The Curious Case of Owen Tippett

Owen Tippett with the Florida Panthers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Owen Tippett, Florida Panthers Oct. 17, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

During this stellar panthers season, very few players would be considered disappointments by most. One player this cannot be said for is Owen Tippett. The fourth year winger was poised to have a top 6 spot secured for the Panthers, but has failed to capture a permanent spot in the lineup thus far.

The former lottery pick was expected to be a big part of this team’s season. His recent play, however, has warranted the healthy scratches he has been receiving. Without a doubt the talent is there, but the production has not been. Poor puck luck has factored into his underwhelming season, but he has also not been himself. Let’s dive into how we got here with Owen Tippett.

How we got here

The Florida Panthers selected Owen Tippett 10th overall in the 2017 NHL draft. Most draft experts agreed that Tippett had the best goal scoring skills of any prospect in the draft. Coming out of juniors, his game had holes –particularly defensively– but little doubt existed as to whether or not he would be an NHL caliber player.

Tippett impressed during his first training camp with the Panthers. So much so that he made the opening night roster, an exceedingly rare feat for a teenager. During his seven games in the NHL in the 2017-2018 season, Tippett only scored a single goal, but his confidence and swagger on the offensive end were evident.

Tippett drove offensive play so impressively that many began thinking that the Panthers got a steal at pick number ten. The Panthers sent Tippett back to juniors after his seven game stint in the show, but most believed his game would be complete enough to be an NHL regular by next season.

Unfortunately for all involved, progression is not always linear

Tippett failed to make the NHL roster in either the 2018-19 or 2019-20 seasons. While he had some impressive stints in the minor and junior leagues, he could never get over the hump into the NHL. Tippett finally became a regular NHLer during the shortened 2020-21 season. It was then when the flashes became more apparent. In the final six games of the regular season, Tippett tallied six points (2g, 4a) and continued that production into the playoffs with four points (2g 2a) in six games.

So Where are we now

Playing on a line with Sam Bennett and Johnathan Huberdeau seemed to have unlocked Tippett’s offensive upside. With an offseason to grow, the Panthers expected big things from Tippett going into this season.

Before the season, Sam Bennett said about Tippett: “When he starts to realize how good he is, he’s going to be even better. I love playing with him, he brings so much to the table. He’s a player that’s going to have a really good year.”

Before the season, I suggested that Tippett was the odd man out of this forward group, and noted that Duclair would be the better linemate for Bennett and Huberdeau. Now at the beginning of this year I was more than ready to eat my words on that one, but as the season progressed and the lines shifted, so did the bigger picture.

Tippett began the season paired with Huberdeau and Bennett as expected, the line put up decent production but nothing earth shattering. Tippett himself put up eight points (3g 5a) in 13 games. When injuries and losing streaks necessitated changes, however, concern for Tippett’s production grew.

When replaced with Reinhart, that line generates an expected goals percentage of 63.1%, compared to 52.1% with Tippett. Replacing Tippett with Duclair gives that line a 57.8% expected goals percentage (Not to mention the insane chemistry between Huberdeau and Duclair that could win Huberdeau a hart trophy, but that is a story for another day.)

Tippett, now playing mostly on a third line centered by Anton Lundell, has managed just one assist in his last sixteen games. His offensive swagger has been nonexistent, and his play driving relies heavily on others.

To his credit, Tippett’s defense has improved dramatically, and he has played reliably in the defensive and neutral zones. What’s missing is his fearless, gutsy, always looking for the goal attitude he was drafted for. Surely that player still exists, but it has been some time since Tippett showed it.

What’s next for Owen Tippett

Has the Panther’s organization stunted his growth by not letting him be himself? Possibly. Could a change of scenery be good for Tippett? Probably. Is this marriage between play and organization unsalvageable? Absolutely not.

Fortunately for Owen Tippett, the team does not need him to live up to his potential right now. Plenty of other offense exists around him while he figures out how to get his killer mentality back.

Of course, if the Panthers are truly committed to bringing back that version of Owen Tippett, it will take some deliberate coaching. Brunette will have to pair him with a pass first playmaker and get him lots of time in the offensive zone (with Lundell he gets mostly defensive zone starts.) It will also mean consistent playing time, which has not been the case recently.

The Panthers could also opt to trade him, but his trade value is likely much lower than the Panthers view it as. As of this moment, a trade (persumably for a defenseman) would not help the team as much as many think.

