With the 2022 NFL season fast approaching, the South Florida Sun Sentinel examines 10 storylines to watch in a 10-part series ahead of the First day of Miami Dolphins training campwhich is scheduled for July 27.
Bringing in Mike McDaniel as the Miami Dolphins’ new head coach this offseason was a 180-degree turnaround from the personality of his predecessor, Brian Flores.
McDaniel incorporates a player coaching approach that counters the disciplinary Belichickean style that Flores deployed.
Time will tell if this leads to the franchise taking the next step by reaching the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season and perhaps winning a postseason game for the first time since the 2000 season. all, Flores seemed to get the most out of his teams, leading the Dolphins to back-to-back winning seasons and, before that, picking up five wins on a tank-designed 2019 roster — though maybe he and the franchise don’t. Weren’t on the same page there. That’s a topic for another day.
McDaniel entered his first head coaching gig with a clear intention to empower players and inspire confidence. Nowhere is this more evident than in the approach he has incorporated with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Everything McDaniel, his coaching staff and his players have said publicly about Tagovailoa throughout the offseason has been overwhelmingly positive. Offensive coordinator Frank Smith and quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell followed suit with McDaniel, saying they believe Tagovailoa can make all the throws asked of him. Tagovailoa’s biggest outside criticism, of course, is that his arm strength limits his ability to throw down the field and press midfield passes in narrow windows.
The Dolphins’ prized offseason acquisition of star receiver Tyreek Hill led the player’s charge to fulfill McDaniel’s wishes to back Tagovailoa. Hill called Tagovailoa’s passes pretty and went so far as to call him a more accurate passer than his former Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who may have been the best in the game since they played together .
Hill made the comments that got a lot of national media backlash on his new podcast he unveiled this offseason. His voice on this new outlet for him is representative of McDaniel’s first message to Hill upon arriving in Miami: “Just be you.”
That’s the dominant behavior that’s been seen in players at press conferences across the Dolphins’ team activities and minicamp ahead of training camp, which begins July 26.
Players seem looser when speaking publicly. They’re not tense in the context of a press conference like in 2021, apparently worried that something they let slip could lead to a reprimand from Flores.
Tagovailoa had some of his most open and honest conversations with the media, hitting back at “Twitter warriors” who criticize his throws after a practice where he connected on two through passes to Hill. It was highlighted noting that he felt more support from his new coach than under Flores.
“I think the support, for all of us, means a lot,” Tagovailoa said. “Being able to have the support of the head coach, the chef, that should tell you a lot.”
Basically, McDaniel is in Miami revamping the offense, incorporating what made him a successful offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers in 2021 and a run-game coordinator before that.
In San Francisco, McDaniel orchestrated one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL with his wide-area scheme that was effective no matter who he carried the ball out of the backfield.
Miami Dolphins – The Flash of the Fins
Twice a week
Receive updates on the Miami Dolphins, with insider information and analysis from our editors.
He will have some of the tools he needs to replicate that with the Dolphins. The team’s best free agent addition was tackle Terron Armstead, a bulldozer of a run blocker. McDaniel can work the Dolphins’ otherwise young line with him and fellow acquisition Connor Williams, a four-year-old NFL guard who has practiced center in OTAs and minicamp.
The Dolphins have established a committee in the backfield that can bring in any of a number of guards. Chase Edmonds of the Arizona Cardinals is a dynamic point guard who can catch the ball out of the backfield. Raheem Mostert, who played under McDaniel with the 49ers, possesses elite speed. Going back to basics in South Florida, Sony Michel can be a physical runner. The Dolphins also still have Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed at running back, and Alec Ingold is the head-blocking fullback that makes the game complete.
The rushing attack can make Tagovailoa’s throws easier. Hill and Jaylen Waddle will open up easier, along with tight end Mike Gesicki and slot receiver Cedrick Wilson. McDaniel’s innovation and creativity on offense can put Miami playmakers in unique positions to contribute. And an effective ground game can relieve an offensive line that struggled to protect passes last season from being in so many of those situations.
McDaniel also came to the Dolphins with the intention of maintaining what was working, the defense. Defensive coordinator Josh Boyer will have to prove he can run this side of the ball on his own, without Flores or defensive backs coach Gerald Alexander, but pretty much everything else from last year’s defense that was terrific over the course of the year. of the second half of the year remained constant.
Can the Dolphins get the same production from Tyreek Hill in Miami?
Can Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer prove he doesn’t need Brian Flores’ help?