#1, Tua Tagovailoa is the linchpin to our season. There are so many other variables to our team’s success but if our 2nd year QB doesn’t improve significantly from last season, it will be hard for the rest of the team to get further than our 10 win season and for us to get a playoff berth. The 6 guys pictured above, WR DeVante Parker, TE Mike Gesicki, WR Jaylen Waddle, WR Will Fuller, TE Hunter Long and RB Myles Gaskin will also play a huge role in the offense going forward. TE Mike Gesicki is in his final year of his contract so he will be looking to have a big season. Our #6 draft pick this year WR Jaylen Waddle will be an immediate impact player both on offense and special teams as a top notch return man. Our #81 draft pick was TE Hunter Long from Boston College. A bit of surprise this one because I felt we had pretty good depth at TE with Gesicki, Smythe, Shaheen, Myarick and Carter but we probably intend on using multiple TE sets often. Those TE sets put the defense in a tough spot because it can be a power running formation as well as a receiving mismatch with a bunch of 6’6 250 guys that can run that need to be covered. Pair that with a burner like Fuller or Waddle who can take one to the house and big plays can happen.
Let’s get back to Tua. This guy is hungry to be a top player, to be the best he can be. He has been doing extensive weight training, it’s already paid dividends and Tua looks much thicker on his lower half, a huge boon for a QB. He looks bigger on top as well and his arms are certainly stronger as well. Besides the weight training he’s been working diligently on balancing exercises and drills. Better balance helps make a repeatable throwing motion easier and helps distribute the arm strength better. You can question his skill all you want, but you can’t question his heart, desire and sense of responsibility one drop. Once again, Tua’s success will be paramount to the teams success. In addition to Tua doing all he can to better this season, The Dolphins kept up their end of the deal by drafting OT Liam Eichenberg. I can’t tell you for sure that he will be our RT day one but if I were to be a betting man, I’d lay down some cash on that being the case. I do believe our offensive line will be LT Austin Jackson, LG Solomon Kindley, C Matt Skura, RG Robert Hunt and then RT Liam Eichenberg. Those two mountains in the middle, Kindley 6’3 337 and Robert Hunt 6’5 325 have some work to do as far as pass protection, but in my eyes, last year’s O-line was better than I’ve seen in some time. I expect that to improve with a true offseason, training camp and OTA’s.
I’m not going to continue to discuss the need for a RB. I’m in wait and see mode and I see no reason to continue to dwell on an issue that may not be an issue. Other teams do well with undrafted and late round draft picks at the RB position, and we already hit with 2019 7th RD pick Myles Gaskin. If this year’s 7th RD pick Gerrid Doaks shares the same success Gaskin had last season we’ll be just fine at RB. The RB by committe approach ensures fresher legs and also eliminates the worry of relying too much on one player and then trying to change the offense once that player goes down. I think at least 3-4 of these guys will get a fair amount of carries and some weeks one will be the feature back and the next week we’ll change it up to a different rotation. That makes it harder for opposing defenses to game plan against us.
On paper, we have so much more talent at the skill positions at WR and TE it’s actually crazy. Health can and will be a factor as we have a few that unfortunately haven’t been able to stay whole for an entire season. Still, with DeVante Parker, Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle and then Mike Gesicki and Hunter Long at TE, that’s a lot of talent to cover. Parker always difficult on 50/50 balls thrown his way, Fuller can easily take the top off the defense and make big plays deep downfield. Waddle can do it all, turn short passes into big gains and if teams start coming up on him aggressively, he will make them pay with double moves that leave them in the dust. If teams are forced to double cover Waddle, Fuller or Parker, Gesicki will be a pain one on one against most defensive players. Add in another pass catching TE like Hunter Long and it almost seems unfair. Truth is though, it all starts in the trenches and our O-line will not only need to open holes for Gaskin and company but protect Tua Tagovailoa too. We know Tua was conservative last season, much to the detriment of the offense. He took the easy quick completions often instead of waiting or sometimes even recognizing and seeing players getting open just a few yards further downfield. If the O-line is stout, that will give Tua more confidence to let things develop. Or, the new dual OC’s of Eric Studesville and George Godsey will have to be more creative and move Tua around, who by the way, throws pretty well while on the move.
I look forward to seeing this offense get to work, it’s going to be fun. I’m already quite excited at what we can do and I can’t wait to see them hit the field. On the other hand, if I said it was the offense I look forward to seeing most I’d be lying. I really do want to see the Tua offense in year two, but it’s our defense with Jaelan Phillips, Benardrick McKinney and our most excellent secondary that I wish to see most. I think our defense can be special, one of the top defensive units in the NFL. Josh Allen won’t be so damn cocky and smirky when we play him next. If we want to to get to the top of the division, we have to beat the Bills. They shellacked us, ran over and through us when it counted for us, and we need to be the ones doing the bullying next time around. I think the defense will be a big part of the reason, although much like Buffalo found out, give a QB a great weapon like Stefon Diggs and the offense will be better. Well, we gave Tua the upgrades on offense and now along with our top defense, the QB has to improve with the defense.