Regardless, a change would help all parties involved. Tippett is only 22 years old and has all the talent in the world. The coaching staff and the front office must decide if they prefer to work to reenergize the winger, or look for a new home for him. His talent is too big to be wasted.

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Panthers vs Rangers postgame thoughts: finally healthy and it shows

Panthers vs Rangers
Photo credit: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

When the NHL season paused over a week ago, few teams needed that break more than the Panthers. Between injuries and a COVID breakout, the team played a lineup consisting mostly of AHL regulars. The subsequent three game skid had some fans begging for a pause or postponement of games.

The fans got their wish, and after almost two weeks off, the Panthers resumed their season Wednesday against the Rangers. The Panthers vs Rangers game gave Cats fans a reminder of what they were missing, and how much fun this season has been.

Panthers vs Rangers game recap

Even with their full team playing for the first time in almost a month, the Panthers faced as difficult of a challenge as their is in this league. The Rangers have been one of the best teams in the league all season, and their speed presented problems for the Cats in their last meeting on November 8.

The first period looked like more of the same. Artemi Panarin beat Bobrovsky five-hole after a beautiful deke on Aaron Ekblad. Whether it was strong defense or rust, the Panthers struggled to generate chances early on, and the first period ended with the Panthers trailing 1-0.

In the second period, Anton Lundell tied the game after Ryan Lomberg used his speed to create a chance. The Rangers responded shortly after with Panarin making a great defensive play to set up Mika Zibanejad for the goal. The Panthers finished that period with only seven shots on goal. A concerningly low total for a team trailing, and going into the third, it seemed like the Ranger Defense had their number.

In the third period, the Panthers began to play their brand of hockey. Three unanswered goals and overall dominance sealed it for the Cats. Weegar’s first goal of the season tied it up. Verhaghe’s snipe took the lead. Duclair’s great defense resulted in a much needed insurance marker.

That period showed what the team is capable of even against the best teams in the league. When the playoffs begin, the team will need to play that way for the full 60 minutes. For now, the team should enjoy being healthy and showing out against a great Rangers team

Panthers vs Rangers Takeaways

  • While this game was far from perfect for the Cats, this game showed that this team has the talent to beat anyone. If the team can maintain health, they can overcome most of their shortcomings through offensive firepower.
  • Special teams remains an issue for the Cats. The power play failed to generate much of anything in their two tries, while the Rangers generated lots of great looks. I still maintain hope that they can figure it out, but the later in the season it gets the more concerning it is.
  • Two preseason regulars were healthy scratches today: Frank Vatrano and Owen Tippett. Both have talent beyond a doubt, but have not delivered this year. Based on today, the team looks better with them on the outs. Look for them to be trade bait at the deadline.
  • Bobrovsky let in a soft one early on, but looked sharp the rest of the game, making key saves in the third period. That rough patch he had may have just been fatigue. His minutes should be managed until the playoffs begin.

Looking Ahead

The Panthers play against their rivals from the north on Thursday, as the Lightning come to town. That game will be must see TV and a great test for the Cats as the season ramps up again.

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Zach Thomas: The Case for the Hall of Fame

Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas deserves Hall of Fame honors
Credit: The Phinsider

Every August, we see posts explaining why Zach Thomas should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and then the chatter ends. Then, the next year’s finalists are announced and everyone makes their case for Thomas again.

The same thing happens every year; but, hopefully, that changes next year.

Zach Thomas’ Hall Of Fame Endorsements

On Saturday night, now Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson made sure to let everyone know his thoughts on Thomas. Johnson said “Zach Thomas belongs up here” as he talked about his defense that led the Miami league.

Jimmy Johnson is now the 2nd Hall of Fame inductee to emphasize that Zach Thomas needs to be in the HOF. In 2019, former New York Jets OL, Kevin Mawae said Zach Thomas should be in the HOF.

The Numbers

Thomas was drafted in 1996 and spent 12 seasons with the Dolphins, before spending his last season with the Cowboys. He retired after his 13th season.

Thomas intercepted 17 passes and returned 4 of them for touchdowns. He also forced 16 fumbles. Although the turnover numbers aren’t eye-grabbing, offenses could never be too cautious with the ball around Thomas. With 33 forced turnovers, he is tied with LB Brian Urlacher, who has been in the HOF for 3 years. 

