Why the Dolphins Should Be Cautious About Facing the Chargers

The Miami Dolphins are gearing up for their 2023 season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. It is an exciting moment for the Dolphins fans as they enter their second year under head coach Mike McDaniel. The Dolphins should approach this game cautiously, and here are some reasons to support my views.

Talented Group of Receiving Options

The Chargers, in fact, have good receivers and can make it tough for Miami’s defense. Quarterback Justin Herbert has two great targets in Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. These guys are some of the best in the league when they are healthy. To make things even harder for Miami, the Chargers added a new player, wide receiver Quentin Johnston this year in the draft. Miami’s defense, on the other hand, led by their new coach Vic Fangio, has a big job to stop these three talented catchers.


Injury at Left Tackle

One of the challenges facing the Dolphins is the absence of their left tackle Terron Armstead. He has been ruled out for the game. This means Kendall Lamm will step in to protect quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s blindside. While Lamm has shown promise in preseason performances and limited regular-season appearances, it is worth noting that Tagovailoa struggled last season with a QBR of 12.9 in games without Armstead. Thus, the offensive line needs to be improved to protect their quarterback from the fierce pass rush of the Chargers.


Dynamic Running Back Creates Problems

In the 2022 clash, the Dolphins had to contend with the formidable receiving duo of the Chargers and running back Austin Ekeler, who witnessed a significant impact on the game. He racked up eight receptions for 59 yards and rushed for another 45 yards and a touchdown. While the Dolphins have improved their linebacker corps by adding David Long Jr. this time, Ekeler remains a versatile threat who could cause problems for the defense.

Familiarity Between Coaching Staffs

There is an intriguing subplot in this matchup. It is the familiarity between the coaching staffs of both teams. Defensive coordinator of the Dolphins, Vic Fangio, and head coach of the Chargers, Brandon Staley, share a history dating back to their time with the Chicago Bears. In 2017, Staley served as the outside linebackers coach under Fangio. Later, when Fangio took the charge in Denver, Staley followed him before becoming the Rams’ defensive coordinator. Additionally, the current Dolphins defensive backs coach and pass-game coordinator, Renaldo Hill has worked closely with Staley. This level of familiarity could give both teams insight into each other’s defensive strategies. It is worth noting that Miami’s defense is still adapting to Fangio’s system, which may take some time.


In my personal opinion, the Miami Dolphins’ upcoming clash with the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1 of the 2023 season warrants a healthy dose of caution. The Chargers’ offensive firepower, anchored by the formidable duo of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, backed up by the promising Quentin Johnston, is a recipe for potential trouble for Miami’s defense. Even with the guidance of their new defensive coach, Vic Fangio, stopping these talented receivers won’t be a walk in the park.


The absence of left tackle Terron Armstead compounds my concerns. Tua Tagovailoa’s struggles in games without Armstead last season are hard to ignore, and the Chargers’ fierce pass rush poses a significant threat. The offensive line must improve to ensure Tagovailoa’s protection. Additionally, Austin Ekeler’s dynamic presence, as showcased in the 2022 clash, remains a challenge for Miami’s defense. While there are coaching connections between the staffs of both teams, Miami’s ongoing adaptation to Fangio’s system adds unpredictability to the mix. While I am eager for the Dolphins’ season to kick off with a win, a cautious approach is essential in this matchup, as the Chargers present a formidable obstacle that Miami must overcome.