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Coaching Matters: 2021 Miami Dolphins Coaching Staff Preview

After every NFL season, NFL teams take the time to evaluate not only the players but also the coaching staff and front office as well. While many teams choose to retain the same head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator, a few other teams opt to go in a new direction with their coaching staff.

The Miami Dolphins moved on from former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, but otherwise, they will be bringing back many of the key coaching staff members from 2020. Brian Flores will return as the Dolphins head coach and Josh Boyer will be back as the team's defensive coordinator. George Godsey and Eric Studesville will serve as the team's co-offensive coordinators during the 2021 season.

This article will look at the potential impact this coaching staff will have on the players and try to pinpoint the Dolphins players' fantasy values in it.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

The Baseline

To get a better understanding of the value the Dolphins coaches help bring to this team, we can look at the NFL league averages in each of the past two years in a variety of statistical categories and then compare them to the averages achieved by the Dolphins' coaches. Here are 'The Baseline' NFL league averages over the past couple of years:

QB Impact

Year Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
2019 League Average
34.87 251.78 1.56 3.56 15.04 0.16
2020 League Average 35.19 254.88 1.70 4.19 18.43 0.25

RB Impact

Year RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds. RB Rec. TDs
2019 League Average
21.77 92.96 0.68 5.10 6.64 40 0.19
2020 League Average
21.68 95.13 0.75 4.71 6.14 34.94 0.18

WR Impact

Year WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
2019 League Average
12.05 19.59 158.39 0.95
2020 League Average
13.24 20.21 166.67 1.04

TE Impact

Year TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
2019 League Average
4.70 6.88 50.99 0.38
2020 League Average
4.76 7.03 51.29 0.45

Defense Impact

Year Points Allowed Pass Yds Given Up Run Yds Given Up Plays Against Yds/Play
Turnovers Forced
22.8 235 112.9 63.5 5.5 1.4
24.8 240.2 118.9 64.3 5.6 1.3

Previous Coaching Staff

In order to get an understanding of how the Dolphins fantasy players may be impacted this year, we also need to take a look at how former Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey utilized his players during his time with the team. By doing this, we will have a better understanding of where the new coaches are starting from and where the primary changes will occur.

Former Offensive Coordinator: Chan Gailey

QB Impact

Year Games Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
2016 Jets 16 34.38 227.81 1 2.5 9.88 0
2020 Dolphins 16 34.94 246.06 1.5 4.13 16.25 0.31
Gailey's Career Averages (OC/HC) 240 31.83 216.15 1.30 3.67 16.28 0.18

RB Impact

Year Games RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds.
RB Rec. TDs
2016 Jets 16 23.31 99.38 0.63 5.69 7.69 42.44 0.19
2020 Dolphins 16 21.56 84.25 0.63 4.75 5.81 39.88 0.13
Gailey's Career Averages (OC/HC) 240 24.37 101.68 0.65 4.09 5.55* 30.70 0.15

WR Impact

Year Games WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
2016 Jets 16 12.63 24.56 174.63 0.81
2020 Dolphins 16 12.5 19.69 139.31 0.69
Gailey's Career Averages (OC/HC) 240 11.42 20.69* 153.89 0.88

TE Impact

Year Games TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
2016 Jets 16 1.13 1.75 10.81 0
2020 Dolphins 16 5.69 8.5 66.31 0.69
Gailey's Career Averages (OC/HC) 240 2.51 3.86* 26.53 0.25

*Targets averages are for all of Gailey's years between 1996-2020. Targets were not recorded when he was the offensive coordinator of the 1989 & 1990 Denver Broncos.

 

2021 Offense

2021 Co-Offensive Coordinator: George Godsey

George Godsey will be the co-offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins in 2021, in addition to once again serving as the team's tight ends coach. In the past, he was an offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans (2015-2016). Let's take a look at some of the Texans' offensive statistics during Godsey's time as the team's offensive coordinator.

