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Dolphins' Mike McDaniel: 'Zero people' are concerned with WR Tyreek Hill's recent drops

There might be some consternation in Miami after the Dolphins lost three of their last five to drop the AFC East crown that seemed theirs for much of the season.

One drop-related item the team isn't concerned with? Tyreek Hill and his 11 on the year.

Hill has arguably been the league's best wide receiver this season as he led the league in receiving yards (1,799), receiving touchdowns (13) and yards per touch (14.5), but he's also one of only three players with double-digit drops -- a snag in Hill's otherwise flawless campaign that head coach Mike McDaniel has an explanation for anyway.

"I think when you are a player of his caliber that our team depends on so much, that can be a little misleading in terms of he gets a ton of targets and when we go to him in high-stake situations, it's not like he is just gliding in open field," McDaniel said Monday, per the team transcript. "They're pretty contested. And he's proven time and time again why we continue to go to him. There are zero people, including myself, that are concerned about a pattern of whatever. He has a high expectation to literally make every play. And in that process, there's no such thing as a 100 percent shooter."

A Pro Bowler in all eight of his seasons, Hill has been a target magnet for Miami. He finished the regular season third in the NFL with 171 targets, and his 119 receptions trailed only CeeDee Lamb, who had 135 catches on a league-leading 181 targets.

Hill has been targeted on 30.2% of the Fins' passing plays. After Jaylen Waddle's 104 targets, the next-closet pass catcher, Durham Smythe, has 43.

As mentioned above, Hill has turned the volume into possibly the best effort of his highly successful career. Even with missing a game, he tied his career high for receptions from last year, and set a new personal best for receiving yards for a second straight season.

Still, his 11 drops are second-most in the league, behind Puka Nacua's 12 and tied with David Njoku.

Against the Ravens in Week 17, Hill bobbled a potential wide-open touchdown catch in the first quarter. The game was eventually blown wide open in Baltimore's favor, but the drop took place when the game was tied, 7-7, on a third-and-7. Given the margin of defeat, a conversion there likely would've done nothing to change the final result, but it still did nothing to help set a positive tone.

Then in the regular-season finale, Hill dropped a crucial pass during Miami's last-gasp drive to at least tie the game. On first-and-10 from the 50, Hill appeared to have a chance at a house call on an in-cutting route, but again could not collect it. Bills cornerback Dane Jackson did interfere with Hill on the play, but the point remains that Miami had to trade 10 yards for what could've been six points.

Tua Tagovailoa threw an interception two plays later, ending the Dolphins' divisional bid and sending them to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday of Super Wild Card Weekend.

Questions were bound to arise considering the recent drops in high-profile contests, even if Hill's field-stretching ways are likely the main reason Miami has 11 wins and the NFL's second-ranked scoring offense. Plus, his drop percentage lines up with McDaniel's point about Hill's usage. While the speedster is tied for second in drops, his 6.4 drop percentage puts him at 24th, somewhat more palatable.

Above him on that list, ranked 13th with a 7.8 drop percentage, is Rashee Rice, Kansas City's standout rookie WR.

It's fitting that Hill will face his old team once again with this storyline emerging. The Chiefs have dealt with their own season-long narrative of drops plaguing their entire pass-catching corps.

He'll look to quell any fears over his recent mishaps while attempting to rectify Miami's Week 9 loss against Kansas City and move onto the Divisional Round.

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