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The Dolphins will follow the Kyle Shanahan blueprint according to Colin Cowherd

Colin Cowherd believes the Dolphins, and Niners are cooking up the same recipe at the QB position, and he couldn’t be more wrong.

Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

I have a love/hate relationship with The Herd with Colin Cowherd. There are times when I think he may be the most intelligent sports analyst on television. The sports-to-life analogies he comes up with are mind-blowing. Then he gives you those flashes of just complete lunacy. It’s weird that a good amount of those flashes come when he’s talking about Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins. The more you listen to his Tua takes, you more you can tell he doesn’t watch the games.

One of those flashes took place on Friday’s show when he predicted that the Dolphins will follow the Kyle Shanahan-San Francisco 49ers offensive system and personnel groupings. Give it a listen, and then I’ll unpack all of it.

Not So Same Offense

Where do I even start on this? First, Colin infers that Kyle Shanahan and Mike McDaniel run the same system. They don’t. It’s quite the opposite. Under Shanahan, they focus on running the ball behind a top-tier OL, and quick passing to get their playmakers out in space to get yards after the catch (YAC). The Niners are the number 1 ranked team in YAC since 2018. The Dolphins were 14th last year in that category with all 3 QBs that played. YAC only accounted for 35% of Tua’s passing yards in 2022, and that’s very, very low for a QB that “relies on YAC.”

Tua led the league in yards per attempt (YPA) with 8.9. That means he was chucking the ball downfield more than anyone else. Guys like Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are running downfield, and not running short routes like you see from Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. Speaking of Kittle, who is heavily targeted, the Dolphins rarely used their pass-catching tight end Mike Gesicki unless it was an obvious passing situation. Most of his routes were intermediate too. I just don’t know what Colin is seeing to even compare these offenses besides McDaniel coaching under Shanahan, and pre-snap motion. That’s it.

Quarterback Friendly?

Colin then goes on to say that the Dolphins offense is “quarterback friendly.” Hmmm, I’m not so sure about that. When Tua was off the field the Dolphins could barely score. The Dolphins offense averaged 16.25 PPG when Tua didn’t play. That would make them dead last in the NFL. That includes no touchdowns against the New York Jets in week 17 with the season on the line. The Niners scored 24.7 PPG in 11 games with 2nd string QB Jimmy Garoppolo, and 33.2 PPG in 9 games with their 3rd string QB Brock Purdy.

Niners backups averaged a QB rating of 105.2 while the Dolphins backups averaged a QB rating of 73.9. I’ll use Colin’s words on this one. The Niners offense is “QB friendly” while the Dolphins offense is “QB reliant.”

Cheap QB, expensive weapons

This one was the most confusing for me, and something that for some reason only gets put on Tua, and not other top QBs is being surrounded with weapons. Colin said that the Dolphins are going to try, and “draft their own Brock Purdy in the 4th-5th-6th rounds”, and put expensive weapons around the QB because the system drives the offense. This is completely wrong in both cases.

The Niners gave up a bunch of draft capital to draft Trey Lance because they thought he was the missing piece to the puzzle. They already had Jimmy G in-house and understood to get over the hump they would need a dynamic QB. We didn’t get to see a healthy Brock Purdy against the Eagles, but I believe he would’ve been exposed, and the miracle Brock Purdy run would’ve come to and screeching halt.

As great as Brock Purdy played, the Niners will roll with Trey Lance if healthy because they know Purdy like Jimmy G can only take you so far.

The Dolphins drafted Jaylen Waddle and traded for Tyreek Hill because that’s what EVERY SINGLE team does with a really good young QB on their rookie deal. They put expensive skilled position players around their QB to try to win it all before they eventually got to pay the piper, in this case, the QB. Tell me which young QB doesn’t have great weapons... I’ll wait.

  • Tua Tagovailoa - Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle
  • Joe Burrow - Jamar Chase, Tee Higgins
  • Jalen Hurts - AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, DeAndre Swift
  • Justin Herbert - Keenan Allen, Austin Ekler, Mike Williams
  • Trevor Lawrence - Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Travis Etienne Jr.
  • Justin Fields - DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet
  • Young Pat Mahomes - Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce

I won’t get into the last part of the segment because it doesn’t have much to do with the Niners-Dolphins comparisons, but it’s just Colin saying that Tua gets hurt too much, which is a given and I won’t dispute that. I will point out that he said “he’s been getting dinged up, ankles, head, and ankles.” Tua has never had an ankle injury in the NFL so that’s way off. Feels like he just had a bunch of bad information going into that segment, and doesn’t watch Dolphins games.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Colin’s Niners-Dolphins comparisons, and if the Dolphins will end up paying Tua.