The Miami Dolphins’ offense was a problem in 2021.
They finished the season averaging the eighth-fewest yards per game (307) and 11th-fewest points per game (20.1). A number of factors led to this result, including a lack of talent, poor coaching and inconsistent performances, so general manager Chris Grier and new head coach Mike McDaniel took it upon themselves to improve on that side of the ball.
On paper, it appears they’ve done that job well, acquiring wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson Jr., offensive linemen Terron Armstead and Connor Williams and a trio of running backs in Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel.
With all of that firepower on offense, there’s a real belief that the Dolphins could take a much-needed jump in production this year and become one of the better units in the NFL.
The additions already have other coaches working on their defensive gameplans. Even Ron Rivera, whose Washington Commanders aren’t set to play the Dolphins in 2022, has thoughts on stopping Miami’s offense.
“The biggest thing is depending on what [a defenses does]you’ve got to take away what they do best,” Rivera said in a conversation with the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. “If one of them is a better short route runner, and really excels on quick passes, you’ve got to be able to take that away.”
Hill, while known as a deep threat, can do a bit of everything and has proved that at the NFL level. He can take the top off or bring in a ball near the line of scrimmage and outrun defenders.
Waddle has a similar skill set, but he hasn’t shown the deep ball ability much yet in Miami. Watching tape of his days at Alabama, it’s evident that he possesses those traits.
Rivera also mentioned that teams may try to put pressure on the Dolphins and blitz, but that’s a dangerous game.
“You’ve got to make sure that if you’re going to risk it [with single coverage on both Hill and Waddle]you’ve got to make sure you have somebody over the top,” Rivera said.
“You have to limit guys like that, that are explosive players. We played Kansas City last year and were able to do it for three quarters and eventually they’re going to make their plays. But if you can limit them as much as possible, that helps.”
Miami’s quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, is no Patrick Mahomes, and no one is expecting him to be that. However, he’s shown he’s accurate and decisive. He has the weapons to turn this into a diet version of Kansas City’s offense in recent years, and it appears that teams are going to defend them as such.