Projected Record: 6-10
AFC East Rank: 3rd
The Miami Dolphins made some huge moves this offseason, including signing the speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace to a 5 year-$60 million deal with $30 million guaranteed. Wallace will add a deep threat for sophomore quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is looking to lead the Dolphins to the playoffs. Miami also signed Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler, two younger linebackers that played very well in 2012 and will help the Dolphins tremendously. They also signed Brent Grimes and drafted Jamar Taylor, two solid corners to compliment Richard Marshall and the Dolphins’ secondary. These three will be able to aptly defend any wide receiving trio in the league. Matt Moore also resigned with the team, one of the most reliable back up QB’s in the game and will be crucial if Tannehill goes down with an injury. Even with all of the spending, the Dolphins also suffered some significant losses as well including former #1 overall pick Jake Long and speedster Reggie Bush. Both were key parts of the Dolphins team last year but the Dolphins had other bigger needs that needed to be filled. Letting Bush walk was a smart move for the Dolphins as Lamar Miller is similarly quick and agile and is also younger and cheaper. Last season, the Dolphins struggled immensely against the pass. As mentioned earlier, the Dolphins should have an improved secondary because of the acquisitions they made this offseason. Along with improving the secondary, the third overall pick Dion Jordan will help cause a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If Jordan plays as expected, although I do not believe that he will, and Cameron Wake maintains his success, the tandem may combine to record 30 sacks this season. The addition of Ellerbe and Wheeler should improve the 12th ranked rushing defense in the league last season.
Although the Dolphins spent a lot of money this offseason on players, it will not lead to a lot of wins this coming season. The Dolphins have a difficult schedule this season, which will hinder their win total and chance of making the playoffs. The Dolphins have a brutal opening to the season. Four of the Dolphins first five games will be played against playoff teams from last season, Browns, @Colts, Falcons, @Saints, and Baltimore. The Dolphins will probably head into week six, their bye, with a 1-4 record. The early defeats will negatively affect the team’s attitude and hope of making the playoffs. The losses will directly affect the confidence of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. As seen in many young quarterbacks, confidence is a huge aspect of the game that significantly affects the way a player performs.
After the bye, the Dolphins will play the Bills at home which should result in a victory. After the Bills, the Dolphins face the Patriots on the rode and the Bengals at home. These two games will problem determine if the Dolphins will make the playoffs this season The Dolphins will lose at least one game and probably will lose both of the games. Two losses will definitely destroy the Dolphins chances of making the playoffs and one loss will probably knock them out of the playoff picture. The Dolphins will struggle this season because their offense will be unable to compare with other offenses around the league. As many fans know, the NFL is a quarterback driven league and the Dolphins do not have a top fifteen quarterback. Last year, the Dolphins had the 26th ranked passing attack in the league. Although the addition of Wallace will help Tannehill, the Dolphins will remain one of the worst passing attacks in the NFL. Also, the loss of Bush and Keller will negatively affect Tannehill because they were two great options where Tannehill could check down. After the Bengals on Halloween, the Dolphins will have an easier end to the season. The Dolphins last eight games of the season will be against the @Bucs, Chargers, Panthers,@ Jets, @Steelers, Patriots, @Bills, and Jets. The Dolphins will probably finish 4-4 over the last eight games of the season. After a difficult schedule, the Dolphins will finish either 6-10 or 7-9.
The two most important players on the Dolphins that must step up if the Dolphins will exceed expectations will be Ryan Tannehill and Dion Jordan. On defense, Jordan will be huge for the Dolphins. Jordan has the potential and speed to be a dominant pass rusher. As seen with the Broncos last season, a defense can be extremely dangerous and potent with two great pass rushers. The Dolphins will hope that the tandem of Jordan and Wake will be similar to the Broncos’s Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil last season. As noted earlier, an effective pass rush helps the defense against the pass and the rush. Especially in the league today, quarterbacks will have their way with any defense if the defense cannot pressure the quarterback.
Although Jordan will be an imcredibly important piece to the Dolphins this season, the most important player on the team is Ryan Tannehill. Even though Tannehill has not experienced a lot of success like Luck, Griffin, and Wilson, Tannehill showed signs that he can one day be a solid NFL starting quarterback. Last year, Tannehill completed 58% of his passes, threw for 3294 yards, connected for 12 touchdowns, and rushed for another 211 yards and 2 touchdowns. If Tannehill exceeds expectations and plays like his peers, the Dolphins will be in great shape this season. However, many do not expect Tannehill to fulfill the expectations of being pick eighth overall in the 2012 draft. Ryan should improve on his rookie numbers, but he will not produce like a top fifteen quarterback in the league. Until Tannehill reaches his potential, the Dolphins are going to face more losing seasons.