The Miami Dolphins will kick off the 2021 NFL Season on the road against the New England Patriots. This would be followed by the home opener against the Buffalo Bills.
Wait, I’ve seen this movie before. The Dolphins started off the 2020 season the same way. Miami lost both games, which set them behind in the race for the AFC East early on.
Well, after a bunch of bloopers and missteps, the directors have made some changes. The lead actor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, will be replaced by the understudy, Tua Tagovailoa, this time around. The rest of the supporting cast will also look much different. On offense, Tua will be joined by Will Fuller, college teammate Jaylen Waddle, a rebuilt offensive line, and others. Not to mention, fan favorites DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki are back. On defense, Jaelan Phillips, Jevon Holland, and Benardrick McKinney are joining Xavien Howard and Byron Jones which will definitely give viewers something to watch for.
“I’d say in every aspect – getting to the line of scrimmage, getting that order of operation down, my cadence, pre-snap reads, my post-snap reads,” Tagovailoa said. “Just the whole shebang with that. I felt I wasn’t comfortable during my rookie year. So I’m just working on a lot of those things in Year 2 to be better.”
It makes sense that Tua wasn’t comfortable. Not only was he a rookie, but he was also recovering from an injury and had the unconventional COVID-19 offseason. A point often overlooked is that this was also Fitzpatrick’s offense. Fitzpatrick was in his second year with Miami at the time and was paired with a familiar face, Chan Gailey, as his offensive coordinator.
This year, the offense has been built around Tua. Ultimately, the offensive coaching staff, players, and scheme have all been influenced in a way to accentuate his strengths.
That’s a Wrap
It’s a long season. A season that is made even longer with the additional game. On the positive side, if the Dolphins falter out of the gates again, there is time to make it up. On the negative side, the season is made even longer with a trip to London and a late bye-week.
Miami cannot afford to come out of the gates the same way as last year. The Bills have a soft backend of the season, so falling two games back of the division might be insurmountable.
Also, winning cures everything. There has been some doubt cast on Tagovailoa being the guy. Those doubts seem to be mainly from people outside of the Dolphins circle. Nonetheless, if Miami and more importantly Tua doesn’t come out with better results this time around, those doubts could start to arise internally.
In any event, Tagovailoa is doing his part to make sure the Dolphins get it right this time. Don’t take my word for it, check out what head coach Brian Flores had to say.
“Good. He’s clearly been working hard this offseason,” Flores said. “Not only that, but he’s done a good job as far as when we weren’t here at the facility, grabbing guys. He had a group of receivers that were meeting at I don’t know what field somewhere, but twice a week. [They were] throwing routes.
“Again, building that timing that we just talked about, building that timing, building that rapport, building that chemistry, I think he’s done a good job from a leadership standpoint in that respect, away from the facility or when we were away from the facility. Physically, he’s in a good place.”
Get excited, Dolphins fans, by all accounts, this team will be fun to watch.