Hill, Armstead hope to push Fins to next level

Hill, Armstead hope to push Fins to next level

MIAMI — Terron Armstead stepped to the podium Thursday in front of a near-capacity conference room inside the Miami Dolphins‘ Baptist Health Training Complex wearing a throwback Dan Marino jersey with orange sneakers.

Someone asked him why he wore the Marino jersey; his response — “why not.”

Armstead was introduced Thursday alongside wide receiver Tyreek Hill, capping off a busy week in which Miami added both players within less than 24 hours of one another. With a combined nine Pro Bowls between them, Armstead and Hill bring a certain level of star power and playoff experience to a team looking to end a five-year playoff drought.

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“Once you go to the playoffs, the game is definitely at a different speed — you’ve got to play at a different level,” Hill said. “Just having us two guys who have experienced it means a lot for these younger guys. Because some guys may look at it as another opportunity to play the game. But guys hit harder, guys run faster … It’s just crazy how the game speed changes.”

Miami signed Armstead to a five-year, $87.5 million contract after agreeing to terms Tuesday in an effort to improve the NFL’s worst pass blocking unit from a season ago. Armstead, ESPN’s top-ranked free agent of the 2022 cycle, spent the first nine seasons of his career with the New Orleans Saints — two of which were with Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith, who was the Saints’ assistant offensive line coach at the time.

Armstead credited Smith for his initial interest in playing for the Dolphins, also noting head coach Mike McDaniel’s energy and offensive scheme as instrumental in his decision.

“(McDaniel) understands us more than a few others. It’s a tough job, it’s a tough position,” Armstead said. “It’s a thankless position, we’re asked to go and create and you don’t necessarily get to celebrate or the rewards. It takes a unique group of individuals to do that over and over … Mike likes to put offensive linemen in position to be successful, use your strengths and abilities, which was another factor of me signing with Miami. The offensive scheme and the fit, I think, is perfect for what I do best — be explosive and physical and get out and run.”

A little more than 12 hours after Armstead’s deal was reported, Miami pulled off another blockbuster move, trading for the three-time first-team All-Pro, Hill.

Armstead could hardly contain his excitement about his new teammate.

“Come on now — the most dynamic player in the league. Always been a fan of his game, just watching,” he said. “Now having him be a part of this offense, I think we’re building something special. Him paired with (Jaylen) Waddle, (Raheem) Mostert, the speed and then the speed of us on the offensive line — we’re going to try to turn Sundays into a track meet. But a physical track meet, let’s not overshadow that, at all.”

Hill’s trade from the Kansas City Chiefs came as a surprise to many throughout the league, but agent Drew Rosenhaus said the Chiefs gave him permission to pursue a trade after the two sides couldn’t agree on a new contract that exceeded Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams’ new deal. Rosenhaus said the New York Jets and Chiefs agreed to trade terms earlier this week before the Dolphins came back with an offer Kansas City accepted.

The Chiefs gave Hill the final say on which team he wanted to play for, and he chose to come to his “second home” in Miami.

“It’s tough (to leave Kansas City) but when somebody comes to you with a lot of money, it changes,” Hill said with a smile. “The feelings start to change. It definitely was tough, man. I definitely had one of those moments where I had to get in my car and just drive and think about the moments I had in KC … I even had a conversation with Pat (Mahomes), that’s my brother for life.

“I know those guys are still gonna ball because they’re Hall of Famers.”

Hill called his new quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, “one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the NFL” and praised the Dolphins for their apparent commitment to building up their new offense with as much talent as possible.

“(The Dolphins) definitely want to put all the right pieces around the quarterback,” Hill said. “Because the quarterback is the most important piece.”

Both Hill and Rosenhaus expect Hill to have a Deebo Samuel-type role in McDaniel’s offense with “potential for even another level.”

Between Hill and Waddle, the Dolphins might have the fastest starting wide receiver duo in the NFL. Hill said he reached out to Waddle shortly after the trade went through and plans to get together with his new teammate, work out and, unsurprisingly, race.

“Wherever I go, the Cheetah’s always gotta prove I’m the fastest on the team — no matter what,” Hill said.

Source: ESPN NFL

    

Author: Ellen Garcia