What to watch for in the Miami Dolphins first regular season game

Miami Dolphins cheerleaders Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports
Miami Dolphins cheerleaders Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Dolphins new era of football begins today at 1:00 when they host the New England Patriots. There is plenty to watch inside of the game.

Mike McDaniel arrived at Hard Rock Stadium this morning with his Starbucks coffee in hand. Now, he has to hope his game plan against Bill Belichick will get him the first win of his young HC career.

Miami has the better team on paper but can they put it all together? Can they make a statement? What will learn from McDaniel on this first NFL Sunday of 2022?

Miami’s offense

We have heard so much about McDaniel’s desire to run the ball. In his press conference earlier in the week, he said he would love to run it 20-30 times a game. To do that would mean Miami is succeeding but the offensive line needs to click for that to happen.

McDaniel could be bringing smash-mouth football back to Miami. The running game has been one of the worst in the league since Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown were on the roster. At best, the running game has been inconsistent.

Today, we will get a good look at where this running game is. How they have developed. The Patriots’ defensive front is good and if Miami can find success in the running game, it will be a good sign of what this season could hold.

Miami’s defense

Josh Boyer time. We have talked about this all off-season. Was it Brian Flores or Josh Boyer? A combination maybe? What will Boyer do differently, better, or worse? We will find that out as well. More importantly, we will find out what Nik Needham can do on the outside filling in for Byron Jones.

Miami’s secondary corners are a mess right now. Inexperience, youth, injuries, and so on have depleted depth on the unit but today, they have to step up and play well.

Boyer will also need to get pressure on Mac Jones while also focusing on stopping the Patriots’ rushing attack, something we may see a lot of today.

Tyreek Hill

Dolphins fans have suffered for several years watching Tua Tagovailoa throw to Mack Hollins, DeVante Parker when he was healthy, and a myriad of other castoffs that were more consistent in being banged up than being consistent in their play.

Jaylen Waddle stood out last year but starting today, we will see one of the best receiving units that Miami has put together in over a decade plus. Hill, Waddle, Gesicki, Wilson, Jr., Ezukanma, and even Trent Sherfield and River Cracraft who was elevated to the 53 on Saturday.

Hill, however, is the eye candy that Miami fans are dying to see. His speed has been incredible in camp and in Kansas City now, the “Cheetah” is in Miami swimming with the Dolphins. Regardless of whether the play goes his way, his impact on the game plan will be noticeable.

Rookie mistakes

As we said, McDaniel is coaching his first game and we can expect some out-of-the-gate mistakes. McDaniel needs to limit his mistakes just as much as his offense needs to limit pre-snap penalties.

Whether it is throwing a challenge flag on a bad play or calling a timeout at the wrong time or even overconfidence in his play calling, Bill Belichick will take advantage of it.