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Tyreek Hill: The Miami Dolphins receiver is the deadliest field-flipper of his era and the weapon of Mike McDaniel's dreams

Tyreek Hill is on course for a historic season in Miami, are what point is his hailed among the all-time greats?; Watch Hill's Dolphins take on the New York Jets in the NFL's first ever Black Friday game from 8pm.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill

Tyreek Hill. The cheat code or cheetah code, am I right? Well, so that's what a few hours in the company of Mike McDaniel can do.

There is a fun game to play on an NFL Sunday. It's called 'Where is Tyreek Hill on the field when Tua Tagovailoa releases the football?'. For those already gazing 20-plus yards downfield, rein it in ever so slightly. Try 10 yards shorter, or 15 yards shorter, where the Miami Dolphins receiver is still staring down his covering defensive back with a 'trust me, I'll be there' glint to him.

The next part of the game: what happens next? And where will Hill eventually wind up? Now you can push your eyes 20-plus yards downfield, by which point he has already bypassed his soft coverage corner and the scrambling high safety, delayed by Tua's eye-hold and the spread chaos elsewhere, to pierce open grass.

Somewhere in that process there is a rhetorical pondering of 'Why is nobody covering the most dangerous man in the game?'. They are trying to, truly.

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Tyreek Hill reached over 1,000 yards in just eight games with the Dolphins in the 2023 season, in what has been a superb relationship with Tua Tagovailoa

The next game is this: how many defenders are around Hill when he makes a catch on an in-breaking route? Three? Four? Five? Here is your 'what happened next?' conundrum. The optics point to a simple swarm-and-tackle for the well-staffed and well-positioned defense; reality entails an afterburner-switch like no other and a Looney Tunes act of Road Runner defiance. Hill is gone before those tasked with stopping him have had a chance to react. *See his touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders.*

Tua threatens one of the sharpest releases among any quarterback in the NFL; Hill represents the perfect complement as the alien to whom you can toss the rock before he has made his break, sold his feint or scooted by the second level. Rest assured, he will be there.

"Everybody knows that Tyreek is fast. And he's a freak athlete in that way, but it takes an inordinate amount of focus and dependability, there's just so many hours of work to be able to perform at that level," said Miami Dolphins head coach McDaniel this week. "Every team you play knows you're trying to get the ball to him, so he sees creative coverages all the time, so it speaks to him."

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Miami Dolphins' Tyreek Hill leaves the Las Vegas Raiders defence clawing at thin air as he sprints away for his ninth touchdown of the season!

Modern sport can be prone to outlandish opinions, but so too can it be prone to fear. A fear of declaring or accepting greatness in the face of potential objection from past generations… 'How dare you bring LeBron into an MJ conversation?', 'Patrick Mahomes? You ought to watch 1984 Dan Marino!'. You get the picture.

From a talent and production standpoint, at what stage is Tyreek Hill thrust into consideration among the NFL's best wide receivers of all time? If not quite ready to pull up a chair at the table alongside the likes of Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss, Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens just yet, then there is undoubtedly a case for him being the deadliest and most transformative field-flipper of his era.

Every small, speedy, shifting and slaloming receiver to emerge from college draws Tyreek Hill comparisons. None of them come close to replicating or rivalling his efficiency as a receiver model somewhat atypical to the rangy, posterising wideouts of years gone by.

"It's a little bit different with him than everybody else; no question," said Bill Belichick in 2019.

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Tyreek Hill celebrated his touchdown by taking a phone and recording a selfie of himself doing a back flip

Through seven weeks he was averaging a PFF record 4.65 yards per route run (now 4.06 ypr through 11 weeks), before becoming the first player in the Super Bowl era to surpass 1,000 receiving yards through the first eight games of the season. Hill leads the NFL with 1,222 receiving yards and has posted more receiving yards (9,562) than any other player in the league since being drafted in 2016 - Davante Adams (9,449) the next closest having been targeted 157 more times and and made 68 more catches - also putting up 768 rushing yards in that period.

"That guy, Tyreek Hill, is unbelievable to watch," said former Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers back in 2018. "What a dynamic player. I don't know if I've seen anybody better, the things he can do speedwise, in all my time playing."

