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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.

Update:
Tyreek Hill con los Dolphins
Icon SportswireGetty

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 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5
vs Patriotsat Ravensvs Billsat Bengalsat Jets
Week 6Week 7Week 8Week 9Week 10
vs Vikingsvs Steelersat Lionsat Bearsvs Browns
Week 11Week 12Week 13Week 14Week 15
BYEvs Texansat 49ersat Chargersat Bills
Week 16Week 17Week 18
vs Packersat Patriotsvs Jets

See also: Top 10 must-watch NFL games in 2022

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