The Miami Dolphins were one of the hottest teams for the majority of the 2023 season, but an 8-3 record turned into 8-8 quicker than you could say "Tua." Fins fans had high hopes for a team that boasted a Top 5 offense in the NFL and a defense that was coming together. Unfortunately, injuries to the defense, including Xavien Howard and all of their edge rushers, Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, and Andrew Van Ginkel, helped stifle any hope of the Fins knocking off the Bills, winning the division, and hosting a playoff home game.
Despite the injuries, the defense that stepped up, suffocating the Bills' offense in Week 18, and holding the Chiefs to three field goals in the red zone. One of the major issues with the Fins wasn't recorded in the box score, nor could you find it on the injury report, and that's an a grimy, gritty attitude. The Fins don't enough blue collar hard-nosed tough guys on the roster. Getting more of those guys is one move they need to make, but it's not the boldest.
Mike McDaniel Gives Up Playcalling
Okay, so this is more of an in-season thing, but there have been issues with Mike McDaniel play-calling over the past two seasons. Last season, it was his complex game planning and dense playbook that he refused to alter or simplify when Skylar Thompson entered the starting lineup. Fast forward to the 2023 season, where the Fins had three different interior offensive linemen playing against the Chiefs; Mike McDaniel couldn't get out of his own way in terms of simplifying things for the players who were not getting reps in practice.
McDaniel is a smart coach who will see the error of his ways. He will give up play-calling and focus more on installation and leading his team. Frank Smith is a guy who deserves a chance to call more plays if he isn't snatched up by a team that sees the potential he has as a head coach. If they don't have Smith, the Fins could hire a long-time offensive coordinator like Pete Carmichael or Eric Bieniemy, who could reshape the attitude of the offense. Other experienced playcallers the Fins could look at are Jim Caldwell, former Lions head coach, or someone young, like Byron Leftwich.