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Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel 'fired up' about start of 'Hard Knocks'

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel is not afraid of the bright lights and cameras documenting his team for the rest of the 2023 campaign.

In the first episode of HBO's Hard Knocks: In Season with the Miami Dolphins, McDaniel stood in front of his players and staff to showcase their journey together from April 17 to the midway mark of the season.

"Hard Knocks starts today, and I'm actually convinced I'm fired up about it," McDaniel said. "It's a heavy burden on a lot of people. Big paychecks, OK, in this room, it's a burden on you. But I refuse to do this job and not give you guys my authentic self. I'm not going to change, I will not. We work too hard, and this is part of our journey. We're going to have people document this whole season. Awesome. I'm not f------ changing. OK, nor do you guys have to. So f--- it, we are going to get weird. Who cares? I'm excited for what needs to be told about this team. The journey that we've taken together since the first day, April 17th, of this season. I'm excited the world is gonna find out what we've built together each and every day.

"I f------ love where our team is at. I love how we got there. We've been together for 127 days. 78 practices, OK, that you've been eye-blacked up for 12 games. This team only has 47 days, 24 practices and eight games guaranteed to us. Shame on you if you don't bring it every time we are out there together. This s--- is sacred as f--- guys. That was the journey. We haven't even got to the best part yet. The best part is f------ today."

McDaniel's speech was filled with enthusiasm as he talked about the culture the Dolphins have been building since April. He provided a detailed timeline of everything the team has gone through. With a screen projector above him, the second-year coach displayed the number of days remaining for practices and games Miami has left together.

As he mentioned, though, those are only the guarantees of the regular season. Miami has its sights set on more.

In his first year as a head coach, McDaniel led the 2022 Dolphins to a 9-8 record and a postseason appearance.

This season, Miami has raced out to the AFC East lead with a 7-3 record behind Tua Tagovailoa's dark-horse MVP candidacy and Tyreek Hill's potentially historic season -- he's on pace to become the league's first 2,000-yard receiver.

The fireworks thus far included a Week 3 drubbing of the Denver Broncos in which the Dolphins put up 70 points, matching the 1950 Los Angeles Rams for the second-most scored in a regular season game in NFL history. Only the 1966 Washington squad, with 72 points, managed more. After the game, McDaniel said he was "OK" with the decision of not chasing the all-time record.

There would prove to be plenty more scoring opportunities to come, as his scorching Dolphins offense leads lead the NFL in points per game, total yards per game and passing yards per game.

With seven guaranteed games left in Miami's journey (the eighth from McDaniel's speech already occurred Sunday with a win over the Raiders), McDaniel's 2023 Dolphins will be well documented for NFL fans through Hard Knocks' in-season run.

It might get weird, and it'll certainly be authentic.

Hard Knocks: In Season with the Miami Dolphins airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and is available to stream on Max until the end of the Dolphins' season.

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