The Miami Dolphins made a bold move when they traded a slew of draft picks for Tyreek Hill and while it is exciting, it hurt Mike McDaniel.
Over his career as a coach, McDaniel has been a run-oriented type of coach and handled that job in San Francisco. This year he was expected to bring that running game to Miami…he didn’t succeed. One of the reasons could be due to Tyreek Hill.
Hill is an incredible athlete and if he is on your offense, he needs to be involved as much as possible. For the Dolphins, they may have used him too much. Not that you will hear Hill complain about that.
Hill has been targeted 165 times through 16 games this season. He has 117 receptions for 1,687 yards. Career totals for Hill. It’s hard not to get the ball into the hands of your best playmaker but it comes with a cost. In this case, that cost was the running game.
Opposing teams forced Miami to try and run the ball and focused their attention on Hill and Jaylen Waddle. This should have been an easy game plan for McDaniel and his rushing attack but when the game turned into the late 3rd and 4th quarters, McDaniel seemed to abandon a rushing game, at times when it was working.
Miami was horrible on third down, especially over the last five weeks. In many cases, the Dolphins were in position to pick up third and short situations but threw the ball instead. These are rookie HC mistakes and McDaniel clearly was trying to catch defenses off-guard but in most cases, it didn’t work.
The commitment to Hill keeps him happy but the Dolphins and McDaniel will need to reassess this this after the season or by the first playoff game should they beat the Jets on Sunday. Miami has to be more balanced to consistently win and that has not been the case this year.
Miami has rushed 358 times compared to 553 passing attempts for a 40% to 60% split. To put this into a different context, it would make more sense if the Dolphins were playing from behind most of the season but they were not.
In 2023, McDaniel has to find a way to balance his offense and if that comes with Hill catching fewer balls, then so be it. The Dolphins need to win and balance will not only provide a better opportunity to do it, it will also open up bigger plays for Hill downfield. In that situation it might just be win-win.
McDaniel had the flashy new toy this year for the Dolphins and it was exciting to watch but at 8-8, the luster isn’t what it was when the Dolphins were 8-3, and no, there are no regrets for trading for Hill. Miami got this one right.