team I’m on and not the team I’m playing against. I didn’t know too much about him before I started studying our tape. His play as a rookie was very impressive. The way he’s been diligent about approaching his craft, he’s serious about continuing to take his game to the next level and that as an impact player is something that the Dolphins team – all of us – are depending on.”

▪ On the Dolphins selling out season tickets for the season: “It’s everything. It’s a competitive advantage and it’s kind of why we do things. It’s really something cool... that means a lot. It’s another reason... to make sure we pay them back in their investment to us.”

▪ McDaniel said: “At some point, we have to be good enough where we can execute [a play] when [an opponent] knows what’s coming.”

▪ McDaniel said he has no issue with people expressing optimism about the team. “I try not to shy away from that pressure.”

▪ McDaniel, on running backs such as Chase Edmonds adjusting to the team’s new wide zone scheme:

“It’s a cool process because you are aware it’s unique. Evaluating Chase in the offseason, we knew stuff he was doing wasn’t the exact same [things he eventually would be] doing. He’s been a great example of watching players progress. Last couple days, he’s put tremendous stuff on tape.”

▪ What has McDaniel learned about his team in three practices?

“There’s been some trust earned on both sides. I really challenged them. What I’ve seen in three days is guys following words with actions. They care about their teammates.

“They’ve approached each and every day with the ultimate professionalism. There have been pieces of ‘hey, that’s not what we want for what we try to get done.’ It’s happened a couple times each day and that has been corrected.”