It is quite difficult to write intelligently about the Miami Dolphins’ prospects in 2022, especially even before the April 28 draft has been completed, but that never slowed our production of words.
Let’s look at the team’s needs from the perspective of the rest of the league and then we can judge how management has performed by how well they have responded to that perspective.
The league appears to have almost universally adopt-ed the notion that, to be great, you have to have a smart quarterback with a machine for an arm. That means a big, accurate arm. The likes of Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes, Matt Stafford and so on. So, if this is what the Dolphins are going to face every week, how do they slow down that type of scheme?
The answer is twofold: a punishing defensive line that makes the opposing QB uncomfortable on every play, and fleet and aggressive DB’s who deny access to the ball or halt progress upon completion and not 20 years further down the field. If the composition of the team meets these demands, the offense will have a chance to score enough to win, or at least stay close.
An exception to this new “face” of the league being teams with big-arm QB’s is the Dolphins themselves. That’s not to say that Tua cannot throw long; he can, but prefers the shorter tosses and even when he tosses the long ball he takes a while to wind up to get it deep. He seems to perform more efficiently in a so-called run-and-gun scheme where he is called on to make quick decisions and, even if he decides to run, to keep his eyes peeled for his incredibly quick receivers, like Waddle. The team’s success may well lie with the ability of those receivers to deliver meaningful yardage with their efforts after the catch.
This formula does not demand an exceptional offensive line, but there are two good reasons for developing one nonetheless. First, it gives a magician like Tua extra time to select the best option under the circumstances. Second, and equally as important, the line needs to open frequent holes for the running backs to keep the DB’s honest and not anticipate a pass on every down. This combination could result in quite a year for the Dolphins and their QB. Management has made a positive step towards re-building the offensive line by adding free agents Armstead and Williams. Let’s see how the coaching staff integrates the new players into the system.
Photo courtesy of Miami Dolphins.