For some NFL franchises, making the playoffs is the minimum expectation come the end of the campaign. For others, simply qualifying for the postseason is considered to be a huge achievement.
Once upon a time, the Miami Dolphins fell into the former category – two-time Super Bowl champions in the 1970s, they made seven playoff appearances in that decade alone and 19 in all between 1970 and 1999.
And since then, well, success has been rather harder to come by.
The Dolphins haven’t made a postseason appearance in six years and only once in 14 have they contested the playoff action. They have been hindered by the prominence of AFC East rivals Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots, and the situation doesn’t look likely to ease anytime soon given that the Bills are the +600 favorites in the NFL betting for Super Bowl LVII, with the Pats a dangerous outsider at +3300.
But there’s a feeling that this Dolphins roster, aided by a swashbuckling new head coach, has a great shot at ending Miami’s absence from the postseason activity, and at +130 to reach the playoffs they are surely one of the more appetizing wagering opportunities ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
McDaniel’s Offensive Pedigree
The 2021 season was a mixed bag for the Dolphins, who swept aside the Patriots for the first time in two decades and at one point registered a seven-game winning streak – their first since 1985.
But the jury was out on whether former head coach Brian Flores could really push Miami to new heights, and his dismissal in January – after the Dolphins missed out on the playoffs with a 9-8 record – was perhaps no great surprise.
Into the breach comes Mike McDaniel, who despite holding coaching positions in the NFL for the best part of two decades is yet to take on the main job.
But here’s a guy who has twice contested the Super Bowl as an offensive assistant coach and offensive coordinator, and so he will take a bulging playbook with him to Miami for his first stint as the top dog.
Tyreek Hill: “We’re a young team with a great-looking head coach.” pic.twitter.com/hK62sS0I1h— Daniel Oyefusi (@DanielOyefusi) August 11, 2022
You suspect that McDaniel will have palms sweaty with anticipation at the thought of working alongside Tyreek Hill, who delivered 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns during the regular season for the Chiefs in 2021.
Hill will be the main pass target, of course, but there are other options like wide receiver Mike Gesicki and impressive running back Myles Gaskin, who served up seven touchdowns in what was a breakout season for the 25-year-old.
McDaniel masterminded the offseason recruitment of the fleet-footed Raheem Mostert, and while he comes into 2022-23 on the back of a career-threatening injury, reports from preseason are that he is back to his speedy best – he had a ten TD campaign as recently as 2019 with the 49ers.
With the pieces of the puzzle falling into place in the offensive line, and a defense that was rock-solid in the second half of 2021-22, the Dolphins have plenty of reasons to be optimistic this term. This could be the year they down the Pats and join the Bills in the playoff picture.
Image from: BroBible