|Points per Game
|2022 Vegas Win Projection
It was a rough start to the 2021 season for the Dolphins who lost Tua Tagovailoa in week 3 and didn’t get him back until week six. He then missed two more games later in the season but the rough start was too much for the Dolphins to overcome. The tropical winds are a normal thing down in Miami but it seems the winds of change have come this summer. The Miami Dolphins have made major changes since the end of a disappointing 2021 season. They started by firing head coach Brian Flores–despite him having a winning record with the team–and brought in Mike McDaniel, formerly the offensive coordinator for the 49ers. They then spent free agency overhauling the offense both at the skill positions with Tyreek Hill, Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, and also in the trenches with OT Terron Armstead. They made the most of the off-season despite using picks to acquire Hill. They have loaded up to give Tua Tagovailoa the best shot he has had in his young career.
|Passing Yards per Game
|Passing Touchdowns per Game
|Pass Attempts per Game
Predicting the Miami passing game for 2022 is a world of contradicting facts. On one hand, you have McDaniel who looks to be bringing the offense he ran in San Fran, which passed the ball only 51.6% (29th) of the time in 2021. That’s a vast contrast from what the Dolphins had last year with 59.71% (tenth). You then contrast that with the off-season moves they have made. They made a blockbuster trade to bring in Tyreek Hill to pair with 2nd year-wide out Jaylen Waddle. They also signed former Cowboy Cedrick Wilson. They drafted Erik Ezukanma from Texas Tech in the fourth round. It all nicely rounds out the passing attack for QB Tua Tagovailoa. It was rumored that the Dolphins were looking at other options at quarterback but with these moves, it is Tua’s time to shine and prove he can be the franchise quarterback that Miami thought he was when they drafted him. He will also benefit from still having tight-end Mike Gesicki as a safety blanket.
There is bound to be a pass-catching back. In 2021, Myles Gaskin had 63 targets. He is still on the team but who will get the majority of the passing work this season remains to be seen. The Dolphins have 182 vacated targets which are 30% of the team’s 2021 total targets. It’s assumed that Tyreek Hill will absorb most of those looks, but there should still be some to go to other wideouts. Rookie Erik Ezukanma could find a spot on this team but has very solid competition ahead of him so might be hard for him to get into the rotation.
|Rushing Yard per Game
|Rushing Touchdowns per Game
|Rushing Plays per Game
The Dolphin’s rushing game in 2021 was fairly awful. They only rushed the ball on 40.3% of their plays. They have overhauled their rushing game in the off-season. They retained Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed from 2021 but spent big in free agency. They brought in Chase Edmonds, Sony Michel, and Raheem Mostert. They also brought in one of the best full-backs in the NFL in Alec Ingold. It’s a crowded backfield, and everyone is wondering who will be the main guy. I use the follow-the-money philosophy. They paid Edmonds 12.1 million over two years, Sony Michel got one year at 1.7 million, Mostert got one year at 2.1 million, and Gaskin is still on his rookie deal. Both in terms of years and money, it seems that Edmonds will be the main guy. If Edmonds can get most of the 173 carries that Gaskin got in 2021 he will be a solid play every week.
I like that Mostert has familiarity with the system that we assume McDaniel is going to implement but Mostert has failed to stay healthy his whole career. Sony Michel being signed after the draft makes me feel like he will have a role but a small one. If they wanted him to have a larger role they would have signed him earlier in the offseason. I expect Michel and Ingold to get the bulk of goal-line work which will probably frustrate owners of all these players. Another plus for Edmonds is he was one of the first free agents signed so they seemed to want him.
Chase Edmonds, RB
It was outlined above. Chase Edmonds looks to be in line to get the bulk of the carries in the Miami backfield. Gaskin got 173 in 2021. If Edmonds gets most of those, he will be a value. He is currently being drafted in the tenth round as the RB35. Gaskin finished as rb24 last year in PPR scoring. He did that despite only scoring three touchdowns on the ground and four more through the air. He averaged 3.5 yards per carry while Edmonds was averaging 5.1 with the Cardinals.
Edmonds will have to beat out Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel to get the bulk of the carries but if he can get the lead back role he will vastly outperform his rb35 draft price. He could easily be in the rb24 territory that Gaskin got to with a much higher ceiling. There isn’t a true big back you would expect as a goal-line back. Michel looks to be that guy but Edmonds should get the bulk of the main carries. He also has the pass-catching ability which will allow him to stay on the field for all three downs. I do expect a solid rotation of the others into the game but McDaniel seems like a smart coach who will play the guy who is producing the most.
Trent Sherfield, WR
There is a lot of talk about what coach McDaniels is bringing from his time with the 49ers. The multiple running back rotations. The use of a wide receiver in the run game. What has been lost is that they signed Trent Sherfield. Sherfield spent last year with McDaniel and the 49ers. He comes into his fifth year as probably the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart. He does have a solid understanding of the McDaniel system and could be in line for a career year in Miami. If there is an opening in front of him he could step up in a big way. He doesn’t have the speed that Hill or Waddle have. He isn’t overly tall. But his familiarity with the offensive scheme could be the one thing that gets him on the field more. If he can outshine rookie Erik Ezukanma and be the true wr4 on the depth chart he could be a best ball type flyer player.
Jaylen Waddle, WR
I’ve gone back and forth on which of the big-name wideouts will bust in Miami. I don’t think that Tua and the offense can support two top wide receivers as the Rams or the Buccaneers can. I lean towards Tyreek Hill being the true star on this offense. He has the speed which is useful in so many ways. If they run a 49ers-type offense, we could see Hill be used more in the run game on jet sweeps and bubble screens. I think this leads to fewer opportunities for Jaylen Waddle.
I don’t see Waddle’s 140 targets going up. I think the most realistic outcome is that they come down with the addition of Hill and all the running backs who can catch passes. He is being drafted currently as the WR14, ahead of guys like D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, and Michael Pittman. Guys who are the clear main weapon on their team. It seems like a trap to be drafting Waddle based on last year’s numbers when you add in a massive talent in Hill.
Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photography by Joshua Sarner, Fred Kfoury III, Andrew Bershaw & Ken Murray / Icon Sportswire