Arguably the fastest and currently one of the best receivers in the league is now a Miami Dolphins. Miami gave a lot to get Tyreek Hill (5 draft picks and lots of money), but for players of his caliber, I think it is worth it. The Dolphins have not had a superstar player on offense like Hill since the Marino era (if you do not consider RB Ricky Williams worthy of that football pedigree). Once Tyreek Hill landed in Miami, he soon became the highest-paid receiver in NFL history, signing a 4-year $120 million contract. But aside from cheetah’s 56 TDs in 6 seasons, what is the effect of his arrival for this 2022 Miami Dolphins? I list the relevant events below.
- Miami sends a clear message to its entire fan base: “We want to win now.”
Rebuilding is a thing of the past in South Florida. The Dolphins knew they needed to be aggressive this offseason and acquire talent to level up with division foes, the Buffalo Bills, and the New England Patriots. With a new offensive-minded coach, a new running game, an all-pro left tackle, a superstar wide receiver, and a solid defense in place, improvements must be seen in 2022 (playoffs?), and the sky should be the limit for this Dolphins team in the near future.
- Tua Tagovaiola will be under heavy pressure all season.
In this case, I am not referring to the pressure applied by fierce defensive linemen or linebackers; I am referring to the pressure Tua will now face to deliver with his performance on the field. This is year three of Tua’s tenure with the Dolphins. He is not a rookie anymore. By this time, he should know how things work in the NFL and what he needs to do to succeed. He now has the weapons, no excuses. It seems all pieces are settled for this team to take the next step and become relevant in the NFL…. again (we have waited way too long). However, sometimes too much pressure is not necessarily good and may affect game performance for some; let’s hope this will not be Tua’s case. Even when carrying a huge load over his shoulders, he will be able to deliver on the football field.
- Head Coach Mike McDaniel and Offensive Coordinator Frank Smith will also face pressure, but less than Tua.
With this statement, I am not saying Mike McDaniel is on the hot seat without coaching a snap for the Dolphins. I am trying to say here that if Tua will face high pressure to deliver, both of these coaches have the responsibility to call the appropriate plays for him to make it happen. It is essential they get to know Tua’s virtues and exploit them. The stage is set for this 2022 Miami Dolphins. On paper and talent-wise, this team seems ready to compete with the best in the NFL. Now it’s on Coach McDaniel and OC Frank Smith to put these pieces together and lead this group to perform at the highest level. As Keyshawn Johnson (a former NFL wide receiver and now an ESPN analyst) said: “you have to know what to do with them to get the maximum value for them.” I agree. Miami now has an offense full of players with great potential, but they have to be utilized correctly to translate their potential onto the football field and start winning some games for the Dolphins.
- Tua will have to throw the “deep ball” more often.
If the Dolphins have arguably the fastest wide receiver duo in the NFL, it is safe to assume you should throw the football deep more often to take advantage of the velocity and explosiveness of your receivers. Right? However, I have read several expert opinions stating that Tua’s arm strength is average at best, that he will not be able to throw downfield to either Hill or Waddle. His lack of arm strength was the main reason Brian Flores called so many underneath throws last season. Based on Tua’s 2018 stats, his final college season at Alabama (his junior year), where he played in only 9 games before suffering a season-ending hip injury, Tagovaiola threw 180 completions out of 252 attempts (71.4%) for 2,840 yards (11.3 avg) with 33 TDs. and just 3 INTs. Impressive, right? In fact, Tua completed 12 of 18 attempts (66.67%) for 432 yards (36 avg.) with 7 TDs and no interceptions for throws over 20 yards or more that year. Unbelievable, right? Based on those numbers, I say Tua was more than effective in throwing the deep ball at college. I know it is a small sample size, but those were Tua’s final numbers before turning pro. This tells me that if Tua is well-coached and has the weapons, he certainly can throw deep in the NFL, or at least he deserves the benefit of the doubt under Mike Mcdaniel.
- Devante Parker’s days are numbered in Miami.
I am a Devante Parker supporter; I have always been since the day the Dolphins drafted him. I think he is a great wide receiver with injury issues. If Parker can avoid injuries, he is a productive wide receiver who can put up above-average numbers to close out his career, just not as a Miami Dolphin. I don’t see Parker fitting Mike McDaniel’s style of offense, he is not too fast or too explosive catching the football, and he carries a big financial burden with his current contract. Besides, McDaniel has already brought in for less money free agent receivers Cedric Wilson Jr. and Trent Sherfield to take his place; both have similar skills as Parker but can be faster and are certainly younger. Hopefully, Miami can trade him to a team that suits him well and gives them good compensation in return.
- The offense has been improved; let’s not forget about the defense.
Miami’s offense was the team’s biggest problem last year. The team has addressed it masterfully in the first weeks of free agency. The defense was the Dolphins’ biggest asset last season, but that does not mean we can make it even better. Let us not get carried away by what we want to become on offense, and let’s not forget we still need to fill some important pieces on defense. Resigning DE Emmanuel Ogba was a priority; bringing back LB Elandon Roberts and CB Nick Needham was solid, but adding another linebacker or pass rusher won’t hurt. We should also put an end to CB Xavien Howard’s contract saga; if the team wants to keep him (and they should), offer him a decent long-term deal; if the team decides to move on, trade him for what he’s worth. This can no longer be a distraction.
So far, so good, Miami Dolphins, you are doing things right! You haven’t won any games yet, but you have recovered the confidence of your fans, at least mine.