The sequel to the aforementioned game is defensive bedlam as teams cower into umbrella coverages whereby they sacrifice being torched by crossers underneath in favour of limiting the top-chopping splash plays. Now he, Tua and Miami's 'lure 'em downhill' RPO antics really have you.

He is the outlet of his head coach's dreams. The quintessential cherry on top to McDaniel's elaborate scheming. One of few with the skillset and fear factor to both serve as a coverage reconnaissance man with his movement at the line of scrimmage before also being the one to lead the ensuing raid.

Miami will blur the lines between 21 and 12 personnel along the line of scrimmage with the alteration of where they line up their tight ends and running backs; their personnel packages become more about where players are standing as opposed to who is actually on the field. With that comes the ghost motions to sell/feint/double-bluff a play's direction, the disguised trap blocks courtesy of a Durham Smythe or an Alec Ingold, the condense-to-expand alignment that veils route intentions and tees up Hill's fast or zipper motion from in-to-out, and Tua's sleight of hand salesmanship coupled with the sheer speed to his processing and decision-making.

The Dolphins lead the NFL in pre-snap motion as the face of McDaniel's playful deception. A lot goes on, all of which is usually iced by a Hill catch.

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Take his 42-yard touchdown against the New England Patriots in Week Eight. The Dolphins had lined up in 21 personnel in the face of quarters coverage, only it was tight end Smythe positioned offset to Tua's left with Julian Hill off the tackle in a tight split start and running back Jeff Wilson Jr in a stack on the outside.

Wilson would motion behind his quarterback with Smythe kicking outside to advertise the end-around, Tua instead keeping the ball and lofting it immediately over the top to Hill before he has even bought a yard of separation against his bracket coverage. Interestingly, the Dolphins had drawn up a near-identical formation on the previous play, on that occasion, though, the motion man taking the handoff to follow Ingold and Austin Jackson on the perimeter.

It was a window into the intricacies with which McDaniel will hide and move into the same look, while underlining the mental predicament opponents face when planning for both one of the league's most innovative rushing attacks and the Hill haymaker they all know Miami are seeking to tee up.

Two plays matched up against Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry also told the story earlier this season. On the first, Hill threatened the outside release to shift Bradberry two steps towards the sideline, before skipping inside and skating downfield on a simple fly route. On the second, he used a more subtle but similar outside-release fake, with a side-on Bradberry lured into believing he had equipped himself to skate downfield with him this time, only for Hill to cut inside on an unmanned dig route with both safeties sitting high. Press him and he wins, play off coverage and the league's yards-after-catch leader will run away from you as soon as the ball reaches his hands.

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Speaking on Inside the Huddle, Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold agree that the decision to allow Tyreek Hill to be traded away is now costing the Kansas City Chiefs

"I don't think you can simulate it, unless you let the receivers line up five yards offsides and go from there," said former Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in 2019. "You practice all week against it and then it's significantly faster than what you've prepared for. I've never seen anybody on an NFL field faster than that before."

Both the 'Tyreek effect' and the 'McDaniel effect' became amplified on Jaylen Waddle's touchdown against the Patriots as fast motion into a wheel route combined with a split-back-into-scissor release in dragging two defenders left to leave a gaping hole over the middle for the Dolphins to receiver to fill.

With Hill it is a different calibre of speed, glossed by exhaustedly-rehearsed footwork in timing with that of his quarterback, seasoned field awareness, a toughness to absorb contact and make contested catches in traffic, shuddering immediacy to his cuts, stutters and direction changes.

"I've never seen somebody that fast in my life," said Tennessee Titans safety K'Von Wallace during his time with the Eagles last season. "That's a different type of speed I gave myself a five-yard headstart and he still got by me, so kudos to him and his God-given speed."

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Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold look at the importance for the game in Frankfurt for both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins

Modern defenses have fought back against chunk plays with their Vic Fangio-bred two-high safety shells and the rolling coverages designed to befuddle a quarterback's read on the field. And yet Hill leads the NFL with seven receptions of 40-plus yards so far this season. He didn't get the memo.

Sunday's opponents know him as well as anybody. For six seasons he was every defensive coordinator's nightmare when it came to a Patrick Mahomes scramble play and the task of devoting a focus to both Kelce underneath and Hill over the top.

There is nobody in the NFL that can do what Tyreek Hill can do. There might be few in history that can do what Tyreek Hill can do.

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