QB Impact

Year Games Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
2015 Texans 16 38.69 254.94 1.81 2.75 4.88 0.13
2016 Texans 16 36.44 213.63 0.94 2.25 8.94 0.13
Godsey's Career Averages (OC/HC) 32 37.56 234.28 1.38 2.5 6.91 0.13

RB Impact

Year Games RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds.
RB Rec. TDs
2015 Texans 16 26.13 98.31 0.31 5.31 7.06 41.06 0.31
2016 Texans 16 25.75 106.88 0.38 3.88 5.13 23.06 0.06
Godsey's Career Averages (OC/HC) 32 25.94 102.59 0.34 4.59 6.09 32.06 0.19

WR Impact

Year Games WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
2015 Texans 16 14.44 26.31 185.44 1.25
2016 Texans 16 10.5 19.63 122.69 0.44
Godsey's Career Averages (OC/HC) 32 12.47 22.97 154.06 0.84

TE Impact

Year Games TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
2015 Texans 16 2.56 4.81 28 0.25
2016 Texans 16 7.19 11.19 68.38 0.44
Godsey's Career Averages (OC/HC) 32 4.88 8 48.19 0.34

 

George Godsey Takeaways & Expectations

George Godsey will be tag-teaming the offensive coordinator role with Eric Studesville this season for the Miami Dolphins. In Godsey's two previous seasons working as an offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans under Bill O'Brien, his offense averaged 37.56 passing attempts per game. This is more than previous offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has typically had his team throw the ball, so Godsey's presence may give Tua Tagovailoa more opportunities to make plays in 2021.

Besides passing, from a fantasy perspective, it's also important to look at the amount of rushing work that a quarterback may receive since it can provide a major boost to their fantasy production.

Over the course of the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Godsey saw his quarterback room average just 2.5 carries per game. His primary quarterbacks during these seasons were not the most nimble players - Brian Hoyer and Brock Osweiler so it can be somewhat explained by the players he worked with. With Tua Tagovailoa as his starting quarterback, we should expect this number to be a little higher and likely sit somewhere between three to four carries per game. Based on this information, if George Godsey ends up being the primary play-caller there will be more upside appeal for Tua Tagovailoa than there was last season.

Examining George Godsey's running back rooms over the course of his career as an offensive coordinator it's a bit of a mixed bag. In the 32 games that Godsey's been an offensive coordinator, his running back room has averaged 25.94 carries per game - which is above average. But on the flip side, his running back room has averaged just 0.34 rushing touchdowns per game - which is well below-average.

Working under Bill O'Brien, Godsey and the Texans' offense fed their running backs a ton on the ground. But that was also a historical tendency of the Dolphins' previous offensive coordinator Chan Gailey (career average of 24.37 running back carries per game) and he generally has provided his running backs with more rushing touchdown opportunities. If Godsey is the primary play-caller the team will try and run the ball frequently, but it may not be much more than the 2020 levels.

But besides the amount of volume (carries) on the ground that Godsey may provide, we also need to consider how that volume may be distributed by looking at the numbers over the course of his career - will Godsey want to roll with a bell-cow approach or commit to a running back by committee?

Looking at the two years that Godsey was the offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans, his lead back on the season has received 43.78% (Alfred Blue, 2015) and 65.05% of the team's season tailback carries (Lamar Miller, 2016). In terms of talent, Myles Gaskin is closer to Lamar Miller than he is to Alfred Blue, so if Godsey ends up as the primary play-caller Gaskin will likely be seeing 60-65% of the team's tailback carries in 2021.

The final aspect we should look at regarding George Godsey's running backs is how much he has traditionally utilized them as pass-catchers. Over the course of his career, Godsey's running back room has averaged 6.09 targets per game - which is in the average to slightly below league average range.

The Dolphins running backs receiving a little more than six targets per game would be a slight improvement on the 5.81 targets per game the group received in 2020 with Chan Gailey at the helm, but not significant enough to cause any major changes in fantasy value. Overall, Myles Gaskin is in line for a solid fantasy season and should get enough usage to be a solid RB2.

Jumping to the wide receiver position, Godsey has seen his wide receivers receive 22.97 targets per game over the course of his 32 games as an offensive coordinator.

Looking at the graph above, there is clearly a drastic difference between the usage of the 2015 Texans wide receivers(26.31 targets per game) and the 2016 Texans wide receivers (19.63 targets per game) - which raises some questions about the level of usage we will see from the Dolphins wide receivers in 2021. But for now, it's best to operate under the assumption that Godsey's offense is capable of producing just one or two fantasy-relevant wide receivers.

Last but not least, Godsey's historical usage of tight ends has been very up and down thus far. Over the course of his career as an offensive coordinator, Godsey's tight end room has averaged eight targets per game.

