A storm has been brewing in Miami for some time, but don’t worry people, it’s a football-driven storm. After spending a few good years being taken as the punch line for plenty of NFL-ridden jokes and a perennial bottom feeder for Vegas NFL odds makers the Miami Dolphins shied away from the pressure and quietly started building up a team based on one of the surprisingly better defensive lines in the AFC.
All this, may we mention, while trying to beef up their offense constantly, giving starting QB Tua Tagovailoa a perennial vote of confidence, hoping that he can finally show the skills that made him a standout player in the University of Alabama.
With this said, and with a 2022 season in which NFL lines experts have the Miami Dolphins as one of the dark horse teams to be keeping an eye on, let’s take a look at what fans could be in for this year.
Miami Dolphins Last Season Performance
The 2021 NFL season was what NFL odds pundits could take as the true beginning of a turnaround in Miami’s football culture. With the Dolphins finally starting to show a true sense of wanting to become the 2nd force in the AFC East division, a position they had to battle for with the New England Patriots, Miami took to the challenge and brought the fight, finishing with a respectable -8 record that saw them one win away from reaching the playoffs.
After starting the season with a strong win on the road against the Patriots in Foxborough, the ‘Fins fell into a horrific seven game losing streak that almost made the organization fall back into their toxic imploding ways of the past, but after mounting one of the strongest comebacks in the season for any team, scoring eight wins out of their nine remaining games in the season, the Dolphins started putting everyone on the league on notice as to what could be coming for the 2022 season.
With season sweeps of the Patriots and Jets as well as wins against the Panthers, Saints and Giants, all teams which Miami had spent over 10 years without being able to beat, while not making it to the playoffs hurt, seeing the growth and potential within the organization was something that has given Dolphins fans plenty to work with for the upcoming 2022 season.
Miami Dolphins Off Season Changes
The Miami Dolphins organization hit the ground running as soon as the 2021 season was over, with one of the most surprising and somewhat controversial moves that can easily be taken as unexpected to say the least by everyone in the league.
On January 10th, 2022, Dolphins majority share owner Stephen M. Ross, alleging differences and conflicts with both the players on the roster as well as executives on the team, decided to fire head coach Brian Flores, a move again, nobody expected happening. Even with the backfire that came from the decision, the Dolphins moved on hiring former 4ers OC Mike McDaniel to take over the head coaching duties for the team moving forward.
Miami Dolphins Key Additions
The Miami Dolphins decided to hit the free agency market and put all of their previously earned draft capital and hefty cap space to work in order to finish ironing out their roster to make this a win now team. Without a shadow of a doubt the two most important transactions made by Miami in the offseason were bringing former Chiefs all-star WR Tyreek Hill to pair up with 2nd year receiver Jaylen Waddle and TE Mike Gesiki to give Tua Tagovailoa a plethora of options for the team’s passing game.
Aside from that, the signing of former New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Terron Armstead to continue strengthening an already strong Dolphins offensive line, as well as bringing in a whole new core of running backs in Sony Michel, Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds goes to prove that Miami’s offense could be one of the scariest units in the AFC this year.
On defense, re-signing key pieces on defense like CB Xavien Howard and CB Byron Jones as well as DE Emmanuel Ogbah and DT Christian Wilkins can easily be taken as the most important additions to the team this year. Add to that the signing of DE veteran Melvin Ingram III and it’s very easy to see why this defense is lethal from anywhere you look at it.
Miami Dolphins Key Subtractions
More important than the players who came into the team is the fact that the Dolphins have made it a point to maintain the base of the team they’ve been riding with for the past couple of seasons. Aside from the release of former head coach Brian Flores, the Dolphins haven’t made any real big moves when it comes to seeing important players or coaching personnel leave the team for the upcoming 2022 season.
This should give NFL fans plenty of food for thought as to how the Miami Dolphins have been preparing themselves for what’s to come in the season, one where they will not be playing around in the hopes of snatching the 2nd place of the AFC East division from the Patriots as well as snagging up one of the AFC’s playoff wildcard positions.
