The Miami Dolphins began a massive rebuild for its organization in the offseason prior to the 2019 season and they’re not done. After Brian Flores cleaned house and accumulated a plethora of new players he made more organizational moves just 24 hours after Miami’s season finale win in New England.
OC Chad O’Shea’s performance not to my NFL standard
Flores fired offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea in the first day of the offseason. I feel a huge part of that dealt with O’Shea’s failure to be able to utilize any part of a running game. In his defense however, O’Shea had Kenyan Drake, Kalen Ballage, Mark Walton, Patrick Laird, Myles Gaskin, De’Lance Turner and Samaje Perine on the roster at some point in 2019. Drake, Ballage, Walton and Laird also all started games at one point in time across the 16 games. Furthermore, Miami also struggled with its starting quarterback until week seven. The Dolphins saw both veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and second-year man Josh Rosen appear in the first six games.
However, Miami finished last in the NFL in rushing offense. It averaged just 72.2 yards per game and only attempted 349 rushes during the season. This averages out roughly to 21 per game and includes QB scrambles. No other team in the league attempted fewer rushes than the Dolphins.
Some of that is the blame of the backs, and one could argue the reconstructed offensive line as well. However, as an offensive coordinator at the highest level I feel as though there should have been more answers and more production.
Bringing Chan Gailey out of retirement: A+
With O’Shea’s firing, Flores and Miami hired long-time NFL coach and coordinator Chan Gailey out of retirement. I wouldn’t say at least one of my eyebrows didn’t raise with this hire, but upon further examination I support it.
Miami signed Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal, not a one-year deal. In Gailey’s last five years of coaching (Buffalo Bills, New York Jets), Fitzpatrick was his QB. In Gailey and Fitzpatrick’s two years together with the Jets, Fitzpatrick threw for a combined 6,615 yards. Fitzpatrick played for four different organizations for two years each and his time with the Jets was by far his most successful stint. His time with Gailey in New York nearly doubled his passing totals with the next closest team (Tampa Bay Buccaneers). He threw for 3,469 yards with the Bucs, 1,905 with the Cincinnati Bengals and 777 with the St. Louis Rams.
Bringing in a familiar face on offense for Fitzpatrick, who will likely be the starting QB of 2020 for a majority of the season (if not all), even if Miami drafts a QB sets them up for success.
Aside from Fitzpatrick, Gailey can help WR core
Gailey will also come in to work with growing receivers like he has in numerous places throughout his career. Wide receiver DeVante Parker took off in his fifth year in the 2019 season, but the Dolphins will likely build with second-year man Preston Williams and have a question mark at the No. 3 spot. That spot could be filled by either Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns, Jakeem Grant, Isaiah Ford or 2020 Draft pick.
In his career, Gailey has been the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys (1998-99) and Bills (2010-12). He also coordinated the offense for five different NFL teams, including the Dolphins in 2000-01 (NFL.com).
Josh Boyer’s internal promotion fits organization scheme
On the defensive side of the ball, Miami promoted Josh Boyer to defensive coordinator. The move comes after the Dolphins gave former DC Patrick Graham permission to seek other coordinator positions with other teams in the league. Once Graham decided to make his move to the New York Giants, Flores took less than 24 hours to name Boyer to his new role.
Boyer followed Flores to Miami from the Patriots and served as the cornerbacks and defensive pass game coordinator for the Dolphins last season. He has worked with Flores for 13 seasons previously in New England, and is reported to be continuing the same scheme Miami used last season on defense going forward. He will be the sixth new defensive coordinator for the Dolphins in the last six seasons.
Dolphins struggled in pass, rush defense
Miami finished 26th overall in pass defense to end the season after starting as low as last in the league (32nd) and as high as 19th in the league. It allowed an average of 262 yards per game, 39 total touchdowns and intercepted 13 passes. The 39 passing scores were last in the league. The Dolphins also finished 27th in the league in rush defense, allowing an average of 135 yards per game on the ground and 15 rushing scores on the year. Their 30.3 rush attempts allowed per game were third last, just in front of the Washington Redskins (30.8) and the Bengals (31.5).
Gailey, Boyer hires help Miami
After a 0-7 start however, including two obliterations in the first two weeks with a -92 point differential, Miami finished 5-11 and showed major improvements on offense and defense. The moves to bring in Gailey and promote Boyer, who either have player chemistry or scheme understanding, I feel, without a doubt, will continue sending the Dolphins in the right direction.