The Miami Dolphins can give Tua Tagovailoa a boost with better play from the offensive line – the NFL Nation

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MIAMI – Addressing the offensive line has apparently become an annual turning point in the low season for the Miami Dolphins.

And new O-line coach Matt Applebaum was reminded at a news conference Wednesday that the device has long been a “concern”. His the answer was concise.

“Yes, I’ve been told that,” he said.

The Dolphins owned the league’s worst pass block win rate last season, winning only 46.6% of their matchups, according to NFL Next Gen statistics. For reference, Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams led the NFL in that category with 68.4%. The Dolphins’ inability to hold blocks changed the way quarterback Tua Tagovailoa played his game.

Despite Miami’s low win rate, Tagovailoa was fired with the 10th lowest rate in the NFL last season (4.7% of his relapses). He was hit by 26.6% of his dropbacks and faced a pressure of 27.1%, the 22nd lowest and 12th lowest in the league, respectively. Tagovailoa is largely responsible for these numbers, given that his average throwing time (2.52 seconds) was the fourth fastest in the league, and only two QBs spent less time in the pocket on average than his 2.27 seconds per dropback.

The speed with which Tagovailoa had to throw directly affected his average goal depth. His 6.92 average airyards per. attempts ranked as the eighth lowest in the league, and his 10.09 average yards per. completion was seventh lowest.

But it was in Miami old insulted. The new one, designed by first-year coach Mike McDaniel and offensive coordinator Frank Smith, is likely to have a heavy zone-blocking scheme that uses the run to create the pass – something this team was not equipped to do last season (30th in rushing yards in 2021) . With McDaniel as their running game coordinator (2017-20) and offensive coordinator (2021), the San Francisco 49ers ranked 11th in the league in rushing yards since 2017 and sixth in total offensive.

“Every single year, people call our scheme so creative, but we actually just adapt,” he said. “We adapt to defense. We adapt to our players. We evolve all the time. And I think that’s important, and I think it’s a winning formula. I think it puts players in a position to get success and that is the key drive for the scheme.

“And that’s why it’s less like trying to be creative for creative sake. It’s more about solving problems in different ways and having different tools and abilities to do it.”

The Dolphins will have to solve their problems on the offensive line by 2022, but luckily for them, they have more than $ 60 million in salary cap to help do that.

McDaniel’s first step towards strengthening the line was to hire Applebaum and Smith – both of whom have a history of developing offensive linemen. Miami used top-100 draft picks on four of its five starters along the offensive line, and Liam Eichenberg, Austin Jackson, Michael Deiter and Robert Hunt are likely all likely to have the opportunity to develop further under this regime.

Jesse Davis, the Dolphins’ starting right tackle last season, could probably benefit from a change of scenery after finishing 160th in the pass block win rate among 170 qualified linemen. Instead of replacing him in the draft, the Dolphins should do so through free agency. Experienced tackles like Terron Armstead, Cam Robinson and Trent Brown are well within the Dolphins’ price range, as is guard Brandon Scherff, whose McDaniel & Co. wants to move Jackson or Hunt back to tackle.

Based on what they have said publicly, the Dolphins are all-in on Tagovailoa in 2022. But last season, he missed the best part of six games and the first half of a seventh due to various injuries. The best way for Miami to protect its investment in Tagovailoa is to literally protect its investment.

Playmakers make the headlines, and the dolphins definitely need a few more of them. But without proper protection and time to cast, Tagovailoa is destined for yet another effective, albeit unspectacular, season.

As McDaniel put it:

“I’ve actually never seen a quarterback win a football game alone. He needs someone to throw to. He’d better not be tackled before throwing, so someone better block.”


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