Miami Dolphins Head Coach Analysis
After surprising the league with the firing of former head coach Brian Flores at the beginning of the year, the Dolphins hit the market in order to find a new candidate to take over the coaching gig in Miami. While there were plenty of candidates for the position, the organization decided to go in a route many did not expect by hiring former 4ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel to take over the position.
McDaniel, another case of head coaches making it to the league before turning 40, is an offensive-driven, player friendly strategist whose main focus will be to finish assembling Miami’s new offense into one of the most feared units in the league. Defensively speaking, McDaniel shouldn’t have much to worry about, with Dolphins DC Josh Boyer, who stayed in the position after Flores’ firing, coming back for another season in which Miami’s defense should once again be one of the most leveled and dominant lines in the AFC.
Miami Dolphins Injured Players at the Beginning of the Season
In the injury department for the Miami Dolphins, four very important players stand out as the main missing pieces for the team in the offseason because of different injuries. Newly signed OT Terron Armstead is questionable for a week 1 start against New England with a knee injury as well as also newly signed RB Raheem Mostert who is also carrying a knee and meniscus injury that has his playing status as questionable for week 1 against New England.
Lastly on offense, HB Alec Ingold that has been out of action since the beginning of the year with a knee and ACL injury is also questionable to play in week 1 at the moment.
Defensively only one player stands out as questionable for week 1 against the Patriots, with CB Byron Jones out with an ankle injury. The CB department might be at the risk of not having one of his top pieces in the secondary unless major advancements and updates on his playing status are not met before the beginning of the preseason.
Miami Dolphins Offense
This upcoming season screams as a major talent and improvement leap for the Dolphins in the making. Not only will a lot of pressure be on Tua Tagovailoa to finally prove once and for all that he can be the team’s franchise QB for the future, but with the addition of Tyreek Hill to play alongside Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesiki in the receiving department, it’s put up or shut up time for Tagovailoa.
More importantly, by the Dolphins addressing their running back issues bringing in Sony Michel, Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds, NFL fans could be looking at the formation of a great RB core in Miami.
Lastly, Miami’s offensive line was already touted as one of the better lines in the AFC, but now, by bringing in former Saints star offensive tackle Terron Armstead to play side by side with 2nd year offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg, Tua and company should have plenty of time to be able to get the ball down the field and stack up as many points as possible time in and time out.
Miami Dolphins Defense
If you’re a football fan and cannot come to the agreement that Miami has been able to maintain some sort of football relevance because of how good their defense has been playing for the past couple of seasons, please do yourself a favor and check out how good the Dolphins’ defensive line and secondary are.
Ranked as the 16th best defense in the league last season, but shining at categories as points allowed per game, sacks and forced turnovers, we are talking about a defensive line that is not out on the field for the jokes and giggles, but for taking down any and all opposing offenses without any regard as to who stands in front of them.
Most importantly, the CB department with Xavien Howard and Byron Jones calling the shots will surely be something special to watch down Miami’s backfield. Special for Dolphins fans of course, not for fans of the opposing teams Miami will be facing during the season.
Miami Dolphins Special Teams
The Special Teams department in the Miami Dolphins will be counting on either Jaylen Waddle once again taking over the punt return position for good, or for him to continue splitting said responsibilities with safety Jevon Holland like last season. A very interesting and enticing alternative would be for Miami to think about using Tyreek Hill, who at times did the punt returning duties while in Kansas City to once again prove why he is considered one of the fastest men with the ball in the league.
As far as punters and kickers are concerned, the team will be once again riding with their players from last season, with Jason Sanders, Tommy Heatherly, Thomas Morstead and long snapper Blake Ferguson all ready to put up their own worth for the Dolphins.
Miami Dolphins Prediction for 2022 season
Oh man, it’s an honest belief that this is the first time in ages that the Dolphins can brag about what’s to come, of course as long as they don’t manage to do a usual Dolphins thing and implode within themselves even when the team is playing decent football. Their schedule reads as one of a team which the league is smiling upon to have a season where making it to the playoffs is a real possibility.
Still, a lot is to be seen and said from what will happen with new HC Mike McDaniel and also how the Tagovailoa/Hill connection will work. It’s more than obvious that for Miami to have a real shot of making a splash in the league, Tua and Tyreek need to come out swinging from week 1, not allowing any opposing defenses to even be able to catch a breath while playing them.
