So far in free agency, the Dolphins have been spending big and are landing major superstars that have drastically improved the team. However, many of the football community seems to have their doubts sharing their very cynical views discounting the team’s improvements. Some criticism may be fair; other criticisms may just be fear because a new contender has emerged from Miami. Regardless of the opinion, production doesn’t lie. And we have enough to realistically evaluate the potential of the Miami Dolphins based on previous seasons.

Offense

Skill Positions– Wide receiver, Running back, and Tight end are absolutely loaded for Miami this year. The additions of Tyreek Hill, Cedrick Wilson, Chase Edmonds, and Raheem Mostert to add alongside Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki are almost unfair. The speed alone makes everyone wonder how it is even possible to cover all of these players. The slowest players out of this skill positions group are Cedrick Wilson and Mike Gesicki, both of whom are listed to run a 4.55/4.54 40 yard dash, respectively. If Miami wanted to, defenses would be out of breath by the second half with all the running teams will be doing to catch these guys. Realistically, you can line any of these guys up inside and out. Need a go route? Hill, Waddle, and Wilson can line up inside or outside and take it to the house. Need a big target over the middle and a big red zone target? Gesicki is there. Need a check down that has big playability? Mostert and Edmonds have made careers with run after the catchability. Need a screen? Pick a player. Want to run down the defense’s throat? Mostert and Edmonds can take it to the house that way too.

There are some health concerns with this group, but if healthy, the playbook is wide open with this group, and there’s no telling what to expect.

Notable statistic production from last relevant year

• Hill- 111 receptions, 1239 yards, 9 touchdowns
• Waddle- 104 receptions, 1,015 yards, 6 touchdowns
• Gesicki- 73 receptions, 780 yards, 2 touchdowns
• Edmonds healthy (2020)- 890 scrimmage yards, 5 touchdowns
• Mostert healthy (2019)- 953 scrimmage yards, 10 touchdowns
• Wilson- 45 receptions, 602 yards, 6 Touchdowns

Offensive Line– There are still some questions with Miami’s offensive line, but it is more secure than it used to be. The additions of Connor Williams and Terron Armstead are much-needed reinforcements that will partially secure the left side of the line. Will Tua have more time than he used to have? Absolutely. But there are still holes that Miami has concerns over. Dieter and Hunt showed promise, but they will need to improve if we are going to consider this group a brick wall built to protect Tua. There’s also the question at right tackle. Austin Jackson and Liam Eichenberg both shared very disappointing seasons last year. While I believe they can be saved with proper coaching, their names don’t shout protection until proven otherwise. This is an improved group; while they may be problematic throughout the season, they will be stable enough to sustain an offense that Miami is aiming for.

QuarterbackLet’s be clear, the only reason that Tua Tagovailoa is a question mark at quarterback is that the previous regime and the front office didn’t commit to Tua his first two years. If they had built around Tua like they are now, we would already have our answer. And as much as there is to be concerned about, there is also a lot of promise that comes with this young quarterback.

Positives
• Accuracy- It has been noted around the league that he has deadly accuracy and at one point through the season lead the league in completion percentage and actually ended in 4th with a 67.8%
• Mental toughness- With Miami’s circus on if “Tua is the guy” or “If they should get Deshaun Watson,” there was a recipe to break the young quarterbacks’ confidence. Instead of lashing out in the media or letting the pressure get to him Tua just went out and tried to win games with what he had resulting in a 13-8 win/loss record to his belt so far

Negatives

• Deep ball- There is a lot of cynical criticism about Tua being unable to throw the deep ball. Part of this stems from the offensive line not giving Tua enough time for deep ball routes to develop and forcing him to check down to sustain drives. Another part of the criticism stems from NFL fans falling in love with the deep ball as it happens on every play. But there’s a reasonable median of concern here. Pro Football Focus’s deep completion percentage sits at 52.9%, which is technically second best. So he can do it. However, only 7.3% of his passes are off the deep ball. This raises the concern of if Tua is being too conservative. He needs to take more chances down the field to spread the defense out more.
• Decision-making- it wasn’t very often, but Tua has made some questionable throws that make you scratch your head and wonder what he was seeing throughout the last two seasons. While it may be the growing pains of a young Quarterback, this is an area that needs improvement. Last year some turnovers were absolute momentum killers. If he is going to prove he is the guy, those “why would he throw that” plays need to be eliminated?

Overall I believe Miami currently sits at a definite offensive floor of a wild card contender with a ceiling of contending for the AFC East title and the AFC championship of the potential surrounding the team blossoms. In terms of offense, Miami is not an offense that any defense wants to face.