The 2022 NFL preseason is rapidly approaching, with team practices growing more intense by the day. Coming off an offseason for the ages that changed not only the complexion of individual teams but both the AFC and NFC as a whole. Many things will look quite different from a season ago. It’s the perfect time for the fourth annual edition of Three Burning Questions. As in years past, this 32-part series will look at the three most pressing questions facing each of the 32 teams. Here are the Three Burning Questions for the Miami Dolphins.
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No More Excuses for Tua?
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is entering his third NFL season. The former first-round pick has had an up-and-down first pair of campaigns. The team is sticking with their investment, at least for now. To give their signal-caller more firepower to succeed, they went out and got him an elite, playmaker wide receiver. Tyreek Hill brought his talents to South Beach on an astronomical deal. Combining Hill with last season’s rookie receiver Jaylen Waddle, who showed his own playmaking abilities in spurts, gives Tua two great weapons. If the offensive line can protect him, Tagovailoa could put up passing numbers that Dolphins fans haven’t seen since Dan Marino was under center. If he falters, backup veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will surely be ready.
Can the Defense Keep Them in Games?
The Dolphins defense as a whole was middle of the pack last season. Their run defense was in the top ten. In a division where the favorite to win it, the Buffalo Bills, have a more efficient passing game as opposed to the run, so this has to be an area of concern. Not to mention their schedule includes the air attacks of the Minnesota Vikings, the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Cincinnati Bengals. Free-agent addition Melvin Ingram will help the front seven in pass-rush situations and give the secondary opportunities to win in coverage.
Can They Contend in the AFC East?
Last season’s 9-8 record was only good enough for third place in the AFC East. New head coach Mike McDaniel, who was the offensive coordinator for Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers last season, will likely incorporate some of his tendencies in Miami. The Dolphins added firepower to their running game. They added former Arizona Cardinals back Chase Edmonds and former Los Angeles Rams running back Sony Michel. Additionally, they signed a familiar face to McDaniel and to their fans, Raheem Mostert. Mostert has been a quality back but struggled to stay healthy in his five seasons with the 49ers. Despite the now crowded running back room, the biggest addition was former Las Vegas Raiders fullback, Alec Ingold. Expect to see him utilized the way Kyle Juszczyk has been in San Francisco.
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