If they can do that, added to a strong showing from the new looking running back core and the defense once again stepping up and dominating game in and game out, we should be able to expect a strong season from Miami, with their eyes locked on taking over the 2nd position in the AFC East as well as making it to the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins Team Leaders
Miami Dolphins Team Ranked Stats
Miami Dolphins Team Scorebox
Miami Dolphins Team Injuries
Miami Dolphins Team Schedule/Results
Miami Dolphins Team Standings
Miami Dolphins Team Roster
Miami Dolphins FAQ
Is it time to call Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa a 'bust'?
For some time, Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa has been swinging between being called a bust and actually being able to prove to his haters that he can actually become the franchise QB for the future for the Dolphins organization. Still, if you were to ask me, this man has exactly what it takes to triumph in Miami. Consider what Tagovailoa has had to deal with since entering the season, look at his growth spurs and picture what he’ll be able to do now that he has a WR duo consisting of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
The man has the chops to make it big in the league, remember, he stepped up and took the college football scene by storm in Alabama when his time came around, so believing that his time might also be coming around now with the Dolphins might not be a farfetched idea whatsoever. Now, with an offense-friendly coach in McDaniel and a new found competitive and winning culture to ride with, calling Tagovailoa a bust might just be like shooting blanks.
Which Dolphins players are poised for a breakout year in 2022?
While all experts will surely be keeping an eye on how Tua Tagovailoa plays this season, there are other positional players that could be poised for a breakout season in 2022. Jevon Holland, safety for the Dolphins showed after starting in his first game in the pros in week 5 of last year that the man can ball and that he can easily become one of the most pivotal players in the Dolphins defensive backfield. Now, with a season where this defensive line will once again shine, expect Jevon Holland to break out and even be in the running for a Pro-bowl invitation.
On offense, it’s all about Jaylen Waddle. In his rookie season last year, the man did the most with what he had to work with. Now, having a guy like Tyreek Hill running routes with him, Waddle should be in the running to become one of the most explosive WR’s in the AFC. It doesn’t hurt his chances that he and Tagovailoa played together for two seasons in Alabama and already played together in Waddle’s first year in the pros in 2021. A hefty 1,000 receiving yard season and a Pro-bowl nod should be coming for the former Crimson Tide star.
When was the last time the Miami Dolphins made the playoffs?
When speaking of the Miami Dolphins and their successes in the postseason, NFL fans usually think of the times of former coach Don Shula and his amazing 1972 and 1973 teams that won back to back Super Bowls. Some might even think of the times of Dolphins legend Dan Marino. But other than that, trying to remember other times when the Dolphins actually made the playoffs and had some actual feats worth reminiscing on is useless given that the team has only managed to make it to the postseason on four occasions since the new millennium started.
Looking back at the last time the Dolphins actually made it to the playoffs, we have to go back to 2016, when, with Adam Gaze as a coach, before his whole Jets catastrophic tenure went down and Ryan Tanehill calling the shots as the QB for the franchise, the Dolphins lost in the wildcard round of the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 30-12.
While Miami would call it quits for the season, the Steelers would continue on in the playoffs, losing to Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Title game, which would lead to the Patriots vs. Falcons Super Bowl, in which, well, you know, don’t make me say it, 28-3.
Do the Dolphins Have a Real Chance of Winning the AFC East Title?
If the Dolphins didn’t have to deal with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills then the answer would be a definite yes, but keeping it completely honest, there are slim to no chances that any team other than Buffalo will win the AFC East division this year. Miami’s real competition will come from what the Patriots and the new-look Jets can bring to the table, competition wise. Although, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we see the Dolphins sweep their season series against both of those teams once again this year.
It’s not impossible for the Dolphins to give the Bills a true run for their money, or in this case the divisional crown, but not this year and not with the way both teams compare on and off the field. Coach Mike McDaniel needs to get to work, Tua and Tyreek need to sync more and the Dolphins’ defense needs to establish themselves as an elite unit in the league for Miami to have a true chance to try and dethrone Buffalo from their leadership position.