I wish I could adequately share my excitement with all my friends and readers here. I hope by the time you finish reading you can feel it through my writing. It’s not that this team is the front runner for Super Bowl LVII, it’s that we’re actually in the running. It’s that our team has made a commitment this season acquiring assets to be a legitimate competitor in the AFC. Last week I was taking in all the moves and thinking to myself this team got a few nice players, a collection of adequate players but nothing exceptional. I felt we needed some top level talent. What a difference a week makes! We signed via Free Agency the top OT on the market, Terron Armstead formerly of the New Orleans Saints. Yes, he’s a LEFT TACKLE, and Tua is left handed, which means Armstead won’t be protecting Tua’s blindside. Doesn’t matter, we needed a high level player on the O-line and just thinking of Connor Williams and Terron Armstead on that left side is exciting. Both are excellent run blockers. Then the blockbuster dropped, and it happened so fast I couldn’t believe it. I’m getting rifled with texts from friends and fans of other teams letting me know that the Dolphins are in the running for WR Tyreek Hill. Who expected anything like that? BOOM! He’s here for the next 4 years for $120M. What???
The Miami Dolphins offense is going to be known as the LEGION OF ZOOM
So friends, as disappointed as I was last week, I couldn’t be more optimistic about our team. The totality of all the moves make it clear we wanted speed on the field, and with newly acquired Raheem Mostert, Tyreek Hill added to Jaylen Waddle, that’s some legit horsepower out there. You can read all the negatives about giving up all that draft capital and paying exorbitant amounts of money to a smallish WR, but F all those know nothings who write and say those things. The Raiders are brilliant for giving up loads of draft capital for Davante Adams and paying him, but the Dolphins are desperate. You could easily make the case that Tyreek Hill is as good or better than Davante Adams. Alright, so in reality, it all comes down to the prevalent belief that Tua just ain’t it, just isn’t good enough. I don’t think there’s a player in this league, possible league history who is judged as unfairly as Tua is. I can’t say whether he’s a top 10 talent at the QB position but please judge the man by what he had to play with. Worst O-line in football, a revolving door of injured receivers, no run game, and the proof of all that was how much worse and established NFL starter, Jacoby Brissett performed in Tua’s stead while he was injured. There seems to be no perspective at all when judging young Tua and I just hope with all my heart that this kid makes them all look stupid. For the most part, he can’t really win, because if he succeeds this season and the team wins, the new weapons will get the credit and Tua will just be a game manger surrounded by great players and a great HC. I can only pray they say that because we’ll be winning.
We all knew the offense was the unit that needed some TLC, and the Dolphins apparently agreed. While we managed to keep the defense intact, props to the Dolphins FO for making that happen, they really dug in to fix the offense. So just how does Tyreek Hill fit in with this offense. Just like in KC, just get him the damn ball. I don’t care if it’s a screen pass, a jet sweep, a 5 yard pass, 10 yard pass or a 50 yard bomb, just get him the ball and good things happen. He’s that dangerous receiver that absolutely must be accounted for at all times. You think Jaylen Waddle is excited? His 9.8 YPR is going to go up nicely with Hill in the lineup. You think Mike Gesicki is excited? BTW, both of those aforementioned receivers may see less targets, but I can almost guarantee you they will be making more big plays. Last year Will Fuller, AKA The Invisible Man was supposed to be the guy to take the top off the defense. That was the bottle rocket that went pffffffffffffffffft! It was such an unbalanced attack, it was the Penguin Show, Waddle getting 104 receptions with the next closest receiver being TE Mike Gesicki with 73.
