Dolphins Offense Will Be Adding And Subtracting Early On While Defense Does Trig

Somebody pretty high in the Miami Dolphins organization — maybe even owner Stephen Ross — decided early in 2022 that the problem with his team that needed most attention was on the offense.

And so the Dolphins hired an offensive minded coach in Mike McDaniel to serve as both head coach and offensive player-caller.

The team traded for big-play receiver Tyreek Hill.

And signed slot receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr.

And left tackle Terron Armstead. And guard Connor Williams. And, well, are you seeing the trend here?

The Dolphins fortified the running back room, spent a lot to keep their tight end room intact, upgraded at wide receiver and offensive line and there’s going to be all sorts of moving parts to be managed as all these new players earn a role.

And, of course, there’s a new offensive coordinator among the eight new offensive coaches McDaniel hired.

The defense?

Mostly the same.

There will be tweaks here and there — they promise. And there’s a couple of additions to the playbook as well as the roster, including free agent edge rusher Melvin Ingram a couple of weeks ago.

But the corners will be mostly the same. The defensive line will be mostly the same. The deep secondary will be familiar as will the linebacker corps.

And defensive coordinator Josh Boyer returns for his fourth season with Miami and third as the defensive coordinator. And he’s going to do what?

Run his familiar defense.

Yes, maybe it will have its surprises here and there. But the scheme familiar to players that was brought to town in 2019 by former coach Brian Flores hasn’t exactly confused any holdovers because of what they’ll be doing in 2022.

“Man, it’s great,” Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard said of scheme for the new seasons which is mostly the scheme from past seasons. “I’d say having somebody who knows what the defense – that was on the defense last year and just knows what we’ve been doing and trying to keep that and add a little bit more to the plays.”

This is how it is with the Dolphins for 2022. And that means some things. Important things.

Primarily it means the defense is going to have to carry the offense at least early in the 2022 season.

No one will admit it. McDaniel and his offensive coaches would probably push back on this truth. But the fact is their unit will still be finding its identity early in the season while the defense is picking up where it left off last year.

The Dolphins offense will be adding and subtracting while the defense is doing trigonometry.

Disagree?

Former first round pick Austin Jackson is learning to play both right tackle and guard using different techniques under a different offensive line coach and he doesn’t know for sure where he’ll end up.

Tight end Mike Gesicki, carrying the team’s franchise tag that speaks to his value, is learning to be a more traditional tight end now.

That means something as basic as getting super comfortable starting in the three-point stance because, as McDaniel said Tuesday, that “wasn’t his primary position and he’s been working diligently in the run and pass game to do things that this offense can feature without taking away the stuff that has made him who he is …”

The Dolphins are going to be an outside zone running team — something they were in 2016 under Adam Gase when they last went to the playoffs.

Except Chase Edmonds has never been an outside zone running back.

“In college, I was predominantly inside zone,” Edmonds said. “High school, inside zone. The NFL with Arizona, inside zone. But here outside zone.

“Just getting used to the wider tracks and the cuts are going to be at different angles and the lanes are going to be at different angles. The flow of the ‘backers are different because in inside zone, it’s more slow to fast, where I can pitter-patter my steps.

“Outside zone here, it’s kind of like you’re riding a wave. Once you hit that wave, you’ve got to hit it and go. I’m getting used to that.”

Wilson and Hill are veteran NFL receivers. They have had to adjust to catching the football off the left arm of their quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

“Tua is definitely a little different,” Wilson said. “I’ve never caught from a lefty but he’s very accurate and the ball is easy to catch.”

So it’s mostly all new on offense for Miami.

And it’s mostly familiar on defense — the unit that will have to carry the day for a while until the offense catches up.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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