Ever since Dan Marino retired in 2000, the Miami Dolphins have been a team heavily focused on defense. Players such as Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Cameron Wake have been the faces of the franchise.
But behind the defensive stars lied a team that struggled to produce offense. Year after year, elite pass rushers and secondaries were wasted by an inability to put up points and win big games. Besides the Wildcat gimmick year of 2008, the Dolphins have been a mediocre offensive team.
A major reason for this was a lack of modern concepts. Since the wildcat, Miami has been years behind the newest offensive concepts.
Coaches like Joe Philbin and Adam Gase, who were brought in for offensive expertise, failed to lead strong unit. The latter of which was looked at as an offensive mastermind when he was hired, but never called an offense that finished above 17th in scoring.
Yet another example of a Dolphins team being let down by their offense was in 2020.
While teams like the Chiefs and Rams led innovative units behind Andy Reid and Sean McVay, the Dolphins hired a retired OC in Chan Gailey, who was in the middle of the pack in pre-snap motion.
As a result, Miami only finished 15th and scoring, struggling to stay in games with the league’s offensive powerhouses like the Bills and Chiefs.
But unlike previous Dolphins regimes, Head Coach Brian Flores and GM Chris Grier saw the error of their ways. They parted ways with Chan Gailey and dedicated this year to improving the offense and maximizing QB Tua Tagovailoa.
Solving Their Issues
Seeing that separation was an issue, the brought in explosive receivers in former Texan Will Fuller and 1st round draft pick Jaylen Waddle. With their speed and athleticism, they hope to stretch the field and win one-on-one matchups that Miami previously struggled with.
The Dolphins Offensive Line also struggled in 2020, but was addressed in the offseason. Just like the receiving unit, Miami snagged a veteran and a rookie, adding Matt Skura and Liam Eichenberg.
But the most important step in fulfilling the new offensive vision was on he coaching side. Miami promoted position coaches George Godsey and Eric Studesville to be co-offensive coordinators.
The move was controversial, as it was unknown how playcalling duties would be distributed and schemes would be blended. While Godsey had previously called plays in Houston, Studesville had only ever been an assistant. It would be up to them to find a good mix and bring the first high powered offense Miami’s had in years.
Through the first week of training camp this Dolphins offense looks both collaborative and innovative. Using motion, RPO concepts, and deep routes to beat 2020’s #4 scoring defense.
Ahead of Schedule
Just about every year in training camp, Dolphins fans hear about how the defense is ahead of the offense early. Whether it’s a talent discrepancy, scheming or a lack of chemistry, the offense has always lacked in the first weeks of camp.
But this year, the tables have turned entirely. Day in and day out we hear about how second year QB Tua Tagovailoa has thrown several touchdowns to a myriad of receivers, even with Will Fuller, DeVante Parker and Preston Williams missing time. Playmakers like Jaylen Waddle and Albert Wilson have shown out in practice, being the subjects of hundreds of live tweets.
The biggest part of the offense success and new look early has come from the new coordinators. From live tweets and videos released by the media, we see a new wrinkle that lacked in previous regimes. On a vast majority of plays, pre-snap motion is being used to create separation, create leverage, and beat the defense.
Receivers like Waddle and Wilson are constantly moving, as Miami uses their quick feet to their advantage. Their ability to create mismatches in the secondary has led to the rapid improvement of Tua and the offense.
Unlike the past regimes, the Dolphins have followed the footsteps of innovators across the NFL, using playmakers to their strengths.
As we get closer to the preseason opener against the Bears, more of the offensive vision will materialize. We will begin to see more personnel packages and schemes similar to those Miami will use during the season.
Through insiders, writers at camp, and video posts, we hope to see more of the innovative, modern concepts that have been teased thus far. We know that Brian Flores and his staff can develop schemes and players, as we have seen on defense. But it will be interesting to see if Miami’s offense will continue to take that leap that we’ve seen thus far.
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