Welcome to the first ever edition of ‘The Super Bowl Race in the perspective of Chase’! About once every two days, we will end up talking about every NFL team (could be short, could be long) and what I think of them for the upcoming NFL season. We are doing something very similar to this for the NBA on the Cool Sports Newsletter as well, except for at least once every 3 days. Our first team to talk about is the Miami Dolphins. First off, what did they do last season?
The Miami Dolphins had a pathetic start to the 2021 NFL season. After starting 1-0, the Dolphins went on a 7 game losing streak, which includes losses to teams like Jacksonville (3-14) and Atlanta (7-10). They also got shut out to the Buffalo Bills in this stretch. However, something changed after Week 8. They went on a 7 game winning streak, to put them back over .500 at 8-7. However, a blowout loss to Tennessee in Week 17 ended their playoff hopes. They were only 1/2 a game back though.
But going into the offseason, Miami needed some adjustments. First off they fired Brian Flores, who led them to a just under .500 record with very little to work with, and replaced him with Mike McDaniel. McDaniel had been working as the run game coordinator for the 49ers since the 2018 season. And well, he did a very good job leading that running game, which was their main source of offense in their Super Bowl run in 2019. The 49ers, since the 2018 season, have had the 4th best rushing yards per game when they’ve had Raheem Mostert.
Well, the Dolphins helped McDaniels out by signing Mostert to a one year contract. While he has only played 9 games over the past two seasons, he’s a very dangerous and fast running back when healthy, which is worth a year flyer on. But if it doesn’t work, they have a backup plan. The Dolphins signed Chase Edmonds to a two year deal this offseason, which makes their running game and secretly underrated aspect to this team. Edmonds averaged 5.1 yards per carry with the Cardinals last season, rushing for a total of 592 yards and two touchdowns. I know that could be because he was splitting touches with James Conner and teams couldn’t prepare their whole run defense system to stop him, so sure that could be a risk. However, he is also a very good receiving back, grabbing 311 yards receiving last year. Give the keys when Mostert’s hurt (assuming he will be) and the Dolphins running game will have a lot of success.
They also made the big move, trading for one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, Tyreek Hill. Hill is coming off a year where he had 1,239 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. Hill is easily one of the best wide receivers in the entire NFL, with his freakish speed and cutting ability. However, it’s not just him at the wide receiver position. 2021 seventh overall pick, Jaylen Waddle, is a ready for a breakout second season after putting up over 1,000 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns in 2021.
However, the Dolphins face two huge issues. Let me just say this right now, it’s not their defense. While their defense ranked in the middle of the pack, they have a lot of defense talent that will step up this season, including Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. My first concern is the coaching. I mentioned how good Flores was with Miami, with little talent what so ever. It was so bad that the Dolphins were apparently asking him to lose games to get a high draft pick. Imagine what he would have done with a good system. Teams are stupid for not hiring him as at least an assistant coach.
But the main concern I have about the Dolphins is their quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. The 3rd year quarterback has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. In 13 games last season, Tua had 2,653 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Tua’s just not a quarterback that can easily elevate your team. And Tua doesn’t have the best accuracy either, even though Hill thinks he has better pass accuracy than Patrick Mahomes 🤣🤣🤣. A lot of quarterbacks have a make or break year this season. Jalen Hurts, Daniel Jones, Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold (whoever plays) and Carson Wentz just to name a few. Tua is on that list.
I think Tua, now with Hill and a most likely improved Waddle, will have about 21-24 touchdowns and from 10-13 interceptions which is a very similar season to last year. Tua just simply isn’t that amazing of a quarterback. He does show some value, considering the Dolphins have had a 15-8 record with Tua compared to a 4-6 record without him since he entered the league, but he doesn’t elevate his team the way other quarterbacks do. And you need that kind of quarterback that can lead you to success in the playoffs. The Dolphins could still make the playoffs and be competitive, considering the receiving core, running game and defense they have. But they won’t be able to go anywhere further than the Divisional Round (if they’re lucky) under Tua.
My prediction: The Dolphins stay in the playoff hunt all season, and possibly sneak into a very competitive and close AFC Wild Card race.
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