- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins ran a stale and predictable offense last season under former coordinator Mike Sherman. Miami finished 27th in total offense and was inconsistent running and passing the football.
But there is a significant amount of newfound excitement with Dolphins players under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Miami’s offense has a completely different look. There are various formations, motions and quick-hitting plays that you didn’t see last year from Sherman. Lazor learned under Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and is bringing some of those principles to Miami.
We are only in Phase 3 of the Dolphins’ offseason program, but Lazor is getting rave reviews from his players.
“It’s really interesting. I’ve never been in an offense like this, how it’s called, how it’s run, the combination routes,” Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline said. “There’s a lot of things going on that I haven’t done. It’s really exciting and actually, I’m really enjoying it. You can tell it puts a smile on my face. I can’t wait to learn more, do more and then put it into action.”
One of the major criticisms last year of Sherman was the fact he didn’t move No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace around to get favorable matchups. That’s one of the first changes we’ve seen from Lazor, using Wallace on both sides and the slot depending on the formation. Wallace has looked good in organized team activities. He had three touchdown receptions in Tuesday’s practice in Lazor’s new scheme.
“Nobody can ever key on me,” Wallace explained after Tuesday’s practice. “Last year, you kind of knew where I was every single play, what you had to do because I was there every game, same spot. Moving around, it’s harder for the defense to know where you’re at, harder for them to adjust.”
Lazor is still experimenting and learning his players. For example, one interesting wrinkle the Dolphins are toying with is how to use tailbacks Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno in the same backfield.
Not everything is going to stick come September. But Dolphins players seem to appreciate the creativity. That is a good sign at this early stage.