Free agency made its mark. Players were added, the team was improved. We gained tons of talent on the offense and retained significant players on the defensive side of the ball. Then, the trade for Tyreek Hill. Next, Dolphins fans everywhere watched the draft unfold with limited expectations due to the fact that the Dolphins were the first team ever to not have ANY of their own original picks at the time of the draft, and only chose players in the 3rd, 4th, and two in the 7th rounds of the 2022 draft.
So what do we have to feel good about? Here are 3 “Under the Radar” things that I think we as Dolphins fans should feel excited about going into the 2022-2023 season.
1. Offensive Coordinator Frank Smith
Frank Smith comes to us from the LA Chargers where he was the run game coordinator and offensive line coach. Previously in his career, he has served as tight ends coach (Raiders & Bears) and offensive line coach (Saints.) His experience and background give me reasons to be optimistic that our offense will seek to establish the running game as the cornerstone for the offense. We know that the head coach will call the plays, but the two seem to be a very good fit together in terms of overall philosophy. If he can help the offense become balanced, all the shiny new toys on offense will have a chance to really put pressure on opposing defenses.
2. Defensive continuity
Chris Grier brought the band back together, resigning most of the team’s free agent defensive players. If they can pick up where they left off and continue the growth that they made throughout last season, there is good reason to be optimistic here as well. Especially considering the growth and development we saw in the young players like Jevon Holland and Jalen Phillips, as well as continued development from Nik Needham, Christian Wilkins, and Raekwon Davis. I like the addition of Channing Tindall, though I think he’ll be strictly a situational role player at first. And of course, there will probably be some late free agent additions to bolster depth.
3. Pro-bowl caliber punting
It would be a mistake to underestimate the significance of signing punter Thomas Morstead. Throughout his career, Morstead has been one of the league’s top punters on a consistent basis. The difference in field position that he gives his team regularly translates to points on the scoreboard. Pin the opposing offense deep in their own territory and it makes it harder for them to score, and it also gives your own defense the ability to play very aggressively, hopefully providing a short field for your offense. Over a season, this may mean the difference between making the playoffs or staying at home.
Obviously, there are other reasons to be optimistic (Tyreek Hill, Teron Armstead, etc.) but these are some factors that may not be as immediately obvious. Hopefully, everything works out well for the new additions and we’re able to watch our Dolphins make a noise in the playoffs this year. Fins Up!