The Miami Dolphins are Back to Having Fun

The Miami Dolphins are back in the facility for their offseason program, and the aura around new HC Mike McDaniel is refreshing and fun.

As the Miami Dolphins head back to the facility for their offseason program, there seems to be a common theme among players and coaches. That being the fun, lighthearted nature of coach Mike McDaniel.

“It’s more like… fun.”

Emmanuel Ogbah on the differences of having Mike McDaniel as Head Coach.

At first glance, it would appear the Dolphins, specifically on defense, enjoyed their time under Brian Flores. Rattling off back to back winning seasons was quite the accomplishment, and much of it came on the back of the defensive unit. An opportunistic bunch with a knack for timely turnovers and sacks was able to drag a lackluster offense to two of their best seasons in recent memory.

However, it was clear that the other side of the ball wasn’t improving, and Flores’ no nonsense attitude was wearing on players. When the “Patriot Way” isn’t winning postseason games (or getting you there in the first place), then it all falls apart.

Mike McDaniel, however, had a clear goal coming into this offseason: keep the defense intact while bringing in players and staff who can get their offense back to being competent for the first time since Dan Marino was under center.

Mike McDaniel brings hope of getting Miami’s offense back on track.

New Acquisitions

McDaniel came in with aggression, quickly bringing in major acquisitions in the free agency period. Namely, signing All-Pro tackle Terron Armstead and trading for the NFL’s most explosive receiver Tyreek Hill showed determination.

Along with that, depth pieces and other upgrades, such as Cedrick Wilson Jr., Raheem Mostert, and Chase Edmonds are sure to give Miami a more dynamic unit.

The Miami Dolphins have a new look offensive unit.

This was a clear issue under the previous regime. Brian Flores showed an unwillingness to go after free agents, leading to an offense bereft of talent.

They also brought in familiar faces and rising stars in the coaching room. Patrick Surtain, Sam Madison, and Wes Welker, all former Dolphins players, will be taking on the reigns as assistant coaches. There have even been jokes about whether the assistants will run one-on-ones in practice, which is yet to be seen.

Keeping Your Best Players Happy

However, this was all on-paper, and if players are unable to get along with the coach, then it all goes downhill. Miami’s previous two coaches alienated players from one side of the ball, and it was up to McDaniel to show he won’t make the same mistake. How would he do that? By paying Miami’s premier defenders.

Xavien Howard and Emmanuel Ogbah, two of Miami’s best defensive playmakers, received extensions to remain in the aqua and orange.

Unlike Flores, McDaniel’s regime didn’t let these contracts linger, as they made sure to keep the best players happy. It’s important to make a strong first impression, and the new coaching has definitely done just that.

Fun Off the Field

However, McDaniel’s connection with Miami’s fanbase has been just as strong. Dolphins fans across social media noted the former OC’s stellar press conferences, which always included witty remarks. Thus, he struck a cord with those who wanted a more lively candidate at the helm.

It’s clear that the wit and humor has remained in Miami, along with the lighthearted interactions with fans and media.

Mike McDaniel accepts and conquers Rich Eisen’s coaching cliché challenge.

The Bottom Line on Miami Dolphins and Their Fun Offseason

On paper, the Dolphins look to be much more fun than years past. The offensive line is vastly improved, appearing much more able to support Mike McDaniel’s outside zone scheme. This would give the support needed to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa needed to get the ball to his new dynamic duo at wide receiver.

On top of that, a defense that ranks among the top of the league in turnovers is still intact. Although many thought Xavien Howard or Emmanuel Ogbah might not be retained, they are both back for the foreseeable future.

They even found a way to acquire one of the league’s most fun-to-watch wide receivers in Tyreek Hill. One whose ability after the catch is unmatched, and appears to be a great fit in their scheme.

However, the X’s and O’s only begin to describe this new era for the Miami Dolphins. New Head Coach Mike McDaniel brings an aura that Dolphins fans and players haven’t seen in a long time. It is this hope, humor, and… fun, that has eluded this fanbase for decades, and comes back in it’s newest form.

While we are unsure of how good the Miami Dolphins will be, it’s clear that something has changed this offseason. We can expect coaches, players, and fans alike to be having a lot more fun in the years to come.

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The Miami Dolphins Coaching Staff is All-Star Caliber

The Miami Dolphins have just finalized their coaching staff for the 2022 season, and there are quite a few big names on their list.

Miami Dolphins Coaching Staff

Shortly after hiring new head coach Mike McDaniel, the Miami Dolphins got to work on putting their coaching staff together.

They opted for continuity on defense, keeping coordinator Josh Boyer, who helped lead an opportunistic young unit over the last two seasons.

However, the additions they have made and the group they have assembled has been nothing short of star-studded. Mike McDaniel has combined a group of young, ascending minds with accomplished veterans mixed in. It’s clear that McDaniel is looking for a collaborative effort, and these assistants are sure to bring something to the table.

Frank Smith – offensive coordinator

With Josh Boyer being retained, McDaniel only had one coordinator spot to fill. This role means something different for Miami, as McDaniel announced that he would be calling the plays. Miami needed someone who could be a collaborative mind instead of a play-caller.

With those factors taken into consideration, Miami chose Los Angeles Chargers run-game coordinator Frank Smith.

