Count injured Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers among those who admire what head coach/play-caller Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins are doing offensively.
“There [are] elite playcallers and there’s ones that aren’t for sure,” Rodgers said on his regular appearance this week with ESPN’s Pat McAfee.
“...There’s creative things. Everybody runs a lot of the same stuff. There’s creative wrinkles. You look at Miami and what they did. Mike has done a great job down there. Some of the [stuff] that they are running was ‘Wow!’ They ran the same play twice. They ran that no look shovel pass twice for touchdowns. There were a lot of different things they were doing in that game.”
Rodgers said “you have got to mix the creativity, maybe not doing too much and doing enough you can handle with also some base stuff and changing the pace of it.
“Miami is a great example of tailoring your specific offense to exactly what you have personnel wise. You have two of the fastest receivers in the entire league - Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill.
“What they’ve been doing [is] to turn it into as close as you can to the Canadian Football League where you have guys who are getting running starts before the play. Last year a lot of it was side to side. They would start Tyreek on the left and fly him over to the right and get him going.
“Now you’re seen Tyreek maybe in a snug position right off the tackle and then flying off to the left, same side and running a route. It’s ways to stress a defense with that incredible speed and stop and start ability that he and Jaylen have.
“And Tua [Tagovailoa] has been in a really good rhythm to start the season which I’m happy to see because he dealt with some really difficult injury stuff last season.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Great stat from ESPN analytics expert Seth Walder, offered up on X (formerly Twitter):
“In 2017, NFL offenses put a man in motion at the snap 4% of the time. Today, it’s 20%.
“But the 2023 Dolphins? 59% -- the most by anyone since we began tracking in 2017 by a long shot. The Dolphins are averaging 0.16 EPA [expected points added] per play without motion at the snap and 0.50 (!) with it.”
The Dolphins have scored 14 touchdowns on plays when they used pre-snap motion -- six more than any other team.
Here was my in-depth look at the Dolphins’ pre-snap motions and offensive wrinkles and how much players enjoy it.
▪ Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and Bills quarterback Josh Allen -- who meet Sunday in Buffalo (1 p.m., CBS) -- have trash-talked in the past, but Wilkins said there’s positive energy between the two.
“That’s my guy,” Wilkins said. “I love Josh. We’re cool, we’re tight. But no, he’s a heck of a competitor. I love playing against him. He definitely brings the best out of you as a defense, as an individual. His resume speaks for itself. But definitely a heck of a player and we’re going to have to be on it this week as a defense and as a team because they’re a really good team and they play tough and we know them, they know us. There’s no secrets.”
▪ Dolphins edge player Emmanuel Ogbah, who had a sack and interception against Denver, has played only 57 defensive snaps (equal to 26 percent of Miami’s defensive snaps) and admitted this week that “it’s definitely tough” to play limited snaps. “But with the limited role that I have, I try to make the best of my opportunities. That’s what I’m doing.”
Last year, Ogbah attended meetings with the defensive linemen and coach Austin Clark. This season, he’s attending meetings with the outside linebackers and their new position coach, Ryan Slowik.
▪ Something to keep in mind: Of the 24 teams to start 3-0 over the past five seasons, 20 (83.3%) went on to make the playoffs, and 41.7 percent made at least the conference championship game. Six of the past 10 Super Bowl participants have started 3-0.
▪ CBS is sending Dolphins-Bills to 42 percent of the nation’s TV households, including all of Florida except Tampa-St. Petersburg. Lead team Jim Nantz and Tony Romo have the call. Here are the regionalization maps.