Thomas racked up 1,100 solo tackles and 627 assists through his 13-year career. For comparison, Urlacher and Junior Seau had less tackles. Both are in the Hall of Fame. As a matter of fact, he led the Miami Dolphins in tackles 10 out of his 12 seasons in South Florida. The tackling machine ranks 5th all-time on the tackling list.

It is crucial to note that all 4 players ahead of Thomas on that list played significantly more games than Thomas.

Zach Thomas also had 5 first team all-pro selections and 2 second team all-pro selections. Additionally, he was voted into 7 Pro Bowls.

Clearly, Zach Thomas has the stats to be in the Hall of Fame. From tackles to forcing turnovers, Thomas wreaked havoc wherever he was on the field. 

Leadership

Aside from the numbers, Thomas was a hell of a leader and football mind. He took blame for every Dolphins loss. Thomas was often the first one in the facility and the last one out. During Kevin Mawae’s enshrinement speech, he said Thomas was “one of the smartest, if not the smartest” defender he had ever faced.

On Sunday, Peyton Manning was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Most people consider Manning a top-3 QB of all-time. Whenever Peyton Manning discusses players who posed the greatest challenge, he always mentioned Zach Thomas

According to Manning, Thomas was able to call out the Colts offensive plays.

He was the quarterback of the Miami defense for 12 years, and caused opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators to lose sleep.

Why Zach Thomas isn’t in the HOF yet is, quite literally, unanswerable. He started all but 2 games in his career and has the numbers to compete with other HOF LBs. Thomas averaged almost 10 tackles per game, and was one of the smartest LBs to play the game. He’s been endorsed by two Hall of Famers during their enshrinement speeches and called on of the greats by Peyton Manning.

The difference for Thomas may be that the Dolphins didn’t have real success as a team during his time in Miami. Whatever the reason may be, we won’t ever know. However, at this point, it’s laughable that Zach Thomas doesn’t have his own gold jacket. 

Thomas has been a finalist two years in a row now. He is bound to get in at some point, right? Dolphins Fans all over the world(literally) will have to wait and see if Thomas is on the stage unveiling his bust next August.

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Miami Dolphins Playoff Chances

miami dolphin playoff chances
Credit: PhinPhanatic

If you told me in August that the Miami Dolphins would start the season 1-7, I would’ve told you that you’re crazy. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. At 1-7, if you told me the Dolphins would win five straight, get to 6-7, and have a chance to win-out and make the playoffs, I would’ve called you a lot more things than just “crazy.”

However, that is exactly the point we have reached. The Dolphins have won five games in a row, the defense looks elite, and Tua and the offense are slowly finding a rhythm. Can the once 1-7 Miami Dolphins make the playoffs and what are the Miami Dolphins playoff chances?

Dolphins Remaining Schedule

After their Week 14 bye, the Dolphins will have four games remaining. They host the Jets, visit the Saints, visit the Titans and former QB Ryan Tannehill, and lastly host OROY favorite Mac Jones and the Patriots in Week 18. Clearly, every game is very likely a must win game. 

New York Jets

The Dolphins have won four of their last five games versus the Jets, and most people expect them to make it five of six. Miami easily beat New York less than a month ago at MetLife Stadium and shouldn’t struggle too much with the 3-9 squad in a humid Hard Rock Stadium. 

Of course Miami’s bye week is seen as a chance to get healthy and have extra time to prepare for the Jets. However, it is also coming at a point in which Miami has won five straight games and a bye week could put a dagger in Miami’s momentum.

If the defense continues to perform at an elite level, beating a Jets team lead by rookie QB Zach Wilson shouldn’t be a problem.

New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints have lost five straight games. They have uncertainty in their QB room as Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill are both playing below average football, the wide receiver(WR) room is depleted, and overall seem to be struggling in the post Drew Brees era. 

The Saints will be a far tougher challenge than the Jets though. Compared to the Jets bottom tier defense, the Saints are a top-15 defense in the NFL. Miami’s offense, although performing a little better as of late, has been inconsistent. 

Even though Miami upset Baltimore in their last primetime game, the narrative that they do not perform well in primetime is still overshadowing the team. Going into a packed Caesars Superdome on primetime will be a tough challenge for Brian Flores’ young squad, but there’s no reason to believe they can’t win this game.

