The No. 1 Way Odell Beckham Jr. Will Help Miami Dolphins’ Offense

If teams decide to double-team Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle again in 2023, the Miami Dolphins now have an answer: Odell Beckham Jr.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — For as good as the Miami Dolphins were on offense in 2023, they certainly left points on the field.

Despite ranking at or near the top in almost every offensive category, they were just seventh in third-down efficiency (42.1%), which certainly wasn’t bad but also didn’t reflect the team’s talent.

Mike McDaniel’s solution? Add one of the best money-down receivers of the last decade: Odell Beckham Jr.

Why Odell Beckham Jr. Is Key To Miami Dolphins’ 2024 Success

As McDaniel churned through his 2023 NFL season post-mortem, he was reminded why the Dolphins’ offense wasn’t the same on third downs: Teams knew that if they neutralized Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, the Dolphins’ passing game stopped functioning.

Tua Tagovailoa’s completion percentage plummeted on third down, particularly 3rd-and-7 or more. In those situations last year, he was 50 of 82 (61%) for 735 yards, five touchdowns, and four interceptions for a 90.2 rating. Just 27 of those 82 passing attempts resulted in first downs.

When targeting Hill and Waddle in those third-and-longs, Tua completed 21 of his 37 attempts for 16 first downs and two touchdowns.

Granted, third downs are usually the least efficient down for quarterbacks, since teams largely know what’s coming. But Miami’s personnel absolutely also played a role.

“Coach and I were talking about it,” Beckham said earlier this month. “He was saying that on third downs, they were getting a lot of doubling both of them. There’s just a lot of room for opportunity.”

McDaniel added this week: “It wasn’t like I had previously coached a pairing like we have at wideout and kind of [knew] how defenses would respond to that. You learn over time different ways that defenses will really try to attack you and where they could be vulnerable and I think having as many players in the pass game participate and distribute the ball takes us to another level of offense and I see him as part of that.”

Now, doubling Hill and Waddle will come with a price. It will mean 1-on-1 looks for Beckham and tight end Jonnu Smith, another value free agent signing.

KEEP READING: OBJ Explains Why He Was “Hesitant” to Play With Tua Tagovailoa

Certainly, Beckham — who has 119 third-down catches that resulted in first downs on 269 targets in his career — isn’t the player he was a decade ago, but the Dolphins believe he can still help them in this important facet of the game.

“He brings a lot and a lot of leadership as well, a lot of experience,” Dolphins receiver Braxton Berrios said this week. “Big time ball, big time plays. I think the more information we can get in that room and pass around, the better off we are as a whole. Obviously, he makes some incredible plays, so we’re all looking forward to it.”

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