Leading up to the upcoming matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel anticipates a significant storyline, regardless of the game’s outcome.
Both the Dolphins and the Chiefs currently boast a 6-2 record and find themselves in a four-way tie at the top of the AFC standings, with several teams trailing by just a single loss. McDaniel attributes this to the NFL’s parity and the limited number of games played so far, resulting in a multitude of narratives surrounding each team.
McDaniel expressed his perspective on the prevalent narratives: “I’ll tell you what’s going to happen with the Miami Dolphins. We lose, we can’t beat good teams. We win, we’re going to win the Super Bowl,” he said on Friday. “None of it matters. You have to be at your best when it’s required, particularly during elimination games. So we’re working towards that and making the most of every opportunity to prepare ourselves for the end-of-season situation.”
The Dolphins are facing the defending Super Bowl champions, and unfortunately, starting right guard Rob Hunt won’t be available due to a hamstring injury he sustained in the previous week’s game against the New England Patriots. Despite traveling with the team to Frankfurt as part of the NFL International Series, Hunt was unable to practice this week.
However, there is hope for the return of left tackle Terron Armstead, who is eligible to be activated this week from injured reserve. Although McDaniel didn’t confirm Armstead’s participation on Sunday, he expressed optimism about Armstead’s progress throughout the week.
McDaniel stated, “We still have a day to assess, and we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves, but it’s been very encouraging, and we feel optimistic. However, we need to see how today plays out to ensure there are no setbacks. We have confidence in all our offensive linemen, and with a long season ahead, we won’t rush him into something that could potentially harm him in the long run.”
Center Connor Williams made it through the week without any setbacks as he continues to recover from a groin injury that sidelined him for the past three Dolphins’ games. McDaniel playfully commented on Williams’ frustration at not being able to play, saying he is “one of the more frustrated players that don’t play that I’ve been around.” Williams acknowledged the frustration, noting, “I think to play at this level, you have to be in the right mindset.
To access that high level, you need to be at your best. Being out of the game and having to hold back, serving a different role and purpose the last few weeks, has been frustrating. The ‘death stares’ might come from trying to stay as focused as possible.”
Additionally, the Dolphins will be without safety Brandon Jones, who is still in the concussion protocol and did not travel with the team this week.