Jeff Saturday says the Miami Dolphins are legit contenders in the AFC

Jaylen Waddle

In the wake of the Miami Dolphins’ 2-0 start, one ESPN analyst is describing the team as a legitimate contender for supremacy in the AFC.

Jeff Saturday, a former NFL player, offered advice on the network’s “Get Up” program about how the Dolphins can enhance their chances over the course of the season.

“They are legit contenders,” Saturday said. “… They need to develop a more physical run game to couple with those receivers. But again, those guys going down the field, get the ball in their hands, yards after catch are absolutely incredible.”

Such enthusiasm was undoubtedly sparked by the Dolphins’ stirring fourth-quarter comeback against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. In those final 15 minutes, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdown passes to erase a 21-point deficit and pick up a 42-38 victory.

Tagovailoa’s success helped temporarily quiet critics who have questioned whether or not he has the potential to lead the Dolphins to a Super Bowl title.

As promising as the Dolphins’ comeback was, Saturday is correct that a more balanced offensive attack is needed if the team hopes to make a deep playoff run.

In the team’s first two games, Tagovailoa has thrown for 739 yards and seven touchdowns. In contrast, the entire running game has only contributed 151 yards of offense.

Running in Place

The Dolphins’ current running game consists primarily of Raheem Mostert, who has gained 67 yards on 16 carries, and Chase Edmonds, who has recorded 58 yards on 17 carries. As a team, the Dolphins have yet to reach the end zone on the ground.

Of course, with two potent receiving weapons in Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins are clearly intent on focusing on their passing attack. In the first two games, the duo of Waddle and Hill has combined for 34 receptions.

Yet, developing an effective running game would help the Dolphins avoid the issue of teams focusing their defensive strategies on stopping Miami’s passing attack.

Mike McDaniel undoubtedly is aware of the need for a better running attack, but has more immediate concerns. The Dolphins are hosting the undefeated Buffalo Bills on Sunday and will then take on the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals in a Thursday night clash.