The ball is going to be spread around a lot, and I’m sure WR Tyreek Hill will get his share of targets and receptions, as will Waddle and Gesicki, but remember all the RB’s we brought in here. First, Chase Edmonds, who’s averaged between 7-9 YPR, and our own Myles Gaskin who was one shy of 50 receptions. Raheem Mostert isn’t really used a receiver often but he’s so dangerous in space and finds angles and creases so quickly that he may get the ball more here in this offense. Ah, but keep in mind, we hired Mike McDaniel, run game coordinator. Mike loves to run, and although we don’t have a feature back per se, we have some guys that make big plays in Mostert, Edmonds and of course Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
OK, as Jen Psaki would say, let’s circle back to the O-line. Y’all know I felt we needed two quality guys, and I made it clear I wanted interior guys, expecting our talented young OT’s Austin Jackson and Liam Eichenberg to be reclamation projects of O-line Coach Matt Applebaum and Frank Smith. Instead, the Dolphins simply got the best OL available in Free Agency, LT Terron Armstead. Earlier and preceding the Armstead deal, the Dolphins picked up Connor Williams. Williams must be ecstatic that he’s going to be playing next to Terron Armstead. I don’t know if Michael Deiter is going to be our starting C, or if we look to the draft where we have significantly less capital, or possibly at post June 1st cuts for our new center. The right side of the line has yet to be determined but most definitely includes OL Robert Hunt. Whether he remains inside at RG or moves out to RT is still up in the air. One thing we know for certain, in possibly a symbolic move, is that Jesse Davis will NOT be the RT in 2022. If it were me, I’d leave Hunt at RG where he’s flourished, and make an open competition between young tackles Austin Jackson, Liam Eichenberg, Larnel Coleman and Robert Jones. Or as some have speculated here, maybe big man Solomon Kindley moves to RG and Robert Hunt is the new RT. All possible, but my thinking is that Solomon would have to be in tip top shape to play in this athletic offensive line scheme, where lots of movement is the plan. You have to move to fill a hole or gap, and you can’t be tardy or the play is blown up. I think Austin Jackson has a good shot and as I type that I can see M13 cringing about Jackson on Tua’s blind side. Eichenberg had mentioned last season he’s very comfortable at RT, so this competition should be a good one, and I feel we have enough knowledge there now with Applebaum at the helm, and with a couple of other guys with O-line experience to lean on.
Have we now increased the talent level on this team? CHECK! Have we brought in some game changers, playmakers? CHECK! Have we addressed the O-line? CHECK! The only negative I can muster right now is that I probably won’t watch Day 1 and 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft. It’s usually one of my favorites, until it actually happens and then most times I’m grumbling WTF under my breath, or actually screaming it. We still own picks #102 (RD3), pick #125 (RD4), pick #158 (RD5) and pick #225 (RD7). If we decide to look for competition at C via the draft, OL Cole Strange could be an option. Zion Johnson struggles to move in space so although he has some pop in his blocks, my thought is we’ll be looking for a more athletic mover like Strange, who has played mostly OG, and has only practiced snapping and hasn’t actually played C. He would be a guy that couldn’t take over immediately, but perhaps a year or two later. We could grab in an inside LB and I know most of you here love Leo Chenal. The big backer may not make it to pick #102 but I wouldn’t mind it if he ended up here if he did. We could also look at RB but I think the top 2, Hall and Walker will be gone, so we’ll be looking at some lower tier players. If we’re looking for a bigger back with a tough running style to complement all the smaller, faster guys, Zamir White is that type of guy.
Oh, back to that defense. So we basically re-signed everyone, the defense comes back intact, including the depth. ILB seems to be the spot I’d choose for an upgrade, I love our D-line and and I don’t think our LB is an issue, but I’d love another playmaker next to Baker inside. Chanel is a big, muscular thumper who can motor, but he’s not a good cover LB at this juncture, which means he probably won’t be. As you all know, I’d love Bobby Wagner, but I feel like our cap space is getting tight, but there always seems to be ways to manipulate that and make things work. Wilkins, Davis, Ogbah, Van Ginkel, Wagner, Baker and Phillips make up quite the front 7. Maybe Wagner will see what we’re building and more inclined to join at a friendlier price. Roberts is a fine 2 down LB, and he’s made some big plays so I don’t consider it a need, more a want. Despite trading away lots of draft capital, we’re not done building, we still have some free agency and the draft, and then after the draft the post June 1st cut downs, which always nets some choice players. Enjoy the build, I know I am!