Tennessee Titans

The schedule gets harder by the week for Miami. In Week 17, Miami will travel to Tennessee to take on their former franchise QB, Ryan Tannehill. This game looks a lot less challenging now that RB Derrick Henry is dealing with a foot injury he suffered earlier in the year. 

The Titans started out 8-2 but have dropped two straight games in embarrassing fashion. They lost to the two-win Texans and were blown out by the Patriots. 

Regardless, they are still the No. 2 seed in the AFC, and a Mike Vrabel lead team can always pose a great challenge. 

Fortunately for Miami, the Titans offense has struggled, and the defense is once again having issues. 

The Titans have averaged just 16.3 points over their last three games, while Miami’s defense has returned to its elite form from 2020.

On the other side of the ball, the Titans defense has also struggled. Tennessee has allowed over 280 passing yards in two of their last three games to teams who haven’t had the most aggressive passing attacks in New England and New Orleans. In their last three games, they’ve allowed over 26 points per game. 

A struggling Tennessee defense will help Miami immensely as the offense needs all the assistance they can get. 

The weather will likely play a role in this game. For a team like Miami who is used to playing under the scorching sun year round, a game in Tennessee in the winter will not be easy. 

If things continue the way they have for both teams, the Dolphins should have a good chance of winning and keeping their playoff hopes alive.

New England Patriots

If all things go according to plan, this game will be the final factor in deciding Miami’s fate. 

The Patriots started 2-4 and are the only team hotter than the Dolphins right now. They’ve won seven straight games, lead the AFC East, and currently hold the first seed in the AFC.

The defense has turned it on and they look like a championship defense.

Offensively, they’ve looked very efficient and rookie Mac Jones has done what he’s been asked. The Patriots scored 36, 25, and 45 points in the three games before their Week 13 snow matchup versus Buffalo.

Miami will have a slight advantage as they always seem to have an edge versus the Patriots when playing at home. Miami is 6-2 in their last eight matchups versus New England in South Florida. 

Expect this to be a heavily defensive matchup with two head coaches who are known for torturing young quarterbacks. 

If Miami can methodically pick apart the New England defense one play at a time(as they did to the Panthers and Giants), and the defense continues their elite run, Miami should have a good chance to win this game.

Is there a chance Miami can lose a game and still make the postseason? Yes. However, that is very unlikely. Miami needs to win-out and hope for some help from other teams.

Teams Ahead Of Miami

If Miami wins out, it’s not guaranteed they make the postseason; but the odds are in their favor.

  • Chargers, 7-5: The Chargers have been inconsistent this season but hold the 5th seed. They have five games remaining and three of them are against potential playoff teams. 
  • Cincinnati, 7-5: The Bengals currently hold the 6th seed. Their remaining five games are all against teams who currently hold a playoff spot or are firmly in the hunt. They were just dominated by the Chargers and have a tough slate of games to finish the season. 
  • Buffalo, 7-5: Buffalo holds the last spot in the AFC playoff picture for now. Just a year removed from an AFC Championship game appearance, they find themselves facing slight uncertainty. Of their remaining five games, two are against current playoff teams(Tampa and New England). Two other teams are in the hunt.
  • Pittsburgh, 6-6-1: The Steelers were dominated last night versus the Vikings and it doesn’t get easier. They have arguably the hardest closing stretch of the teams in the hunt. They close the season against three division leaders and Cleveland.
  • Indianapolis, 7-6: The Colts have their bye week this week. After that, they have four games remaining. Two of those are against division leaders. Another is against Las Vegas who is still squarely in the hunt. It is important to note that the Colts own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Miami.
  • Las Vegas, 7-6: Like the Colts, the Raiders also own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Miami. Vegas ends their season with three divisional games, and every team they play is firmly in the hunt or currently holding a spot in the playoffs. They have a difficult schedule for a team that has been very inconsistent as of late.
  • Cleveland, 6-6: The Browns defense has been excellent this season, but their offense has held them back. The Browns finish their season with five straight potential playoff teams, similar to other teams in the hunt. If their offense continues to struggle, they may very well find themselves in a bad spot by Week 16.
  • Denver, 6-6: Denver hosts the one-win Lions in Week 14. Denver then faces three teams who are currently in the playoffs and Las Vegas, who is already ahead of them.