Much like his wide receiver usage, it's difficult to get a good read on any tendencies that Godsey may have in utilizing the tight end position. In 2015, Godsey's offense with the Texans didn't utilize the tight end position, but in 2016 they heavily featured the group. Perhaps what's most puzzling about this revelation is that in 2015 the room consisted of Ryan Griffin (34 targets), C.J. Fiedorowicz (24 targets), and Garrett Graham (19 targets)...and in 2016 the room was largely the same with C.J. Fiedorowicz (89 targets), Ryan Griffin (74 targets), and Stephen Anderson (16 targets). Mike Gesicki is more talented than any of these tight ends that Godsey has worked with in the past, so for now we should assume that the group will get a workload closer to Godsey's 2016 Texans than his 2015 Texans.

 

2021 Co-Offensive Coordinator: Eric Studesville 

Alongside George Godsey in the co-offensive coordinator role will be Eric Studesville, who is also the team's running backs coach. Studesville has never been an offensive coordinator prior to the 2021 season, but he did spend four games as the 2010 Denver Broncos interim head coach after Josh McDaniels was fired. Let's take a look at how that team's offense looked during those four games to get a slightly better understanding of how Studesville may utilize the Dolphins players in 2021.

QB Impact

Year Games Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
2010 Broncos 4 30.5 204.25 1 8.25 51 0.75
Studesville's Career Averages (OC/HC)
4 30.5 204.25 1 8.25 51 0.75

RB Impact

Year Games RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds. RB Rec. TDs
2010 Broncos 4 22.5 79 0.5 5 6.75 47.25 0.25
Studesville's Career Averages
4 22.5 79 0.5 5 6.75 47.25 0.25

WR Impact

Year Games WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
2010 Broncos 4 8.75 20 143.75 0.75
Studesville's Career Averages
4 8.75 20 143.75 0.75

TE Impact

Year Games TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
2010 Broncos 4 1 3.5 13.25 0
Studesville's Career Averages
4 1 3.5 13.25 0

 

Eric Studesville Takeaways & Expectations

Four games is an extremely small sample size and for the most part, you can take this section with a grain of salt - especially since Studesville was just running Josh McDaniels's system as the interim head coach rather than utilizing his own offense. But just for fun, let's speculate about the type of offense Eric Studesville may run if he is the team's primary play-caller.

In Eric Studesville's four-game stint as the Broncos interim head coach, his offense averaged just 30.5 passing attempts per game. In terms of raw numbers, this is subpar passing usage. But when you look a little closer and realize that Tim Tebow was the starting quarterback for three of those four games (Kyle Orton was the starter the other game), it makes more sense why Studesville opted to go this route. On the flip side by having Tebow as his starting quarterback for most of these games, Studesville's quarterback rushing usage and production look great, with his quarterbacks averaging 8.25 carries per game over that 2010 four-game stretch.

It's hard to have a ton of takeaways from just four games. But it comforting to know that Studesville could help Tua tap a little more into his rushing potential based on his experience working with Tebow, which would give Tua more fantasy upside in 2021.

In the four games that Eric Studesville was the 2010 Denver Broncos interim head coach, his running back room averaged 22.5 carries and 0.5 rushing touchdowns per game.

Looking at this usage and also taking into consideration how George Godsey has previously utilized his running backs during his time in an offensive coordinator role, the Dolphins are likely to give a slightly above-average amount of carries to their running back room and see a below-average number of rushing touchdowns from the group in 2021.

From a fantasy perspective, it's also important to know whether a coach likes to roll with a bell-cow or a running back by committee approach. In those four games that Eric Studesville was the 2010 Denver Broncos interim head coach, he gave just 40% of carries to his lead back.

Eric Studesville had his team run a heavy running back by committee approach with Knowshon Moreno (36 carries), Lance Ball (34 carries), and Correll Buckhalter (20 carries) over his four games as an interim head coach. It's a small sample size, but this does raise some concern Myles Gaskin's usage if Studesville is the primary play-caller on game days.

The final aspect we should look at regarding Eric Studesville's running backs is how much he utilized them as pass-catchers over his stint as an interim head coach. In his stint as an interim head coach, Studesville's running back room averaged 6.75 targets per game.

While it's just four games, 6.75 running back targets per game is fairly mediocre. Based on all this information, if you roster the Miami Dolphins lead back in your fantasy league you are probably hoping that George Godsey is the primary play-caller for the team over Eric Studesville if old trends hold true.

Jumping to the wide receiver position, Studesville saw his wide receivers get 20 targets per game over the course of his short stint as the Denver Broncos head coach.

