Offensive diversity is a good thing. You want your offense to have multiple ways to score and gain yards. You want the deep passing game involving quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, the run game, the red-zone offense, the goal-line offense, the third-down offense, the whole package.
Having options, and having multiple ways to attack, makes you tougher to defend.
The Dolphins have offensive diversity. They’ve scored on deep passes, short passes, in the red zone, on runs, a variety of ways. Statistically, they’re not dominant as a unit — eighth in points per game (27.7) and 13th in yards per game (355.3) — but they find ways to win.
Set all of that aside.
The Dolphins say what really makes the offense hum, and they’ve said this about other facets of the team, are the abstract characteristics, the things that can’t be measured statistically.
Coach Mike McDaniel, who already has been called a “new age” or “new era” type of NFL coach because of his player-empowering mentality, said he likes how players are “straining through plays longer” and “you’re starting to see guys play for each other.”
Tight end Mike Gesicki agreed, saying he likes how guys pull for each other.
Tagovailoa said he likes how McDaniel tailors the offense to players’ strengths.
Those aren’t necessarily on-field characteristics that you acquire from time on the practice field or watching film, but the Dolphins say those characteristics lead to on-field success.
“I’m really liking how we’ve developed our standard with which we go about our business, how we run off the ball, how we finish plays, the things that aren’t result-oriented,” McDaniel said, “but more big picture and how you look.”
Through three games, and three victories, it’s still hard to put a finger on exactly why the Dolphins offense has managed to succeed, meaning it’s not just because of, say, Tagovailoa, Hill, Waddle, the offensive line, scheme, play-calling or anything else along those lines.
Offensive coordinator Frank Smith said he likes the effectiveness of the red-zone offense, the Dolphins’ ball security, and recently, the third-down offense.
Those things all contribute, but the Dolphins continue saying their offensive success is more esoteric. It’s largely based on guys coming through for each other. They maintain it’s a real, tangible quality.
“You see it on Sundays,” Gesicki said. “Guys are flying around, everybody’s being positive, everybody’s excited. And then when you feel good, you start playing good, momentum swings.
“It’s all part of the confidence, and it all plays a role in guys making plays.”
Usually I’m not a big believer in guys pulling for each other as being the big difference-maker in on-field results. Every team pulls for each other. Usually, I point to talent, then coaching, and then everything else falls into place.
But there seems to be something to what the Dolphins are saying.
Yeah, it’s a lot easier to rattle off these metaphysical reasons behind offensive success when you have Hill and Waddle running wild through an opposing defense.
However, this esprit de corps, or feeling of shared ownership/responsibility for the success of the offense and each other, seems to have taken over among offensive players.
They say it emanates from liking each other and wanting to see each other do well.
Again, every offense could say the same thing, but every offense doesn’t turn those qualities into a 3-0 start.
The Dolphins have, and they say the reason isn’t necessarily concrete.
“I think it just speaks volumes to the team’s character,” Gesicki said.