It seems very clear Miami has one of the more favorable closing schedules out of any team in the hunt. Most teams finish with four or five straight potential playoff teams. In Miami’s case, their schedule gets slightly harder each week, and they could be controlling their own destiny in Week 17.

Miami isn’t playing this week, but can make up serious ground on some of the teams above.

Tiebreakers

  • If Miami finishes with the same record as Buffalo, Buffalo will finish ahead of Miami as Buffalo owns the head-to-head tiebreaker this season 2-0.
  • Miami will also the head-to-head tiebreaker to Las Vegas due to their early season loss to the Raiders when Tua Tagovailoa was injured.
  • The Colts, currently one game ahead of Miami, also hold the head-to-head tiebreaker due to their win in Miami over Jacoby Brissett.
  • Miami does own the head-to-head breaker over Baltimore, but that won’t matter if the Ravens win the AFC North.
  • Miami will hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over New England assuming the Dolphins win out. However, like the Ravens, it won’t matter if New England wins the AFC East. 

The Dolphins currently have a 4-5 record in the AFC. Winning out will give them a 7-5 record in the AFC and may play a role in tiebreakers in Week 18.

Will This Matter?

There’s a chance none of this will matter by 4:00 PM on December 19th. If they lose to New York, the Miami Dolphins playoffs chances will take a serious hit. 

Miami has to take care of their business, go one week at a time, and win out. If they can do this, there’s a great chance they will be the first team to start 1-7 and make the postseason.

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Miami Dolphins Offense: The Pistol and the Motion

miami dolphins offense
Nov 28, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) directs his teammates against the Carolina Panthers during the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins offense has had a bit of a resurgence lately thanks in part to continuity in players at quarterback, wide receiver and offensive line.

What’s been a facet for the offense of the Miami Dolphins success has been the implementation and use of the “Pistol Wing Formation”

What it is

The pistol formation, like the shotgun, is really an alignment between the quarterback and the running back. In the pistol formation, the quarterback lines up four or five yards behind the center, the running back lines up two or three yards behind the quarterback. In the shotgun formation , the quarterback lines up seven yards behind he center, and the running back lines up to the side of the quarterback.

The Pistol Formation comes with it’s advantages and disadvantages, lets take a brief look at them

Advantages

  • The Pistols main advantage is its versatility that comes from it’s hybrid design. Having the quarterback three to four yards deep allows him to make downfield reads and separate himself from the pass rush by a few yards.
  • It also has the running back five yards from the LOS and directly behind the quarterback to build momentum before getting the ball.
  • The Pistol formation supports Read Options. It can be a fully functional pass play, keeping the running back to pass block. It can also serve as a run play with power blocking and pulling guards
  • The real nightmare is the RPO. It’s entirely dependent on the quarterback to watch the defense and decide which play will have the most success.
  • Can create advantages in the play-action game. The pistol alignment represents a run-first perception, it makes the play-action pass that much more effective.

Disadvantages

  • It’s dependent on the quarterback to quickly decipher defenses and make smart decisions, it comes with a big learning curve. A wrong decision could prove disastrous.
  • Playing Man coverage takes away most of the passing game, leaving minute plays for offenses to employ
  • Offensive line blocking is dependent as the quarterback is closer to the LOS. OL blocking can make or break the offense

What it means

For any Offense which runs the Pistol, it means these things:

The best Pistol offenses are those that can implement aspects of a Spread Offense into their game plan, it requires a smart quarterback who can properly read defenses once the ball is snapped.

While the Pistol could be used just to run the ball, it’s at its best when each play is different than the last. As such, having a solid core of blockers, pass catchers and a good quarterback is necessary.

When running the ball out of the Pistol, teams run up the middle where there are a lot of defenders. Teams that are undersized along the offensive line aren’t built for this type of play.

The Miami Dolphins Offense

Over this current five game winning streak the Dolphins have primarily lined up in shotgun, which includes the pistol formation. Usually this formation includes the basic Pistol offense with a Wing look.

Other Pistol Formations | OptionFootball.net
A variation of the Pistol Formation

How it’s done

The Pistol usually has two to three players in the backfield, primarily as it is designed to be a run first offense.

However, with the wing formation, TE’s on the edges, force defenses to play at least three players deep.

While it may seem that the pistol is most effective on the dependence of the running game; paradoxically, it is dependent on the threat of a passing game.

