Tyreek Hill Is NFL’s Best WR And, Like Coverages Against Him, It’s Not That Close

After another game in which he did dynamic things and celebrated in stirring ways Miami Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill seemed more interested in talking about other people than himself.

In a postgame interview with NFL Network he called Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa “the best in the league.”

Then he spoke with reporters and marveled at Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. “I didn’t know,” Hill said, “Justin Fields was that fast.”

And it’s interesting that while he applauded others for being the best and the fastest not a lot of what Hill was saying was about being the fastest and best wide receiver in the NFL right now.

Because Hill is that guy.

And, like much of the coverages he routinely thwarts, it’s not really close.

“I’m just having fun,” Hill told reporters after delivering another average performance that for him is defined by Sunday’s seven catches for 143 yards and a touchdown.

And afterward he continued to play the humble card by tweeting, “Blessing to play this game!! Great win today”

Let’s just say Hill wasn’t in the same mood as when I spoke to him in August when he called himself the Dolphins’ “hype man.”

But, you see, there comes a time when an NFL player, no matter how charismatic and gifted with the power of expression, has to let his actions speak.

And so far this season Hill’s actions are glowing in neon. His accomplishments are blaring as if through a megaphone. And the sound of his play is an echo of excellence rather than empty noise.

That’s Hill now.

He is a dynamo. He is dynamic.

Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill scores a TD.
Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill celebrates a touchdown against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Dolphins Hill Eclipses 1,000 yards

Hill passed the 1,000-yard receiving mark on Sunday. He has 1,104 yards for the season.

And, here come the impressive factoids, it’s the most by an NFL player in his team’s first nine
games of a season in the Super Bowl era. It surpasses the previous high mark of 1,073 yards by Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce for the 1995 St. Louis Rams.

Hill leads the league in receiving yards, which is kind of necessary for me to make the argument he’s the best now, and has 237 more yards than Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson, who is second. Hill also leads the NFL with 76 receptions, and that also presents evidence he’s at the top of his position.

Now consider Hill has been around six previous seasons. And he’s been a Pro Bowl player each of those previous seasons. So he’s not sneaking up on anyone.

He’s a known talent other teams want to take out of the Miami game plan. But that’s failing.

Hill delivered his fifth 100-yard game of the season. It was also the first time Hill’s had consecutive 100-yard games.

Hill caught seven passes to mark the sixth consecutive game he’s had at least that many catches and the eighth time in nine games. All of that — all of it — is a testament to consistency.

But, I get, the statistics are good but how does that tangibly help the Dolphins?

Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins catches the ball for a first down during the first half in the game against the Chicago Bears. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Dolphins Better Since Adding Tyreek Hill

Well, it helps in that Tagovailoa is clearly a different quarterback this year since the Dolphins hired Mike McDaniel and added Hill.

When the Miami quarterback is in trouble, there’s Hill on a slant. Or there’s Hill outjumping two defenders on a deep ball. Or there he is simply making himself available to his quarterback while the closest, respectful defender is a good 5 yards away.

I say respectful because that’s how defenses are smartly treating Hill. They don’t dare challenge him at the line of scrimmage very often because they understand he’ll easily run past them.

Take his 39-yard catch against the Bears. Hill, in a bunch formation, should have been in too much traffic to factor on a play because he’s he first guy the Bears want to stop.

But no.

“There’s certain times where you can utilize his unparalleled 0-to-60 burst,” McDaniel said. “In that particular play he was an option for the quarterback that if they gave us a certain coverage and they were attacking internally with man coverage, attacking internally on the inside part of the
field, that he would be able to find his way through traffic and we could layer something out there.

“It’s something that you’re not really afforded that option to do a play like that that comes up a ton with our players. We’re able to do some pretty cool stuff that is just kind of like abstract creative thought with a lot of guys, but with him in particular, he can find his way through traffic, and then the key is that him and Tua are on the same page, which they were, and it was a very big play in the second
quarter.”

McDaniel graduated from Yale and is the NFL equivalent of nuclear scientist smart. So let me translate in normal intelligence terms:

Hill is too fast to get locked down in traffic. He’s too experienced to be confused by the coverage. And he’s worked hard enough with Tagovailoa to have chemistry and make things work.

And things have definitely worked.

Miami Dolphins gets a first down catch from Tyreek Hill in the second half against the Bears. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Tyreek Hill Chases 2,000 yard mark

Consider that Hill’s 1,104 receiving yards is more than the Dallas Cowboys, which have 1,074 receiving yards this season. That’s not the Cowboys’ leading receiver with 1,074 yards. Or the wide receiver corps.

That’s the entire team.

It’s also more than the entire Steelers team. It is also more than the Falcons, Texans, Giants, Bears, Ravens and Titans, too.

Hill has been more productive than the entire wide receiver corps for eight teams.

We obviously do not know what happens in Miami’s remaining eight games. But let’s say, for argument’s sake, he doesn’t get better. Let’s say his connection with Tagovailoa has reached its ceiling and this is what it’s going to be going forward.

That would mean Hill would still be on pace to eclipse 2,000 receiving yards for the season. No one’s ever done that.

Calvin Johnson had 1,964 yards in 2012 to set the record for most receiving yards in a season. That’s the mark. And, yes, I understand Johnson played 16 games and Hill will play 17 if he stays healthy.

Well, Johnson averaged 122.7 yards receiving yards per game in his record season. Tyreek Hill is averaging 122.6 receiving yards per game this season.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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