The Miami Dolphins had a very successful season on offense. They scored more points and made big plays in the passing game than any year I can remember since Dan Marino. Head coach Mike McDaniel brought a structure to this offense that was missing for years. The Dolphins also added more talented players like Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead. McDaniel and his staff saw developments in returning players, specifically quarterback Tua Tagovalioa despite missing games with concussions. The next question is, what tweaks do the Dolphins make to the offense? I’m sure McDaniel wants to make some upgrades at certain positions to fit his offensive scheme, as it takes coaches a couple of years if given the time to bring in their own players. 

I’ve always said it starts up front with the offense, and the offensive line made tremendous strides this year. A lot of credit goes to the offensive staff for coaching this group. They had been a liability for the last few years. Matt Applebaum and Frank Smith did a great job of teaching this group technique and putting them in good positions. However, this group isn’t a finished product by any stretch. The offensive line is led by Armstead, and when he’s in, they are a good cohesive group. The problem is his injury history. He played hurt this year, and that’s admirable. He’s a leader by example, but the Dolphins should plan for a quality backup or developmental player to fill in because he has never played a full NFL season. The right tackle position was supposed to be Austin Jackson’s, but his season was ruined by injury. Luckily the Dolphins found Brandon Shell, and he was a pleasant surprise this year, but he’s a free agent, and who knows how much the Dolphins can pay him? I was curious how Jackson would fit in this zone blocking scheme, but I’ll have to wait another year, but the Dolphins shouldn’t bank on him. The interior line was a bright spot this year. Robert Hunt played every game and grew as a right guard. While Connor Williams made a good transition to center and looks like a good find. The left guard spot is another subject. Liam Eichenberg struggled, and it makes you wonder if the light will go off for him. When he got hurt, Robert Jones filled in a did a good job. The Dolphins need to keep developing him but also bring in more players on the interior. This group did a good job this year, but it’s far from a finished product for McDaniel’s zone-blocking scheme. 

The tight end position is the area I believe that could get some sweeping changes because, frankly, I don’t think McDaniel has a tight end; he believes in. Mike Gesicki was clearly not a fit in this offense and is going to leave as a free agent. Even with his play-making skills, McDaniel didn’t get him involved as much. Durham Smythe is a good in-line blocker, but he has one more year left on his contract; the Dolphins could get out of it this year if they choose, but I think he sticks around. Hunter Long had injuries this year that ruined his season, just like Jackson, and next year will be a big year for him, as the team had high hopes for him after drafting him in the 3rd round a few years ago. The Dolphins also have Tanner Conner, who is a developmental player. Does McDaniel have a tight end he likes? I’m not sure. He needs a tight end that can block and catch passes, and those are hard to find as colleges don’t develop tight ends to block like they used to. I feel this position could go under some change. 

The same could be said about the running back position, as none of the Dolphins’ tailbacks are under contract next year. Only fullback Alec Inglewood is under contract. Raheem Mostert had a productive season, but he’s 31 years old and has some injury history. Maybe he could come back on a one-year contract. Jeff Wilson was productive after coming over in a trade, but how much the Dolphins will want to pay him is the question. Myles Gaskin is most likely gone, as he went from the starting running back to a player that couldn’t see the field. The Dolphins will probably look in the draft for one, but the question is how big of a priority will they make this position? They haven’t made it a real priority for the last few years, and McDaniel wants to be a strong running team. 

The strength of this group was the wide receiver position led by Hill and Jaylen Waddle as they combined for over 3,000 yards receiving and made explosive plays. However, the Dolphins need to find good depth players because teams will focus their attention on those two and others. Trent Sherfield was a good find for the Dolphins coming over from the San Fransisco 49ers. He was a good blocker and receiver, but he’s a free agent and could be outpriced. The Dolphins got contributions early in the season from River Cracraft but he was nonexistent down the stretch. Rookie Erik Ezukanma flashed in the preseason but was only active for one game this year. He has to step up and be a factor next year. The Dolphins don’t have an urgent need at wide receiver but could have some more developmental players. Sherfield and Cracraft were good blockers and did the dirty work. If neither comes back, the Dolphins need to find other players like that and a guy who will step up to take pressure off Hill and Waddle. 

The other question is about the backup quarterback. The Dolphins are committing to Tagovailoa, but who steps in if he goes down again? It’s funny how the Dolphins signed Teddy Bridgewater last year, and people thought he would unseat Tagovailoa. However, he couldn’t finish the game when he got his chance to start. The Dolphins have to look for someone else, but at what cost? Skylar Thompson could be the backup if the Dolphins trust he will develop, but with the team in a win-now mode, it would be wise to find a veteran. 

The offense doesn’t have glaring needs like last year, but that doesn’t they should stand pat. The Dolphins need to continue to find players that fit McDaniel’s offensive scheme and players for depth in case of injury so the offense doesn’t lose a step when players go down. The biggest area the Dolphins need to upgrade is the running game, and hopefully, the Dolphins improve that area, and it translates on the field to complement their passing game. If that happens watch out for this offense, but the Dolphins have salary cap constraints and only 5 draft picks, so they have to be smart with their decisions.