The passing game is dependent on the quarterback moving the ball to and from the flow of attack. The best description may be the term of “sequence football”.

Basically, the offense runs in plays where it attacks different parts of the field once the ball is snapped. This does not mean that every play is called in order, it is mostly based on matchups and post snap reads.

Which is why you see plays that look and feel similar, but can attack different parts of the field. Similar to Sean McVay’s singleback look.

Backfield Motion

Passing Game

The main sequence the Miami Dolphins offense use is the backfield motion to create space and attack different facets of the field.

On the play above Wilson motions to the right side of the formation, this allows Tua to see the defense is in zone coverage.

Wilson runs the wheel route gaining depth into the defensive backfield. Waddle runs the curl, an intermediate route, attacking the soft zone in the middle. Meanwhile, Durham Smythe is jammed at the LOS running a short crossing route.

The biggest threat to the defense is Wilson gaining depth into the defensive backfield, which forces Giants defensive backs Xavier McKinney and Aaron Robinson to stay deep and prevent a big play.

In turn, this frees up the intermediate route Jaylen Waddle runs, he has enough space to catch the ball for a first down and keep the drive alive.

Running Game

The Dolphins also use the backfield motion concept to create space and attack different running lanes in the run game.

Using the motion while using the same type of blocking scheme. Usually Pistol offenses run with a power scheme along the offensive line. However, the Dolphins use a zone blocking scheme.

The sequence in how the run game can vary in playcalls but use the same blocking style. Run out wide, off tackle, and up the middle all use down blocks by most of the line with a pulling guard and blocking on the other side of the backfield.

This concept is used on the run above.

The counter play uses down blocks to build a wall of bodies away from the play and a pulling guard to kick out and head upfield to clear a running lane.

Albert Wilson motions and post snap so does the right side of the offensive line. The theory is that the flow of a play can take multiple blockers to the point of attack or be decoys while the running back is on the opposite end.

The execution on the play above illustrates how the theory is able to work. The blocking style is designed so when a defender reacts to blocks to stop a play, he will be placing himself in jeopardy for a companion play. Sounds familiar to the RPO. 

Multiple Threats

The Pistol offense is designed in complete backfield series, each of which presents multiple threats to the defense on each play.

Passing wise, the Dolphins run the Pistol Wing to put the perception that there are multiple deep receivers. Most of the time when it is ran, it is in a condensed look.

“When you condense the formation in general out of those RPO looks… it gives defenses more things to look at leading to conflict and hesitation on the eyes as there are a lot of motions, possible split zone action and a variety of different plays that can happen. For Tua he gets the options of the flat, the hook, the curl, the post, the handoff. There are so many different ways [Tua] can put the defense in conflict , when you condense that you increase the post snap reads”

Travis Wingfield

In the condensed Pistol Look, there can be many options, threats, Tua can look in his post snap reads.

For example, the stick flat RPO that is a staple in the offense. Based on the type of Coverage is shown once a play is motioned, the flat play to the tight end is an easy read against man coverage.

It has a balance of passing, which is predominantly play-action in nature. The RPO adds that extra conflict for defenders where they have to hesitate, they have to read and react. It puts defenders in a bind.

The Future

When you watch NFL teams run the Pistol offense, you see them tire out defenses in the running game. It’s discouraging when a team can just pound the rock for six yards a carry and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

The Dolphins, however, cannot run the ball well due to issues along the offensive line. Once these issues are fixed through the draft or free agency signings, the offense has the potential to become a possession team head coach Brian Flores has preached about.

The flip side for the Miami Dolphins offense is that it is labeled as a predominantly RPO offense that dink and dunks its way; although, defenses have not been able to fully halt it.

The threats the condensed Pistol Wing looks bring defenses are the route combinations designed on three levels of the field. Opposing defenses have tried to match up with the wide receivers on the outside to stop deeper routes from forming. Thus, being okay with Tua to throw to shorter and intermediate routes.

Defenses are pattern matching on the outside and allowing linebackers to stay in zone. By doing this, defensive backs are focusing on route distribution while linebackers are able to play with their eyes in the backfield. Leaving the middle of the field open for running backs and tight ends to roam.

Essentially, it is death by paper cuts.

Partner that with a better offensive line, preferably to run a power scheme, and a premier running back. The Miami Dolphins offense could do damage next year.

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