Podcast: How Miami Dolphins Plan To Protect Tyreek Hill From Himself in 2024

All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill is now a 30-something, but the Miami Dolphins have a plan to keep him young for as long as possible.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Tyreek Hill in 2023 tied or broke Miami Dolphins single-season records in catches (119) and receiving yards (1,799).

But to make that happen, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa targeted Hill an astounding 171 times — which was not only the third-most in the NFL but also the most targets by a Dolphins receiver in franchise history.

That’s not sustainable, particularly when you combine it with the thousands of practice routes Hill runs each year — usually at full speed. So while it was a bit disappointing for the media that Hill wasn’t present for Tuesday’s open OTA practice, it was probably for the best.

Miami Dolphins To Limit Tyreek Hill’s Reps

Now 30 years old, Hill is reaching a precarious age for any player, but particularly those who rely on their speed for success. The NFL is an unforgiving game, and the accumulation of hits finally caught up to Hill late last season with a high ankle sprain that impacted his performance.

Not surprisingly, the Dolphins are doing whatever they can to not just extend Hill’s career as long as possible but to also have him healthy and effective for an expected playoff run.

So whether Hill likes it or not, expect more and more Dolphins practice days like Tuesday, when his understudies are the ones getting the reps that he had previously demanded.

“Another great benefit of Year 3, especially with the guys that this is their third year in this program with me as the head coach — understanding who they are and how to best serve those individuals is huge,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Tuesday. “So knowing Tyreek’s all-or-nothing type of mindset on the grass, yes, we do take that into account.

“There’s multiple times that he’s usually trying to talk us into it, but we’re talking him out of participation on the field knowing where his Ferrari horsepower is at and making sure that stays that way, so it is very helpful with some of the types of practice players we have — knowing them and being able to keep them out of harm’s way as best we can.”

At this stage of his relationship with Tagovailoa, Hill could probably get away with not practicing together at all and still put up 150 yards against most defenses.

The same cannot be said for new Dolphins receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who like Hill and Jaylen Waddle, was absent from each of the two open OTA days of the spring. (To be fair, Tagovailoa has thrown to Hill and Waddle off-campus this spring, although it’s unclear if he’s done any work yet with Beckham.)

McDaniel acknowledged Tuesday that he still has not seen a single practice rep when those three receivers were on the field at the same time.

“But I’m not in any hurry to see that,” McDaniel said. “Each individual has to earn their keep and earn their targets, so having all three at the same time isn’t necessarily a big deal to me.

“It’s each and every one of them understanding our offense, how to separate in the timing of the play, understanding how to align and who and what to block; all those things are the most important to me, especially as you are right live in the offseason.”

Is McDaniel right? Or are the Dolphins missing out on important early chemistry building?

We discuss that and much more in the latest episode of The PFN Miami Dolphins Podcast.

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