It’s old news by now, but in case you live under a rock, the Miami Dolphins finally filled their vacant offensive coordinator position after Chan Gailey was let go earlier in the offseason. Eric Studsville and George Godsey were internally promoted and will serve as “co-offensive coordinators” this coming season. 

If you read my work, you know I wasn’t too keen on the Dolphins to make an in-house hire for the offensive coordinator position. So naturally, an organization that has largely disappointed me for 20 years hired not one but two in-house candidates. 

All jokes aside, I don’t dislike the hire for a lot of the obvious reasons. Yes, I am concerned about having too many cooks in the kitchen. Yes, I am concerned that Godsey’s OC record is okay at best. Yes, I wonder what these guys did this season to specifically prove they were worthy of being OC vs. when the team hired Gailey last offseason. 

However, those are not the main reasons this hire worries me. Instead, my concerns are centered around what this says about the organization’s philosophy as a whole and what the offensive coordinator represents in today’s QB and offense driven league. 

This was a chance for the Dolphins to become a more modern franchise and get a change from the much-maligned offense we saw last season. 

Let’s look at the best teams’ success model in the league. The Cheifs, Packers, Buccaneers, and Bills were in the AFC and NFC championship games this season. Looking at their coaching staffs and depth charts, two things pop out. They have a good QB paired with an elite offensive mind, in the Chiefs’ and Packers’ case, multiple offensive minds. 

Matt LaFleur (GB), Luke Getsy (GB), Bruce Arians (TB), Andy Reid (KC), Eric Bienemy (KC), Mike Kafka (KC), and Brian Daboll (Buf) represent some of the best offensive minds in the sport based on the success they’ve had either getting the most out of their older star QBs or accelerating the development of their younger QBs to elite status. 

Another thing to note is that the only defensive-minded head coach on these teams is Buffalo’s, Sean McDermott.  Defensive minded head coaches aren’t successful unless they are paired with an elite offensive mind. Personally, I think Daboll is the best OC in the NFL, which is what makes Buffalo so successful. 

You’ve got an elite defensive mind/ motivator paired with an innovative offense mind and a talented young QB. The Dolphins two of those three pieces in place already. Do you see which one they are missing? 

It goes beyond Buffalo, though. The Titans are successful with a defensive-minded head coach—Mike Vrabel— but they also had one of the most progressive and innovative offense minds in now Falcons HC Arthur Smith running the show the past two seasons. 

There is absolutely nothing on either Godsey’s or Studsville’s resume that shows they will be progressive offense minds or good QB developers. That doesn’t mean they will be a disaster, and the Dolphins’ offense will implode, but that’s not really the point here. 

The Dolphins had an opportunity to be aggressive and bring their franchise model closer to what is working in the league right now. The way to win in the NFL is by constructing an offense that maximizes the strengths of the QB. Miami didn’t have that last season at all. 

Fans spent the whole season complaining about Gailey having a different playbook for Tua and Fitzpatrick. Miami needed something different, modern, and aggressive from their new offensive coordinator. To accomplish that, they hired two guys, who, whether they called the plays or not, were partly responsible for one of the least modern and aggressive offenses in the league last season. 

Do you see the disconnect? The NFL is moving in one direction while the Dolphins are moving in the complete opposite direction. 

The Dolphins want to be this tough, gritty team that values character over everything else. That’s great, and a perceived good culture is important —we have already seen cracks in the Dolphins’ “culture” this offseason though we are honest— it needs to be balanced out with things like progressive offensive schemes and modern team building. 

You can’t build a sustained winner with just defense and toughness anymore. Offenses are too good, and the rules are literally skewed to make the job of a defense harder. Miami’s defense played out of their mind this season, and the team won 10 games but missed the playoffs. 

It wouldn’t even be fair to expect Miami’s defense to play as well as they did this past season again next year. This might be their best, and it ultimately wasn’t good enough because the offense couldn’t back them up. 

There was no single playoff team in either conference that won a playoff game this season, with their defenses being the main catalyst for their successful season. The WFT and Steelers made it, but they lost because they couldn’t score enough points to keep up with the high-powered offenses they faced. 

Heck, you could make the argument the same thing happened to Miami in week 17 against Buffalo, which was essentially a playoff game for them. The Dolphins’ defense was fantastic all season but laid an egg in that game, and the offense couldn’t pick up the slack. 

I would also argue that the defense performance in games that matter is far more critical and indicative of their talent than a random good performance against Jared Goff, who the Rams just gave up a first-round pick to get him off the books. If your “elite” defense can’t stop an “elite” offense when you need it most, then it’s not elite. 

It just seems like the Dolphins are trying to build a team of old and not a modern NFL powerhouse. The offensive coordinator hiring was an opportunity to get someone progressive and new into the building to help bring the organization closer to balance and what is successful right now. 

QBs power the league, and I don’t know if the Dolphins noticed or not, but they drafted one with the fifth overall pick last season and, so far, have failed to help him. They botched the transfer of power from him to Fitzpatrick, got him zero additional weapons, and hired an OC that didn’t want to call plays for him. 

What do I know, though? Maybe Godsey spent all of last season reading PFF and diving deep into analytics while Studsville became a Sean McVay outside zone savant. However, Flores and the Dolphins do not deserve the benefit of the doubt on this hire at all. 

Maybe I’m overreacting, and the Dolphins will be an outlier and become a defensive dynasty like the days of old, or maybe Godsey and Studesville will bring enough change to have a meaningful impact on the offense. However, by their definition, outliers are incredibly unlikely to happen, and the Dolphins’ current strategy is certainly an outlier.