Smith has an accomplished past, leading one of the NFL’s most exciting run games, led by Austin Ekeler. Complementing one of the league’s best young quarterbacks-Smith’s work helped LA finish fourth in total yards.

Frank Smith has an extensive resume.

His success also extends to positional coaching. Smith also took on the offensive line coaching role with the Chargers and was one of the primary forces in the development of Rashawn Slater, who was one of the NFL’s best tackles in his rookie season. During his tenure with the Raiders, he also helped develop Darren Waller, where he was the tight ends coach

Darrell Bevell – QB/passing game coordinator

The Dolphins have made it clear that Tua Tagovailoa will be their starting QB in 2022, and his development is crucial. Unfortunately, Tua didn’t take the step forward many hoped for, and most of the blame has gone to the coaching staff. Miami’s unit was inexperienced and needed some change to maximize their young signal-caller. Thus, they went after one of the most experienced and successful coaches available and hired Darrell Bevell.

Bevell has a strong track record of working with quarterbacks, the most prominent of which has been comparison for Tua Tagovailoa. In addition, Russell Wilson, who Bevell worked with for seven years, blossomed into an elite QB with Bevell as the OC. In that stint, he garnered love and respect from players, along with credit for the development of a star.

Darrell Bevell has been around the league.

He also has experience with other top-tier quarterbacks in Brett Favre and Matthew Stafford, which may translate to Tua’s development.

Wes Welker – WR coach

Of Miami’s assistant coaching hires, three were formerly with the franchise as players, the first of which being Wes Welker.

Along with playing at the highest level, Welker was the 49ers’ receivers coach last season. Working with a strong unit, he was pivotal in the development of Deebo Samuel, who became a force in 2021. He also oversaw the improvement of Brandon Aiyuk and the rest of the receiver group.

Wes Welker receives praise from Deebo Samuel.

Deebo mentioned Welker had a significant say in helping with game plan installation and has a strong mind in the passing game. It seems that Miami brought him in for help with their young wide receiver group and to be another brain in their collaborative game plan sessions.

Jon Embree – Assistant HC/TE coach

McDaniel wasn’t shy in taking some of his colleagues away from his former team. Along with Wes Welker, the Dolphins snagged 49ers tight ends coach Jon Embree.

As with many on McDaniel’s staff, Embree has shown the trait of being able to teach and develop players. Notably, George Kittle, renowned as one of the best tight ends in the league, has stated how important Embree was to his growth as a player. Embree also helped get big seasons out of Jordan Cameron and Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez.

George Kittle praises Embree in an Instagram post.

It’s clear that McDaniel wanted teachers, and he’s taken those who have taught some of the best in the game. Miami has a young, talented tight-end group led by free agent Mike Gesicki. If anyone is going to get the best out of them, it can be Embree.

Matt Applebaum – OL coach

The Dolphins made the offensive line a chief need of their coaching search. Following poor performances throughout 2021, it was clear that the room needed a new leader. So Miami brought in Frank Smith (run-game coordinator) and Matt Applebaum with that in mind.

Although having little experience at the NFL level, Applebaum has been one of the best offensive line coaches in the sport. His work at Boston College has been impressive, generating a unit that produced multiple All-ACC talents, along with three intriguing prospects in this upcoming draft. Among those is guard Zion Johnson, who projects to be a first-round pick and now has a connection in Miami’s building.

Matt Applebaum led a great Boston College OL group.

Matt has an evident knack for developing talent, and that’s precisely what Miami will look for him to do. Miami hopes he can maximize their talent by using significant draft capital on the line over the last two seasons.

Former players make return as members of the Miami Dolphins coaching staff.

Although Miami opted for continuity on their defensive staff, they weren’t afraid to bring in a few familiar faces. Along with Wes Welker on offense, former Dolphins players Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain were hired as defensive assistants.

Madison and Surtain were a dynamic duo, securing the backend of some of Miami’s elite defenses in the 2000’s. Madison snagged 38 interceptions throughout his career and made four consecutive Pro Bowls for Miami. Statistically, Surtain was nearly as productive, grabbing 37 picks and making three Pro Bowls of his own.

Pat Surtain and Sam Madison are back in Miami.

Since their playing days, each has done impressive jobs at different levels of coaching. Madison helped revamp a Kansas City Chiefs secondary featuring Tyrann Mathieu and developed young cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. Surtain was the head coach of American Heritage, a prestigious high school in Plantation, Florida.

The two former Dolphins will work with a duo very much like their own. Byron Jones and Xavien Howard have led one of the best cornerback groups in the NFL. Their work has essentially put Miami’s opportunistic defense over the top. So much of Miami’s aggressiveness wouldn’t be possible without such a great back-end, and that group will now be coached by two of the best corners in Dolphins history.

The Bottom Line on the Miami Dolphins Coaching Staff

Unlike the last few regimes, Mike McDaniel is putting together a list of familiar names and faces. Whether they have worked with him previously, developed talent elsewhere, or even played in the aqua and orange, this Miami Dolphins coaching staff consists of big name after big name.

The games aren’t played on paper, and assembling a staff is only the beginning. However, as we begin Mike McDaniel’s first offseason, it seems that the Miami Dolphins are starting strong.