Miami Dolphins: AFC East already looks drastically different for 2022
We have yet to have any player movement, but things are could look different for the AFC East and Miami Dolphins alike in 2022.
We are only a few weeks in to the off seasons of those teams that have been eliminated from contention in the NFL, and we are still months away from player movement and additions through the draft and free agency. But the scenery in the AFC East and for the Miami Dolphins has already undergone a drastic change.
The dominoes began to fall the day after the conclusion of the regular season when Brian Flores was relieved of his duties as head coach in Miami. The surprise firing left a vacancy, and the rumors about who would fill that spot began to swirl. One of the biggest names on the radar was Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who had several suitors at the time.
Daboll was one of the hottest names on the market due to his success with Josh Allen, and his imminent departure from Buffalo was a probably good sign for the rest of the division, no matter where he landed. That landing spot wound up being out of the division entirely, as he and the New York Giants came to an agreement for their head coaching gig on January 28th.
The next big move came three days later, as long-time New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels accepted the job as lead man of the Las Vegas Raiders. It is McDaniel’s second departure from the Bill Belichick regime, and he hopes that it will be more successful than his first try. But his absence will likely be noticeable for New England. Both Belichick and Tom Brady have gotten all of the deserved credit for the franchise’s success over the years, but it was McDaniel’s game plans that suited the quarterback and the offense so well. It remains to be seen how successful McDaniel can be without two of the greatest of all time, but his absence from the Patriots’ offense will certainly be felt within the division.
The final potential game-changing coaching move came last Sunday, as the Miami Dolphins hired former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel to replace Flores as the man in charge in South Florida. McDaniel is a part of a coaching tree that has been ultra-successful as of late, and brings an offensive pedigree that has been raves about by his peers. His run game schemes are considered to be one of a kind, and he is one of the brightest X’s and O’s guys in the league. After slogging through a few seasons of watching an anemic offense, McDaniel’s presence will be a breath of fresh air for Dolphins fans.
So what does this all mean? How does all of this shuffling directly affect the Dolphins?
The direct effect of McDaniel is obvious. We will get to see what the supposed mastermind has in store while watching our team every Sunday. For the Patriots and Bills, it means change. Whether that change is a good thing or a bad thing is the question. There are growing pains and a learning curve when implementing a new offense, and both teams could take time getting comfortable. Daboll will be replaced in Buffalo by Ken Dorsey, who was the quarterbacks coach for the Bills last season. It will be his first coordinator job of his career. At the time of writing, the Patriots had yet to make a hire for their OC vacancy, so it remains to be seen what their offense might look like. If Miami is to play either of these teams early in the season, and their defense carries over the same identity that it finished last season with, then the chances of an upset victory should be good.
But the growing pains and learning curve will be present for Miami too. And perhaps even more so. Not only will the team be adjusting to a new offensive scheme, but they will be playing for a rookie head coach as well. McDaniel could jump out and be an overnight success, but this is the Dolphins after all, and we can expect some struggles out of the gate. Luckily for Tua Tagovailoa and company, there aren’t many places to go other than up.
Oh. There are the Jets, too.