How Tyreek Hill could become Deebo Samuel of the Miami Dolphins

Of Eric D. Williams
FOX Sports NFL writer

New Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel has already done so.

One of the main reasons McDaniel got the job was because he is considered one of the rising offensive minds in the NFL. The Dolphins expect him to get the most out of the Miami bout, led by third year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

“Swaggy, this is what I have to say about coach Mike,” Tagovailoa told reporters. “I call him Mystic Mac. Just like Conor McGregor, this guy loves making predictions. But the respect he has in the locker room is tremendous. The boys love him.”

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McDaniel has worked in the same offensive system since he was hired at 22 just out of Yale as an intern coach for Mike Shanahan’s Denver Broncos in 2005. The following year, he became an offensive assistant with the Houston Texans, working for the Houston Texans. coach Gary Kubiak, who as the Broncos quarterback learned Shanahan’s version of the west coast attack.

While serving as offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers last season, McDaniel worked on designing several ways to get the “back wide” Deebo Samuel football. Samuel finished 1,770 scrimmage yards in 2021, third in the NFL. He had 77 catches for a career record of 1,401 yards in reception, leading the NFL with 18.3 yards per reception.

But what made Samuel unique was his ability to handle football. According to Next Gen Stats, San Francisco lined up Samuel in the backfield with 78 offensive snaps (10%), first among the receivers. He finished with 365 yards in the running and eight touchdowns in the run. McDaniel worked in the second half of the season to find creative ways to get Samuel the ball in the running game.

In March, the Dolphins engineered a successful deal to secure one of the NFL’s most explosive directors in Tyreek Hill, and McDaniel plans to use it in a similar way to what he did with Samuel while he was with the Niners.

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Hill finished with a career record of 111 receptions for 1,239 yards in reception and nine touchdowns last season. According to Next Gen Stats, six-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, Hill’s 2,200 yards post-catch since 2016 are fourth-placed wide catcher in the league.

“From a starting point, both players are great with the ball in hand,” McDaniel told reporters at NFL owners meetings when asked about Hill and Samuel. “So your starting point in regards to where you are trying to accentuate people’s abilities, this is a commonality.

“As for the exact ways we’re going to use Tyreek Hill versus how Deebo Samuel was used in San Francisco, there’s probably going to be some overlap to some degree. But Deebo Samuel has evolved into that role for both circumstances. than for the skill set.

“I don’t expect any difference with Tyreek, where we will start with the fundamentals of receiver position. But I promise we won’t limit that.”

One way to accentuate Hill’s abilities within the Miami attack is to continue developing Tagovailoa’s ability to execute RPO (run-pass option games). The Dolphins performed RPO on 18.7% of their shots last season and contributed to a more consistent attack during the team’s second-half surge, when Miami has won eight of their last nine games. From week 9 onwards, Tagovailoa completed 69% of his passes for 1,613 yards, with nine touchdowns and five interceptions.

His efficiency in last season’s RPOs is an extension of the offense he ran at college in Alabama. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Tagovailoa’s QBR 90.8 on RPO plays from 2018 to 2019 was the third in the nation among callers with at least 50 such attempts.

“He’s a neat quarterback who really knows how to place the ball where he wants to,” McDaniel told reporters last week.

As for Tagovailoa’s accuracy, Hill recently created some controversy when he claimed on his podcast that his new QB is more accurate than his previous one, Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes.

This is up for debate, but McDaniel will be relying on Tagovailoa’s ability to be punctual and in goal with football, which McDaniel said his quarterback has consistently done on the pitch.

“He’s been incredibly trainable,” McDaniel said when asked to work with the quarterback this off-season. “He let his guard down and we were able to keep his confidence in him high, which he should be now for sure, by correcting him and improving his game, which is the ultimate goal for everyone.”

McDaniel said he noticed a change in Tagovailoa’s mental makeup from the time he showed up for off-season work in April until the minicamp ended in June.

Hill said the same thing about his new QB.

“I just feel like football is all about trust,” Hill said. “And I’m very confident in my quarterback. If I can help him get all that trust in the world and push other guys to get that trust in him, then heaven is the limit for that guy because he’s one heck of a talent. He has insane arm strength, talent in his arm. And we’re just thrilled to see him throw the ball every day. “

In addition to Hill, the Dolphins have surrounded Tagovailoa with directors through free will, including running backs Raheem Mostert, Chase Edmonds and Sony Michel and receiver Cedrick Wilson. They also improved the offensive line with the addition of the tackle Terron Armstead and guard Connor Williams.

Those players join a mix of Miami’s already offensive talent, which includes tight end Mike Gesicki and receiver Jaylen Waddle.

Entering the third year, Tagovailoa realizes that she has no more excuses.

“I have been playing football for so long where the standard was set for me at such a young age, with the way my father trained me,” said Tagovailoa. “Back then, even in college, I was more afraid of what my father should have told me after the game than the coach. [Nick] Saban.

“And it’s still kind of like that in the NFL. But for me, I’ve built into my mind that no matter how another manager feels about the way I train or play, I know what I’m capable of.”

Now it’s up to Mystic Mac to get the most out of Tagovailoa and Hill.

Eric D. Williams has been reporting on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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