This wide receiver usage should not sway you on whether or not to draft a Dolphins wide receiver for a few reasons. Firstly, averaging 20 wide receiver targets per game is mediocre - hovering right around the league average levels over the last decade. Secondly, four games are too small a sample size to put too much stock into - especially for an interim role. Thirdly, we don't even know if Studesville will be the primary play-caller on gamedays considering he's the co-offensive coordinator with George Godsey.

Lastly, Studesville's usage of tight ends was pretty bad during his four-game stint as the 2010 Denver Broncos head coach. In this stint, Studesville's tight end room averaged just 3.5 targets per game.

While it is just four games and we should largely take it with a grain of salt, it is worth noting that this is one of the worst career marks among active offensive-minded head coaches and offensive coordinators.

Overall, during this offseason, it will be important to pay attention to any news about the specific roles of the Miami Dolphins co-offensive coordinators in order to get a better understanding of the potential fantasy implications it will have for the players.

Fantasy Relevant Players: Tua Tagovailoa, Jacoby Brissett, Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Malcolm Brown, Patrick Laird, Gerrid Doaks, DeAndre Washington, Lynn Bowden Jr., DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Will Fuller, Jaylen Waddle, Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns, Adam Shaheen, and Mike Gesicki

 

2021 Defense

2021 Head Coach: Brian Flores

Brian Flores has done a phenomenal job in turning around the Miami Dolphins franchise over his two seasons, directing them to a 10-6 finish in 2020. Prior to becoming the Miami Dolphins head coach in 2019, he spent 15 years working in a variety of roles (primarily on the defensive side of the ball) for the New England Patriots. Based on his defensive background, let's take a look at some of the Dolphins' defensive statistics during Brian Flores's two seasons as the head coach.

Year Games Points Allowed Pass Yds Given Up Run Yds Given Up Plays Against Yds/Play Turnovers Forced
2019 Dolphins 16 30.88 262.38 135.38 65.81 6.04 1
2020 Dolphins 16 21.13 251.5 116.38 62.38 5.90 1.81
Flores's Career Averages (DC/HC) 32 26 256.94 125.88 64.09 5.97 1.41

 

2021 Defensive Coordinator: Josh Boyer

Josh Boyer became the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator in 2020 after Patrick Graham left to become the New York Giants defensive coordinator. Included below are the Dolphins' defensive statistics during his one year as the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator.

Year Games Points Allowed Pass Yds Given Up Run Yds Given Up Plays Against Yds/Play
Turnovers Forced
2020 Dolphins 16 21.13 251.5 116.38 62.38 5.90 1.81
Boyer's Career Averages (DC/HC)
16 21.13 251.5 116.38 62.38 5.90 1.81

The Dolphins defense made significant improvements from 2019 to 2020, improving in points allowed, passing yards given up, rushing yards given up, yards per play, and turnovers forced. However, while they moved to perform above the NFL league averages in 2020 in points allowed, rushing yards given up, and turnovers forced, the team was still below average in passing yards given up (league average: 240.2 passing yards per game) and yards given up per play (league average: 5.6 yards given up per play). The fear with drafting the Miami Dolphins D/ST in your fantasy league is that the high number of turnovers forced during the 2020 season could be a statistical anomaly - and outside of that number, the Miami Dolphins D/ST is just a middle-of-the-pack defense. Based on this information, the Miami D/ST should probably go off the board somewhere in the 10-16 D/ST range of your fantasy drafts.

 

Other Notable Assistants

Special Teams Coordinator: Danny Crossman - Danny Crossman has been the Miami Dolphins special teams coordinator since 2019. He's been coaching since 1993, coaching special teams at the NFL level since 2003, and has previously been a special teams coordinator for the Carolina Panthers (2007-2009), Detroit Lions (2010-2012), and Buffalo Bills (2013-2018).

QB Coach: Charlie Frye - 2021 will be Charlie Frye's first year coaching in the NFL. He's been coaching in a variety of roles at the high school and college level since 2013, and also played quarterback at the NFL level for the Cleveland Browns (2005-2007), Seattle Seahawks (2007-2008), and Oakland Raiders (2009).

WR Coach: Josh Grizzard - Josh Grizzard was hired as the Miami Dolphins wide receivers coach in 2020. He's been a coach on the team since 2017.

