There were plenty of things to like about Mike McDaniel’s first year as coach of the Miami Dolphins. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa led the league in yards per attempt (8.9) and receiver Jaylen Waddle was first among all receivers in yards per reception (17.9).
Those stats come to mind even before mentioning Tyreek Hill’s monster season. He ranked second in both receptions (119) and yards (1,710). While those are all statistics to celebrate, they have zero impact on the 2023 season.
When meeting with the media on the first day of organized team activities, McDaniel provided insight into how he’s looking to improve a roster that finished No. 11 with an average of 23.8 yards per game.
“It was kind of a critical offseason for me,” McDaniel explained on Tuesday. I didn’t look at our offense, and say, ‘Wow, we did all this stuff good.’ I saw all the stuff that we could improve upon.
“An easy one was pre-snap penalties. We were the worst at that. So got a lot of ways to improve there.”
McDaniel didn’t have to dig too deep to identify Miami’s pre-snap struggles. The Dolphins ranked seventh in the NFL with 40 pre-snap penalties throughout the regular season. The Arizona Cardinals led the league with 52 penalties before the snap. Kansas City earned the league’s best park with just 17 pre-snap penalties.
The Tennessee Titans led the league with 136 penalties, and the Dolphins were right behind them with 135 penalties throughout the 17-game season.
“I think it’s important in the offseason that you give the season – there’s a lot of things that go into it,” McDaniel said. “There’s a lot of pressures and you’re just trying to win the next game. Taking a step back, I think affords people a little more open mindedness. And all I’ve seen is an offense, I’ve seen a team that isn’t satisfied with where they’re at.
“They see 2023 as an opportunity to really move past where we were last year.”
An offseason to further adjust to McDaniel’s system could be the difference as the Dolphins try to limit penalties — but the verdict remains out until the season begins against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 10.