Center was seen by many as a necessary position for the Miami Dolphins heading into the offseason, but the team ignored the selection of an inside offensive lineman in the 2022 NFL Draft and did not did not add a veteran center in free agency on Mother’s Day.
While some may see Miami not adding depth at center as a show of faith in Michael Deiter, he’s not letting him go to his head.
“I’m thrilled to have the chance to come here and compete to play for the Dolphins another year,” Deiter said. “That’s really all I can focus on. Obviously (signing another center) didn’t happen, but that’s not something I really worry about. I just need to get ready to compete again this year.
Regardless of what Deiter thinks of the situation at Miami’s center, he’s the favorite to be the starter in Week 1. If that’s the case, he’ll have to keep improving if the Dolphins are to rise from the bottom of the game. ranking of the NFL race to the top.
Deiter thinks he’s better than he was this time last year before making his first nine NFL starts at center after starting 15 games at guard as a rookie in 2019.
“Much better,” Deiter said. “I just take a lot more reps (and have) a little more experience. Obviously I’m not where I need to be. I can still be a lot better. There’s a lot more growth to be had. have. But I’m definitely more confident this offseason than I was a year ago. It wasn’t the first time I’ve done it, but it’s been a little while. It’s going well.”
Currently, Deiter’s competition for the position includes the likes of undrafted Arkansas rookie free agent Ty Clary and potentially former Dallas Cowboys starting guard Connor Williams, who has had a brief glimpse of the center during pre-season last summer.
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New year, new system, new approach for dolphins
Deiter has played in a different offensive system every season since entering the league in 2019, and the 2022 season will be no different. Despite a lack of consistency, Deiter focuses on one thing: letting go.
“It’s the same thing about the center having to get everyone on the same page, get the IDs, prepare the whole O line to cut it and be fair about the assignments. “, said Deiter. “But then the whole O line, it’s a system where we can just play with confidence and let go and really not worry about it – worry about winning not losing. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. It’s going to be a ton of fun because we can play with confidence.
Miami moved Dieter from guard to center in 2020 after his rookie season hoping it would boost his game and add depth to the position behind Ted Karras.
After Karras left via free agency last offseason, Deiter took over as the starting center. He finished with a 60.6 PFF in 2021, which was by far the highest of his career. In 546 snaps last season, he allowed only one sack from the quarterback and committed only three penalties.
Deiter is looking to build on his performances from last season while adjusting to learning from new offensive line coach Matt Applebaum, who was hired from Boston College this offseason.
“He’s been really cool so far,” Deiter said of Applebaum. “He’s a thorough guy, an intense guy, but we have a lot of fun. He does a really good job of keeping everything fun. He has been an excellent teacher so far. We learn a ton. It will be very fun to work with him. So far it’s been great fun. He’s definitely a cool guy. He’s fun to be around but intense and one hell of a teacher.
Deiter said he’s excited to work with new head coach Mike McDaniel and offensive coordinator Frank Smith because they’ve run successful rushing offenses in the past.
Last season under McDaniel, the 49ers finished seventh in the NFL in total rushing yards, while the Dolphins finished 30th in that category.
“You can just tell by talking to them that running the ball is something important to all three of them and that’s cool,” Deiter said, referring to Applebaum with McDaniel and Smith. “As an O lineman, that’s always quite refreshing to hear. The way I think they’re so successful is the detail, the way they break it down to make it almost simple and how you can be efficient and how you can run the ball efficiently. It’s cool to have three guys who are smart and care about the race and want to keep it going no matter what.