Schad: Few details revealed, all that matters is that Dolphins' co-coordinator plan works

Joe Schad
Palm Beach Post

With less than four months until the Dolphins open their regular season at the Patriots, nobody is saying who will call Miami's offensive plays.

Neither George Godsey, who has done that in the NFL, nor Eric Studesville, also promoted to Miami's co-offensive coordinator position, would say Monday.

Whatever it takes to score points and win games, was the message.

And that's true. And that's fine. The Dolphins are going out of their way to not disclose too much about what the offense handed over to Tua 2.0 looks like.

Nobody is saying exactly how the game weeks will go and who will be positioned where on game days and who will be in Tua's headset.

Competitive advantage? I mean, I suppose.

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Nobody is saying how much no-huddle, varied tempo, motions and shifts, run-pass-option or full house backfield the Dolphins plan to run in the opener.

What we know is that Godsey and Studesville, two long-time professional coaches with success working with quarterbacks, tight ends and running backs, have met every day.

And, presumably, they have designed an offense that will work. After all, that's really all that matters in the end. 

What is the Dolphins' new offense, anyway? Will it work?

But will it work on Sundays? I suppose we won't know for sure until we get a look at that fall foliage near Boston. Will it be colorful? Will it be beautiful?

Who knows.

The Dolphins say they want to be able to run it when needed. And pass it, too.

The Dolphins say they want to be physical and tough but also elusive and fast.

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Perhaps the most revealing thing any of the offensive coaches who spoke on Monday said was that they want versatility and flexibility in what they present to defenses.

"We want to challenge the defense with different groupings and different personnel," Godsey said.

Miami can do that. The Dolphins have lots of depth at receiver and tight end. They have tall players and short players. They have fast players and really, really fast players.

Yes, they'll want to identify and exploit potential mismatches on a week-to-week basis.

What we don't know yet is if Miami's 2021 hodgepodge offense is an incredibly-tasting stew preserving only the best ingredients from Chan Gailey's chicken pot pie of an offense. What if it's not so good?

Everyone had input, coaches said Monday. Everyone had a voice, coaches said.

In the end, it's head coach Brian Flores who will get the credit if it works. And head coach Brian Flores who will take the blame if it doesn't.

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It was Flores' decision to go with the seldom-used co-offensive coordinator strategy.

The Dolphins' first-year offensive line coach, Lemuel Jeanpierre, wants his group to be tough, disciplined, detailed and nasty.

Studesville, formerly the running backs coach, wants to see improvement in the run game. It will be required. But how to establish that?

And how much of what Miami will do is specifically catered to Tua Tagovailoa's strengths? Logic suggests almost every decision made will be based on what is most likely to help guide Tua to more points.

Tua's new quarterbacks coach, Charlie Frye, agreed that motions and shifts and varied tempos can help keep a defense off balance. Frye ran Tua's Alabama offense at Central Michigan.

"Anytime you can change the picture for a defense and still run your core plays offensively," said Frye, who has brought some fresh ideas into meetings, too.

Collaboration might work. Or...

Everyone says it's all very collaborative, which could work. Or, well, it might be messy.

The coaches say everything in the playbook is "ours." This could work, or, well, it may not.

Miami coaches say they're working to establish continuity and also working to make sure the players all understand the "language" that will be used in 2021.

Studesville was asked if last year's playbook was French, is this year's playbook Spanish? It's an analogy quarterbacks often use to help describe what it's like to digest a newly-installed offense.

"The language is football," Studesville said. 

Studesville spoke about how execution is even more important than the design or complexity of plays, and that can in fact be true.

But make no mistake, much of Miami's success or lack there of in the coming season will be based on the output from an offense lead by two men Flores chose. It will largely be determined by the system they implement, the plays they choose, and the order — someone — calls them in on Sundays.

Flores did not hire from the outside. He wanted to keep the parts of Gailey's offense he and Godsey and Studesville liked, while adding in elements that various coaches brought to the table in brain-storm sessions.

Studesville says the playbook is a living document; that it's never really done. And that is absolutely true. His proclamation that Miami will continue to evaluate what works to complement the strengths of the players makes sense, too.

We might not know how much up-tempo, varied-tempo, no-huddle or run-pass option Miami uses until September 12, in Foxborough. We may not know how many more shifts and motions Miami plans to use until then, too.

Though it seems unlikely, we may not officially know who's going to call Miami's offensive plays until then, too. But really, truly, all that matters is this — that the Dolphins' new offense works better than the last one.