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Dolphins Mid-Season Review

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wide receiver Tyreek Hill take the field for their game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday in Miami Gardens. (John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

Halfway through the NFL season, Miami Dolphins fans are celebrating the team’s record of 6-3. Although the most recent game the Dolphins played resulted in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Germany, there is still plenty to be proud of.

The Dolphins’ strong record is impressive, even more when considering the injuries that key players like offensive tackle Terron Armstead and defensive back Jalen Ramsey sustained this season. 

The team has persevered through these struggles with All-Pro wide receiver, Tyreek Hill taking the helm. Hill leads the NFL this season in touchdowns and receiving yards, having accumulated 1,076 yards and eight touchdowns. 

Hill isn’t the Dolphins’ only offensive weapon, the team also has veteran running back 31-year-old Raheem Mostert who is having a breakout year, leading the league with 11 rushing touchdowns. Alongside Hill and Mostert, there is third-year wide receiver Jaylen Waddle who has shown flashes of being a star in this league. He uses his speed to blow past defenders, and although he has dealt with injuries, he remains as dangerous as ever, including in week eight against the Dolphins division rival New England Patriots, when Waddle gained 121 yards and a touchdown.

 Something these amazing players have in common is speed. Specifically, Olympic-level track speed. The Dolphins utilize speed as the foundation of their offense, including in their pre-snap motion. If Hill and Waddle are not available, the Dolphins use their improved offensive line to block for Mostert to run through the offensive gaps. 

  All of this success would not have happened if not for two things: the improvement of the quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, and the improvement of the offensive line. Last year, Tagovailoa had many ups and downs, including multiple concussions and passing struggles. Also, the Dolphins’ offensive line allowed Tagovailoa to get sacked 21 times last season. Both of these problems are fixed with the offensive line better protecting Tagovailoa and him being very consistent in his passing.

While the offense gets most of the attention, the Dolphins’ defense is not far behind talent-wise. Even though they are ranked the 12th-best defense in the NFL, the Dolphins have young stars like safety Jevon Holland and edge rusher Jalen Phillips along with veteran players who have proven their talent including Jalen Ramsey and Bradley Chubb. 

There are studs on both sides of the ball, but to top it off, head coach Mike McDaniel has been labeled as a mad scientist with his schemes. He uses the speed of the team and the talent to run teams out of the water, all while sounding like an 11-year-old playing Madden. 

Mike McDaniel, head coach of the Miami Dolphins, speaks to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) on the sideline in the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Deutsche Bank Park on Nov. 5, 2023, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Alex Grimm/Getty Images/TNS)

So the Dolphins have gone through good times recently but there are some problems: the Dolphins have not beaten a team that has a winning record since the third game of last season. This has led to them being called “frauds” as people think they feed off of horrible teams like the Broncos, who they beat 70-20.

The other problem is the injuries as mentioned before. Many key players have missed time which leads to bad chemistry which eventually leads to bad performance. If the Dolphins want to win the AFC this year they need to get healthy and start beating winning teams they might see in the playoffs. 

The Dolphins will get a chance to prove themselves in the last two weeks of the season when they play the Ravens in Week 17 and the Bills in Week 18. These are two winning teams that the Dolphins will most likely see in the playoffs. Before these games however, they will partake in easy competition playing the Jets twice, the Raiders who just fired their head coach, and the Titans who started to come back to life after former Dolphin quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, was benched in favor of the rookie, Will Levis. 

The Dolphins will have to continue to deal with adversity as they try to prove themselves as true contenders in this league and continue to chase their Super Bowl aspirations. We will see how the second half of the season goes, but to achieve their goals the offense will need to continue to use the speed the team possesses. Hopefully, the defense will raise themselves to another level.  All of this however can not be achieved without staying healthy so let’s hope we get back to full strength before the playoffs.

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