As he continues his offseason hype tour, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill has put NFL cornerbacks on notice going into the 2022 regular season.
Speaking to reporters after Thursday's practice, Hill said opposing defensive backs will "scared s--tless" lining up opposite him and Jaylen Waddle.
Since being traded to the Dolphins by the Kansas City Chiefs in March, Hill has not been shy about offering his assessment of what he thinks of his new teammates.
Appearing on ESPN's First Take earlier this week (h/t CBS Sports' Shanna McCarriston), Hill doubled down on his stance that Tua Tagovailoa is the most accurate quarterback in the NFL.
"I mean obviously, Tua, he's not your typical gunslinger, but if you were to just pay attention to his game, everything is spot on, everything is pinpoint. Ya know, ball is on time," Hill said. "His fundamentals are on point. ... Tua, he's a [expletive] heck of a competitor. He's a hell of a hard worker,"
Cameron Wolfe @CameronWolfe
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dolphins?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Dolphins</a> WR Tyreek Hill on QB Tua Tagovailoa: “Tua actually has one of the prettiest balls I’ve ever caught him in my life... Tua is a very accurate QB.”<br><br>“I’m very confident in my QB… the sky is the limit for that guy. Heck of a talent. Has crazy arm strength, arm talent.” <a href="https://t.co/cOc7oEgV7V">pic.twitter.com/cOc7oEgV7V</a>
It's not a flaw that Hill is pumping up his teammates. Tagovailoa has shown promise over his first two seasons in the role that was carved out for him, but first-year head coach Mike McDaniel will be tasked with getting more out of him.
Late last season, The Ringer's Ben Solak called Tagovailoa the league's best RPO quarterback, but noted that's all he was doing well:
"The numbers when Tua is not throwing quick passes reinforce a different reality: that Tua struggles to be much else besides that quick-game passer. On dropbacks of longer than 2.5 seconds, Tua’s average depth of target is 9.8—fifth lowest in the league—and his turnover-worthy play rate is 7.9 percent, which is second worst. He’s still impressively accurate (62.4 completion percentage, tied for ninth best), but the longer dropbacks don’t really help the offense get downfield—Tua’s yards per attempt only jumps from 6.8 to 8.0."
The Dolphins have taken steps to address that issue and open up their offense. Even though Hill received most of the attention, their best addition this offseason may have been the signing of free-agent left tackle Terron Armstead.
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus ranked Miami's offensive line as the worst in the NFL last season. Armstead made three consecutive Pro Bowls with the New Orleans Saints from 2018-20.
Hill has been the best downfield threat in the NFL over the course of his career with the Chiefs. He has had at least 1,100 receiving yards in four of the past five seasons.
The Dolphins bet big on Hill retaining that production for them. They made the four-time All-Pro the highest-paid receiver in the NFL by average annual salary by giving him a four-year, $120 million contract extension.
Waddle had 1,015 yards and six touchdown catches as a rookie in 2021, but he only averaged 9.8 yards per reception because of how the offense ran.
This will be McDaniel's first stint as a head coach. We don't yet know how he will fare in the role, but the 39-year-old has been one of Kyle Shanahan's top assistants over the past five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
McDaniel was the Niners' run-game coordinator for four seasons before being promoted to offensive coordinator last year. After a slow start, the 49ers averaged 26.5 points per game over the final 11 weeks of the regular season.
All of those moves were made with the hope that the Dolphins will be able to improve on their 9-8 record from last season. They haven't made the playoffs since 2016 and haven't won a playoff game since Dec. 30, 2000.