If Mike McDaniel has any say in the shaping of the Miami Dolphins this year and next, we could see a shift to an NFC West style of play in the AFC East.
The NFC West has been one of the top divisions in the NFL for quite a while now. Five of the last 10 Super Bowl games have featured an NFC West team. Three over the last four years. This is the era of the new guard vs. the old. While Pete Carroll still holds court in Seattle, the 49ers are run by Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay runs the Rams, and Kliff Kinsgbury is in control of the Cardinals.
They all feature fast offensive systems that combine electric plays that are built for chunk yards utilizing the physicality and speed of the players while beefing up their lines to run the ball. Defensively, they are physical and attacking.
Miami has a physical defense that has looked good the last two seasons but offensively, the Dolphins have been stagnant for years.
It isn’t just the aggressiveness on the field. NFC West teams are aggressive in free agency as well as making trades. The Rams threw out their future draft picks fo Matt Stafford. The 49ers threw theirs out to Miami to get their QB of the future, the Cardinals have made moves as well.
In his first off-season with the Dolphins, Mike McDaniel has managed to convince Chris Grier to be aggressive. They spent big on Terron Armstead, the consensus top NFL FA this year. They traded five draft picks for one of the best WRs in the NFL, Tyreek Hill.
These moves may or may not get Miami to the post season or to the Super Bowl but they are aggressive and look more like what an NFC team would do rather than a team in the AFC East where the Bills tend to be the only team that spends big on free agents.
Under Brian Flores, the Dolphins were nowhere near as aggressive. While they pursued Deshaun Watson, they didn’t close that deal. They made moves but quickly departed from them a year later. Miami was intent to build their roster from the draft and mid-tier free agents as depth. Under one off-season of Mike McDaniel, the Dolphins approach seems to be different. It’s fast, just like the speed they have added on the field.