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Omar Kelly: Ten factors why Dolphins could slide quick of the playoffs in 2022

The Miami Dolphins have been submerged in mediocrity for the past two a long time, no matter who was running the franchise (7 various executives and common administrators), coaching the group (eight non-interim head coaches), or quarterbacking it (10 who have started off 10 or additional game titles) in the course of that stretch.

At some position we have to ponder what is at the root of Miami’s struggles, the motive why this once proud franchise has not experienced for the playoffs extra than twice in 20 years, or won a playoff game since 2001.

Is this the 12 months the Dolphins get their act collectively?

This is the next of a two-portion collection examining the probable problems. The to start with clarifies why the Dolphins really should make the playoffs in 2022.

This breaks down the 10 points that could stop the Dolphins from qualifying for the postseason in 2022:

Tua Tagovailoa regresses as a commencing quarterback.

The Dolphins want Tagovailoa to grow to be one particular of the league’s major-10 quarterbacks this period to justify the expenditure that has been designed in the fifth all round pick in the 2020 NFL draft. To get there Tagovailoa must remain healthful, strengthen his yards-for every-try common (6.8), which ranked him 24th previous time, and desires to come to be additional efficient on third downs and in the red zone due to the fact these are the times exactly where elite quarterbacks thrive. If Tagovailoa struggles in them, it may be a indicator this franchise is currently being created on a defective foundation.

Dolphins learn Tyreek Hill was a beneficiary of Andy Reid’s perform-contacting, and the expertise close to him in Kansas Metropolis.

Hill has been a single of the NFL’s most dynamic playmakers for the previous six seasons, but he’s been actively playing for a upcoming Hall of Fame coach in Andy Reid, and has benefited from the presence of two doable foreseeable future Hall of Famers in Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight finish Travis Kelce in the course of his emergence as an NFL elite. Dolphins supporters better hope there is not a enormous fall off from Reid’s participate in-calling to rookie mentor Mike McDaniel, Mahomes to Tagovailoa and Kelce to Mike Gesicki.

Miami’s 2nd-12 months gamers regress, just like the 2020 draftees did past period.

Youthful gamers are typically intended to make the most development in their 2nd time, but occasionally they strike stumbling blocks that stall their improvement. Let us hope receiver Jaylen Waddle, move rusher Jaelan Phillips, protection Jevon Holland, offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg and the relaxation of the 2021 draft class never expertise what took place to Tagovailoa, Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, Solomon Kindley and Noah Igbinoghene in their Calendar year 2.

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Accidents decimate the Dolphins in 2022.

Consider participating in significant portions of this upcoming year without a couple of Miami’s crucial gamers, talents like cornerback Xavien Howard, pass rusher Emmanuel Ogbah, Hill, Gesicki, linebacker Jerome Baker and offensive deal with Terron Armstead. Losing any of individuals players could guide to instant struggles for the reason that the backups wouldn’t be in a position to deliver the level of productivity, playmaking they convey. That is part of the explanation Miami need to be mindful with the coaching camp, and exercise workload of their leading-shelf gamers.

Miami’s offensive line continues to be mediocre.

Last yr the Dolphins led the NFL in pressures allowed. Miami’s quarterbacks have been continuously harassed and rushed in video games, and it impacted the passing game drastically, restricting the enjoy-contacting. If Miami’s addition of Armstead and Connor Williams, and the team’s new coaches are not capable to deal with this situation we could be seeking at a different 12 months of disastrous offensive line participate in, which could weigh down the full crew for nevertheless one more period. The advancement of Jackson, Eichenberg, Hunt and Michael Deiter will possibly prop up, or sink Miami’s offense.

McDaniel struggles to direct an NFL locker place.

There is a reason only just one of the 9 groups browsing for a head coach this previous offseason interviewed McDaniel. Most companies didn’t really feel the 39-calendar year-old, who served as the 49ers offensive coordinator for just one year, was ready to turn into a head coach. McDaniel is highly regarded for his intellect, but he’s bought a quirky identity. That could be helpful, or be a hindrance, to his achievement when it arrives to relating to his players. The only way to inform is to see how he reacts to a dropping streak, which in the NFL is just about inescapable. When that happens, will McDaniel have the capacity to trouble-clear up, and calm the troubled waters? Will his players acquire into his method when adversity hits?

Dolphins’ new offense encounters increasing pains.

Modifying to alter is usually complicated, so anticipating the Dolphins offense to click on on all cylinders early in the season while setting up an totally new offense is unrealistic simply because of all the variables. Coaching staffs typically want time to discover the strengths and weaknesses of their gamers. But what occurs if it requires Miami’s offense fifty percent a year to uncover their identification in this engage in-action-based mostly offense? Or even extended to find a groove? That could guide to some early struggles that may possibly apply unwelcomed stress to other regions of the group.

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Josh Boyer simply cannot get Miami’s blitzing defense to do the job thoroughly.

Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (40.8 per cent) experienced a greater blitz percentage than the Dolphins (39.6) very last calendar year, and it led to a league-top 77 quarterback knockdowns, and 48 sacks, which tied Miami for fifth place in 2022. The 12 months prior to that, the Dolphins ranked second in blitz proportion (40.8), 17th in knockdowns (54) and 10th in sacks (41). It will be interesting to see which degree of efficiency Boyer’s device delivers in Calendar year 3 of his management, which will be his initially without the need of former head mentor Brian Flores, who is highly regarded league-huge as an innovator of the amoeba-blitz method.

Miami’s run sport continues to be inconsistent.

The Dolphins run recreation was so unreliable very last season the group experienced to lean on two players — Duke Johnson and Phillip Lindsay — claimed off the waiver wire late very last period to make it by way of the second 50 percent of the yr. And however, Miami rated 30th in speeding yards for each sport (92.2) and 31st in yards for every carry (3.55). If McDaniel does not get this device into the major fifty percent of the league’s dashing data in 2022 it is a undesirable sign of what is to appear for the reason that creating an effective running sport is meant to be this head coach’s specialty.

Miami’s linebackers get uncovered for their shortcomings.

Baker, Phillips, Elandon Roberts, Duke Riley, and Andrew Van Ginkel collectively make up a good linebacker unit because their exceptional strengths complement Miami’s hybrid defense, which is fueled by its flexibility. But there is not 1 participant in this linebacker device who can do anything at an above-average level, and mainly because of this a great offensive coordinator may well be ready to assault their personal weaknesses, like operating at Baker, throwing at Roberts or forcing Phillips to drop again into coverage.


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