5 ‘prominent’ decision-makers dub Dolphins as team that will surprise people in good way this season

Mike McDaniel and Tua Tagovailoa

With the 2022 NFL regular season set to begin on Thursday, anticipation for the league to return is at a fever pitch.

For months, fans and experts alike have guessed and predicted what storylines will unfold in the season and who will ultimately be named the league champ at Super Bowl LVII. On Wednesday, some final predictions from “prominent” decision-makers were relayed to fans by The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.

Among that crowd, the Dolphins were tied with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings in terms of teams that the polled individuals believe will “surprise people in a good way.” Each aforementioned team received five votes apiece.

“Maybe the Dolphins or [Los Angeles] Chargers get over the hump, or the new quarterbacks in Denver and Indianapolis yield postseason berths,” Howe wrote. “Or the [Baltimore] Ravens get back to the postseason with better injury luck. It could create a starkly different field than in 2021.”

Though the Dolphins have a lot of doubters across the league, confidence in what is growing in South Florida seems strong. By all accounts, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has had the best offseason of his career, and his connection to newly acquired star Tyreek Hill already seems to be quite strong.

Last week, Tagovailoa was named one of the captains of the Dolphins for this season. It bodes well for him and is a strong sign that his teammates believe in him and his ability to lead them to success.

Though it is a great sign that so many people in the know in the NFL believe in the Dolphins, it is now time for the team to put up or shut up. While Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel is in his first year with the team, there seems to be a real expectation from within the organization to get over the hump and make it into the playoffs.

The team’s ability to do just that is likely going to hinge strongly on whether or not Tagovailoa can indeed take that next step in his progression and prove that he deserved to be the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

In Week 1, the Dolphins will take on the New England Patriots, one of their division rivals. That game should serve as a solid barometer for what the team can accomplish going forward.