The season is approaching. The editorial staff of DNA of Sports invites you to take stock of the strengths and weaknesses of the 32 franchises. Today, the Miami Dolphins 2023. You can find all the presentations by clicking on this link.
Back in the playoffs last season after a 5-year absence, the Dolphins came close to creating a surprise against their rivals the Bills. With more experience, a major reinforcement in the aerial field, the Floridians have the head of the ideal outsider.
But in a formidable conference and division, the pitfalls will be many.
Last season: 9 wins – 8 losses
Movements in the off-season
Notable arrivals: Jalen Ramsey (CB), Mike White (QB), Robbie Anderson (WR), Braxton Berrios (WR), Dan Feeney (OL), Isaiah Wynn (OT), Cedric Ognuehi (OT), Eric Saubert (TE) , Tyler Kroft (TE), David Long (LB), DeShon Elliott (S), Eli Apple (CB), Jake Bailey (P)
Re-signings: Jeff Wilson (RB), Raheem Mostert (RB), Myles Gaskin (RB), Andrew Van Ginkel (OLB)
Draft: Cam Smith (CB), Devon Achane (RB), Elijah Higgings (TE), Ryan Hayes (OT)
Notable losses: Mike Gesicki (TE), Tedy Bridgewater (QB), Trent Sherfield (WR), Trey Flowers (DE), Michael Deiter (OL), Greg Little (OT), Luke Rowe (DB)
Once again, the Dolphins were the actors of one of the most glamorous moves of the offseason. In need of the cornerback position, the franchise brought in Jalen Ramsey as part of a trade with the Rams. While the player with a knee injury will miss a good part of the season, he should be back in the home stretch and for the games that matter.
Behind this arrival, relatively few significant reinforcements or departures. Robbie “Chosen” Anderson bolsters a target squad that lost Trent Sherfield. On the offensive line, liners replace liners. Tagovailoa’s lining as quarterback is no longer Teddy Bridgewater, who left for Detroit, but former Jet Mike White. On the other side of the ball, David Long fleshes out the second curtain while DeShon Elliott arrives from Baltimore to support Javon Holland as safety.
Deprived of the first round again this year, Miami had to wait until the second half of the second round of the draft to strengthen its air defense with Cam Smith. Devon Achane joins a committee of riders of which he could quickly become the leader.
The strong points)
With more than 3,000 yards together, the Tyreek Hill – Jaylen Waddle duo is simply the best in the NFL. Both Arrows are a nightmare for defenses and a dream for their quarterback. The investment made to attract Hill paid off immediately. Like a fish in water, the former Chief has shown that he is not as dependent on Patrick Mahomes as one might think. In the intermediate or deep zones, their speed wreaks havoc to separate from their vis-à-vis and stretch the defenses. However, beware of over-dependence. In the event of physical glitches, production could suffer greatly.
If statistically the Florida rush pass is not among the most productive in the league, struggling to get into the first half, the potential of the first defensive curtain is more than attractive. It must be said that the addition of Bradley Chubb during the season brought a counterpart to young Jaelen Phillips and brought more pressure from outside. The Wilkins-Ogbah duo on the inside brings as much guarantee to disturb the pocket as to counter the inclinations of the runners. A sector in which Miami has also distinguished itself with the 4th best record in the league.
The weak spots)
The ground game is as effective in defense as it is weak in attack. A 26th place in 2022, 30th in 2021, for several seasons, the Dolphins runners have struggled to shine and weigh on the meetings with an average per game which does not exceed the 100 yard mark. It must be said that the riders’ committee is not really a dream. Led by Raheem Mostert and his 31 years, the attack lacks an impact runner capable of wearing down the defenses and becoming an anchor point to relieve the quarterback. The selection of De’Von Achane carries the hopes of improving the situation.
In a division that includes Josh Allen and now Aaron Rodgers, and with Chiefs, Chargers and Eagles on the program, the defensive backfield is going to be tested hard in 2023. An area in which they did not particularly shine last season with more than 234 yards conceded per game. The expected progression of the pass rush and the arrival of a triple All Pro cornerback could be a facilitator. They will also need to regain lost efficiency in stealing balloons. Far from his 10 interceptions in 2020, Xavien Howard remained stuck at just one in 2022. In his wake, the whole squad suffered more than punished. Only 14 turnovers, the 30th record in the league, we can not say that this helps the attack to leave in an advantageous position. The contribution of Jalen Ramsey being finally only late, his teammates will have to quickly gain in efficiency in an environment more competitive than ever.
Factor X: the health of Tagovailoa
Better surrounded, Tua Tagovaiola has shown very encouraging signs of progress in 2022. A statistical record in clear progress (+900 yards and 9 more touchdowns with the same number of matches played), the quarterback has unfortunately made more talk of him because of his numerous and impressive concussions. Victim of a double shock in just 5 days in the middle of the season giving rise to chilling images, the former Alabama star was again affected on Christmas Day, putting a premature end to his season. A repetition of traumas that cast doubt on his future in the NFL.
Despite a medical green light over the winter, Tagovailoa’s health is a real question. At only 25 years old, can he decently consider continuing his career in the event of a new shock? His health is clearly at stake whether in the short or medium term. However, he will be at the center of the attack when the season resumes with the ambition of leading his team as high as possible. But if we dare to hope that these opponents will not deliberately target him, he could at any time see his season (and more?) cut short.
Player to watch: Jaelan Phillips (Edge)
Drafted very high despite many questions about his medical history, Jaelan Phillips has not missed a game in two seasons. Having become a spearhead of the Miami line, the quarterback hunter must pass a new milestone this season. Now in its 3rd year, it is at the end of this fiscal year that the franchise will decide to exercise its 5th year option and possibly start discussing a new contract.
The adaptation time passed, the Dolphins await a return on investment from his counterpart Bradley Chubb. The duo could become one of the most formidable and productive in the league, each taking advantage of the presence of the other to shine. Performances hoped for, and even necessary, to make a place for themselves and counter the AFC artificers.
The 2023 Miami Dolphins Schedule
@Chargers, @Patriots, Broncos, @Bills, Giants, Panthers, @Eagles, Patriots, @Chiefs, Bye, Raiders, @Jets, @Commanders, Titans, Jets, Cowboys, @Ravens, Bills
The audio preview of the podcast
In one of the strongest divisions in the NFL, the task of Mike McDaniel’s men will not be easy. Yet the team is complete and full of talent in many positions. Everything could then depend on the performance of the quarterback.
The Tagovailoa of 2022 is a real reason for hope and confidence. But his history of injuries and in particular head shocks could call everything into question. If his presence will not necessarily be synonymous with the Super Bowl, his absence will put them out of play for sure.