The Miami Dolphins will once again be without their starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa against the New York Jets this week.
Teddy Bridgewater is listed as questionable while I am writing this article and reports have come out that Skylar Thompson has been taking snaps with the first team offense.
As of right now, I would bet on Thompson being the starter against the Jets.
So that is the perspective I am going to write this from. What do the Dolphins need to do on offense to be effective while Thompson is playing quarterback?
It really comes down to two things. The most important of these two things is they need to run the football… a lot.
Anytime you have a backup quarterback or a quarterback who is limited a consistent run game makes it much easier on them.
One of the big reasons why I was excited when the Dolphins hired Mike McDaniel was that he had a major background in running the football. I know that the Dolphins have thrown it all over the field this year, but looking at McDaniel’s history, he knows how to run the ball.
There have been glimpses this year where the Dolphins have ran the ball well. The game on the road against Buffalo, against the Ravens, against the Steelers, against the Lions, and against the Browns.
Do you know what all of those games have in common?
The Dolphins won every one of those games except for the game against the Buffalo Bills, and they were in a good position to win that one.
Running the ball effectively has to be a top priority for the Dolphins. They did not go get Jeff Wilson Jr. at the trade deadline for nothing. Run the football and make Thompson’s life easier.
The other piece of this puzzle is to get Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle the ball in space where they can create and make plays. The Dolphins are in the bottom half of the league when it comes to yards after the catch.
With Tua at quarterback that makes sense. He has great anticipation skills to throw the ball into tight windows down the field, but with Thompson at quarterback that skill basically disappears.
So, McDaniel is going to have to find a way to allow Hill and Waddle to make big plays after the catch.
So much of the Dolphins’ offense comes off of big plays in the pass game. With Thompson at quarterback it is going to be harder to make those plays by throwing the ball 10, 15, 20 yards down the field.
Those big plays are going to have to come off of a five yard slant to Waddle where he makes a guy miss then runs for another 30 yards.
Over the past few years we have seen the San Francisco 49ers system create a lot of yards after the catch opportunities. I expect the Dolphins to run a similar style offense this week to allow those opportunities to happen.
Right now the Dolphins offense stretches teams vertically. That is why there have been more big plays and less yards after the catch. Meanwhile, the 49ers stretch teams horizontally which allows for more yards after the catch and less big plays down the field.
I hope to see the Dolphins go to more of a 49ers styled offense this week. That will help them move the ball down the field through the air.
The goals this week are simple: run the ball and get Waddle and Hill the ball in space. If they Dolphins do those things they should win and give themselves a shot at the playoffs.