There’s been a lot debate whether or not the Dolphins had a profitable season. They went 9-8 within the common season and earned their first playoff berth since 2016 earlier than dropping their wild-card playoff sport at Buffalo, 34-31, final weekend.
That’s yr contemplating Las Vegas bookmakers had the over/below win complete at 8.5 victories.
On the opposite hand, when the Dolphins had been 8-3, some thought-about the playoff berth a given and the query was whether or not the Dolphins had been able to win a playoff sport and probably advance additional.
Well, it turns on the market was a studying curve for rookie coach Mike McDaniel, which is why there was a five-game dropping streak kicked off by an eye-opening 23-17 loss at San Francisco that noticed the Dolphins’ offense go from broadly feared to just about feckless.
The actuality is the Dolphins had been most likely at all times a nine-win crew, and whereas the way in which they obtained there was surprising, dropping 5 of their final six video games total reveals they performed to expectations.
The Dolphins had been 2-5 in opposition to playoff groups and 4-5 in opposition to groups that completed over .500.
In different phrases, the Dolphins are what their file says they’re — a crew that was solely barely higher than .500.
Here’s a breakdown of the Dolphins’ 2022 season:
Pass sport: B-
Let’s begin with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who accomplished 259 of 400 passes for 3,548 yards and 25 touchdowns, with eight interceptions and a league-best 105.5 passer ranking. He was fairly good early and disappointing late. The Dolphins wanted a robust end, however limped down the stretch with key losses in opposition to San Francisco and the Los Angeles Chargers. The first three quarters of the Green Bay residence loss additionally was a battle (granted, Tagovailoa was probably concussed within the fourth quarter). If you are taking away Tagovailoa’s finest and worst performances — the fourth quarter in opposition to Baltimore and the fourth quarter in opposition to Green Bay, respectively — he had good performances early within the season in opposition to good groups, nice performances in the midst of the season in opposition to dangerous and so-so groups, and lackluster performances late within the season in opposition to one other group of fine groups. In his final 4 begins, all losses, he had six touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Tagovailoa, who was twentieth in completion % (64.8 %), should be higher subsequent season.
The spotlight of the passing sport was All Pro vast receiver Tyreek Hill (119 receptions, 1,710 yards, seven touchdowns), who established franchise data for receptions and yards. Fellow vast receiver Jaylen Waddle (75 receptions, 1,356 yards, eight touchdowns) had his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. Tight finish Mike Gesicki (32 receptions, 362 yards, 5 touchdowns) had a quiet season, but it surely wasn’t his fault.
Pass safety, led by Pro Bowl left sort out Terron Armstead, was respectable. The Dolphins allowed 35 sacks, tied for twenty fourth within the league.
Run sport: C-
The Dolphins had been second-to-last in speeding makes an attempt (390/22.9 per sport), twenty fifth in speeding yards (1,686/99.2 per sport) and tied for nineteenth in yards per try (4.3). Running backs Raheem Mostert (891 yards, three touchdowns, 4.9 yards per carry) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (392 yards, three touchdowns, 4.7 yards per carry) had been comparatively efficient after they had the alternatives. And getting extra alternatives falls on McDaniel, who’s the play-caller. The Dolphins had been tied for twenty first in yards earlier than contact per carry (2.6) and tied for thirteenth in yards after contact per carry (1.7). But give the operating backs credit score for operating arduous. They had been tied for eleventh in damaged tackles (25).
Pass protection: C
Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard (one interception) didn’t have yr, which was seemingly largely as a result of groin accidents and the absence of fellow cornerback Byron Jones (decrease leg surgical procedure in March). Fortunately, undrafted rookie cornerback Kader Kohou (one interception, 72 tackles, fifth on crew) was excellent. But accidents to security Brandon Jones (knee) and nickel cornerback Nik Needham (Achilles) had been crippling for the secondary. The cross rush trio of Jaelan Phillips (7.0 sacks), Bradley Chubb (8.0 sacks, 2.5 sacks with Dolphins), and Melvin Ingram (6.0 sacks) was good, however nothing particular. Linebacker Elandon Robert (4.5 sacks) was sneaky good on this space as was linebacker Jerome Baker (4.0 sacks). There had been additionally contributions from defensive tackles Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler (3.5 sacks apiece). Still, huge enchancment is required. The Dolphins’ eight interceptions ranked twenty ninth, and their 40 sacks had been tied for 14th. We’ll see whether or not defensive coordinator Josh Boyer returns.
Run protection: B+
Wilkins (career-best 98 tackles) and Sieler (career-best 70 tackles) had been excellent up entrance and linebackers Roberts (team-best 107 tackles) and Baker (100 tackles) and security Jevon Holland (96 tackles) had been good behind them. The Dolphins had been No. 4 within the league in run protection (103 yards per sport). Give credit score to Boyer, defensive position coach Austin Clark, linebackers coach Anthony Campanile and out of doors linebackers coach Ty McKenzie, amongst others. It seems the run protection was so good it pressured groups to cross, and with the injury-depleted secondary struggling to seek out an efficient enjoying type, properly, the protection obtained uncovered. But the excellent news is a lot of the key run-stoppers must be again subsequent season.
Special groups: D+
Kicker Jason Sanders wasn’t dangerous, however he wasn’t good. Sanders was 26 of 32 on area aim makes an attempt (81.3 %, thirtieth in league) however simply 2 of 6 from 50 yards or extra (33.3%, twenty eighth in league). Thomas Morstead was tied for twenty first (46.4 yards per punt) in punting, however tied for ninth in punts contained in the 20-yard line (28). The return sport was nothing nice as Mostert was thirtieth in kickoff returns (20.1 yards per return) and punt returner Cedrick Wilson (7.5 yards per return) would have ranked twenty first if his 13 punt returns had been sufficient returns to qualify for the league leaders. As for punt and kickoff protection, the Dolphins weren’t something particular. Special groups coordinator Danny Crossman’s job is believed to be in jeopardy.
McDaniel did job total. He was a darling early within the season earlier than dropping 5 of six video games with a playoff berth on the road and 6 of seven total. Yeah, there have been accidents to take care of, however opponents found out his offensive technique and McDaniel had no reply. It’s factor the protection was there to maintain video games pretty shut down the stretch. McDaniel was a rookie and it confirmed late within the season with clock administration and getting performs to the huddle rapidly and decisively. But crew spirit remained excessive all year long, even throughout the five-game dropping streak, and gamers appeared to love McDaniel, the diminutive, wise-cracking offensive whiz child who believes strongly in constructive reinforcement versus yelling and cursing at gamers.
If you thought this was a 10- or 11-win crew, you may give McDaniel a decrease grade as a result of the season was a slight disappointment, particularly contemplating they had been as soon as 8-3. But in the event you thought this was an eight- or nine-win crew, McDaniel did barely higher than anticipated. And the identical goes for the crew.