5 dream scenarios for Dolphins in 2023 season

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Bradley Chubb (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
Bradley Chubb (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) /

The Miami Dolphins are looking to take the next step under Mike McDaniel. Here’s what a dream season would look like. 

Last season ended with a first-round exit for the Miami Dolphins. High expectations rammed head first into injury complications and a loaded conference schedule. The AFC is a murderer’s row of contenders at the moment; the Dolphins are looking to make a dent.

There is renewed hope around the Dolphins entering 2023. There’s no denying the offensive ceiling when Miami is at full strength. With the fastest receiving corps in football and a certified bomber in Tua Tagovailoa, no team is better equipped, on paper, to combat the Chiefs’ big-play offense.

The Dolphins also made several key additions on the defensive end and in the special teams department. Mike McDaniel’s squad is looking to leave its one-way reputation behind. If that does indeed happen, it’s not hard to imagine Miami turning some heads in the AFC East.

No. 5 Dolphins dream scenario: Above average defense, special teams

The Dolphins’ pass defense and special teams ranked near the bottom of the NFL last season. Miami has the offensive firepower to hang with anybody, but another season of putrid defense will doom Mike McDaniel’s squad to another bottom seed and first-round exit.

Miami made the necessary moves to sure up the defense around the pass-rushing tandem of Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips. The big splash, of course, was adding Jalen Ramsey, arguably the best defensive back in football. He’s going to have a pronounced impact on the Dolphins’ ability to slash the opposition’s receiving yards.

There’s also the arrival of new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who’s not far removed from a three-year stint as Denver’s head coach. He consulted the Eagles’ top-ranked defense last season and he has nine years of DC experience between San Francisco (2011-14) and Chicago (2015-18). The mastermind behind the Bears’ vaunted mid-10s defense is a strong bet to improve Miami’s situation.

It’s exceedingly hard to win anything of note without a high-level defense, even with the offensive explosion currently happening around the NFL. The Dolphins don’t need the best stopping force in the world, but anything shy of top-10 probably excludes Miami from the upper tier of contention in the AFC. Kansas City, Buffalo, and Cincinnati can all string together stops when it matters most; can the Dolphins do the same?