The Miami Dolphins offensive line was bad last year and for most of the last five years but there is a simple fix and the Dolphins seem to be implementing that fix.
Earlier today I wrote about the fact the Dolphins still have work to do with their offensive line. The additions of Armstead and Williams surely help but there are still questions. After I hit the publish button I couldn’t stop thinking about this problem.
The one thing that kept creeping into my head was the question of whether or not the issues are personnel or scheme. I’m tending to wonder if the combination of the two will be solved more with the latter than the former.
We know that there are questions with Eichenberg and Jackson but we can’t discount the fact that Miami has gone through four offensive line coaches in three years. We can’t discount the fact that Miami has undergone change at the offensive coordinator position each of the past four seasons.
Continuity aside, we could argue the fact that Miami’s offense has not had an actual “scheme” no plan. They had a playbook that said this guy blocks that guy and that guy blocks this guy. That was it.
We have yet to see Mike McDaniel implement anything offensively but if we are to believe what he is saying, the Dolphins will have a system in place that will put the players into schemes that fit their talent and abilities. If he can make that work, Miami’s offensive line may become a strength instead of a weakness.
Terron Armstead and Connor Williams will help but a new scheme and system should also bring an actual change to blocking assignments and thus new coaching techniques that have probably been missing the last few years.
If we consider the history since 2017, the Dolphins have not had a system. They haven’t had a consistent scheme offensively. You could say it was a “throw the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks” type of offense.
Since 2017, a span of five years, Miami has had six offensive coordinators including last year’s two-OC approach. They have had six offensive line coaches including the one fired two weeks into the 2019 training camp.
This year, Miami will have new coaches at each of those spots again but there should be much more continuity coming. McDaniel himself will write the script offensively and Frank Smith is a qualified coach who will take over his first job as an OC but for the Oline, the addition of Matt Applebaum could be the catalyst. He is more than qualified to run the line and has done it well both at the NFL and college levels.
One question sits with McDaniel himself. Can he implement a system that changes the narrative on offense? Can he stop the bleeding along the offensive line and the annual changes to the OC and Oline coaching staff? If he can do that, the Dolphins will find themselves challenging for the AFC East.
He has one thing going for him that Adam Gase and Brian Flores never had. He has a designed plan that isn’t predicated on someone else doing it. Flores couldn’t fix the offense because he didn’t want to do it. He left it to others, over and over again. Gase couldn’t fix it because he thought his playbook was all that was needed. McDaniel? He seems to have an idea of what he wants to see on the field. Now he needs to deploy it.