What a difference one year makes.
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has gone from being labeled a bust to talking about winning Super Bowls in Miami. Apparently, that’s the type of confidence that comes with having an offensive-minded head coach and All-Pro wide receiver at your side. Indeed, it’s incredible for Dolphins fans to hear Tagovailoa speak in such terms, but he might want to hit the brakes and slow this bus down just a bit.
“I think throughout OTAs, and throughout training camp, we could see the potential that we had as a team, offensively and defensively,” Tagovailoa said. “We’re not afraid to talk about Super Bowls here. We’re not afraid to talk about going to a playoff game, having the opportunity to go to one, and then hopefully winning one.
“I would say I have full belief that we are capable [of winning a Super Bowl].”
Fans in Miami haven’t been this excited about a Dolphins offense since the days of Dan Marino throwing darts to Mark Clayton and Mark Duper. There was the “wildcat” offense in Miami at one point, but that gimmick worked for about a year and a half until opposing defenses figured it out.
Ask any defensive coordinator about their worst fear on the opposite side of the field, and they’ll all tell you the same thing. Speed kills. Offenses with elite speed can be kryptonite to even the best defensive scheme. Miami has more than enough speed, highlighted by Tyreek Hill. He’s so fast sometimes that he outruns Tua’s passes downfield and can’t always catch them in stride. Regardless, this duo has become one of the most dangerous QB-receiver combos in the NFL.
Even with the success this Fins team has had this season, Super Bowl talk might be premature. Tua didn’t just say they aren’t afraid to talk about going to one; he added the “s” meaning multiple. Make the postseason for the first time, then let’s talk about what could be. Aside from those couple of games where he “got his bell rung” and left with concussions, he’s had a great year. Or was it a back injury? Obviously, Miami’s front office thinks we’re all idiots.
When Tua has started this year, the Dolphins are 5-1, and he’s completing nearly 70 percent of his passes. The signal-caller has thrown just three interceptions to 12 touchdowns. Everything in the passing game is clicking for Miami, as Hill and Jaylen Waddle are averaging over 90 receiving yards per contest. Hill is averaging over 120 ypg, which is simply phenomenal. The duo of Hill and Waddle have been on such a tear they currently have more combined receiving yards than nine NFL teams.
While there aren’t too many holes to be poked in this Dolphins’ passing game, one area that could use a little more attention is the running game. Tua to Hill and Waddle has been magnificent, but if you can’t run the ball in the postseason, all the talk of winning Super Bowls could go by the wayside.
The Dolphins rank 28th in rushing yards per game through eight games. There will come a time in the playoffs when they’ll need to run the ball, and if they fail to execute, it could be an early exit for Miami come January. Adding Jeff Wilson Jr. at the trade deadline should help the running game, and joining his former offensive coordinator turned head coach Mike McDaniel in Miami should make for a smooth transition.
The Dolphins’ defense also got a boost at the deadline by acquiring linebacker Bradley Chubb, for whom they’ve already locked up long-term with a five-year, $110 million deal. Anytime you can add a Pro Bowl player to either side of the ball, you’re likely to come out as the winner of that transaction. Miami is currently in the lower third of the league in getting to the QB with 15 sacks. Chubb should help in that category as that’s another aspect they’ll need to sure up to make a deep playoff run.
Overall, Miami looks much better than many expected, but there’s still much room for improvement if they plan on making this Super Bowl run Tua is talking about. This year their ceiling is the divisional round if their defense can’t get to the QB more frequently and they fail to develop more of a running game.