One of the things Mike McDaniel has learned in his brief time as a head coach is that several scenarios involving personnel will be floated to him. His initial response to hearing superstar wideout Tyreek Hill could be acquired was one of disbelief.
"You don't know if it's true or too good to be true," McDaniel told NFL Network's Cameron Wolfe in an interview at the Annual League Meeting. "This one felt too good."
It felt even better for the Dolphins coach when general manager Chris Grier pulled off the shocking trade for the Chiefs' six-time Pro Bowler last week. By then, McDaniel had already pulled up tape of Hill and came away "that much more convicted about what I already knew," likely formulating ideas on how to utilize maybe the fastest player in football.
What everyone wants to know now is what it will look like. At his introductory conference, Hill conjured a comparison to Deebo Samuel's deployment with the 49ers. But McDaniel, an architect of that offense and Samuel's "wide back" role, wasn't about to divulge any details about how he'll use Cheetah with the Dolphins.
"I do want to just give you the keys to the kingdom, but I'm not sure from a competitive advantage standpoint that would make much sense," McDaniel said. "I will say that with players of dynamic skill sets such as Tyreek -- which, if there are other players that have his combination of skill, that group is small -- there's no real ceiling in terms of the ways that you can involve him. And there's certain things that I know that myself and the coaching staff haven't even thought of yet, that will come on our plate."
Hill has proven he can be effective in a variety of ways. He was the best kick returner in the league as a rookie, while also producing as a wide receiver and rusher. His return duties would diminish as he made major strides at receiver, all while he continued taking the occasional handoff in Andy Reid's offense.
Through six seasons, Hill has made three All-Pro teams, scored 67 touchdowns, and averaged 13.8 yards per catch and 7.7 yards per carry. Last year, he hauled in a career-high 111 passes and provided one of the postseason's more memorable sequences in the closing minutes of the Chiefs' overtime win against the Bills in the AFC Divisional Round.
In Miami, he'll be paired with the electric Jaylen Waddle to form one of the fastest WR duos the game has ever seen. That speed, McDaniel acknowledged, changes the entire calculus between offenses and defenses.
"The game of football is pretty simple when it comes to defense," McDaniel explained. "The faster that you can expand the area with which they have to defend, whether you're handing the ball off or you're running pass concepts, the more space players have to make plays with or without the ball. The speed element, knowing that there's a finite amount of time that it can take for a play to develop, and maximizing the amount of space that the defense has to defend, helps each player on the offense, and (it's) one of the reasons that that phrase, 'speed kills,' does exist in the National Football League."
For Dolphins fans, the 2022 season can't get here fast enough.