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How the Miami Dolphins are using speed and innovation in their offense


There's been a scoring spree five games into the NFL season.


Thanks in part to the Miami Dolphins who are assembling a team with the fastest players available and leaving their opponents in the dust.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: De'Von Achane will take it all the way - 76 yards - for a Dolphins touchdown.

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NATE TICE: The Miami Dolphins have literally world-class sprinters, several of them, on their team but also speed before the snap. These teams use surprise to their advantage.

SHAPIRO: That's Nate Tice. He's a host for The Athletic Football Show. So far, the Dolphins have been able to utilize all that speed with some innovative formations on the field.

CHANG: Simply tweaking how the players line up before the ball is snapped - that is causing the opposing team lots of trouble and allowing these quick players to get wide open. Here's Nate Tice again.

TICE: That sounds so simple, but it is blowing defenses' brains because they're just, like, oh, my God, we haven't seen that. The Dolphins and other teams now are leaning into more than ever before. And it's really, really cool just to see. It's a form of creativity.

SHAPIRO: Mike McDaniel is leading the revolution in Miami. This is his second year in charge, and Coach McDaniel is one of the youngest in the NFL at the age of 40.

CHANG: He's also a member of what's known as the Shanahan Coaching Tree, a group of the best offensive-minded coaches who've learned their craft from San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan.

SHAPIRO: Nate Tice says these millennial coaches aren't afraid to try something different.

TICE: I think a lot of these young coaches that have been exposed to video games, that watch college football all the time, that are willing to just expand their brains. It's a result of asking why, or what would happen if I did this?

CHANG: It's hard to argue with their results so far. The Dolphins are averaging 36 points per game and rushing for the most yards in the league. And Tice says the Dolphins are just fun to watch.

TICE: I've been kind of comparing it to taking, like, a cheeseburger at a - like, a fusion restaurant. You're like, ooh, is that peanut butter? Oh, yeah, I'll take that. That's kind of what the Dolphins are doing. It's not new, but it's kind of just a new twist on it.

SHAPIRO: If you want to see the new twist for yourself, Sunday should be a good opportunity. The Dolphins host the winless Carolina Panthers in Miami.


JAMES BROWN: Get, get down, get, get down, get down... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Sarah Handel
[Copyright 2024 NPR]