Dolphins 2022 NFL preview, schedule: McDaniel, Tagovailoa & Hill the formula for AFC East success
The Dolphins haven’t won the AFC East since 2008, but the arrival of Mike McDaniels and Tyreek Hill could be the factors that lead to a turnaround in Miami’s fortunes.
After three seasons in which the Dolphins inexplicably failed to qualify for the postseason, Brian Flores’s tenure came to an end amid controversy. With a young offensive core, Miami have hired Mike McDaniel, giving him his first opportunity as a head coach, and the Florida franchise’s sights are set on a return to the Playoffs.
Dolphins bring in star WR Hill from Chiefs
The organisation’s biggest move was the trade with the Chiefs that saw Tyreek Hill arrive in Miami. Immediately after landing the star wide receiver, the Dolphins handed him a four-year, $120 million contract extension that makes him the highest-paid WR in the league.
At Hard Rock Stadium, Hill will pair up with Jaylen Waddle, who set a rookie record for receptions last season. The wide receivers promise to form the fastest passing offence in the league; the Alabama graduate posted a top speed of 21.8 miles per hour in 2021, the campaign’s seventh-highest.
McDaniel, who was the 49ers’ offensive coordinator in 2021, will take advantage of the versatility of his two main wide receivers to make them a Swiss army knife. Remember, Deebo Samuel had his best year as a pro last season, earning him an All-Pro first-team designation and a new deal.
Although it might seem that the offence has a major obstacle in Tua Tagovailoa (heavily questioned over his qualities as a passer), Hill is leading a campaign to highlight the Crimson Tide product’s abilities. And it’s not only ‘Cheetah’ who has praised Tua; McDaniel himself has showered the quarterback with praise.
Flores leaves Miami amid allegations against owner Ross
However, not everything is positive for the Dolphins. Following his dismissal, Flores sued the organisation and accused owner Stephen Ross of unsportsmanlike practices - in particular, he alleged that the executive ordered the coach to ensure Miami had its worst possible season in 2019 so that the franchise could select Joe Burrow in the 2020 Draft.
The NFL subsequently stripped the Dolphins of two Draft picks and fined Ross $1.5 million for allegedly engaging in illegal discussions with Tom Brady and Sean Payton over taking them to the franchise. In the case of Brady, it’s been reported that there was a plan for him to join Miami as a player and minority owner.
If McDaniel keeps off-the-field problems at bay, the Dolphins look like the chief candidate to take the AFC East title off the Bills’ hands. The games that could define the fate of the division will take place in Week 3 (at Orchard Park) and Week 15 (in Miami).
Miami Dolphins: brief fact file
Record in 2021: 9-8
Stadium: Hard Rock Stadium
Super Bowl titles: 2
Head coach: Mike McDaniel
Defensive coordinator: Frank Smith
Offensive coordinator: Josh Boyer
Dolphins’ 2022 NFL schedule
|Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 5|
|vs Patriots||at Ravens||vs Bills||at Bengals||at Jets|
|Week 6||Week 7||Week 8||Week 9||Week 10|
|vs Vikings||vs Steelers||at Lions||at Bears||vs Browns|
|Week 11||Week 12||Week 13||Week 14||Week 15|
|BYE||vs Texans||at 49ers||at Chargers||at Bills|
|Week 16||Week 17||Week 18|
|vs Packers||at Patriots||vs Jets|