OL Coach: Lemuel Jeanpierre - For the 2021 season, Lemuel Jeanpierre will be the Miami Dolphins offensive line coach after serving as the team's assistant offensive line coach in 2020. He also played center in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks (2010-2015), was an offensive assistant for the Seahawks (2017), and was an assistant offensive line coach for the Oakland Raiders (2018-2019).

DL Coach: Austin Clark - 2021 will be Austin Clark's first year as the Miami Dolphins defensive line coach. In 2020, he served as the team's outside linebackers coach.

LB Coach: Anthony Campanile - Anthony Campanile has been the Miami Dolphins linebackers coach since 2020. He's been coaching since 2006 in a variety of roles at the high school and college levels.

OLB Coach: Rob Leonard - Rob Leonard will be the Miami Dolphins outside linebackers coach in 2021 after previously working as the assistant defensive line coach (2020) and linebackers coach (2019) with the team. He also spent six seasons coaching in a variety of roles on the defensive side of the ball for the New York Giants (2013-2018).

DB Coach: Gerald Alexander - Gerald Alexander has been the Miami Dolphins defensive backs coach since 2020. He's been coaching at the college and NFL levels since 2013. He also played safety in the NFL for the Detroit Lions (2007-2008), Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-2010), Carolina Panthers (2010), Miami Dolphins (2011), and New York Jets (2011).

Cornerbacks Coach: Charles Burks - 2021 will be Charles Burks's first season as the Miami Dolphins cornerbacks coach. He previously served as a coaching assistant for the team (2019-2020).

 

Enjoy this series? Be sure to check out all of the other 'Coaching Matters' team previews!

AFC SouthHouston TexansJacksonville JaguarsIndianapolis ColtsTennessee Titans

AFC NorthCleveland BrownsBaltimore RavensPittsburgh SteelersCincinnati Bengals

AFC WestLas Vegas RaidersLos Angeles ChargersKansas City ChiefsDenver Broncos

AFC East: New England Patriots

Follow Eli Grabanski on Twitter: @3li_handles



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Can Erik Van Rooyen Keep His Consistency Going In Florida?
Adam Svensson3 days ago

Needs To Find Some Putting Form In Florida
Beau Hossler3 days ago

Looking To Keep The Good Times Rolling In Florida
Denny McCarthy3 days ago

Looking To Heat Up At PGA National
Taylor Montgomery3 days ago

Putting Together Solid Results
Christiaan Bezuidenhout3 days ago

Arrives To Florida In Stellar Form
Luke List3 days ago

On A Mission To Reverse Past Heartbreak
Matthieu Pavon3 days ago

Looking To Widen His Season-Long Lead
Shane Lowry3 days ago

Leaning On Some Positive Florida Vibes
Ryo Hisatsune3 days ago

Heads To Palm Beach Gardens For Debut
Brendon Todd3 days ago

Takes Hot Putter To PGA National
Ben Griffin3 days ago

Loves The Bermuda Grass
Chris Kirk3 days ago

Looks To Defend Title At Cognizant Classic
PGA3 days ago

Alex Noren A Player To Watch At PGA National
Stephan Jaeger3 days ago

Closing In On First Tour Victory
Thorbjorn Olesen3 days ago

A Contender At PGA National
Ryan Fox3 days ago

In For A Tough Week At PGA National
Thomas Detry3 days ago

Trying To Shake Off Rough Event In Mexico
Brandon Royval5 days ago

Gets Back On Track With Decision Win
Brandon Moreno5 days ago

Loses Back-To-Back Fights
Francisco Prado5 days ago

Drops A Decision At UFC Mexico City
Daniel Zellhuber5 days ago

Extends Win Streak To Three
Sam Hughes5 days ago

Takes Decision Loss
Sam Hughes5 days ago

Yazmin Jauregui Defeats Sam Hughes
Kyle Busch5 days ago

Frustrated Despite Finishing Third At Atlanta
Ryan Blaney5 days ago

After Runner-Up at Atlanta: "That Was So Fun"
Daniel Suarez5 days ago

Wins At Atlanta In Photo Finish
Kaz Grala5 days ago

Rises To 14th By End Of Atlanta Race
Austin Cindric5 days ago

Enjoys Top 5 Result At Atlanta
Ross Chastain6 days ago

Outshone by Teammate, But Still Made Solid Recovery
Harrison Burton6 days ago

Electrifying Ford Speed Carries Harrison Burton to One of His Best Runs
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