Can the Dolphins regain their opportunistic touch in 2023?

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers
Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers / Harry How/GettyImages

The Miami Dolphins finished 9-8 this past season, the second consecutive year the team posted that record. This time around, it resulted in the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2016. Mike McDaniel’s club put up a valiant effort against the rival Bills in the wild card round but fell short, 34-31.

In that contest, the Dolphins fell behind 17-0 early in the second quarter but rallied to make things tough on the AFC East champions. McDaniel’s offensive unit gained only 231 total yards and scored just two touchdowns with rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson at the controls. Miami came up with three takeaways in the game, one of those a fumble return for a score.

That’s somewhat ironic that the club managed to force the Bills into three turnovers and failed to come up with a victory. Miami managed to force exactly three turnovers in regular-season clashes with the Patriots, Steelers and Texans and came up victorious each time.

Here’s the rub. McDaniel’s club struggled to force the opposition into mistakes for the vast majority of this past season. The Dolphins were tied for next-to-last in the league (with the Saints) with a mere 14 takeaways, just one more than the Las Vegas Raiders (13). There were eight interceptions and six opponent fumble recoveries.

It was quite the drop-off for a club that forced 26 turnovers the previous year and led the NFL with 29 takeaways in 2020. The Dolphins failed to force at least one turnover in nine of their 17 regular-season contests this past season.

Of course, there’s been a change at defensive coordinator for the club with the addition of veteran coach Vic Fangio this offseason. If the team can do a better job of coming up with opponent miscues as well as take better care of the football themselves, this could be a very dangerous team in 2023.