What next for the Miami Dolphins?
Prior to the 2022 NFL season, two moves by the Miami Dolphins formed a serious statement of the team’s intent. In two consecutive days, the Fins first paid Terron Armstead significant money for a left tackle, to ensure greater protection for QB Tua Tagovailoa. Then, before fans had time to draw breath, the front office piled up five future draft picks and sent them to Kansas, with Tyreek Hill making the journey in the opposite direction. The Chiefs WR offered an immediate deep threat, simultaneously giving Jaylen Waddle a receiving partner who distracted covering defensive backs. The odds on a Dolphins Super Bowl at betting sites in cyprus like in2bet.com.cy immediately shortened. They were a “win now” team.
After a game effort from third-string rookie passer Skylar Thompson fell narrowly short at Buffalo on the first weekend of the playoffs, the team is statistically only slightly further on than at the same point last season. Indeed, the regular season win-loss record was marginally worse, and even that was only secured by a late rally against the already-eliminated Jets. From an 8-3 record, the Dolphins dropped to 9-8 for the season, and there are at least as many questions as answers as the club begins its post-mortem for the season just completed.
Can Tua be the QB of the future?
There will be some Dolphins fans who are mildly relieved that the Bills won on Sunday. Not because the team wasn’t good enough to go further, but because another week of action would have raised questions over whether Tagovailoa could return to action after a second confirmed concussion in the regular season.
Questions over his future will surround the Dolphins passer after his performance levels leapt in his third season, but were overshadowed by repeated head knocks. Each subsequent concussion could have serious repercussions for the player. He now doesn’t need to suit up for an NFL game until September, but there will still be concerns every time he enters into contact – potentially for the rest of his career, however long that is.
Does the club need to sign another passer?
Since the departure of Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins have gone with Tua as starter and backed him up with first Jacoby Brissett and then Teddy Bridgewater. Both of these QBs offered “solid” support without ever threatening to give any coach a dilemma over whether to start them ahead of a fit Tua. However, when #1 hasn’t been available, neither player has really been a suitable reserve, and a broken finger ruled Bridgewater out of crucial games at the end of the season and beginning of the preseason. Thompson struggled gamely and may have more upside than any veteran the Fins could bring in.
Maybe Tom Brady would be happy to spend a season getting paid to hold a clipboard, but if he’s not, the Dolphins need to have someone who can back up Tua while giving project player Thompson a chance to become a viable NFL backup.
Can McDaniel learn from mistakes?
Once too often this season, the Dolphins gave up delay of game penalties, which tend to happen when the play call comes in from the sidelines and players don’t know what to do. Whether it’s a case of the play being communicated late. or players being unclear with the playbook, the buck still falls on first-year head coach Mike McDaniel. McDaniel deserves credit for the Dolphins’ much more dynamic offense in 2022, but mistakes like that are hard to forgive, and they need to be gone by September.
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